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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #634

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 10:23pm by muffy


In [b:1505609|Marlena * *], [a:Buntin, Julie|Julie Buntin's] "(s)ensitive and smart and arrestingly beautiful debut" (Kirkus Reviews), 15 year-old Cathy (now calling herself Cat), arrived at Silver Lake, a small rural community in Northern Michigan with her newly divorced mother and older brother, determined to shed her good-girl image and reinvent herself, and was immediately drawn to the manic, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena, her next door neighbor.

Over the course of the coming weeks, the girls turned the untamed landscape of their desolate small town into a kind of playground - skipping school, running feral as Marlena introduced Cat to a new world of drinking and pills and sex and also friendship, the depth of which neither girl has experienced before. Within the year, Marlena was dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby.

Decades later, Cat is married, and a New York City public librarian. She seemingly had move on, now enjoying a close relationship with her mother, until a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, forcing Cat to examine her role and "the pain at the utter core of me” in losing Marlena.

"The novel is poignant and unforgettable, a sustained eulogy for Marlena’s “glow... that lives in lost things, that sets apart the gone forever.” (Publishers Weekly)

"In this, Marlena joins a glut of recent novels that pair a retrospective female narrator with an extravagantly charismatic but troubled friend. [a:Cline, Emma.|Emma Cline’s] novel [b:1491056|The Girls] loosely reimagines the Manson family murders from the perspective of a 14-year-old named Evie in 1969, who becomes besotted with an older teenager named Suzanne. [a:Bitto, Emily|Emily Bitto’s] [b:1503088|The Strays] is recounted by Lily, a young Australian girl drawn into the 1930s bohemian family of her classmate, Eva. Like [a:smith, Zadie|Zadie Smith’s] [b:1494373|Swing Time] and [a:Ferrante, Elena.|Elena Ferrante’s] [b:1422325|My Brilliant Friend], these novels consider the fierce complexity of female friendship, and the particular agony of innocence that yearns to be shed. They examine the allure of danger from a space of safety: It’s inevitable which girl will careen toward catastrophe, and which girl will watch, wistfully, from the sidelines.” Read the full [|review] in The Atlantic.

* * = 2 starred reviews

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War in America

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 11:44am by Lucy S


Imagine that entire portions of this country have disappeared under water and that the use of fossil fuels has been outlawed in many states. And then imagine that these events have sparked a second civil war in the United States and that this war sets off a disastrous plague. This is the scenario created by [a:El Akkad, Omar|Omar El Akkad] in his debut novel, [b:1505598|American War]. [a:El Akkad, Omar|El Akkad] comes to fiction writing after many years as a journalist covering stories on the war in Afghanistan, military trials at Guantanamo Bay, the Arab Spring protests, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the effects of climate change along the southern coast of the US. His deep understanding of these real world conflicts seems to greatly inform and sustain [b:1505598|American War.] [a:El Akkad, Omar|El Akkad] brings us to the 2070s when the United States is embroiled in another civil war, brought about less by political differences or racial divides, than by climate and science, creating a refugee situation and a need to fight over remaining land. Fossil fuels are the biggest divider as the North no longer uses or allows them and the South won’t let them go. [a:El Akkad, Omar|El Akkad]’s plot seems entirely plausible given our present-day events. So much of what is in [b:1505598|American War], biological warfare, drones, suicide bombs, torture, refugee camps, can be found in any source of news today.

While his book makes a strong commentary on current political, ecological, and social situations, at it’s heart the story really belongs to [a:El Akkad, Omar|El Akkad’s] main character, Sarat. We meet Sarat Chestnut as a 6 year old living in Louisiana and follow her through refugee camps, imprisonment and a life after the war set on revenge. In an interview in [|Bookpage], [a:El Akkad, Omar|El Akkad] said, “I never intended to write a book about America or war; I intended to write a book about the universality of revenge. I wanted to explore the idea that when people are broken by war, broken by injustice, broken by mistreatment, they become broken in the same way.”

The tragic events in Sarat's family life and the horrors of war that surround her entire existence leave her so thoroughly broken that she has no choice but to seek revenge. The question this powerful novel then asks is, how much revenge will be enough?

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Meet “It’s All Write!” 2017 Judge #7: Sonya Mukherjee!

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 12:22pm by BugsAndSlugs

The seventh judge for this year's “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest and author of
Gemini is Sonya Mukherjee. In Sonya’s debut novel, Clara and Hailey are seniors at a small town high school with different interests and dreams. The only problem is that Clara and Hailey are conjoined twins. As the girls begin to question their futures, both separately and together, they must decide whether a risky surgery is the right path.

A Kirkus Reviews best book of 2016, Gemini “will satisfy curiosity about conjoined humans but goes far beyond that to explore issues of identity and relationships important to all teens.” VOYA (starred review)

Stay tuned for more information about “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest 2017 Judges!

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Celebrate National Poetry Month with Michigan Poets!

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 1:55pm by potterbee


April is National Poetry Month! There is a wealth of poetry written by many authors from Michigan offered in AADL's catalog. Some items are available to download from the catalog to be enjoyed instantly! [t:Trumbull Ave.] by [a:Michael Lauchlan|Michael Lauchlan] and [t:Weweni] by [a:Margaret Noodin|Margaret Noodin] are available to download and also in the traditional paper bound form.

Local book sellers [|Bookbound] and [|Literati Bookstore] have author events still to come this month with poets from Michigan.

On Thursday, April 20 at 7:00 pm award-winning Michigan poets [a:Joseph, Zilka|Zilka Joseph] and [a:Liebler, M. L.|M.L. Liebler] will be reading poems at [|Bookbound].

Ann Arbor author [a:Joseph, Zilka|Zilka Joseph] has an MFA in Poetry from University of Michigan, and she currently teaches workshops, works as a manuscript coach and editor, and mentors writers in the Ann Arbor community. She has written several books of poetry including her most recent, [t:Sharp Blue Search of Flame]

[a:Liebler, M. L.|M.L. Liebler] is an internationally-known Detroit poet, Wayne State University professor and literary arts activist who founded The National Writer's Voice Project in Detroit and the Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers Literary Arts Organization. He has authored and edited numerous books including [t:I Want to Be Once].

At [|Literati] on April 21st, local poets [a:Taylor, Keith, 1952-|Keith Taylor], [a:Swan, Alison|Alison Swan], and [a:McDaniel, Raymond, 1969-|Raymond McDaniel] will be reading from their various collections, in addition to sharing some of their favorite poems, written by poets of the present and past. [t:If the World Becomes So Bright] by [a:Taylor, Keith, 1952-|Keith Taylor] is another instant pdf download available from the AADL catalog.

Search the [|catalog] or the [|public lists] to find more local poetry and enjoy a poem a day all month long!

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2017 “Write On!” Short Story Contest Winners!

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 4:42pm by krayla


Congratulations to all of the writers in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade who participated in this year’s [|“Write On!” Contest]. The judges enjoyed reading all of your stories- here are some of their comments:

“Color me impressed!”
“This has been so fun!! I loved reading all of them.”
“It was a pleasure to read these stories!”

[|This year’s contest results] were announced today at the [|Final Celebration] event featuring guest author [a:crilley, mark |Mark Crilley]. Winners accepted their prizes and everyone received a certificate of participation. If you are a writer who couldn’t join us today, AADL will send your prize/certificate in the mail.

Thank you to all of this year’s writers, friends, family, and educators! Please email Kayla at with any contest questions. Keep an eye out for next year’s writing contest, and as always, happy writing!

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Storytimes: H is for Heart

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 3:25pm by eapearce

This week at storytimes at Traverwood and Westgate, Elizabeth told stories with hearts in them! We heard about The Love-Me Bird, who has to change her call to find a mate, and saw zoo animals made out of hearts in the book My Heart is Like a Zoo. We also heard the brightly colored rhyme The Shape of My Heart and the gentle classic story A Kiss for Little Bear. And we got some love letters in the mail in a special Valentine’s rhyme (even though it’s April!).

AADL storytimes are intended for ages 2-5 and take place at all of our locations and are free and open to the public. For a full list of our storytimes visit our JUMP page, specifically for parents and teachers.

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PreK Bits - "R" is for ROYAL

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:27pm by LibraryRachel


Ms. Rachel and Banjo Betsy brought Royal Friends to Storytime this week at Malletts Creek.
First Ms. Rachel cut out the Queen of Hearts while she told the story of the Queen's heart-shaped tarts.
We performed ”The Princess, The Frog And The Little Bird” ... an oral tradition passed from AADL storyteller to storyteller. It is told using only sound effects.
We marched up and down the mountain with "The Grand Old duke of York". You can march with the same song on Youth CD [b:1131584|WHERE IS THUMBKIN?] and Youth CD [b:1242180|STORYTIME].
[b:1032354|The MOST WONDERFUL EGG IN The WORLD] causes a dilemma for three chickens and the Queen. It is decided ... Whoever lays “The Most Wonderful Egg” will be made a Princess !

For more stories with ROYAL characters try these favorites:
[b:1072665|KING BIDGOOD’s In The BATHTUB] … and he won’t come out !
[b:1506593|QUEEN Of The FROGS] … does a crown make “a Royal”?.
[b:1474185|The BIG PRINCESS] and [b:1451179|The TINY KING] … "large" and "small" stories by [|Taor Miura].
[b:1483598|DARING PRINCE DASHING] … a daredevil prince story.
[b:1349813|The DUCHESS Of WHIMSY] … is known to have “esoteric tastes” …
[b:1049532|The PAPER BAG PRINCESS] … a classic by [|Robert Munsch].
[b:1456702|QUEEN VICTORIA’s BATHING MACHINE] … a real Queen and a True Victorian Story.
[b:1279821|The PRINCE’S BEDTIME] … a Royal Bedtime story.
For a participation and action adventure check out [b:1023187|KLIPPITY KLOP]. Prince Krispin, and his horse Dumpling, discover a Dragon ! YIKES !! You can order this title through [|MelCat] with your AADL card. A Library that still owns a copy will send it. Then ... right up close... YOU can study the adorable small intricate line drawings by Ed Emberley ... and repeat (as many times as you like !) the walking adventure of Prince Krispin and Dumpling.

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Meet “It’s All Write!” 2017 Judge #6: Paula Garner!

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 11:56am by BugsAndSlugs

The sixth judge for this year's “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest is Paula Garner. In Paula’s debut YA novel, Phantom Limbs, readers are introduced to Otis, a 16 year old introverted swimmer dealing with loss and the pressure of competitive sport. Otis must come to terms with the tragedy in his past in order to move forward and tackle the new dreams he has for his future. Phantom Limbs is a 2017 Illinois Reads Selection for grades 9-12!

Paula Garner's next novel, scheduled for publication in Spring 2018, Relative Strangers, follows a teen who just discovered she spent part of her youth in foster care. She is determined to find the family who cared for her, but the romantic feelings she develops for her foster brother threaten her new found happiness.

Paula Garner spends most of her time writing, reading, or making good things to eat. Currently, she lives in the Chicago area with her family and a very bad cat. To learn more about Paula check out her website and stay tuned for more information about “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest 2017 Judges!

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Suggest a Title For Washtenaw Reads 2018

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 4:08pm by TimG

Read a good book lately? Suggest it for Washtenaw Reads 2018!

The Washtenaw Reads screening team is meeting throughout the summer to select finalist titles for the Read and they want your ideas!

The Washtenaw Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Participating libraries and communities include Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline, and Ypsilanti.

To suggest a title visit Washtenaw Reads or the Washtenaw Reads Facebook page. Washtenaw Reads 2018 will take place January - February 2018.

Thanks for your suggestions!

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NEW Themes !! - Stories-To-Go 2017

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 9:28am by LibraryRachel

NEW SETS are ready for check-out !
There are 11 new Stories To Go THEMES, 4 sets of each theme ... added in 2017.
Each Themed set includes 5-7 books, 1-2 DVDs, perhaps a CD ... especially for use with kids ages 2-7 years old.
These sets are for easy "Grab and CheckOut" by Parents, Grandparents, Child Care Providers, and Teachers.
Every SET includes an Activity Folder with songs, fingerplays and activities to extend the theme with your children.

The NEW 2017 themes are as follows:
[b:1508079|ALPHABET ABC-XYZ] ... Reading Readiness.
[b:1508078|COUNTING] ... especially beyond 10. Math Readiness.
[b:1509089|NIGHT TIME] ... what's going on while I am in bed? Early Science.
[b:1508101|UNDER your FEET] ... what's going on underground? Early Science.
[b:1508074|SEQUENCING & PATTERNS] ... Math Readiness.
[b:1508100|SHAPES & COLORS] ... School Readiness.
[b:1508099|GOOD MANNERS] ... Early Social Skills.
[b:1508077|HEALTHY HABITS] ... food, activity, teeth, hygiene. Early Science.
[b:1508076|BUGS] ... small living things. Early Science.
[b:1509088|MOVING DAY] ... when you are moving to a different place it is a Big Change. Social Skills.
[b:1508073|RECYCLING/ GARBAGE] ... Reduce ... ReUse ... Recycle. Early Social, Science and Ecology.

[[img_assist|The complete Stories-To-Go collection] can be browsed here.