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WORDS AND IMAGES : Library to Highlight Reagan's Acting Years : The public is invited to three free screenings of the former President's movies at the Simi Valley facility.

August 05, 1993|FRANCES HALPERN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The image of the former president of the United States in his various roles as a yeoman actor during Hollywood's golden years makes for fascinating viewing. Three films will be shown at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library this month, beginning with the 1951 "Bedtime for Bonzo," which screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday and repeats at 2 p.m. Aug. 15. Ted Berkman of Santa Barbara, who co-wrote the "Bonzo" screenplay, is still kidded about that writing assignment. President Reagan had a supporting role in "Dark Victory," a 1939 drama starring Bette Davis and which screens Aug. 18 and 22. The ex-president also was praised for his performance in the 1942 film "Kings Row," which will be shown Aug. 25 and 29. There is no charge to see the films at the Reagan Library, 40 President Drive, Simi Valley. Call 522-8444.

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Nancy Taylor Rosenberg, a former Ventura County probation officer, will speak to the Ventura County Writers Club about her psychological suspense thriller "Mitigating Circumstances" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. A bidding war among publishers pushed the advance to $787,000. Dutton acquired the book plus Rosenberg's second novel, "Interest of Justice," to be published in October. The meeting is held at the Pleasant Valley Church, 1101 Ponderosa Drive, Camarillo. Non-member fee is $4. Call 642-6130.

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Jody Fickes of Adventures for Kids Bookstore hosts a daily story time because she believes children should be read to at least 20 minutes a day. During August, children can attend story time at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and at 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 3457 Telegraph Road, Ventura. In addition, as a contribution to Library Support Month, the bookshop will donate 10% of purchases to school and public libraries. For example: Buy a book for $10 and one dollar of that will be given to a library of your choice.

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One way to initiate a literary conversation at the Oaks in Ojai is to ask people what they're reading while they treat themselves to a little rest and relaxation. Everyone brings a book. My readers' survey uncovered an eclectic mix of modern bestsellers and enduring classics. Judy Meyers of Michigan not only was reading Robert Waller's "Bridges of Madison County," but she also sent three more Oaks campers scurrying out to get their own copies. "Bridges" is the No. 1, word-of-mouth best-selling novel in the history of publishing. Broadway and television star Nell Carter, who was at the spa to get away from it all, was reading "The Naked Truth" by actor Leslie Nielson. Additional fiction included "Palace Walk" by Egyptian Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz; "The Fire From Within" by Carlos Castaneda; "Sleeping Beauty" by Judith Michael; "Hotel New Hampshire" by John Irving and "The Client" by John Grisham. Nonfiction readers were into "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" by John Gray; "Women Who Run with the Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes; and "The Popcorn Report" by Faith Popcorn, who surveys the habits and thinking of Americans and changed her name to Popcorn for reasons unknown to me. My choice for reading at the spa? "Missing Joseph," the latest, fabulous Elizabeth George mystery.

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