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.
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.
On November 9, CPL hosted a Diwali Celebration program that featured traditional and contemporary Indian music, dance, food, and more — all centered around the festival of lights. If you couldn't make it that night, check out the video above and pictures below to get up to speed:
The National Book Awards 2011 will be webcast live from New York City on Wednesday, November 16 at 8:00 PM. Actor, author, and musician John Lithgow will host this year's award ceremony. No registration necessary. Check the National Book Foundation's website for more information.
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.