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Audubon: On the Wings of the World

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 4:06pm by samanthar

Cover of bookAudubon: On The Wings Of The World is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel that tells the life story of John James Audubon; a scientist, artist, and bird enthusiast. In the early nineteenth century, Audubon traveled across America, determined to paint and identify every bird in the country. Audubon’s work pioneered wildlife conservation and the field of Ornithology as we know it today. If you are interested in birding in real life, check out the Washtenaw Audubon Society. They do regular Fall Migration walks in Ann Arbor area parks, and all are welcome to attend.

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Vargic’s Miscellany of Curious Maps: Mapping the Modern World

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 2:05pm by manz

map“A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colors show the realization of great dreams.”   – Gilbert H. Grosvenor

That quote is found at the beginning of Miscellany of Curious Maps, which is a beautiful and bizarre book. I couldn’t help but stop, look through, giggle here and there, and read on and on. It’s a big, bold, and beautiful book of maps. But not any maps you’re accustomed to seeing. A quick glance finds the maps to look as you’d think, but they are labeled in new ways. You’ll find maps of stereotypes, video websites, internet, literature, music, gaming, disasters, corporations, and sports. There are also maps for paranormal activity, common foods, extinct, animals, and more. Some of the smaller maps also include some statistics. If you’re into maps or oddities, you need to give it a look-see.

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Throwback Thursday: A River Runs Through It

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 12:39pm by eapearce

Book coverWith so many new, buzzed-about books coming out all the time, it can be easy to forget about the oldies but goodies. In Throwback Thursday, we celebrate some of the books that are just as enjoyable now as they were when they were written years ago. This week, we’re looking at one of the classic American stories of the twentieth century, Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It.

The novella, the title story in a collection first published in 1976, tells the story of two brothers who—despite a complicated relationship in most respects—have long been able to connect over a shared love of fly-fishing. The story was recommended to me by my sister, who thought I would enjoy it because I have so long enjoyed fishing (although the art of fly-fishing has thus far eluded me). She was right that fishing enthusiasts might find a particular resonance with A River Runs Through It, but the story is much more than simply a tale about the sport.

Set in rural western Montana, A River Runs Through It is semi-autobiographical and loosely describes the relationship that Maclean had with his younger brother, Paul. Sons of a preacher, there were two religions in the boys’ household growing up: Christianity and fly-fishing. As the boys grow older, the Maclean character settles into to a somewhat hardscrabble but ultimately modest and content life with his wife and family. Paul, however, remains hard-drinking, hard-living and trouble-causing and the two disagree often over life’s moral quandaries. Even during the midst of their worst arguments, however, the two can always find common ground on the river, where Maclean remains in awe of his younger brother’s fishing prowess. The story is beautiful not only for the stunning descriptions of the natural world (Maclean worked on a forest crew in the western United States for years and clearly knew the land well), but also for the author’s ability to intersperse profundity into what could otherwise be a simple short story.

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One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Wed, 08/29/2018 - 12:40pm by manz

lyingWhat a fun, new, popular mystery teen novel! It's described as "Pretty Little Liars" meets "The Breakfast Club," and that totally suits this book. In One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus five high school students are sent to detention and one of the teens mysteriously dies during the session. We have now four murder suspects. Did one of them actually kill Simon? Is one of them lying?

The book is told in alternating chapters from the POV of each of the four main suspects. With each chapter you think you have more insight into who the killer might be, but then more clues from more people are revealed and you come up with new conclusions. It's a quick read and the format keeps the suspense going! If you like teen stories set in high school, or quick murder mysteries, give it a try! 

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #680

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 7:53pm by muffy

ladys_guideA Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder * * by Dianne Freeman

April, 1899. After a year of mourning her philandering husband, Reggie, American heiress Frances Wynn, Countess of Harleigh was finally able to leave the crumbling family manor and money-grubbing in-laws to start a new life for herself and her young daughter in London, just in time to sponsor her younger sister Lily Price for her first London Season. When Inspector Delaney of the Metropolitan Police informed her that her husband’s death was being investigated as a possible murder, she turned to her new neighbor and brother of her best friend, George Hazelton for support.

Then a string of mysterious burglaries, a murder in her garden, and a clumsy attempt on her life convinced Frances that one of her sister’s aristocratic suitors might not be whom he claimed to be, and a killer was in their midst.

"Fans of witty, lighthearted Victorian mysteries will be enthralled." (Publishers Weekly)

A suggested read-alike : A Useful Woman, the first in the Rosalind Thorne series by Darcie Wilde (a pseudonym for Sarah Zettel) is inspired by Jane Austen’s works. It introduces a charming and resourceful heroine,&nbsp privy to the secrets of high society—including who among the ton is capable of murder.

* * = 2 starred reviews

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AADL Closed On Labor Day

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 10:11pm by TimG

All AADL locations will be closed on Monday, September 3 for Labor Day.

Regular hours resume on Tuesday, September 4.

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Wolves - by Emily Gravett -

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 5:37pm by -alex-

Cover image - a white rabbit looking up at the title and authors nameThis fun and surprising story follows a rabbit as it walks out from its local public library, its nose buried deep in a book. Tension grows as it learns about the most terrifying thing a rabbit can imagine: WOLVES!!

Emily Gravett's clever illustrations and unique story-telling style are sure to keep your little one entertained. While it's definitely designed to create a feeling of suspense, this fantastic picture book is just the right amount of scary for young children.  Will Rabbit realize the danger in time?  There is only one way for you to find out. You'll find the answer in our youth picture book section.

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Back to School Already?!

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 2:13pm by mbt

cover of First Day Hooray child jumpingBack To School Books

Do you have children starting kindergarten this year? Older kids going back to school? Well, here are some books to read to get you in the back-to-school-spirit.

By searching our public lists, I found a wonderful collection of Back To School books.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #679

Sun, 08/19/2018 - 6:02pm by muffy


A. J. Pearce’s chance discovery of a 1939 women’s magazine is the inspiration behind her debut novel, Dear Mrs. Bird. Among the things she loved most was “The Problem Page” where women would write for advice as they faced “unimaginably difficult situations in the very toughest of times.”

London, 1940. Emmeline Lake, typist by day and a volunteer telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services by night, answered a want-ad for a “junior” at London Evening Chronicle, finally realizing her dream to be a lady war correspondent. In actual fact, she was hired as a junior typist for Mrs. Henrietta Bird, the advice columnist of a weekly women’s magazine in the same building.  Emmeline could almost overlook the overbearing and rude Mrs. Bird if not for her long and unreasonable list of UNACCEPTABLE TOPICS that would not be published or responded to. Feeling sorry for these women who were often lonely and faced with difficult decisions, Emmeline began answering their letters in secret.

Vividly evocative of wartime life, with its descriptions of bombed streets, frantic fire stations, and the desperate gaiety and fortitude of ordinary souls enduring nightly terror, Pearce’s novel lays a light, charming surface over a graver underbelly. With its focus on the challenges and expectations placed on those left behind, it also asks: Who is supporting the women in a world turned upside down by war?” (Kirkus Reviews)

For fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir and Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave Is Forgiven.

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Louisa Pieper, Dedicated Local Historian and Preservationist

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 3:43pm by andrewjmac

Louisa Pieper with Fred, July 1999

Louisa Pieper, longtime Ann Arbor Historic Preservation Coordinator, local historian, and friend to the Library passed away on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.  

After coming to Ann Arbor in 1968, Louisa spent years with Ann Arbor's Historic District Commission, first as staff director and then as Historic Preservation Coordinator for the last 17 years of her career.  In these positions she fought to preserve the fabric of Ann Arbor's past through architecture, helping to establish 12 of the city's Historic Districts.  Many of the buildings in these areas would long since have disappeared or been changed beyond recognition were it not for her tireless efforts.  She was also a founding member of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, which works on legislative issues at the state level to protect and restore Michigan's architectural heritage.

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

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 9:20am by morseh

Part I: “Pi”

On April 14, 1845 the editors of the Signal of Liberty (1841-1848), a weekly Ann Arbor antislavery newspaper, ran an apologetic notice stating that “Last week our whole advertising page was knocked into pi, and we were obliged to insert some advertisements in two places, while others did not appear at all.” While twenty-first-century readers may wonder whether they dropped the page into someone’s dessert (or a geometric formula), the term meant something quite different to a nineteenth-century printer. Newspapers such as the Signal of Liberty relied on a laborious technique of arranging individual pieces of cast metal type into lines, columns, and page-sized “forms” before they could be inked and pressed. Types became “pied” if they were mixed up, dropped, or otherwise jumbled to the extent that each letter and punctuation mark had to be manually resorted into cases before the printer could resume composing. For a whole page of a 4-page issue to be “knocked into pi”—that’s up to 56,000 pieces of type!—was quite a disaster, indeed.

To become a printer, you had to master the counter-intuitive practice of setting letters into your composing stick upside-down and backwards—no easy feat—as well as the vocabulary of the printing trade. In fact, the origin of the saying “mind your p’s and q’s” may very well have been in printing shops, where compositors had to double-check their selection of these easily-confused letters. It certainly helped to have a “lower case” and an “upper case,” which were wooden boxes designed to place the most commonly-used letters close to hand. Other printers’ terms included “devil,” a nickname for a young apprentice who got the messiest, most tedious jobs like rolling ink, sorting pied type out of the “hellbox,” and “distributing” it back into the proper cases. As one Signal of Liberty article joked, a mischievous newspaper printer might tell his young “devil”: “get your stick and conclude the horrid murder which Joe began last night—wash your hands and come to dinner, and then see that all the pi is cleared up.”

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #678

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 1:09pm by muffy

Second acts for 2 chef/entrepreneurs; a glimpse into the fine-dining industry; and a delight for foodies.


The first in a food-centered series, The Saturday Night Supper Club by RITA Award winner Carla Laureano opens with the hectic kitchen scene at Paisley, one of Denver’s hottest fine-dining restaurants under Chef Rachel Bishop. When a negative review and a subsequent editorial went viral, she was forced out by her business partners.

Guilty and contrite over his part in the whole debacle, essayist Alex Kanin wanted nothing more than a chance to help rebuild Rachel’s career, and urged Rachel into using his gorgeous loft apartment to host an exclusive supper club. As the pair worked together closely, they found their interest in each other was more than business.

“Bright, jovial, and peppered with romance and delectable cuisine, this is a sweet and lively love story.” (Booklist)


The Booklist reviewer called Hot Mess * by Emily Belden, “an exhilarating debut...(f)ull of heart, heat, and passion”.

In this restaurant rom-com, when twentysomething Allie Simon met Benji Zane, Chicago’s young celebrity chef, she was a goner. Charismatic, sexy, and newly clean from a history of drug use, Benji talked Allie into investing her life-saving to open a new restaurant as their future together. Then Benji disappeared, leaving Allie to pick up the pieces just as the restaurant was about to open. “Lost in the mess of it all, she can either crumble completely or fight like hell for the life she wants and the love she deserves.”

*= Starred review

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Badge Drop #9: Finally!! A Badge Drop Post with REAL and IMPORTANT CONTENT!

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 4:35pm by nicole

It's crazy to think that this time two months ago, Summer Game was just a twinkle in our eye and now we are ALL THE WAY IN at badge drop NINE!

And we know that by the time badge brop number NINE rolls around, many of you have run out of energy to read these EXCESSIVELY ENTHUSIASTIC posts! We're GRATEFUL for this, because we have almost run out of energy to WRITE these posts! We tapped our reserves of BEAR and TREE and WOOD JOKES weeks ago, but THAT'S OKAY because we know that it's incredibly unlikely that you'll even bother to glance at this OBNOXIOUSLY DENSE paragraph before you commence CLICKING FRANTICALLY through the catalog in search of CODES! We're pretty sure that by AUGUST no one will BOTHER TO CHECK whether we write real words or, for example, just a series of nonsense phrases, like LOG your UNDERWEAR! REVIEWS are WALLABIES! PANTS for CANADA!!! As long as we display the RIGHT amount of UPPER CASE ENTHUSIASM, we are ALMOST POSITIVE that no one will even NOTICE that we have said NEXT TO NOTHING in this ENTIRE POST! In fact, we hope if we keep BOMBARDING YOU with EXCLAMATION POINTS that you will simply GIVE UP on finishing this LONG-WINDED NOVELLA and HAPPILY SETTLE for a THINLY-VEILED DISTRACTION!!

Hey, look over there! It's BADGES!


Sloth Bear the AnteaterMan Oh MantisMeet Amanda! Riding ShotbunPowdered Wig PowerWanda WomanFailblazersDriving on MarsSingled Out


That's IT! I mean, we would be HAPPY to write more nonsense things for you--like, RATE your DALAI LAMA! CODES are MAYONNAISE! SHOP plus SOUP equals SHOUP!--but we are pretty sure our EXCELLENT distraction has worked and you are already in the CATALOG, searching for CODES and thinking about how ADORABLE it is that your Summer Game Makers are still bothering to write stuff in their badge drop posts AT ALL!


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Throwback Thursday: Nobody's Fool

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 11:31am by eapearce

Nobody's Fool book cover

With so many new, buzzed-about books coming out all the time, it can be easy to forget about the oldies but goodies. In Throwback Thursday, we celebrate some of the books that are just as enjoyable now as they were when they were written years ago. This week, we take a look at Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo’s 1993 novel, Nobody’s Fool.

I was a little skeptical when my partner first recommended Nobody’s Fool to me, partly because it’s a somewhat daunting tome—the copy I have comes in at just under 550 pages—and partly because he said about Donald Sullivan, the main character: “He’s a dirtbag with a heart of gold—you’ll love him.” Within the first ten pages of the book, however, I was drawn in by Russo’s amazing dexterity with words and his incredibly personable, full characters.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #677

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 10:47pm by muffy


Fans of Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Library Journal) will find much to like with  Nova Jacobs’ “(h)ugely entertaining” (Wall Street Journal) debut The Last Equation Of Isaac Severy : A Novel In Clues * *

Within days of his apparent suicide (a string of live Christmas lights in the hot tub), Hazel Severy receives a cryptic message from her adopted grandfather, the renowned mathematical genius Isaac Severy, urging her to track down his last equation, safeguard it from a shadowy organization determined to profit from it, all without seeking help from the extended Severy family, including her brother Gregory, a LAPD detective.

Hazel, the owner of a struggling Seattle bookstore feels ill-equipped for the task until she stumbles unto an unlikely ally, but not before death claims 2 more members of the Severy family.

“The story of how Hazel grapples with that daunting instruction...delivers all the page-turning suspense of a mystery novel laced with insights into modern mathematics and quantum physics, and into the dynamics of family relationships. A brilliant first novel…” (Booklist)

* * = 2 starred reviews

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Fri, 08/03/2018 - 7:00pm by eli

It's Friday at 7 PM, and that means another CLASSIC SHOP DROP! We've got a handful of great toys from the DEEP and MEANINGFUL history of the Summer Game Shop for you to spend your CLASSIC SHOP BALANCE on! Plus, items from Classic Shop Drop #1 that are still available have been INCREMENTALLY MARKED DOWN! Whether you draw inferences about future events from this ocurrence is entirely up to you. (Inferences not included.) So, head over to the very bottom of the Summer Game Shop, and GET SHOPPING!


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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;


Review: go0000d


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


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, 


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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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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


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...


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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #674

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


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:


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


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.


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 * * * 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.