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The History Behind the African American Downtown Festival

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 2:05pm by hmorse

Lucille Hall Porter
Lucille Hall Porter at the Community Leaning Post, 1993

On Saturday June 1, 2019, Ann Arbor residents will gather for music, dance, food, crafts, and local business wares at the African American Downtown Festival. The festival was founded in 1996 by community leader Lucille Hall Porter (1917-2007). It celebrates the vibrant history of black-owned businesses and community organizations located on East Ann Street and North Fourth Avenue throughout the twentieth century.

In its early years, the festival was sponsored by Porter’s nonprofit, the Community Leaning Post, which operated out of 209-211 N. Fourth Ave. The building used to be owned by the Colored Welfare League, and before that by several different African American hoteliers, including heavyweight champion Hank Griffin. In 1966, Porter’s brother J.D. Hall purchased the building, recognizing its history as a cornerstone of the Ann Street Black Business District. By the mid 1980’s, Hall’s Barber Shop was the only black-owned business left in the once-thriving district.

Now the Ann Arbor Cultural and Community Events Coalition puts on the African American Downtown Festival, but the event’s location remains central to its mission. For most of the twentieth century, dozens of barber shops, shoe repair shops, dry cleaners, restaurants, pool halls, and blues bars anchored Ann Arbor’s black community, until police crackdowns and redevelopment pushed them out.

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Fabulous Fiction First #708, Embracing Second Chances

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 6:43pm by muffy

theres_a_word_for_thatPicked as one of 9 Books Not to Judge by Their Covers,  There's a Word for That * is the first book for adults by YA author Sloane Tanen.  “The novel's title refers to German words that express concepts that take a whole sentence to convey in English, like Verschlimmbessern (to make matters worse in the process of trying to improve them) and Schnapsidee (a plan so stupid, it must have come from a drunken mind), and others make up the five sections of the book.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Retired film producer Marty Kessler, addicted to opioids, man-handled by his latest girlfriend Gail, is running through his life savings at an alarming rate while still supporting his daughters Janine and Amanda and her twins, Hailey and Jaycee. 41 year-old Janine, a former child star is struggling to make a life for herself. Recently divorced Amanda, a high school drama teacher worries about her girls’ future.

On the other side of the pond, celebrated novelist Bunny Small is self-medicating for a severe writer’s block and estrangement from her only son Henry. Unbeknownst to the family, Marty and Bunny were once married. Their reunion at Directions, a ritzy Malibu rehab center, will bring these two wildly flawed families together, for better or for worse.

“With equal parts humor and empathy, Tanen's first novel for adults employs multiple narrators and a skillfully drawn cross-generational family to examine how relatives impact one another… For readers who miss The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg (2012) and the Lamberts from Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections (2001).” (Booklist)

* = Starred review

bookshop_of_the_broken_hearted

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted, the first solo effort by Australian author Robert Hillman is an “uplifting exploration of how people rise above tragedy to find joy.” (Publishers Weekly).

It is 1968, Tom Hope, a cash-strapped sheep farmer is hired to do some carpentry work for Hannah Babel, a recent immigrant and Holocaust survivor, determined to open the first bookstore in town. Trudy, Tom’s unstable wife, left him again but this time taking with her Peter, her son that Tom has raised as his own, to join a Jesus camp. Sophisticated, colorful, charismatic and haunted, Hannah lost her entire family at Auschwitz, including her young son and vowed never to love another child again. Despite the vast age difference, attraction between Tom and Hannah is mutual and they soon marry. But when a horrific act of violence sends Peter back to Tom, Hannah has a difficult decision to make.  

“The openness of the Australian countryside is an apt setting for a complex exploration of grief, faith, and restoration, and in poignant, meditative, and stirring prose Hillman tells a heartrending and heartwarming tale of love and sacrifice.” (Booklist)

Suggested for fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The Light Between Oceans."

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Library Closed on Monday, May 27

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 5:11pm by richretyi

All AADL locations will be closed on Monday, May 27, with regular library hours resuming on Tuesday, May 28.

Closed May 27, 2019

 

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New Stories to Go

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 1:35pm by evelyn

Stories to Go Summer LabelDo you know about our Stories to Go collection? These bags are a great way for kids to get a curated selection of books on a single topic. Each bag comes with approximately ten picture books on a topic (some bags also include a DVD). The bags check out for four weeks, and you can put them on hold to pick up at any branch you like!

We’ve recently added some brand new themes:

  • Coding (Learn to code! This kit includes a book to help parents learn to code too!)

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #707, Sizzling Summer Reads

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 9:16pm by muffy

stay_up_with_hugo_bestStay Up with Hugo Best *  by Erin Somers

29 year-old June Bloom, an aspiring comedy writer, has been working as a writers' assistant for a late-night talk show, Stay Up with Hugo Best when the show was cancelled for falling ratings. Unemployed with little prospect, June left the farewell party and made her way to an open-mic night at a dive bar where she unexpectedly met up with Hugo, and impulsively accepted the sixtysomething-womanizer’s invitation to spend the long Memorial Day weekend at his Greenwich mansion. Though the exact terms of the visit were never spelled out, June was realistic and clear-eyed enough to guess. The weekend started with a series of misunderstandings and misadventures and the presence of Hugo’s teenage son, Spencer, home from prep school further complicated matters.

“Somers sidesteps the predictable path the reader might expect this weekend to take, instead meandering into subtle, surprising territory… a winning debut.” (Publishers Weekly)

 * = Starred review

cheer_upNamed one of 2019's most anticipated reads by LitHub and Entertainment Weekly, Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe by Evan James is a hilarious and sophisticated comedy of manners about an eccentric family during one frenzied summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Carol Widdicombe is convinced moving into Willowbrook Manor, their new Bainbridge Island home would bring her husband Frank out of a deep depression. She is sure it won’t hurt to turn their elegant summer home into a showplace, perhaps even as a feature in a décor magazine. And so begins a whirlwind summer of multiple social dramas involving the family and a few chosen friends.

Their son Christopher, is nursing a broken heart after a year abroad in Italy. Michelle Briggs, Carol's personal assistant is enamored with Bradford Dearborne, a blue-blooded screenwriter and Frank’s tennis partner. Their gardener Marvelous Matthews, a recovering alcoholic, finds himself enchanted with Gracie Sloane, a self-help guru.

“When this alternately bumbling and clever cast of characters comes together, Willowbrook transforms into a circus of uncovered secrets, preposterous misunderstandings, and irrepressible passions.”  For fans of Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette?; Andrew Sean Greer's Less; and Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins.

 

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Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:42am by howarde

Book cover of Maybe You Should Talk to SomeoneWhen Lori Gottlieb’s boyfriend of two years unexpectedly leaves her, she experiences a midlife crisis, emotional meltdown, and accidentally-wear-pajamas-to-work loss of functionality. Gottlieb, herself a psychotherapist, decides that she needs to find a therapist. This lands her in the office of Wendell, a quiet, dorky, middle-aged therapist who has no patience for Gottlieb’s wallowing, but lots of faith in her ability to free herself from the mental traps she’s created in her life.

A book about a therapist’s experience in therapy might seem…I don’t know…boring, myopic, technical? But Gottlieb’s book brims with humanity and humor. As the story proceeds, Gottlieb’s breakup takes a backseat to her conversations with her clients. These include a TV screenwriter who seems to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder but actually just has a heartbreaking secret, a young successful academic dying of a rare form of cancer, and a 69 year old artist who, in the wake of her devastating family life, decides that she will commit suicide on her 70th birthday if her depression doesn’t clear up. Just as Gottlieb gains self-understanding and growth in her sessions with Wendell, Gottlieb’s clients undergo remarkable transformation as they face themselves, their problems, and their loved ones with compassion.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone has a lot of buzz—it’s even now in development as a TV series—but it’s definitely well-deserved. A great read for anyone interested in the human heart and psyche.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #706

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 2:41pm by muffy

miracle_creek

Released on the author’s 50th birthday, Miracle Creek * * by Angie Kim is “delightfully startling, and startlingly moving.” (Sarah Crichton, Publisher)

Recent immigrants Pak and Young Yoo run the Miracle Submarine, an experimental hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatment facility in a small town in Virginia. Sessions (called dives) in the pressurized oxygen chamber are prescribed to treat conditions spanning from autism to infertility.

When the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes killing two people during an evening dive, Elizabeth Ward, the mother of one of the victims, is charged with murder. In the ensuing trial, Matt Thompson, a young doctor who survived the explosion is first to testify while every person present that evening must reckon with what really happened. Pak, now in a wheelchair, might be motivated by the insurance payout that could send daughter Mary to college. Young is plagued by the guilt of lying for her husband. The hot-tempered teenage Mary, now permanently scarred, hopes her not-completely innocent secret will not come to light.

"With so many complications and loose ends, one of the miracles of the novel is that the author ties it all together and arrives at a deeply satisfying - though not easy or sentimental ending. Intricate plotting and courtroom theatrics, combined with moving insight into parenting special needs children and the psychology of immigrants, make this book both a learning experience and a page-turner." (Kirkus Reviews)

* * = 2 starred reviews

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #705

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 2:39pm by muffy

wolf_and_the_watchmanNamed Best Debut Novel of 2017 by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers, and is pegged one of this year’s best books by the Washington Post, The Wolf and the Watchman *  by Niklas Natt och Dag will appeal to readers of Nordic crime fiction and historical mystery alike.

Stockholm, autumn 1793. Night watchman Mickel Cardell was roused from a drunken stupor to pull a floating corpse out of the Larder, once a pristine lake on Stockholm's Southern Isle, now a rancid bog. Cecil Winge, a young lawyer dying of consumption, was entrusted to solve this heinous crime where the body showed signs of prolonged torture. Aided by Cardell, the pair had little to go on beyond a scrap of fabric with an unusually design and the sighting of a green sedan chair. Eventually their painstaking investigation led them to the Eumenides, an ostensibly charitable upper-class organization.

“Natt och Dag's first novel is engrossing and gross. The imagery is vividly conveyed and not for the faint of heart or stomach. Yet for those who like their mysteries dark, this is a standout. The characterization is excellent, as is the evocation of eighteenth-century Stockholm, an uncommon historical setting that provides a vibrant backdrop for this unusual mystery. Natt och Dag's side-plots dovetail neatly, his pacing is skillful, and he explores with aplomb his novel's main theme, Homo homini lupus est  - Like a wolf is man to other man ~ Plautus.“ (Booklist)

* = Starred review

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Library Closed on Sunday, April 21

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 1:03pm by richretyi

All AADL locations will be closed on Sunday, April 21.

Regular library hours will resume on Monday, April 22.

Library Closed Sunday, April 21

 

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #704

Sun, 04/14/2019 - 8:08pm by muffy

waiting_for_bojanglesWinner of the Prix du Roman des etudiants France Culture/Telerama; the Prix Roman France Televisions; and the Prix Emmanuel-Robles, Waiting for Bojangles, Olivier Bourdeaut’s debut is “at once delightfully whimsical and hugely touching.” (Library Journal) It is told from the perspective of a young boy who shares a grand Paris apartment with his eccentric parents and an exotic pet crane named Mademoiselle Superfluous.

George and Louise (though she was never called by the same name twice) met and married on a whim. She was beautiful and quite mad, and he was indulgent and smitten. He sold his businesses  (quite profitably) so they could stay home, have wild parties and dance all night to Nina Simone’s “Mister Bojangles.” When the teachers did not approve of the boy’s tardiness and unexplained absence, they chose to keep him home.

As Louise descended deeper into mental illness, father and son went to great lengths to protect and humor her - by staging a kidnapping, and fleeing Paris for their country house in Spain. “Bourdeaut’s debut is both a charming tale that revels in colorful detail and language and a heart-rending depiction of the brutal march of mental illness. Its part-rhyming structure almost always feels organic (hats-off to translator Regan Kramer) and lends the narrative a sense of flow and momentum. But it’s the irresistible, childlike sense of delight—even in the face of unimaginable sorrow—that renders the novel a genuinely enjoyable reading experience and one that sparks complex and conflicting emotions.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Suggested readalikes: Love in Lowercase by Francesc Miralles, and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #703

Sat, 04/06/2019 - 3:20pm by muffy

altruists

The Altruists * by twentysomething Andrew Ridker is “(b)eautifully written, with witty, pitch-perfect dialogue and fascinating characters... (this) impressive, deeply satisfying debut is an extraordinarily insightful look at a family broken apart by loss and struggling to find a way back to each other and themselves.“ (Booklist)

Two years after losing his wife Francine to breast cancer, Arthur Alter is about to lose his home too. An un-tenured Engineering professor struggling to keep his job at a private university in St. Louis, he no longer could afford his too-large house. His two grown children have flown the coop, right after the funeral - taking with them their not-too-shabby inheritance from Francine (Arthur was written out of the will when she discovered his affair with a younger colleague).

Closeted in his expensive Brooklyn apartment, 31-year-old Ethan is in debt, having quit his consulting job, and addicted to online shopping.  Maggie, a recent grad and a would-be do-gooder, embraces self-imposed poverty(and starvation) by taking low-paying jobs in her Queens neighborhood. When Ethan and Maggie accept Arthur’s invitation for a home visit, none of them suspect the others’ secret agenda for this reunion.

“Ridker spins delicate moral dilemmas in a novel that grows more complex and more uproarious by the page, culminating in an unforgettable climax.” (Entertainment Weekly). A readalike for The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, and The Heirs by Susan Rieger. For another Midwestern America family saga that confronts the divide between baby boomers and their millennial offspring, try The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg.

* = starred review

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #702

Sun, 03/31/2019 - 7:56pm by muffy

oksana_behave

Oksana, Behave! By Maria Kuznetsova is a Russian American girl’s bumpy path to adulthood.

Oksana Konnikova’s family emigrated from Kiev to the United State when she was 7. Her father, a physicist and a gifted mathematician, moonlighted as a pizza deliveryman to support the family - all so Oksana could have a brighter future. While gifted as a student, Oksana is irreverent, impulsive, and irrepressible - from calling 911 to report that her grandmother is trying to kill her; maiming a school bully; blackmailing the Principal to fix an election and destroying a family in the process; to hooking up with her high school track coach. No wonder her mother was constantly pleading with her:  “Oksana, Behave!”.  Her college years passed in a fog of booze, drugs, and promiscuity after the death of her doting father, and persisted into adulthood. “And yet despite this, she is an utterly compelling, deeply flawed, and completely endearing character Kuznetsova has created a heroine for the ages in her sparkling, piercingly insightful debut.” (Booklist)

When Oksana visits her grandmother in Yalta and learns about her wartime past and her lost loves, she begins to see just how much alike she and her grandmother are, and comes to a new understanding of how to embrace life and love without causing harm to the people dearest to her.

“An immigrant’s coming-of-age tale done with brio.” (KIrkus). Will appeal to fans of The Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart.

 

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #701

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 10:53pm by muffy

peoples_history_of_heavenA People's History of Heaven is award-winning author Mathangi Subramanian’s first novel for adults.

Heaven is a slum at the heart of Bangalore. Once marked by a sign that said ”Swargahalli”, but thirty years later, all that’s left is the word swarga, as in Sanskrit for Heaven. Now the bulldozers are back, ordered by the government to raze the rest of the ramshackle neighborhood to make room for new high-rises. For fifteen-year olds Deepa, Banu, Padma, Rukshana and Joy, it is home and the closest thing to heaven they have known. As a bulldozer flattens Banu's home, they spring into action. Joined by their mothers who are no strangers to hardship, “they form a human chain, hijabs and dupattas snapping in the metallic wind, saris shimmering in the afternoon sun”.

Going back in forth in time, we come to know these young women as classmates in the government-sponsored school and best friends. Banu is a talented artist who risks everything to cover the city in protest graffiti; Deepa, visually impaired, is a gifted dancer and a keen observer; transgender-Joy, (born Anand), is the scholar in the group and a Christian convert; Rukshana, a queer Muslim tomboy, is fiercely loyal; and Padma, a migrant from the countryside must shoulder the care for her illiterate family.  Their mothers’ stories are all the more heartbreaking… In a culture that does not value women, they endure abuse, abandonment, poverty, compounded by the lack of an education. They are “(a)ngry, unforgiving goddesses… the kind that protect their daughters”.

“The power of these fierce young women shines in spite of their circumstances, and they prove just how beautiful and influential a strong, unconditionally accepting community is. Subramanian is a remarkable writer whose vibrant words carry a lot of heart. This inspiring novel is sure to draw in readers with its lyrical prose and endearing characters.” (Booklist)

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Malletts Creek Closure Begins April 8th

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 12:05pm by howarde

Malletts Creek Branch will be closed for 6-8 weeks for renovations beginning April 8th. Thank you for your patience. All other locations are open.

As part of the renovation, we'll be adding two new meeting rooms, replacing the flooring throughout the building, replacing all the internet stations and kids' computers, rearranging the shelving, and converting the collection to categories.

Additional information during the closure:

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Inside the Villains - by Clotilde Perrin

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 10:27am by -alex-

Cover image: the big bad wolf holding a bookDiscover what lurks under the surface of some of your favorite bad guys in Inside the Villains, by children's illustrator Clothilde Perrin.  Want to know what a witch reads, or what a giant keeps under his hat?  Inside the Villains has the answers you seek.  

This genuinely awesome pop-up book is chock-a-block full of extraordinary detailed illustrations, very clever moving parts, and all sorts of fun 'informative facts' about some of the world's most famous fairy tale scoundrels.

You'll find Inside the Villains in our youth area, in the folklore and fairytales section.

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It's Survey Season!

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 9:42am by eli

AADL loves to partner with our friends at the U-M School of Information (UMSI) to help students find meaningful ways to practice what they're learning in their classes. This year, we've got three graduate students from a UMSI Assessment class working on class projects involving assessing public library services. They've produced three online surveys, and we'd like to invite you to take any of them that are interesting to you! Each survey is fairly short and your answers are anonymous and confidential. Please take a look:

Have you used our Tools Collection? Try this Tools Collection Survey.

Have you booked a room at AADL? Try this Room Booking Survey.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #700

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 5:05pm by muffy

light_over_londonThe Light Over London, a departure for Julia Kelly from her historical romances (and the racy contemporary romances written as Julia Blake), is a charming imagining of the Ack-Ack girls - members of the British Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) that helped operate Anti-Aircraft Guns in the defense of Britain from German bombing raids during WWII.

Newly-single antique dealer Cara Hargraves uncovers a tin of letters, photographs and a WWII-era diary while preparing a manor house for an estate sale. Examining the contents, Cara is intrigued and hopes to return it to its owner (identified only as L.K.) or her family. She also hopes the diary might encourage her grandmother to share her own war secrets.  With little success, she reluctantly accepts the help of her new neighbor Liam (dishy and single), a history academic.

In 1941, 19 year-old Louise Keene, a shop assistant, lived with her parents in an isolated Cornish village. Bright and ambitious she yearned for a larger life and was readily wept off her feet by Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base. When Paul was deployed, Louise ran away to London to join the women’s branch of the British Army as a Gunner Girl. Louise and Paul wrote to each other and even married during a weekend leave, until a bundle of her letters to him were returned unanswered.

“Kelly has crafted two convincing, conflicted heroines in Cara and Louise, and the resolution of Louise's romance is satisfyingly empowering. Hand this to fans of Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach (2017) and other tales of the vital roles played by women in wartime.” (Booklist)  The Alice Network immediately comes to mind; and don't forget The Lost Girls of Paris, the latest from Pam Jenoff.

 

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #699

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 10:35pm by muffy

little_shop_2The Little Shop of Found Things (Overdrive eAudio download) was the perfect companion on a recent long car trip. A bewitching tale of love across centuries, this first in a new series from Paula Brackston will appeal to fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

Desperately needing a fresh start, Xanthe and her mother Flora Westlake arrive in the picturesque town of Marlborough in a vintage London taxi, throwing themselves and their future into the little antique shop they just purchased. On a restocking trip, Xanthe is drawn to an exquisite silver chatelaine. Being endowed since birth with the unique gift of psychometry, Xanthe senses the chatelaine's role in a tragic affair. Then a malevolent ghost haunting the mysterious blind house at the edge of her property threatens Xanthe - if she does not travel back to the 17th century to save a young servant girl from an unjust death, the ghost will hurt the ailing Flora.

Casting herself as a traveling minstrel to gain entry to the Lovewell estate, Xanthe works tirelessly alone to find the missing pieces of the chatelaine in order to prove the girl’s innocence, until she meets the resourceful young architect Samuel Appleby. But he may also be the one reason Xanthe cannot bring herself to leave.

“Brackston wonderfully blends history with the time-travel elements and a touch of romance. This series debut (in the print format) is a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments.” (Publishers Weekly). For your further listening pleasure, try The Psychology of Time Travel  by Kate Mascarenhas, a debut novel.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #698

Sun, 02/17/2019 - 6:17pm by muffy

silent_patientChosen to launch a new MacMillan imprint, Celadon Books, The Silent Patient is an “edgy, intricately plotted“ (Publishers Weekly) psychological thriller, and marks screenwriter Alex Michaelides’ fiction debut.

Six years after shooting her husband Gabriel in the face, the once “dazzling, fascinate and full of life” artist Alicia Berenson is at The Grove, a "secure forensic unit" in North London, heavily sedated.  She still has not spoken a word since that fatal night - her only communication being a provocative self-portrait entitled Alcestis, a character in an Athenian tragedy.

Newly appointed criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. Obsessed with getting Alicia to talk and to uncovering her motive for murdering her prominent fashion photographer husband, Theo secretly conducts his own investigation into Alicia’s past, looking for clues and connections. But when Alicia finally opens up to Theo, the truth might just consume them both.

The Silent Patient is unputdownable, emotionally chilling, and intense, with a twist that will make even the most seasoned suspense reader break out in a cold sweat.” (Booklist)

 

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #697

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 6:45pm by muffy

Atlas_of_reds_and_bluesThe Atlas of Reds and Blues,*  poet Devi S. Laskar’s fictional debut is at once powerful, difficult, yet timely and necessary reading.

Drawing on the author’s own experience, the narrative takes place over the course of a single morning, as a woman, known only as Mother lies sprawled on her driveway in an upscale Atlanta suburb, bleeding from a gunshot wound.

In short, graphic chapters, Mother recounts lucidly of her girlhood in North Carolina of immigrant parents, the family’s visits to India, her experience as a reporter in a hostile work environment, her relationship with a husband who is virtually absent, leaving her to raised their three daughters in a community that is fixated on their otherness. While her daughters are harassed and bullied at school, Mothers endures zealous traffic cops, “discrimination, cruelty, and stupidity in routine circumstances” because of the color of her skin

The Atlas of Reds and Blues grapples with the complexities of the second-generation American experience and what it means to be a woman of color in today's America. Laskar's bravura drama of one woman pushed to the brink by racism is at once sharply relevant and tragically timeless.” (Booklist)

Will appeal to fans of The Hate u Give by Angie Thomas.

* = Starred review

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Downtown Closure, February 2019

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 1:45pm by howarde

The Downtown Library will be closed for about two weeks beginning Monday, February 25th for re-carpeting and painting, and will reopen at 9 AM on Saturday March 9th.

The Downtown Hold Shelves will return from Westgate at opening Saturday and all items will be held through the weekend; on Monday March 12 items on the Downtown Hold Shelves will resume expiring normally.

All other locations are open as normal.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #696

Sun, 02/10/2019 - 7:22pm by muffy

after_the_rain

After the Rain is the first novel by television news-anchor/reporter Jane Lorenzini.

Fort Myers, Florida, January 1888.  Having lived in the storeroom of the local grocer since running away from home as a teenager, 25 year-old Belle Carson was about to turn her life around when she answered a newspaper ad for a gardener at Seminole Lodge - the winter home of Mina and Thomas Edison. She was excited by Mina’s plan for an extensive garden along the Caloosahatchee River, and for the first time, her own cottage on the grounds. As she gained confidence and courage, made friends, started a woman’s club, and contemplated a relationship with Boone, the Estate’s young groundskeeper, her dark past resurfaced. When Belle fought back, the repercussion threatened to destroy everything she had so carefully cultivated.

“Well-drawn characters and descriptions of Edison's laboratory, the estate, and a mysterious listening device that allows Belle to eavesdrop on private conversations help to vivify this particular time period.” (Publishers Weekly)

Readers eager to learn more about Thomas Edison the man and his milieu would enjoy Electric City by Elizabeth Rosner, and The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #695

Sat, 02/02/2019 - 6:36pm by muffy

unmarriageable

If you too, are desperate for the next release of the Austen Project, fret no more. We have a fix!!! “Austen devotees will rejoice in this respectful cross-cultural update of a beloved classic.” (Library Journal)

Unmarriageable * * by award-winning essayist (and a literacy ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation) Soniah Kamal,  is a contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice  set in Pakistan.  

Faithful to the original plot, almost scene by scene, the Bennets are now the Binats, having relocated to Dilipabad (fictional town outside of Lahore, Pakistan) due to a reversal of fortune. To supplement the family's income, Jena (32) and Alys (30) teach English Literature at the local girls’ school where their younger sisters Qitty, Mari, and Lady also attend. When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for eligible bachelors, never mind that the Binat girls are deemed “unmarriageable.”  When Jena catches the eye of the rich and handsome Bungles, Mrs. Binat eagerly awaits an advantageous proposal. But his friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family and declared so.

“What ensues is a funny, sometimes romantic, often thought-provoking glimpse into Pakistani culture, one which adroitly illustrates the double standards women face when navigating sex, love, and marriage. This is a must-read for devout Austenites.” (Publishers Weekly)

* * = 2 starred reviews

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Printz Award Winners Announced!

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 4:42pm by manz

pThis week many awards were given for excellence in books, video and audio books for children and young adults at the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards. One the biggies given annually is the Michael L. Printz Award, which is given for excellence in literature written for young adults. This year four Printz Honors were named in addition to the winner.  

The winner is The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. The book also won the National Book Award for Young Peoples’ Literature. Both are a big deal, so this is one to check out.

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

 Honors were awarded to Damsel by Elana K. Arnold, A Heart in a Body in the World Deb Caletti, I, Claudia by Mary McCoy.

Looking for more Printz winners? Here’s a list of the winners and the honors that have been awarded since 2000.

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Newbery & Caldecott Award Winners Announced!

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 4:15pm by manz

dThis past Monday was a big day in children’s literature! Award winners were announced in many categories at the midwinter conference of the American Library Association.

The John Newbery Medal is awarded for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature. This year’s winner is Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Madina. Honors were also awarded to The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani, and The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The winner is Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall. Four honor books were also announced, including Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin, The Rough Patch by Brian Lies, and Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #694

Thu, 01/24/2019 - 3:08pm by muffy

age_of_light

The Age of Light * * * by Whitney Scharer opens on a hot July day in 1966 at a Sussex farmhouse where Lee Miller is throwing a sumptuous dinner party for her Vogue editor, trying to forestall her dismissal as the magazine’s food writer for perpetually missing deadlines. After a series of comic mishaps that threaten to ruin the dinner (not the least being Lee’s secret drinking), she is shocked to find her new assignment is to write about her years with Surrealist artist Man Ray. Lee finally agrees, with one caveat: not his photos, hers.

1929. The 22 year-old Lee - Vogue’s cover-girl, famous for her staggering beauty, arrives in Paris intending to forge a new identity as an artist. As her funds run low, she talks her way into assisting Man Ray in his chaotic studio, learning every aspect of the artistic process. Their personal and professional lives soon become intimately entwined. The student/muse becomes a collaborator and innovator - a fact that grates on the much-older and egotistical Ray, and eventually leads to bitter betrayals on both of their parts.

“Scharer sets her viewfinder selectively, focusing on her heroine’s insecurities as much as her accomplishments as an artist; her hunger to be more than “a neck to hold pearls, a slim waist to show off a belt” is contrasted with her habit of solving problems by simply leaving. The price for Lee is steep, but it makes for irresistible reading. Sexy and moving.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Check out these titles in our Fine Arts collection for more on the life and art of Lee Miller, especially Lee Miller's War: Photographer and Correspondent With the Allies in Europe, 1944-45, which were among the first photographs of the death camps to reach the American public.  For readers who enjoyed The Muralist by Barbara A. Shapiro, and The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown.

* * * = 3 starred reviews

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #693

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 10:39am by muffy

my_sister_the_serial_killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer *, Nigerian Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel has been called “(p)ulpy, peppery and sinister, served up in a comic deadpan…This scorpion-tailed little thriller leaves a response, and a sting, you will remember.” (The New York Times)

Petite and light-skinned, beautiful and charismatic Ayoola could do no wrong growing up in her complicated family. Her older sister Korede knows better. A nurse at Lago’s St. Pete’s Hospital, she is the one who cleans up the bloody mess each time Ayoola, claiming self-defense, kills a boyfriend (“Three and they label you a serial killer.”)  Korede is willing to protect Ayoola until her secret crush, Dr. Tade Otumu becomes smitten with Ayoola on one of her impromptu visits to the hospital. Now, the long-suffering, overlooked and underappreciated Korede must make a choice.

“(W)hat makes Braithwaite’s first novel stand out from others in this genre (gothic mystery) is the unobtrusively sly approach she takes to the conventions of “black widow” storytelling and the appealing deadpan voice of the jittery yet world-weary Korede. Along the way, there are scattered glimpses of life in Lagos, most acidly when Korede deals with the routine corruption involved in a traffic stop.” (Kirkus Reviews)  Will appeal to Dexter fans, and begs the question - "how much will we sacrifice for the sake of family?" as in Stay with Me by fellow Nigerian Ayobami Adebayo.

* = Starred review

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Kids' and Teen writing contests begin January 20!

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 1:54pm by eapearce

 

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Our annual Write On! 3rd-5th grade writing contest and It's All Write 6th-12th grade writing contest will both begin accepting submissions on Sunday, January 20! The kids' writing contest accepts submissions from January 20-February 17, 2019, while the teen writing contest is open for submission from January 20-March 3, 2019.

Participants from Ann Arbor and beyond are welcome to submit their entries to these contests! The kids' writing contest accepts short stories, while the teen writing contest has flash fiction, short story and poetry components.

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Treasure Quest #4: Pop the Quest-ion!

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 6:00pm by nicole

You've seen this story told before, time and time again:
Prince meets poor sweet urchin girl. They marry. That's the end.
The most enchanting film of all was produced by Disney--
The dearest love in all the world is hiding this next key!

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The Kingdom Key

Somewhere in the vast catalog a mysterious Key has appeared! The hunt for The Kingdom Key begins now!

A film was made in yesteryear
(that's 1997),
They had the right ingredients
for cinematic heaven:

A charming prince, a ball,
a town in colors bright as candy,
A fragile shoe, a pumpkin ride--
and lots of shots of Brandy.

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Click on the image to get started searching for this Key (and the Gate!), or do something else entirely, like:

Dance all the way to the Badge List!

Hop inside a pumpkin and ride off to the AADL Catalog!

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Paper, Ink, and Pi: Printing the Signal of Liberty (Part III)

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 9:42am by hmorse

Part III: “A Printer’s Supplies”

Like any other nineteenth-century newspaper, the Signal of Liberty relied on the receipt of printing supplies that were not always easy to come by in Western states and territories. Besides a press and typesetting equipment, printers needed several dozen cases of type and a regular supply of paper and ink. Local, as well as out-of-state, business connections with type foundries, paper mills, ink-makers, and bookstores were vital to the smooth operation of the Signal of Liberty. In some cases, these businesses’ support of the Signal also corresponded to the owner’s own antislavery convictions. Even when this was not the case, the Signal’s business networks paint a picture of industry and commerce in mid-nineteenth-century Ann Arbor, as well as the larger Great Lakes region.