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.

Let's Explore!

Into the unknown: how great explorers found their way by land, sea, and air by Stewart Ross — Brave explorers have vivid stories to tell and they range from sailing on the oceans to landing on the moon. This book takes a fascinating look at the adventures of many great explorers. Fresh storytelling and unfolding cutaways and cross sections keep the reader engaged.

Time was, Time is… December 2011

Great Michigan Read 2011-2012

If you have read Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, the 2011-2012 Great Michigan Read try David Halberstram or Branch Taylor or one of the many documentaries about Civil Rights in America produced over the years.

Faith in the city: preaching radical social change in Detroit by Angela D. Dillard; with a foreword by Charles G. Adams

Race and remembrance: a memoir by Arthur L. Johnson

Sweet land of liberty: the forgotten struggle for civil rights in the North by Thomas J. Sugrue

The children by David Halberstam

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.

National Book Awards 2011 Announced

Videos and images from the November 15 award ceremony are now available on the National Book Foundation website. John Lithgow, actor, writer, and musician was NBA Dinner and Ceremony host.

Salvage the bones: a novel by Jesmyn Ward

The swerve: how the world became modern by Stephen Greenblatt

Inside out & back again by Thanhha Lai

Time was, Time is… November 2011

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.


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