Archive for July, 2010

Fairy Tales Retold: Cinderella

Cinderella (Enchantment) by Maxfield Parrish

The story of Cinderella – a young woman unjustly oppressed, who overcomes some sort of obstacle to finally find her rightful place – is not only one of the oldest folk tales, but shows up in many different cultures. Of course, most of us are familiar with the Disneyfied version – GusGus and Jacques are my favorite characters in that movie – but the story has been remade and retold often.  We’ve even adapted the term “Cinderella story” to describe sports teams who go from obscurity to fame almost overnight.

Whether she battles an evil stepmother, turns to her fairy godmother for fashion help, or rides in a carriage pulled by mice/horses, we love to root her on. She definitely symbolizes the child inside all of us who longs to be recognized for the gem we are. Pick up one of these remakes and win one for the little guy (and I’m not just talking about GusGus!).

Ash by Melinda Lo

Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley

Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli

Cinderellis and the Glass Hill by Gail Carson Levine

Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ever After: A Cinderella Story by Wendy Loggia

The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey

I Was a Rat by Philip Pullman

If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince by Melissa Kantor

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey

The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

VHS: Ever After: A Cinderella Story

DVD: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

(If you can find a copy of the 1976 movie The Slipper and the Rose, you’ll get an entirely different musical interpretation of Cinderella.)

You’re In!

Once again, don’t forget to check out the Summer Reading page. Submit your book recommendation and enter our drawings for an MP3 player, t-shirts, and more!


As Heidi Klum says on Project Runway, “In fashion, you’re either in or you’re out.” In honor of the show’s return next week, and the fact that today is the birthday of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, we’re presenting several resources on fashion design. In our collection, we’ve put together biographies of famous designers, histories of fashion, and a few resources on how to become your own stylist. Even if you’re not the best seamstress/tailor, we hope you’ll “make it work” for you!


Fashion Designers by Pamela Golbin

Fashion: The 50 Most Influential Fashion Designers of All Time by Bonnie English

Front Row: Anna Wintour, the Cool life and Hot Times of Vogue’s Editor in Chief by Jerry Oppenheimer

The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo

Icons of Fashion: The 20th Century

Mommy Dressing: A Love Story, After a Fashion by Lois Gould

Ralph Lauren: The Man, the Vision, the Style by Colin McDowell

Threads: My Life Behind the Seams in the High-Stakes World of Fashion by Joseph Abboud

The Towering World of Jimmy Choo: A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe by Lauren Goldstein Crowe

Vivienne Westwood: Fashion, Perversity, and the Sixties Laid Bare by Fred Vermorel



The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius, and Glorious Excess in 1970’s Paris by Alicia Drake

The Complete Book of Oscar Fashion: Variety’s 75 years of Glamour on the Red Carpet by Reeve Chace

The Complete History of Costume & Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day by Bronwyn Cosgrave

Contemporary Fashion

Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Costume and Fashion: From 1066 to the Present by Jack Cassin-Scott

Let There be Clothes: 40,000 Years of Fashion by Lynn Edelman Schnurnberger

Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design by Deborah Nadoolman Landis

Understanding Fashion History by Valerie Cumming



Details Men’s Style Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Making Your Clothes Work for You by Daniel Peres

Fierce Style: How to be Your Most Fabulous Self by Christian Siriano

How to be a Budget Fashionista: The Ultimate Guide to Looking Fabulous for Less by Kathryn Finney

How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World: The Art of Living with Style, Class, and Grace by Jordan Christy

The Little Pink Book of Elegance: The Modern Girl’s Guide to Living With Style by Jodi Kahn

The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own by Nina Garcia

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab 5’s Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better, and Living Better

Style Clinic: How to Look Fabulous All the Time, at Any Age, for Any Occasion by Paula Reed

Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste, & Style by Tim Gunn

What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life: Ageless Secrets of Style by Kim Johnson Gross

Around the World – Burma/Myanmar

There are still two weeks to win an MP3 player or t-shirt! Check out the Summer Reading page for information, and make sure you get your reading recommendations in by July 31.


The Burmese city of Bagan

We rejoin our tour around the world with a stop in Burma, located in Indochina. A military junta took over the country in 1989 and changed the country’s name to Myanmar, but several Western countries, including the U.S., have refused to recognize the change. The ruling party has  also refused to give up its power, even in the face of defeat at the polls. The leader of the democratic opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, has virtually lived under house arrest since 1989. The upheaval has created many problems in Burma; a cyclone devastated the country, leaving more than 200,000 people dead. The military junta refused most offers of help, allowing the UN in only after holding all aid off for almost a week. Here are some other facts about Burma:

  • Rice and rubies are two of the biggest exported products.
  • Although many religions are tolerated in Burma, most Christians and Muslims face discrimination, as many non-Buddhists are denied government jobs.
  • Forests, most tropical, cover over almost half of the land area of the country.

Read more here:


Beyond the Last Village: A Journey of Discovery in Asia’s Forbidden Wilderness by Alan Rabinowitz

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle

Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know by David Steinberg

Burmese Lessons: A True Love Story by Karen Connelly

Everything is Broken: A Tale of Catastrophe in Burma by Emma Larkin

Freedom From Fear: And Other Writings by Aung San Suu Kyi

From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey by Pascal Khoo Thwe

Life in the Valley of Death: The Fight to Save Tigers in a Land of Guns, Gold, and Greed by Alan Rabinowitz

Perfect Hostage: A Life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s Prisoner of Conscience by Justin Wintle

The River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma by Myint-U Thant

The Trouser People: A Story of Burma – In the Shadow of the Empire by Andrew Marshall

The Weeping Goldsmith: Discoveries in the Secret Land of Myanmar by W. John Kress



Burmese Days by George Orwell

Flame Tree: A Novel of Modern Burma by Keith Dahlberg

The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

The Jewel Trader of Pegu by Jeffrey Hantover

The Lizard Cage: A Novel by Karen Connelly

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan



BBC: Burma

CIA: World Factbook – Burma

Lonely Planet Travel: Myanmar/Burma

US Campaign for Burma

Wikipedia: Burma

Beach Reads – Memoirs

Once more, don’t forget to check out our Summer Reading page. Get your reviews in and you could win one of our Summer Reading tees or even an MP3 player!


For our last beach reads blog, we’ll take a look at biographies. The ones we’ve listed here are all recent (written within the last five years) and are about some of the most fascinating people you may meet in the pages of a book. Take a gander through some of these the next time someone tells you to “get a life”! (Annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus.)


American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot By Craig Ferguson

  • Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark–as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff

  • The story of one teenager’s descent into methamphetamine addiction is told from his father’s point of view, describing how a varsity athlete and honor student became addicted to the dangerous drug and its impact on his family.

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet

  • An autistic savant with genius-level mathematical talents describes how he was shunned by his classmates in spite of his super-human capacity for math and language and offers insight into how he experiences the world.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

  • Traces the author’s decision to quit her job and travel the world for a year after suffering a midlife crisis and divorce, a journey that took her to three places in her quest to explore her own nature and learn the art of spiritual balance.

Fat Girl: A True Story by Judith Moore

  • A memoir of one woman’s obsession with food sets the author’s love/hate relationship with food against her painful longing for a family, love, and a sense of belonging.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

  • An unusual memoir done in the form of a graphic novel by a cult favorite comic artist offers a darkly funny family portrait that details her relationship with her father, a historic preservation expert dedicated to restoring the family’s Victorian home, funeral home director, high-school English teacher, and closeted homosexual.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

  • The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family’s nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.

The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood by Helene Cooper

  • The author traces her childhood in war-torn Liberia and her reunion with a foster sister who had been left behind when her family fled the region.

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui

  • The true story of a Yemeni child bride describes her forced marriage to an abusive husband three times her age, her pursuit of the marriage’s dissolution, and the cultural factors that place girls at risk in Yemeni society.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

  • In a heart-wrenching, candid autobiography, a human rights activist offers a firsthand account of war from the perspective of a former child soldier, detailing the violent civil war that wracked his native Sierra Leone and the government forces that transformed a gentle young boy into a killer as a member of the army.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen

  • A poet describes how, after her husband left her for a relationship with a man and she subsequently was seriously injured in a car crash, she returned home to her close-knit Mennonite family and came to terms with her failed marriage and her choices in life.

My Life in France by Julia Child

  • The captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found “her true calling.”

Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

  • A candid memoir by the tennis champion covers his Grand Slam wins, establishment of a charitable foundation for underprivileged children, and marriage to Stefanie Graf.

Oprah: A Biography by Kitty Kelly

  • Presents the life of the African American talk-show host, describing her rise from poverty to her current status as one the country’s most financially successful television personalities.

Quiet Strength: A Memoir by Tony Dungy

  • A biography of the coach of the Indianapolis Colts and the first African American football coach to lead his team to a Superbowl victory concentrates on his religious life as well as his career in football.

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography by David Michaelis

  • A portrait of the late creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip evaluates how his career was shaped by his midwestern working-class origins, family losses, and wartime experiences, offering insight into how familiar storylines closely reflected Schulz’s private life.

Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness by Tracy Kidder

  • Presents the story of Burundi civil war survivor Deo, who endures homelessness before pursuing an education at Columbia and eventually returning to his native land to help people in both countries.

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer

  • Traces the controversial story of NFL player and soldier Pat Tillman, describing the military’s efforts to hide the truth about his death by friendly fire, in an account that draws on Tillman’s journals and letters as well as interviews with family members and fellow soldiers.

The Yankee Years by Joe Torre

  • The former Yankees manager offers a study of the Yankees organization, detailing the challenges of working for a team in which executives and the media question every decision and the concerns of managing a clubhouse of superstars.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

  • In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, longtime New Orleans residents Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun are cast into an unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water. In the days after the storm, Abdulrahman traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared– arrested and accused of being an agent of al Qaeda.

Beach Reads – Humor

Happy Independence Day!

Once again, don’t forget to check out our Summer Reading page.

Still haven’t gotten your fill of beach reads? This week, we’re presenting some humor – authors who are reliably hilarious, regardless of their topic. Some of these writers present their own histories and issues, some of them prefer to write about others, but all will keep you turning the page while trying not to laugh too loudly. Have fun!

Dave Barry

Roy Blount

Erma Bombeck

Jill Conner Browne

Bill Bryson

Bill Cosby

Chelsea Handler

Tony Horwitz

Haven Kimmel

Anne Lamott

Patrick McManus

Dorothy Parker

Celia Rivenbark

P.J. O’Rourke

Mary Roach

David Sedaris

James Thurber

Calvin Trillin

J. Maarten Troost

Sarah Vowell