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The Alphabet with Funk and Glam

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 9:47am by manz

[img_assist|nid=365111|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=75]Here are two new amazing small books to help adults learn the alphabet in style! [b:1513034|Bowie A to Z] and [b:1513161|Prince A to Z] each offer short bits of info about each musician, paired with whimsical illustrations. Written by Steve Wilde, [b:1513161|The Life of an Icon From Alphabet Street to Jay Z] and the [b:1513034|The Life of an Icon from Aladdin Sane to Ziggy Stardust] are both entertaining, quick reads with great illustrations.

As a fan of both artists I was delighted when I happened upon the Bowie title, and I squealed when I found out there was a Prince title as well. They would make great gifts or coffee table books.

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Blog Post

Refuge: A Novel

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 4:24pm by Lucy S


At the beginning of [a:Nayeri, Dina|Dina Nayeri’s] expressive, well-crafted, second novel, [b:1512938|Refuge], Dr. Bahman Hamidi sits outside a courtroom and watches the proceedings of the twelve divorce cases that proceed his. During this time, he reflects back on how he arrived at this point, the verge of ending his third marriage. He thinks of his first wife, and his son and daughter, who fled from Iran in 1987 to escape religious persecution after his wife converted to Christianity. Bahman is still plagued, in 2009, by the question of whether he did the right thing in letting them go, and in not joining them. He has only seen his family four times since they left. His daughter Niloo lives in Amsterdam with her husband, and it is her voice that narrates the alternating chapters of this book. We begin to understand her perspective on leaving Iran and her relationship to her father, on her vague memories of her early refugee years that instilled in her a “forever refugee feeling.” As the novel progresses, the story continues to jump back and forth between these decades and the points of view of Bahman and Niloo.

[b:1512938|Refuge], rooted in the Arab Spring uprisings and the European migrant crisis, emphasises the ways in which being a refugee has marked Niloo for life. For example, when her debit card is declined while shopping for groceries in Amsterdam, due to bank error, she is shamed by the memory of her mother’s card being declined, of watching her mother put back all her food until she had only what she could pay for. “What Niloo feels is animal panic, the sensation of a world spitting her into another tier, one she has occupied before and that awaits her, that has missed her and knows she will be back.” This notion of having a foot in two worlds is a central theme in [a:Nayeri, Dina|Nayeri’s] book. One way Niloo manages this push and pull is to set up and live by a strict set of rules, going so far as to compose a list of written guidelines for marriage that she shares with her husband. Through this order, she strives to define and know herself, her exploration underscoring a merging of identities and cultures that may be crucial for many exiles. She meets a group Persian activists and asylum seekers, and finds herself beginning to investigate some of the choices she has made about her tightly structured life. Niloo is able to re-frame the complicated way in which she has seen her father, to realize that he has had his own struggles. The chapters that focus on Bahman provide us with a picture of a man whose life is complicated by his opium addiction, his politics, his ex-wives and his desire to see his grown children. Like Niloo, he is attempting to reconcile these disparate aspects of his reality.

The idea that one must look past the flaws of family members to seek some harmony lies at the heart of this father/daughter story. [b:1512938|Refuge] speaks to reinvention, finding new roots after being so uprooted, and to finding, perhaps embracing, the exiled parts of oneself.

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Blog Post

Say Zoop! Or oh or ah.

Sat, 08/19/2017 - 3:48pm by manz

If you're a fan of Herve Tullet's book Press Here, and other interactive picture books, here's a new one for you! Author and illustrator Tullet's newest, Say Zoop!, invites the reader to press along with words that coincide with each spot. It ends up being a hilarious adventure of colors and sounds as you go from page to page pressing and saying silly sounds louder and softer as you go.

If this sounds great, check out more Press Here readalikes and interactive books that are similar! This style of interactive books are really great to read together with the little ones.

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Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #650, The Innocents Abroad

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 8:47pm by muffy

Ian Bassingthwaighte (UM, MFA, Helen Zell Writers' Program) won the Hopwood Novel Award in 2015 for Live from Cairo * *. This debut novel, set during the turbulent days after the January 25, 2011 uprising in Egypt, commonly referred to as The Arab Spring, is supported by Fulbright Program grant.

Cairo, 2011. President Mubarak is ousted from power, but for many people, Cairo is still a volatile, dangerous place. Dalia, an Iraqi refugee finds herself trapped in Egypt when her petition to join her husband Omran in the U.S. is denied. Hana, an Iraqi-American working at the U.N. Refugee Resettlement Office is assigned her case, and is desperate to help her. Neither one is unaware that Dalia's impulsive American attorney Charlie, is in love with his client, and is about to forge a not entirely legal plan to get her out. Meanwhile, Aos, Charlie’s translator and only friend, spends his days trying to help people through the system and his nights in Tahrir Square protesting against it.

As these well-meaning but ill-equipped individuals come together to help Dalia, laws are broken, friendships and marriages are tested, and lives are risked.

"The author paints a deep and empathetic picture of the inner struggles of his courageous, flawed characters, who in the midst of mortal danger and insurmountable odds, grapple with the most fundamental questions of right and wrong. The answers follow neither rules nor laws, making the climax to this novel breathtaking and heartrending." (Publishers Weekly)

Siobhan Fallon follows up her prizewinning short story collection with a debut novel - The Confusion of Languages *. While her stories focused on military spouses stateside, this novel is from the perspective of two wives of U.S. Embassy staff in Jordan as the Arab Spring unfolds.

After two years in Amman, Cassie Hugo considers herself a worthy mentor to Margaret Brickshaw, a new arrival to the Middle East. But the sight of Margaret sends Cassie into a fit of jealousy, especially her toddler Mather, having tried for years to start a family. Desperate for a friend among the expat families, Cassie shows Margaret around town, and tries to impart upon her the wisdom and safeguards of embassy rules. However, Margaret yearns for adventure, to learn Arabic, and to connect with the locals.

With their husbands deployed, Cassie is asked to mind Mather while Margaret insists on venturing out alone to settle a fender-bender incident. When Margaret fails to return, Cassie panics and looks through Margaret's journal for clues. What she finds among her friend's many secrets is her own possible role in Margaret's disappearance.

"For all that these women appear designed for a morality play, they are honest and well-formed characters, and Fallon strenuously avoids pat answers to the central question of how a woman should behave in a foreign land."(Kirkus Reviews)

* * = 2 starred reviews
* = starred review

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Blog Post

Badge Drop #10: *STARSTRUCK*

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 6:16pm by Sara W

Summer Game 2017 may have put STARS in your EYES, but stay tuned for some excitement from the STARS in the SKIES!

There's some AWESOME ASTRONOMY afoot on Monday, 8/21! The only thing that can eclipse the AWESOMENESS of the Summer Game is AN ACTUAL ECLIPSE!!! Join us at the Downtown Library on Monday, 8/21 from 1-3 pm for our SOLAR ECLIPSE VIEWING PARTY. There will be solar eclipse viewing glasses (the must-have accessory of the summer) available to share!

But BEFORE you look up, LOOK BELOW! Hey! BADGES!!!!

2017 Badge Drop #10
echo theme_summergame_badge(1504,1501,1502,1509,1507,1512,1506,1503,1511,1513,1505,1510,1508);

Now think of a number. NO, another number. Did you think of 13? Well, think of it now. THIRTEEN!!!!!! It's important because....

THAT'S HOW MANY DAYS OF SUMMER GAME REMAIN! Just 13 more days of CODE HUNTING and POINT GATHERING, SG hunter-gatherers! Gotta get out there and FORAGE for FUN while there's still FUN to FORAGE!

Time's a-tickin'! Collect those codes! Create those comments! Procure those points! BADGE THOSE BADGES!


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Blog Post

The Dark Tower

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 6:31pm by PizzaPuppy

The Dark Tower series (one of author Stephen King's crowning achievements) tells the story of gunslinger Roland Deschain and his quest to find and protect the fabled Dark Tower, said to be the link between all universes. Roland's world is a post-apocalyptic desolate wasteland where time no longer moves chronologically and reality is fraying. The eight book series combines elements of fantasy, science fiction, horror and classic Western into a brand new epic story. The movie adaptation of the Dark Tower series opened on August 4th to mixed reviews (to put it lightly). Even if fans were not quite satisfied with the adaptation, they have devoured the Dark Tower series since the beginning of its publication in the early 1980's. Now is the perfect time to catch up on this epic series!

The series consists of The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, The Wind Through the Keyhole, Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower. These novels also have Book on CD (BOCD) counterparts, available here. King's collection of short stories entitled Everything's Eventual also includes Dark Tower related stories, specifically "The Little Sisters of Eluria" and "Everything's Eventual".

Drawing on the popularity of the novels, a series of prequel graphic novels was published after the novels were completed. The prequels begin with The Gunslinger Born and continue with The Long Road Home (available through MeLCat), Treachery (also only available through MeLCat), The Fall of Gilead and Battle of Jericho Hill.

The first two novels themselves have also been adapted into graphic novels, all available through MeLCat. The Gunslinger series consists of The Gunslinger: The Journey Begins,
The Battle of Tull, The Way Station, The Man in Black, and Last Shots. The Little Sisters of Eluria was also adapted into comic book form. The comics continue with The Drawing of the Three series, consisting of The Prisoner, House of Cards, Lady of Shadows, Bitter Medicine, and The Sailor.

There have been several nonfiction works detailing the intricacies of the Dark Tower universe. Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance, Revised and Updated is an encyclopedia of Dark Tower-related information, originally written by Robin Furth for Stephen King's exclusive personal use while he was still writing the series in order to prevent continuity errors. It was later published once King realized how valuable it would be to his "Constant Readers". There's also The Dark Tower Companion: A Guide to Stephen King's Epic Fantasy.

Additionally, there are many other Stephen King works that reference or are related to the Dark Tower series. A partial list includes Salem's Lot, Eyes of the Dragon, Bag of Bones, Black House, Insomnia, Desperation and its companion novel The Regulators, From a Buick 8, Cell, Rose Madder, Hearts in Atlantis, and The Stand.

The novel It also has ties to the Dark Tower series and has a widely anticipated movie adaptation coming out on September 8th. The trailer is available to watch here (if you dare!) and an interactive VR experience was released yesterday for the bravest of heart. You can also catch up with the 1990 made-for-TV movie, available here.

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Blog Post

PreK Bits - "S" is for SLEEPYHEADS

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 4:28pm by LibraryRachel

This week Ms. Rachel presented stories that needed quiet so the sleepyheads can go to sleep.
The HINKY PINK ... A Hinky Pink came to live in the Tailor's house. She would not go to sleep until she had a perfect bed.
Ms. Betsy played guitar and Ms. Rachel led the action song "Wake Up You Sleepyheads”. Here is a clip for demonstration.
OWL At HOME has several stories in the book. We heard about "Strange Bumps" in the night. They were "most unpleasant !".

For more books for and about SLEEPYHEADS try the following favorites:
The SQUEAKY DOOR had a Grandma putting her Grand-daughter to bed ... she needed quiet.
SLEEPYHEADS ... where every quiet creature lays their sleepy head.
QUIET BUNNY'S MANY COLORS ... find them in the garden.
The QUIET BOOK ... very thoughtful, lovely prose, and beautiful gentle illustrations.
SHH! WE HAVE A PLAN ... who needs to be quiet?
TIPTOE JOE ... tiptoe to be quiet.
HANK FINDS AN EGG ... on a quiet walk in the woods. What shall he do?
The FAMILY BEDTIME TREASURY: Tales For Sleepy Times and Sweet Dreams ... a treasure trove in one book!
BEDTIME FOR BEAR ... with a "small but effervescent" overnight guest. Delightful storytelling and illustrations!
Find a cozy space. Read a cozy book.
Good Night!
Sleep Tight.

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Blog Post

Badge Drop #9: Copious Commentary!

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 6:13pm by mariah

WHOOOOOEEEEEE, Summer Gamers! Now that we're DEEP into SG Season, things are getting INTENSE!

This week we've got badges that will send you to the HIGHEST HEIGHTS — flying with noted night bombers, rooting out records in the final frontier, and even shimmying up a (bean)stalk for EPIC ADVENTURE!

But OF COURSE, that's not all! We wouldn't leave you hanging ALL THE WAY UP THERE, so we've balanced all of that out by GETTING DOWN (in a DEEP GEOLOGICAL sense) with one badge that is TOTALLY THE PITS!

2017 Badge Drop #9
echo theme_summergame_badge(1458,1459,1460,1461,1462,1499,1490,1465,1491,1500,1498,1497,1492,1494,1496,1495,1493);

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! We reassured you last week that WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! But we really really DO, and often your fellow gamers and library users do TOO (ESPECIALLY when you might be helping your fellow gamers DECIPHER TRICKY BUSINESS and earn MORE BADGES)!

So UP THAT CHATTER! Ramp up the remarks! Hit REPLY to add your voice to this thread, or the MANY, MANY others all about Summer Game and all the BEST STUFF happening at YOUR LIBRARY, and you will be richly rewarded with the COMMENT MASTER badges!

And... speaking of REWARDS... STAY TUNED for a shop drop later tonight!


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Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #649

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 10:41pm by muffy

With the melancholic lyrics of one of Japan's top singles Blue Light Yokohama * * threading through the narrative, debut novelist Nicolás Obregón introduces Inspector Iwata in an atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful series opener. The story was inspired in part, by an actual unsolved crime in 2000.

Kosuke Iwata, newly reinstated to the Homicide Division of the Tokyo Police was immediately assigned to a multiple murder case when the lead detective committed suicide. His new partner, the sharp-tongued, brash dynamo Noriko Sakai was less than enthusiastic - weary of the gossips surround Iwata's troubled past, suspicious of his American background (UCLA), and frustrated with superiors who clearly want them to fail.

On February 14, four members of the Kaneshiro family were brutally butchered in their home. While the Tokyo brass were ready to pin the murders on a crippled thug, Iwata and Sakai puzzled over the ritualistic details at the crime scene - missing body part, a distinctive incense smell, and symbol of a black sun scrolled on the ceiling. Almost immediately, the "Black Sun Killer" claimed another victim - the widow of a prominent judge.

Fighting his personal demons and insomnia, Iwata relentlessly follows up on every lead, explores every angle, trying to connect these murders while finding others as far away as Hong Kong, and instinctively knowing that the killer is not done.

"Obregón (a LA-based travel writer who fell in love with Japan while on assignment for a magazine) maintains a high level of suspense throughout his superior fiction debut, an intricately constructed whodunit that doesn’t sacrifice depth of characterization for plot." (Publishers Weekly)

Fans of police procedurals set in contemporary Japan might also enjoy Malice (the first in the Kyochiro Kaga mystery series) and Under the Midnight Sun (a Detective Sasagaki novel), both by Edgar-nominated Keigo Higashino.

The tormented Iwata brings to mind Insomnia (2002), an American psychological thriller that is a remake of the 1997 Norwegian noir classic.

* * = 2 starred reviews