Obituary

Today we lost a Detroit superstar and an American legend in Aretha Franklin. But she will live on with her indomitable sound. 

A frank examination of Aretha Franklin, Mark Bego's definitive biography traces her career accomplishments from her beginnings as a twelve-year-old member of a church choir in the early 1950s, to recording her first album at the age of fourteen and signing a major recording contract at eighteen, right up through her headline-grabbing 2010 health scare. Originally positioned to become a gospel star in her father's Detroit church, Aretha had a privileged urban upbringing--stars such as Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington, and Sam Cooke regularly visited her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin. It wasn't long before she was creating a string of hits, from "Respect" to "Freeway of Love," and becoming one of the most beloved singers of the twentieth century. 

Aretha : from these roots by Aretha Franklin

America's Queen of Soul recounts the story of her life, from her childhood as a minister's daughter in Detroit to her rise to success, offering insights into the faith and determination that have taken her to the top.

For decades, he worked 13-hour days as a line cook in restaurants in New York and the Northeast before he became executive chef in the 1990s...until his "madcap" memoir about the dark corners of New York’s restaurants made him into a celebrity chef and touched off a nearly two-decade career as a globe-trotting television host.

“We have lost someone who was in my opinion the sharpest and keenest observer of culture that I have ever known,” [Andrew Zimmern] said. “When we were alone his hopes and dreams extended into amazing areas.” - New York Times

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Chef and author Anthony Bourdain travels the world sampling local foods and culture.

"Mr. Roth was the last of the great white males: the triumvirate of writers — Saul Bellow and John Updike were the others — who towered over American letters in the second half of the 20th century. Outliving both and borne aloft by an extraordinary second wind, Mr. Roth wrote more novels than either of them. In 2005 he became only the third living writer (after Bellow and Eudora Welty) to have his books enshrined in the Library of America." - New York Times

American pastoral by Philip Roth
Also available in: audiobook

Seymour "Swede" Levov, a hard working man who came of age in triumphant postwar America, must give up his dreams of a peaceful life when his daughter grows up to be a 1960s revolutionary terrorist.

Tracing the full span of Philip Roth's career - from the early controversies surrounding the stories in Goodbye, Columbus to his recent assessments of his work and corrections of the record - this retrospective summation of his essays and interviews shows at every turn the vigour, acuity, and persuasive power of our most celebrated living novelist.

"An innovative journalist and novelist whose technicolor, wildly punctuated prose brought to life the worlds of California surfers, car customizers, astronauts and Manhattan’s moneyed status-seekers in works like 'The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,' 'The Right Stuff' and 'Bonfire of the Vanities'..." - New York Times

In the 1960s, Kesey led a group of psychedelic sympathizers around the country in a painted bus, presiding over LSD-induced "acid tests" all along the way. Long considered one of the greatest books about the history of the hippies, Wolfe's ability to research like a reporter and simultaneously evoke the hallucinogenic indulgence of the era ensures that this book, written in 1967, will live long in the counter-culture canon of American literature.

Sherman McCoy, a young investment banker in Manhattan, finds himself arrested following a freak accident and becomes involved with prosecutors, politicians, the press, and assorted hustlers..

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

The left hand of darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

An official from an interplanetary federation is called in to arbitrate peace on a planet whose inhabitants are technically advanced, androgynous, and have telepathic powers.

On the coattails of "Y is for Yesterday," we bid adieu to mystery writer Sue Grafton today. Known for her long running alphabet mystery series featuring the rough and tumble Kinsey Millhone, Grafton and her character carried the torch of female writer/protagonist predecessors as a mainstay in the genre for over three decades. Grafton also wrote and adapted several screenplays for TV and film. Celebrate her works and her life with the books we have in our print, audio, and digital collections. 

Y is for yesterday by Sue Grafton

Kinsey Millhone monitors the release from prison of a sociopath who is determined to exact revenge on a fellow perpetrator who went missing after they sexually assaulted a fourteen-year-old classmate.

Sam Shepard was know by many as an Oscar-nominated Hollywood actor. But Shepard was also a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, director, and actor.

"One of the most important and influential early writers in the Off Broadway movement, Mr. Shepard captured and chronicled the darker sides of American family life...He was widely regarded as one of the most original voices of his generation, winning praise from critics for his searing portraits of spouses, siblings and lovers struggling with issues of identity, failure and the fleeting nature of the American dream." - New York Times

 

The story of how seven cocky pilots became the astronauts of Project Mercury and pioneered America's launch into the space race.

"Sir Roger Moore, who has died aged 89, brought a lighter touch to the role of James Bond, the role for which he was most famous. Out went the harder, crueler edge of Sean Connery's 007 to be succeeded by sardonic humour and the inevitable raised eyebrow. He eventually became the longest-serving actor in the role, his seven Bond films becoming the most commercially successful of the franchise." (BBC Obituary

Take a look at our collection of DVDs and books featuring the talents of Moore.

Even if you don't know the name Jonathan Demme, you've likely seen some of his handiwork. Demme will be remembered as a classic American director, the kind that can make you laugh and cry in the same breath. From "Silence of the Lambs" to "Beloved" to working with musicians like Neil Young and The Talking Heads. Check out the eclectic list of modern classic works by Demme.

Story of two competing lawyers who join together to sue a prestigious Philadelphia law firm when the firm fires one of them because he has AIDS.

After Paul D. finds his old slave friend Sethe in Ohio and moves in with her and her daughter Denver, a strange girl comes along by the name of "Beloved". Sethe & Denver take her in and then strange things start to happen.

Known as the Father, the Godfather, and the Prime Minister of Rock n' Roll, Chuck Berry's signature style of guitar play inspired musicians worldwide into the 21st Century.

"[Berry's] music was bright and clear, a hard-swinging amalgam of country and blues. More than 60 years later, it still sounds reckless and audacious." 

- Chuck Berry, Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer, Dies at 90 

Good rockin' tonight: Recounts the glory days of rock's first golden age. Dick Clark recalls the origins of American Bandstand and for a spell, rock was dominated by teen idols and countless dance crazes like the Twist.

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