Good Listening: Speaking of Faith

One of my favorite podcasts is Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett from American Public Media. Next month the show's name becomes "Krista Tippett on Being" -- and it sounds like Krista has more good shows planned. This summer, my favorite was her interview with Shane Claiborne, a 30-something social activist you can read about in Esquire magazine accessible in General Reference Center Gold.

Médecins Sans Frontières

msf in haitimsf in haitiWhat would you do if your child was on the edge of death and you had no way to contact a doctor? What would you do if a natural disaster or war had left you and your neighbors injured and homeless?

Médecins Sans Frontières (known in the U.S. as Doctors Without Borders) is an international medical humanitarian organization devoted to supporting and aiding people in lands crippled by poverty, violence or catastrophic events. They have brought medical aid and public health services to places such as Rwanda, Kosovo, the Congo region, and Haiti. MSF was created in 1971 and has been saving lives all around the world ever since.

Dr. James Orbinski is a well known humanitarian activist and a former President of MSF. He accepted the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize on the organization’s behalf. His book, An Imperfect Offering, recounts his experiences in Somalia and Rwanda, while asking tough questions about one's responsibilities to the suffering. Triage is a documentary that follows Dr. Orbinski as he returns to Africa. This powerful film questions the ability of one individual to effect change in the face of political forces we cannot control. Triage “celebrates the best in the human spirit while staring unblinkingly at the worst.”

For several perspectives of what it is like to enter a crisis zone to save lives, see Writing On The Edge: Great Contemporary Writers On The Front Line Of Crisis, a collection of essays from 14 different authors.

The Photographer is an award winning account of one man’s journey into Afghanistan with MSF during its war with the Soviet Union. This moving graphic novel uses photographs taken during the journey to help the reader understand the mental and emotional pressures felt by the author.

Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders is a recently released Oscar-nominated documentary focusing not on the work of MSF, but on the lives of doctors and volunteers who have chosen to live in the most dangerous places on Earth and devote themselves to helping the needy. The film has not been released on DVD yet, but I look forward to seeing it in AADL’s collection soon.

AADL Productions Podcast: Brandon Doman

Don't Talk to StrangersDon't Talk to Strangers

Having returned to Ann Arbor after college, one day Brandon Doman wanted to see what would happen if he put out a handwritten sign inviting people to write in his journal. 3000 journal entries later, Brandon is still inviting people to contribute anonymously to what has been named Don't Talk to Strangers. People from all walks of life stop by to chat with Brandon and write sometimes funny, sometimes heart-wrenching entries. Brandon stopped by the library to talk with us about how the project came to be, where it is headed next, and what he has discovered from talking to strangers. You can read a selection of entries online and learn how to support the project.

Attachment Size
AADL_Productions_Podcast-Brandon_Doman.mp3 28.3 MB

To Kill a Mockingbird Celebrates 50 Years

Tomorrow marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Harper Lee's renowned, poignant novel To Kill a Mockingbird. This novel, which Harper Lee once believed would have dismal sales (if any at all), was originally published on July 11, 1960 by J.B. Lippincott. Lee's story tackles issues of racism, flaws in the justice system, morality, and rape gracefully and became an instant success: on May 1, 1961, less than a year after it's publication, Lee was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. To Kill a Mockingbird has since made it's mark as an American classic, with 30 million books sold to date.

New to the library's collection is Scout, Atticus, and Boo : a Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird by Mary McDonagh Murphy. This book is filled with anecdotes and interviews of writers and celebrities, from Tom Brokaw to Oprah Winfrey, that explores their reactions and inspiration gained from the novel.

Interested in reading this classic for the first time? Want to revisit the book that you read way back in high school? Here at the library you can find a copy of the book, a sound recording, and a DVD of the 1962 film adaptation starring Gregory Peck.

Author Birthdays: Radcliffe, Jordan, Tsuda

Apparently, July 9th is a good date for birthing authors.

Among those born on this day are Alexis Piron, Johann Nikolaus Götz, Matthew Lewis, Dame Barbara Cartland, Mervyn Peake, Oliver Sacks, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Ligotti.

Today is also the birthday of noted gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe, who wrote The Mysteries of Udolpho, which influenced not only the noted gothicist Edgar Allan Poe, but also the Marquis de Sade.

In addition, we also can celebrate June Jordan, a Renaissance-woman of Caribbean descent. She was not only a novelist, but also a poet, journalist, teacher, and activist. Included in her works is the book Naming Our Destiny, of which Library Journal said, "Though Jordan's voice is especially musical in her sonnets, the range of all these poems is wide, touching our very souls".

Lastly, I'd like to mention it is also the birthday of Masami Tsuda, a Japanese graphic novelist, whose most noted work is the teen manga Kare Kano.

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.

BBC Historical Drama: Part 3

Part 3 - Charles Dickens

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 two Martin Chuzzlewits, Lady Deadlock, Thomas Gradgrind, and Noddy Boffin.

Martin Chuzzlewit described as an “opulent narrative feast” is the story of two Martin Chuzzlewits, one a elderly wealthy gentleman that despises his scheming relatives that hope to win his fortune, the other; his grandson, a well-meaning egoistic youth that has fallen in love with his Grandfather’s ward.

Bleak House is said to be one of Dickens best adaptations, following the life of Lady Deadlock, a faithful and dutiful wife whose secret is about to be discovered which leads to blackmail, murder, and a tragic death.

Thomas Gradgrind, father of Louisa and Tom, teaches them to live with reason and practicality instead of emotion and imagination, which in turn makes Louisa cold and distant yet yearn for love and Tom a drunk and a gambler. Will Thomas realize that what he preaches to his children may eventually lead them to their downfall? This is the story of Hard Times.

Our Mutual Friend is a dark and involved yet romantic portrayal of how lives are affected and transformed after the heir to a large garbage made fortune drowns.

AADL also owns several miniseries based off of better known works of Charles Dickens, such as Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, Old Curiosity Shop, and of course A Tale of Two Cities.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is one Dickens series we have on DVD that was not made by BBC.

A few Dickens novels turned miniseries that we do not have on DVD, but do have in print are: Pickwick Papers, Dombey and Son and Barnaby Rudge

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

BBC Historical Drama: Part 2

Part 2 – George Eliot

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 Daniel Deronda, Dr. Tertius Lydgate, Adam Bede, Silas Marner and Maggie Tulliver. The following five programs are based off of works from George Eliot. George Eliot is in fact Mary Anne Evans, who wrote under a male pen name so that her work would be taken seriously.

Daniel Deronda is a film concerned with two strong-willed young people whose self-determination is under attack by legal constraints on their rights to an inheritance, the noble yet illegitimate Daniel and also the fiery vivacious Gwendolyn.

Middlemarch is the widely acclaimed mini-series featuring a talented and engaging cast. When an idealistic gentleman, Dr. Tertius Lydgate moves to Middlemarch with the expectation of running a charity hospital, he is surprised to find that not all of the town supports his modern medical practices.
.
By all accounts, Adam Bede is a very headstrong man with a very black and white view of the world, like a fair percentage of men of that period. Once he learns that the beautiful farm girl Hetty is undeniably attached to his wealthy friend Arthur, he believes their relationship is based on falsehood and begins to plot to gain the Hetty’s affections for himself.

Silas Marner is perhaps Eliot’s best known work and is the story of a man who is wrongly accused of theft in a very religious community and is forced to move elsewhere. Marner (played beautifully by Ben Kingsley), closes himself off to society until he takes in a baby girl and starts to raise her as his own.

The Mill on the Floss tells the tale of Maggie Tulliver and her up-tight ambitious brother Tom and their cousin Lucy, who is more often than not, the peacemaker between the two. When she becomes older, Maggie’s interest in her neighbor Phillip Wakem is unwelcome according to her brother, who is enemies with a Phillip’s relative.

If you’ve missed part one of my BBC Historical Drama blog, you can find it here: Part 1.

BBC Historical Drama: Part 1

Part 1 – Anthony Trollope and Elizabeth Gaskell

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 Louis and his wife, Emily Trevelyan, Augustus Melmotte and Margaret Hale.

He Knew He was Right is an adaptation of an Anthony Trollope novel that follows the breakdown of a marriage of a newly married young couple, due to the husband’s jealousy and insecurity.

The Way We Live Now is a Trollope narrative that centers on Augustus Melmotte, an Austrian Jewish financier and his attempts to become a proper English Gentleman, among various subplots and subterfuge.

The library also has a copy of Anthony Trollope’s The Barchester Chronicles. A lawsuit aimed at church reform forces a decent clergyman into a moral crisis. Alan Rickman co-stars in this seven episode series.

The miniseries Wives & Daughters boasts misguided stepmothers, romantic betrayals, and secret marriages to keep you entertained and is based off of written works by Elizabeth Gaskell.

Cranford, which was adapted from a Gaskell novel, stars two of Britain’s paramount actresses, Judi Dench, and Imelda Staunton. In this film, the women of Cranford deal with the changing events that come with “progression.”

Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South is by far my favorite BBC Miniseries. It follows the life of Margaret Hale, a middle class woman who is forced to move to a working class city when her father leaves his post at the church for lack of religious conviction. Having grown up in the country and also living in high society London with her wealthier aunt and cousin, “the North” represents a new challenge for Margaret. Around them are class struggles between the workers and mill owners and ideological struggles between the industrial North and the agrarian South. In Milton, Margaret clashes with her father’s new friend Mr. Thornton, when she sees him treat one of his mill workers harshly. Romantic entanglement follows.

American Daughters: Being Muslim in America

Muslims In AmericaMuslims In America

I've been listening to an interesting series on WUOM about Muslims in Michigan and thought, "How timely!", since we are hosting a similar talk on April 22nd at 7:00 pm in the downtown library's Multi-Purpose Room. This is in partnership with Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice and the U of M Muslim Students Association. I look forward to hearing from panelists with a local perspective & hope you will join us.

Syndicate content