The Play Ground

Forecast for 6am on Saturday, July 15: 68°F
So, how about a "Sunrise Saturday Ride" with the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society. Every Saturday they take a very slow-paced 22-mile ride to Dexter for breakfast. Begins at sunrise which on July 15 is 6:17 a.m. Meet at Wheeler Park, N. Fourth Ave. at Depot St. Free. 665-6327, 913-9851.

Favorites by Tahira

With the Summer Reading Game in full swing, and so many books to choose from, I thought I would list my all time favorites:
Henry Huggins, Ramona the Pest, Bud,Not Buddy, The Watsons Go To Birmingham, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Walk Two Moons, Number the Stars and A Wrinkle in Time.
Favorite writers:
Beverly Cleary, Shakespeare, Christopher Paul Curtis, Mary Shelley, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Dorothy Uhnak dies at 76

Dorothy Uhnak dies at 76

Before there was Sue Grafton, before there was Patricia Cornwell, mystery fans had Dorothy Uhnak.

Twice cited for bravery by New York City, Ms. Uhnak, a former New York City Transit and NYPD police officer traded in her badge for the pen in 1967.

Her first gripping novel, The Bait starring Christie Opara, won the 1968 Edgar for Best First Mystery. Opara had two more appearances, in The Witness and The Ledger (all are out of print, but may be available through Interlibrary Loan. Uhnak then Uhnak wrote several more titles, including the bestselling The Investigation and False Witness which added a political element -- the victim had ties to the PLO.

Ms. Uhnak was 76.

Into the Wild

Sean Penn is currently filming Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild (1996) about Chris McCandless' ill-fated Alaskan wilderness odyssey of 1992. Although the book is dramatic enough, it's unlikely Penn will spin off, as Krakauer does, into the intriguing stories of other fanatical adventurers--Everett Ruess, John Waterman, Gene Rosellini--who also ventured off into the wild full of ideals and hubris, never to return. Part cautionary tale, Krakauer also does his bit to counter those who would dismiss the bright, Tolstoy-quoting Jack London-loving McCandless as mere crackpot by setting him within the context of other intensely motivated nature lovers (John Muir, Henry David Thoreau) who also retreated from society into the seductive refuge of nature.

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).

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