News and Reviews
Wed, 02/10/2021 - 11:22am by samanthar
The Way of the Househusband is an award winning manga that follows Tatsu, a former legendary Yakuza boss known as the “Immortal Dragon”, who is now focused on being the best domestic husband he can be. While his wife is a hard working career woman, Tatsu puts his energy into housework. Hilarity ensues as he applies the ways of the Yakuza to his domestic life, including wrestling with the vacuum and taking cooking lessons. This was a quick, lighthearted read that I really enjoyed, and I look forward to reading more volumes! (And, Netflix recently announced an original anime coming next year, based on the books!)
Mon, 02/08/2021 - 11:00am by fredbeldin
Judee Sill’s Live in London: The BBC Recordings 1972-1973 makes an excellent introduction to the haunting beauty of this once-obscure singer/songwriter’s unique work. Signed to Asylum Records in 1971, her two LPs enjoyed national publicity (including an early Rolling Stone cover) that didn’t lead to major sales, resulting in a brief but eventful career. Mostly ignored by radio stateside, she twice toured England to a warmer welcome, gaining glowing press, television appearances and the chance to perform live on the BBC, the source for the recordings on Live in London.
The music draws from classical, gospel and country/western styles, her clear, pure plaintive voice accompanied by her own deftly plucked guitar or stately piano. Weaving a gentle, ethereal veil around kaleidoscopic verse about bravery in the face of apocalypse, awe at witnessing the infinite and the longing for a righteous, romantic hero/messiah, her songs sound like prayers, like hymns, like someone yearning for eternity in the dark. Both studio LPs are exceptional, but Live in London’s advantage is a stripped-down, unadorned Judee, delivering her songs alone with a captivating intimacy upon which orchestral flourishes and background singers could only intrude.
Judee lived briefly and in tumult. After leaving Asylum her career faded, and she suffered ill health and poor choices before dying young in 1979. Reissues of her rare titles in the 21st century spawned a small cult of wide-eyed admirers, and the 2020s could be her biggest decade yet; the New York Times recently ran a belated obituary noting the 40th anniversary of her death, and a documentary is currently in post-production. In this digital age, her music is more accessible than ever before, and just in time.
Sat, 02/06/2021 - 5:42pm by muffy
The Bad Muslim Discount * * by Syed Massod (also available in eBook and audiobook) is a well-observed and comic novel about two Muslim families from Pakistan and Iraq finding their way in contemporary America.
As Pakistan grows increasingly conservative and embraces Islamic fundamentalism, the Faris family moved from Karachi to Fremont (CA) looking for a fresh start. While his devout mother and model-Muslim older brother Aamir were quickly adopted by the local Muslim community, 14 year-old Anvar, rebellious and wisecracking was more interested in fitting in, even if it meant being a bad Muslim. In college, his irreverence made him an outcast with fellow Muslim students, including his (very secret) girlfriend Zuha. He transferred out East and eventually got a law degree.
In alternating chapters, Safwa, a young girl living in war-torn Baghdad with her grief-stricken, conservative father will find a very different and far more dangerous path to America. Anvar and Safwa became neighbors in a SF apartment complex, at the largesse of a landlord who is happy to offer a “good Muslim discount” as long as you don’t mind the rundown, mold-infested units. Though Safwa, now called herself Azza, is engaged to a bully hand-picked by her abusive father, they fell into an easy relationship. When Zuha becomes engaged to Aamir, now a doctor; and Safwa’s desperate and poorly-conceived plan to gain her freedom attracts the attention of Homeland Security, their lives and that of their families are irrevocably transformed.
“A born storyteller, Masood has crafted a fast-paced page-turner with plenty of insightful commentary on religion, family, love, and national politics in this debut novel that is expertly written and a joy to read; highly recommended.” (Library Journal)
* * = 2 starred reviews
Fri, 02/05/2021 - 8:20pm by eileenw
Chef Ashna Raje joins a “cooking with celebrities” reality show to try and save her late father's struggling restaurant, and ends up paired with an international soccer star . . . who’s also her ex.
Wed, 02/03/2021 - 4:30pm by eli
Due to a positive COVID test among the staff in one of the Downtown Library staff teams, the Downtown Library will be closed Thursday February 4th.
Due to the staffing impact of quarantine, pickup hours at the Downtown library will be 2 PM - 8 PM daily, starting when we reopen on Friday February 5th. Stay tuned for the resumption of regular hours once quarantined staff are able to return to work.
If you had scheduled a pickup for Thursday, February 4th, it will be canceled and you can reschedule it. All items ready for pickup in the Downtown Lobby will stay right where they are until 2/15.
Mon, 02/01/2021 - 10:36am by samanthar
This small book is a joy for any fan of Bob Ross. Featuring full-page paintings of happy trees, nice little clouds, and warm cabins, each section focuses on a different aspect of Bob’s life philosophies. Patience, facing obstacles, and taking time for you, are just a few of the topics covered. There are even some tidbits about Bob’s personal life. Did you know, Bob first decided to perm his hair as a way to save money by needing fewer hair cuts? This book compiles the positivity and wisdom Bob imparted on his audience each episode. Reading through felt like a visit with an old friend, complete with his encouragement and acceptance.
Fri, 01/29/2021 - 10:17pm by muffy
A long chain of toxic mother-daughter dyads… “Feeling unloved by her mother, who left the family when Blythe was 11 and never looked back, Blythe fears having a daughter of her own. When she gives birth to Violet and is unable to bond with her, her fears multiply. While she fiercely loves the son born a few years later, her relationship with Violet remains fraught, and when a tragedy takes place, it cannot recover. Both an absorbing thriller and an intense, profound look at the heartbreaking ways motherhood can go wrong, this is sure to provoke discussion.” (Booklist)
“This is a sterling addition to the burgeoning canon of bad seed suspense, from an arrestingly original new voice.” (Publishers Weekly)
Sera loves true crime podcasts and when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera sets out to investigate and plunges headfirst into the wild back-country of Northern California, following clues hidden in the episodes of Rachel's podcast to an isolated ranch. As Sera digs, she finds that Rachel is not the first woman to vanish from the ranch, and she won't be the last.
“Blending the true crime compulsion of Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark with the immersive creepy-craziness of Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects, Brazier creates a heady, pitch-dark cocktail all her own.” (Publishers Weekly)
Jane, a recent transplant, walks dogs for the well-heeled residents of Thornfield Estates, people who won’t notice when items go missing here and there. Then she meets Eddie Rochester. The rich, brooding, and handsome widower could finally offer Jane the life she yearns for. As they prepare to marry, the death of Eddie's first wife, Bea, and her best friend, Blanche, in a boating accident continues to haunt them. When the police reopen their probe, an increasingly concerned Jane starts investigating Bea's fate and what part, if any, Eddie played.
“First-person narration by Jane allows for a slow reveal of her past, and occasional perspectives from other characters provide clues to their motivations. An altogether sinister novel that will make readers of Jennifer McMahon, Ruth Ware, and Donna Tartt shudder ” (Booklist)
People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd (the husband-and-wife writing team Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos), it probes the dark side of influencer culture, and explores our desperate need to be seen and the lengths we'll go to be liked by strangers.
Former fashion editor Emmy Jackson, aka @the_mamabare, Britain's most famous Instamum, claims to offer an unfiltered view of life raising a young family. Followed by millions, only her embittered, washed-up novelist of a husband knows just how creative Emmy can be with the truth. Then one of her followers becomes obsessed and stalks the Jackson family, clearly with malicious intent.
When her seven-year-old son, Cody, tells her about “New Granny” he meets in the park, Georgina reasons that it is entirely understandable that Cody might have invented a "New Granny" to replace his beloved grandmother who recently passed away. It's only when Cody's imaginary friend starts leaving signs behind--candy wrappers, mysterious phone calls--does Georgina suspect that there could be something more sinister going on, or she is losing her mind.
“(F)irst-time author Ryan draws the reader into not only Georgina's terrifying journey to save her son, but also her marriage and her sanity… Seasoned mystery lovers will recognize similarities to B. A. Paris' The Breakdown (2017), Mary Kubica's The Other Mrs. (2020), and A. J. Finn's The Woman in the Window (2018).” (Booklist)
Summer, 1978 Nebraska, Pickard County deputy sheriff Harley Jensen has to deal with an unresolved case involving the missing body of a murdered child, and the lingering sadness of his mother’s suicide. 18 year after Dell Jr. went missing and his body was never found, the Reddick family decides to lay a headstone. Paul, the youngest Reddick, a troublemaker and instigator and Pam Raddicks, married to Rick, is restless, and drawn to Harley’s dark history. Unfolding over six tense days, Pickard County Atlas sets Harley and the Reddicks on a collision course—propelling them toward an incendiary moment that will either redeem or destroy them.
“Thornton's debut rural noir is grim, with a foreboding atmosphere and a story that does not grow more hopeful. Fans of Laura McHugh's The Wolf Wants In may appreciate this dark book.” (Publishers Weekly)
* * = 2 starred reviews
Fri, 01/29/2021 - 4:43pm by scarbroughc
The fantasy genre can get pretty stale sometimes. There’s an adolescent boy, usually white, usually naive, usually heterosexual, and always able-bodied. He finds out that he’s destined for some type of greatness. His quest is noble, his heart pure. He probably has some quirky sidekicks, again, usually white, usually not well developed beyond their desire to help our protagonist. Not that there is anything wrong with these stories but if you’re anything like me, you’ve grown a bit tired. Maybe you’re looking for characters you can relate to, maybe you want to read about the people that aren’t “chosen,” people that have to make their own destinies. Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology delivers on all that and more.
Made up of two books, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, the series tells the story of a group of misfits from the fictional city of Ketterdam undertaking a magical heist. The plot is fast paced and fun but the true beauty of the story is found in its diverse and well developed cast of characters. Their relationships with one another are heartwarming and completely believable.
Wed, 01/27/2021 - 6:46pm by eileenw
Salma the Syrian Chef is a picture book by Dann Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron, about a young Syrian refugee and her mother who have recently arrived in Vancouver, Canada. Salma sees how sad and tired her mother has become since they had to leave their home in Damascus and Salma’s papa. Salma decides to make her mother’s favorite dish, foul shami, as a surprise to cheer her up. But Salma isn’t sure of the recipe and doesn’t know the English names of all the ingredients. With help from other immigrants living with them at the Welcome Center and staff, Salma and her new community of Syrians, Somalians, Iranians, Canadians, Lebanese, Venezuelans, and others, tackle these and other challenges along the way to create not just a dish but a joyful journey centered on food and memories.
The story highlights the complex emotions of the immigrant experience, and the bright illustrations are framed by Syrian-inspired geometric patterns. If you’re the kind of person who cries at poignant moments, be prepared to choke up in a few spots along this touching story of resilience, the importance of community, and finding home.
Fri, 01/22/2021 - 11:47am by JacobGorski
I spent the majority of my younger years scouring the local library’s shelves for those little horror paperbacks for teen readers. Like the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine or anything by Christopher Pike. These books captured my imagination, as they answered questions that my inquiring, pubescent mind wanted to know: How will I fend off the serial killer who is watching me babysit three nights a week? What should I do when my best friend stabs my boyfriend, who happens to be the captain of the basketball team? Did I fall down the stairs on my way to my high school choir solo or did someone push me?
Imagine my joy when I stumbled across the novels of Grady Hendrix—which I lovingly refer to as Goosebumps for Adults. He is a horror writer who isn’t afraid to be campy or sentimental and ultimately, Hendrix always finds a way into your heart. Check out all of his books below, even if horror isn’t your thing!
My Best Friend’s Exorcism: Your best gal pal is hanging with bad boys, befriending all the girls who teased you in middle school, and can’t bother to pick up the phone anymore. Is she “growing up” or is she possessed by Satan?
Thu, 01/21/2021 - 10:33am by muffy
Detransition, Baby : A Novel * * (also available in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Torrey Peters is described by Entertainment Weekly as “a tale of love, loss, and self-discovery as singular as it is universal, and all the sweeter for it.”
Reese, Ames and Katrina find themselves thrown together from an unexpected pregnancy. Trans woman Reese, a 30something Midwestern transplant in NYC, is entangled in an affair with a kinky, dominant, and married man she refers to as “the cowboy”, while desperately wishing for a child. Three years ago, she was in a loving relationship with Amy who has since detransitioned (returning to the gender assigned at birth after living as another gender) to Ames, and is romantically involved with his boss, Katrina. When Katrina, badly scarred in a divorce finds herself pregnant, she looks to Ames for support and reassurance that she won’t have to raise their child as a single parent.
While Ames cannot see himself as a father, he relishes being a parent. Knowing how much Reese wants a child, he proposes that the three form an unconventional family.
“There’s no question that there will be much that’s new here for a lot of readers, but the insider view Peters offers never feels voyeuristic, and the author does a terrific job of communicating cultural specificity while creating universal sympathy... Smart, funny, and bighearted.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Recently, the Rumpus talked with Torrey Peters (MFA, University of Iowa; Masters in Comparative Literature, Dartmouth). She shared that “(t)he title is a pun, but I also think of it as a condition, where the comma is a painful knife’s edge that you walk as a trans woman. I wanted to fall off in one of two directions: to one side, if I could have a baby, be a mother, I think I would have felt a kind of legitimacy. In the other direction, if I could have found out a way to live comfortably in some kind of detransitioned state. These two options are represented by the characters.”
* * = 2 starred reviews
Wed, 01/20/2021 - 8:32pm by copelands
In the growing field of youth books that discuss antiracism, I Am Every Good Thing is simply one of the best. This book is essential and showcases Black boyhood in an empowering way. Author Derrick Barnes and illustrator Gordon C. James work together to tell a story that every parent should read with their child to understand or reaffirm the beauty and complexity of black children. It encourages diversity, acceptance, and unity in a world that is often riddled with bias and intolerance. Representation in literature matters and children from all walks of life can appreciate the beautiful artwork and moving words. The boy shown inside moves about in the world with confidence and joy. He is helpful and kind while also being brave and resilient. In an important lesson, he learns that while he is strong, it’s okay to be afraid at times. He is aware of his self worth and is a leader. And most importantly, he is proud of who he is. I Am Every Good Thing teaches us to love all parts of ourselves, to respect each other, and to take pride in who we are and where we come from. I found this book to be very enjoyable and hopefully you will too!
Mon, 01/18/2021 - 8:41pm by noelleb
In the attic of an old house, Buttercup, a bisque doll lives with her friends, Teddy Bear, Sir Handsome (a marionette), and Laurent (a plasticine head), in a vintage suitcase. The toys have an idyllic life, until Buttercup is kidnapped to be a companion of the dictator The Head, who rules the Land of Evil: a place populated by rotting vegetables with showgirl legs, a human faced cockroach, and a vacuum tubed eye which spies on everyone. Teddy Bear, Sir Handsome, and Laurent- aided by Madame Curie (a toy mouse) and the other citizens of the toytown- must now all work together to rescue their friend.
Jiří Barta is a master of animation, and even his simplest figure is wonderfully expressive. He uses everyday objects like sheets and pillows to represent waves and clouds, and children’s drawings to show the view from the windows of a moving train. Done almost entirely by hand, the movie contains a wonderful mix of stop motion, clay, and hand drawn animation. Dark and strange at times, Toys in the Attic is mainly a magical and charming film, both for kids and adults.
Mon, 01/18/2021 - 9:20am by richretyi
The Ann Arbor District Library and the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled are grateful to announce the generous gift of $45,000 from longtime patron Katherine M. Dohm, who passed away at the age of 99 years and nine months. The donation was made in appreciation of AADL's and WLBPD's service and kindness to her over the years.
She's remembered as being "such a lovely person," by Ann Arbor District Library and WLBPD staffer Beth Manuel. "It's touching that she'd leave this donation to the WLBPD.
AADL WLBPD staff member Katie Monkiewicz also remembers Kay fondly.
Fri, 01/15/2021 - 5:57pm by eileenw
A picture book mash-up of dinosaurs and construction trucks—what’s not to love? Diggersaurs Explore by Michael Whaite is a high energy read thanks to the driving meter and rhyme, making it fun to read aloud.
The main narrative follows the Diggersaurs along their exuberant excavation treasure hunt. Each of the task-named Diggersaurs (Grabbersaurus, Dozersaurus, Wreckersaurus, Dumpersaurus, to name a few) have a part to play in getting everyone to the end.
Thu, 01/14/2021 - 6:40pm by caeide
“Should I watch Dune?” you ask. ABSOLUTELY!
It is a cool twist on sci-fi, if you just think of sci-fi as Star Trek/Wars or the Expanse. There really isn’t much technology, and there aren’t any robots or aliens. The Known Universe is ruled by an Emperor overseeing Dukes that govern entire planets (some of which are in deadly feuds), there are all these mysterious “schools” playing complex politics while providing services to The Imperium, and the there is this crazy drug that like everyone is addicted to, that is only found on one planet! And this planet is a desert with mysterious native people and GIANT WORMS that they ride around on to epic rock music, no big deal. Also did I mention Patrick Stewart is in it? Also, did I mention Sting is in it?
I can’t say much about how representative of a David Lynch movie it is, not having seen any other of his works. But I like the idea of him, cultivated by articles my phone recommends that I only read the blurb for, and I think it fits with that aesthetic pretty well.
Tue, 01/12/2021 - 4:10pm by muffy
The Liar's Dictionary * by a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Eley Williams (also available in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is “simultaneously a love story, an office comedy, a sleuth mystery and a slice of gaslit late Victoriana…” (The Guardian)
Mallory, a young intern and the sole employee of the Swansby’s multivolume Encyclopaedic Dictionary is tasked by the current director, 70 year-old David Swansby to identify all the Mountweazel (n. the phenomenon of false entries within dictionaries and works of reference) in preparation for digitization of the second edition. In between, she spends her time memorizing stationary labels in the supply closet while eating her lunch, and fielding phone calls by somebody threatening to blow up the building.
And mountweazel she finds with the help of her “flatmate” (lover), Pip, lots of them. They were the work of Peter Winceworth, Victorian lexicographer, who, in 1899 was toiling away at the letter S for Swansby’s, “in bored anonymity, speaking with an affected lisp and infatuated with the fiancée of his coworker and archnemesis… Buried beneath the torrents of puns and linguistic riffing is a story about two people from different eras connected by the thread of language, free to invent and repurpose words as they please, but who are less adept at navigating that far more indefinable terrain: the human heart.” (Library Journal)
“The author combines a Nabokovian love of wordplay with an Ali Smith--like ability to create eccentric characters who will take up permanent residence in the reader's heart. This is a sheer delight for word lovers.”(Publishers Weekly)
* = Starred review
Mon, 01/11/2021 - 10:38pm by noelleb
Throughout most of the 19th century surgeons performed surgeries in unclean rooms, with tables, tools, and aprons, layered with blood and the remains of past surgeries. The gore was seen as a source of pride, showing off how many surgeries they had performed. Infection was seen as desirable, the discharge that is now recognized as something to be avoided, was then considered part of the healing process. The death rate in hospitals was so bad that they were places to be avoided at all costs; home surgery was performed if one could afford it. This was the state of surgery when Joseph Lister, the subject of Lindsey Fitzharris's The Butchering Art, began his training.
Fri, 01/08/2021 - 2:46pm by mrajraspn08
As someone with autism and who has worked with people with autism, media certainly skews to one end of the spectrum. I'm always on the search to find books about people on the other end, who are nonverbal and have higher needs.
I found this last year in Planet Earth is Blue, which presents a refreshing and thoughtful take on autism. While it would win points just for presenting a character who is nonverbal—a rarity in literature, especially fiction—it's also one of the best representations of autism I've read.
The main character is fully fleshed out—she's not just an autistic person, but someone with a full life outside of her disability. Her concerns have little to do with her autism and lack of speech, instead focusing on her missing sister and foster home situation and the upcoming space launch. (That's right, a book about a person with a disability where the book doesn't completely revolve around their disability!)
Tue, 01/05/2021 - 12:56pm by mbt
Some wonderful adult books heave been adapted for kids and AADL has several in the collection. Although these books are meant for children, I have found adults can enjoy them as well. If you don’t have time to read the full version of these, try checking out the youth version. You’ll come away with a good sense of the story and perhaps be inspired to read the grown-up version, one of these days…
Mon, 01/04/2021 - 5:47pm by eileenw
Killjoys, the five-season TV show (DVD, Blu-Ray), is a high intensity science fiction adventure full of fight scenes, space travel, and on-point humor. The story focuses on three scrappy bounty hunters who might just save the universe . . . after they make a stop at the bar.
Upon starting the series, you’d be forgiven if you thought you’d missed a few episodes; Killjoys drops you right into the action and bounces from location to location in “the J” star system, where Earth isn’t even a reference point. To get you primed: “killjoys” are interplanetary bounty hunters, “joy” is money, “Old Town” is something of a wild west slum town on the planet “Westerly,” and then there’s the “Qureshi” ruling class, whose dominant apathy toward the rest of the “Quad” is kinder than drawing their draconian attention. Don’t ask how the characters could realistically source all their cool gizmos and giant guns, or their dramatic hair and costume changes--just roll with the dynamic visual punch it packs.
This found-family of mercs hits as hard as they drink, but they always have each other’s backs, from the tough-as-nails princess/pirate/assassin Dutch, to the goofy-smart Jacoby brothers, to the sassy ship-AI, Lucy. Following the rules isn’t their strong suit—getting into, and out of crazy scrapes is much more their style. All told, the show is a grittier, flashier, stab-y-er version of Firefly.
Mon, 01/04/2021 - 3:00pm by richretyi
Happy New Year from AADL! Heading into the first month of 2021, we have a number of updates to share with you about Library services—new and resuming—along with some exciting projects we have planned!
Library lobbies remain open from noon to 8pm seven days a week for contactless pickup service, with contactless locker pickup also an option at all four AADL branches. We thank you for your patience as we adapt to changing public health conditions, and we look forward to resuming full service as soon as we safely can.
January 2021 Service Updates:
Mon, 01/04/2021 - 11:00am by eli
Well SHIVER MY APPENDAGES! It's cold and snowy, and yet the AADL BADGE FORGE, located in the mysterious SECRET LAB ANNEX ANNEX, is glowy and bright, and bustling with activity!
HOW CAN THIS BE?
Well, if we're all to be SHUFFLING ABOUT IN OUR SLIPPERS for a few more months, sipping LUKEWARM DRINKS and staring longingly at APPLEBEES COMMERCIALS of all things, then your friendly badgesmiths at AADL said to each other, LET'S FIRE IT UP!
SO! We're shivering with anticipation to introduce you to THE WINTER GAME! New badges every day through March 12, featuring things to WATCH, things to LISTEN to, things to READ, things to DO, and things to SOLVE! All from the comfort of your own PAJAMAS! With Summer Game 2021 points behind every code and badge to get an early start on your POINTS HOARD!
In fact, today we've got SNOWY DOCUMENTARIES and SNOWIER PICTUREBOOKS, an ALARMING PODCAST, an adventure in LEGO and a spooky AFTER HOURS visit to MALLETTS CREEK... and that's just TODAY'S (snow) DROP!
For you Summer Game pros, we're saving LOGGING, REVIEWS, RATINGS, and HOME CODES for the summer. But every day around Noon , we'll drop new badges... and stay tuned for some exciting and mysterious ways that YOU can connect with others through a long, cold winter! AND MAYBE EVEN SOME SPECIAL SHOP AUCTIONS!
So stay tuned for new badges and new details each day, let us know if you have any questions or run into any trouble, stay warm and as always....
THANKS FOR PLAYING!
Mon, 01/04/2021 - 8:40am by richretyi
It’s 2021, which means it is time for something completely new! We figured there wasn’t a better moment to introduce GAMES and PUZZLES. We’re adding all sorts of games to the collection from Betrayal at House on the Hill to Ticket to Ride. We’ve got lots of games you’ve heard of and some you haven’t. If you’re looking for a way to spice up game night, we’ve got your back.
For those looking for a more cooperative, less rules-heavy experience, AADL is also offering jigsaw puzzles. Who doesn’t want more puzzles in their life? With 100, 500, and 1,000 piece puzzles available for checkout, we can meet any sort of puzzling demand, from those looking for a fun, low-key activity to more serious puzzlers who will solve alone, late into the night.
What’s that, you say? You’re a slow puzzler, it takes you days to learn the new rules of a game? That’s maybe the best part of these new additions: we’ll be circulating them for four weeks! That’s right, you’ll have four weeks to find those corner pieces! Four weeks to demonstrate your economic prowess vis a vis sheep trading to your awed family! Four whole weeks to revel in the delight of a new challenge (or more). And once your time is up, you can come back to AADL and start the process all over again.
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #762, “Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Thu, 12/31/2020 - 1:04pm by muffy
Among the Booklist’s Top 10 Romance Debuts are these 2 delightful historicals.
Spurned debutante Julia Thistlewaite learns through her brother that The Honourable Mr. Jeremy Malcolm, second son of the Earl of Kilbourne finds her lacking the many qualifications on his well-crafted list for a suitable wife. To exact revenge Julia invites her friend Selina Dalton, a vicar's daughter, to London, planning to tailor her to Jeremy's list, attract his attention, and then reject him for failing to meet the qualifications of her own list. Selina is reluctant to participate in Julia's scheme, especially after meeting the irresistible Mr. Malcolm, who appears to be very different from the arrogant scoundrel of Julia's description.
“By focusing on a few well-developed characters, screenwriter and debut romance writer Allain make it easy for readers to become emotionally engaged in the progress of these friendships and budding romantic relationships. She also provides a cheeky look at the different expectations placed on men versus women during the Regency Era, revealing the limitations society accords individuals in terms of their family connections and personal wealth and education.” (Library Journal)
“This effervescent love story is a charmer.” (Publishers Weekly)
To Have and to Hoax * * by Martha Waters (eBook, also available as downloadable audiobook) In this hilarious debut Regency rom-com, an estranged couple feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention, and maybe just win each other back in the process.
After a whirlwind romance and a year of wedded bliss, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley are reduced to cold detached politeness. When Violet learns James has been thrown from his horse, she rushes to their country estate, only to find him alive and well at a tavern. Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own which James quickly sees through, but he decides to play along. “ What follows is a series of riotously funny mishaps, pranks, and misunderstandings as the feuding couple weaponize Regency manners for their own ends. Waters gently lampoons genre tropes without sacrificing genuine feeling. Self-aware and brimming with well-timed epiphanies, this joyful, elegant romp is sure to enchant.” (Publishers Weekly)
A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby * (also available in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Vanessa Riley - this multicultural historical Regency romance is the first in the Rogues & Remarkable Women Series, for fans of Beverly Jenkins, Evie Dunmore, and Alyssa Cole.
Romance burns slow and hot between a rakish war hero and a determined widow in this bewitching Regency series opener. When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband Colin’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Hired by Lionel’s unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, as his nanny, Patience all the while, is hatching a foolhardy plan to claim her trust documents and whisk her son to her homeland as soon as possible.
“Riley’s well-researched depiction of 1814 England tells a broad story of life in wartime, the lack of women’s rights, mental health, and suicide, while, with all the difficulties they face, Patience and Busick’s love story feels genuine and deep.” (Booklist)
* * = 2 starred reviews
* = Starred review
Tue, 12/22/2020 - 11:19am by richretyi
For the 13th year in a row, the Ann Arbor District Library earned five stars in Library Journal’s annual ratings of public libraries across the nation. AADL has been a five star library since Library Journal created its America Star Libraries ratings in 2008.
LJ's ratings are based on per capita output measures based on FY18 data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services Public Library Survey. Seven measures determined total scores and star ratings in 2020:
Circulation of physical materials
Mon, 12/21/2020 - 8:31pm by copelands
I’ve always enjoyed Corey Strong’s music. His voice is something special: it’s powerful, resonant, and soulful. When he sings, he has a distinct sound that connects with listeners. On the album It’s Christmas, Strong showcases his voice with songs that celebrate the season with joy. He can interpret many styles including pop, Broadway, jazz, and gospel. The album is filled with carols that are spiritual and whimsical, giving a nice balance for all the moods we tend to experience during this time. In one of the album’s highlights, The First Noel, Strong is warm and contemplative against a lush piano. In Oh Holy Night, he’s confident and his voice soars alongside the stirring arrangement. In Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas he sings alongside a jazzy ensemble and the lyrics of this song seem to resonate even more during these challenging times. For those who want something less holiday centered, What a Wonderful World is the perfect choice. Fans of the classic song will enjoy this simple treasure. This album is a perfect soundtrack for whatever mood you’re in this season. Whenever I need to find the holiday spirit, I play It’s Christmas because it gives me joy and I look forward to what Strong will release next. If you’re looking to find the same joy, be sure to give this album a listen.
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #761, Award-Winning Debut Short Story Collections in Celebration of Winter Solstice
Sun, 12/20/2020 - 4:13pm by muffy
How to Pronounce Knife: Stories * * by Canadian poet Souvankham Thammavongsa is the winner of the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize. “In sparse prose braced with disarming humor, Thammavongsa (born in a Laotian refugee camp) offers glimpses into the daily lives of immigrants and refugees in a nameless city, illuminating the desires, disappointments, and triumphs of those who so often go unseen..." (The Paris Review)
In these 14 stories (among them one short-listed for Commonwealth Short Story Prize and an O.Henry Award winner) we meet watchful children, wounded men, and restless women caught between cultures, languages, and values.
In the titular story a young school girl is embarrassed when she finds her father unable to pronounce simple English words. In the 2019 O. Henry-prized "Slingshot" a 70-year-old woman experiences a summer of sexual reawakening with her 32-year-old neighbor. Red, a chicken factory worker longs for a nose job so she would have a chance at the front office where everyone has “a thin nose that stuck out from her face and pointed upward.” In "Randy Travis," when her mother becomes obsessed with the country singer, a 7 year-old is made to write hundreds of love letters in her name.
Winner of the 2019 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize, and hailed by Lauren Groff as “fully committed to the truth no matter how dark or difficult or complicated it may be”, Sleepovers: Stories *, the debut short story collection by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips takes us to a forgotten corner of the rural South, full of cemeteries, soybean fields, fishing holes, and Duck Thru gas stations.
Each story focuses on individuals in the same rural, hardscrabble North Carolina town. In "Shania," a 7 year-old is awed by her friend named after the country music star. As blood sisters they know little about each other’s family circumstance, and their friendship is cut short after domestic violence erupts in Shania's decrepit house. In "The Locket" Shirley, a 60-year-old pool custodian with a painful childhood befriends Krystal, a teenage babysitter with an impressive dive, and offers up her only treasure, with devastating consequences.
"Phillips demonstrates an impressive ease at depicting transition, trauma, and loss, brilliantly evoking a close-knit world held together by the strength of friendship. This collection stands out in the field of current Southern fiction.” (Publishers Weekly)
Anthony Veasna So, Author on the Brink of Stardom, Dies at 28. The author of crackling, kinetic and darkly comedic stories that made vivid the lives of first-generation Khmer-Americans. Death was sudden and unexpected. (The New York Times)
So’s first book, Afterparties: Stories (eBook), a collection of short stories have been described as a “history-haunted comedy of Cambodian-American manners,” is to be published by Ecco next August, after a fierce bidding war.
One of the stories in the collection (that first appeared in the literary journal n+1) “Superking Son Scores Again” is that of “hapless, hopeful and striving teenage skater boys, clad in too-large T-shirts, eager for heroes, even fallen ones like Superking Son.“ In “The Three Women of Chuck’s Donuts” which The New Yorker published in February, Mr. So writes of two sisters, Kayley and Tevy, typical preteen and teenage Cambodian-American children. They are working the night shift one summer with their mother at the family’s restaurant, chafing at the ever-present burden of their parents’ hideous past trauma, flicking it away with black humor.
* * = 2 starred reviews
* = Starred review