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Badge Drop #8: Let's Review!

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 4:45pm by Sara W

What, dear Summer Gamers, has this summer brought us? Let's review!

There's been BUNCHES of badges, PILES of points, prizes of ALL sizes, pun FUN, games with GOBLINS, and LOADS of codes!!! 

It's also brought REAMS of reviews, and next week, it will bring us something new!!!

The Review Reviewer!

This AMAZING tool will allow you - YES, YOU - to rate other players' reviews to help us determine what's HELPFUL and also to weed out the rubbish. Should we REVIEW what makes a review helpful?

Here's some sample reviews of the Summer Game:

A GOOD review:

Title: Summer Game, Heck Yes!

Review: The Summer Game is so great! I like finding codes at the branches but the badges are super fun too!

And now for a RUBBISH review:  

Title: Summer Game

Review: asdf;

or 

Review: go0000d

or

Review: avocado

Here's the best review advice of all - if you're not sure if your review is good and helpful, just WRITE SOME MORE! More helps!

And now, let's get to those badges!!

Super Review MasterMega Review MasterGiga Review MasterUltra Review MasterSupreme Review MasterBeary TastyAnts Go Marching...EverywhereMeet HelenChopine BlockCoral CorralLang Story ShortWu-thless RulerDisappearing InkThe SCRAPBoxHeroes Without CapesSurf Zingerman's Deli WebTabby of the Whiskervilles

Stay tuned for a SHOP DROP this evening! We'll see you in the comments, and the reviews, and the Review Reviewer (coming next week!), and the libraries, Summer Gamers!

And as always, THANKS FOR PLAYING!!!!!!! 

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2019 Washtenaw Reads Finalists have been announced!

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 12:29pm by howarde

The Washtenaw Reads Screening Committee has chosen two titles as finalists for the 2019 Washtenaw Read: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (fiction) and Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo (nonfiction.) One of these two books will be chosen as the 2019 Washtenaw Read by a panel of local judges from communities around Washtenaw County.

What is Washtenaw Reads?

Washtenaw Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book.  

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Badge Drop #7: Downtown

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 5:26pm by andrewjmac

When you need points and summertime seems so pointless you can always go DOWNTOWN!  When you need points, all the codes in the joints seem to help, I know.  DOWNTOWN.

Just look for a new badge from Vault of Midnight in the city!  Linger at the UMMA where artwork is so pretty.  HOW CAN YOU LOSE?  The points are so shiny there; you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go:

DOWNTOWN!  Things will be GREAT when you're DOWNTOWN! No finer place for sure: DOWNTOWN!  EVERYTHING'S WAITING FOR YOU!

Don't hang around and let your problems surround you, there's Stamps Gallery DOWNTOWN!  Maybe you know some little places to go to like the Art Center DOWNTOWN!

Water You Bearing At?Drag RacingMeet Julie! Locomotion CommotionStiff and DetachedHuman Body Theater Take 2Wakanda Wild SideUnfortunate UmayyadCarrying a TuneWonder WhereNASA Turns 60Framed Bear at UMMADon't Be TardisBeary Blue PeriodDraw Bridge BearOff The Starboard HowLinguist Sticks

Just come and grab the codes from Zingerman's and also Hatcher!  At the Robot Shop or Literati, you'll be a code-catcher!  Happy again!  And head to the Library.  You can forget your malaise, make summer not so lazy and go:

DOWNTOWN!  Take a quick walk around DOWNTOWN!  Where all the codes are found!  DOWNTOWN!  This joke has run aground...DOWNTOWN! DOWNTOWN! DOWNTOWN!

[Editors note: It's possible that by Badge Drop #7, the staff of the summer game have gotten a little loopy and have started to run out of dumb jokes to make in their posts.  It's also possible that this entire post can lead you to a nice bonus code if you are willing to go...well, you know.  THANKS FOR PLAYING!]

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #676, “Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.” ~ Aristotle

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 9:21pm by muffy

summer_list

The Summer List * by Amy Mason Doan.

Seventeen years after fleeing her home in Coeur-de-Lune, Laura Christie is lured into returning to this small lakeside town by an invitation from Alex, her estranged friend Casey Shepard’s free-spirited mother with the promise of one last scavenger hunt.

“Over the course of a weekend, secrets will be uncovered, misunderstandings will be cleared, and one final, shocking revelation will change everything Laura and Casey thought they knew about their childhoods. This is a lovely debut by Doan, exploring themes of motherhood, daughterhood, and first love with tenderness and humor." (Booklist)

"With a vivid sense of place and characters as real as your high school besties, this debut novel is sure to please fans of Kristin Hannah and Elin Hilderbrand." (Library Journal)

* = Starred review

queen_of_heartsThe Queen of Hearts, Kimmery Martin's debut is "a medical drama executed with just the right balance of intensity, plot twists, tragedy, and humor." Narrated in turns by pediatric cardiologist Zadie Anson and trauma surgeon Emma Colley who remain each other's best friend through college, med school, tragedies and heartbreaks while balancing demanding careers and growing families. 

But when Dr. Nick Xenokostas re-enters their lives, Zadie's brief but complicated relationship with Nick forces the women to grapple with a potentially friendship-ending secret.

"Emotional and difficult to put down, Martin's excellent story of friendship is shrewdly plotted and contains a cast of flawed, rich, believable characters. The realistic and vivid medical angle (Martin is an ER doctor) adds to the novel's appeal." (Publishers Weekly)

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Badge Drop #6: Pre-Shop Drop!

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 2:07pm by Sara W

It's SHOP DAY! Not like, right this second, but SOON! It will be GRAND! It will be OPEN! It will be a GRAND OPENING!

Dying to know what to expect in the new and improved Summer Game Shop? Enjoy this handy-dandy post that just happens to be All About the All-New Summer Game Shop!

Please enjoy some fresh-baked BADGES while you wait!

Super Star MasterMega Star MasterGiga Star MasterUltra Star MasterSupreme Star MasterWoolly AwesomeSpark It Right HereMeet Jared!Afloat BoatBombast or BUSTGo Get GutsyCaptain MarvelousMongolian TakeoverSkipped a GrooveOn a MissionRobots & Bears Dance

And don't forget that the Goblin Game is AFOOT! Visit any (or all!) of the branches to take on the challenge and untangle those goblin riddles!

So hang in there, Summer Gamers, the Summer Game Shop is nigh! In the meantime, and always, 

THANKS FOR PLAYING!

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Blog Post

Lisa Genova Can Make You Cry

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 2:27pm by mbt

photo from book Every Note PlayedIf you're prone to crying when reading a touching story, then do not read the end of Lisa Genova's Every Note Played in a public place. If you're like me, you will be reading through blurry eyes as you wipe away tears. Genova's latest book is like her others, Still Alice, Left Neglected, Love Anthony and Inside the O’Briens, in that she writes about a neurological disease, this time ALS. Richard is a world famous pianist, divorced from Karina and an absent father to Grace, who is stricken with ALS at the height of his career.  When Karina takes on the job as his caretaker, a story of forgiveness and self realization for both characters emerges. 

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #675

Sun, 07/15/2018 - 10:48am by muffy

lost_vintageThe Lost Vintage * is food and travel writer (Mastering The Art Of French Eating: Lessons in food and love from a year In Paris, 2013) Ann Mah’s hardcover debut. It is informed by the experience of spending a week working in a Champagne vineyard. (See her 2016 article for the New York Times)

With the San Francisco Michelin-starred restaurant closing abruptly, sommelier Kate Elliott was at loose ends. Anxious over her upcoming final try (she failed twice) at the Master of Wine Examination, she returned to the vineyard in Burgundy that has belonged to her mother’s family for generations, intent on bolstering her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages. The domaine is now run by her cousin Nico and his wife Heather, Kate’s UC Berkeley roommate and best friend, who recruited Kate to help clear out the enormous farmhouse cellar. Behind an armoire, Kate discovered a bricked-up cave filled with valuable wine, her great-aunt Helene's diary written during the Nazi Occupation, and eventually, the family’s buried secret.

“(A) charismatic blend of mystery, romance, and post-WWII French history... Mah’s engaging story resonates on many levels and will appeal to readers who enjoy the family sagas of Kate Morton and Kristin Hannah.(Booklist)  In the Author’s Note, Mah suggests A Train In Winter: An extraordinary story of women, friendship, and Resistance In Occupied France for the often forgotten role of French women during the war; and Agnès Humbert’s memoir, Résistance : A woman's journal of struggle and defiance In Occupied France that deeply influenced the character of Helene.

* = Starred review

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Blog Post

The Electric Woman

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 4:29pm by Lucy S

Title page

After her mother had a stroke, Tessa Fontaine felt the need to do something brave with her life. Worried about losing her mom, but inspired by the lively, fearless, pre-stroke woman she remembered, Fontaine left behind her mother and step-father to join a traveling sideshow, one of the last remaining, The World of Wonders. After taking an introductory class in fire eating, Fontaine joined up with the show in Florida and spent a season with them, eating fire, charming snakes, swallowing swords, setting up and taking down the show and meeting and befriending a varied group of “geeks.” She chronicles this incredible journey in The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts. Alternating chapters between memories and stories of her mother before and after her stroke, and life on the road with The World of Wonders, Fontaine delivers an enthralling, moving, unusual coming-of-age type tale that is ultimately a tribute to her radiant, strong mother.

You can learn more about Tessa Fontaine, her sideshow career, and her writing here: Tessa Fontaine

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Badge Drop #4: Make Like a Lumberjack and GET LOGGING

Fri, 07/06/2018 - 5:36pm by andrewjmac

Wood you believe we're already a quarter of the way through the game?  It's NUTS!  It seems like we just embarked on Summer Game 2018 but here we are at Badge Drop #4.  And we know you must be a shade curious about what we have in store for you this time around.  Well...

This week features the all-new LOG MASTER series!  With the Log Master series, you get a badge and a bump for every 10 days you log something.  

You HAVE been visiting your My Player page every day and logging your reading, watching, and listening (and getting your 50 daily bonus points), right?  NO??  IT'S OKAY, no need to start pining for earlier days of summer and wishing you'd started logging sooner: you've still got time to log enough days to make it to SUPREME LOG MASTER status!  We know you can do it!  You just need to find your log-a-rhythm and then you can really get your grove on and start scoring!!

And, as a bonus this week, CATALOG RATINGS HAVE MADE THEIR TRIUMPHANT RETURN!!  Time for all players to branch out from writing reviews and get to rating all of those things you loved (or things you only kinda liked).  Stumped on what to rate?  Try rooting through your checkout history!

Let's take a look at the drop!

Badge Drop #4

Super Log Master image
Mega Log Master image
Giga Log Master image
Ultra Log Master image
Supreme Log Master image
Star Giver image
Koalaty Fun image
Butterfly in the Sky image
Meet Hans image
Plane and Simple image
Cap'n Trade image
Donald the Asgardian image
Hobble Around Town image
People Behind the Astronauts image
Gone Gupta image
Talking Machines image
Hit List image
Where Be Celeste image
Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean image
UMMA Explorer image
Stamps Gallery Explorer: Ellen Wilt image
Typing Bear at Literati image

 

Maybe some of you have started to feel like Summer Game 2018 is just a day at the beech, sitting at your plum spots atop the leaderboard.  Our advice to you is: don't be a sap! With a badge drop like this, other players can start running rings around you anytime and where would THAT leave you? 

So Get LOGGING!  Get RATING!  Grab a bud and get ARBOR EXPLORING!  And...

THANKS FIR PLAYING!

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Blog Post

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #674

Sat, 06/30/2018 - 10:00pm by muffy

balcony

The Balcony * by Jane Delury,  a novel in 10 interconnected stories (some previously published), is a "breathtaking century-spanning portrait of the inhabitants of a French village, revealing the deception, despair, love, and longing beneath the calm surface of ordinary lives.” ~ Jennifer Egan.

Readers are first introduced to the Léger country estate just outside Paris in 1992, through the eyes of American au pair Brigitte who found herself falling for Hugo, a tortured academic who was about to take up a teaching position at an East Coast college.  The narratives came full circle in the last story when we meet Brigitte’s young charge as an adult. In between, we followed intimately a century of inhabitants of the manor and the servant’s cottages - from a courtesan who threw herself off the titular balcony; a Jewish couple in hiding from the Gestapo; to the village schoolmaster and a hero of the Resistance, who bullied his own family, while bearing witness to layers of family secrets and generations of human drama.

“In this sophisticated and impressive first novel, the author deftly ties together seemingly unrelated stories, ranging back and forth in time, while bringing each of her characters to vivid life.” (Library Journal)

* = Starred review

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Badge Drop #3: POP QUIZ, HOT SHOTS

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 5:03pm by Sara W

WHAT'S UP, SUMMER GAMERS?? Seriously, what is up? This is a test, and yes, spelling counts. Luckily, it's multiple choice. So, spelling won't really count.

Question: What's up?

A) The sun!
B) The temperature!
C) Badges!
D) Beautiful banners borne by branch buildings! 

And the answer, intrepid gamers? Ah HA! You guessed it. You are too clever!

It is:

E) ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!!!!

Let us return for a moment to multiple choice option C: Badges! A brand new batch of brilliant badges are ready and waiting for you to DECIPHER their riddles, ABSORB their unusual facts, and CHORTLE at their wordplay. This week's badge drop brings you PANDAS! PUFFERS! PARKS!

This week's badge drop also gives you PURPOSE. No, not a reason to live (though Summer Game is an excellent reason to live) but a PURPOSE to go visit Zingerman's Bakehouse and Food Gatherers!

 

Badge Drop #3

Eats Shoots and Leaves image
Worm Your Way In image
Meet Bob image
So Car So Good image
Black Teeth's Back image
Human Body Theater image
Aztec-nical Difficulties image
Cover Up to Cover Up image
Ghost Writers image
A Day in the Life image
Bandemer Hop image
Zingerman's Bakehouse Breeze In image
Swing Out to Food Gatherers image

 

Now then, let us return for another moment to the pop quiz. Multiple choice options A: The sun! and B: The temperature! are NO JOKE!

It's gonna be HOT, hot as the fury of a summer gamer who missed a program code by 10 minutes. Temperatures are rising like POINT TALLIES around here!

Enter multiple choice option D: Beautiful banners borne by branch buildings! No better time to make a grand tour of AADL buildings and COOL OFF COLLECTING CODES!!!!

Let's close things out with one last pop quiz.

Question:

True or false: THANKS FOR PLAYING!!!!!!!!!!!

 

(Answer: True!!!)

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AADL Closed on Wednesday, July 4

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 3:09pm by TimG

All AADL locations will be closed on Wednesday, July 4.

Regular Library hours will resume on Thursday, July 5.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #673

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 11:26am by muffy

the_ensemble

The Ensemble * * * by Aja Gabel is an intimate look at the high-stakes, cutthroat world of classical music and what it takes to survive.

The 4 members of the Van Ness String Quartet met as students at the SF Conservatory of Music. They would never have been friends but were imperfectly bound to one another for their love of playing together.  Jana, the first violin is a natural leader, “flinty”and driven; Daniel, a viola prodigy, has the making of (and the constant temptation to become) a soloist; Brit, the second violin, quiet and steadfast, suffers from her on-again, off-again relationship with cellist Henry, the oldest of the group - an angry skeptic who sleeps around. Over the next 2 decades, they stayed together in the face of professional temptations, dueling egos, rivalries, injuries, and bad judgment. Along the way, they also managed to become husbands, wives, and parents, and ultimately, a family.

“Like a talented, well-rehearsed quartet, this is the epitome of gestalt and lyricism. Gabel (a former cellist) explores friendship and art with great warmth, humanity, and wisdom. Each of the four parts begins with a selection of chamber music pieces that make a wonderful and fitting aural backdrop.” (Library Journal)

* * * = 3 starred reviews

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Julián is a Mermaid

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 12:40pm by Lucy S

MermaidJulián LOVES mermaids. In her book about him, Jessica Love uses colorful, dramatic illustrations to show us how Julián sees and imagines mermaids in the world around him. While he is swimming with his grandmother, he envisions his own transformation into one of these beautiful, aquatic beings. He tells his grandmother he is a mermaid and then sets off to create a costume worthy of the picture in his mind’s eye. When his grandmother finds him, he fears she will be angry, but instead she offers him the perfect accessory to complete his ensemble. Then she proudly shows-off her spectacular mermaid of a grandson to everyone. Love’s book warmly conveys a message of acceptance and individuality. Enticed by her detailed, vibrant images, readers will celebrate Julián and his loving grandmother.

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Remembering Donald Hall, 1928-2018

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 12:29pm by amy

Donald HallDonald Hall, one of the last major poets of his generation, former University of Michigan professor, and 14th Poet Laureate of the United States, died June 23 on his farm in Wilmot, New Hampshire, where he'd been in declining health. 

Last year, AADL celebrated Hall's poem "Eating the Pig" with a website chronicling in poetry, prose, photographs, and paintings the now-famous Ann Arbor literary dinner that inspired his poem.

Listen to Donald Hall reading his poem "Eating the Pig."

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Ebb & Flow

Sat, 06/23/2018 - 4:32pm by Lucy S

Ebb & FlowJett is angry. He has just finished a “rotten bad year,” which involved his father being sent to prison and Jett starting a new school in a new town where his one friend is the class bully. To escape the remnants of this rotten time, Jett leaves home to spend the summer with his grandmother, a funny, wise, bright blue-haired, understanding source of relief. In Ebb & Flow, Heather Smith’s middle-grade novel in free verse, Jett and his grandmother trade stories, Jett hesitant at first to spill his secrets. The reason for his father’s imprisonment weighs heavily on Jett, but through the gentle care of his grandmother, Jett is able to return to kindness and head toward forgiveness. Jett comes to realize that it’s possible to love someone without conditions and that his own wrong-doings don’t define him. Using sparse but poetic language, Smith creates realistic, relatable characters who tell an emotional and powerful story.

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Badge Drop #2: Too Many To Believe

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 6:36pm by andrewjmac

It's the second badge drop but it might already be too much!  As we are writing this post, you have already earned 17,374,510 points in this year's Summer Game!  And we've only been in the second week of Summer Game 2018 for couple of hours!  There've been over 1.1 MILLION points scored JUST TODAY!  If that doesn't make you do a double-take, we don't know what will!

You might be tempted to think that a couple of players just decided to double their efforts or grew another pair of hands, but it isn't just that!  4,337 players have scored points so far this year.  That's not double digits, that DOUBLE double digits!  Again, let me say it a second time, THE SECOND WEEK OF SUMMER GAME 2018 HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN.  

And what a second week it is!  We've doubled-down on a whole bunch of your favorite badge series this week!  AVENGERS and EMPIRES and BUGS and BUSES!  Let's take a look:

Badge Drop #2

So-Called Ladybug
No Scare Grizzly Bear
Meet Kiki!
The Wheels on the Bus
Arsenic Attire
Scar-Spangled Banner
International Space Station
Bye Bye Byzantine
Music Goes Round and Round
Roa-Nope
Doll Aboard
Michigan ZoomIn
County Farm Adventure

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1,500 Stretches: The Complete Guide to Flexibility and Movement

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 1:04pm by howarde

Book cover for 1,500 StretchesOh no, I thought as I lifted the book of the hold shelf. I’m not sure what I expected from a book entitled 1,500 Stretches, but for some reason I didn’t expect it to weigh five and a half pounds. (Make sure you’ve got a light load and a sturdy bag before taking this one home.) Hollis Liebman’s new book, 1,500 Stretches: the Complete Guide to Flexibility and Movement is pretty much what it says on the tin. Liebman opens with a brief introduction on the benefits on stretching, but after that, the book is nothing but pictures and descriptions of stretches.

Daunting as it was, I dove in anyway. I’ve spent a lot of time flipping the book open and just trying the stretches. Results vary from, “Nope, no way this is happening” to “Oh wow, this is surprisingly easy!” It’s been fun to move my body in new ways, see what my abilities are, and push myself further.  If you are looking for a book that will help you build a stretching routine, be prepared to do the work yourself. Liebman gives no specific advice about how sequence the stretches or how to use basic stretches to build up to more advanced ones. But, if you’re willing to experiment, the book provides the raw materials to create an almost infinite number of sequences.

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Summer Reading!

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 11:29am by manz

dSummer is upon us, which means the kids are out of school and want to read ALL THE BOOKS! If you're looking for good summer books for specific age levels we have some lists to help get you started!

Summer Reading 2018 Grades K-1

Summer Reading 2018 Grades 2-3

Summer Reading 2018 Grades 4-5

If you're looking for more books, please check out the rest of our public lists! They are searchable, so you can look up "fourth grade" or "kids graphic novels" and get many wonderful choices. 

There are lists of books for ALL AGES, so if you're looking for fantasy, or beach reads for other ages, get that search box working! 

Happy reading! 

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #672

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 10:00pm by muffy

star_of_the_north

Star Of The North * * *  by D.B. John, a timely take on global politics, is inspired by the author’s 2012 trip to North Korea.  (See the author's trip diary in pictures)

Jenna (Jee-min) Williams, a brilliant academic at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service is still haunted by the disappearance of her twin sister Susie (Soo-min) 22 years ago on a South Korean beach. Now the CIA has evidence that her sister was kidnapped, and may be alive in North Korea. Colonel Cho, a high-ranking North Korean diplomat and a rising star in the government, is worried that a deep background check by the state security might reveal a deadly family secret. When the two meet at a diplomatic reception in New York City, though initially unhelpful, Cho agrees to help Jenna locate her sister. Meanwhile, Mrs. Moon, a North Korean peasant risks her life to trade the illegal goods she finds on the black market, hoping to make a better life for herself and her husband.  

“From the luxuries of power to the back-door political dealings to the torturous realities of a concentration camp, these three seemingly disparate plots are deftly woven, leading to an ending that is at once breathtaking and bittersweet.“ (Library Journal).  For fans of John Le Carre, Jason Matthews, and Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer.

 * * * = 3 starred reviews

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Pool - by JiHyeon Lee -

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 5:43pm by -alex-

Cover art.  Picture of a young boy with swim goggles, surounded by fish.Join two young people on a magical adventure deep under the surface of their neighborhood swimming pool. Fish and sea creatures await them when they dive deep, deep under the kicking feet and raucous noise of the crowd bobbing on the pool's surface. They meet aquatic friends (both big and small) as they explore their elaborate fantasy world together.

Entitled simply Pool, this stunning picture book tells its story in pictures alone. Artist JiHyeon Lee's delicate, expressive illustrations carry the reader through in a way that anyone with sight can understand, regardless of age, literacy, or language spoken.

Check out this link to Picturebook Makers for an interview with JiHyeon Lee, and for a truly fantastic look at her storyboards, initial sketches, and other preparatory work for this book.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #671

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 5:23pm by muffy

tell_the_machine

YA author Katie Williams sets her first novel for adults, Tell the Machine Goodnight * in near-future (2035) San Francisco. As a skilled technician for the Apricity Corporation, Pearl provides customers with personalized recommendations generated by the Apricity Happiness Machine simply with a swab of one’s DNA. However, she doesn’t seem to be able to manage it in her own life. A single mother to an anorexic son named Rhett who finds great satisfaction in denying himself food; and ex-husband Elliott, a narcissistic performance artist who left them for a much younger woman. When Rhett refuses to submit to the happiness machine analysis, Pearl takes matters into her own hand but the results are bewildering and devastating.

Then one of Rhett’s friends asks him to help solve a mystery; Pearl becomes the target of industrial espionage; and the demands of her new high-profile client test not only her loyalty to the company, but her humanity as well.

“In this imaginative, engaging, emotionally resonant story, (Williams) reveals how the devices we depend on can both deprive us of our humanity and deliver us back to it. With its clever, compelling vision of the future, deeply human characters, and delightfully unpredictable story, this novel is itself a recipe for contentment.” (Kirkus Reviews)

* = Starred review

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The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror - by Mallory Ortberg -

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 11:28am by -alex-

book cover.  Mermaid with sharp teeth and two tailsYour favorite fairy tales get a fresh retelling in The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror. Drawing equally from the Brothers Grimm and everyday life, Mallory Ortberg infuses these dark, delightfully wicked fantasies with modern twists like gender identity and bureaucratic intransigence.  Ortberg's sly wit, humor and sense of existential horror will hook you in the first few pages. 

 

For more, check out these reviews from NPR and PopMatters.

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You Go First

Sat, 06/09/2018 - 4:23pm by Lucy S

Scrabble Tiles

Ben and Charlotte have never met in person. Occasionally they chat on the phone, but where they really connect is through their games of online scrabble. This pair of middle-school students in Erin Entrada Kelly’s new book You Go First, are struggling to find their way among the sea of pre-teens they  each daily encounter. Ben’s and Charlotte’s differences make them an unlikely duo. Charlotte leans towards sciences and geology and Ben loves presidential history and Harry Potter. But they are both lonely, experiencing shifts in friendships, difficulties at home. Their turns at scrabble are more than just a game. They provide solace and security. When Ben plays a word Charlotte feels that “at least there was something she could still count on.”

Through Charlotte and Ben, Kelly shows readers that sometimes all it takes to act bravely is knowing one person is there for you, waiting for you to take your turn.

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I, Too, Am America - by Langston Hughes -

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 4:51pm by -alex-

Book cover.  Young man in front of the flag of the United States.Langston Hughes' much loved poem "I, Too, Am America" is given a dramatic new form by four-time Caldicot award winning illustrator Bryan Collier

Originally written in 1926, "I, Too, Am America" retains its relevance in the present day, and its words are inscribed on the walls of the National Museum of African American History in Washington DC.  You'll find this excellent picture book in our youth section, and the original poem via this link to the Poetry Foundation's website.

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AAATA Free Ride Weekends—Just Show Your Library Card

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 11:07am by richretyi

 

AAATA Free Ride Weekends: Just Show Your Library Card

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) and the Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) are partnering this summer to provide Free Ride Weekends during the AADL Summer Game!

Every Saturday and Sunday from June 16 to August 26, library cardholders can ride any of TheRide local fixed-route buses for free. All you need to do is show the driver your library card when boarding the bus!

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What I Leave Behind, by Alison McGhee

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 9:24am by manz

ddThe new teen novel What I Leave Behind caught me by surprise, and I was absolutely delighted that it did. I was interested in the unique format of the book, as it has 100 chapters, all with 100 words each. The significance of 100 and the flow of the prose move the story in ways that full chapters would not. 

The story follows sixteen year old Will. He has a lot going on in his life, and he prefers to sort through it all by walking. He likes to walk. Everywhere. All the time. His best friend went through a traumatic experience at a party. His father is dead. And he now struggles with his last encounter with his father -- I don't think I'll ever look at cornbread the same again. It's a quick read, and Will is a fascinating character to follow along as he walks through it all. 

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Circe

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 4:47pm by Lucy S

CirceIn her new novel, Circe, Madeline Miller gives voice to this Greek goddess usually featured peripherally in the myths of men.  In the span of hundreds of years Circe’s path crosses that of many mortals and gods; Daedalus, Jason and Medea, Hermes, Odysseus, and armies of men who chance upon her shores and seek to take advantage of her. Circe is famous for turning men into swine on the island Aeaea, where she has been exiled for using witchcraft. Miller fleshes out the back story of why Circe started doing this, using "pharmaka" and herbs to right great wrongs done against her. “Men make bad swine,” she muses.

It is through Circe’s turn at motherhood that Miller shows the most human side of a women overwhelmed by a baby that won’t stop crying, and reflecting on the love she bears her son. “I did not go easy into motherhood,” Circe conveys before the arrival of Telegonus, her child fathered by Odysseus. But she quickly becomes fiercely protective of him in a way at once surprisingly familiar and yet underscored by her godly strength. “...I used to make lists of all the things I would do to keep him safe. It was not much of a game, because the answer was always the same. Anything.”

Extremely engrossing, Miller’s renditions of the Greek myths are thrilling and impassioned, creating a delightful read.

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Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 12:17pm by manz

long way downLong Way Down is a new teen fiction book by Jason Reynolds, and it's so good that it won a Printz Honor award this year. It's beautifully written in prose by our young narrator, but it's no easy read due to the weight of the content -- but don't let that scare you. This author is doing amazing things! 

There are three rules in the neighborhood: Don't cry ; Don't snitch ; Get revenge. 

15-year-old Will's brother was recently killed, and he's prepared to follow the rules... until he hops in the elevator. Will is caught by surprise when, over the span of just one minute, other people from his life mysteriously join him, offering him insight on the mission he's so intent on completing. It's the longest 60 seconds of Will's life... and it will change his life forever. 

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See Vintage Photos of 1970s Ann Arbor

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 9:09am by antdevee

Commuter Bus/IM BuildingCheck out this collection of black and white photos of Ann Arbor from over 40 years ago!

Shared by local resident RJ Godin, this collection includes vintage shots of past local businesses like the Flame Bar, Omega Pizza and Central Cafe

Also in this collection are charming street scenes of downtown Ann Arbor; and shots of iconic campus locations like the Observatory, Nickels Arcade and the Campus Corner. You can see more from this collection here.