News and Reviews
Thu, 09/03/2020 - 1:21pm by dempseyj
Science fiction and fantasy (SFF) books can be inventive, immersive, and inspiring. They also tend to be quite heavy. Sometimes you want to read a book that has all those qualities, but that you can also carry around without spraining anything. These three novellas offer exactly that.
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
Tobias lives alone in the heart of a forest, and has for hundreds of years. Then he meets a young man who has heard tales about an ancient being who tends the woods. This is a story about the power of fairy tales, friendship, and--most importantly--trees. (I am very enthusiastic about trees.)
Mon, 08/31/2020 - 1:05pm by samanthar
In her second published work, Postcolonial Love Poem, Mojave American poet Natalie Diaz lyrically tells readers what was stolen - bodies, land, love, rivers, language - by colonialism. While her work features heavily the themes of loss and othering, she does not dwell in wishing for a pre-colonial world. Her prose pushes readers to her present day brothers and sisters, how they walk with living wounds across polluted land. Diaz’s work is powerful and unlike any other I have read, juxtaposing facts
1 percent of the population of America.
Fri, 08/28/2020 - 10:54pm by copelands
Definitely Hispanic is the first book from social media star LeJuan James. James is a bicultural and bilingual YouTuber who found viral success through making comedic videos of his experiences as a first-generation Hispanic-American. James uses both English and Spanish in his videos where he often parodies his parents in various scenarios from his childhood.
In addition, Definitely Hispanic is a collection of essays, each dealing with topics close to James’ heart. Written in an intimate way, he engages with readers and gives a direct visualization of life in a vibrant Hispanic family. A recurring theme throughout much of the book is gratitude, mostly to his parents. They were strict but caring and James quickly found that his house rules were very different from his American friends’. Even though he was frustrated at times with the many rules and guidelines he had to follow, James realized as he got older that he is incredibly proud of his heritage. He later understood that his parents’ strict actions were out of unconditional love. Although both of his parents often worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, James recalled never wanting for anything when growing up.
In the opening chapter #Home, James reflects on his upbringing in Central Florida. During this time he moved frequently between Puerto Rico and the U.S. and began to understand his identity as a Hispanic American. He longed for acceptance in American circles but also thoroughly enjoyed his summers in Puerto Rico. He played with his cousins and enjoyed foods like quesitos and drinking limber (fruit juice). In #LaPela, he hilariously explains the spanking his parents used on him when he misbehaved and how in many cases, he deserved to be punished. #HispanicFamilyGatherings, one of my favorite chapters, offers a look into various family celebrations. This includes telling of how competitive his family is regarding sports; celebrating the winter holidays with much fanfare; and embracing any outsiders who visit as family. In the chapter #DatingHispanicWomen, he offers his advice on dating Hispanic women and the unique situations that might arise. He advises bowing gracefully out of arguments he feels he’ll never win to embracing the loyalty and impassioned love they give.
Wed, 08/26/2020 - 5:01pm by mbt
Have you been missing live performances as much as I have? I miss live music so much that I've started asking around for ideas to fill this craving. A friend told me about Encore Theater in Dexter. They’re producing shows that are held in the parking lot. Social distancing and wearing a mask are required. It may not be your typical live theater experience but it sure is welcome about now.
Another option is The Blue Llama. They are back to live jazz, although it is inside. I was on the patio the other evening and enjoyed the sound of the band over the outdoor speaker system.
Mon, 08/24/2020 - 11:52am by samanthar
Do you want to eat some cake, but don’t have time for the whole, long baking process? Fret no more! With 5 Minute Mug Cakes, you can have your cake and eat it from a mug, too. Recipes like Lemon Dream, Strawberry Cream, and my personal favorite, S’mores - yum! These recipes are quick, easy, and quite delicious. Some require only 4 ingredients or less, making it so easy to have fun trying a variety of cake flavors. All you need is a mug and a microwave, and you, too, can have cake!
If you’re feeling adventurous, try Mug Meals! The clean up is a breeze.
Fri, 08/21/2020 - 11:30am by samanthar
Have you and your child ever attended a Sensation Stations program at AADL? In a Montessori style approach to hands-on learning, everyday objects are placed in bins for your little one to explore! They are a great opportunity to encourage your child to learn through using the five senses, and creating these play learning opportunities at home can be easier than you think! Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children shows how to upcycle everyday items, like egg cartons, acorns, and aluminum foil, and use them in ways that inspire your little one to explore, learn, and create!
Fri, 08/21/2020 - 7:32am by muffy
Luster * * by Raven Leilani (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is one of Entertainment Weekly’s 20 late-summer must-reads; Vogue’s 7 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in August; and New York Times called it “perhaps the summer’s most touted debut.”
23 year-old Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties. An art school dropout with crushing student loans, she now works as an assistant at a children’s book publisher, hardly able to afford sharing a rat-infested apartment in Bushwick. She meets Eric Walker online, a married white digital archivist twice her age who professes to have an open marriage. When Edie crashes the couple’s anniversary party, she meets Rebecca, a VA medical examiner, and Akila, their adopted daughter.
When Edie is fired from her job, in part due to office-hours promiscuity, and is evicted from her apartment, Rebecca invites Edie to stay in their New Jersey home while Eric is away. As Edie earnestly tries to make herself useful with Akila who is having a tough time adjusting to the all-white community; and to find work (clown school?), “all the while, the dynamics among the four of them keep shifting, an unstable ballet of race, sex, and power.”
“Edie's ability to navigate the complicated relationships with the Walkers exhibits Leilani's mastery of nuance, and the narration is perceptive, funny, and emotionally charged. Edie's frank, self-possessed voice will keep a firm grip on readers all the way to the bitter end.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Edie’s defeated, I-can’t-even tone has become something of an institutional voice for millennial writers, especially women: Jia Tolentino, Patricia Lockwood, Catherine Lacey, and Ottessa Moshfegh have all merged humor with anger about the gender and economic inequities their generation faces.
Luster is distinguished by its focus on race, which raises the stakes for the story. The climax emphasizes that for all of her wit and flexibility, Edie is ultimately a Black woman in a white neighborhood. She’s treated as an assistant, then an interloper and finally an invader.” (USA Today, ★★★½ out of 4)
* * = 2 starred reviews
Wed, 08/19/2020 - 5:40pm by PhoebeH
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus is a YA novel told from the alternating perspectives of two young Black women, Audre from Trinidad, and Mabel from Minnesota. A cosmic thread links the two on their parallel and then interwoven journeys of love, sexuality, and self acceptance. The book does a beautiful job of illustrating the characters’ explorations into spirituality, and what it means to be human in connection to the earth and the universe that we live in. It grapples with confronting death, and what it means to live in the present while having the knowledge of one’s limited time. Even though the author presents us with these large themes, she is still able to keep the book down to earth through portrayals of family, life navigating high school, and Mabel’s relatable obsession with Whitney Houston. This book is a great read with refreshing depth.
Tue, 08/18/2020 - 12:31pm by garlandz
For over forty years friends and families have been huddling in front of televisions to guide varying pixelated heroes to victory. Pac-Man, Mario, Link, and the like! But why? When dissected into code these heroes are not much more than blocks put together and programmed into motion. What has kept these retro games alive and popular over the years?
To answer, we need to ask ourselves: What was my first video game? What made it so fun? Who was I with? What was I going through at the time? These questions may very well draw out the answer. Sometimes we cling to a character we can relate to or one we can cheer for. Other times we need a place we can escape to from the affairs of life. Whether the game helped us burn through a boring afternoon or helped us make friends or helped us feel strong against a bully! Anyone who has picked up a gaming controller undoubtedly has their own story to tell. Let's keep these nostalgic memories alive by appreciating the little moments, or the pixels of life we can call them. Don't stop making memories. Here are some wonderful materials the library has to kindle such memories and experiences:
Fri, 08/14/2020 - 8:05am by muffy
Fans of Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz and Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson would not want to miss The Eighth Detective, * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by mathematician and first-time novelist Alex Pavesi.
London book editor Julia Hart arrives on a remote Mediterranean island to work on reissuing The White Murders, a series of detective stories self-published in the early 1940s, that were based on a 1937 paper by mathematics professor Grant McAllister, entitled “The Permutations of Detective Fiction,” - on the mathematical structure of murder mysteries and the specific criteria that must be met.
Grant, now a recluse explains the "rules" of whodunits - there must be a victim or victims, one or more suspects, one or more detectives, etc. The seven stories in the book, variations of the "locked-room mystery ", illustrate permutations made possible by changing the mix of these character types. As sharp-eyed Julia goes through the stories with Grant, she notices inconsistencies; and the collection's title echoes an unsolved crime at the time the book was first published. She begins to suspect these might be clues to another bigger mystery - Grant himself.
“Pavesi clearly knows his classic murder mysteries, as shown by a story that evokes Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, and all his plot tricks will please readers with a similar passion. “ (Publishers Weekly)
“Enclosing all the stories like a Russian doll is the question of why the editor visits the author at all. But both hold back secret motivations that drive the grand plot... A satisfying mystery for the casual reader, even more so for the careful one.”(Kirkus Reviews)
* = Starred review
Wed, 08/12/2020 - 8:59pm by eli
We are so pleased to be able to say that there was no spread from our COVID positive case, and the Downtown Library will reopen for pickup appointments as hoped on Friday, August 14th. Had others become ill, the closure would have necessarily been lengthened. Thank you all so much for your understanding, and supportive messages for our recovering colleague and to all of the staff at AADL.
Contactless Lobby Pickup hours resume at the Downtown Library on Friday, August 14th, Noon to 8 PM.
Any items that were on the shelves in the Downtown Lobby when we closed will still be in the lobby ready for pickup until 8 PM on Monday, August 17th.
Fri, 08/07/2020 - 10:48am by samanthar
If she were white, she wouldn’t have to ask about attending school.
If she were white…”
Fri, 08/07/2020 - 7:33am by muffy
“Step Away from the Mean Girls…and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
In Kate Stayman-London’s debut One to Watch, (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook), 30-year-old Bea(trice) Schumacher is a plus-size fashion and lifestyle blogger with a devoted following and a growing number of commercial sponsors. When her drunken late-night blog post raging against the lack of body diversity representation on Main Squeeze, a reality TV show (think The Bachelor) goes viral, she finds herself tapped to be the next star of the show, where 25 contestants compete for her hand. Still smarting from a hurtful break-up and hopeful the exposure will advance her brand, Bea signs on.
For 8 weeks, Bea is styled, pampered, polished and whisked off to exotic locales to be dazzled by her 25 suitors. While many are good, smart, and kind, not all of the men are there for the right reason. And a lifetime of body shaming has left her skeptical - whether she could truly find romance; and how the complex standards of female beauty affect the way we define ourselves, and who deserves to be seen...and loved.
“Peppered with chatlogs, text messages, social media reactions, and splashy People articles, Stayman-London's debut is chatty and fun, brilliantly capturing the highs, lows, and drama of reality TV.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A long and entertaining if overstuffed novel about reality TV, romance, fat-shaming, and self-esteem that will appeal to rom-com fans…” (Library Journal)
Thin Girls * by New Zealand native Diana Clarke (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is a brutally honest examination of toxic diet culture and the tyranny of body image, but also the bond of twinhood; and the redemptive power of love and friendship.
Lily and Rose Winters have the special bond that twins share - they feel each other's emotions, and taste what the other is feeling, until high school. Peer pressure, teenage angst and family dynamics drive them towards the opposite spectrum of the eating disorder - Rose stops eating and Lily consumes everything Rose won't.
Now in their 20s, Rose, the narrator is about to mark her one-year anniversary in a rehabilitation facility when she notices Lily, her sole visitor, is also struggling. A kindergarten teacher, Lily is involved with the abusive, married father of one of her students. To please him, Lily joins a cult diet group. Rose realizes she is the only one who could save Lily. To do that, she must start eating. When Rose and Lily seem to be at their breaking point, support and kindness come from the most unlikely sources, at once cathartic and life-affirming.
“This page-turner makes for an illuminating, ultimately hopeful look at the constant struggle women face regarding their body image.” (Publishers Weekly)
“The story (Rose) tells is as gripping as a thriller, but it’s Clarke’s language that truly makes this novel special. She writes with a lyricism that not only encompasses the grotesque and the transcendent, but also sometimes commingles the two… Incisive social commentary rendered in artful, original, and powerfully affecting prose.” (Kirkus Reviews) For fans of Dietland by Sarai Walker.
* = Starred review
Tue, 08/04/2020 - 10:57am by eli
The Ann Arbor District Library is accepting bids for construction of new 100% back up generator power within the Malletts Creek, Pittsfield and Traverwood Library Branches. A walkthrough, which is mandatory for electrical contractors, will be August 6, 2020. Bids must be submitted to O’Neal Construction by 2:00 p.m. on Thursday August 20, 2020. Contact Matt Olech at O’Neal Construction at (734) 769-0770 for drawings, specifications, walkthrough details, and any additional information.
This bid window has closed.
Mon, 08/03/2020 - 11:25am by fredbeldin
Modern viewers accustomed to comic surreality through exposure to Mr. Show, Monty Python's Flying Circus or any number of Adult Swim entertainments will be taken aback by the rampant absurdity on hand in this 1941 musical meta-comedy. Based on the hit Broadway variety show of the same name, Hellzapoppin’ spoofs its own plotlessness from the start, as stars Ole Olson and Chic Johnson argue on screen with their director over the need for a story at all, eventually relenting to wisecrack their way through a cardboard love yarn meant only to frame the slapstick set pieces and musical numbers.
From there, Hellzapoppin’ bursts with outrageous images: an opening number in Hell that crosses Bosch with Busby Berkeley, reckless archery, talking dogs, projection booth mishaps, sneezing ballerinas and the most athletic, death-defying exhibition of Lindy Hopping ever captured on camera. The songs range from good to great, all in the easy-swinging jazz style of the day, paired with inventive dance and synchronized swim routines that extend the film’s fourth wall-busting approach. Those with a taste for Golden Age Hollywood will recognize Shemp Howard, Martha Raye and Elisha Cook Jr. among the principals, but the unbridled anarchy of Hellzapoppin’ remains fresh enough after eight decades for it to rise above being a mere nostalgia piece. Put it on hold today!
Fri, 07/31/2020 - 12:28pm by muffy
When Summer Sanderson, her best friend since high school, invited her on an all-expense paid week in the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend's yacht, struggling-actress/cocktail-waitress Belle Carter just could not turn the offer down. But the minute she stepped aboard the Lion’s Den, she began to have second thoughts. Her passport, cell phone were taken away and she found herself locked in her cabin at night. Then she saw mysterious visitors boarding the yacht in the dead of night, and every move she and her fellow passengers made were scheduled and monitored by their host, John Lyon.
When her cabin-mate, a young brassy sexpot went overboard after a vicious argument with Summer, Belle knew she must keep her wits about her - and her own big secret closely hidden - if she were to make it off the yacht alive.
“St. John’s sizzling debut sparkles with yacht and fashion porn, and smart, decent Belle is easy to root for as the panic reaches its peak. Blingy, swingy fun plus a well-crafted, socially conscious suspense plot: Anchors aweigh! “ (Kirkus Reviews)
Thu, 07/30/2020 - 11:59am by josie
Due a positive COVID-19 test of a Downtown Library staff member, the Downtown Library will be closed for two weeks for staff quarantine starting Friday 7/31. Pickup appointments will not be available during this closure.
Any items waiting for pickup, or for a pickup to be scheduled, will stay right where they are and will be available when services resume in mid-August. We are sorry, but we will not be able to relocate any of these items to other locations for pickup. The Downtown outdoor drop slot will remain open. All other library locations remain open for contactless pickup appointments.
Due to our contactless pickup and handling procedures, and based on direction from the County Health Department, there is no exposure risk to patrons who picked up items at the Downtown library.
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