News and Reviews
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
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)
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."
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 Cunningham; Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney; and Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple.
* = Starred review
Tue, 07/21/2020 - 11:42am by Lucy S
A little over a month ago, I started Lisa Congdon’s Inktober Daily Challenge through AADL’s online service, Creativebug. I chose this series because each of the daily videos is short (under 6 minutes), I like the artist’s style, and I didn’t need to get too many new supplies. I had paint brushes, and micron pens so I only needed to procure a few bottles of India Ink and the correct paper, 5” x 7” Shizen watercolor paper. I try to be creative daily, but mostly by dabbling in fiber arts. Here’s what happened when I put pen to paper.
What I loved:
Fri, 07/17/2020 - 5:00pm by eli
What's that we see, in a previously forgotten corner of YOUR VERY FAVORITE WEBSITE?! No, not LixLox nor PhaseBook nor UNCLEMORTYSDISCOUNTMAMMOTHS.GEOCITIES.COM, we're talking about good ol' AADL.ORG! Why, it's the triumphant return of the one and only SUMMER GAME SHOP!
Due to, well, *gestures around vaguely* the Summer Game Shop is going to be a bit different than the RESPONSIVENESS and FLEXIBILITY you've become accustomed to from your Library. Yeah, it's hard for us too. But we've found a way to still have a great Summer Game Shop, get lots of GREAT STUFF into your GREAT CLOSETS and keep everybody safely DISTANT all Summer Long. SO, here's the SCOOP!
Thu, 07/16/2020 - 7:52pm by muffy
Award-winning crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, James Queally has covered hundreds of homicides, as well as national use-of-force controversies and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Line of Sight * * is his debut novel.
Former Newark crime reporter Russell Avery now works as a private investigator, mostly running interference for cops facing disciplinary reviews, or in crosshairs of the Internal Affairs Department. He is indebted to his contacts on the Newark PD for fast-tracking his PI license when he was furloughed and grateful for the work. That is until his friend Keyonna Jackson, a social justice activist, introduced him to Austin Mathis whose son Kevin, a low-level drug dealer was killed by the police. What piqued Russell’s interest was a troubling cell-phone video Kevin took that showed snippets of questionable use-of-force of another young black man.
“Avery plunges into a miasma of police corruption and reconnects with former girlfriend Dina, a reporter bent on unmasking crooked cops. The deeper he investigates, the more Avery becomes convinced that he's been looking for heroes and villains in a city that breeds only survivors--and where protecting and serving are too often reduced to doing evil so that good may result. This scalding exposé of human failures, in which friendships go tragically sour, powerfully updates Raymond Chandler's mean streets. Queally is definitely a writer to watch.” (Publishers Weekly)
* * = 2 starred reviews
Thu, 07/09/2020 - 1:50pm by muffy
The Margot Affair (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Paris-born Sanae Lemoine (MFA, Columbia) which the New York Times reviewer called “a gorgeous debut novel." It brings to mind Ian McEwan’s Atonement, in which one impulsive decision of a 17 year-old shatters the lives of those around her in ways she could never have imagined. The plot is also foreshadowed by references to Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse, a bittersweet tale of another 17 year-old whose meddling in her father's love life leads to tragic consequences.
17 year-old Margot Louve is the secret child of Bertrand Lapierre, the French Minister of Culture and stage actress Anouck. While loving and kind, Bertrand is married and has another family with a woman from a prominent family, leaving Margot to be raised by a self-absorbed, uninvolved Anouck in a small apartment on the Left Bank.
At one of Anouck’s opening night receptions, Margot meets well-regarded journalist David Perrin. Tired of subterfuge and lack of recognition, Margot leaks her parents' affair, hoping to force her father’s public acknowledgement. The fallout couldn’t have been more devastating.
“As Margot struggles with the consequences of her decision, she turns to David and his wife, Brigitte, and forms a secret life of her own....The eclectic cast and rich Parisian backdrop deepen this dramatic exploration of family and the trials of early adulthood. Francophiles and anyone who appreciates an emotionally rewarding story will enjoy Lemoine's lush, well-crafted tale.” (Publishers Weekly)
Fri, 07/03/2020 - 1:22pm by muffy
Another one of Harper's Bazaar’s 14 LGBTQ+ Books to Look For This Year and already optioned for TV series, Exciting Times : A Novel * by Naoise Dolan (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is “(d)roll, shrewd and unafraid - a winning debut.” ~ Hilary Mantel
Trinity College (Dublin) grad Ava moves to Hong Kong, teaching English to wealthy kids. To avoid petulant roommates in a cramped apartment, she moves in with Julian, a British banker. When Julian’s job takes him back to London temporarily, Ava stays, and finds herself increasing taken with Edith, a cambridge-educated unambiguilous-gay Hong Kong lawyer, from a conservative Chinese family. While they are able to keep their affair secret, Julian’s return will likely force Ava to make a decision.
“Already drawing comparisons to Sally Rooney’s work, Exciting Times,”...has many of the familiar tropes of the “millennial novel” covered: Jealousy and obsession, love and late capitalism, sex and the internet all come whirling together in a wry and bracing tale of class and privilege.” (New York Times Book Review)
Narrator (also named) Sam, a recent LA transplant, leaves behind a life littered with failed relationships and failed dreams. But the challenges of sobriety and the bone-deep hurt of failed relationships have left him broken. At a dinner party, he learns of a shaman in Portland, Ore. that "could fix everything wrong with you in three days". After some contrary resistance, and with the blessing of his AA sponsor, Sam agreed to try it.
“Set within the vividly realized framework of addiction recovery and gay life in America, this remains the story of one man's deep personal struggles while at the same time speaking to and for all the broken people in this world.” Readers might also want to check out Entertainment Weekly’s interview with Sam Lansky.
Forthcoming titles to watch:
16-year-old Max, a German immigrant thrives in his new home in America - he makes the football team, goes to church for the first time, and even makes friends. When Max meets Pan in Chemistry class, they embark on a quixotic, strange, and consuming relationship, and share secrets.
Max tells Pan about his witchy powers, Pan tells Max about the snake poison initiations of a local church. But the boys aren't sure whose secrets are darker, or what is more frightening - their true selves, or staying true in an intolerant Alabama.
On an Ojibwe reservation called Languille Lake (Northern MN), two men enter into a secret romance. Marion Lafournier, a midtwenties gay Ojibwe man, begins a relationship with his former classmate Shannon, a heavily closeted white man.
Then Marion unknowingly brings to life the spirit of a dog from the elementary school playground that leads him to the grave of Kayden Kelliher, a young Ojibwe basketball star who was murdered. While investigating the fallen hero's death, Marion discovers family connections and an old Ojibwe legend that may be the secret to unraveling the mystery he has found himself in.
With his rock star Dad making a comeback, Luc O'Donnell fears he is back in the public eye. To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship, and Oliver Blackwood is definitely the perfect boyfriend material - a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he's never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. Unfortunately apart from being gay & single, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common, so they strike a deal!! But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating.
* = Starred review
Fri, 06/26/2020 - 12:00am by muffy
Battered and broke, Hope Wright arrives in the dead of night at the Orchard House, her late-mother’s family home in Northern Michigan with her daughter, a silent 10 year-old Tink in tow, both still traumatized by recent events. Their welcome is conditional - it’s cherry harvest, and they will work alongside Aunt Peg who runs the farm with Abel, a kind and quiet former marine.
The days are long and the work is back-breaking but the remoteness of the orchard allows Hope space and time to heal. Peg, with her own guarded secrets, is determined not to get emotionally involved knowing they would eventually move on. But in the meantime, she manages to draw out the sullen Tink by offering to show her how to shoot a rifle. As Hope and Tink look forward to making a home among new friends and family, their past comes back to haunt them.
The House of Deep Water is Grand Rapids native Jeni McFarland’s debut (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), that “explores motherhood, trauma, love, loss, and new beginnings found in a most unlikely place: home.”
Three spirited women find themselves reluctantly returning to River Bend (MI), the small town they once couldn’t wait to escape. 30something Linda Williams leaves her upward-mobile corporate lawyer husband in Houston, hoping to reconnect with sisters Page and Skylar, who at 16, is living at Grandmother Dana’s farm. She could not explain why she immediately takes up with the much-older Ernest DeWitt, though she remembers his Casanova reputation around town.
Paula, Linda’s estranged mother, left her children 15 years ago to be raised by their step-father now returns to River Bend, to ask her long-abandoned husband for a divorce. Elizabeth DeWitt, one of River Bend's only black daughters and a mother of two, finds herself back in her father Ernest’s house when her marriage and career fall apart. When these three women find themselves sheltering under one roof, tension is high. And when Ernest suffers a stroke, the women are left to confront their past and paths not taken in order to find their way forward, and home.
“Just like life, McFarland's debut is big, messy, and complicated while also being a completely engrossing portrait of her characters and their hometown. She deftly weaves in issues of race and consent. Perfect for those who like books about family dysfunction, this would also make a great book discussion selection.” (Booklist) "McFarland's layered tale will appeal to readers who liked Tayari Jones's An American Marriage." (Publishers Weekly)
* = Starred review
Tue, 06/23/2020 - 2:55pm by richretyi
Check out aadl.org/backgrounds to see all of our background sets.
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #741,“With a little effort, anything can be shown to connect with anything else: existence is infinitely cross-referenced.” ~ Martha Cooley, The Archivist
Fri, 06/19/2020 - 8:36am by muffy
30 year-old Kate Aitken, a former journalist is relieved to finally be moving on, accepting a temporary archivist position in Northern California after her career imploded, the result of a sexual harassment complaint against her superior that polarized the New York paper where she worked.
She is hired to organize the papers and personal effects of Miranda Brand - a famed photographer who died under mysterious circumstances at the height of her career. Still emotionally fragile, Kate is looking forward to working in solitude at the historic Brand House. So she is surprised (and a little dismay) to find Theo, Miranda’s son and her employer living there with his 2 young children, an arrangement complicated by his recent divorce.
As Kate sifts through Miranda’s letters, receipts, and prints, she begins to suspect Miranda was murdered, though the Police ruled it a suicide. Despite her growing attraction to Theo, Kate could not dispel the persistent rumor that a young and disturbed Theo killed his mother. When she stumbles across Miranda's diary, her curiosity spirals into a dangerous obsession.
“Sligar delivers an intriguing mystery while tackling big themes, especially sexism and the societal restraints placed on women’s bodies and minds. The results are spellbinding. A raw and sophisticated debut.” (Kirkus Reviews)
* = Starred review
Fri, 06/12/2020 - 8:14am by muffy
Set in Michigan’s idyllic North Bear Shores (fictional), 29 year-old Romance writer January Andrews is broke, and smarting from the discovery of her father’s long-standing extramarital affair when she inherits his secret lake house. Her new next door neighbor is none other than Augustus Everett, her grad school (UM, Creative Writing) nemesis and the darling of the literary fiction world. Unbeknownst to her, he is also suffering from severe writer’s block. As a challenge, they decide to swap genres, and whoever finishes and sells their book first, wins.
“To prepare, Augustus will bring January along for his research, and she'll take him on outings that inspire romance. They find pleasure in this work and even more in each other…January's first-person narration is suitably poetic and effervescent, the small-town beach setting is charming, and the romance is achingly swoony.” (Booklist) For fans of Susan Mallery and Elin Hilerbrandt.
Andrea Tang, a high-powered attorney dreads Chinese New Year when her spinsterhood (at 33) is once again the topic of conversation, and disappointment among her extended Chinese Malaysian family. Online dating yields lackluster prospects and a constant hangover, problematic when she has partnership at the law firm in sight. Then she meets billionaire Eric Deng (at a BOOK CLUB!!) who would definitely check all the boxes with her family. As Andrea's relationship with Eric heats up, an unexpected twist in the form of her office frenemy Suresh Aditparan complicates matters.
“The combination of an appealing lead, a glamorous setting, and relatable, funny portrayals of relationships and workplace politics make this debut one of the must-read escapist pleasures of the summer.” (Library Journal)
Kwana Jackson’s (writing for the first time under her new pen name), Real Men Knit (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) “crafts a cute friends-to-lovers romance with a diverse cast of characters that emphasizes the importance of community and found family." (Booklist)
Shop assistant Kerry Fuller at Strong Knits, a Harlem yarn store is sure when owner Mama Joy dies unexpectedly, her four adoptive sons would sell the business. Instead, she is surprised when Jesse Strong, a commitment-phobic heartthrob (and her secret crush) asks her to help keep the store open. As they work together to reinvent the business for a new generation of knitters, the chemistry builds between them.
“Jackson eschews manufactured drama and miscommunication, giving her couple a relatively painless path to love. Jesse's delightful brothers bring an extra helping of light and laughter to the story, and their distinct personalities will have readers excited for them each to find love of their own in future installments. This smooth romance goes down easy.” (Publishers Weekly)
A Taste of Sage (eBook and also in audiobook) by Yaffa S. Santos is a June Indie Next List Pick!, and Entertainment Weekly "New Books to Read May 2020". This hilarious rom-com about chefs, cooking, love, and self-discovery will please fans of The Hating Game and Sweetbitter.
When Lumi Santana’s restaurant closes, wiping out her savings and shattering her dream of bringing eclectic fusion cuisine to her Inwood (Manhattan) neighborhood, she is forced to accept a position as sous chef at Dax - a traditional, Michelin-starred French restaurant in midtown, owned by Julien, the acid-tongued, smug and dictatorial task-master. Things get off to a shaky start when Lumi improvises on a ratatouille recipe and she vows never to taste his cooking, little does she know that her resolve doesn't stand a chance against Julien's culinary prowess and that flaming red hair and brilliant smile.
Then, there is Esme, Julien’s secretary - blond, efficient, watchful and regards Lumi as a serious problem. As the attraction between Lumi and Julien simmers, Lumi’s gift of synesthesia (she can perceive a person's emotions just by tasting their cooking) could put her in grave danger.
* = Starred review
Wed, 06/10/2020 - 3:14pm by richretyi
We're already looking ahead to the second week of our reopening plan—starting June 22. In our first week (June 15-21) we're accepting returns and testing pickup appointments with select patrons with materials already on our hold shelves.
Highlights starting June 22:
PICKUP APPOINTMENTS START JUNE 22
Fri, 06/05/2020 - 11:28am by richretyi
The week of June 15th - June 21st, we'll begin offering test pickups for some items on the hold shelf. Watch your email for this potential preview of the new pickup appointments system!
PHASE ONE OF PICKUP APPOINTMENTS
In the first week, some patrons will receive emails offering appointments to pick up materials that were already on the hold shelves when our doors closed in March. These patrons will have a chance to set up appointments for contactless pickup at their pickup locations, to help us clear some of the materials already on our hold shelves, and allow AADL staff to to fine tune the process. Beginning June 22nd, pickup appointments will be available to all our patrons. Stay tuned for updates!
Fri, 06/05/2020 - 8:45am by muffy
This “smart, heartfelt debut” (Publishers Weekly) - All My Mother's Lovers * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Ilana Masad is picked as one of Harper's Bazaar's "14 LGBTQ+ Books to Look For in 2020”; and O Magazine’s LGBTQ Books That'll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020."
When 27-year-old Maggie Krause rushes home to Oxnard (CA) for her mother Iris’s funeral, to find her college-age brother Ariel despondent and her father, Peter, catatonic with grief. Among her mother’s papers are 5 sealed envelopes addressed to men she has never heard of. Hurt and curious, Maggie decides to hand deliver these letters, and to discover the truth about Iris, who made no secret of her discomfort with Maggie’s sexuality.
“Told over the course of a funeral and shiva, and written with enormous wit and warmth, All My Mother's Lovers… is (a) unique meditation on the universality and particularity of family ties and grief, and a tender and biting portrait of sex, gender, and identity.” (Publisher)
Another one of O Magazine’s LGBTQ Books That'll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020”; and Electric Lit’s 14 Highly Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books Coming This Spring, Kept Animals * by Kate Milliken, is “a riveting page-turner, an unforgettable story of loss and renewal," (Library Journal) that sweeps back and forth from Topanga Canyon in 1993 to Little Snake, WY, in 2015.
15-year-old Rory Ramos, stable hand at Leaning Rock Ranch where her stepfather Gus Scott is the lead horse trainer is also a skilled rider. She trains with wealthy (wild and undisciplined) twins June and Wade Fisk who both pursue her; but Rory is more intrigued and confused by her feelings for Vivian, the daughter of movie star Everett Price. After Gus is involved in an accident that kills Vivian's little brother, relationships get extremely complicated as a devastating wildfire engulfs the canyon.
“In a separate narrative, Rory's daughter, Charlie, must untangle what actually happened between the group of friends 22 years earlier. Changing perspective throughout, Milliken excels at capturing each character's unique voice and perspective--particularly Rory's guarded quietness and Vivian's performed jadedness. Her attention to details of place and time, as well as the casual cruelties those of privilege can inflict on those who have less, provide astute undercurrents to the propulsive plot. Milliken's electric tale keenly documents the power of first love and the lingering hurt of trauma.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Successful child-star turn showrunner Jo Jones is photographed on the red carpet sharing a private moment with her assistant Emma Kaplan, and rumors fly. The scandal threatens Jo’s upcoming new film, and their “no comment” response just inflames the Paparazzi. As Jo and Emma spend more time together to launch the film project, and getting along famously, they begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all !!
“Their romance burns tantalizingly slowly as they navigate their professional relationship and budding feelings; Wilsner makes sure the reader knows both women intimately before allowing them to be intimate with one another, making the eventual payoff that much more rewarding. The supporting cast--among whom Emma's sister, Avery, especially shines--adds depth and dimension to this charming rom-com. This is a gem.” (Publishers Weekly)
* = Starred review
* * * * = 4 starred reviews
Mon, 06/01/2020 - 2:20pm by josie
Everyone at AADL extends our gratitude to you for your patience with the library closure during this sad and difficult time. We also extend our condolences to anyone who has lost a loved one to COVID-19, and it is our fervent hope that you continue to be well and safe as we move through the next months.
Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted, we are moving into Stage 4 of the Governor's Michigan Safe Start plan. We outlined our plan on May 18, at the monthly meeting of the Library Board. After June 8th, AADL staff can return to the buildings and begin preparing to resume checkout service. Our priority will be to clear the backlog of returned materials, and to provide access to items still on the Hold Shelves from before the closure. Then we will begin filling requests and offer daily time slots for Locker or Lobby pickup. This allows us the ability to bring staff back into the buildings with appropriate distancing and PPE, and to ready the buildings to allow for contactless pickup. We will not be providing curbside services.
Nothing currently checked out of the AADL is due before mid-July, and no fines will accrue on materials for several months. Check your my account page to see when your items are due.
Thu, 05/28/2020 - 12:23pm by muffy
Maestra * * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by art critic/journalist L.S. Hilton (Oxford) is a timely find, perfect for fans of Killing Eve as the end of Season 3 approaches. The first of a trilogy, this “deliciously Highsmithian thriller,” (Publishers Weekly) introduces a “21st century femme fatale as lethal as Tom Ripley and as seductive as Bacall.” (Vogue)
Conscientious, well-educated, and impeccably groomed, Judith Rashleigh, a junior at a prestigious London art house is barely making ends meet. With her school loans coming due, she begins moonlighting as a hostess at a champagne bar. When she uncovers a shady scheme that the gallery is trying to pass off a fake Stubbs in an upcoming auction, she is fired. A trip to the French Riviera with a bar patron turns deadly, and Judith is forced to disappear. Armed with just her wits and a talent for self-invention, she maneuvers her way onto a billion-dollar yacht cruising the Mediterranean, determined to stay ahead of the game and settle the score.
“Delicious...at once glamorous, edgy, decadent, erotic, and irresistible. Judith is just full of surprises. She is ruthless and yet vulnerable...[Maestra] is a gift for readers who delight in vengeful female protagonists...
"Hilton also folds in soupçons of Gone Girl and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The detailed sex scenes will also appeal to fans of the Fifty Shades series… Optioned for film with adaptation by Paula Hawkins [The Girl on the Train].” (Booklist)
Domina * (also available in downloadable audiobook) is the sequel to Maestra. Judith now operates an art gallery in Venice as Elisabeth Teerlinc. When strange things begin happening in her home, Judith suspects someone knows her identity and what she has done. To save her hard-won new life, she must find a lost painting, one that most experts agree never actually existed.
“[A] shopathon travelogue thriller that has billionaires, art world scheming and a sociopathic heroine who can unfasten belt buckles with her tongue.” (The New York Times)
* * = 2 starred reviews
* = Starred review
Fri, 05/22/2020 - 11:43am by muffy
The New Girl (also in downloadable eBook) by Harriet Walker, the fashion editor for The Times of London, follows the intertwined lives of three women, and “movingly portrays the fragility of friendship and the corrosive effect of mistrust and recriminations in a wickedly funny psychological thriller that's in turn brutal and tender.” (Publishers Weekly)
Margot, a fashion editor and her lifelong friend Winnie are both expecting but when Winnie loses her baby, their friendship suffers. Maggie, Margot’s handpicked maternity temp - bright, plucky and ambitious, turns out to be good at her job, and emerges as the darling of the fashion world. As Margot becomes increasingly jealous and paranoid, Winnie sets her sights on revenge, and Maggie schemes to make her temporary job permanent. Each woman's alternating narrative offers her own perspective on the unfolding events, from which no one escapes unscathed.
Ghosts of Harvard * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Frances Serritella, co-author of Chick Wit, a column in The Philadelphia Inquirer (with her mother Lisa Scottoline). This “many-faceted first novel… begins as a thriller and ends as a story of personal growth and redemption.” (Library Journal)
Harvard freshman Cady Archer arrives on campus searching for answers to her brother, Eric, a schizophrenic genius who leapt from his dorm room window the year before. While struggling under the enormous pressure of college, she investigates her brother’s final year, armed only with a blue notebook of Eric’s cryptic notes. As the clues that she unearths grow increasingly sinister, she begins to hear voices - three ghosts from different eras of American history that walked the halls of Harvard.
“Serritella makes keen use of quantum theories about time and simultaneity in this busily plotted, emotionally astute, thoughtfully paranormal, witty, and suspenseful drama involving historical figures, academic ruthlessness, and the tragic riddles of mental illness.” (Booklist)
The Fire Thief by Debra Bokur, launches a new police procedural series featuring Maui detective Kali Māhoe. When Police Captain Walter Alaka'i discovers the body of a teenage surfer among the lava rocks, he calls in his niece, Detective Kali Māhoe, the granddaughter of one of Hawaii's most respected spiritual leaders, and herself on the transcendent path to becoming a kahu herself. What initially appears to be an accident, Kali suspects a ritual murder. Then another body washes ashore, Kali must draw on her own knowledge of the legends of the Islands to track down the killer.
“Bokur nimbly contrasts the Hawaii of sun and golden beaches with its less well-known underbelly of poverty, discrimination, and crime. Fans of strong female cops will look forward to Kali's further adventures.” (Publishers Weekly)
* = Starred review
Fri, 05/15/2020 - 9:21am by muffy
“My idea of good company...is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.' 'You are mistaken,' said he gently, 'that is not good company, that is the best.” ~ Jane Austen, Persuasion
The Jane Austen Society by Oakville (ON) bookstore owner Natalie Jenner (Bustle’s Pick and Indie Next Pick for May) is a must-read for fans of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a “charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal." ~ Pam Jenoff
1945, as England was trying to rebuild after WWII, a disparate group of individuals banded together to attempt something remarkable - to preserve both Jane Austen's home and her legacy.
For decades, tourists and Austen enthusiasts have made pilgrimage to the village of Chawton, to the country cottage on the Knight family estate, where Austen spent the last eight years of her life, and where she penned the last three of her novels.
As the estate is about to be passed onto an unidentified male heir with the death of old Mr. Knight, the Jane Austen Society members - a farm laborer, a housemaid, the local doctor, a young widow, the spinster Frances Knight, the Knights' solicitor, a Hollywood movie star and her Sotheby's auctioneer friend must attempt the impossible - to raise enough funds to save the Knight library where Jane certainly would have made extensive use of, and to turn her cottage into a museum.
“Just like a story written by Austen herself, Jenner's first novel is brimming with charming moments, endearing characters, and nuanced relationships, all largely set within and reflecting the often intrusive atmosphere of a small country community.” (Booklist)
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #735, “He had a confused sense that she must have cost a great deal to make, that a great many dull and ugly people must, in some mysterious way, have been sacrificed to produce her.” ~ Edith Wharton
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 8:48am by muffy
Called “one of the buzziest debuts of the year”(Vogue), If I Had Your Face * (in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Frances Cha (Dartmouth, MFA Columbia), is set in contemporary Seoul, the Plastic Surgery Capital of the World, where four young women in an apartment building, struggle to make their way in a male-dominated society, defined by the impossibly high standards of beauty.
Beautiful Kyuri, the object of desire and envy, entertains businessmen while they drink at 10%, an exclusive “room salon”. Much sought-after with the rich clientele, she is racking up debts for additional surgeries and beauty treatment to maintain her status. Her roommate Miho, a talented artist who studied in New York on a scholarship, is trying to exorcise the suicide of a good friend through her work, and to establish a foothold in Seoul’s competitive art market.
Down the hall lives hairstylist Ara, mute from a brutal attack and bullied at work, is hopelessly infatuated with the star of a K-pop boy band. Her roommate, beauty-obsessed Sujin is counting on extreme plastic surgery to change the course of her life. One floor below is Wonna, a married office worker, desperate for motherhood, though she is not sure how she could afford to raise a child in the cutthroat economy.
When Kyuri’s impulsive blunder with a client threatens her livelihood; Miho’s discovery that her boyfriend - the heir to one of Korea’s biggest companies is less than genuine; and Wonna’s husband leaves her in her darkest hour, it is their friendship, however tentative and mercurial, that may well be their saving grace.
“(Former travel and culture digital producer for CNN in Seoul) Cha navigates the obstacles of her characters' lives with ease and heartbreaking realism, showing the lengths these women are willing to go to pursue their dreams in a country where they are told they "do not live for tomorrow." This is an insightful, powerful story from a promising new voice.” (Publishers Weekly) Check out The Washington Post review.
* = Starred review
Wed, 05/06/2020 - 11:13am by richretyi
This set of phone wallpapers will let you show your AADL love on all your devices!
Fri, 05/01/2020 - 1:32pm by muffy
Political consultant (An)Dre Ross, instead of the prospect of making junior partner in his DC firm, is being dispatched to the backwoods of South Carolina, with $250,000 of dark money to introduce a ballot initiative on behalf of a mining company, a last ditch effort to save his career after his aggressive tactics in a recent gubernatorial campaign backfired. In 13 weeks, Dre must manipulate the locals into voting to sell their pristine public land to the highest bidder.
In God-fearing, gun-toting, flag-waving Carthage County (SC), Dre, being an African-American outsider, needs a straw man to collect the signatures needed to get on the ballot, so he hires local barkeep Tyler Lee and his pious wife, Chalene. They plan to disguise the land grab as a righteous fight for faith and liberty. In the process, lines are crossed, careers are ruined and lives threatened.
“Pungent with dark humor and cynicism, Wright's nuanced portrait shows how the campaign not only pulls apart the town but threatens to drive a wedge between Dre's career ambitions and his humanity. “ (Publishers Weekly)
“Wright (a clinical associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, and a trial attorney in the Voting Section of the United States Department of Justice) has created a sharply contemporary Faustian tragicomedy with parallels to the TV series Scandal.” (Booklist)
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 2:51pm by richretyi
Enjoy this set of phone wallpapers that celebrate the Downtown Library through history.
Fri, 04/17/2020 - 5:31pm by eli
Want to hide the reality of your home office, and show your support for local history at the same time? Well, you're in luck! The AADL Archives Team is proud to deliver to you these zoom-ready virtual backdrops! Choose from stately, serene, kooky, or more! Just download the images of your choice for use with your friendly neighborhood virtual-backdrop-supporting videoconferencing software. Enjoy, and stay safe!
Kindergarteners from Bach Elementary Show Off Their Valentine's Bulletin Board, February 1964 | Photo by Eck Stanger, Ann Arbor News
Fri, 04/17/2020 - 8:15am by muffy
The Mountains Sing, * * * first novel in English by celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Quế Mai Phan (in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is a multigenerational saga of the Trần family. Narrated in tandem by Tran Dieu Lan and her granddaughter, it spans much of the 20th century, through decades of occupations and war.
Born into one of the wealthiest farming families in Nghệ An Province, Dieu Lan lived through the French Occupation, only to witness her father’s gruesome murder at the hands of a brutal Japanese soldier. Surviving on wild fruits and insects during the Great Famine of 1945, she had to give away her 6 children during the Land Reform, escaping execution only through the kindness of a longtime family retainer, her brother not so lucky. Through humiliating work and ingenuity, she managed to prosper and to reunite her family, only to watch them join the NVA to fight against the South and the US Army.
The novel opens with a harrowing scene of the bombing of Hanoi in 1972, when Dieu Lan was again doing everything possible to keep a loved one alive - this time her 12 year-old granddaughter Huong “fragrance”, and gradually "opened the door of her childhood" with stories - believing “(i)f our stories survive, we will not die.”
The title of the novel references a hand-carved wooden bird, Huong’s only tangible remembrance of her father. This bird -the son ca “The Mountain Sings", would keep company with the soldiers as they walked into battle. The Vietnamese believe its songs can reach heaven and bring back the souls of the dead.
“Recalling Min Jin Lee and Lisa See, Nguyen displays a lush and captivating storyteller’s gift as she effortlessly transports readers to another world, leaving them wishing for more.“ (Library Journal)
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Thu, 04/16/2020 - 4:10pm by eli
Back many years after its mysterious disappearance, we're pleased to relaunch MINECRAFT ANN ARBOR! On the server, you'll find a huge flat map of the Ann Arbor area, where players have been building their own homes or their favorite buildings! You can connect to it from version 1.15.2 of Minecraft Java Edition using Multiplayer Direct Connect to minecraft.aadl.org . Note: we're sorry, but this server is not compatible with Minecraft Pocket Edition on mobile devices or Minecraft on Game Consoles.
Most of the Downtown Area in Minecraft Ann Arbor was built by local legend Jan Wolter, who put a ton of time into the server. He passed away in 2015, but his work on this server has been preserved so you can still enjoy a bit of Downtown Ann Arbor while socially distancing!
Part of the idea is to make the outsides of buildings as real as possible, but the insides can be whatever you want, whether just like they are, or what you always hoped they would be. A mix between the real and the fantasy worlds is fun for everyone!
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #732, “Here the oppression of women is very subtle... But here it is done psychologically and by education.” ~ Nawal El Saadawi
Fri, 04/10/2020 - 10:15am by muffy
Named one of the most anticipated debuts of 2020, The Illness Lesson * * by Bard Fiction Prize winner Clare Beams (in downloadable OverDrive eBook and audiobook) is what the New York Times Book Reviewer called “(a)stoundingly original.”
Ashwell (MA), on the site of a previously failed utopian commune, scholar/philosopher Samuel Hood opened a school for young women, offering a classical education, uncommon in post-Civil War America. Named “Trilling Heart” after a mysterious flock of red birds, Samuel enlisted his daughter Caroline, and David, a return veteran as teachers.
Among the students was Eliza, whose father, Miles Pearson penned The Darkening Glass, a popular gothic romance rumored to be autobiographical, and involved a beautiful young woman, modeled after Caroline’s mother. When the students, one after another, began to manifest bizarre physical symptoms of rashes, fits and sleepwalking, Caroline suspected Eliza, until she herself fell victim to the illness. Fearing reprisal from the parents, Samuel sent for his friend Dr. Hawkins, whose exploitative and malevolent treatments made Caroline question the judgment and integrity of those she trusted.
“This suspenseful and vividly evocative tale expertly explores women's oppression as well as their sexuality through the eyes of a heroine who is sometimes maddening, at other times sympathetic, and always wholly compelling and beautifully rendered.” (Booklist)
Soon to be released is Catherine House * * by Elisabeth Thomas, (The June Indie Next List), gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a small, highly selective college, and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate, Ines Murillo who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.
“Surreal imagery, spare characterization, and artful, hypnotic prose lend Thomas's tale a delirious air, but at the book's core lies a profound portrait of depression and adolescent turmoil. Fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History will devour this philosophical fever dream.” (Publishers Weekly)
Readers might also like to explore: The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister (in eBook and audiobook) - a moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about secrets and lies, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives; and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (in eBook and audiobook) is about desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, spanning much of the 18th and 19th centuries.
* * = 2 starred reviews
Fri, 04/03/2020 - 8:22am by muffy
The Lost Book of Adana Moreau * * * by Michael Zapata (in downloadable OverDrive eBook and audiobook) is the unlikely story of how two strangers are connected by a manuscript destroyed decades ago. This “an enchanting blend of history, science, and fairy tale” (Booklist) is also about the preservation of memory, the resilience of the human spirit, the bind of family, and the power of friendship.
New Orleans, 1929. A Dominican immigrant, identified only as Dominicana, married to a pirate, wrote The Lost City, a science fiction masterpiece about alternate realities, but she fell gravely ill before the sequel A Model Earth, could be published. The author instructed her son, 10-year old Maxwell, to burn the only copy of the manuscript upon her death.
Chicago, 2005. Saul Drower just lost his grandfather Ben, who adopted him after his parents were killed in a terrorist attack when he was just 5. Among Ben’s effects was a package addressed to theoretical physicist Dr. Maxwell Moreau at a university in Chile. When the package returned undeliverable, Saul saw that it was a manuscript to A Model Earth. With the help of his investigative journalist friend Javier Silva, they tracked down Maxwell to New Orleans. Hoping to fulfill his grandfather’s last wish and to unearth Ben’s link to the manuscript, Saul and Javier drove right into a city laid waste by Hurricane Katrina.
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Fri, 03/27/2020 - 8:18am by muffy
Oona Out of Order * by Margarita Montimore (in downloadable OverDrive eBook and audiobook) opens on New Year's Eve 1982, when Oona Lockhart is looking forward to turning 19 and the amazing year ahead - whether she chooses to tour with her boyfriend Dale and their rock band, or a year abroad at the London School of Economics.
But at the stroke of midnight, Oona awakes (she blames it on too much champagne) to find herself in her 51-year-old self in 2015, a bit lumpy, but immensely wealthy. Thanks to her faithful personal assistant Kenzie, a letter left from her earlier self, and her mother Madeleine, Oona learns that she will be bouncing around in time through all the years of her life, hitting each only once.
And so begins Oona Out of Order - from clubbing with a fringe group, traveling the world, being married to a man she does not remember, to losing the love of her life. While she mourns missed opportunities and unfulfilled relationships, Oona is determined to truly live in the moment, and to fully appreciate the love of family.
“In the end, we must give credit to Oona for finding joy and even humor in her situation and to Montimore for developing a complex narrative held together by simple truths. Read this to get a bit lost, to root for a character with a strong love for herself, and to connect on a deeply human level with the fear of leading an incomplete life… A heartfelt novel that celebrates its implausibility with a unique joie de vivre. “ (Kirkus Reviews)
For fans of The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (in eBook and audiobook). Readers might also enjoy Overseas by Beatriz Williams (in eBook) (2012), and Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald (in eBook and audiobook) (2019).
* =Starred review
Fri, 03/20/2020 - 2:54pm by eli
The AADL offers the ability to get a new Library card or renew your card remotely!
WHO'S ELIGIBLE FOR AN AADL CARD
If you live within the Ann Arbor Public Schools boundaries (with the exception of Northfield Township), or if you are a student or teacher at AAPS, you may obtain a resident library card with no fee.
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #729, “Baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple.” ~ W.P. Kinsella
Fri, 03/20/2020 - 8:15am by muffy
The Cactus League (in downloadable OverDrive eBook) by the editor of the Paris Review, Emily Nemens opens with the 2011 spring training of the Los Angeles Lions at their new state-of-the-art facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. At the center of the novel is their “movie-star handsome, paparazzi famous and spectacularly talented” outfielder Jason Goodyear. This recently divorced Golden Glove winner and American League MVP runner-up seems to be coming apart at the seams.
In a series of interconnected stories, we come to know the individuals who orbit around Jason: a sportswriter going after a sensational story; a batting coach dealing with a domestic crisis; a fortysomething cleat chaser eager to test her charm; with a big Nike deal on the table, an agent hopes to keep his client out of the tabloids; an owner who allows his personal agenda to shape the season; an ill-paid stadium organist; a young boy at the mercy of his mother’s addiction; and Jason’s fellow players who are willing to do what it takes, just to play.
“Nemens has... written a novel about baseball and how it shapes the lives of athletes as much as the town that supports it - and a beautiful one at that. Like the best sportswriting, this bighearted, finely observed novel is about far more than the game.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Emily Nemens grew up a Seattle Mariners fan. Her family’s trips to spring training in Arizona informed the setting. In a recent interview with Kirkus, she shared the three baseball books that inspired The Cactus League.
Another baseball book this spring that is definitely not JUST about the game is Gish Jen’s The Resisters. The author needs no introduction. Her latest is the story, set in a near-future dystopian America, of one family’s struggle to maintain its humanity and normalcy in circumstances that threaten their every value--as well as their very existence.
At the heart is young Gwen, born with a golden arm, she plays in secret in an underground league all of her young life. When her talent is discovered, and is recruited by the university for the privileged, her moral and personal resolve will be severely tested.
Tue, 03/17/2020 - 4:59pm by eli
AADL is seeking proposals from qualified Janitorial and Mechanical Contractors to provide Janitorial or Mechanical services to all AADL locations. The Request For Proposal Documents are attached here. Responses are due May 8, 2020 by Noon. For questions contact AADL Facilities Manager Len Lemorie at email@example.com .