Author Birthdays: Krantz, Friel, Smith

January 9th marks the birthday of authors Judith Krantz, Brian Friel, and Wilbur A. Smith.

Judith Krantz is an American writer of romance novels. Her first novel, Scruples, was published in 1978. It was made into a TV mini-series in 1980, and then Krantz wrote its sequel, Scruples Two, in 1992.

Krantz also wrote The Mistral's Daughter, which, like Scruples, turned mini-series. In total, seven of her novels were made for TV. Her latest novel, from 1998, is The Jewels of Tessa Kent, was described by Publisher's Weekly as "a romance of motherhood in all its full if tarnished glory".

Brian Friel is an Irish writer, mostly known for his plays. His play Dancing at Lughnasa won the Tony for Best Play in 1992; it tells the story of five sisters living in poverty in Ireland. It was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep in 1998.

Friel also wrote the drama Molly Sweeney, which in two acts tells the story of a woman blind since birth who undergoes surgery to try to restore her sight. The play is told in only monologues, and was awarded the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play.

Wilbur A. Smith is a novelist, born in Northern Rhodesia, and now living in London. He has written three series, and many standalone novels, including Elephant Song, which Publisher's Weekly has called "a fast-paced melodrama of greed and political corruption".

Smith's latest work is Assegai, a part of both his Courtney and Ballantyne series; it is set in pre-WWI Kenya, and is his 32nd novel set in Africa. He also has a book coming out next year, Those in Peril, which you can read about on his website.

Santa Live on CTN

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Santa will be taking calls LIVE from the North Pole via CTN Channel 17. That's right, kids. Just call 734.794.6155 on Thursday, Dec. 9, 6 ~ 8 p.m. and talk to Santa, Mrs. Claus and their helpful elf Graeme. I've got my list ready, how about you?

Ben 10 Alien Force, on DVD

Okay, Ben 10 fans, you’ve checked out all the books and read them twice. Which means you’re ready for some DVD action starring Ben 10. “There’s never a dull moment in the life of Ben 10,” the fifteen year old superhero.

New to AADL are several DVDs of Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 Alien Force to fill your desire. Also check out the live action movie.

Family Guy's Alex Borstein and Cherry Cheva !!

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Alex Borstein, the voice of Lois on the Fox TV show Family Guy and the former star of MADtv (Ms. Swan) returns to the Library to discuss Family Guy and her screenwriting career. Joining her is Ann Arbor's own Cherry Cheva, now a writer/producer on Family Guy and the author of teen novels, She's So Money and Duplikate. Do not miss this opportunity to get an inside look at one of the most popular and creative shows on TV. Family Guy has been nominated for many awards, including eleven Primetime Emmy Awards, of which it won three. In 2009, it was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, the first time an animated series was nominated for the award since The Flintstones in 1961.

Monday, November 8, 7-9 pm, Downtown Library, Multi-Purpose Room, Grades 9-Adult

TV on DVD: The Cop Files

Police dramas have been around forever it seems, and they end up being my favorite shows a lot of the time. Is it the suspense? The drama? Our attachment to the lead detectives? I think it’s a combination. There are oodles of cop shows that have had us on the edge of our couches over the years with their grit, drama, action, and lovable characters.

A variety of detective styles and settings are featured in shows like Hill Street Blues, Murder, She Wrote, Columbo, 21 Jump Street, Magnum P.I., Matlock, and Twin Peaks.

Let’s not forget about The Wire, Monk, The Shield, Homicide, Life on the Street, Law & Order: SVU, NCIS, Wire in the Blood, X-Files, Dexter, and Veronica Mars. Speaking of the variety of detectives... some of these feature a detective with OCD, a detective who is a serial killer, a teenage detective, and a detective who believes in aliens. Egads, how fun!

In addition to these titles, AADL owns many more police dramas on DVD. Check out our list of detective shows to see what your DVD player is itching for. I’m having fun getting caught up on some episodes, and rewatching others. What are your favorites?

62nd Primetime Emmy Awards

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The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards aired on Sunday, August 29th on NBC and highlighted the best of the best in primetime television. Why not take the time to watch a few of the primetime TV series' nominees and winners?
The most anticipated categories include Outstanding Comedy, Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Reality Competition Program.

Outstanding Comedy nominees were ABC's Modern Family, Showtime's Nurse Jackie, NBC's 30 Rock and The Office, HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm and FOX's Glee. Modern Family won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series marking the show's first win and nomination in the category.

Outstanding Drama nominees were AMC's Mad Men and Breaking Bad, CBS's The Good Wife, HBO's True Blood, Showtime's Dexter and ABC's Lost. Mad Men won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for its' third year in a row.

The Outstanding Reality Competition Program category was introduced in 2003. This year's nominees included Bravo's Top Chef, CBS's The Amazing Race, FOX's American Idol, ABC's Dancing with the Stars and Lifetime's Project Runway. Top Chef won the award in this category for the first time and defeated The Amazing Race which has dominated and won the award every year since the inception of this category.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

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Today marks the opening of a new type of film for M. Night Shyamalan; Avatar: the Last Airbender.

Fans of M. Night Shyamalan's previous science-fiction/suspense/thriller films, might be surprised by this new adaptation to add to his original body of work.

For those of you unfamiliar with Avatar, the children's animated TV and book/graphic novel series, let me enlighten you. Avatar stars Aang, the last Airbender (person able to control/manipulate the element air) and also the new Avatar, the only person in existence that can control all of the elements including: fire, water, air, and earth. Aang, along with his friends: his animal guide bison named Appa, a waterbender girl named Katara, and her older warrior brother Sokka, have to save the other 3 nations from the evil Fire lord and the ever-growing Fire Nation.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is now currently in Theaters in 2D and 3D.

Cynical Tabby

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of Garfield's first comic strip, which debuted in 1978 in over 40 newspapers.

Created by Jim Davis and named after his grandfather, Garfield held the Guinness World Record for the world's most widely syndicated comic.

While I was never into comics as a kid, I remember, quite fondly, watching the Garfield and Friends animated television series. However, nowadays, I know that kids are really into graphic novels, and so our collection of Garfield graphic novels will probably be more of a hit than that show from the 90s.

Either way, you can sit down, enjoy some lasagna, and have a good time.

Your Tudor Tutor

Today would be the 501st anniversary for King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catharine of Aragon. I'm not sure what the correct present is for that specific anniversary, but I don't know that I'd be accepting whatever it would be from Henry.

King Henry VIII has fascinated many people, though, regrettably, mostly because of his six marriages (two of which ended in divorce, and two more in beheading). However, it may interest you that these are not his only...accomplishments.

Some notable books on the Tudor king which do not focus on his matrimonial issues include The Last Divine Office: Henry VIII And The Dissolution Of The Monasteries and Henry VIII: The King And His Court.

However, if you'd like to go the more traditional route, you'll have plenty of choices: The Wives of Henry VIII, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII among them.

Of course, there are also historical fiction books that contain the infamous king. While they are not necessarily as accurate as the non-fiction, they are just as entertaining, if not more so. The oldest of these would be Shakespeare's play, given the regal name Henry VIII. Among the more recent, there is the "autobiography" by Margaret George, as well as the well-known The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Though, my personal favorite is not a book at all, but the Showtime television series The Tudors.

You may even want to take a look at his children. Each one showed off one bit of his overbearing personality. And I can guarantee one of them is probably just as interesting as he was.

BBC Historical Drama: Part 4

Part 4 – Sarah Waters, William Golding, Anne Bronte, Thomas Hardy, Flora Thompson, John Balderston

Lately, I've been reading a lot of historical fiction based in England. With images from those books/novels in mind, I started checking out different historical dramas, the best of which I've seen are from BBC. Step into the 1800s and get involved of the lives of Nan Astley, Edmund, Helen Graham, Fancy Day, and Laura Timmins!

Tipping the Velvet is a colorful passionate drama about a lesbian, Nan Astley, and the relationships she finds, including one with her music hall co-star, Kitty. When Kitty decides to marry a man, Nan must find a way to survive the heartbreak of her first love. The book the screenplay was adapted from shares the same title and was written by Sarah Waters.

Based off of William Golding’s unforgettable sea trilogy, To the Ends of the Earth tells the story of a young aristocrat that sets sail to a new governmental post in Australia. However, Edmund soon discovers how naïve and unaware he is hurtling into this adventure.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a miniseries based off of one of the published works of lesser known Bronte sister, Anne Bronte. In this controversial (at the time it was written) story, Helen Graham tries to rescue herself and her son from her husband who has become a lecherous drunk.

Under the Greenwood Tree is a light romance, a bit different that better known works by Thomas Hardy. Fancy Day is a young woman who comes home to take care of her ailing father. She returns home to her small village, to the unexpected advances of three distinct gentlemen.

Developed from Flora Thompson’s trilogy, Lark Rise to Candleford, is an ongoing BBC Series that’s in its third season. In this series, Laura Timmins moves from the smaller village of Lark Rise, to the larger town of Candleford, to live with her cousin and find work. Laura finds herself surprised at the vast difference of the pace of life and scandals that occur in Candleford in comparison with Lark Rise.

Berkeley Square tells a story from an early 20th century perspective, more specifically; 1902 (had to throw this in the mix!). Berkeley Square is actually based on a play written by John L. Balderston. In this play and miniseries, three young nannies get jobs with well-to-do London families in this coming-of-age-tale that has been compared with Road to Avonlea.

If you’ve missed previous parts of my BBC Historical Drama blog, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

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