The Mercury 13

On June 16, 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space—during the Vostok 6 mission. It was 20 years later (almost to the day) that Sally Ride became the first American woman in space—as a crewmember on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7 on June 18, 1983.

In Martha Ackmann’s The Mercury 13, we are introduced to 13 women who should have been among the first in space. They included Jerrie Cobb, Wally Funk, Myrtle Cagle, and Bernice "B" Steadman, who were some of the most accomplished pilots of their time, male or female. These women passed the same rigorous tests (in 1961) that the original Mercury 7 astronauts underwent in the late 1950s. The women's testing program was eventually scrapped and women astronaut candidates weren’t selected by NASA until the 1978 class of Space Shuttle astronauts.

To find more books on women astronauts click here.

Happy Birthday, Archibald!

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Celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the birth of Archie Leach (better known to most as Cary Grant – b. January 18, 1904; d. November 29, 1986) by watching him in one of his many roles on DVD! The library owns many titles for you to check out and enjoy. The Awful Truth, where the Cary Grant "persona” began; The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, with Myrna Loy and a teenaged Shirley Temple; The Philadelphia Story, with Jimmy Stewart and Katharine Hepburn; and, directed by the great Alfred Hitchcock: Suspicion, Notorious, To Catch a Thief, and North by Northwest.

He Was 'A Ford, Not a Lincoln'

"I told you I was a Ford, not a Lincoln. Tonight I say I am still a Ford, but I am not a Model T." Pres. Gerald Ford, August 12, 1974

Those humble words were spoken by President Gerald Ford days after President Nixon resigned and Ford assumed the presidency. President Ford passed away this week, but his important role in history will be long remembered.

If you'd like to read more about Jerry Ford (who was also a Wolverine football player), you might consider these books:

The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford by John Robert Greene;

A Ford, Not a Lincoln by Richard Reeves;

Time and Chance: Gerald Ford's Appointment with History by James Cannon.

And, if you're interested in Betty Ford- including her courageous struggle with drug addiction- take a look at Betty: A Glad Awakening by Betty Ford with Chris Chase, or First Lady's Lady by Sheila Rabb Weidenfeld.

Also, check out First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents by Bonnie Angelo, for a really fascinating account of Ford's mother and childhood.

Burning Ring of Fire

Warm up on a cold winter night by reading or listening to this great book on Johnny Cash, The Man Called Cash. Follow the steps of Johnny Cash from his humble beginnings in Arkansas as a sharecropper's son to his death in Nashville. The Book on CD is read by Rex Linn, who offers his Southern voice to give the story a very nostaglic feel.

Louis Riel Day : November 16

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Louis Riel led the Metis in the Red River Rebellion of 1869-70 and the North-West Rebellion of 1885. He was arrested, tried, and convicted of high treason. Riel was hanged on November 16, 1885.

The Métis Nation consists of descendants of marriages of Woodland Cree, Ojibway, Saulteaux, and Menominee aboriginals to French Canadian and/or British/Celtic settlers (Wikipedia).

The library has:

Louis Riel: a Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown

“Brown's exploration of the life of 19th-century Canadian revolutionary Riel is a strong contender for the best graphic novel ever. Over five years in the making, Brown's work is completely realized here, from the strikingly designed two-color cover to the cream-colored paper and pristinely clear drawings. The story begins in 1869, with the sale of the independent Red River Settlement area of what's now Canada to the Canadian government. The area is inhabited by the French-speaking Métis, of mixed Indian and white ancestry, who are looked down upon by the Canadians. Riel is bilingual and becomes a de facto leader for the Red River Settlement, demanding the right for them to govern themselves within Canada. Not surprisingly, this request is denied, and the conflict is set in motion that ultimately consumes Riel's life.” (from the Publishers Weekly review)

Louis Riel with Profiles of Gabriel Dumont and Poundmaker by Robert Knight

Lord of the Plains, a novel based on the North-West Rebellion of 1885, by Alfred Silver.

The wonderful Gabriel Du Pre mysteries series by Peter Bowen celebrates the Metis heritage of Du Pre.

November Books to Films

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, a bio-pic of the celebrated photographer, is based loosely on Patricia Bosworth's Diane Arbus: a biography. There is plenty of Oscar talk for Nicole Kidman who plays Arbus.

A Good Year with Russell Crowe, Albert Finney and the young beautiful Aussie Abbie Cornish is based on Peter Mayle's novel about a London financial barracuda who inherits a Provençal chateau and vineyard.

Remake of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale. Published in 1953, it was his very first James Bond novel. This 2006 film version features a brand new 007.

A young and edgy cast with Greg Kinnear, Avril Lavigne and Ethan Hawke, and directed by Richard Linklater will delight you in an adaptation of Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, a hard hit on the fast-food industry.

NPR Pick for the Weekend of October 28th, 2006

Does Halloween make you feel like a bit of a kid again? Join Bill Bryson as he takes you on a tour of his children in 1950s Des Moines, Iowa in his latest book, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Bryson will take you on a tour of the local establishments that he remembers fondly, from the local supermarket with its comic books to the department store with a tea room fit for a queen. Listen to an interview with NPR’s Weekend Edition, see pictures of a young Bill Bryson, and read an excerpt of the book here.

Bryson is also the author of several other popular books, including A Walk in the Woods, A Short History of Nearly Everything, and Notes from a Small Island.

New York Times Bestseller: Elizabeth Edwards

Coming in at #7 this week on the New York Times hardcover bestsellers list is Elizabeth Edwards' memoir, Saving Graces. Edwards, the wife of former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, has written a fascinating account of her life in law and politics, and an uplifting account of how she has survived both the tragic loss of her son Wade and her recent fight against breast cancer. You might also want to check out John Edwards' account of his legal career and family life in Four Trials, or take a look on-line at the Wade Edwards Foundation, which provides computer labs and other learning resources for schoolchildren.

Mid-October NPR Picks: Midlife Leaps and Spanish Royalty

Read about public-radio journalist and author Katherine Lanpher's move to the Big Apple in her new book Leap Days: Chronicles of a Midlife Move. She left Minnesota on Leap Day 2004 for a chance to work with Al Franken in New York, and explores many topics in this collection of essays, including religion, middle age, and parenthood. You can listen to her on Talk of the Nation.

Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli has taken the compelling and dark tale of Juana of Castile, daughter of Isabelle and Ferdinand and mother of many monarchs, and spun it into a novel called The Scroll of Seduction, which was recently translated into English. Read an excerpt of the novel or listen to Jacki Lyden speak with Belli about her new book on All Things Considered.

Annie Get Your Camera

It’s hard to shake a stick without running into a photograph taken by Annie Leibovitz lately. Famous for her Rolling Stone photographs of the 70’s and 80’s, she most recently made headlines for snapping the coveted first pics of little Suri Cruise and family. Now she’s released a new book. A photographer’s life 1990-2005 draws not only on her evocative images of the rich and famous, but also exhibits work from her private, personal life—her friends, family, and in particular, the late Susan Sontag.

Some of these photographs are also featured in the DIA’s exhibit, on display through January: Annie Leibovitz: American Music, which chronicles her role as a photographer of American Roots musicians and those who’ve been influenced by the movement. See images up close and in personal of B.B. King, Pete Seeger, The White Stripes, and many others.

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