Ages 18+.

Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith

For her August 2005 book club discussion, Reader’s Review, Diane Rehm has breathed new life into Fair and Tender Ladies, the 1988 epistolary novel by Lee Smith. Set in pre World War I Sugar Fork, Virginia, tucked into the Appalachians, Smith’s letter-writing protagonist, Ivy Rowe, is as prolific a storyteller as Smith herself. Ivy had big ambitions to be a writer but an early pregnancy and marriage turned her, instead, into a non-stop correspondent throughout her life. Based on letters that Smith picked up at a garage sale, Fair and Tender Ladies is one of those timeless stories to be cherished over and over.

In the Shadow of the Law, by Kermit Roosevelt III

Not since Scott Turow’s break-away 1987 best seller, Presumed Innocent, has there been quite this much buzz for a new legal thriller author. Kermit Roosevelt III, blue-blooded great-great grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, sure knows from whence he writes. A former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice David Souter, Roosevelt has penned a riveting page turner with The Law starring front and center. At the heart of this first novel are two lawyers in one of Washington’s toniest, most cut throat K Street law firms. Rumpled sleepy Mark Clayton is doing pro bono work for a death penalty case while his much more cut-throat colleague, Walker Eliot, works a defense for a Texas chemical plant, site of a deadly explosion that killed dozens of low-wage employees.

The Play Ground

The Dramatic Tension Project, through a grant from the Neutral Zone, will present “Night Mother” by Marsha Norman and “Regency Romance” by G. L. Horton. August 11-13 at the U-M Residential College Auditorium.

On the Road: On the Screen

The classic book by Jack Kerouac that captures the spirit of the Beat Generation will finally be brought to the screen by Francis Ford Coppola and Walter Salles. Walter Salles is the filmmaker behind the critically acclaimed Motorcycle Diaries about the revolutionary Che Guevara. Coppola, who at one time considered taking the helm himself, has spent years trying to get On the Road off the ground since acquiring the rights in 1979. Over time, he's hired various screenwriters to take a crack at the project, but to no avail.

The Play Ground

Anne Nelson’s drama, The Guys, originated in a theater just blocks from Ground Zero, and takes place days after the catastrophe. It tells the story of Nick, a fire captain who lost most of his men at the World Trade Center and Joan, an editor who assists him with their eulogies in this important and moving drama. It is directed by Erica Dutton and stars Khurum Sheikh and Dayna Woodhams.

Presented by Redbud Productions August 10 at Kerrytown Concert House which is located at 415 North Fourth Avenue in Ann Arbor.

Bebe Moore Campbell

Featured today 8-4-05 on the Diane Rehm Show
Author Bebe Moore Campbell presents her new novel 72 Hour Hold about an African American mother who's willing to try just about anything to help her mentally ill teenage daughter. Bebe Campbell is the author of many titles. The New York Times identified Campbell to be among a growing number of black women whose writing has mass crossover appeal. She manages to articulate deftly both black and white points of view.

Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq

Crawfords story is undoubtably similar to that of many others who never really thought that joining the National Guard would mean having to go to active duty much less war.
Featured On Fresh Air August 3, 2005 · With two credits to go before college graduation, John Crawford was called to active duty and sent to the front lines in Iraq. Crawford had joined the Florida National Guard in order to pay his tuition -- and didn't expect to go to war.

His new memoir is The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq. It was written partly while on active duty and partly back in the United States after he returned.

Unprecedented Television Book Event

The independent film based on the award winning novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson will air simultaneously this fall on Showtime and Lifetime on Monday, September 5th at 9:00 pm. Speak was a National Book Award finalist and received rave reviews when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. It's one of my favorite teen books and I look forward to seeing the film!

Whatever Makes You Happy

I just received a great recommendation on a new fiction title. The book is Whatever Makes You Happy, by Lisa Grunwald. Unlike some books that can only be categorized as “Chic Lit” or “Weepy Women's Lit”, this is kind of serious as well as funny and entertaining. And since the story takes place during the summer, it would be perfect for the "Summer Reading Game"!

The Play Ground

Running through August 28th at the Performance Network in Ann Arbor is the 2003 Tony-Award winning play Take Me Out written by Richard Greenberg and directed by Jim Posante and Anthony Caselli.

"'Take Me Out' hits homerun! Powerful and Fascinating... the production abounds with highlights. In theater there is no such thing as a perfect game, but these guys come pretty close." FOUR STARS out of four stars
-Martin Kohn, Detroit Free Press

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