Author Birthdays: Burroughs, Cherryh

September 1st marks the birthday of authors Edgar Rice Burroughs and C. J. Cherryh.

Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American writer best known for his characters Tarzan (of the series by the same name) and John Carter (of the Barsoom series).

Burroughs also wrote the famous novel The Land that Time Forgot (first in the Caspak trilogy), which was originally published as a serial. The story is much like other famous "lost world" stories, like Journey to the Center of the Earth. The novel has been made into two films.

C. J. Cherryh is an American author of science-fiction and fantasy. Out of her impressive bibliography, two novels have won Hugo Awards for best novel: Downbelow Station and Cyteen. A department of NASA named an asteroid after her (77185 Cherryh), and said, in reference to it, "She has challenged us to be worthy of the stars by imagining how mankind might grow to live among them."

Among Cherryh's works are at least 15 series and a few solo novels. One of the series, called The Gene Wars, starts out with the book Hammerfall, which Publisher's Weekly summed up as "two women with superhuman powers wage psychic and genetic war for control of a civilization."

Author Birthdays: Buchan, Isherwood

August 26th marks the birthday of authors John Buchan and Christopher Isherwood.

John Buchan was a Scottish novelist and Governor General of Canada. He wrote mainly adventure fiction, five books of which contain the manly and MacGyver-like character Richard Hannay. Three other stories by Buchan feature the middle-aged reluctant hero Dickson McCunn, whose adventures start in the book Huntingtower.

Baron Buchan also wrote historical fiction, like the mystery Witch Wood, which features romance and religion in 17th century Scotland, and even a novel about a terminally ill man, his death and redemption, called Sick Heart River.

Christopher Isherwood was an English-born American author. One of his novels, Mr. Norris Changes Trains, was inspired by his life as an expatriate in Berlin in the 1930s. The main characters include the narrator, William Bradshaw, and the masochistic Arthur Norris.

Another of Isherwood's novels is A Single Man, which centers on a middle-aged gay Englishman and his recent partner's loss, which he must learn to cope with. It was recently made into a film by Tom Ford, and it stars Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.

Author Birthdays: Parker & Bradbury

August 22nd marks the birthday of authors Dorothy Parker and Ray Bradbury.

Dorothy Parker was an American poet and satirist, noted for being a "wisecracker". She was a founding member of the famous Algonquin Round Table, and was even put on the Hollywood blacklist for being a suspected communist in the McCarthy era.

Parker's poems were published in magazines such as Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. The Nation said that her voice is, "caked with a salty humor, rough with splinters of disillusion, and tarred with a bright black authenticity." The New York Times published an obituary for her in 1967. In it, Alden Whitman wrote, "Miss Parker was a little woman with a dollish face and basset-hound eyes, in whose mouth butter hardly ever melted. It was a case, as Alexander Woollcott once put it, of 'so odd a blend of Little Nell and Lady Macbeth.'"

Ray Bradbury is an American novelist, best known for writing the dystopian Fahrenheit 451. In honor of his sci-fi greatness, Wikipedia notes that "an asteroid is named in his honor, "9766 Bradbury", along with a crater on the moon called "Dandelion Crater" (named after his novel, Dandelion Wine)."

However, Bradbury also wrote fantasies, horrors, and mysteries. Among the horrors is Something Wicked This Way Comes, which tells the story of a pair of 13-year-old boys who encounter a creepy traveling carnival. Bradbury's mysteries include a trilogy, narrated by an unnamed screenwriter. The first is Death is a Lonely Business, and it focuses on a string of murders in Venice, CA.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #220

Alright, this one is definitely not for you if you are heading for the airport.

The Crashers* - a crack-team of National Transportation Safety Board experts is assembled in haste to investigate when a passenger plane slams into the ground outside Portland, Oregon.

Led by Leonard "Tommy" Tomzak, a pathologist, the team needs to determine if it is a terrorist attack, or worse yet, a trial run for something more devastating to come very soon.

In the meantime, in LA, Daria Gibron, a former Israeli agent, spots a group of suspicious-looking men whom she is certain, are responsible for the plane crash.

"A fresh and utterly compelling thriller, an original mix of action, investigation and a brilliant cast of characters that grabs the reader in the way few novels can and fewer do." - A must-read debut by Dana Haynes, and will sure to please fans of the master of aviation thriller John J. Nance (Blackout) , and a readalike for Hard Fall by Ridley Pearson, the undisputed king of white-knuckle adventures.

A sequel is anticipated.

* = Starred reviews

The Nymphet

On August 18th, 1958, Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita was first published in the U.S. That makes tomorrow its 52nd anniversary.

The book is his best known, and was made into a film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, and again by Adrian Lyne in 1997. Unlike many of his other works, Nabokov actually wrote Lolita in English, and then translated into Russian. It was--and probably still is--controversial; the story is narrated by a man named Humbert Humbert, who has an amorous obsession with his girlfriend's 12-year-old daughter.

Author Erica Jong, in a New York Times Book Review in 1988, said, "'Lolita' teems with loving lexicography, crystalline coinages, lavish list-making - all the symptoms of rapture of the word. 'Nymphet' was a coinage of this novel, as were the more obscure 'libidream,' 'pederosis,' 'nymphage' and 'puppybodies.'"

Here at AADL we have Lolita in not only its original English, but also in Spanish, French, and Russian. We also have an audiobook version read by film great Jeremy Irons, who actually played Humbert in the 1997 film.

Detroit Puppet Art Theater's "The Sleeping Beauty" August 23rd

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On August 23rd at 7:00 pm the library hosts a performance of "The Sleeping Beauty", a marionette ballet performed by Detroit's Puppet Art Theater, at the Downtown Library. The members of the troupe are masters of puppetry art theater trained in the former Soviet Union.

A beautiful princess, wicked fairies and a handsome prince will be brought to life with exquisite marionettes and accompanying classical music.

We all know that Sleeping Beauty has been cursed by a wicked fairy and is forced to sleep until she is awakened by a kiss from a Prince. Most versions focus upon the Princess’s story but this production sheds light on the story of the Prince as well. We find out how he knows of the sleeping Princess and why he feels destined to rescue her. You can relax and enjoy the show because this story, as all fairy tales, promises a very happy ending.

If you would like to refresh your memory of the classic tale, Sleeping Beauty is a beautiful version illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. The Walt Disney version of The Sleeping Beauty is available on Blu-ray. Finally, if you would like to listen and imagine the story yourself, Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra is an excellent version.

Author Birthdays: Ann M. Martin

August 11th is the birthday of American author Ann M. Martin.

Best known for her 14-year-long series The Baby-sitters Club, Martin has written quite a few novels and other series for children as well.

Among the other series are The Doll People and Main Street.

Among the novels are Belle Teal, which features a young girl who encounters racism, death, and abuse as she grows up, A Dog's Life: The Autobiography Of A Stray, which is told by a stray dog and gives a great perspective on the many perils homeless animals face, and the 2003 Newbery honor book A Corner of the Universe, which tells the story of a girl named Hattie, set in the 1960s.

Made in Michigan Writers Series

Have you heard of the Made in Michigan Writers Series? Published by Wayne State University Press, the series features Michigan authors in the fiction, non-fiction, short story and poetry genres.

The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit, by Michael Zadoorian
Short fiction stories about characters living in and around Detroit, surviving the odds.

Eden Springs, by Laura Kasischke
Using historical sources, a novella about the House of David religious colony that was based in Benton Harbor, Michigan in the early 20th century.

As If We Were Prey: Stories, by Michael Delp
Darkly humorous yet touching collection of short stories about men in a small northern Michigan town.

Birth of a Notion; Or, The Half Ain't Never Been Told: A Narrative Account with Entertaining Passages of the State of Minstrelsy & of America & the True Relation Thereof (From the Ha Ha Dark Side)
by Bill Harris
Using prose and poetry, Harris studies preconceived notions of “blackness” in nineteenth century American culture to the early twentieth century, investigating sources of lasting stereotypes and racist imagery.

An American Map: Essays, by Anne-Marie Oomen
Northern Michigan native Anne-Marie Oomen’s contemplative and inspirational essays from her travels across America.

Author Birthdays: Shelley, Winton, Lehane

Today marks the birthday of a few notable writers.

First, I'd like to mention Percy Bysshe Shelley, an English Romantic poet, famed for his idealism, as well as being a social radical. You may recognize the last name; he was married to Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame. Shelley was known to be friends with fellow poet Lord Byron, and he was admired by many writers of the next generations, including Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair, and even Karl Marx.

Second, it is also the birthday of Australian Tim Winton. Winton has been acknowledged with the Man Booker Prize shortlist for his novels The Riders and Dirt Music, and also the Miles Franklin award for FOUR different novels: Shallows, Cloudstreet, Dirt Music, and Breath. Cloudstreet is often described as one of Australia's best-loved novels.

Third, I should also mention Dennis Lehane, the writer of the mystery novel Shutter Island, which was recently adapted into a film, as well as Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone, which were also made into motion pictures.

Lastly, though he isn't really a writer, we should wish a happy birthday to the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Author Birthdays: John Ashbery

Today marks the birthday of 83-year-old poet John Ashbery.

Ashbery has many books in our poetry section. One of his most notable would be Self-portrait In A Convex Mirror, which won not only the National Book Award in 1975, but also the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Also in his long list of publications is April Galleons, which Library Journal reviewed, saying the "...seamless style allows a rich assemblage of voices to move nimbly between high comedy and low, among fable, memory, and meditation."

His latest is Planisphere, which came out last year and is named after a device which shows the visible stars for any date and time.

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