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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #754, “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 8:27am by muffy

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Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie (also available in downloadable eBook and audiobook) opens in 1948, at Kyoto, Japan, when an 8 year-old Nori(ko) was abandoned by her mother at the doorstep of her grandparents’ imperial estate, with the parting words - “Do not question. Do not fight. Do not resist.”  For the next 2 years, Nori was confined to an attic room, subjected to persistent beatings by her grandmother, and daily chemical baths to lighten her skin - a shameful reminder of the illicit affair between her mother, a married Japanese aristocrat and an African-American GI. Her only contact with the outside world was the rhythmic drumming of rain on the roof from season to season. 

That was, until the unexpected arrival of Akira, her 15 year-old half-brother, the legitimate heir to the Kamiza estate, and a violin prodigy. The siblings formed an unlikely but powerful bond, a bond that their formidable grandparents could not allow, thus setting the stage for profound and unexpected consequences, irrevocably changing the lives they were meant to lead.  

“(Debut novelist) Lemmie has a gift both for painting pictures with lush descriptions and for eliciting horror with the matter-of-fact way in which she recounts abhorrent acts. Lemmie intimately draws the readers into every aspect of Noriko's complex story, leading us through the decades and across the continents this adventure spans, bringing us to anger, tears, and small pockets of joy. A truly ambitious and remarkable debut.” (Booklist)

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A New York Times Editors Choice Selection and longlisted for the 2020 The National Book Foundation’s Award for Translated Literature, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 * (also available in downloadable eBook), Cho Nam-Joo’s semi-autobiographical debut novel, originally published in 2016 (and translated from the Korean by Jamie Chang), “is credited with launching Korea's own #MeToo moment. It effectively communicates the realities Korean women face, especially discrimination in the workplace, rampant sexual harassment, and the nearly impossible challenge of balancing motherhood with career aspirations.” (Library Journal)

The novel opens in August, 2015, when 33 year-old Kim Jiyoung, a new stay-at-home mother, at the outskirts of the frenzied metropolis of Seoul, begins to exhibit strange symptoms that alarm her family. Often without warning, she speaks as if possessed by other women, alive and even dead, both known and unknown to her.  Her worried husband Jung Daehyun sends her to a male psychiatrist, whose clinical reports form much of the novel. 

“Through four chronological milestones childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, and marriage Cho presents what happened in the prior 33 years that actuated Jiyoung's abnormal behavior; each period is marked by gross misogyny, from microaggressions to bullying to abuse to unrelenting dismissal. Cho's matter-of-fact delivery underscores the pervasive gender imbalance, while just containing the empathic rage.“ (Booklist) 

* = Starred review

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2020 Eisner Awards

Fri, 09/18/2020 - 9:02am by samanthar

Eisner awards logoThe Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards showcases some of the best work in the comic and graphic novel genre. Click here to see a full list of winners and nominees, and check out some of these great works from the catalog!

 

Best short story : Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #753, A Necessary Conversation

Fri, 09/18/2020 - 7:57am by muffy

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Members Only *  by Sameer Pandya (also available in downloadable eBook and audiobook) chronicles Raj Bhatt’s terrible, horrible, very bad week, triggered by one careless, unfortunate, regrettable remark made during a meeting at his members-only club. 

Raj, a professor of Anthropology at a California university, married, and father of 2, is the only nonwhite member of a private tennis club. At a prospective new member interview, his effort to connect with an African American couple comes across as a racist joke. Immediately, those he considers his friends turn on him, nevermind for years, he has silently endured slights and snubs from the membership. 

The next day, a group of right-wing students at the University organizes a protest against him over objections to his lectures on the history of American slavery (labeling him as a reverse racist), threatening the safety of his family, his livelihood, and his integrity.  Growing up as a bicultural Indian American immigrant, Raj is often unsure of where he belongs, now he finds it increasingly difficult to navigate the complicated space between black and white America.

“This realistic, character-driven novel with multiple, exceptionally well developed, threads of suspense engages contemporary identity politics and what it means to belong - to a club, to a racial group, to a country, and to various cultures and subcultures.... Pandya's writing here is smooth, clear, funny, and often subtly beautiful. Members Only is the thoughtful page-turner we need right now.” (Booklist)

* = Starred review

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Disgusting Critters by Elise Gravel

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 11:54am by Staffsteph

The Fly by Elise GravelDo you like bugs and other “Disgusting Critters”? Are you looking to find more information about them in an easy to read book with great illustrations?! Look no further than Elise Gravel’s series called…. “Disgusting Critters”! You can learn about Lice, Flies, Slugs, Spiders, Bats, and more. Each book is loaded with fun illustrations, humor and most importantly actual factual information to help you be more informed about the disgusting critters in our world. Did you know that the female fly can lay more than 100 eggs at one time?! That fact and more are awaiting you in this fun and informative series. 

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Register to Vote!

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 12:22pm by samanthar

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Stick design by Marcela Passos, Pioneer High School

Did you know September 22 is National Voter Registration Day? It’s a day to celebrate our democracy, and make sure your voice will be counted in the November 3 election. It’s easy to register or check that you are registered at your current address. All you need is a Michigan driver’s license or state ID, and you can register or update your registration online by following the steps here: https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/Home/RegisterToVote/#video

It’s never too late to get registered to vote - You can register at any time up to 8 pm on Election Day at your county or city clerk’s office!

Not sure if you are registered? Check your registration status here: https://www.vote411.org/check-registration

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Finding Nature in Your Own Backyard

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 12:47pm by dempseyj

Spending time in nature can be a refreshing break from our day-to-day lives. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could bring some of that nature home with us? According to these two books, it’s been there all along, right in our backyards. We just have to look closely and we’ll see it.

The cover of The Urban Bestiary by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. Several animals in a field, and two houses in the background.The Urban Bestiary by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

How well do you know the creatures that live alongside you? From hawks to moles to coyotes, there are animals leading complex and varied lives just outside our homes. Whether they’re a welcome guest or a nuisance, they’ve been in our neighborhoods for as long as we have, so it’s only polite if we get to know them a little better.

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They Called Us Enemy

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 11:55am by samanthar

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Winner of the Eisner 2020 Best Reality Based Work, They Called Us Enemy is a powerful graphic novel documenting actor, author, and activist George Takei’s youth spent in US Japanese internment camps during WWII. In 1942, George and his father, mother, little brother, and baby sister were forced out of their Los Angeles home and imprisoned in US military camps. This was done to about 120,000 people, on the singular basis of being of Japanese descent. I knew about the internment camps and discrimination against Japanese Americans that took place at the time, but Takei’s telling brings out the nuances of what life was like for a child living through this devastating time. It is shocking to think that this happened in America, and less than 80 years ago. It hits home how this could happen again all too easily. I enjoyed the story being told in a graphic novel format. It helped keep it from getting pulled down by the heaviness of the subject, and I found myself more readily engaged by a graphic novel than if this was a traditional nonfiction book. I think it’s important for everyone to know about this deplorable time in United States history, and George Takei’s book is an excellent way to learn about it.

Excerpt from book

 

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #752

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 3:24pm by muffy

love_after_loveLove After Love * *  is award-winning short story writer Ingrid Persaud’s debut novel, which Entertainment Weekly called “a window into Caribbean literature and a wider lens on immigration, race, and sexuality. Mostly, though, it’s just a great story; funny, tender, and true.” Set mostly on the island of Trinidad, it traces the lives of a makeshift family over 2 decades. 

After Betty Ramdin’s abusive alcoholic husband Sunil dies, she takes in Mr. Chetan, a math teacher at the school where she is an administrator as a lodger. Kind, polite and adept in the kitchen, Betty and her five-year old son Solo take to him immediately, and gradually they form an unconventional family, loving and supportive of each other. 

When Betty’s attempt to seduce Mr. Chetan fails, he comes out to her, trusting her with a secret that could mean jail or worse in Trinidad’s homophobic culture. Then by chance, Solo overhears Betty confiding in Mr. Chetan a secret so powerful that it drives him to leave Trinidad, vowing never to return. Living in New York with Sunil’s brother Hari and his family, he works menial jobs, available to the undocumented, lonely and an easy prey to grifters. Estranged from each other, Betty and Solo are buoyed by the continuing love and friendship of Mr. Chetan, until his own secret is uncovered with heartbreaking repercussions.

“Beautifully written, the novel is told in Trinidadian dialect ("You here bazodee over a man you ain't seen since he was in short pants"). The skilled treatment of the characters brings them to vivid life, as it does the richly realized Trinidadian setting. “ (Booklist)

Read-alike suggestion: The New York Times review of Love After Love by Gabriel Bump reminds me of Everywhere You Don't Belong, (2020) his debut novel, set in Chicago, which Tommy Orange called "(a) comically dark coming-of-age story, .... (a) meditation on belonging and not belonging, where or with whom, how love is a way home no matter where you are.”

 * * = 2 starred reviews

 

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The Who, The What, and the When

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 2:52pm by Lucy S

CoverRoald Dahl called her “undoubtedly the absolute primary influence on my own life,” and Sofie Magdalene (Hesselberg) Dahl, his mother, was an indeed a master storyteller who wove the folklore of her Norwegian heritage into tales to entertain her 5 children. When Sofie enrolled him in boarding school, Roald repaid this kindness to her by writing her letters, telling her stories of his life for her amusement. He wrote her at least once a week for 32 years, and these letters that his mother kept are just a small part of what Roald Dahl gave the world through his words.

Louis Armstrong was employed by Louis Karnofsky from a young age and helped this coal merchant/junk dealer on his daily rounds. But Karnofsky was more than a boss to young Armstrong, he was a surrogate father and the man who bought him his first horn. Even as he became a famous jazz musician, Armstrong remembered the generosity and warmth of the Karnofsky family and to honor their Jewish heritage, wore a Star of David around his neck for most of his life. Armstrong was also fluent in Yiddish due to his time spent with this generous family.

These are just two of the 65 “secret sidekicks” in The Who, The What, and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate The Secret Sidekicks of History. Editors, Jenny Volvovski, Julia Rothman,and Matt Lamothe have put together a collection “highlighting some of history’s ‘unknowns’ along with their famed counterparts.” Not everyone written about here would be considered heroic today, but certainly influential, and the many writers and illustrators who write about them illuminate the idea that behind every influential person exists someone who helped them ascend. The unique illustrations befitt their subjects and help to create a collection that is fascinating for the mind and the eye.

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Cooking with Scraps

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 4:48pm by ncurtis

Cooking with Scraps cover imageIn her cookbook, Cooking with Scraps, author Lindsay-Jean Hard shows readers how to reduce waste by using food products they may have previously discarded. Have a recipe that calls for egg whites? No need to break eggs and throw away the yolks, when you can substitute the liquid from a can of beans. The recipes can save time in the kitchen, money at the store, and offer ways to to meet dietary restrictions.

Even readers who do not feel like lifting a whisk can enjoy flipping through the pages. High resolution photographs complement the text, and the layout is clean and modern. The about the author reveals that Hard attended the University of Michigan and works at Zingerman’s Bakehouse, so there are touches of local Ann Arbor pride.

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Remembering Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 12:29am by copelands

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was a legendary singer/songwriter and activist. The diva, who passed away in 2018, had a voice steeped in soul. An 18-time Grammy winner, she was known worldwide for her passionate and emotive singing. AADL offers many materials to help remember, celebrate, and educate readers on her life and career. In A Voice Named Aretha, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Franklin’s biography is told in a style suitable for young readers. Laura Freeman is the illustrator and her beautiful images tell Franklin’s story as wonderfully as the text. Young readers will learn how Franklin started singing and used her voice to inspire generations.

Another good choice for YA readers is Who is Aretha Franklin. The popular series examines Franklin and follows her career; from singing in church as a child, to recording certain hits like Respect, Chain of Fools, and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. The book also takes a look into her family life and relationships; one of her most notable being with her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin.

Additionally, The Queen Next Door by Linda Solomon, is a photography book that can be enjoyed by all ages. Solomon was Franklin’s longtime photographer and personal friend. The book features wonderful photographs of Franklin’s intimate moments. Social events like birthday parties, live concerts, music video sets, and more are captured. Also, the book honors the deep connection Franklin had with her hometown Detroit, as it is published by Wayne State University Press. For more info on this book, click here. If you’re interested in the legendary career of Aretha Franklin, be sure to take a look at one of these titles. Long live the Queen!

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #751, Summer’s Last Hurrah

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 2:12pm by muffy

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The Second Home : A Novel by Christina Clancy (also available in downloadable eBook and audiobook), a debut novel set on Cape Cod. 

After the death of their parents, sisters Ann and Poppy Gordon are preparing to sell the family’s beloved Wellfleet summer home, but the inheritance dispute with their estranged adopted brother Michael brings back long-buried memories; and secrets of that fateful summer 15 years ago that fractured their family, and forever changed the trajectories of their lives. 

“A riveting family saga that fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Cristina Alger, and Marisa De Los Santos will devour. Clancy's debut novel is a delight. She flips between decades, immersing the reader in sun-soaked Wellfleet summers before traveling to the present day and back again. With nostalgia as thick as the scent of coconut-scented sunscreen, The Second Home explores the consequences of emotional decisions and the strength needed to set things right.” (Booklist)

 

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East Coast Girls,* the first adult title by teen author Kerry Kletter, follows four women who return to Montauk where they spent childhood vacations. More than just best friends, Hannah, Maya, Blue, and Renee filled in the gaps for one another left by their inattentive, neglectful, or toxic families. But the summer of their high school graduation,  a terrible trauma flung their lives in different directions and caused them each to deal with the fallout in their own less-than-optimal way.

Now twelve years later, as their idyllic summer cottage is about to be sold, Maya convinces the women to come together for one last chance of restoring their friendship.

“Alternating narrators divulge masterfully drawn characters who feel like family, causing feelings of both sympathy and frustration. Pitch-perfect pacing and language reveals all the right pieces at just the right moments and the idyllic Montauk setting is skillfully depicted. Kletter will be an author to watch for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Emily Giffin.” (Booklist)

* = Starred review

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3 Outstanding SFF Novellas

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 1:21pm by dempseyj

The cover of Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh. A person's face, made from tree branches and leaves.Science fiction and fantasy (SFF) books can be inventive, immersive, and inspiring. They also tend to be quite heavy. Sometimes you want to read a book that has all those qualities, but that you can also carry around without spraining anything. These three novellas offer exactly that.

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Tobias lives alone in the heart of a forest, and has for hundreds of years. Then he meets a young man who has heard tales about an ancient being who tends the woods. This is a story about the power of fairy tales, friendship, and--most importantly--trees. (I am very enthusiastic about trees.)

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Postcolonial Love Poem

Mon, 08/31/2020 - 1:05pm by samanthar

In her second published work, Postcolonial Love Poem, Mojave American poet Natalie Diaz lyrically tells readers what was stolen - bodies, land, love, rivers, language - by colonialism. While her work features heavily the themes of loss and othering, she does not dwell in wishing for a pre-colonial world. Her prose pushes readers to her present day brothers and sisters, how they walk with living wounds across polluted land. Diaz’s work is powerful and unlike any other I have read, juxtaposing facts 

Postcolonial Love Poem cover“Native Americans make up less than

1 percent of the population of America.

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LeJuan James Brings Humor and Gratitude through Reflection in “Definitely Hispanic”

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 10:54pm by copelands

LeJuan James Definitely HispanicDefinitely Hispanic is the first book from social media star LeJuan James. James is a bicultural and bilingual YouTuber who found viral success through making comedic videos of his experiences as a first-generation Hispanic-American. James uses both English and Spanish in his videos where he often parodies his parents in various scenarios from his childhood.

In addition, Definitely Hispanic is a collection of essays, each dealing with topics close to James’ heart. Written in an intimate way, he engages with readers and gives a direct visualization of life in a vibrant Hispanic family. A recurring theme throughout much of the book is gratitude, mostly to his parents. They were strict but caring and James quickly found that his house rules were very different from his American friends’. Even though he was frustrated at times with the many rules and guidelines he had to follow, James realized as he got older that he is incredibly proud of his heritage. He later understood that his parents’ strict actions were out of unconditional love. Although both of his parents often worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, James recalled never wanting for anything when growing up.

In the opening chapter #Home, James reflects on his upbringing in Central Florida. During this time he moved frequently between Puerto Rico and the U.S. and began to understand his identity as a Hispanic American. He longed for acceptance in American circles but also thoroughly enjoyed his summers in Puerto Rico. He played with his cousins and enjoyed foods like quesitos and drinking limber (fruit juice). In #LaPela, he hilariously explains the spanking his parents used on him when he misbehaved and how in many cases, he deserved to be punished. #HispanicFamilyGatherings, one of my favorite chapters, offers a look into various family celebrations. This includes telling of how competitive his family is regarding sports; celebrating the winter holidays with much fanfare; and embracing any outsiders who visit as family. In the chapter #DatingHispanicWomen, he offers his advice on dating Hispanic women and the unique situations that might arise. He advises bowing gracefully out of arguments he feels he’ll never win to embracing the loyalty and impassioned love they give.

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Craving Live Music?

Wed, 08/26/2020 - 5:01pm by mbt

Have you been missing live performances as much as I have? I miss live music so much that I've started asking around for ideas to fill this craving. A friend told me about Encore Theater in Dexter. They’re  producing shows that are held in the parking lot. Social distancing and wearing a mask are required. It may not be your typical live theater experience but it sure is welcome about now. 

https://www.theencoretheatre.org/

Another option is The Blue Llama. They are back to live jazz, although it is inside. I was on the patio the other evening and enjoyed the sound of the band over the outdoor speaker system.

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5-Minute Mug Cakes

Mon, 08/24/2020 - 11:52am by samanthar

5 Minute Mug Cakes coverDo you want to eat some cake, but don’t have time for the whole, long baking process? Fret no more! With 5 Minute Mug Cakes, you can have your cake and eat it from a mug, too. Recipes like Lemon Dream, Strawberry Cream, and my personal favorite, S’mores - yum! These recipes are quick, easy, and quite delicious. Some require only 4 ingredients or less, making it so easy to have fun trying a variety of cake flavors. All you need is a mug and a microwave, and you, too, can have cake! 

If you’re feeling adventurous, try Mug Meals! The clean up is a breeze.

 

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Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children

Fri, 08/21/2020 - 11:30am by samanthar

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Have you and your child ever attended a Sensation Stations program at AADL? In a Montessori style approach to hands-on learning, everyday objects are placed in bins for your little one to explore! They are a great opportunity to encourage your child to learn through using the five senses, and creating these play learning opportunities at home can be easier than you think! Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children shows how to upcycle everyday items, like egg cartons, acorns, and aluminum foil, and use them in ways that inspire your little one to explore, learn, and create!

Check out Loose Parts 2 and Loose Parts 3 for even more ideas!

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #750, Young, Black and Female

Fri, 08/21/2020 - 7:32am by muffy

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Luster * * by Raven Leilani (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is one of Entertainment Weekly’s 20 late-summer must-reads; Vogue’s 7 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in August; and New York Times called it “perhaps the summer’s most touted debut.”

23 year-old Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties. An art school dropout with crushing student loans, she now works as an assistant at a children’s book publisher, hardly able to afford sharing a rat-infested apartment in Bushwick. She meets Eric Walker online, a married white digital archivist twice her age who professes to have an open marriage. When Edie crashes the couple’s anniversary party, she meets Rebecca, a VA medical examiner, and Akila, their adopted daughter.

When Edie is fired from her job, in part due to  office-hours promiscuity, and is evicted from her apartment, Rebecca invites Edie to stay in their New Jersey home while Eric is away. As Edie earnestly tries to make herself useful with Akila who is having a tough time adjusting to the all-white community; and to find work (clown school?),  “all the while, the dynamics among the four of them keep shifting, an unstable ballet of race, sex, and power.” 

“Edie's ability to navigate the complicated relationships with the Walkers exhibits Leilani's mastery of nuance, and the narration is perceptive, funny, and emotionally charged. Edie's frank, self-possessed voice will keep a firm grip on readers all the way to the bitter end.” (Publishers Weekly) 

“Edie’s defeated, I-can’t-even tone has become something of an institutional voice for millennial writers, especially women: Jia Tolentino, Patricia Lockwood, Catherine Lacey, and Ottessa Moshfegh have all merged humor with anger about the gender and economic inequities their generation faces.

Luster is distinguished by its focus on race, which raises the stakes for the story. The climax emphasizes that for all of her wit and flexibility, Edie is ultimately a Black woman in a white neighborhood. She’s treated as an assistant, then an interloper and finally an invader.” (USA Today, ★★★½ out of 4)

* * = 2 starred reviews

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The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

Wed, 08/19/2020 - 5:40pm by PhoebeH

Book cover for "The Stars and the Blackness Between Them." Two teenage Black girls lay next to the ocean, under a black, starry sky.The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus is a YA novel told from the alternating perspectives of two young Black women, Audre from Trinidad, and Mabel from Minnesota. A cosmic thread links the two on their parallel and then interwoven journeys of love, sexuality, and self acceptance. The book does a beautiful job of illustrating the characters’ explorations into spirituality, and what it means to be human in connection to the earth and the universe that we live in. It grapples with confronting death, and what it means to live in the present while having the knowledge of one’s limited time. Even though the author presents us with these large themes, she is still able to keep the book down to earth through portrayals of family, life navigating high school, and Mabel’s relatable obsession with Whitney Houston. This book is a great read with refreshing depth.

 

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From 8-bit to Infinity

Tue, 08/18/2020 - 12:31pm by garlandz

For over forty years friends and families have been huddling in front of televisions to guide varying pixelated heroes to victory. Pac-Man, Mario, Link, and the like! But why? When dissected into code these heroes are not much more than blocks put together and programmed into motion. What has kept these retro games alive and popular over the years?

To answer, we need to ask ourselves: What was my first video game? What made it so fun? Who was I with? What was I going through at the time? These questions may very well draw out the answer. Sometimes we cling to a character we can relate to or one we can cheer for. Other times we need a place we can escape to from the affairs of life. Whether the game helped us burn through a boring afternoon or helped us make friends or helped us feel strong against a bully! Anyone who has picked up a gaming controller undoubtedly has their own story to tell. Let's keep these nostalgic memories alive by appreciating the little moments, or the pixels of life we can call them. Don't stop making memories. Here are some wonderful materials the library has to kindle such memories and experiences:

Playing With Super Power : : Super NES Classics

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #749

Fri, 08/14/2020 - 8:05am by muffy

eighth_detectiveFans of Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz and Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson would not want to miss The Eighth Detective, * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by mathematician and first-time novelist Alex Pavesi

London book editor Julia Hart arrives on a remote Mediterranean island to work on reissuing The White Murders,  a series of detective stories self-published in the early 1940s, that were based on a 1937 paper by mathematics professor Grant McAllister, entitled “The Permutations of Detective Fiction,”  - on the mathematical structure of murder mysteries and the specific criteria that must be met.

Grant, now a recluse explains the "rules" of whodunits - there must be a victim or victims, one or more suspects, one or more detectives, etc. The seven stories in the book, variations of the "locked-room mystery ",  illustrate permutations made possible by changing the mix of these character types. As sharp-eyed Julia goes through the stories with Grant, she notices inconsistencies; and the collection's title echoes an unsolved crime at the time the book was first published.  She begins to suspect these might be clues to another bigger mystery  - Grant himself. 

“Pavesi clearly knows his classic murder mysteries, as shown by a story that evokes Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, and all his plot tricks will please readers with a similar passion. “ (Publishers Weekly) 

“Enclosing all the stories like a Russian doll is the question of why the editor visits the author at all. But both hold back secret motivations that drive the grand plot... A satisfying mystery for the casual reader, even more so for the careful one.”(Kirkus Reviews)

* = Starred review

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Downtown Library Pickup Appointments Resume Friday 8/14

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 8:59pm by eli

We are so pleased to be able to say that there was no spread from our COVID positive case, and the Downtown Library will reopen for pickup appointments as hoped on Friday, August 14th. Had others become ill, the closure would have necessarily been lengthened. Thank you all so much for your understanding, and supportive messages for our recovering colleague and to all of the staff at AADL.

Contactless Lobby Pickup hours resume at the Downtown Library on Friday, August 14th, Noon to 8 PM.

Any items that were on the shelves in the Downtown Lobby when we closed will still be in the lobby ready for pickup until 8 PM on Monday, August 17th.

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Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Fri, 08/07/2020 - 10:48am by samanthar

Prairie Lotus cover“If she were white, she wouldn’t have to wear a bonnet. 

If she were white, she wouldn’t have to ask about attending school.

If she were white…”

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #748, On Body Image

Fri, 08/07/2020 - 7:33am by muffy

“Step Away from the Mean Girls…and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.” ~ Oprah Winfrey 

one_to_watch

In Kate Stayman-London’s debut One to Watch, (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook),  30-year-old Bea(trice) Schumacher is a plus-size fashion and lifestyle blogger with a devoted following and a growing number of commercial sponsors. When her drunken late-night blog post raging against the lack of body diversity representation on Main Squeeze, a reality TV show (think The Bachelor) goes viral, she finds herself tapped to be the next star of the show, where 25 contestants compete for her hand. Still smarting from a hurtful break-up and hopeful the exposure will advance her brand, Bea signs on. 

For 8 weeks, Bea is styled, pampered, polished and whisked off to exotic locales to be dazzled by her 25 suitors. While many are good, smart, and kind, not all of the men are there for the right reason. And a lifetime of body shaming has left her skeptical - whether she could truly find romance; and how the complex standards of female beauty affect the way we define ourselves, and who deserves to be seen...and loved. 

“Peppered with chatlogs, text messages, social media reactions, and splashy People articles, Stayman-London's debut is chatty and fun, brilliantly capturing the highs, lows, and drama of reality TV.” (Publishers Weekly) 

“A long and entertaining if overstuffed novel about reality TV, romance, fat-shaming, and self-esteem that will appeal to rom-com fans…” (Library Journal)

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Thin Girls *  by New Zealand native Diana Clarke (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is a brutally honest examination of toxic diet culture and the tyranny of body image, but also the bond of twinhood; and the redemptive power of love and friendship. 

Lily and Rose Winters have the special bond that twins share - they feel each other's emotions, and taste what the other is feeling, until high school. Peer pressure, teenage angst and family dynamics drive them towards the opposite spectrum of the eating disorder  - Rose stops eating and Lily consumes everything Rose won't. 

Now in their 20s, Rose, the narrator is about to mark her one-year anniversary in a rehabilitation facility when she notices Lily, her sole visitor, is also struggling. A kindergarten teacher, Lily is involved with the abusive, married father of one of her students. To please him, Lily joins a cult diet group. Rose realizes she is the only one who could save Lily. To do that, she must start eating. When Rose and Lily seem to be at their breaking point, support and kindness come from the most unlikely sources, at once cathartic and life-affirming. 

“This page-turner makes for an illuminating, ultimately hopeful look at the constant struggle women face regarding their body image.” (Publishers Weekly) 

“The story (Rose) tells is as gripping as a thriller, but it’s Clarke’s language that truly makes this novel special. She writes with a lyricism that not only encompasses the grotesque and the transcendent, but also sometimes commingles the two… Incisive social commentary rendered in artful, original, and powerfully affecting prose.” (Kirkus Reviews)  For fans of Dietland by Sarai Walker.

* = Starred review

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AADL Accepting Bids for Generator Project - Extended

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 10:57am by eli

The Ann Arbor District Library is accepting bids for construction of new 100% back up generator power within the Malletts Creek, Pittsfield and Traverwood Library Branches. A walkthrough, which is mandatory for electrical contractors, will be August 6, 2020. Bids must be submitted to O’Neal Construction by 2:00 p.m. on Thursday August 20, 2020. Contact Matt Olech at O’Neal Construction at (734) 769-0770 for drawings, specifications, walkthrough details, and any additional information.

This bid window has closed.

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HELLZAPOPPIN'

Mon, 08/03/2020 - 11:25am by fredbeldin

 

Hellzapoppin DVD coverModern viewers accustomed to comic surreality through exposure to Mr. Show, Monty Python's Flying Circus or any number of Adult Swim entertainments will be taken aback by the rampant absurdity on hand in this 1941 musical meta-comedy. Based on the hit Broadway variety show of the same name, Hellzapoppin’ spoofs its own plotlessness from the start, as stars Ole Olson and Chic Johnson argue on screen with their director over the need for a story at all, eventually relenting to wisecrack their way through a cardboard love yarn meant only to frame the slapstick set pieces and musical numbers.

From there, Hellzapoppin’ bursts with outrageous images: an opening number in Hell that crosses Bosch with Busby Berkeley, reckless archery, talking dogs, projection booth mishaps, sneezing ballerinas and the most athletic, death-defying exhibition of Lindy Hopping ever captured on camera. The songs range from good to great, all in the easy-swinging jazz style of the day, paired with inventive dance and synchronized swim routines that extend the film’s fourth wall-busting approach. Those with a taste for Golden Age Hollywood will recognize Shemp Howard, Martha Raye and Elisha Cook Jr. among the principals, but the unbridled anarchy of Hellzapoppin’ remains fresh enough after eight decades for it to rise above being a mere nostalgia piece. Put it on hold today!

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #747

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 12:28pm by muffy

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In need of escapism? Look no further than The Lion's Den by Katherine St. John, named one of Library Journal’s Debuts to Watch, “(a) diverting poolside-ready page-turner.” (Publishers’ Weekly)

When Summer Sanderson, her best friend since high school, invited her on an all-expense paid week in the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend's yacht, struggling-actress/cocktail-waitress Belle Carter just could not turn the offer down. But the minute she stepped aboard the Lion’s Den, she began to have second thoughts. Her passport, cell phone were taken away and she found herself locked in her cabin at night. Then she saw mysterious visitors boarding the yacht in the dead of night, and every move she and her fellow passengers made were scheduled and monitored by their host, John Lyon. 

When her cabin-mate, a young brassy sexpot went overboard after a vicious argument with Summer,  Belle knew she must keep her wits about her - and her own big secret closely hidden - if she were to make it off the yacht alive. 

“St. John’s sizzling debut sparkles with yacht and fashion porn, and smart, decent Belle is easy to root for as the panic reaches its peak. Blingy, swingy fun plus a well-crafted, socially conscious suspense plot: Anchors aweigh! “ (Kirkus Reviews)

"Fans of Liane Moriarty and Jessica Knoll will devour this story of beautiful people with horrible secrets.” (Booklist)

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Downtown Library Closed until 8/14

Thu, 07/30/2020 - 11:59am by josie

Due a positive COVID-19 test of a Downtown Library staff member, the Downtown Library will be closed for two weeks for staff quarantine starting Friday 7/31. Pickup appointments will not be available during this closure.

Any items waiting for pickup, or for a pickup to be scheduled, will stay right where they are and will be available when services resume in mid-August. We are sorry, but we will not be able to relocate any of these items to other locations for pickup. The Downtown outdoor drop slot will remain open. All other library locations remain open for contactless pickup appointments.

Due to our contactless pickup and handling procedures, and based on direction from the County Health Department, there is no exposure risk to patrons who picked up items at the Downtown library.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #746, “What a difference a day made, 24 little hours…” ~ Stanley Adams, American lyricist and songwriter

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 6:09pm by muffy

party_upstairs

Lee Conell’s The Party Upstairs : A Novel * is set in an Upper West Side co-op building over the course of a single day. An early morning argument between the building’s super, Martin and his grown-up daughter, Ruby sparks a crisis that will, by day’s end, change the course of many lives. 

24 year-old Ruby is back living in the basement apartment with her parents, after 4 years at a prestigious small liberal arts college failed to land her a job, and her trust-fund boyfriend broke up with her.  The novel opens on the day Ruby is scheduled for a job interview at the American Museum of Natural History, courtesy of her “oldest best friend” Caroline, while her father fields calls from demanding and demeaning tenants with their innocuous and embarrassing requests, constantly fearing for his job. Caroline’s family occupies the penthouse but despite their economic disparity, the girls are able to keep up a close friendship since childhood. Now Caroline is a successful artist and is throwing a party at her father’s penthouse, a party Ruby looks forward to and dreads in equal measure.

Conell’s debut perfectly captures the co-op’s ecosystem and the ways class informs every interaction, reaction, and relationship inside it...A slow-burning debut that keenly dissects privilege, power, and the devastation of unfulfilled expectations.“(Kirkus Reviews) 

On July 29th, the author will be in conversation with author Margot Livesey at At Home with Literati series of Virtual Events.

May we also suggest Apartment by Whiting Award-winner Teddy Wayne. It is a New York Times Editors' Choice, longlisted for the 2020 Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize, and one of Vogue’s Best Books of 2020 So Far, “a careful meditation on class and power."

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Alex George’s The Paris Hours (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), is his first historical novel set in Paris where he once practiced law. Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians (Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Marcel Proust, and Maurice Ravel), a glittering crucible of genius. On one summer day in 1927, amidst the dazzling creativity of the city’s most famous citizens, four regular persons are searching for something they've lost, or on a quest to right a past wrong.

When Marcel Proust instructed his maid Camille to burn all of his notebooks, she saved one for herself, but is now desperate to find it before shameful secrets are revealed.  Souren, an Armenian refugee, performs puppet shows for children that are nothing like the fairy tales they expect. Lovesick artist Guillaume, down on his luck, is running from a debt he cannot repay.  And Jean-Paul, a journalist dreaming of America, interviews expats, because his own story is too painful to tell.

George expertly crosscuts between various plots, coaxing them closer and closer as evening draws on. The tinder has been set and the fire is lit as the action converges on a raucous cabaret in Montmartre. “It’s not just objects that warp and disappear in the flames’ embrace,” it’s the characters’ notions of what they’re capable of doing, of what sort of people they’ve become in this combustible present.”(The New York Times Review)

Here is a list of other novels that take place in a single day: Saturday by Ian McEwan; Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf; The Hours by Michael CunninghamLillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney; and Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple. 

* = Starred review