Fabulous Fiction Firsts #107

Playwright Theresa Rebeck has won an Edgar and a Peabody for her TV work and numerous awards for her plays and shows great promise as a novelist.

Her debut Three Girls and Their Brother* refers to teenagers Amelia, Polly and Daria Heller - "insanely beautiful" sisters of a well-connected Manhattan family, and their brother Philip. A lavish spread in the New Yorker makes the sisters overnight media sensations and instant celebrities. Exposure and fame brings on enormous opportunities, as well as the paparazzi, lechers and rivalry. When the grown-ups around them prove unreliable guardians, the siblings are forced to take responsibility for themselves.

Three Girls is “a wickedly enjoyable expose on modern celebrity”, “a timely and entertaining morality tale” --- much more than a fluffy chick lit.

* = Starred Reviews

The Second City visits The Ark

Second CitySecond City

The improvisational comedy troupe known as The Second City will bring their shenanigans to The Ark in Ann Arbor on April 10 & 11. Second City was founded in Chicago in the late 50s and has been a springboard for much comedic talent, including Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Rivers, John Belushi, Alan Arkin and many others. Join the troupe for “One Nation, Under Blog,” an evening of improvised and scripted sketch comedy that is current, interactive and gosh darn funny. Feel like reading too? Check out The Second City almanac of improvisation.
Thursday April 10, 8pm & Friday April 11, 7:30pm. Visit The Ark’s website for more info and ticket information.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #103

Tired of the bleak Feb. days? Looking for something light and engaging? You might want to try Gods Behaving Badly by first time novelist Marie Phillips.

The immortals of Mount Olympus have fallen, and not just on hard times. Apollo, Aphrodite, Artemis, Eros and Zeus are slumming in modern day London, working menial jobs as a dogwalker, a phone sex operator, a TV psychic; and falling for their cleaning woman, all the while worrying about their waning power and each other with their endless squabbling.

"Phillips imagines a hilarious world that explains all that is inexplicable in our own". "Fanciful, humorous and charming, this satire is as sweet as nectar" ~ Publishers Weekly.

Phillips is a graduate of Cambridge University currently working at the BBC and writes for the blog StrugglingAuthor.blogspot.com.

Graphic novel depicts one way to save the earth...

JensenJensen

As the world burns: 50 Simple things you can do to stay in denial, a new book by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan is a satirical take on the well known book 50 Simple things you can do to save the earth. It goes further to point out that there is more to “saving the earth” than recycling, riding your bike to work and buying compact fluorescent light bulbs. In a quirky and fun way (I know, scandalous!) gold carrying robots, bunny plotists, two smart young girls, corporate bigwigs, and the president demonstrate that there is a bigger picture that many of us are in “denial” about. It’s typical Derrick Jensen, but in comic form! Perhaps you’ll laugh, perhaps you’ll cry.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #99

Go with Me* by Castle Freeman Jr. is an engaging “small masterpiece of black comedy and suspense”~Kirkus.

The plot is simple, really – but the execution (wink wink), is marvelous! In a small backwoods Vermont hamlet, young Lillian has nowhere to turn with the sheriff claiming that his hands are tied when it comes to her stalker – big bad bully Blackway, not even after he butchered her kitty cat. But Sheriff Wingate did point Lillian to Whizzer; a wheelchair-bound mill owner and his gang of beer-drinking loafers.

With beautiful characterization, measured pace, and wicked quiet humor, this loose rendering of a King Arthur tale will entertain and delight, even though the ending won't surprise. Still, more fun than you would expect from a fiction debut.

* = Starred Review

New Meaning to Dead Poets

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich was a hit at this week's Axis Coffeehouse, and I have to confess, currently my favorite book of poems. Maybe it wouldn't be to the satisfaction of highbrow literary critics, but for my part, I find a poem about the Phantom of the Opera getting "It's a Small World" stuck in his head as great a tragedy as any the bard himself could write.

There were also awesome pieces of original work read, a writing challenge, and fun games. If you missed out this week, join in the fun and come next week February 15th 6:30-8:00 pm!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts # 96 (Books to Fall In Love With)

The countdown to Valentine's Day is on! (Already?) The wonderful folks at Bookrerporter.com have some sweet and heart-themed treats for you. From January 25th through February 6th, readers will have the chance to win one of five Bookreporter.com Valentine's Day baskets. They are filled with one copy of each of the featured books - from heartwarming novels, philosophical commentary, musical analogies, to some titles that are just plain fun.

I am especially excited with Beginner's Greek by first time novelist (former editor at the Times) James Collins.

Peter Russell is a deeply romantic guy who believes the woman of his dreams is destined to sit next to him on an airplane. And there is Holly, a pretty, strawberry blonde woman who reads Thomas Mann for pleasure. A thousand complications ensue in this delicious novel of missed opportunities, second chances, and lost love. I won't spoil it for you. Enjoy the ride.

Perfect Storm of Decimated Words Go Under the Bus

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It's time once again for Lake Superior State University's 2008 Banished Words List and it is what it is. A varied list this year reflecting the surge in Post 9/11 authored wordsmithing. How many words can you put in one sentence?

Get Hoaxed!

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Find Strange Fruit in the ocean. Discover a ghost at the Michigan League. Visit Cube Hall. These are just a few of the hoax photos that were created by teens during our Photo Hoax workshop. See them on exhibit at the Ann Arbor District Library MySpace branch in our photo gallery. Did your gallery visit leave you hungry for more? Check out the latest entries in digital hoax contests on line. Or, learn more about the history of digital art in Art of the Digital Age. Whatever you do, get hoaxed!

Henry and Fay ride again

Fay Grim is Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool ten years later. Here we have Fay Grim, played perfectly by Parker Posey, who is caught up in conspiracy and espionage as she is tracking down the "lost" notebooks of her ex-husband, Henry Fool. CIA agents (led charmingly by Jeff Goldblum) rope Fay into heading off to Paris to retrieve the notebooks that may contain information that compromises national security. It’s an adventurous joyride with mystery, intrigue and wit. Who knew espionage could be so fun.

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