News and Reviews
Sun, 07/15/2018 - 10:48am by muffy
The Lost Vintage * is food and travel writer (Mastering The Art Of French Eating: Lessons in food and love from a year In Paris, 2013) Ann Mah’s hardcover debut. It is informed by the experience of spending a week working in a Champagne vineyard. (See her 2016 article for the New York Times)
With the San Francisco Michelin-starred restaurant closing abruptly, sommelier Kate Elliott was at loose ends. Anxious over her upcoming final try (she failed twice) at the Master of Wine Examination, she returned to the vineyard in Burgundy that has belonged to her mother’s family for generations, intent on bolstering her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages. The domaine is now run by her cousin Nico and his wife Heather, Kate’s UC Berkeley roommate and best friend, who recruited Kate to help clear out the enormous farmhouse cellar. Behind an armoire, Kate discovered a bricked-up cave filled with valuable wine, her great-aunt Helene's diary written during the Nazi Occupation, and eventually, the family’s buried secret.
“(A) charismatic blend of mystery, romance, and post-WWII French history... Mah’s engaging story resonates on many levels and will appeal to readers who enjoy the family sagas of Kate Morton and Kristin Hannah.” (Booklist) In the Author’s Note, Mah suggests A Train In Winter: An extraordinary story of women, friendship, and Resistance In Occupied France for the often forgotten role of French women during the war; and Agnès Humbert’s memoir, Résistance : A woman's journal of struggle and defiance In Occupied France that deeply influenced the character of Helene.
* = Starred review
Tue, 07/10/2018 - 4:29pm by Lucy S
After her mother had a stroke, Tessa Fontaine felt the need to do something brave with her life. Worried about losing her mom, but inspired by the lively, fearless, pre-stroke woman she remembered, Fontaine left behind her mother and step-father to join a traveling sideshow, one of the last remaining, The World of Wonders. After taking an introductory class in fire eating, Fontaine joined up with the show in Florida and spent a season with them, eating fire, charming snakes, swallowing swords, setting up and taking down the show and meeting and befriending a varied group of “geeks.” She chronicles this incredible journey in The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts. Alternating chapters between memories and stories of her mother before and after her stroke, and life on the road with The World of Wonders, Fontaine delivers an enthralling, moving, unusual coming-of-age type tale that is ultimately a tribute to her radiant, strong mother.
You can learn more about Tessa Fontaine, her sideshow career, and her writing here: Tessa Fontaine
Fri, 07/06/2018 - 5:36pm by andrewjmac
Wood you believe we're already a quarter of the way through the game? It's NUTS! It seems like we just embarked on Summer Game 2018 but here we are at Badge Drop #4. And we know you must be a shade curious about what we have in store for you this time around. Well...
This week features the all-new LOG MASTER series! With the Log Master series, you get a badge and a bump for every 10 days you log something.
You HAVE been visiting your My Player page every day and logging your reading, watching, and listening (and getting your 50 daily bonus points), right? NO?? IT'S OKAY, no need to start pining for earlier days of summer and wishing you'd started logging sooner: you've still got time to log enough days to make it to SUPREME LOG MASTER status! We know you can do it! You just need to find your log-a-rhythm and then you can really get your grove on and start scoring!!
And, as a bonus this week, CATALOG RATINGS HAVE MADE THEIR TRIUMPHANT RETURN!! Time for all players to branch out from writing reviews and get to rating all of those things you loved (or things you only kinda liked). Stumped on what to rate? Try rooting through your checkout history!
Let's take a look at the drop!
Badge Drop #4
Maybe some of you have started to feel like Summer Game 2018 is just a day at the beech, sitting at your plum spots atop the leaderboard. Our advice to you is: don't be a sap! With a badge drop like this, other players can start running rings around you anytime and where would THAT leave you?
So Get LOGGING! Get RATING! Grab a bud and get ARBOR EXPLORING! And...
THANKS FIR PLAYING!
Sat, 06/30/2018 - 10:00pm by muffy
The Balcony * by Jane Delury, a novel in 10 interconnected stories (some previously published), is a "breathtaking century-spanning portrait of the inhabitants of a French village, revealing the deception, despair, love, and longing beneath the calm surface of ordinary lives.” ~ Jennifer Egan.
Readers are first introduced to the Léger country estate just outside Paris in 1992, through the eyes of American au pair Brigitte who found herself falling for Hugo, a tortured academic who was about to take up a teaching position at an East Coast college. The narratives came full circle in the last story when we meet Brigitte’s young charge as an adult. In between, we followed intimately a century of inhabitants of the manor and the servant’s cottages - from a courtesan who threw herself off the titular balcony; a Jewish couple in hiding from the Gestapo; to the village schoolmaster and a hero of the Resistance, who bullied his own family, while bearing witness to layers of family secrets and generations of human drama.
“In this sophisticated and impressive first novel, the author deftly ties together seemingly unrelated stories, ranging back and forth in time, while bringing each of her characters to vivid life.” (Library Journal)
* = Starred review
Fri, 06/29/2018 - 5:03pm by Sara W
WHAT'S UP, SUMMER GAMERS?? Seriously, what is up? This is a test, and yes, spelling counts. Luckily, it's multiple choice. So, spelling won't really count.
Question: What's up?
A) The sun!
B) The temperature!
D) Beautiful banners borne by branch buildings!
And the answer, intrepid gamers? Ah HA! You guessed it. You are too clever!
E) ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!!!!
Let us return for a moment to multiple choice option C: Badges! A brand new batch of brilliant badges are ready and waiting for you to DECIPHER their riddles, ABSORB their unusual facts, and CHORTLE at their wordplay. This week's badge drop brings you PANDAS! PUFFERS! PARKS!
This week's badge drop also gives you PURPOSE. No, not a reason to live (though Summer Game is an excellent reason to live) but a PURPOSE to go visit Zingerman's Bakehouse and Food Gatherers!
Badge Drop #3
Now then, let us return for another moment to the pop quiz. Multiple choice options A: The sun! and B: The temperature! are NO JOKE!
It's gonna be HOT, hot as the fury of a summer gamer who missed a program code by 10 minutes. Temperatures are rising like POINT TALLIES around here!
Enter multiple choice option D: Beautiful banners borne by branch buildings! No better time to make a grand tour of AADL buildings and COOL OFF COLLECTING CODES!!!!
Let's close things out with one last pop quiz.
True or false: THANKS FOR PLAYING!!!!!!!!!!!
Wed, 06/27/2018 - 3:09pm by TimG
All AADL locations will be closed on Wednesday, July 4.
Regular Library hours will resume on Thursday, July 5.
Wed, 06/27/2018 - 11:26am by muffy
The 4 members of the Van Ness String Quartet met as students at the SF Conservatory of Music. They would never have been friends but were imperfectly bound to one another for their love of playing together. Jana, the first violin is a natural leader, “flinty”and driven; Henry, a viola prodigy, has the making of (and the constant temptation to become) a soloist; Brit, the second violin, quiet and steadfast, suffers from her on-again, off-again relationship with cellist Henry, the oldest of the group - an angry skeptic who sleeps around. Over the next 2 decades, they stayed together in the face of professional temptations, dueling egos, rivalries, injuries, and bad judgment. Along the way, they also managed to become husbands, wives, and parents, and ultimately, a family.
“Like a talented, well-rehearsed quartet, this is the epitome of gestalt and lyricism. Gabel (a formal cellist) explores friendship and art with great warmth, humanity, and wisdom. Each of the four parts begins with a selection of chamber music pieces that make a wonderful and fitting aural backdrop.” (Library Journal)
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Tue, 06/26/2018 - 12:40pm by Lucy S
Julián LOVES mermaids. In her book about him, Jessica Love uses colorful, dramatic illustrations to show us how Julián sees and imagines mermaids in the world around him. While he is swimming with his grandmother, he envisions his own transformation into one of these beautiful, aquatic beings. He tells his grandmother he is a mermaid and then sets off to create a costume worthy of the picture in his mind’s eye. When his grandmother finds him, he fears she will be angry, but instead she offers him the perfect accessory to complete his ensemble. Then she proudly shows-off her spectacular mermaid of a grandson to everyone. Love’s book warmly conveys a message of acceptance and individuality. Enticed by her detailed, vibrant images, readers will celebrate Julián and his loving grandmother.
Sun, 06/24/2018 - 12:29pm by amy
Donald Hall, one of the last major poets of his generation, former University of Michigan professor, and 14th Poet Laureate of the United States, died June 23 on his farm in Wilmot, New Hampshire, where he'd been in declining health.
Last year, AADL celebrated Hall's poem "Eating the Pig" with a website chronicling in poetry, prose, photographs, and paintings the now-famous Ann Arbor literary dinner that inspired his poem.
Listen to Donald Hall reading his poem "Eating the Pig."
Sat, 06/23/2018 - 4:32pm by Lucy S
Jett is angry. He has just finished a “rotten bad year,” which involved his father being sent to prison and Jett starting a new school in a new town where his one friend is the class bully. To escape the remnants of this rotten time, Jett leaves home to spend the summer with his grandmother, a funny, wise, bright blue-haired, understanding source of relief. In Ebb & Flow, Heather Smith’s middle-grade novel in free verse, Jett and his grandmother trade stories, Jett hesitant at first to spill his secrets. The reason for his father’s imprisonment weighs heavily on Jett, but through the gentle care of his grandmother, Jett is able to return to kindness and head toward forgiveness. Jett comes to realize that it’s possible to love someone without conditions and that his own wrong-doings don’t define him. Using sparse but poetic language, Smith creates realistic, relatable characters who tell an emotional and powerful story.
Fri, 06/22/2018 - 6:36pm by andrewjmac
It's the second badge drop but it might already be too much! As we are writing this post, you have already earned 17,374,510 points in this year's Summer Game! And we've only been in the second week of Summer Game 2018 for couple of hours! There've been over 1.1 MILLION points scored JUST TODAY! If that doesn't make you do a double-take, we don't know what will!
You might be tempted to think that a couple of players just decided to double their efforts or grew another pair of hands, but it isn't just that! 4,337 players have scored points so far this year. That's not double digits, that DOUBLE double digits! Again, let me say it a second time, THE SECOND WEEK OF SUMMER GAME 2018 HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN.
And what a second week it is! We've doubled-down on a whole bunch of your favorite badge series this week! AVENGERS and EMPIRES and BUGS and BUSES! Let's take a look:
Badge Drop #2
Thu, 06/21/2018 - 1:04pm by howarde
Oh no, I thought as I lifted the book of the hold shelf. I’m not sure what I expected from a book entitled 1,500 Stretches, but for some reason I didn’t expect it to weigh five and a half pounds. (Make sure you’ve got a light load and a sturdy bag before taking this one home.) Hollis Liebman’s new book, 1,500 Stretches: the Complete Guide to Flexibility and Movement is pretty much what it says on the tin. Liebman opens with a brief introduction on the benefits on stretching, but after that, the book is nothing but pictures and descriptions of stretches.
Daunting as it was, I dove in anyway. I’ve spent a lot of time flipping the book open and just trying the stretches. Results vary from, “Nope, no way this is happening” to “Oh wow, this is surprisingly easy!” It’s been fun to move my body in new ways, see what my abilities are, and push myself further. If you are looking for a book that will help you build a stretching routine, be prepared to do the work yourself. Liebman gives no specific advice about how sequence the stretches or how to use basic stretches to build up to more advanced ones. But, if you’re willing to experiment, the book provides the raw materials to create an almost infinite number of sequences.
Wed, 06/20/2018 - 11:29am by manz
Summer is upon us, which means the kids are out of school and want to read ALL THE BOOKS! If you're looking for good summer books for specific age levels we have some lists to help get you started!
If you're looking for more books, please check out the rest of our public lists! They are searchable, so you can look up "fourth grade" or "kids graphic novels" and get many wonderful choices.
There are lists of books for ALL AGES, so if you're looking for fantasy, or beach reads for other ages, get that search box working!
Tue, 06/19/2018 - 10:00pm by muffy
Jenna (Jee-min) Williams, a brilliant academic at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service is still haunted by the disappearance of her twin sister Susie (Soo-min) 22 years ago on a South Korean beach. Now the CIA has evidence that her sister was kidnapped, and may be alive in North Korea. Colonel Cho, a high-ranking North Korean diplomat and a rising star in the government, is worried that a deep background check by the state security might reveal a deadly family secret. When the two meet at a diplomatic reception in New York City, though initially unhelpful, Cho agrees to help Jenna locate her sister. Meanwhile, Mrs. Moon, a North Korean peasant risks her life to trade the illegal goods she finds on the black market, hoping to make a better life for herself and her husband.
“From the luxuries of power to the back-door political dealings to the torturous realities of a concentration camp, these three seemingly disparate plots are deftly woven, leading to an ending that is at once breathtaking and bittersweet.“ (Library Journal). For fans of John Le Carre, Jason Matthews, and Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer.
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Tue, 06/19/2018 - 5:43pm by -alex-
Join two young people on a magical adventure deep under the surface of their neighborhood swimming pool. Fish and sea creatures await them when they dive deep, deep under the kicking feet and raucous noise of the crowd bobbing on the pool's surface. They meet aquatic friends (both big and small) as they explore their elaborate fantasy world together.
Entitled simply Pool, this stunning picture book tells its story in pictures alone. Artist JiHyeon Lee's delicate, expressive illustrations carry the reader through in a way that anyone with sight can understand, regardless of age, literacy, or language spoken.
Check out this link to Picturebook Makers for an interview with JiHyeon Lee, and for a truly fantastic look at her storyboards, initial sketches, and other preparatory work for this book.
Thu, 06/14/2018 - 5:23pm by muffy
YA author Katie Williams sets her first novel for adults, Tell the Machine Goodnight * in near-future (2035) San Francisco. As a skilled technician for the Apricity Corporation, Pearl provides customers with personalized recommendations generated by the Apricity Happiness Machine simply with a swab of one’s DNA. However, she doesn’t seem to be able to manage it in her own life. A single mother to an anorexic son named Rhett who finds great satisfaction in denying himself food; and ex-husband Elliott, a narcissistic performance artist who left them for a much younger woman. When Rhett refuses to submit to the happiness machine analysis, Pearl takes matters into her own hand but the results are bewildering and devastating.
Then one of Rhett’s friends asks him to help solve a mystery; Pearl becomes the target of industrial espionage; and the demands of her new high-profile client test not only her loyalty to the company, but her humanity as well.
“In this imaginative, engaging, emotionally resonant story, (Williams) reveals how the devices we depend on can both deprive us of our humanity and deliver us back to it. With its clever, compelling vision of the future, deeply human characters, and delightfully unpredictable story, this novel is itself a recipe for contentment.” (Kirkus Reviews)
* = Starred review
Thu, 06/14/2018 - 11:28am by -alex-
Your favorite fairy tales get a fresh retelling in The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror. Drawing equally from the Brothers Grimm and everyday life, Mallory Ortberg infuses these dark, delightfully wicked fantasies with modern twists like gender identity and bureaucratic intransigence. Ortberg's sly wit, humor and sense of existential horror will hook you in the first few pages.
Sat, 06/09/2018 - 4:23pm by Lucy S
Ben and Charlotte have never met in person. Occasionally they chat on the phone, but where they really connect is through their games of online scrabble. This pair of middle-school students in Erin Entrada Kelly’s new book You Go First, are struggling to find their way among the sea of pre-teens they each daily encounter. Ben’s and Charlotte’s differences make them an unlikely duo. Charlotte leans towards sciences and geology and Ben loves presidential history and Harry Potter. But they are both lonely, experiencing shifts in friendships, difficulties at home. Their turns at scrabble are more than just a game. They provide solace and security. When Ben plays a word Charlotte feels that “at least there was something she could still count on.”
Through Charlotte and Ben, Kelly shows readers that sometimes all it takes to act bravely is knowing one person is there for you, waiting for you to take your turn.
Thu, 06/07/2018 - 4:51pm by -alex-
Originally written in 1926, "I, Too, Am America" retains its relevance in the present day, and its words are inscribed on the walls of the National Museum of African American History in Washington DC. You'll find this excellent picture book in our youth section, and the original poem via this link to the Poetry Foundation's website.
Tue, 06/05/2018 - 11:07am by richretyi
Every Saturday and Sunday from June 16 to August 26, library cardholders can ride any of TheRide local fixed-route buses for free. All you need to do is show the driver your library card when boarding the bus!
Tue, 06/05/2018 - 9:24am by manz
The new teen novel What I Leave Behind caught me by surprise, and I was absolutely delighted that it did. I was interested in the unique format of the book, as it has 100 chapters, all with 100 words each. The significance of 100 and the flow of the prose move the story in ways that full chapters would not.
The story follows sixteen year old Will. He has a lot going on in his life, and he prefers to sort through it all by walking. He likes to walk. Everywhere. All the time. His best friend went through a traumatic experience at a party. His father is dead. And he now struggles with his last encounter with his father -- I don't think I'll ever look at cornbread the same again. It's a quick read, and Will is a fascinating character to follow along as he walks through it all.
Mon, 06/04/2018 - 4:47pm by Lucy S
In her new novel, Circe, Madeline Miller gives voice to this Greek goddess usually featured peripherally in the myths of men. In the span of hundreds of years Circe’s path crosses that of many mortals and gods; Daedalus, Jason and Medea, Hermes, Odysseus, and armies of men who chance upon her shores and seek to take advantage of her. Circe is famous for turning men into swine on the island Aeaea, where she has been exiled for using witchcraft. Miller fleshes out the back story of why Circe started doing this, using "pharmaka" and herbs to right great wrongs done against her. “Men make bad swine,” she muses.
It is through Circe’s turn at motherhood that Miller shows the most human side of a women overwhelmed by a baby that won’t stop crying, and reflecting on the love she bears her son. “I did not go easy into motherhood,” Circe conveys before the arrival of Telegonus, her child fathered by Odysseus. But she quickly becomes fiercely protective of him in a way at once surprisingly familiar and yet underscored by her godly strength. “...I used to make lists of all the things I would do to keep him safe. It was not much of a game, because the answer was always the same. Anything.”
Extremely engrossing, Miller’s renditions of the Greek myths are thrilling and impassioned, creating a delightful read.
Fri, 06/01/2018 - 12:17pm by manz
Long Way Down is a new teen fiction book by Jason Reynolds, and it's so good that it won a Printz Honor award this year. It's beautifully written in prose by our young narrator, but it's no easy read due to the weight of the content -- but don't let that scare you. This author is doing amazing things!
There are three rules in the neighborhood: Don't cry ; Don't snitch ; Get revenge.
15-year-old Will's brother was recently killed, and he's prepared to follow the rules... until he hops in the elevator. Will is caught by surprise when, over the span of just one minute, other people from his life mysteriously join him, offering him insight on the mission he's so intent on completing. It's the longest 60 seconds of Will's life... and it will change his life forever.
Tue, 05/29/2018 - 9:09am by antdevee
Check out this collection of black and white photos of Ann Arbor from over 40 years ago!
Also in this collection are charming street scenes of downtown Ann Arbor; and shots of iconic campus locations like the Observatory, Nickels Arcade and the Campus Corner. You can see more from this collection here.
Mon, 05/28/2018 - 5:11pm by muffy
On Memorial weekend, the population of Orient, a small hamlet at the easternmost tip of Long Island’s North Fork braces for the onslaught of the summer people. Many homeowners like Ruthie Beamish vacate their homes for their wealthy Manhattan renters so they could afford to stay in their homes the rest of the year.
This particular summer, Ruthie’s beloved home is not the only thing she would lose - her assistant is scheming for her job as the director of a small regional museum; her Board support is evaporating under machinations of a coterie of rich women from the city; her ex-husband (and good friend) Mike, has fallen for their renter Adeline Clay, who happens to be the widow of Peter Clay, the celebrated artist Ruthie once worked for; and their teenaged daughter Jem, is involved in dangerous relationships. Out of desperation, Ruthie pushes back, in ways that would even astonish herself.
The High Season * * is National Book Award for Young People’s Literature winner Judy Blundell’s first adult title ."Luscious but not too sweet, astute but not too serious, Blundell's novel is a treat you don't have to feel guilty about and a sign of good things to come." (Kirkus Reviews)
* * = 2 starred reviews
Thu, 05/24/2018 - 3:46pm by -alex-
Set in an era dominated by anxiety, political turmoil, industrial revolution, and rapid social change, Fathers and Sons tells the story of two young political radicals, two old conservatives, and a fateful vacation in the countryside. Nihilism, infatuation, the generation gap, and the ties that bind all mix in this startingly tender, slim little novel.
Fathers and Sons feels amazingly modern in spite of its age. You'll find some of the very first cultural references to nihilism here, and Turgenev sets the template for the edgy brand of nihilistic youth culture has since emerged time and time again in modern art and media.
Listen to this podcast episode of NPR's Radiolab for more on the relationship between nihilist philosophy, youth, and popular culture (skip to 9:54 for a quote from the book), or check out this review from NPR.
Sun, 05/20/2018 - 2:21pm by TimG
All AADL locations will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.
Regular Library hours will resume on Tuesday, May 29.
Sun, 05/20/2018 - 12:20pm by muffy
You Me Everything is British author Catherine Isaac’s first US debut. At the urging of her mother, Jess made the 825-mile drive from Manchester to Dordogne, to spend the summer at Château de Roussignol, a restored hotel run by her ex-boyfriend, Adam. Ever since Adam missed the birth of their son William, 10 years ago, Jess had kept him at arm's-length. But now, there is an urgent reason to make Adam fall in love with his own son.
Adam, ever handsome, charming, and unreliable, quickly bonds with William, while Jess wonders at her own jealousy toward Adam’s beautiful 22 year-old buxom receptionist/girlfriend. As they are joined by their old gang of uni friends, the summer becomes one of pool parties, soccer games, excursions, glorious French food and free-flowing wine. When news from home worries Jess, she must decide if she could share her secret with Adam, and whether she could follow her mother’s example - choose to live, with the time she has, and the people she loves.
“With the background of Huntington's disease, this novel draws comparisons to Lisa Genova's Inside the O'Briens. Both heart-wrenching and romantic, this is a solid choice for book groups that appreciate stories of everyday people with ordinary failings who overcome adversity.” (Library Journal) Suggested read-alike: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.
Thu, 05/17/2018 - 1:28pm by manz
If you live in Ann Arbor, chances are you’ve popped into Literati, the “new” bookstore on the corner of Washington St. and 4th Ave. If you can believe it, they just celebrated their fifth anniversary in town! Each time I visit I marvel at the typewriter and love spotting someone typing a little message.
Literati has had a variety of typewriters over the years, inviting shoppers to sit down and type something. Years later they have accumulated thousands of writings from visitors. Some of them were painted on the exterior of the building, inviting passersby to read and feel something.
Some of these notes have been published in the new book Notes From A Public Typewriter, edited by Michael Gustafson (co-owner) and Oliver Uberti. It’s a delightful little book, perfect for bibliophiles, writers, or that empty spot on your coffee table. Gustafson discusses typewriters in general, and the variety of typewriters they’ve housed, while also sharing many little notes that have been left over the years. It’s a quick read and a pure delight to step into the little thought blurbs left on a typewriter over five years.
Wed, 05/16/2018 - 11:05am by manz
Detroit After Dark: Photographs from the Collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts features night photography that catches glimpses into the nightlife and culture of the Motor City from the 1950s to present day. The photographs offers black and white and color imagery of a side of the city that many don't seek out in real life, and it's wonderful to see it captured here in this book.
The book pairs narrative with images interspersed, some comparing and contrasting night in Detroit with night in big cities like New York and Paris. Through glorious photos you can peek at neighborhood fireworks on the Fourth of July, a bus yard, graffiti in progress, and concerts such as Patti Smith, The White Stripes, and Iggy Pop. Detroit After Dark is great for those who love photography or just want to celebrate the magic that is Detroit.