Soon to be a Major Motion Picture

The past year saw several popular books made into movies. The Help, Moneyball, War Horse, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Extemely Loud & Incredibly Close were just a few of the titles that were made into successful films. And 2012 is shaping up to be just as full of books-into-film productions as 2011. Listed below are only a few of the titles to be released in theaters this year. Get a head start on your reading and stay tuned for more in the coming months!

Abraham Lincoln: vampire hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith — Starring Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper. Release date: June 2012

Breaking dawn by Stephenie Meyer — Part 2. Starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Release date: November 2012

North Korea's Kim Jong Il

The death of North Korea's controversial leader, Kim Jong Il, was announced earlier this week by DRPK state television. Although North Korean legend claimed that Kim was born on Mount Paekdu — a cherished Korean site — Soviet records indicate that he was born in Siberia in 1941. His father Kim Il Sung was a guerilla fighter who became a communist leader in Korea in 1945 after the defeat of Japan in World War II. After the Korean peninsula was divided into two states — the North, administered by the Soviets — and the South by the United States, the stage was set for the beginning of the Korean War. After the North invaded the South in 1950, three years of bloodshed ensued, killing millions and leaving the peninsula permanently divided to this day. Kim Jong Il became the country's "Dear Leader" in 1994 upon the death of his father. Kim Jong Il was widely criticized throughout the world for devoting much of his country's resources on building up its nuclear arms arsenal, while at the same time his countrymen were suffering from a prolonged famine. His youngest son, Kim Jong Un, has been designated as his successor.

Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel, the longtime dissident who later became the leader of the Czech Republic passed away December 18 at the age of 75. Havel was better known as a poet and playwright when he led his nation through the bloodless Velvet Revolution in 1989 that toppled the decades long Soviet regime in Czechoslovakia. Havel later went on to serve as president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. After the federation peacefully split into two states he served as president of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. The other state became Slovakia. Among those expected to be at his Friday funeral are Bill Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the presidents of Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Happy Birthday Diego Rivera!

Mexican artist Diego Rivera was born 125 years ago on December 8, 1886. Married to fellow artist Frida Kahlo, he was renowned for his murals which can be found in Mexico City, San Francisco, New York City, and Detroit. Between the years 1932 and 1933, Rivera painted a famous series of fresco panels entitled Detroit Industry on the walls of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Depicting industry at the Ford Motor Company, Rivera himself considered it his most successful work.

New Author Biographies

Check out some of the library's new author biographies which have been published recently. Place your holds now!

And so it goes: Kurt Vonnegut, a life by Charles Shields

Charles Dickens: a life by Claire Tomalin

Fiction ruined my family by Jeanne Darst

Hemingway's boat: everything he loved in life, and lost, 1934-1961 by Paul Hendrickson

Phillis Wheatley: biography of a genius in bondage by Vincent Carretta

Happy Birthday Mark Twain!

Mark Twain, one of America's best-known and well-loved authors, was born on November 30, 1835. His works have been translated into hundreds of languages, and Hollywood continues to produce film adaptations of his books. The first volume of his autobiography was published in 2010 on the centenary of the author's death as he did not want some of his more scalding opinions and observations in print until he had been dead at least a century. The book was published by the staff of the Mark Twain Project — an archive that contains Twain's private papers.

Read the Book, See the Movie

The upcoming weeks will see several new films released that are based on, or inspired by popular books. Here are some of the most anticipated:

The adventures of Tintin: the chapter book by adapted by Stephanie Peters — Directed by Stephen Spielberg

Extremely loud & incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer — Starring Tom Hanks & Sandra Bullock

The girl with the dragon tattoo by Stieg Larsson — Starring Daniel Craig & Rooney Mara

The invention of Hugo Cabret: a novel in words and pictures by Brian Selznick — Hugo is directed by Martin Scorcese

Evelyn Lauder, Breast Cancer Activist

Evelyn Lauder, the longtime breast cancer activist who helped to create the pink ribbon as the symbol of the fight against the disease, died November 12 at the age of 75. Born in Vienna, Austria in 1936, she came to the United States as a young child when her parents fled from the Nazis. The family settled in New York where she met her future husband, Leonard Lauder, whose parents owned a small cosmetics firm. She eventually went to work with at her mother-in-law Estee Lauder's company which today has revenues of nearly $2.5 billion. During her long career Evelyn was instrumental in developing and marketing new products, including Clinique. She was also a leading philanthropist and became very involved in the fight against breast cancer. Along with her friend, editor Alexandra Penney, they created the idea of a pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer. In 1993 she founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation which has raised more than $350 million and supports researchers around the world. Mrs. Lauder was also an avid gardener and photographer, as well as the author of several books including In Great Tate: Fresh Simple Reasons for Eating and Living.

J. Edgar Hoover

The highly anticipated new film J. Edgar opens this weekend. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench and Armie Hammer, it explores the public and private life of J. Edgar Hoover — one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century. Hoover was considered the face of law enforcement in America for almost fifty years. From the time he became acting director of the Bureau of Investigation (predecessor to the Federal Bureau of Investigation) in 1924, to the end of his tenure there at his death in 1972, Hoover was both feared and admired, reviled and revered. Prior to this new film Hoover has been portrayed many times before in both film and on stage.