News and Reviews
Wed, 01/08/2020 - 2:57pm by muffy
January brings the highly anticipated debut Such a Fun Age* by Kiley Reid. (Check out the New York Times Review and the NPR interview with the author.) It’s the latest HELLO SUNSHINE (Reese Witherspoon's Book Club) pick. Film rights sold to Lena Waithe.
25 year-old Temple grad Emira Tucker knows she is good at her job - nannying for Philadelphia newcomer Alix Chamberlain and her 2 young daughters, never mind she is aimless, broke, and a disappointment to her ambitious parents. As a favor to her employer, Emira leaves a party early to babysit the Chamberlains’ toddler Briar. A late-night visit to the local high-end supermarket proves problematic when the store security, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping. A bystander captures the whole incident on video, and it goes viral.
While Emira is humiliated, Alix resolves to make things right, unwittingly bringing into their midst Kelley, someone from Alix’s past, with “unintended--as well as willfully unseen--consequences.” (Publishers Weekly).
“Reid illuminates difficult truths about race, society, and power with a fresh, light hand. We're all familiar with the phrases white privilege and race relations, but rarely has a book vivified these terms in such a lucid, absorbing, graceful, forceful, but unforced way.” (Library Journal)
* = Starred review
Mon, 01/06/2020 - 9:00pm by muffy
In this “brashly retro escapist caper“ (Kirkus Reviews), master thief Riley Wolfe has just stolen a 12-ton statue in broad daylight during its installation ceremony in Downtown Chicago, and dropped the sponsor, a big pharma CEO into the freezing waters of Lake Michigan from a combat helicopter. Next, he sets his sights on stealing the Iranian Crown Jewels, on loan to a small Manhattan private museum. Valued at billions, and protected by a state-of-the-art high tech security system, not to mention the legendary heavily-armed Revolutionary Guards, the true attraction for Riley is one simple fact: they are absolutely unstealable. And Riley has never shied away from a challenge.
As Riley’s intricate, audacious (and often ruthless) plan unfolds, he is pursued by a brilliant and relentless Chicago FBI agent Frank Delgado, setting in motion a nail-biting game of cat and mouse.
* = Starred review
Tue, 12/31/2019 - 11:59pm by richretyi
Of the millions of items circulated at the Ann Arbor District Library in 2019, here were the most requested, including fiction, non-fiction, movies, music, tools, art prints, and TV & miniseries.
Tue, 12/24/2019 - 8:58am by richretyi
All AADL locations will close at 6pm on Tuesday (Dec. 31) and all locations will be closed Wednesday (Jan. 1). The AADL will reopen at 9am on Thursday (Jan. 2) with regular hours. Have a safe and happy New Year!
Mon, 12/23/2019 - 7:49pm by muffy
The Girl Who Reads on the Métro (Overdrive eAudio) is French author Christine Féret-Fleury’s first book to be translated (by Ros Schwartz) into English. “With a cast of characters reminiscent of the French film Amélie, Féret-Fleury creates a world that is delightful and enchanting...Light and sweet as a bonbon, this little confection of a book is delicious." (Kirkus Reviews)
Juliette, a real-estate agent, leads a perfectly ordinary (and rather solitary) life in Paris. On her daily metro rides, she notices other riders and the books they are reading - the lady with the cookbook, the man in a green hat who reads about insects, and the romance reader who always tears up at page 247.
One morning Juliette decides to walk to her office, and find herself in an unfamiliar neighborhood. When she sees a young girl slips through a rusty gate wedged open with a book, she follows, thus walking into the bizarre and enchanting lives of Soliman, his young daughter, Zaide, and Books Unlimited. Before she realizes what is happening, Juliette agrees to become a passeur, taking used books from Soliman’s “store”, and using her intuition, matches books with readers. Without a second thought, Juliette quits her job, dives headlong into a new life, and discovers that the life she may change the most could be her own.
Mon, 12/16/2019 - 5:55pm by muffy
“To consider yourself well versed in contemporary literature without reading short stories is to visit the Eiffel Tower and say you’ve seen Europe. Not only would monumental writers be missing from your literary tour, but entire angles and moves and structures of which the novel, in its bulk, is incapable.” ~ Rebecca Makkai, Music for Wartime, (2015)
4 debut collections introducing 4 remarkable new voices in short fiction.
Show Them a Good Time: Short Stories by Nicole Flattery (Trinity College, Dublin) A blisteringly original and wickedly funny collection tells the stories of women slotted into restrictive roles: the celebrity’s girlfriend, the widower’s second wife, the lecherous professor’s student, the corporate employee. And yet, Flattery’s characters blithely demolish the boundaries of these limited and limiting social types with complexity and caustic intelligence.
"A seamless blend of reality and the surreal, Flattery's stories defy genre in an affecting yet unobtrusive manner. Readers should expect to be equal parts intrigued and unsettled." (Publishers Weekly) For fans of Mary Gaitskill, Miranda July, Joy Williams, and Ottessa Moshfegh.
This debut collection The Beadworkers: Stories by Beth Piatote (Piatote is Nez Perce, and a Native American Studies professor at UC Berkeley) is “told with humor, subtlety, and spareness that explore the inventive and unforgettable pattern of Native American life in the contemporary world...(with) unifying themes in the strength of kinship, the pulse of longing, and the language of return.”
"Hope and heartbreak abound in this debut collection set among Native Americans in the northwest . . . Piatote balances the emotional complexities of her characters' lives with the political complexity of their relationship with an America all too eager to look away. A poignant and challenging look at the way the past and present collide." (Kirkus Review)
Young Australian author Josephine Rowe's debut collection Here Until August: Stories is full of heartbreak, travel, and seduction. They follow the fates of characters who, by choice or by force, are traveling beyond the boundaries of their known worlds. These are people who move with the seasons. We meet them negotiating reluctant or cowardly departures, navigating uncertain returns, or biding the disquieting calm that so often precedes moments of decisive action.
From the Catskills to New South Wales, from the remote and abandoned island outposts of Newfoundland to the sprawl of a North American metropolis, these transformative stories show how the places where we choose to live our lives can just as easily turn us inward as outward.
The characters in Happy Like This by Ashley Wurzbacher, are smart girls and professional women—social scientists, linguists, speech therapists, plant physiologists, dancers—who search for happiness in roles and relationships that are often unscripted or unconventional. In the midst of their ambivalence about marriage, monogamy, and motherhood and their struggles to accept and love their bodies, they look to other women for solidarity, stability, and validation. Sometimes they find it; sometimes they don’t.
Winner of The John Simmons Short Fiction Award, "Wurzbacher dives into the lives of women in this brilliant collection, examining the ways they live and relate to each other while harboring their own secrets and feelings. Her lyrical prose and unflinchingly confrontational voice are powerful and captivating." (Booklist)
Wed, 12/11/2019 - 3:51pm by richretyi
All AADL locations will be closed on Tuesday (Dec. 24) and Wednesday (Dec. 25). Regular Library operations and hours resume on Thursday (Dec. 26).
Tue, 12/10/2019 - 8:00pm by muffy
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 by Kirkus Reviews, Get a Life, Chloe Brown * * * launches the first in the Brown Sister series by self-published author Talia Hibbert, and marks her first release by a mainstream publisher.
“(A) socially inept control freak" by her own account, Chloe Brown is forced to re-examine her life after a near-death experience. Chronically-ill (Fibromyalgia), and practically home-bound, her whole social circle consists of her siblings and family. Then she comes up with seven directives to help her "Get a Life". At the top of the list - move out of her family's palatial home into her own apartment, where she immediately runs afoul with the snarky building superintendent, Redford "Red" Morgan who sees her as yet another privileged, spoiled brat. Buff, tattooed, with an easy smile that quickly charmed her sisters and all the other residents, Chloe is determined not to like him, that is until they strike a bargain.
“This interracial romance with a disabled heroine is an #OwnVoices treat that will satisfy readers who love a cinnamon-roll hero and love scenes that scorch the dang pages. “ (Booklist)
“...(t)his is an incredibly funny, romantic, and uplifting book. Red is as charming, sexy, and vulnerable as can be, but Chloe steals the show with her sarcasm, wit, and eccentric coping mechanisms.” (Kirkus Reviews) . For fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang. For another steamy, interracial romance, try Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher, one with a surprising UM/Ann Arbor connection.
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Tue, 11/26/2019 - 7:49pm by muffy
Before you dive into On Swift Horses * by Shannon Pufahl (Stanford, Stegner Fellow), you might be interested in listening to NPR's Scott Simon talks with the author about her debut novel - inspired by her grandmother’s story.
In 1956, newly-wed Muriel and Lee left her Kansas hometown for San Diego, hoping for a better life and a little bungalow all of their own. Lee’s brother Julius, was supposed to join them but disappeared without a word. Eavesdropping on her customers at the Heyday Lounge frequented by retired jockeys and bookies, Muriel began slipping off to the racetrack and trying her luck with the horses. Wildly successful, she secretly used her winning to allow Lee to fulfill his dream of a house in the suburbs.
When Julius, a habitual gambler finally showed up, with a mustang in tow, Muriel was secretly pleased while Lee was guarded, until Julius’s secretive and reckless past caught up with him, bringing discord into their lives, and forcing Muriel to look deep into her heart.
Narrated by Muriel and Julius in turn, “...Pufahl's sharp, gritty details of 1950s San Diego and Las Vegas effectively draw the reader into her protagonists' struggles to bring meaning to their lives, however different their experiences.” (Library Journal)
“Pufahl's prose is lush and slow with the romance of emotion and the postwar frontier. Her dialogue is sparse and pointed, every word deliberately spoken. On Swift Horses is a queer Western for an utterly contemporary audience.” (Booklist)
* = Starred review
Mon, 11/25/2019 - 9:09am by eli
Now that Pittsfield Branch has reopened, we're getting ready for our last branch closure of this round of renovations. Traverwood Branch Library will be closed starting December 16th for up to 10 weeks of renovation.
Any requests that would have been ready for pickup at Traverwood Branch will be held at Westgate Branch instead. If you'd like to have your Traverwood requests held at another location, you can change that yourself on your my account page, or just contact us and let us know your preference. Don't forget that there's lots of parking behind Westgate Branch's rear entrance! Just go around the Rite Aid end to find it.
During this closure, we'll be replacing the carpet, refinishing the wood floors, constructing a new bookable meeting room, and rearranging some shelving. We'll also be reworking the rotating program room doors for better safety and utility, replacing all the public internet and kids game computers, and relabeling the collection into categories.
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #717, “Women’s voices always rise two octaves when they talk to cleaning women or cats.” ~ Lucia Berlin
Sat, 11/16/2019 - 7:12pm by muffy
In Vacuum in the Dark * * by Jen Beagin, Mona is twenty-six and cleans houses for a living in Taos, New Mexico. Though this is a standalone second novel, you might want to start with Pretend I’m Dead, in order to get the full backstory. Named “A Best Book of the Year” by O, The Oprah Magazine, and shortlisted for Kirkus Review’s First Novel Prize, the 2017 Whiting Award winner Jen Beagin (a former cleaning lady herself) sets her debut in Lowell, MA where the 24 year-old Mona, alone and emotionally adrift, is trying to move forward in life.
While handing out clean needles to drug addicts, she met and fell for Mr. Disgusting, a charismatic artist turned drug addict who proceeded to break her heart in unimaginable ways. To start afresh, she moved to Taos. There, she shares an adobe house with a new-age couple “Yoko and Yoko”; and gets hopelessly tangled up with a client’s husband. As her business picks up, Mona finds it increasing hard to keep a professional distance from her clients (snooping in their belongings and taking photographs). Then there is the Hungarian artist couple with serious substance-abuse and boundary issues who asks Mona to pose for them; and a single father who may be hiding a disturbing secret.
Through it all, Mona is saved from her self-destructive tendencies by the voice of NPR's Terry Gross, a wise, imaginary best friend as she searches for meaning and belonging.
“Beagin is a wonderfully funny writer who also happens to tackle serious subjects, which few authors are able to pull off successfully…(She) never treats these subjects lightly, but she doesn't shy away from employing very dark humor; the result is a comic novel that's a joy to read but never frivolous or superficial.” (NPR)
For fans of Sunshine Cleaning. Readers might also enjoy A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin. A 2015 finalist for the Kirkus Prize, these 43 stories “capture the lives of hard-living women from Denver to Peru to the Bay Area to the Texas borderlands.”
* * = 2 starred reviews
Fri, 11/01/2019 - 6:33pm by muffy
Against the backdrop of the construction of the Crystal Palace for The Great Exhibition; and the contentious selection process of the Royal Academy exhibitions, Macneal creates a thrilling psychological thriller about art and obsession that the New York Times Book Review called “(a) lush, evocative Gothic.”
Iris Whittle toils long hours at a factory painting faces on porcelain dolls but secretly harbors the ambition to be an artist. When she is approached by Louis Frost, a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to pose for his painting, she agrees, against the wishes of her family, especially her twin sister Rose, on the condition that Louis would teach her how to paint. As Iris grows into her artistic talent and mutual affection with Louis, she is unaware of the attention of Silas Reed, a curiosity collector and taxidermist, who schemes to make Iris his prized specimen.
The only person who is convinced that Iris is in danger is a young street urchin that Iris befriends, but he might not be a match for the evil that lurks in the seamier side of Victorian London.
For further reading on this 19th century art movement, try The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites by Elizabeth Prettejohn and Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists. You might also enjoy the television series Desperate Romantics that dramatizes the Brotherhood’s quest for artistic immortality which takes them into some of the lewdest, darkest, and funniest corners of 1851 London.
* * = 2 starred reviews
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #715, “With my friends, the sad truth is that our best “best friend” days are behind us…” ~ Mindy Kaling
Sat, 10/12/2019 - 4:26pm by muffy
The Other's Gold by Hopwood Award winner Elizabeth Ames (Staudt), (MFA, UM) follows Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret, from their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorn College to adulthood. Theater-major Lainey, a mixed-race adoptee, devotes herself to political activism and short-lived romances. Alice, a star athlete and pre-med student is secretive and reserve. Immensely wealthy, Korean-born Ji Sun is painfully aware of her otherness; and Margaret, with her questionable academic credentials, is marked by her extraordinary beauty. Gravitating to their beloved window seat, the foursome quickly become inseparable.
This four-part novel - the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite is devoted to the terrible mistake each makes that galvanizes their friendship, and ultimately tests their loyalties and strength of character.
“This literary work (by debut author Ames) illustrates the strength it takes to maintain closeness despite moral and ethical setbacks. Dealing with issues of guilt, pain, and the realistic, ruthless hardships of life, The Other's Gold shows that friends will stay by your side, if you let them fully in.” (Booklist)
Hawthorne College, Edelton, Maine. Malin, Ruby, John, Max, Gemma, and Khaled have been friends since freshman year and inseparable as housemates - Gemma, an insecure theater major from London; John, a tall, handsome, and wealthy New Englander; Max, John’s cousin and a shy pre-med major; Khaled, a wise-cracking prince from Abu Dhabi; and Ruby, a beautiful art history major, and Malin, our narrator - an expert at hiding a troubling past. But by the time Senior Day is over, one of them is dead.
“(Debut author) Brockman perfectly captures the insecurities that plague young adults, as well as the intense relationships that form in the crucible that is college. Deliberate pacing complements the sinuous structure, with anxiety and dread mounting as the story lines coalesce. Not every reveal feels earned, but the shocking central twist and devastating conclusion amply compensate. Fans of Patricia Highsmith and Donna Tartt should take notice.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A truly chilling thriller with a twist so quiet, you never hear it coming.” (Kirkus Reviews)
* * * = 3 starred reviews
May I also suggest Richard Russo’s latest Chances Are… ? Four decades after their graduation from Minerva College, Lincoln, a commercial real estate broker, Teddy, a tiny-press publisher, and Mickey, a musician beyond his rockin' age, convene on Martha's Vineyard. But each man harbors secrets, and regrets for the part he played in the mystery that still haunts them since Memorial Day, 1971.
Tue, 10/01/2019 - 1:51pm by muffy
The Secrets We Kept * * * by debut novelist Lara Prescott is set at the height of the Cold War, based on the true story of the CIA plot of infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the 20th century.
Narrated by 3 women between 1949 and 1961, they were instrumental in bringing Doctor Zhivago to the West, when for a decade, celebrated poet Boris Pasternak could not find a publisher for his novel in Soviet Russia, banned "due to its critiques of the October Revolution and its so-called subversive nature".
In Moscow, Olga Vsevolodovna, Pasternak’s mistress and muse, and inspiration for Zhivago’s heroine, Lara endured three years at a Gulag for refusing to denounce Pasternak or the novel. In Washington D. C., American-born Irina Drozdova, a typist at the Agency (CIA) found herself recruited for “fieldwork”, and under the tutelage of glamorous Sally Forrester, a former OSS agent, quickly learned the trade craft of being a “carrier” - make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents. Her ultimate mission - disguised as a nun, she was to place copies of Dr. Zhivago, printed in the original Russian into the hands of Soviet citizens visiting the 1958 World's Fair.
“Through lucid images and vibrant storytelling, Prescott creates an edgy postfeminist vision of the Cold War, encompassing Sputnik to glasnost, typing pool to gulag, for a smart, lively page-turner. This debut shines as spy story, publication thriller, and historical romance with a twist.” (Publishers Weekly)
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Tue, 09/03/2019 - 8:26am by eli
Good News Everyone! AADL's industry-leading Tools Collection is now available for request! Most tools go out for 1 week (with a few extended loan tools, such as sewing machines and telescopes) and can be renewed one time if there are no outstanding requests on that item.
Thanks to those of you who have used our experimental Tools Event Bookings! We are winding down the experiment for the Winter while we use what we've learned to build a new Tools Event Booking system that will be easier to use. We will stop accepting new Tools Event Booking requests on September 30, and Event Bookings won't be available for dates after October 31st. The service will be back in the spring with a much easier process and the ability to see your bookings from your My Account page.
Tue, 09/03/2019 - 8:02am by eli
We're continuing a year of branch upgrades with some updates for the Pittsfield Branch Library. The branch will close at 6 PM on Sunday, September 22, for 6-8 weeks of work.
The updated Pittsfield branch will have three new bookable meeting rooms, including a large 35-person meeting room with screen for presentations. Also there will be new public computers and kids game computers, and the book collection will be converted to categories.
During the closure, any requests with a Pittsfield pickup point, or Pittsfield Summer Game Shop Orders, will be held at Westgate Branch. If you'd like your items ready for pickup sent to another branch, you can change the pickup location on your My Account page before it's ready, or just contact us when your items are ready and we can send them along for you.
Mon, 08/26/2019 - 1:05pm by richretyi
All AADL locations will be closed on Monday, September 2. Regular Library operations and hours resume on Tuesday, September 3.
Fri, 08/23/2019 - 6:49pm by eli
This is it, players! The Final CLASSIC SHOP DROP of SUMMER GAME 2019! Featuring an assortment of DELIGHTFUL products, all announced in advance... and a BIG SURPRISE! Yes, deep in the recesses of the SUMMER GAME PRIZE VAULT we found a tub... a heavy tub, filled with MYSTERY and LUXURIOUSLY smelling of the roasted beans of the CACAO. Sure, this chocolate is a year old... so we TOOK ONE FOR THE TEAM and tasted it. AND IT WAS GOOD. This Chocolate is 100% safe, 100% edible and 100% DELICIOUS! Limit one per household, please, this is all we have and we know that EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!
But, that's not all! Beach Balls! Field Notes! Ultrapremium Messenger Bags! Cray Cray Crayons! The return of the enigmatic BEVERAGE WRENCH! With this drop, everything that's in the shop is now in there, so GET SHOPPING!
Especially if you want one of this year's Logo or Summer Game Baseball Shirts. To allow time for manufacturing, the cutoff for ordering either shirt is THIS SUNDAY, August 25th at Midnight. After that, the shirts will no longer be available to order, so if you want one, order one THIS WEEKEND!
And don't miss the excitement at next Saturday's GAME OVER GALA, at the Downtown Library from 3-5 PM on 8/31! Featuring both LIVE and SILENT AUCTIONS for rare Summer Game prizes and art... you won't want to miss this special event! The Auction begins at 4 PM and you'll need to register as a bidder, so arrive in time to get bidding!
Summer Game is ROLLING towards the Master Badge drop and the LAST DAY for points... so make the most of these waning days of Summer, and THANKS FOR PLAYING!
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:09am by richretyi
The Downtown Library will be closed Tuesday (August 20) due to water main work. All other locations are open as normal. We're sorry for the inconvenience.
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #713, “I blame Hollywood for skewing perspectives. Life is just a big romantic comedy to them, and if you meet cute, happily ever-after is a foregone conclusion.” ~ Jonathan Tropper
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 9:14am by muffy
In The Friend Zone * * by Abby Jimenez, Josh Copland literally ran into Kristen Peterson with his truck. Spilled coffee and a borrowed shirt later, Kristen realized Josh is the new firefighter in her station, and best man to her maid of honor at their best friends’ wedding. Funny, sexy, handy, and totally gets her, sarcasm and snarkiness notwithstanding, Kirsten is determined to keep Josh firmly in the friend zone, especially now that her boyfriend Tyler is returning home from a 2-year deployment, and moving in with her. Besides, Josh’s plan for a big family is a nonstarter for Kristen. All reasoning aside, the attraction between them is undeniable.
“Jimenez manages to fulfill all expectations for a romantic comedy while refusing to sacrifice nuance. Biting wit and laugh-out-loud moments take priority, but the novel remains subtle in its sentimentality and sneaks up on the reader with unanticipated depth.“ (Publishers Weekly)
YA author Kerry Winfrey’s first title for adults Waiting for Tom Hanks* is set in Columbus, Ohio where rom-com obsessed Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron while freelance writing internet content (diaper rash, hemorrhoids), and binge watching Sleepless in Seattle. 29 and still living in her childhood home with her Uncle Don, who moved in to take care of her when her mother died, Annie is waiting for her own Tom Hanks.
When a high-profile director starts filming a rom-com in her neighborhood, Don manages to get her a job on the set. Annie’s first encounter with the lead actor Drew Danforth - a cocky Hollywood bad-boy, involves a cup of spilled coffee and snarky exchanges - definitely not the meet-cute she has been dreaming of, yet Annie finds herself drawn to him. “The chemistry between Annie and Drew is irresistible, and the plot's many moving pieces add complexity.” (Publishers Weekly).
“Winfrey's sweet, hilarious novel is full of klutzy and charming characters, heartwarming moments, and laugh-out-loud one-liners. This quick read is sure to delight readers looking for an escape of everyday life, especially fans of Mary Ann Marlow and Helena Hunting (including Meet Cute, 2019).” (Booklist)
* * = 2 starred reviews
* = Starred review
Fri, 08/16/2019 - 6:52pm by eli
Good evening SG Faithful! We've got the last two of our classic, retro, entomological / herpetological buttons for you tonight: that's the AAPL Shirted Ladybug and the AAPL Reading Rattler buttons! And then, a week from tonight is the last SHOP DROP of Summer Game 2019, featuring 6 classic items! You can see details in this blog post from earlier this summer. But while we've got you, we wanted to remind you of some IMPORTANT DATES!
- Wednesday, August 21: Last Day to Order Bluetooth Speaker
- Friday, August 23: Final Shop Drop of 2019
- Sunday, August 25: Last Day to order AADL Logo T or AADL Baseball T!
- Saturday, August 31: Last Day to earn SG 2019 points, and don't miss the Game Over Gala and Points Auction!
- Monday, September 9: Last Day to order from the Summer Game Shop!
- Thursday, October 31: Last Day to pick up 2019 Summer Game Shop Orders!
That's the scoop y'all, have fun through the home stretch and don't let these deadlines sneak up on you! See you next week for the last Shop Drop and THANKS FOR PLAYING!
Sat, 08/10/2019 - 3:05pm by muffy
The New York Times book reviewer Ivy Pochoda called Disappearing Earth * * * * by Fulbright fellow Julia Phillips “(a) superb debut—brilliant. Daring, nearly flawless.” “(A)n unusual, cleverly constructed thriller, and also a deep dive into the culture of Russia’s remote Kamchatka peninsula." (Kirkus Reviews)
On an August afternoon, sisters Sofia (8), and Alyona(11) vanished from a public beach in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. A witness described seeing them with a man in a shiny black car, but in the ensuing weeks, the police investigation turned up nothing. The case paralleled the disappearance of an 18 year-old Native girl 3 years ago, officially ruled as a runaway. Over the course of the next year, we met the women connected by the 2 incidents - a reindeer herder’s daughter at university in the capital; a policeman’s wife; the journalist/mother of the missing sisters; a Native woman whose teenage daughter also disappeared.
“In fresh and unpredictable scenes depicting broken friendships and failed marriages, strained family gatherings, and rehearsals of a Native dance troupe, Phillips’ spellbinding prose is saturated with sensuous nuance and emotional intensity, as she subtly traces the shadows of Russia’s past and illuminates today’s daunting complexities of gender and identity, expectations and longing.” (Booklist)
In the long, hot summer of 1992, the Van Apfel sisters -- Ruth, Hannah, and the beautiful Cordelia, mysteriously disappeared from their home in the Sydney suburb. Though Ruth was eventually found dead, the disappearance of Hannah and Cordelia was never solved. Eleven year-old Tikka Malloy and her older sister, Laura, have been haunted ever since by the loss of their friends.
Twenty years later, Tikka, now living in Baltimore, returns home to see Laura, recently diagnosed with cancer, and is immediately drawn back into the mystery. “Through conversations with Laura, neighbors, and her parents, Tikka stumbles upon painful feelings of guilt, hidden secrets and scandals, and memories better left forgotten ... (that) lies hidden behind the cheerful facade of suburbia. This debut, part coming-of-age story and part crime thriller, is both forceful and unnerving.“ (Publishers Weekly)
* * * * = 4 starred reviews
* = Starred review
Fri, 08/09/2019 - 6:42pm by eli
HELLO SUMMER GAME FAITHFUL! We're in the home stretch, with just a skosh over 3 weeks left in Summer Game 2019! So tonight, we've got 2 more vintage buttons from the Summer Reading Game days of Yore, and we'll have two more next Friday, followed by our last Shop Drop on 8/23. You can see details about that in this post from a few weeks ago. But for tonight, for you hardcore button collectors, we've got two of our absolute favorites: #10 AAPL Reading Frog, and #12 AAPL Happy Axolotl!
Then, be sure you're planning to attend the GAME OVER GALA on August 31st, where we'll have both Silent Auctions for some rare Summer Game Shop items, and a LIVE ART AUCTION for real art we just CAN'T WAIT TO GET RID OF! We'll start the auction around 4 PM, so make sure you arrive in time to get registered as a bidder and get your bidder card! We'll tell you at that point how many points you have to spend, so don't go into POINTS DEBT! During the auction, you just raise your Bidder Card to say that you are willing to pay the amount the Auctioneer is seeking for that item. Remember that that act is binding; you can't change your mind after you bid! We'll explain it all in person, but this is sure to be FUN and FASCINATING, so come young and old to bid on great stuff at the Gala!
We'll see you there, and THANKS FOR PLAYING!
Mon, 08/05/2019 - 1:59pm by muffy
Ellie Jacobs happened upon the Harp Barn on one of her walks on the moors, and met the exceedingly handsome harpmaker Dan Hollis. Happy in his solitude, making exquisite Celtic harps from local materials, Dan impulsively gifted Ellie, whom he referred to as the Exmoor housewife with a cherrywood harp (to match her cherry-colored socks) after learning that playing the harp was on Ellie’s bucket list.
When Ellie’s domineering husband Clive insisted that Ellie return the harp, Dan offered to keep it at the barn, and introduced Ellie to Rhoda, a concert harpist for lessons. As Ellie made daily visits to her harp in secret, she found herself increasingly drawn to Dan - with all his “peculiarities and eccentricities, his self-sufficiency, his otherworldliness”. When the insanely jealous Clive discovered Ellie’s betrayal, it looked like their precariously balanced relationship might not survive.
Told in the alternating voices of its two protagonists, “Prior's debut probes the inner workings of two very different minds. Empathetic to its core, it's a delightfully heart-warming glimpse inside a lushly imagined world. Tender, free-spirited, and guaranteed to tug at readers' heartstrings.” (Booklist)
* * = 2 starred reviews
Fri, 08/02/2019 - 7:00pm by eli
Greetings, Players! Assuming any of you want anything to do with the Summer Game Shop, or Emoji, after attempting the insane UNIQUE ODE badge, we've got 6 items dropping into the Classic Shop today! CHECK IT:
But THAT'S NOT ALL! Today also marks the release of the LONG-AWAITED FISH PIN SET! You can now add this delightful item to your cart and welcome the AADL FISH SQUAD to your home! (Squids not included.) And SPEAKING OF FISH, we all know you've been on veritable FINS AND SPINES waiting to hear the results of last week's FISH ELECTION! So, read on, and find out!
Fri, 07/26/2019 - 6:54pm by eli
It's the moment you've been waiting for! Our amazing ROOS ROAST SUPER SUMMER GAME BLEND is finally available! Only the freshest beans are bagged up weekly to fill our orders; you won't get free coffee from a library ANY FRESHER THAN THIS!
ALSO! We've got the return of some VERY RARE items that only you TRUE S.G. O.G.s are going to recognize; it's the return of VINTAGE LIBRARY BUTTONS to the SUMMER GAME SHOP! Plus a surprise AADL APOLLO AT 50 Patch! Astounding!
Stay tuned for a HUGE Shop Drop next Friday August 2, and don't forget that LIVE POINTS AUCTION coming up at the Game Over Gala on August 31st! Have fun and THANKS FOR PLAYING!
Fri, 07/19/2019 - 5:45pm by eli
GOOD EVENING SUMMER GAME FAITHFUL! We have some good news, and some bad news, and some just news. GOOD NEWS FIRST! Out of nowhere, a new CLASSIC SHOP ITEM has appeared! It is not super-exciting but it is TOTALLY NEW to the Summer Game Shop! If you're a Skatepark Fan, or perhaps became one last weekend at the Summer Game Spectacular, you can EMBLAZON SOMETHING with a Skatepark Sticker or Three! Only a limited quantity is available, but take a look in the Classic Shop for the Skatepark Sticker Set!
Now the bad news; we're not ready to accept Coffee orders yet. Don't blame our pals at Roos Roast, this one's on us. The bags for the coffee have not yet arrived and we don't think we'll be ready to ship Coffee next packing day, so we're delaying the opening of Coffee orders a few more days so that orders don't get mixed up. We won't make you wait until next Friday, so if you're desperate for Coffee, keep your eyes on the shop Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. It's all about the FRESHEST coffee and the LEAST LOGISTICAL COMPLEXITY in that order, so stay tuned, and thanks for your patience! We're so sorry for the delay!
So, here, for your ANTICIPATORY PLEASURE, is (most of) the Classic Shop Drop schedule for the rest of Summer Game 2019. We're focused on keeping the number of items in the shop at once down, as that leads to ERRORS and UNCERTAINTY, but we want you to have a crack at a lot of great stuff from years past. The items in the Classic Shop right now will stay up until sold out or until 7/31, whichever comes first. Then, here are our two other major CLASSIC SHOP DROPS and what they'll contain:
- Friday, August 2nd, 7 PM:
- 2018 Pinteel Umbrella
- 2018 Pint Glass
- 2018 Pocket Boombox Bluetooth Speaker
- S.G. Giraffepants
- 2018 Emoji Hackey Sack
- Used Heavy-Duty Stories-to-go Bags
- Friday, August 23rd, 7PM:
- Secret Lab Field Notes Notebook
- Multicolor Beachy Ball
- 2017 Cray Cray Crayon
- Ancient Bird Sliding Puzzle
- 2015 Red Ultrapremium Logo Messenger Bag
- Keyring Beverage Wrench
Those are the big ones! We also have some of our RARE and HIGHLY DESIRABLE Vintage Buttons from the ancient history of AADL; these will appear in the shop on Fridays when there isn't another Classic Shop Drop, starting next week. These are very limited quantity and are priced for the HIGH ROLLERS among you who treasure PRICELESS and BIZARRE AADL Memorabilia!
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! We're experimenting with some Silent Auctions of Artwork for points at our SUMMER GAME MIXERS as the Summer goes on, leading up to something VERY SPECIAL and UNIQUE at the Game Over Gala on August 31st! If you're able to attend that event, you may be able to BID WITH YOUR POINTS on both treasures from the Summer Game Shop, and works of Art that have previously been part of AADL Exhibits! We're hoping to have both silent and live points auctions at that event, so CLEAR YOUR CALENDARS, players!
Hopefully that is almost ENOUGH INFO about what the Summer Game Shop has to offer this Summer; as always, let us know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, and THANKS FOR PLAYING!
p.s. If you're read this far, it's because you're observant and studious. And you're surely wondering about some weird stuff in the 2019 shop descriptions. All will be revealed with the August 2nd badge drop!
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #710, "The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live." ~ Auguste Rodin
Mon, 07/08/2019 - 4:29pm by muffy
If you enjoyed J. Courtney Sullivan’s Maine (2011), Beatriz Williams’ A Hundred Summers (2013), and last year’s blockbuster The High Season, you would not want to miss out on Montauk by Nicola Harrison, when one is transported to a Long Island resort in 1938.
Bea(trice) Bordeaux was to spend the summer among Manhattan socialites at Montauk Manor while her banker husband Harry, would join her on the weekends. Amidst all the leisure activities and charity benefits, she was tasked to further Harry’s investment interest by cozying up to the high society wives. A Vassar grad from humble upbringing, she felt much more at ease with the solitary hikes around Montauk, once a fishing village, and befriending the townsfolk who catered to the every need of the resort guests. She was especially drawn to Elizabeth, the laundress and Thomas, the lighthouse keeper - a wounded war hero and a poet, gentle and enigmatic, an inviting contrast to her cold and brutish husband.
“Full of substance and delightful characters with intriguing and intricate lives, Harrison's first novel will be a strong pick for fans of historical fiction featuring strong female leads...” (Library Journal)
For 42 year-old Sophie Bloom, the humiliation was complete - finding out her surgeon husband Gabe made the top of the list on Ashley Madison, a hacked on-line dating site for married people, at her birthday dinner AND, her best friends were aware of Gabe's dalliances but kept the information from her. A tearful call from her 19 year-old daughter Ava studying in Paris, sent Sophie across the Atlantic, hoping the distance would also give her perspective.
At loose ends after packing Ava off, Sophie heads out to the artist enclave of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. There, for the first time in a long time, Sophie rediscovers her zest for life and for art (she was once a promising sculptor) in spectacularly satisfying and libertine fashion.
“This exquisitely wrought novel will appeal to readers who believe in the redemption of new beginnings, and in the necessity of facing the past while making a deliberate effort to move forward.” (Publishers Weekly)
Mon, 07/08/2019 - 10:34am by eli
We're thrilled to introduce the availability of two new bookable meeting rooms at the Malletts Creek Branch! Introducing the River Birch Room and the Rain Garden Room!
The River Birch Room seats 10-12, and the Rain Garden Room seats 6-8. Both feature high-speed Wifi and power. A screen is coming for the River Birch Room but it's not quite ready yet. A few furniture changes are still coming too, but we wanted to get these rooms bookable while we put on the finishing touches.
Tue, 07/02/2019 - 10:13am by howarde
Among Harper Lee's abandoned works is a manuscript called The Reverend, a true crime story surrounded by facts so strange you couldn’t make them up.
Over the course of several years in 1970s rural Alabama, Reverend Willie Maxwell murdered five family members on whom he had taken out multiple life insurance policies. In the end, only two of the deaths could be declared homicides and Maxwell could not be tried for the second because he was murdered at the funeral of his last victim. How Maxwell killed his victims and what he did with the insurance money are still mysteries. The twist, however, is that Tom Radney, the lawyer who defended Maxwell in a criminal trial and a host of insurance claim disputes, went on to also successfully defend Maxwell’s murderer.
When Harper Lee heard about the Maxwell case, she traveled from New York to Alabama to gather as much evidence about it as possible. Having helped Truman Capote conduct interviews and prepare materials for In Cold Blood, Lee was the perfect person to write about this bizarre case, which took place only 150 miles from where she grew up. However, her years of work on the book disappeared, leaving a trail of clues as puzzling as Reverend Maxwell’s.