Press enter after choosing selection

News and Reviews

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous (Non)Fiction Firsts #838, Honoring Mothers

by muffy

i_ccannot_controlI Cannot Control Everything Forever : a memoir of motherhood, science, and art by Emily C. Bloom (also available in downloadable eBook and audiobook, read by the author), is an intimate and engaging memoir about navigating motherhood - the joy, the challenges, and lessons learned parenting an exceptional child.

In her late 30s, Emily gave birth to a daughter who is diagnosed with congenital deafness and later at 13 months, Type 1 diabetes. What follows are rounds of doctor’s visits, decisions regarding genetic testing and diagnosis, the latest technologies (cochlear implants), as well as a regimented daily routine. At one point, with a husband on a tenure track at a university-one-does-not-turn-down, she gave up her faculty appointment to care for their daughter. 

In lesser hands, this journey could have come across as bleak but in “trying to find a way out of the loneliness and individualism of 21st century parenthood, Emily finds joy in reaching outwards, towards art and literature-such as the maternal messiness of Louise Bourgeois (from whom Emily borrowed the title for this memoir), or Greek myths about the power of fate-as well as the collective sustenance of friends and community. With lyrical and enchanting prose, I Cannot Control Everything Forever is an inspired meditation on art, science, and motherhood.” (Library Journal) 

"Thoughtful reflections on technology and humanity amid difficult parenting experiences." (Kirkus Reviews)

Winner of the MSA First Book Prize for her academic title The Wireless Past: Anglo-Irish Writers and the BBC, 1931-1968 (2016), Emily's memoir is highly recommended for readers who enjoy nonfiction that reads like fiction. Raised in Ann Arbor, Emily lives in NYC and is a Mellon Public Humanities Fellow at Sarah Lawrence College.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Memoirs About Moms

by lucroe

With Mother’s Day around the corner, here a few memoirs from our stacks that explore and celebrate what it means to be a mother in its vast and varying forms. On Mother’s Day, we honor and celebrate them all!

Where Rivers Part : A Story of My Mother by Kao Kalia Yang | Request Now
The cover of Where Rivers Part : A Story of My Mother by Kao Kalia YangYang writes in her latest memoir about her mother’s escape from the genocidal attacks on the Hmong people in Laos. The story provides a much-needed understanding of America’s involvement in Laos at the time of the Vietnam War when the CIA recruited Hmong men to assist in what they called Laos’s Secret War. Once the Americans left, the Hmong people were at the mercy of the Laos government who saw them as conspirators, which led many to flee. Yang was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and came to America at the age of six. Her previous memoir, The Latehomecomer is about her journey to America. In this she writes openly and beautifully about her Hmong family and her mother’s refugee life in vivid detail, truly exhibiting what courage looks like on the page. Another book, Somewhere in the Unknown World, Yang compiles stories from refugees around the world living in Minnesota (where the author resides).

 

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Family Fun

by nicole

These kids graphic novels are all about families - from chosen families made up of close friends, to blended families with blended cultures, to loud houses full of countless cousins.

A Place for Pauline by Anouk Mahiout | Request Now

The cover of A Place for Pauline by Anouk MahioutA charming graphic novel about Pauline, the eldest child in a large family who longs for peace and quiet. Pauline lives with her mother, father, little brother and sister, and there's a new baby on the way. Her friends tell her she's lucky to be the eldest -- she's the one who gets new clothes and can stay up late -- but Pauline isn't so sure. In her busy, crowded, noisy house, she never knows what she's supposed to do. One minute she's told to help her little sister, and the next to leave her alone! It seems like she's never in the right place at the right time, and her brother seems determined to prevent her from reading in peace. So Pauline finds a secret hideaway, and in this quiet place, surrounded by her precious belongings, where she can read her favorite books, make up stories, and imagine being as free as a bird. But most of all, she dreams of sailing off to France where her grandmother lives, and one day she decides to do just that. Funny and touching, this graphic novel highlights the importance of finding our place and the comforts of home.  

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #837

by muffy

kamogawa

The Kamogawa Food Detectives * by Hisaski Kasiwai, translated by Jesse Kirkwood, the 2020 Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize winner, (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook).

The first in an eight-book series, originally published in Japan in 2013, it introduces readers to Koishi Kamogawa and her father Nagare. On a quiet backstreet in Kyoto, behind the nondescript facade of an anonymous-looking building, the Kamogawa Diner serves up deliciously extravagant meals. There is no menu, no advertisement except for a cryptic one in an obscure food magazine. But that does not stop customers from seeking them out. Nagare, a retired and widowed Kyoto detective and 30-something Koishi are “food detectives,” offering their investigative services to find recipes so clients could recreate dishes from their treasured memories.   

Among their satisfied clients is one of Nagare’s fellow detectives, who is looking for the"Nabeyaki-Udon” recipe that his late wife created. A successful businessman is looking to recreate the "Mackerel Sushi, offered by a kind neighbor while he was orphaned at an early age. A piano teacher is looking for the beef stew recipe at a restaurant served to her 55 years ago when she rejected a young man’s proposal. A restauranteur's ex-wife is looking for the recipe her husband used to prepare for her now that he is dying.

“Though each of the six stand-alone chapters follows the same formulaic recipe, Kashiwai's unique blend of seasonings is more than enough to transform each into a five-star-worthy dish. Koishi and Nagare strive to re-create not only the precise dishes their clients want, but also to envelop them in a warm memory blanket of nostalgia.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Off-beat and charming, [with] more complexity of flavor than you might expect.”  (NPR – Fresh Air with Terry Gross)

For fans of Before the Coffee Gets Cold, and those who binged on Midnight Diner:Tokyo Stories

* = Starred review

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Intriguing Nonfiction

by emjane

If reading nonfiction sometimes feels like homework to you, you’re not alone. But, also, I think it means you just haven’t found the right book to pique your interest. Here are four nonfiction titles that kept me turning pages and continue to—welcomely—take up brain space, even after I’ve returned them to the library.
 

Monsters : A Fan’s Dilemma by Claire Dederer| Request Now

The cover of Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma by Claire DedererHow do you separate the art from the artist? Is it important to? Is it important not to? This “fan’s dilemma” provides the complicated backbone for Claire Dederer’s Monsters. An expansion of her excellent Paris Review essay “What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?”, Dederer explores how we struggle (or don’t) with engaging in work by complicated creators ranging from Woody Allen to J.K. Rowling to Pablo Picasso. If you’re looking for a book to tell you whether you can or can’t listen to Michael Jackson anymore, this isn’t it. Dederer is not writing to provide the moral path or convert you to her opinions. Rather, she’s wrestling with this complicated notion and letting you come along for the ride. This was one of the best books I read in 2023 and one I’m continually returning to in my mind. (Wondering if it’s the book for you? Read the essay linked above. If you like that, you’ll like Monsters. If you don’t, give it a pass.)

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Caring for Your Home

by lucroe

Now that spring is here, taking care of one’s home beyond just a general spring cleaning may be of interest. Here are a few books in our collection that will help in fixing or simply improving areas of your home or take a dive into home decorating and organizing.

How Your House Works by Charles Wing | Request Now
The copy of How Your House Works by Charles Wing In How Your House Works, you will find dozens of illustrations of sink drains, septic tanks, and every type of wiring in this handy book illustrated by Charlie Wing, a world-renowned home remodeling expert and founder of two house-building schools. You’ll never have to think, “What’s this and what does it do?” when working on your home, and you’ll get tips on how to keep things working.

 

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: The Art of Motherhood

by nicole

Motherhood, and all the feelings of joy, pain, and indifference that come with it, are perfectly represented in these graphic novels revolving around the complex experiences that come with creating new humans. These comics follow new moms, soon-to-be moms, and never-to-be moms as they explore what motherhood means to them.

I Don't Want To Be a Mom by Irene Olmo | Request Now

The cover of I Don't Want To Be a Mom by Irene Olmo What does choice really mean when it comes to motherhood? In this graphic memoir, Irene Olmo recounts her coming-of-age transformation from assuming she will one day start a family to realizing that she just doesn’t want to be a mom. With an affecting mix of humor and introspection, she describes the subtle and not-so-subtle ways she was pressured to have children and the feelings of isolation and self-doubt that ensued. Her delightful color illustrations capture the maddeningly narrow-minded reactions of those around her as well as her own discomfort and frustration. A true story of liberation and self-empowerment in the face of societal prejudice, I Don’t Want to Be a Mom shows us that "choice" has more than one dimension and that, ultimately, some questions in life are more complicated than they seem. This comic gives voice to those who choose to be child-free or feel ambivalent toward motherhood, and is a fascinating exploration of the imposition of motherhood on women as both an expectation and a path toward fulfillment.  

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Simply Great Games

by emjane

If you haven’t checked out games from AADL, what are you waiting for? It’s the best way to try out a new game without committing to the purchase, and we’ve got an excellent selection. Previously I’ve highlighted Great Two-Player Games, and Great Games You Can Play in Under an Hour, but today I’m setting theme aside and recommending Simply Great Games! Check them out!

 

Wingspan | Request Now

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Star Gazing & Planet Hopping Journeys

by lucroe

Most of Southeast Michigan will experience at least a partial solar eclipse on April 8. Most of Michigan will not fall in the path of totality, it depends on where in North America you live, but it will still be a stunning show at 99% totality in Ann Arbor. Join the library in watching the live streaming of the event on our big lobby screen. Below are some books for the astronomy lover in all of us including one about the solar eclipse of 1878.  

American Eclipse by David Baron | Request Now
The cover of American Eclipse by David BaronThis book chronicles the journeys of three eclipse enthusiasts who went to witness the historic total solar eclipse of July 29, 1878 for different reasons. James Craig Watson, astronomy professor & a director of the University of Michigan's Detroit Observatory, who aimed to find a new planet; Maria Mitchell, an astronomer, sought to establish women's presence in the scientific field; and Thomas Edison, a budding inventor, intended to test his tasimeter, a tool for measuring infrared radiation, and enhance his reputation. These individuals' tales showcase the drive and inquisitiveness of American scientists during the late 19th century as the nation strove to solidify its standing in the global scientific arena. A fascinating slice of history involving the experiences of three scientists and an equally amazing, rare event.

 

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #836, Celebrating Women with History

by muffy

excitements

The Excitements * * *  by C. J. Wray (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook

Nonagenarian sisters Josephine and Penny Williamson, Britain's most treasured World War II veterans, are constantly in demand at commemorative events. Always perfectly groomed and mentally engaged, they live independently in their London home cared for by their capable housekeeper Arlene; and devoted grand-nephew Archie who is tasked to provide them with constant “excitement”. The latest being an invitation to Paris to receive the Légion d'honneur for their part in the liberation of France.

While Josephine is circumspect initially about making the trip, Penny is eager. Unbeknownst to the family and perhaps each other, both sisters are hiding secrets, “official” and otherwise. Now armed with newly unearthed information, they intend to revisit old haunts, settle scores, avenge lost friends, and pull off one last, daring heist in the City of Light. 

“Switching between the 1940s and 2022, this book is utterly charming, with its lead characters a feisty mix of Madame Arcati, Miss Marple, Mata Hari, and Danny Ocean. It's gently humorous and full of twists, but it's the liveliness, verve, and charisma of Penny and Josephine, who are determined not to let old age slow them down one bit, that makes this such a satisfying read.” (Booklist) 

For fans of The Rose Code (2021)  and Killers of a Certain Age (2022).

* * * = 3 starred reviews

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Teen Cookbooks

by nicole

If you're an aspiring chef or just a hungry teen, the YA section is the perfect place to search for simple and fun recipes that anyone can make. These cookbooks cover everything from revenge recipes best served cold to the cutest cakes you've ever seen.

Sweet Revenge : Passive-Aggressive Desserts for Your Exes & Enemies by Heather Kim | Request Now

The cover of Sweet Revenge : Passive-Aggressive Desserts for Your Exes & Enemies by Heather KimExplore 50+ killer cakes, cookies, and candies that are perfectly passive aggressive - just right for serving to your exes and enemies. Dumped by your crush? Betrayed by your best friend? Lab partner a no-show? Don't take these battles online! (Seriously, don't do that.) Get out your heaviest rolling pins, sharpest cleavers, and most blistering torches, and kill your enemies and exes with kindness. Bake that loser ex a pan of Go Fudge Yourself, or gift your former friend a You're the Devil Cake. Pastry chef and tattoo artist Heather Kim serves up sinfully delicious recipes and bittersweet advice in this quirky cookbook about working out your aggression in the kitchen.  

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #835, Debuts from Down Under

by muffy

greta_&_valdin

Greta & Valdin * *  by Rebecca K. Reilly, a Maaori novelist from Waitaakere, New Zealand, is a New York Times Editors’ Choice (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook). 

“We’re all strange, romantic emotional people in this family,” proclaims Linsh Vladisavljevic as he watches his two younger children navigate queerness, multiracial identity, and the familial dramas big and small. 

Linsh, an Auckland university professor of Biology is Russian Moldovan while wife, Betty is Māori. Daughter G (Greta), a graduate student in literature, shares an apartment with her brother Valdin - a former astrophysicist with O.C.D. who now hosts a tv travel show. The novel opens when a missed directed package plunges Valdin (who goes by V) into melancholy, pining for ex-boyfriend Xabi who moved to Argentina, while G is smarting from her painfully unrequited crush on a fellow tutor and tentatively reaching out to a charming fellow student. Then work sends V to Buenos Aires where he has to decide whether to reconnect with Xabi and what the future will hold for them.

“The story follows the duo in alternating first-person chapters as they navigate bad dates, bouts of insecurity and even encounters with racism, and as they come closer to understanding themselves and their desires.” (New York Times)

“Reilly herself is of Ngāti Hine and Ngāti Wai descent. In the wrong hands this could all be quirk for quirk’s sake, or a half-baked hybrid of Schitt’s Creek and The Royal Tenenbaums. But Reilly’s humor is so riotously specific, and the many moments of true poignancy so gently infused with that same humor, that the Vladisavljevics seem like no one but themselves….Say hello to your new favorite fictional family.“ (Kirkus Reviews)

green_dot

Green Dot by Sydney writer/critic Madeleine Gray (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) introduces readers to Hera Stephen, a 24 year-old comments-moderator for an online news outlet where she meets Arthur, a middle-age journalist (and her boss). With 3 arts-degrees, Hera is broke and living in Sydney with her lovely gay father. What started as message-based flirtation (hence the title, referencing the green dot that indicates a user is online) she soon finds herself falling into an all-consuming affair with Arthur though for years, she preferred women to men. Before long, Hera develops an obsession, which only grows stronger as Arthur refuses to leave his wife.

“As the book tracks the increasingly doomed love affair (including through the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic), the only thing keeping the narrative from devolving into something grim and cynical is Hera's dynamic and snarky voice….Her narration is peppered with references to music and pop culture, the things that define your personality in your 20s, when you're still searching, as Hera is, for some kind of identity.” (Kirkus Reviews) 

“Although ironic and flippant, Green Dot avoids nihilism, and is ultimately about the search for meaning through love. It vividly illustrates how someone can lose their perspective, principles and dignity in its name, ignoring overwhelming evidence of the probable conclusion.” (The Guardian)

Readers interested in examining why smart women expect their lovers to leave their wives, despite overwhelming evidence that the contrary is more likely, might be interested in Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends, Imogen Crimp's A Very Nice Girl, and Laura Warrell's Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm. 

 * * = 2 starred reviews

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Kids Mystery Comics

by nicole

If you're searching for a mystery, these kids comics about sleuthing sloths, rat detectives, and alligator investigators are perfect for animal-lovers and aspiring detectives alike.

Sloth Sleuth, Vol. 1 by Cyndi Marko | Request Now

The cover of Sloth Sleuth, Vol. 1 by Cyndi Marko On Winkelfuss, an island crawling with crime, everyone's a suspect. Luckily, its resident sloth can solve crimes in her sleep (and often does!). Meet Paz, the world's first sloth sleuth. She may be slow . . . but she's on the case! Whether she’s hunting for pirate treasure or solving mysterious disappearances, she's always one step ahead of the bad guys. This series follows Paz and her friends as she solves crimes and tries to avoid being sloth-napped! When you're done with #1, you can find the rest of this series here.  

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #834, Celebrating Women’s History Month

by muffy

city_of_laughter

City of Laughter, * * a debut novel (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award winner Temin Fruchter is “a wondrous intergenerational story of queerness and Jewish folklore.” (Publishers Weekly)

Called “brainy and richly textured (The New York Times) the novel opens in 18th century Ropshitz, Poland where a holy jester whose job is to make wedding guests laugh, receives a visitation from a mysterious stranger. In present day New York, 32-year old Shiva Margolin, reeling from the recent death of her father and the breakup with her girlfriend, Dani found among her father’s things, photos of her enigmatic maternal grandmother, Syl, and great-grandmother Mira. But her mother Hannah refuses to talk about them. 

Frustrated with the generational silence, Shiva starts studying the work of Jewish folklorist S. Ansky, and enrolls in a master's program which presents her with an opportunity to visit Warsaw, only hours away from Mira's small town of Ropshitz. She hopes her family's mysteries will make more sense if she walks in their footsteps.

“This novel, like Shiva’s work, is a collection of beautiful scraps—scraps of folktales and memory, hidden family histories, love letters, accounts of strange happenings in the past and present—all tangled together and rewoven into a whole that’s strange, lush, imaginative and pulsing with life…As Shiva becomes more deeply immersed in the lives of her foremothers, those foremothers become more vibrant and detailed, in prose that moves from shimmering and dreamlike to sharply funny to wonderfully contemplative.” (BookPage)

Readers might also enjoy The Thirty Names of Night * * * * by Zeyn Joukhadar (2020), and The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh (2022).

* * * * = 4 starred reviews

* * = 2 starred reviews

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: For the Love of Birds

by lucroe

Birding has become especially popular since the pandemic. It can be a relaxing and enjoyable hobby for adults and kids. It can even be rewarding when you spot a new species to add to your list. The library has a number of great books and resources for those just starting as well as pros who want to learn more. From the Wingscapes Birdcam to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of World database (see below for more about this), there is something for every bird lover at AADL.

Birding to Change the World by Trish O’Kane | Request Now
The cover of Birding to Change the World by Trish O’KaneThis memoir tells the story of O’Kane’s tragic loss of her New Orleans home after Hurricane Katrina and how it led to her environmental activism especially dedicated to wildlife conservation. In her mid-40’s, she decided to return to college to earn a PhD in environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There her focus turns to ornithology. She realized that bird-watching was “like journalism. ... You observe. You listen. You take good notes. You piece together clues.” Her other concern became lower income children’s lack of access to the wonders of nature. As a result, she created an after-school birding club and mentoring program between college students and middle schoolers which is still active today.

 

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Recommendation Potpourri: Seven Books in Seven Days

by emjane

At the end of February, I took one of those wonderful, restorative vacations where you fly somewhere warm and don’t do much of anything for a week. When I find myself lucky enough to have these “gift of time” trips, I still can’t help but set up a little structure and challenge myself to read a book a day. I have the benefit of being a fast reader, and I also stack the deck a bit by leaving the giant tomes at home (you can only pack so many books!), but on the trips where I manage to achieve that silly benchmark, I return home bubbling about the reading even more than about the sunshine! Here are my reading highlights from that trip!

 

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood | Request Now

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Graphic Novels Series to Start

by nicole

If you're sick of standalone reads or need something to keep you hooked for a while, here are some great graphic novel series from AADL's collection. These titles are perfect if you're looking to start a new series.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan | Request Now

The cover of Saga by Brain K. VaughnBlending sci-fi and romance, Saga is a sweeping tale about star-crossed lovers from enemy worlds fighting to find their place in the universe. When Alana first meets Marko, they're two soldiers fighting on opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Against all odds, they fall in love and risk everything to escape and bring a fragile new life into their dangerous old universe. This story is a wild, intergalactic ride that follows new parents Marko and Alana as they try to raise their child in a war-torn galaxy. This epic space opera is both heartfelt and hilarious, and is intended for mature readers only. Readers who love the first book can find the others in the series in AADL's catalog.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Fiction By Debut Authors

by eapearce

Everyone has to start somewhere, and sometimes an author’s first book isn’t always their best work. It can take time to find one’s voice and style of writing! I often find it interesting to go back and read an author’s early work after discovering them by reading their third or fourth novel. Debuts often just feel a bit less… polished. But sometimes an author seems to know exactly how to tell a story right from the start and, first book or not, the writing keeps readers turning the pages as quickly as they can. Several 2024 debuts that fall into this category have already been released. If you’re looking to discover a new author and dive right into some excellent writing, peruse these suggestions!

Ways and Means, by Daniel Lefferts | Request Now

The cover of Ways and Means, by Daniel LeffertsAlistair McCabe arrives in New York determined to escape the Rust Belt poverty of his childhood. He’s determined, fiercely intelligent, handsome, gay, and eager to earn an excellent living to support the mother who raised him and give her a better life. There’s a fine line between ambition and greed, however, and as Alistair is sucked into the world of modern high finance, he finds himself adrift and unsure of how to make the right decisions. Desperate, in the spring of 2016 he begins working for an enigmatic billionaire and tries to keep his dream alive. Of course, things don’t go according to plan and when Alistair discovers his employer’s secret he finds himself on the run and, along with the older couple he’d been in a relationship with, facing a nation on the brink of chaos to match that of his personal life. Ways and Means is an “indelible, deeply moving investigation of class and ambition, sex and art, and politics and power in the American 21st century.”

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: A Bit of Romantasy

by lucroe

For readers craving that overlap between romance and fantasy, check out these titles that have it all: magic, creatures, and love! 

Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna | Request Now
The cover of Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu MandannaA cozy romantasy about Mika Moon, who happens to be a witch but no one knows except her coven, who don't understand how lonely she has felt throughout the years. When a mysterious message arrives asking her to come to Nowhere House to train three young witches how to control their magic, she knows it's a bad idea to go. Who knows, maybe there she'll find something worth taking a chance on like the house librarian Jamie Kelly who she is immediately attracted to but who gives her the cold shoulder. Could she melt that icy heart of his?

 

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: New Historical Fiction at AADL

by eapearce

Historical fiction remains one of the most popular genres for local readers! Titles in the genre offer readers the opportunity to learn more about past events, especially ones you’re not familiar with, often in a less-dense manner than non-fiction books about the same events might provide. If you’re looking for your next historical fiction read, check out one of these newly added titles to the library collection and add yourself to the holds list.

The Berlin Letters, by Katherine Reay | Request Now

The cover of The Berlin Letters by Katherine ReayThe Cold War is coming to a close and CIA codebreaker Luisa Voekler is frustrated. Since a young girl, she’s always enjoyed using her logical, quick mind to solve puzzles and crack codes. She expected to move up quickly in the CIA, but while her colleagues are working hard to complete assignments that will hopefully finally bring the Cold War to an end, Luisa is stuck still cracking leftover codes from back during World War II. When she analyzes a letter with symbols she recognizes from her childhood, though, something clicks into place and she begins to wonder if her long-lost father is not, in fact, dead after all, as she’s always thought. Determined to figure out the truth, Luisa travels East Germany, determined to get her father out–if he’s still alive. As the book races toward the climactic fall of the Berlin Wall, readers journey with Luisa to the heart of Berlin to experience the monumental moment with her, and to hopefully share in her discovery of answers to questions she has had her whole life. This book includes book discussion questions at the end, making it a good fit for book clubs!

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Fabulous Fiction from U-M Alum

by emjane

The Helen Zell Writers Program, University of Michigan’s MFA program, has an impressive alumni list, who—would you believe it—have written some impressively good books! Here are a few of my favorites.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett | Request Now

The cover of The Vanishing Half, by Brit BennettTwin sisters Desiree and Stella both leave home at 16 and their lives, which up until that point had been lived in tandem, dramatically diverge. Told from shifting perspectives between Desiree, Stella, and their daughters, The Vanishing Half spans generations to tell an engaging story of identity, family, and connection.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Teen Books on TV

by nicole

Several Teen books have been adapted into shows in the past few years. If you like to read the book before you see it on TV, check out these YA stories that have been recreated for the small screen.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman | Request Now

The cover of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil GaimanAccording to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just after tea. Which means that Armageddon will happen on Saturday night. So the armies of Good and Evil are gathering, the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse are revving up their mighty hogs and hitting the road, and the world's last two remaining witch-finders are getting ready to fight the good fight, awkwardly armed with antiquated instructions and stick pins. Armageddon is in the air. Which is a major problem for Crowley, a fast-living demon, and his opposite and old friend Aziraphale, a fussy angel. They like it down here, and they're not particularly looking forward to the end of it all. So they've got no choice but to defeat the marching ranks of the Witchfinder's army and - somehow - stop the Rapture from happening. Above all, they've got to find and kill the most powerful being on earth, the Antichrist (which is a shame, as he's a really nice kid). There's just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him. This over-the-top story is equal parts humor and fantasy, and the TV series is also available in our catalog.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Cooking Abroad: Explore the World With International Cookbooks

by eapearce

One way to experience other places is through food. And the great thing about food is, even if you can’t actually cross the ocean to try it in its country of origin, you can always try your hand at making a dish at home! Cooking with unfamiliar ingredients or preparing dishes that you’ve never made before can be daunting, but these cookbooks make it easy to explore other cuisines in the comfort of your own kitchen. Take a look!

Maydān: Recipes From Lebanon and Beyond, by Rose Previte | Request Now

The cover of Maydan by Rose PreviteAuthor Rose Previte is the owner of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. with the same name as this cookbook. At both her restaurant and in this book, she invites readers to join her on a culinary journey through North Africa and parts of the Middle East, following many of the ancient spice trading routes. In fact, Previte herself traveled extensively throughout the region learning from home cooks before opening Maydān and creating this cookbook. Of course, the old spice transport routes don’t follow modern geopolitical boundaries, and one of the foundations of the cookbook is the parallels that Previte draws in the different foods from the region. She notes that people have baked bread in clay ovens in strikingly similar ways across the region, and that many of the spice blends in one area have extremely alike counterparts in another. The cookbook offers over 150 recipes and Previte encourages readers/cooks to prepare foods the way her family did when she was growing up: scale down for a weeknight meal and up for a weekend one or a party, mix and match components from different recipes, make a simple meal pop with a delicious dip or spice blend. She also includes Georgian and Lebanese wine pairings of wines that are easy to source or find here in the U.S. This cookbook is a flavorful treat.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Breakfast Bonanza: Cookbooks for the Start of Your Day

by eapearce

Whether or not you believe that the most important meal of the day is breakfast, as the old adage goes, there is something to be said about having a delicious beginning to your morning. In the following cookbooks, you’ll get ideas for how to make breakfast unique, yummy, easy, and all three!

Breakfast: The Cookbook, by Emily Miller | Request Now

The cover of Breakfast: The Cookbook, by Emily MillerThis delightful and comprehensive book shares recipes for home-cooking breakfasts from all over the world. Hundreds of recipes are compiled here with straightforward and simple instructions, so that you can prepare a dish that you’ve perhaps never even heard of before (a good thing, if you’re cooking at 7am!). Culinary notes and backgrounds on the origins of the recipes add a nice touch and provide the reader with interesting insight as to where the recipe they are preparing comes from and how people in that region might enjoy it. Conveniently, the index is organized by both food and country, so you can search for what you’re looking for by either categorization. Recipes are divided by food type as well as dietary restriction, such as gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, quick and easy, under five ingredients and more. Lovely photographs accompany the recipes. This is a great book for any breakfast-lover, or even for anyone who is breakfast-curious and looking to up their morning meal routine.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Motown Turns 65

by lucroe

Berry Gordy founded Tamla Records on January 12, 1959, later adding the Motown Records label. We celebrate the immense contribution to music with some books, CDs, and a movie. To learn more about Motown go to Detroit’s own Motown Museum.

Where Did Our Love Go? : the Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound by Nelson George | Request Now
Where did our Love go?Originally written in the 1980s, this is a well-researched and straightforward account of Motown’s history. George traces Berry Gordy’s career as well as the vocalists, songwriters and musicians who made the Motown sound synonymous with the 1960’s. In the end, according to accounts, Gordy lost touch with his artists and Motown became “…just another record company…”. George has written a book that shows great appreciation for the Motown that was once a powerhouse of the music industry.

 

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: New Music by Black Artists in Celebration of Black History Month

by eapearce

AADL is always adding new music to our collection in the form of both CDs and LP records! This month we’ve got a feature on newly added titles by Black artists, in celebration of February being Black History Month. Enjoy!

Afro Futuristic Dreams, by Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids | Request Now

Afro Futuristic DreamsThis new jazz album, the first by Idris Ackamoore since 2020, draws influences from a wide variety of artists: you’ll hear elements of Parliament Funkadelic, Sun Ra and Fela Kuti along with more traditional jazz sounds and combinations. The smoothness of Afro Futuristic Dreams doesn’t take away from its politically charged message, aided by Ackamoor delivering straightforward lyrics about current events. Ackamoor, who came of age in the 1960s, has always felt that making music is about “making change happen,” and it’s clear on this new record that he’s pushing for change in the United States in lots of ways. The Pyramids were founded in the early 1970s in Ohio, and became known for combining African rhythms with the psychedelic jazz that was particularly popular in the U.S. at the time. Known for being one of the few bands who actually spent time traveling and playing in Africa to best capture the authentic sounds they were seeking, they’re just as strong as ever accompanying Ackamoor on this record (he was a founding member of the band back in the day). This record is well worth a listen.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: A Library Card: Your Ticket to Free Streaming!

by emjane

Peeved that your streaming service is adding commercials? Luckily there is a whole slew of commercial-free streaming content available to you via your aadl.org catalog. You can browse the whole collection of more than 10,000 videos, or check out some recommended picks below:

Travel Documentaries

Seven Worlds One PlanetTravel the world without leaving your couch! BBC’s Emmy-winning Seven Worlds One Planet is a beautiful look at all of the continents. Don’t Forget Your Passport is more causal viewing, but its charming host and highlight of tours across the world is a great way to add future trips to your bucket list. And, of course, you can’t forget the King of Travel, Rick Steves – we have quite a few titles from his Rick Steves’ Europe series!

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Staff Picks: Into The Woods - Middle-Grade Wilderness Comics

by nicole

Looking for adventure, but stuck at home in the snow? Travel to magical jungles and frontier forests with these wild wilderness graphic novels.
 

Mighty Jack, Book 1 by Ben Hatke | Request Now

Mighty JackJack might be the only kid in the world dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility. And it's boring, too, because Maddy never talks. Not ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk: she tells Jack to trade their mom's car for a box of mysterious seeds. It's the best mistake Jack has ever made. Soon Jack finds himself planting a very unusual garden, one that produces a crop of strange and bizarre creatures. What starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon. If you love Ben Hatke's great storytelling or want more Mighty Jack, check out the rest of his books in the AADL Catalog.

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #833, She investigates...

by muffy

murder_by_degreesMurder by Degrees * * * by Ritu Mukerji

Philadelphia, 1875. Dr. Lydia Weston teaches at the Woman's Medical College and attends to working-class patients at the city's Spruce Street Clinic where she first meets Anna Ward.  Hardworking, highly motivated and an eager learner, Anna works as a chambermaid for the wealthy Curtis family but shares Lydia’s love of literature.  During an appointment with Lydia, Anna is visibly troubled by something she won't explain, and abruptly disappears.  Soon her body is dredged out of the Schuylkill River, bloated beyond recognition, she is identified by her diary and clothes neatly folded by the river.

When the police rules Anna’s death as suicide, Lydia is suspicious, especially when her autopsy confirms otherwise. “Mukerji, like Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, pulls the reader into fascinating and richly detailed forensic autopsies and blesses Weston with the instincts and determination to carry out a murder investigation as effectively as--or even better than--the police.” (Kirkus Reviews) 

“This well-researched, historical-mystery debut by a practicing physician will appeal to readers who enjoy strong female characters and graphic clinical details.” (Booklist)   For fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd

dexpectant_detectivesThe Expectant Detectivesby Kat Ailes is the first in a new cozy mystery series, set in the sleepy village of Penton. Finding themselves unexpectedly expecting, Alice and her partner Joe move out of pricy London to embrace country life in the Cotswolds. With the baby coming in 2 weeks, they sign up for a prenatal class. When one of the women goes into labor during class, frenzy ensues until someone notices Mr. Oliver, owner of the herb shop downstairs, keels over dead, and they find themselves all suspects in the murder investigation. 

Together with her band of pregnant sleuths, Alice manages to suss out Mr. Oliver's many secrets, his connection to the hippie commune in the woods and the mysterious death in the village some years ago.  What’s most disturbing for Alice is how Joe has been acting strangely and someone tries to poison her goofy canine companion Helen.

In this The Thursday Murder Club meets Midsomer Murders, “readers of Darci Hannah will enjoy Helen’s spotlight in this series. The humor is akin to Elle Cosimano’s Finlay Donovan series, and the relationship between Joe and Alice is reminiscent of Jules Capshaw’s romantic endeavors in Ellie Alexander’s “Bakeshop Mysteries.(Publishers Weekly) 

* * * = 3 starred reviews

* = Starred review

Graphic for events post

Blog Post

AADL Weather Hours Update: January 12-13, 2024

by richretyi

Due to the impending snowstorm, all AADL locations will close at 3 pm Friday (Jan. 12) and reopen at noon on Saturday (Jan. 13). Items on the hold shelf will be held through Tuesday (Jan. 16).

If you have questions, please text or call 734-327-4200 or email ask@aadl.org. 

Thank you for your understanding!