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A Long Way Down

Mon, 08/08/2005 - 10:56am

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Just finished [a:hornby, Nick|Nick Hornby’s ] latest – [b:1247617|A Long Way Down] . It’s a bit darker than [b:1135513|About a Boy] and [b:1101481|High Fidelity], but no less engaging. That wicked sense of humor is there though you might not expect it since the plot centered around four desperate would-be jumpers who met on New Year’s Eve atop one of London’s tallest buildings.
Narrated in alternate chapters by each of these miserable souls, they recounted what led them to this fateful meeting and also subsequent events that coalesced them into some kind of surrogate family.

Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Critic’s Choice in People Weekly. Film rights to [a:depp, johnny|Johnny Depp].

I am thinking [a:law,jude|Jude Law] to play bad-boy Martin Sharp; definitely [a:collette,toni|Toni Collette] as at-the-end-of-her-rope single Mom Maureen; [a:wood,evan Rachel|Evan Rachel Wood] as the vulnerable, potty-mouthed Jess; and we MUST have hunky [a:mcgregor, ewan|Ewan] for the washed-up rocker – besides, he already knows how to ride a bike. What do you think?

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Peter Jennings

Mon, 08/08/2005 - 8:35am

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[a:jennings,peter|Peter Jennings], longtime [http://abcnews.go.com/|ABC Nightly News] anchor, died August 7, after a short, determined battle against lung cancer.

Jennings, a Canadian who had dropped out of high school, was known for his ubiquitous presence at seemingly all the major breaking news events of the past two four decades, and for his extensive travels worldwide which brought the news into our living rooms. Jennings was never more front and center than when reporting on September 11th. According to today’s [http://www.nytimes.com|New York Times], “[Jennings] would spend more than 60 hours on the air in what Tom Shales of [http://washingtonpost.com|The Washington Post], among other critics, praised as a tour de force of interviewing and explanatory broadcast journalism laced with undisguised bewilderment.”

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The Play Ground

Sun, 08/07/2005 - 6:35pm

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Opening [http://www.purplerosetheatre.org|The Purple Rose Theatre] in [http://www.infomi.com/city/chelsea/|Chelsea, Michigan] gave established movie actor [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001099/|Jeff Daniels] the opportunity to create a professional theatre company, featuring Midwestern actors, directors, designers and playwrights. Playing there through September 24 is a play by author and columnist [http://www.albom.com|Mitch Albom], And the Winner Is. It is directed by PRTC Artistic Director Guy Sanville.

Jenn McKee of the Ann Arbor News says that the play "...takes on considerable emotional heft and poignancy, and Albom achieves a fitting end that is simultaneously inevitable and surprising. Albom also, throughout the play, offers up a good deal of bright, cynical humor... “

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Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith

Sun, 08/07/2005 - 3:39pm

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For her August 2005 book club discussion, [http://wamu.org/programs/dr/readers_review/index.php?displayStatus=show|Reader’s Review], [http://wamu.org/programs/dr/diane_rehm/|Diane Rehm] has breathed new life into [b:1062496|Fair and Tender Ladies], the 1988 epistolary novel by [a:Smith, Lee|Lee Smith]. Set in pre World War I Sugar Fork, Virginia, tucked into the Appalachians, Smith’s letter-writing protagonist, Ivy Rowe, is as prolific a storyteller as Smith herself. Ivy had big ambitions to be a writer but an early pregnancy and marriage turned her, instead, into a non-stop correspondent throughout her life. Based on letters that Smith picked up at a garage sale, [b:1062496|Fair and Tender Ladies] is one of those timeless stories to be cherished over and over.

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In the Shadow of the Law, by Kermit Roosevelt III

Sun, 08/07/2005 - 2:52pm

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Not since [a:Turow, Scott|Scott Turow’s] break-away 1987 best seller, [b:1067725|Presumed Innocent], has there been quite this much buzz for a new legal thriller author. [a:Roosevelt, Kermit|Kermit Roosevelt III], blue-blooded great-great grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, sure knows from whence he writes. A former law clerk for [http://www.supremecourtus.gov/about/biographiescurrent.pdf|Supreme Court Justice David Souter], Roosevelt has penned a riveting page turner with The Law starring front and center. At the heart of this first novel are two lawyers in one of Washington’s toniest, most cut throat K Street law firms. Rumpled sleepy Mark Clayton is doing pro bono work for a death penalty case while his much more cut-throat colleague, Walker Eliot, works a defense for a Texas chemical plant, site of a deadly explosion that killed dozens of low-wage employees.

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The Play Ground

Sun, 08/07/2005 - 2:50pm

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The [http://www.neutral-zone.org/events/158/dramatic-tension-project-performance|Dramatic Tension Project], through a grant from the [http://www.neutral-zone.org|Neutral Zone], will present [t:Night Mother|“Night Mother”] by Marsha Norman and “Regency Romance” by G. L. Horton. August 11-13 at the [http://www.rc.lsa.umich.edu|U-M Residential College] Auditorium.

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On the Road: On the Screen

Sat, 08/06/2005 - 10:15am

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The classic book by [a:Jack Kerouac] that captures the spirit of the [w:Beat Generation] will finally be brought to the screen by [a:Francis Ford Coppola] and [a:Walter Salles]. [a:Walter Salles] is the filmmaker behind the critically acclaimed [t:Motorcycle Diaries] about the revolutionary [s:Che Guevara]. Coppola, who at one time considered taking the helm himself, has spent years trying to get [t:On the Road] off the ground since acquiring the rights in 1979. Over time, he's hired various screenwriters to take a crack at the project, but to no avail.

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The Play Ground

Fri, 08/05/2005 - 4:53pm

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Anne Nelson’s drama, [a:Nelson,Anne|The Guys], originated in a theater just blocks from Ground Zero, and takes place days after the catastrophe. It tells the story of Nick, a fire captain who lost most of his men at the [http://www.civil.usyd.edu.au/latest/wtc.php|World Trade Center] and Joan, an editor who assists him with their eulogies in this important and moving drama. It is directed by Erica Dutton and stars Khurum Sheikh and Dayna Woodhams.

Presented by [http://www.redbudproductions.com|Redbud Productions] August 10 at [http://kerrytownconcerthouse.com|Kerrytown Concert House] which is located at 415 North Fourth Avenue in Ann Arbor.

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Bebe Moore Campbell

Thu, 08/04/2005 - 7:34pm

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Featured today 8-4-05 on the Diane Rehm Show
Author Bebe Moore Campbell presents her new novel [t:72 Hour Hold] about an African American mother who's willing to try just about anything to help her mentally ill teenage daughter. [a: Bebe Campbell] is the author of many titles. The New York Times identified Campbell to be among a growing number of black women whose writing has mass crossover appeal. She manages to articulate deftly both black and white points of view.

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Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq

Thu, 08/04/2005 - 7:00pm

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Crawfords story is undoubtably similar to that of many others who never really thought that joining the National Guard would mean having to go to active duty much less war.
Featured On Fresh Air August 3, 2005 · With two credits to go before college graduation, [a:John Crawford] was called to active duty and sent to the front lines in Iraq. Crawford had joined the Florida National Guard in order to pay his tuition -- and didn't expect to go to war.

His new memoir is The [t:Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier's Account of the War in Iraq]. It was written partly while on active duty and partly back in the United States after he returned.