Fresh Air Picks from the Week of July 10th, 2006

Publishers Weekly calls Edmund White "a prolific essayist, novelist, biographer (of Proust and Genet), travel writer, critic and all-around man of letters." On Tuesday, White discussed his new autobiography My Lives, described by PW as a collection of "…gracefully written pieces...[that] engage the intellect, the emotions and even that part of us that responds to name-dropping." Click here to listen to the piece.

Maureen Corrigan, an author on the subject of books and reading, reviewed Elisabeth Hyde’s new title The Abortionist’s Daughter on Wednesday’s show. Anita Shreve, reviewing this title for Publishers Weekly, wrote "Were it not for its fully realized characters and crisp prose, one might be tempted to see The Abortionist's Daughter as just another legal thriller for the beach. The elements are all there…[y]et it is precisely Elisabeth Hyde's arresting prose and astute observations about family life that elevate her fourth novel to domestic tragedy." Listen to Corrigan's review on Fresh Air here.

On Thursday, philanthropist and investor George Soros discussed his new book, The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of The War on Terror. Fresh Air describes Soros this way: “Soros, whose worth has been estimated at over $7 billion, has directed his philanthropic efforts toward defeating George W. Bush in 2004, overthrowing communism in Eastern Europe, helping black students attend university in apartheid South Africa and repealing drug prohibition laws internationally.” In his new book, Soros - “legendary financier-and founder of the Open Society Institute - offers crucial insight into the real meaning of freedom, and how societies can best promote it” (publisher comments). Click here to hear the piece on Fresh Air.

Go Berserk!

We want you and your children to "Go Berserk!" over the Sandra Boynton books we have at our libraries. Sandra Boynton writes and illustrates hilarious children's books that are enjoyed by all ages. Check out some of the great titles we have, such as ...
Hippos Go Berserk!
Moo, baa, la la la!
Opposites
Barnyard dance!
...just to name a few!

Eat Your Peas

Eat Your Peas by Kes Gray
It starts off pretty normal. You don't have to go to bed early. You don't have to take a bath. There is a point midway through this book however where the mother offers her daughter 100 desserts, 10 new bikes, 2 elephants, 3 zebras, a penguin and a chocolate factory if she will only please eat her peas. You know it is only going to get more ridiculous from there. That's the point I realized I really liked this picture book.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #28

It sneaked in under the media radar…

Before Chocolat and Five Quarters of the Orange, there was Sleep, Pale Sister.

It was Joanne Harris’ debut novel, originally published in 1993 in England but never before available in the U.S.

This haunting gothic romance is set in 19th century London. Middle-aged Henry Chester, an artist of independent means has an unhealthy interest in virginal young girls. Beautiful, fatherless Effie - his model/wife is kept drugged with laudanum so as to remain his vision of feminine perfection — passive, docile, innocent, unsullied. That is, until a roguish fellow artist awakes her passion.

Multiple plot twists complete with ghosts, illicit sex and murder make for a page-turner. Harris' sensual, elegant style and atmospheric prose admired in her subsequent works, is very much evident here. You will love this one.

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.

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