Ages 18+.

The Illusionist

Edward Norton (Fight Club and The Italian Job), stars in a new movie generating a lot of Oscar buzz. In The Illusionist (based on a Steven Millhauser short story, Eisenheim the Illusionist, from his collection, The Barnum Museum: Stories), Norton plays Eisenheim, a magician in Vienna in the early 1900s who uses his tricks to woo the lovely Sophie (Jessica Biel) who lives in high society’s stratosphere. Rich in atmospheric detail and 'things are not what they seem' nuances, The Illusionist is old fashioned cinematic entertainment at its best.

International Thriller Writers, Inc. Awards

International Thriller Writers, Inc AwardsInternational Thriller Writers, Inc Awards

2006 is the first year this fledgling organization of International Thriller Writers bestow awards to honor the best of the best among them.

The stellar membership includes such names as Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, Lisa Gardner, Alex Kava, David Liss, along with the usual suspects of Dale Brown, Janet Evanovich, Tess Gerritsen, David Baldacci, and the like.

2006 BEST NOVEL
THE PATRIOTS CLUB by Christopher Reich

2006 BEST FIRST NOVEL
IMPROBABLE by Adam Fawer

2006 BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
PRIDE RUNS DEEP by R. Cameron Cooke

For up-to-date news and reviews, subscribe to the organization's free newsletter. Click here for a list of Must-Read thrillers.

Do you know who Sully Erna is?

GodsmackGodsmack

If so, then you need to see Sully and the rest of Godsmack in concert this Friday, Sept. 15th at 7 pm at the DTE Energy Music Theatre (yes, yes, it's the old Pine Knob).

Also performing are Rob Zombie and Shinedown.

If you decide to go, revisit this AADL blog and leave a comment about the concert...

Enjoy!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #33

Reyna Grande’s debut novel Across a Hundred Mountains is a stunning and poignant story of migration, loss and discovery.

Under desperate circumstances in a Tijuana jail, young Juana Garcia and teenage prostitute Adelina Vasquez met and their heartbreaking stories intertwined in the novel's alternating chapters, and re-crossed years later in the most unexpected ways. Starred review in Publishers Weekly.

A 2003 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow, Grande was born in Guerrero, Mexico. With an insider’s perspective, she puts a human face on one of the most controversial issues of our time – Mexican immigration to the United States. A writer to watch, she is currently at work on her second novel.

college 101

If you're just starting college, thinking about it or looking back, you might find these novels about college life entertaining if not totally realistic.

In Making Stuff Up, by Bill James, passions and rivalries erupt in a creative writing class. The president of the college tries to smooth things over while struggling to keep the college afloat.

Blue Angel by Francine Prose is a hilarious and cynical portrayal of college life, especially writers and English departments. She satirizes the pervasive feminist interpretation of literature by the women's studies teachers and empathizes with the disillusioned creative writing instructors who are resigned to reading some awful student work.

Elinor Lipman has also presented a farcical account of college life in her newest novel, My Latest Grievance, the story of Frederica Hatch, the precocious daughter of two activist professors who are also dorm parents at a small New England women's college.`

Presidential Summer Reading

Apparently The Stranger, by Albert Camus was not the only intellectually challenging book on President Bush's reading list this summer. Adam Gopnik, writing in the Aug. 28 New Yorker, names two others on what he describes as "An amazingly strenuous list, actually." The bonus books were American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, by Richard Carwardine. Whether Bush has actually read either of these books is unclear to me. But even if he has, that's only three for the summer - two short of the five books required to finish the AADL Summer Reading Game. Better luck next year, Mr. President.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #32

Playwright and actress Pamela Gien was commissioned by Random House to turn her 2001 Obie-Award for Best Play The Syringa Tree into a novel.

Set in her homeland of South Africa during the turbulent 1960s, Gien tells the story of 6 year-old Lizzie, a child of privilege, her Xhosa nanny, Salamina, and their fierce devotion to each other. As the meaning of apartheid unfolds, Lizzie takes her worries to sit in the welcoming arms of the large lilac-blooming syringa tree in her backyard, trying to make sense of the violence, the injustice and racism amidst the intoxicating beauty of the land.

Moving and illuminating, it will interest readers of social issues and modern history.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #31

Theodore "Teddy" Ruzak of Knoxville, TN is the bumbling but determined detective in Richard Yancey's entertaining mystery series debut The Highly Effective Detective.

Overweight and unschooled, Teddy quits his job as a night watchman to set up his own detective agency with a small inheritance. For his first case, Teddy is hired to track down a hit-and-run goose-killer. Before long, however, the case turns decidedly homicidal.

Endearing and colorful characters, suspenseful plots twists and witty dialogues make for a fun read. Highly recommended. Starred review in Publishers' Weekly. Definitely for fans of Monk and Columbo series.

Poets, Start Your Engines

Looks like prize-winning poet James Tate is among dozens of poets participating in the Wave Books Poetry Bus Tour set to start rolling Sept. 4 from Seattle. The tour is planning stops in 50 cities in 50 days, carrying poets, musicians, filmmakers and journalists. The still-under-construction web site says the poetry bus "will go more places with more poets reading more poems than was ever previously believed possible." A stop is scheduled in Ann Arbor Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at the U-M Residential College Auditorium.

Munch Masterpieces Found by Police

Scream

Police believe they have recovered The Scream and Madonna, two modern masterpieces, by artist Edvard Munch stolen from the Munch Museum in August, 2004. Both paintings were in better-than-expected condition, police said at a news conference.

“The pictures came into our hands this afternoon after a successful police action,” said Iver Stensrud, head of the police investigation. “All that remains is an expert examination to confirm with 100 percent certainty, that these are the original paintings. We believe these are the originals,” Stensrud said. Read the rest of the AP story Police recover stolen Munch masterpieces.

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