News and Reviews
Wed, 04/11/2018 - 10:05am by ngop
National Titanic Remembrance Day will be on April 15, 2018. The RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank on April 15, 1912. On it's way to New York City from the United Kingdom, the Titanic hit an iceberg. Over 1,500 people died.
A few ways of observing this holiday is by watching Titanic the movie, listening to the wonderful Celine Dion (and other artists) on the Titanic soundtrack, or by reading a book about the tragic event.
Sun, 04/08/2018 - 12:56pm by muffy
Professor Anne Corey, a scholar of 19th century British literature and women writers, is chasing tenure at Fairfax, a liberal arts college. Between a full teaching load, trying to find a publisher for her book, and caring for her father at a nearby nursing home, she is stunned to find that the new president of the college (and her boss) is none other than her ex-fiancé, Adam Martinez whom she broke up with at their Princeton graduation a decade ago. While Adam remains aloof and professional at college functions, Anne is pursued by the charismatic, motorcycle-riding, literary superstar Rick Chasen, the college’s writer-in-residence. Anne begins to wonder if she might get a a second chance at love.
Thu, 04/05/2018 - 5:55pm by ngop
Starting Sunday, April 8th, National Library Week will be celebrated! Since 1958, National Library Week focuses on the promotion of library use and support. Within this week, National Library Workers Day will be celebrated on the 10th and Take Action for Libraries Day on the 12th.
Be sure to check out the events page to see what is happening here at the library. There will be a concert with Paul VornHagen & The American Songbook of Jazz in the multi-purpose room on April 11th. I hope to see you there!
Thu, 04/05/2018 - 2:49pm by mbt
Wednesdays at The Ann Arbor Farmers Market will start up again in May. I always enjoy the weekday version of the outdoor market. Maybe it is because I have such fond memories of taking my kids there when they were young. Wednesday morning market days were full of parents and kids leisurely wandering around, usually ending up at the Zingerman's play area, everyone with a coffee in hand. I'm sure the tradition carries on, fifteen years later.
So, thinking about the Wednesday market opening soon, I started looking at Ann Arbor Fresh: Recipes and Stories from the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market and the Kerrytown Historic District. Flipping through the pages I noticed that it was published in 1998, but I quickly realized that it doesn't matter that the book is twenty years old. The idea behind the book is that recipes that were shared by the growers or by folks involved in the market, utilized ingredients found in the Kerrytown market area, both indoors and out. The opening paragraph of the preface, written by Raquel B. Agranoff, could have easily been written today. As she describes the variety of things available at the market and how "the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market is not simply a twice a week place where we savor, sniff and taste. It is a place to greet friends, to plan a meal, to buy a treat, to meander," I am transported back to those carefree Wednesday mornings, kids in tow, ready for a market adventure.
Wed, 04/04/2018 - 1:08pm by ngop
Today is National School Librarian Day! To all our school librarians, thank you for spending the time providing resources to children for their learning and keeping the library organized. Without you, the learning environment at school would be very different.
A good way to observe the day is to tell your school librarian, "Thank you!"
Wed, 04/04/2018 - 10:29am by -alex-
Drawing inspiration from ancient Aztec art, Migrant puts a human face on illegal immigration by telling the story of a family's journey from a small village to Los Angeles. Seen through the eyes of a young child, the story follows the child, his or her sister, and their mother as they struggle with economic dislocation, shattered family bonds, and an ambiguous, uncertain future.
The format of this book is extraordinary. The action plays out in one one long, continuous illustration, which unfolds like an accordion. Text runs along the left - in English on one side, and Spanish on the reverse. The imagery is brooding, intricate, and deeply moving. While the material is definitely heavy, the story is beautifully told. Migrant will be equally engaging for children and adults. Follow the link for a review via Hyperallergic. You'll find Migrant in our youth picture book section.
Tue, 04/03/2018 - 2:12pm by -alex-
Vladimir Lenin's 1917 train ride from Switzerland to Russia is one of the pivotal moments in Russian history - and also one of the most misunderstood. Lenin on the Train explores Lenin's personal journey as he hurtles across Europe in a desperate effort to reach the streets of St. Petersburg before the revolution passes him by.
The book also delves deep into the wider world Lenin inhabited. Europe is deeply mired in World War I when the people of St. Petersburg rise up against the Tsar. Foreign powers conspire, while the forces within Russian society threaten to tear the nation apart. Catherine Merridale writes vividly and breathes new life into the material. Lenin on the Train is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Sun, 04/01/2018 - 11:43am by muffy
Eric, Emily, and Guy are secret agents, trained in orchestrating life-changing encounters for their targets. They think of themselves as “creators of possibilities, givers of hints, winkers of tempting winks, discoverers of options”.
They each have specialties (Guy's in matchmaking). New assignments are slipped under their apartment doors, and the latest one, being of the highest level in complexity and danger, has Guy in a moral quandary. Asked to work above his pay grade (and expertise) on a mission that could alter world history, Guy must decide if he could ignore his conscience and get the job done. In the meantime, Emily, frustrated by unrequited love, arranges a personal coincidence to devastating consequences. As the plot hurtles towards a stunning conclusion, layers of deception and orchestrated coincidences are revealed, and lives are forever changed.
A good choice for book groups interested in exploring issues of chance vs. fate, and free will. “Blum's clever, original piece of speculative fiction may appeal to fans Alice Hoffman and Paulo Coehlo.” (Library Journal)
* = Starred review
Thu, 03/29/2018 - 12:25pm by ngop
I discovered a book in the youth section called Unbored by Elizabeth Larson and Joshua Glenn. Unbored is a great guide for introducing different activities and hobbies for people that have free time (like me). Although it is geared towards children and families, that doesn't mean any adult or teen could not enjoy it!
The guidebook has vibrant designs and illustrations with activities that are actually fun and doable. This book is a great way to teach anyone to do things. Some activities include stop-action movie-making, skateboard repair, geocaching, and blogging. It's a definite must for parents since summer is coming soon.
Wed, 03/28/2018 - 8:53am by muffy
Rhodes Scholar and Guggenheim fellow, Sue Halper sets her fiction debut Summer Hours at the Robbers Library * * in Riverton, NH, a once prosperous mill town now in decline. The public library, a gift from local business mogul Albert Robers (drawing comparison to Andrew Carnegie of the "Robber" baron fame) is a beacon for lost souls, being the only well-maintained building in town.
There is Kit, the librarian, acerbic and secretive, seeking solitude and anonymity from a traumatic past; Sunny, the 15 year-old juvenile offender, sentenced to community service at the library for shoplifting a dictionary; and Rusty, a Wall Street high-roller, adrift without a parachute, hanging onto the library’s wifi connection as if a lifeline. Over the course of a summer, these individuals will come to realize that family is not a matter of blood, but those who will stand by you in adversity. (* * = 2 starred reviews)
Suggested read-alike - Felicity Hayes-McCoy's U.S. debut The Library at the Edge of the World, where a librarian must find a way to rebuild her community and her own life on Ireland’s stunning West Coast.
Tue, 03/27/2018 - 3:16pm by muffy
In The French Girl by Lexie Elliott, the decade after six Oxford friends spent a summer week at a Dordogne farmhouse, life took them in different directions. Their reunion is marred by the arrival of a French detective reopening a missing person's case upon discovery of Severine's (their neighbor) body in the well behind the farmhouse.
As the friends are being questioned, Kate Channing, a legal recruiter, appears to have an obvious motive. Her then boyfriend Seb(astian), had slept with the missing girl.
“As the narrator, Kate is smart, funny, and attractive, with some confidence issues, making her relatable...As the detective continues to dig, the shifting dynamics within the group will keep the reader guessing until the end. First novelist Elliott has done a phenomenal job of combining a whodunit with a Big Chill vibe.” (Library Journal)
In the summer of 1986, 12-year-old Eddie Adams and his friends rode their bikes all over the village of Anderbury looking for excitement, and leaving secret messages for each other with chalk stick figures. Their game turned deadly when chalk figures led them to the dismembered body of a local girl. Though the police lacked solid evidence, suspicion drove their new teacher Mr. Halloran to suicide.
30 years later, thinking the past is behind them, Eddie and his friends start getting chalk figure messages in the mail. When the only person who claims to know the identity of the killer turns up dead, Eddie realizes to save himself means figuring out what really happened all those years ago.
Tue, 03/27/2018 - 10:43am by Lucy S
In 1997, Christophe Andre was working in the Caucasus a humanitarian with Médecins Sans Frontières, when he was kidnapped and taken to an unknown location. He was held hostage by Chechnyans for three months in one room, handcuffed to a radiator. Graphic artist Guy Delisle takes on the challenge of illustrating the day to day boredom, loneliness, and fear that Andre experienced. Delisle’s creation, Hostage, is a engrossing visual retelling of Andre’s three months in captivity. Frame by frame, we feel Andre’s confused mixture of distress and ennui through Delisle’s detailed and engaging drawings. Andre showed amazing strength of character through the ordeal, even attempting escape several times, and Hostage is a fitting tribute. Delisle is better known for his graphic travel memoirs, Burma Chronicles, Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China, Pyongyang: A Journey In North Korea, and Jerusalem: Chronicles From The Holy City, all of which I highly recommend. Though a departure for Delisle, Hostage is a great success.
Mon, 03/26/2018 - 11:59am by TimG
All AADL locations will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 1. Regular Library hours will resume on Monday, April 2.
Sat, 03/24/2018 - 2:25pm by CeliaM
For all of you hygge fans out there, this one's for you - Making Winter: A Hygge-Inspired Guide to Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell. Just reading this book is hygge. The beautiful photography, simple illustrations, and meandering prose make it an absolute delight to read.
Even though the book focuses on winter, the fresh recipes and nature-inspired crafts make it feel like spring. The last two sections, "The Grayest Days" and "Looking Ahead to Spring" spoke to me the most as I eagerly await the warmer weather. Even when the weather is too cold for outdoor gardening, it is never too early to plant flowers indoors or imagine spring through watercolors. I especially enjoyed the simple, cozy crochet patterns. I can't decide whether to start with the pantile shawl or hellebore boot cuffs!
Sat, 03/24/2018 - 12:39pm by potterbee
I recently discovered graphic novelist Sara Varon through this endearing story of friendship, hard work and creative struggles. I was enjoying it so much, I had to put it down. I wanted to savor the good feeling I was getting from reading and watching the lives of these adorable characters.
Cupcake has a balanced life. He happily goes about his daily tasks running the bakery while enjoying the company of friends and the community. He’s the drummer in a band with his best friend and his life is pretty good. When he hits a baking rut, his friend invites him to meet his culinary idol, Turkish Delight. He is sure this will be a solution to his creative lag. Alas, there’s no easy answer to life’s challenges. Relatable emotions are illustrated throughout the story and I love the attitude Cupcake exudes throughout it all.
Thu, 03/22/2018 - 10:55am by ngop
You've probably seen the memes and videos that end with "We'll Be Right Back." The origins of both of these viral hits are from the legendary series, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure! Coming soon in the spring, AADL will have the complete first season for you to watch.
In the meantime, check out the manga series. Taking Japan by storm since the 1980s, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure follows the Joestar family whose fate involves taking down supernatural foes. In Phantom Blood, we follow the first Joestar, Jonathan, as he struggles to find peace with his adopted brother, Dio Brando.
Tue, 03/20/2018 - 11:02am by krayla
If you're looking for a heartwarming story wrapped in a cozy blanket of metaphor that might make you cry into your figurative (or literal) tub of ice cream, this is it. Neither, a picture book by Airlie Anderson, features a little green critter dubbed Neither who doesn't fit in a world of This and That. Neither goes in search of Somewhere Else, but finds the patchwork Land of All. The last page is both breathtaking and adorable, and readers will enjoy looking at all of the unique characteristics of a diverse cast of creatures. If you know someone who feels like they aren't enough or wants to be a supportive friend, this book might be the perfect place to start a meaningful conversation.
Mon, 03/19/2018 - 6:59pm by Lucy S
In her exciting yet frightful new novel, The Perfect Nanny, Leila Slimani reveals a ghastly crime in the very first sentences, challenging us to come along for the ride. The big question here is not what happens between a nanny, Louise, and her two charges, but why? Slimani parcels out clues to Louise’s motives in small bits, twisting her story back and forth through time. Alternating chapters, narrated by Myriam, the mother, take us into the mind of a woman struggling with the part of motherhood that asks her to relinquish her identity. This is not a new problem, a working mother beset with guilt, missing her children, but really enjoying her work, where she feels she is her best self.
Louise experiences extreme loneliness in the house of Myriam and her husband, Paul, never knowing when she will be brought into the family fold. Paul and Myriam include Louise when it is convenient for them to think of it, confusing and blurring the boundaries of their working relationship.
The psychological complexity adds to the shock and horror that unravels on these pages. Though it provides no easy answers, no tidy lesson, The Perfect Nanny is a thrilling and thought-provoking read.
Mon, 03/19/2018 - 11:21am by -alex-
Great nonfiction for kids! Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover tells the story of NASA's Curiosity Rover and it's 2011 unmanned mission to mars.
Told from the perspective of the Rover itself, Curiosity lays out the science and engineering behind space exploration in a way that is both accurate and entertaining. You'll find this little jem of a picture book in our Youth Nonfiction section.
Sat, 03/17/2018 - 10:56am by -alex-
She-Wolves: the women who ruled before Elizabeth draws upon the lives of six fascinating women, and explores the volatile history and the painfully obtuse gender politics of Medieval and Tudor England. Each of Castor's subjects face intense personal challenges in an era where gender determined every aspect of a person's life - and where a person's gender had everything to do with how much they were the master of their own fate.
Helen Castor writes vividly, and does a fantastic job of breathing life into these long-dead (and often poorly documented) historical figures. She Wolves highlights the strength and determination of some of history's most remarkable women. While she does not directly those dots, Castor invites an easy comparison between their stories and those of modern women in politics. You'll find this page-turner of a book in our Adult Nonfiction section.
Fri, 03/16/2018 - 7:30pm by ngop
Do you need an excuse for getting a new dog or puppy? National Puppy Day is on Friday, March 23, 2018. It's the unofficial day to celebrate the happiness that puppies (and older dogs) bring to our lives!
If you have some puppies of your own, give them an extra treat and some cuddles to show them how much you love them. For those with cats, Hug Your Cat Day is coming June 4th.
Wed, 03/14/2018 - 12:12pm by ngop
At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Maia and Alex Shibutani took bronze in ice dancing and Yuzuru Hanyu won gold in men's singles. Figure skating takes strength, flexibility, endurance, and artistry. Before you have a chance to grab tickets for the 2018 Stars on Ice show with our favorite Olympic figure skaters, why not watch Yuri!!! On Ice?
Coming soon to AADL, Yuri!!! On Ice revolves around a Japanese figure skater Yuuri Katsuki and his challenges as he becomes unsure of whether or not he wants to continue his skating career. After a devastating defeat at the Grand Prix finals, he decides that he might retire. But with a run-in with rising star Yuri Plisetsky and skating legend Victor Nikiforov deciding to be his new coach, Yuri Katsuki is once again renewed with an ambition to skate.
Wed, 03/14/2018 - 11:48am by Lucy S
I was delightedly surprised by The Sky is Yours. Chandler Klang Smith is a first-rate writer with a vast and colorful imagination who has created a work that is speculative fiction as much as it is a strong social satire, a romance, and a dystopian fantasy.
Most of the action takes place on Empire Island, Smith’s fusion of a world, where dragons circle above wastelands and cities filled with “futuristic” technology that has “crept inside the human form and become inseparable from it, ghost hearts beating in human chests, baby skin growing on old bones.” Countering this is the seedy underbelly of a scorched land inhabited by crime lords, drug lords, and burning buildings, the “backstage in a vaudeville house at the end of the world.” And though they are a constant presence in the sky above, it is not only the dragons that have laid waste to these cities, but their inhabitants themselves.
Be prepared for a wild ride through Smith’s dazzling genre mash-up with an infantile reality tv star; his fiance, a spoiled, self-loathing heiress; and his recently discovered girlfriend, a wild, landfill-residing orphan. The Sky is Yours is entertaining, shrewd, and impossible to put down.
Mon, 03/12/2018 - 6:15pm by PizzaPuppy
The newest adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time was released in theaters last weekend. Although it has received mixed reviews, it's based on one of the most well-known and classic children's books of all time, in which siblings Meg and Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin embark on an epic journey through time and space to save the siblings' scientist father and defeat an evil being.
At AADL, this classic story also comes in other formats, including the graphic novel, large print edition, audiobook, and on Ebook through Overdrive. The library also carries a copy of the first Disney DVD film adaptation.
A Wrinkle in Time has several companion novels to go with it. These "not quite sequels" further the story of the Murray family but don't follow the events of the first novel consecutively. The companion novels include A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time.
Mon, 03/12/2018 - 4:09pm by manz
A few weeks ago the American Library Association announced winners and honors in books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. One of my favorite awards in this group is the Alex Award. The Alex Award is given annually to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.
One immediate standout in this year’s group of winners is Eve L. Ewing’s book of prose and poetry, Electric Arches. Ewing is a sociologist of education and grew up in Chicago. She is an academic, a scholar, essayist, and visual artist with skill and knowledge beyond her age. She studies racial inequality in public schools, particularly in Chicago, and has such a strong voice. This is not just another collection of poetry and essays – her words exist to engage, inspire, and move the reader. Interspersed with visual art, her poems hum on about such things as 1990s Chicago, growing up a black female, art, politics, hair, Prince, and Lebron James.
Mon, 03/12/2018 - 1:45pm by PizzaPuppy
Black Panther has been out in theaters since mid-February and is making waves across the country. It's taken in over $1 billion worldwide and has sparked many cultural conversations. If you're interested in learning more about Black Panther, take a look below at what the library has to offer!
For kids, we have chapter books such as Battle for Wakanda, The Young Prince, and the Junior Novel. Black Panther also shows up in an Iron Man Reader called Panther's Prey. Teens and adults can check out the newest series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Avengers of the New World, as well as his previous works A Nation Under Our Feet Vol 1 and Vol 2. We also carry Black Panther: The Complete Collection.
Sat, 03/10/2018 - 8:55pm by Sara W
Chloe Benjamin's The Immortalists is the story of siblings in 1969 who learn the eventual dates of their deaths from a traveling psychic and spend the rest of their lives attempting to balance destiny with independent choice. It's epic yet approachable, realistic yet fantastical, and celebrates the things that tie us together, whether it be knowledge of your impending death, family, or fate.
It also has a wait list a mile long... so here's a couple of titles to tide over your appetite for destiny drama while you wait.
A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell
Tue, 02/27/2018 - 1:40pm by Nholtzman
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado is one of the best books I've read in the last few years.
You'll find Machado's book in our Science Fiction section, though her books have elements of classical fiction, magical realism, science fiction, and horror. Critics have had difficulty categorizing this book, which encompasses so many themes and genres. I would encourage you to look beyond this book's genre if you are not usually a science fiction reader.
The first story in the collection, "The Husband Stitch," is a retelling of a folk tale that many of us remember from our youth, the story of the girl with the green ribbon around her neck.
"The Husband Stitch" follows a young woman throughout her life and marriage. The world that this character navigates is very much like our own, except for that women here have a ribbon tied to a part of their body. We are not sure what this ribbon symbolizes but we know that it is a uniquely female trait, and it seems to be a source of fear for women. At one point in the story the narrator has coffee with a friend. She says, "We do not discuss the specific fears of raising a girl child. Truthfully, I am afraid even to ask." The narrator has a male child and she is so relieved that she begins to weep. The narrator fiercely guards her ribbon from her son and her husband. The ribbon causes conflict in her marriage.
Machado's Her Body and Other Parties, is a powerful book of short stories. Each story is well written, finely crafted, mysterious, suspenseful and eerie. These stories have feminist themes, the author explores the implications of being a woman in this world, and the world that Machado has created.
Fri, 02/23/2018 - 9:10pm by eli
The end of February is nigh, and we've been hard at work building more new features for the new aadl.org!
Downtown Freespace now Bookable Online
In addition to the Whiffletree and Lamplighter rooms on the 2nd floor of the Downtown Library, we've now made the AADL Freespace on the 3rd floor of the Downtown Library bookable online! You can book this room that seats about 32 at aadl.org/rooms after logging in with your library card. You can book it for 2 hours per day per card, up to 12 times per 365-day period. And, while this room used to require 2 weeks advance notice, now you can book it for tomorrow onward! However, unlike our smaller meeting rooms, no same-day walk-in usage of AADL Freespace is available. Advance booking only!