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New Cookbooks

Sat, 09/30/2017 - 3:06pm

A quick survey of the new bookshelf this morning reveals more cookbook gems. From the trendy (ice cream & sushi), to the traditional (Italian grandmas & cakes).

Sushi: Taste & Technique This is a hugely-informative, intensely-illustrated, lovely little book of everything sushi. Who knew there was so much to say about wrapped-up raw fish and rice? You can impress your friends with this one as your guide.

The Baker’s Appendix: The Essential Kitchen Companion, with Deliciously Dependable, Infinitely Adaptable Recipes Long title, small book, but packed with references to refine your baking skills. Big on conversions (of measurements and ingredients), substitutions, decorations, do-it-yourself and how-to tips, and resources, the recipes are pretty basic and classic. This is more about the ‘how’ of baking skills, and the intricacies of mastery.

Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop There are five components of ice cream: ice, fat, protein, sugar, and can you guess the fifth? (Read to the end of the blog to check your answer.) This book deconstructs each element and gives you the theoretical foundation for transforming, basically, cream, eggs, a sweetener, and some flavorings into what we all scream for. The recipes range from the ordinary (vanilla), to the creative (lemony lemon crème fraiche), to the indulgent (chocolate - peanut butter - brownie crunch), to the positively weird (popcorn), and include sherbets and frozen yogurts.

Cooking with Nonna: Celebrate Food & Family with Over 100 Classic Recipes from Italian Grandmothers This book features actual Italian grandmothers, and do they know their way around food? You bet. It begins with pasta and sauces, (what else?), and then ranges from appetizers to dessert, through sides, pizzas, soups, first and second courses, the whole orecchiette con braciole. And, best for last, it ends with a culminating chapter on biscotti – Italian cookies – my fave. Interspersed with profiles and reminiscences of the little Italian super-cooks who supply all the recipes, this is the next best thing to learning at your grandma’s knee.

And, finally, to answer the question about ice cream, the fifth component of ice cream is air.

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New Monster Books!

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 6:00pm

It’s that time of year when requests for spooky and fall books happen! Check out this new batch of monster books for kids. There are such cute monsters out there!

An A to Z of Monsters and Magical Beings offers fascinating facts about some of the most talked about mysterious beings! Everything including an alien, cyclops, dragon, kraken, minotaur, troll, werewolf, and more! Beautiful illustrations!

What Makes a Monster: Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures is a nonfiction book that explores a variety of real animals that dare to scare. Read facts about the fangtooth moray eel, komodo dragon, and the Portuguese man-of-war, to name a few. Great photographs!

And don’t forget to check for:
If Your Monster Won’t Go To Bed
There’s a Monster in Your Book
I’m Not Little
I Want to be in a Scary Story

If you need even more, here’s a list of monster books, and here’s whole bag of Stories To Go: Monsters that features a stack of some classics.

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PreK Bits - "H" is for HOUSE and HOME !

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 5:03pm

Ms. Rachel's Storytime Theme this week was House and Home.
First ... WE WERE TIRED Of LIVING IN A HOUSE ... "so we moved out!"
psst! The books are wearing out ... but you can still get a copy from another Library through MelCat.
We sang "Wheels On The Bus" ... for our "action song".
SHOE TOWN ... Mama Mouse moved into a shoe, once her babies were all grown. Folks began to knock. "May I come in?"
Mama Mouse suggested, "If you find your own shoe it could go there and you could be my neighbor"!

Here are more stories of "HOME" for you to check out:
LITTLE HOME BIRD ... Little Bird loves everything about his home. He's surrounded by his favorite branch, his favorite food, his favorite view and his favorite music. =-)
HOME FOR A BUNNY ... a classic by Margaret Wise Brown!
The BEAR And The PIANO ... home is where you are happy.
The NOT-SO-FARAWAY ADVENTURE ... with grandfather.
WELCOME HOME BEAR: A Book Of Animal Habitats.
HOME LOVELY ... moving to a new home and making it "lovely".
LITTLE HOUSES: A Counting Book.
JULIA'S HOUSE FOR LOST CREATURES ... and everyone has a job to do to make it work well.
All BECAUSE "Home is where the HEART is."

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #654 “A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.” ~ Lorrie Moore

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 10:28pm

Librarian Extraordinaire and NPR books commentator Nancy Pearl's debut novel George & Lizzie *, is a loving tribute to Ann Arbor and her Alma mater (UM, AMLS, 1967).

In this "astute, nimble, funny, and affecting love story" (Booklist) a stoned Lizzie sabotaged George's near-perfect game and a dream date at the Bowlarama when they met. Weeks later, they shared a tuna fish sandwich at Drake's on their first date. Almost against all odds, they married despite radically different upbringing and understandings of what love and marriage should be.

George, a second-generation dentist grew up in a warm and loving family while Lizzie - angry, defiant, and self-involved, is the only child of a pair of research-driven psychologists who viewed her more as an in-house experiment than a child to love. Over the course of their marriage, George remains sunny and generous while Lizzie is plagued by depression, self-doubt, and traumatized by the secrets she keeps - a youthful indiscretion called the "Great Game" that involved 23 members of her high school football team; and her continued search for Jack McConaghey, the-one-who-got-away. And it would take a painful turn of events for Lizzie to reach a moment of clarity - that she has choices to make.

"Through knotty predicaments both sorrowful and hilarious, Pearl dramatizes a complicated and deeply illuminating union of opposites and conducts profound inquiries into the self, family, empathy, and love. The result is a charming, edgy, and many-faceted novel of penetrating humor and resonant insight." (Booklist)

Nancy Pearl will be at Nicola's Books for a reading/signing at 7 pm on Wednesday, October 4th.

In Standard Deviation *, Graham Cavanaugh, after 12 years of marriage to Audra is wondering if he had made the right choice now that he is on speaking terms with Elspeth, his first wife. Life with Audra, as irrepressible as she is spontaneous and fun, is also exhausting - constant chatter, gossips, and prickly house-guests, as well as the challenges of caring for their special-needs son Matthew. It is a stark contrast to the orderly existence with the emotionally cool Elspeth.

A firm believer that through the sheer force of her personality, she can overcome the most socially challenging interactions, Audra befriends Elspeth, sharing family dinners and holidays, oblivious to Graham's late night visits.

A follow-up to her well-received short-story collection Single, Carefree, Mellow (2015), Heiny gives us a hilarious and rueful debut novel of love, marriage, infidelity, and origami. "Contemporary fiction fans fond of urban settings and humor in the vein of Nora Ephron or Nick Hornby should appreciate this tale of city life and marriage while those searching for characters on the Asperger's spectrum could find young Matthew, portrayed as high functioning but challenging, authentic and recognizable as he navigates various connections with his parents and others." (Library Journal)

* = Starred review

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Happy Birthday Mark Rothko!

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 7:00am

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was an Abstract Expressionist painter, famously known for his color field paintings: six or seven foot canvases painted with large rectangle swaths of color. The subjects of his paintings appear simple, and often people view them with the thought “well, I could do that.” However, Rothko’s paintings are not necessarily about the technical skill involved, they are about the way the painting makes the viewer feel, the emotions that the work elicits in the observer, and about creating the illusion of spatial infinity. Abstract Expressionism as a movement came about in New York in the 1940s, and focused on the "sublime," defined as working to capture and portray the unspeakable, be it emotion, the divine, or the cosmic. For some abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock, the art of their work is in the emotion expressed during the act of painting. For Rothko, the art is in the relationship between his painting and the viewer, in being overwhelmed by the sensation of the colors, and becoming emerged in the painting. The artist is known for saying the viewer should ideally experience his work from 18 inches away, as to become one with the painting. While our art prints are not to scale, they still do an excellent job of eliciting emotion and are available for check out here. (For the full viewing experience, be sure to check out Orange, Brown which is on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts!) To read more about the artist, check out this book written by his son, or this biography. You can also find books about Abstract Expressionism here.

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Fantastic Fantasy Comic and Graphic Novel Series

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:47am

As the weather starts to cool down, I start looking for books to curl up with on cool evenings - Especially long-running series that will keep me engaged! Here's five of my favorite fantasy graphic novel series to start your fall with a touch of magic.

Sandman Chronicles by Neil Gaiman
10 books in the series, several stand-alone volumes
Start with: Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes
Neil Gaiman has become almost a household name in the world of fantasy fiction for film adaptations of his works Stardust and American Gods. But before either of those books were published, Gaiman wrote the Sandman series. First published in 1989, it tells the story of the personification of dreams, named Morpheus, and of his adventures with humans, gods, spirits and denizens of worlds unknown. Gaiman weaves a rich tapestry of figures from every major mythology into an intensely exciting and thought-provoking reading experience. In this first adventure, Morpheus has been trapped by the magician Aleister Crowley for 60 years, but Crowley's waning power has made it possible for the Dream King to make his escape.
See Also: Death: The High Cost of Living, The Sandman: Dream Hunters, The Sandman: Endless Nights

Lucifer by Mike Carey
11 books in the series
Start with: Lucifer Vol. 1, Devil in the Gateway
We meet this series titular protagonist in Gaiman's Sandman chronicles – Lucifer Morningstar, fallen angel and lord of Hell. This serial begins with Lucifer holding court at his nightclub Lux, in Los Angeles. Why is Lucifer on Earth, and not ruling Hell? Well, he's quit. This act of rebellion has some serious consequences – and has left Hell prey to power struggles between heaven and the multiverses. But now that he's free, Lucifer has decided to enjoy life as much as he can, until Heaven comes to him with an offer he can't refuse. Thus begins an epic 11-volume adventure on par with Gaiman's Sandman.

The Wicked + the Divine by Kieron Gillen
5 books in the series
Start with: The Wicked + the Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act
In Wicked+Divine, the gods our our mythology are reborn in the bodies of 13 teenagers every 90 years. They are loved by many, hated by some, but will be dead in two years. This short life-span, combined with the power of gods, makes these teenagers international superstars. They perform around the world for sold-out shows, sharing their powers with their adoring fans. But in the 21st century, being a teenager is hard enough – a teenage god is even worse. This story follows their mortal fan, Laura, as she tries to befriend the gods. But Laura is not what she appears...

Constantine: The Hellblazer by Ming Doyle
2 books in the current series, 39 total published
Start with: Vol 1: Going Down
John Constantine holds the record for longest graphic novel character in print - he's been featured since the 1980's. Whether you're a long-time fan of the Hellblazer, or the film version portrayed by Keanu Reeves, Doyle's retelling is a great introduction to this trenchcoated anti-hero. Constantine is a chain-smoking narcissist with more than one personality disorder, a sorcerer who is just as likely to get the people he's agreed to help killed as he is to save their lives. And when you're dealing with demons and ghosts, he'll probably get your soul damned in the process. He's a great guy - as long as you aren't his friend. But what makes Constantine such an enduring character is his deeply flawed nature and his true desire to do some good in the world – even if he really just ends up bungling it all up in the end.
See Also: Hellblazer: Original Sins, Hellblazer: India

Fables by Bill Willingham
22 books in the series, 3 tie-in series
Start with: Fables Vol 1: Legends in Exile
A lot of fantasy is in supposition, and Fable is no exception. In Willingham's series, the characters from the fairy tales we grew up with are real people, alive and well, living in our world. Think about the TV show Once Upon a Time (which also has a graphic novel tie-in), but restricted to New York City. Our fairy tale characters are from "The Homelands" of Europe, but were forced to the new world by a mysterious Adversary. Their luxury high rise in New York City has become a peaceful and secret society, until proper politician Snow White's partygirl sister Rose Red is apparently murdered. Snow hires Bigby Wolf (formerly the Big Bad Wolf - reformed, pardoned and made sheriff) to find Rose. It's a "grim" whodunnit mystery; was it Blackbeard, Rose's notorious ex-lover, or Jack (of beanstalk fame) her current live-in boyfriend?

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #653

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 6:43pm

Goodbye, Vitamin *, former Lucky Peach Executive Editor Rachel Khong's debut has been called a "family dramedy...that ruminates on love, loss, and memory." (Kirkus Reviews)

30 year-old San Francisco ultrasound tech Ruth Young heads home to LA for the holidays with a broken heart. Fiancé Joel, a doc that she had dropped out of college to follow across the country(twice), broke up with her just as they were about to move to a bigger, nicer apartment.

The tension at home is palpable. Howard, her father, a prominent history professor is losing his memory (as well as his teaching position), and is only erratically lucid. Her mother, Annie is lucidly erratic, having given up cooking altogether since aluminum from cooking utensils could cause memory loss. The household subsists on carry-out pizza and a smorgasbord of vitamins. Ruth's brother Linus is conspicuously absent, unable to overlook their father's drunkenness and history of infidelity. So Ruth quits her job and moves home.

Written in chronological vignettes over the next year, we watch as Ruth navigates the role of daughter, sister, caregiver and cheerleader as Howard's condition worsen. "Ruth’s new preoccupation with memory, in its most concrete form, gives her a different glimpse of her father and family, while they all cope with what they know is a one-way-only illness. In her tender, well-paced debut novel, which spans Ruth’s year at home, Khong writes heartbreaking family drama with charm, perfect prose, and deadpan humor." (Booklist)

Readers might also enjoy You Are Having a Good Time by Amie Barrodale, a collection of tales startlingly funny and original that make you reconsider the fragile compromises that underpin our daily lives; and Motherest by Kristen Iskandrian about a young woman's discovery of life’s continuously shifting, perplexing intimacies.

* = starred review

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We the Animals

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 8:27pm

We the Animals is the brilliant debut novel of Justin Torres, a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. The novel was the result of approximately six years of writing and editing for Torres. The author described his writing process in an interview with Electric Lit in 2011 as, "Word by word. Sentence by sentence...I revise, obsessively, as I'm moving forward." The result of Torres' painstaking writing process is a beautifully written and artfully structured piece of literature.

Torres' novel is split into nineteen stories that center around three brothers and their parents. The boys' parents work long hours and the children are often left to their own devices. We see the boys play, fight, and question. The brothers think about how they fit into the world. The father in the story, Paps, is Puerto Rican, and Ma, the mother, is white. Paps calls the boys, " ain't white and you ain't Puerto Rican."

The boys also question what it means to be a man. We the Animals is a coming of age story, and many of the vignettes discuss boyhood and masculinity. The stories are written using the plural pronoun "we," but the reader follows an unnamed protagonist. The main character intensely questions his masculinity in relation to his sexuality. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2011, Torres explained that he, "paid a lot of attention to voice and the collective identity of young childhood, the ‘we’ of it all. When you're still kind of forming your identity, it's very porous and it blends with that of the people around you."

We the Animals is one of my favorite contemporary novels. There is so much to unpack in this novel, from the format of the book to the concise, toned writing, to the subject matter. It's worth a read, and then maybe a second. Enjoy!

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Yearning for the Yellow Cover...

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 1:05pm

And then, there was ANOTHER time at the library...there was that book you saw on a shelf, with a YELLOW cover, that caught your eye - but, for whatever reason, you had to pass it by. Now, if you should find yourself sour-faced like a lemon for that long lost spark of interest, I may have the book for you! I've recently created a list of books that have, or have had, yellow covers - whether or not their most recent editions have that bright lemon hue, they did at some point! Plus, this list is welcome to all kinds of yellow covered books...

Whether it be a musty yellow of the novel My Italian Bulldozer, a golden yellow like the published script of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, or perhaps the traffic-sign yellow of Chemistry, all yellow covers are welcome on this compilation list. But this list isn't just for the adults! There's also a wide age range available for the younger reader yelping for the yellow...

If it's from the Teen section like Kill All the Happies or maybe Fever Code from the Maze Runner series, this list has many canary-yellow covered pages that you might have left on the shelf for a later date. Even the youth may have left a book resting on it's display, such as Sam and Eva or Daddy Long Legs. This list also provides you with options from every genre in the library...

Maybe you were browsing through historical fiction and found Homegoing or The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks? Could you have been possibly perusing the Express Shelf and seen We Are Never Meeting in Real Life or found How to Raise an Adult on the parent shelf? What about the non-fiction readers, who may have browsed through the stacks seeing covers that advertised oversized animals or a search for peace of mind?

This list has ALL THE THINGS (or would like to have) and is growing each day! Please feel free to take a look, and make comments of other yellow-covered books you think others may be searching for, so the list can continue to grow. Just think: someone out there could be looking for a yellow book jacket that you've read before - maybe you have the answer they've been looking for as they search the numerous volumes we have here at AADL. Or perhaps you yourself have been searching, and the book is in this list already!!! Only one way to find out...

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PreK Bits - "P" is for PETS ... particularly puppies!

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 6:39pm

Ms. Rachel and Ms. Betsy brought songs and stories about pets to Storytime.
DOGGIES ... Stuffed dogs act-out the story and the audience barks along. The book is a modern classic by Sandra Boynton.
We sang “B-I-N-G-O” ... which can be found on youth CDs SONGS & STORIES For KIDS, BABY BOOST: 48 Interactive Sing-a-longs For Your Little One and LITTLE PEOPLE: Songs From The Farm.
To celebrate the theme we found our puppy parts and played the "Puppy Pokey" together.
ANY of these CDs will have the original song "The Hokey Pokey" ... AND you'll find more fun songs to dance and sing along with too!
15 ANIMALS ... another modern classic by Sandra Boynton. Now we know how to spell "Bob" !

For more famous DOG stories try the following favorites:
RAGWEED’S FARM DOG HANDBOOK by Anne Vittur Kennedy ... Learn From The Best!
HARRY The DIRTY DOG and NO ROSES For HARRY ... old dog classics by Gene Zion.
BUDDY And EARL and BUDDY And Earl And The GREAT BIG BABY ... new dog classics by Maureen Fergus.
MISS MOON: Wise Words From A Dog Governess by Janet Hill ... wise words for All with beautiful illustrations!
ZORRO GETS AN OUTFIT and MR BUD WEARS The CONE by Carter Goodrich ... a pitch-perfect dog point-of-view.
BARK GEORGE by Jules Feiffer... a dog fantasy.
The DOGHOUSE ... critters go in but they don't come out. Surprise?
WE LOVE YOU ROSIE! ... Oh Yes! We Do!
SIMON'S NEW BED ... Simon gets a new bed and someone else is in it!
For screen-time try the DVD BARK GEORGE And More Doggie Tails by Weston Woods Studios.
WOOF! ... snooff snurff ... doggie treat, Please.
... pant ... pant ...
Wooff !!