Tag Archives: memoir

Famous Friends

Have you ever wonder what it would be like to be friends with someone famous? Do you ever wish you knew more about a celebrity beyond their public persona?  We’ve compiled a list of fascinating biographies that bring insight into the lives of people we’ve come to admire locally, nationally, and globally. Grab your best friend and delve into the lives of these famous friends.

Sparky and me : my friendship with Sparky Anderson and the lessons he shared about baseball and life by Dan Ewald—Sparky Anderson was the legendary manager of the Detroit Tigers from 1979 to 1995. In 1979, Sparky met Dan Ewald and a life-long friendship was established. From the front row at the ball park, Ewald was able to watch one of baseball’s most memorable managers bring his passion and knowledge of the game. While Ewald learned about the intricacies of the sport, Sparky taught him the “unwritten rules” of life, which he took to heart.

Elvis: my best man : a memoir : radio days, rock ‘n’ roll nights, and my lifelong friendship with Elvis Presley by George Klein with Chuck Crisafulli—In eighth grade, George Klein  became friends with the new kid in school with a guitar. When George heard him sing, he knew his new friend was someone extraordinary. Travel back to the early days of rock ‘n’roll with the King and one of his best friends Follow the whirlwind that shot Elvis to the height of fame. This heart-felt and entertaining homage to his friend takes you behind the lights and gives a glimpse of Elvis Presley beyond his stage persona.

As always, Julia : the letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto : food, friendship, and the making of a masterpiece  selected and edited by Joan Reardon—Julia Child was one of the original culinary personality. In this collection of over 200 letters between Julia and her “pen pal” and literary mentor, Avis DeVoto, we get a unique glimpse into the deepest thoughts and feelings of America’s favorite chef. Not only do we experience the growth of a life-long friendship, but the burgeoning of her most influential cookbook.

White heat: the friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple—Emily Dickinson was a reclusive poet whose work was not discovered until after her death. Thomas Wentworth Higginson was the abolitionist who commanded the first unit of African American soldiers in the Civil War. Dickinson sent Higginson four poems, which launched a friendship and an intense correspondence between the two, covering art, politics, and everything in-between. After her death, Higginson worked to publish Emily’s collection of poems, which made her one of the most influential poets of the 20th century.

Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly : the remarkable story of the friendship between a first lady and a former slave by Jennifer Fleischner—Elizabeth Keckly was Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker and confident during her time in the White House and early years of widowhood. Keckley bought her freedom in 1855 and settled in Washington DC. She quickly created a name for herself as a dressmaker in high society, attracting the attention of the first lady, who often felt overwhelmed by the social elite.  As Abraham Lincoln tried to hold the country together, Mary turned to her seamstress for companionship and advice, building a lasting friendship during a turbulent time.

I loved Lucy : my friendship with Lucille Ball by Lee Tannen—Although they met when they were children, Lucy and Lee’s friendship didn’t blossom until twenty-five years later during the last decade of Lucy’s life. Lee has written a tribute of the “lost Lucy years,” as Ball receded from the stage into her personal life. This book gives an honest and insightful portrayal of the final years of Lucy’s life, from quiet moments at home to traveling the world.

Mandela : my prisoner, my friend  by  Christo Brand, with Barbara Jones— When he enlisted in the army at 18 years old, Brand was confused and saddened by the realities of South African apartheid.  He opted to work as a prison guard instead of facing the dangerous life of a policeman or solider. By chance, he was given charge of South Africa’s most famous prisoner: Nelson Mandela. For over a decade, Brand watched Mandela face his injustices with dignity and hope. Eventually, the unlikely pair became close friends and, at times, accomplices. The two created a bond that would endure until Mandela’s death.

The extraordinary Mrs. R: a friend remembers Eleanor Roosevelt  William Turner Levy and Cynthia Eagle Russett—William Turner Levy was close friends with one of the most influential and admired women of the 20th century. Levy gives an intimate view of the former first lady and how she viewed the world. Russett brings a historical perspective to Roosevelt’s political and social accomplishments. Filled with intimate and fascinating anecdotes, the book gives a glimpse into the extraordinary life of the woman behind the public persona.

Book to Movie Adaptations 2015

We’ve entered movie season. Now through the rest of the year, some of the best movies of the year will finally be released.   Unsurprisingly, there are a few stories making the transition from book to silver screen. Here are a few that that we’re excited to see:

Paper Towns by John Green—Quentin Jacobsen has been in love with his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, for years. One night, she appears at his bedroom window and convinces him to be the get-away drive in her revenge mission. The next day, Margo disappears. Quentin believes Margo left a trail of clues and is determined to find her.

The Martian by Andy Weir—Astronaut Mark Watney is the first man to walk on Mars. Six days later, he and his crew are collecting samples when a massive dust storm blows through. The crew flees the storm in the nick of time; but, Watney is trapped behind and left for dead. His communication with NASA isn’t working and he has minimal supplies. Despite the odds, Watney is determined to survive.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn—Libby Day was only seven years-old when her mother and sister were murdered. Libby testifies against her brother, Ben, claiming he’s the killer. Twenty-five years later, Libby is contacted by the Kill Club, a secret society of people obsessed with notorious crimes. Libby agrees to find out more information about her crime—for a price. As she investigates her own story, she begins to doubt her original testimony.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson—The Appalachian Trail extends from Georgia to Maine.  At times treacherous, but always breathe-taking, it is on the bucket-list of many outdoor enthusiasts. With the beginning of the trail not far from his house, Bill Bryson sets out to hike the famous trail with his friend Stephan Katz. Overweight and a recovering alcoholic, Bryson quickly realizes Katz may not have been the best partner in this adventure. While introducing readers to the history and ecology of the trail, Bryson takes readers on a memorable misadventure filled with quirky hikers and bears.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer—Journalist and mountaineer Jon Krakauer was a part of an expedition in 1996 to climb Mt Everest. From the summit, there did not appear to be any indication that a brutal storm was brewing.  The storm killed five people and left many more in danger as they fought for their lives. Krakauer examines the event as well as his part in the disaster, which continues to haunt him.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins—In the final installation of The Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss Everdeen has survived two hunger games and her home is destroyed. The rebel resistance is growing and a revolution is eminent. Without intending to, Katniss has become the face of the rebellion. Will she accept the responsibility and change the future of Panem?

Me and Earl and the Dying girl  by Jesse Andrews—On the first day of his senior year of high school, Greg thinks he has it all figured out. By keeping an extremely low profile, he hopes the remainder of his high school experience will be as minimally painful as possible. For the remainder of the year, he plans to make films with his friend, Earl. This plan works for about eight hours until his mother makes him befriend a girl who has cancer.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner— This is the second book in the Maze Runner series. After surviving the Maze, Thomas thought the worst was behind him; but, phase two is about to begin: the Scorch. Thomas and nineteen other boys are forced into a scientific experiment designed to test their limits. The responses will be observed and the data will hopefully be the key to saving the human race.

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Check out these great books before watching the movie adaptation. What film adaptation are you looking forward to?

Black History Month 2015

February is Black History Month and we’re excited to celebrate some of our favorite African-American authors.  Here are some great books to discover or enjoy for a second read.

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou This autobiography  covers the poet’s  life and struggles through her formative years. Despite her troubles, the book emphasizes the power of the human spirit. I know why the caged bird sings is also the topic for February’s Creecy Book Discussion group.

Beloved by Toni Morrison Sethe was born a slave but escaped to Ohio. She is still haunted by the horror of her former life and the baby she was forced to kill in order to prevent being recaptured. Beloved is a hauntingly beautiful read that is full of suspense.

The girl who fell from the sky by Heidi W. Durrow After a family tragedy, Rachel is sent to live with her African-American  grandmother. As the daughter of Danish mother and African-American father, Rachel is forced to confront her racial identity for the first time. As she grieves, she must also piece together the mystery surrounding her parent’s death. The girl who fell from the sky is a beautiful coming of age story as well as a thoughtful commentary on racism and identity.

Pym by Mat Johnson Chris Jaynes is the only African-American English professor at a small liberal arts college. Much to the college’s dismay, he has chosen to study Edgar Allan Poe instead of African-American literature.  When he comes across a 19th-century manuscript that suggests Poe’s novel about an African diaspora colony in the South Pole may be real, he goes on an expedition to Antarctica to find out for himself.  This satirical fantasy explores race relations in America.

Twelve years a slave by Solomon Northrup Read the powerful memoir that inspired the Oscar-winning movie.  Northrup was born a free man in New York but was kidnapped and sold into slavery.  His account provides extensive detail about his experience as a slave and his quest to freedom.

The twelve tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis At fifteen-years old, Hattie flees Georgia and heads north to Philadelphia in the hope of a better life. She marries a man; but, their marriage is far from a fairy tale. Together they have eleven children, two of which die not long after birth. She decides to prepare her children for the world of struggle she has come to know. Twelve stories weave together to form a testament of a mother’s love and courage.

Let America be America again by Langston Hughes This collection of Hughes’s poems is powerful and provocative. They paint a beautiful picture of what he hopes America could be.  These iconic poems help summarize the beauty and the passion of the Harlem Renaissance.

You can find these great stories and more on the 2nd and 3rd floor of the Southfield Public  Library. For more information about these authors and other influential African Americans,  stop by the Reference desk or visit our website.