Wordplay (Now Showing at the Michigan Theater)

Wordplay is a movie about crossword puzzles featuring: Will Shortz, the New York Times crossword puzzle editor; the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut; and crossword puzzle solvers Jon Stewart, Ken Burns, Mike Mussina, the Indigo Girls, and Bill Clinton. Al Gore tackled a more important topic and was fairly compelling in An Inconvenient Truth. Bill Clinton is extremely charismatic, articulate, and attractive in Wordplay.

Crossword puzzle fans might also enjoy Marco Romano’s Crossworld: One Man’s Journey into America’s Crossword Obsession.

Staff Picks, Summer 2006

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You asked for it and here they are - staff picks from a few of our very well read folks. We asked them to suggest fiction titles and authors that are engaging and fun, nothing dark. Some are old favorites, a few are new stars. It's a long list. Be sure to click on "read more". Hope you'd enjoy them.

Albert's Picks:
The British mystery series by Deborah Crombie.
At Weddings and Wakes by Alice McDermott.
Revenge of the Middle-age Woman by Elizabeth Buchan.
The Young Wan by Brendan O'Carroll.
Saying Grace by Beth Gutcheon.
A Big Storm Knocked it Over by Laurie Colwin.
Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman.
The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.

From a very shy librarian:
Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie.
Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes.
Bubbles Unbound by Sarah Strohmeyer.
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn.
Little Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews.

Amy's picks:
In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant.
The Minotaur by Barbara Vine.

Artful Reading

May Ray, Ernst, Duchamp = DADA? Yes, but not quite the whole story.
Daughters of DADA at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art is currently showcasing the works of 6 DADA women artists, and “adds a crucial chapter to the current DADA exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art”, writes Holland Cotter, art reviewer of the New York Times.

Perhaps the most outrageous and original among them is the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. With her tin-can bra and shaved head, she treated her body as a living work of art, causing historians today to recognize her preeminence as America’s first performance artist.

Holy Skirts by Rene Steinke is a vivid imagining of Elsa’s story – from her days in Berlin’s seedy burlesques, her many marriages and affairs, to her life among the bohemia of Greenwich Village. Intelligent and sensual, this highy readable novel is a finalist of the 2005 National Book Award.

Buckminster Fuller- Renaissance Man

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July 12 is the 101st birthday of Buckminster Fuller, architect, inventor, engineer and philosopher. Fuller is best known for his invention of the geodesic dome, one of the most revolutionary structural inventions of the twentieth century. Fuller was a rare combination of the romantic and the scientist, one who believed in the possibility of the impossible and with the technical knowledge to bring dreams to fruition. Check out one of his other inventions, the dymaxion house at the Henry Ford Museum.

New Books to Film

How about a trip to Canada, eh?

If you are looking for new places to explore this summer, why not try a trip to Canada? The border is only a short drive away and there are plenty of things to see and do for a weekend. Try visiting Toronto and go to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) or celebrate Summerlicious, prix fixe meals at the city's best restaurants during July. If you have more time, try driving as far as Montreal and visit the Just for Laughs Festival. For more ideas of places to visit and things to do in Canada, be sure to check out our Canada guide books or an adventurer's guide (for the outdoor types).

Ken Lay, ex-CEO of Enron, is dead

Ken Lay

Ken Lay, convicted ex-CEO of Enron, has died.

Lay, 64, was awaiting sentencing on multiple counts of fraud, conspiracy and bank fraud, when he died of a massive coronary in Aspen, Colorado.

In his book, Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story, two-time Pulitzer finalist author Kurt Eichenwald, chronicles the stunning rise and devastating fall of Enron under Ken Lay's leadership.

Last year's documentary, Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room, directed by Alex Gibney, exposes in shocking video and audio tapes, the depth of the greed and corruption that was part of the upper echelon culture. This much-touted documentary, which was nominated for and/or won several awards, spells out in heartbreaking detail, the thousands of lives wrecked by Enron's collapse.

A tortoise's observations of the human species and much more

Verlyn Klinkenborg, author of other books on the natural world and writer on the editorial board of the New York Times, has created a most disarming tortoise in his latest, Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile. In this wondrous tale or meditation, full of luxuriant language, humor and wry observation of the human species, Timothy in her elder years (yes, it's a female) is resident in the garden of pastor and amateur naturalist, Gilbert White, author, in real life, of The Natural History and Antiquities of Selbourne, the village where he lived.

Pirates or Superheroes?

Who said the library isn’t hip and cool? We change with the times and have the perfect books to go along with the popular movies in the box office. Are you interested in getting clued in on insider information on Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean? Check out the Pirates of the Caribbean Visual Guide. If you are more of a superhero fan and camped outside to see the new superman movie, Superman Returns, you should spend time browsing the Superman graphic novels. So the question is: Who would win, Jack Sparrow or Superman, in a fight to the death?

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting

One Green Apple tells the story of a Muslim girl who is a stranger in a strange land. On a school field trip she finds that there are many similarities in her old culture and her new one. Eve Bunting brilliantly captures the feeling of isolation experienced by a Muslim girl as she attends her second day of school.

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