News and Reviews
Tue, 05/08/2018 - 11:52am by mbt
Although today is National Teacher Appreciation Day, each year the first full week of May is celebrated as Teacher Appreciation Week. You and your children may want to celebrate the week by reading one of these books. The stories remind us that there are special people out there making a difference in someone’s life.
Thu, 05/03/2018 - 12:36pm by muffy
When news of his elder sister Keiko’s murder reached him in Tokyo, graduate student Ren Ishida was at a loss. The siblings were close growing up but eleven years ago, Keiko then 22, abruptly abandoned the family for the small town of Akakawa. As the grieving Ren tried to find closure as to why Keiko was viciously stabbed on a dark secluded road, he began to retrace Keiko’s steps, picking up where she left off. He took over her teaching position at a cram school, and the bizarre arrangement of free rent at a wealthy politician's house. Against his better judgement, Ren was drawn to a beautiful and troubled student he nicknamed "Seven Stars". Things got decidedly thorny when he realized she might be connected to his sister’s murder.
Indonesian-born Singaporean writer “Goenawan's debut balances a finely wrought plot with patient, measured portraits of fragile relationships, making for a spare yet inviting novel that grabs hold and doesn't let go.” (Publishers Weekly)
* = starred review
Tue, 05/01/2018 - 12:10pm by manz
Let's forget the Justin Timberlake memes on this May 1, because today is also film director, film producer, screenwriter, and actor Wes Anderson's birthday! His popular films and style have a bit of a cult following, and I'm totally a sucker for them. All of them. I think it's safe to say my favorite is The Royal Tenenbaums. His latest film, Isle of Dogs, is in theaters now with mixed reviews, and is an animation akin to Fantastic Mr. Fox.
But let's go back to Bottle Rocket from 1996 - the film that started it all by introducing us to Dignan, portrayed by Owen Wilson, who often writes with Anderson on these quirky endeavors. There are so many unforgettable characters strewn across Anderson's work that offer such quotable moments. Other films include Rushmore, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. His films are known for their stylized looks and killer soundtracks - with every detail chosen to be perfect - every smirk, every hat, every wall color, every font, every walk. The films often feature an ensemble of the same faces, including Angelica Houston, Bill Murray, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, and a crew of others. Which is your favorite film?
Thu, 04/26/2018 - 8:02pm by muffy
Reviewers are calling Christina Lynch’s The Italian Party a “perceptive”,” delicious and sharply funny” debut; “a spy thriller, comedy of manners, and valentine to Italy, spiked with forbidden sex and political skulduggery.” (Kirkus Reviews)
April, 1956. American newlyweds Michael and Scottie Messina arrived in Siena ostensibly to open a Ford tractor dealership, while Michael was in fact, a CIA operative on a mission to defeat the Communist mayor’s reelection, and to be close to Duncan, his handler and lover. Scottie has her secrets too which were increasingly hard to keep in a small town like Siena. With the election approaching, complications ensued.
When 14 year-old Robertino, Scottie’s Italian language coach went missing, her search for him led her to discover other, darker truths about herself, her husband, and her country.
The author, a former Milan correspondent for W magazine and Women's Wear Daily, was on the writing staff of Unhappily Ever After; Encore, Encore; and The Dead Zone . She will be at Literati Bookshop on April 27th, 7pm for a reading and signing.
Wed, 04/25/2018 - 10:02am by Lucy S
The unnamed narrator of Sigrid Nunez’s new novel, The Friend, is in mourning for her best friend. He has left her an unexpected inheritance in the form of his elderly great dane, Apollo, who is also deeply bereft. What follows is a unusual tale of a new friendship, an exploration of grief, and an examination of the writing life. Though the novel looks closely at the pain of loss, it is not without humor, as might be elicited by life with a giant dog and his daily habits. As Nunez’s narrator and the narrator’s late friend are both writers, her book is as much about this as it is a pet tale. By my count, there are at least 58 writers in these 212 pages, novelists, poets, playwrights, philosophers, whose mention adds to the depth of thought and the richness of the story. This is not a book of action, but of reflection, the narrator speaking mostly to the friend she has lost and occasionally to the dog she has gained. The Friend is a beautiful, deeply moving novel, Nunez’s 7th, but the first of her’s that I’ve read. I have some catching up to do!
Tue, 04/24/2018 - 3:11pm by manz
Horizon, by Scott Westerfeld, is the first book in a newer chapter book series that upper elementary and middle school readers will enjoy if they're into suspense and characters in survival mode. Here we have a group of kids who survive a plane crash and end up in a deadly jungle with little way out, and threats all around them, including each other. Book two Horizon: Deadzone is written by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and features a new location and new threats to watch out for.
Mon, 04/23/2018 - 12:08pm by oldnews
The Dexter-Ann Arbor Run turns 45 next year and the Ann Arbor Track Club, who among many things helps to sponsor the run, turns 50 this year! You can see all the spectacular moments from start to finish like the winner of the first run. Participants range from the oldest to one of the youngest as well as those in wheelchairs. There are photos of the victors to those just clearly exhausted. See the moms & dads that participated, one carried his kids in the race and others pushed their strollers through it all while still other parents ran with their kids. But the most inspiring photos are those that show support between runners as well from family & friends here and here. So enjoy the walk (or run as the case may be) down memory lane with articles & more photos for the DX-A2 Run. You can also see more of the Ann Arbor Track Club like their relay team from 1966 and others here.
Sat, 04/21/2018 - 9:30am by manz
If you have been waiting patiently for more work by Rainbow Rowell, this might tide you over. Wait, who is this Rainbow person? She writes amazing teen and adult fiction novels. Almost Midnight: 2 Festive Stories have both been in print before, but are here in a cute little gift edition book with amazing illustrations by Simini Blocker. I was thrilled to hold this tiny blue sparkly book in my hands. It contains two short stories: Midnights and Kindred Spirits.
I really enjoy Rowell's writing, especially the dialog, and these stories are in the same vein as her previous works. In Midnight we see Mags and Noel's friendship develop over several New Years Eve parties. And in Kindred Spirits we have a young girl waiting in line outside with strangers to see the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Both stories are short and sweet, and feature characters I'm glad to have met.
The author has other projects up her sleeve, so it'll be a while before we get a new novel. In the meantime, if you haven't read any of Rowell's teen or adult fiction books... check out Eleanor & Park, Landline, and Attachments, then read Fangirl and Carry On.
Fri, 04/20/2018 - 6:35pm by -alex-
The world outside is a toxic ruin, but genetically 'pure' humans have their refuge in the Spire - a huge, enclosed, vertical city that dominates the territory surrounding it. Outside the Spire's protective walls, tribes of post-human 'skews' eke out an existence, caught between the Spire's authoritarianism and the predations of roaming bands of a radical religious sect bent on their destruction. Within the Spire's walls, a detective is tasked with solving a series of grizzly murders and maintaining a fragile peace, while the city lurches toward chaos.
Wed, 04/18/2018 - 5:31pm by samanthar
The Wes Anderson Collection is a series of 3 books showcasing Anderson's iconic films. These books are a must read for any Wes Anderson fan!
The first book in the series, The Wes Anderson Collection, is a retrospective of Anderson's career. Containing an interview running throughout the book, it begins with Anderson's childhood and covers everything from the people he's worked with to his inspirations. The second volume, The Grand Budapest Hotel, focuses on the movie, and includes stories and anecdotes from set, photos of set inspiration, and a variety of essays from film critics to style and costume consultants for the film. The third volume, Bad Dads, is a showcase of fan art from over 400 different artists. The art celebrates characters from Anderson's movies.
Isle of Dogs, Anderson's latest film, is in theaters now. Look for it at the library when it's released on DVD/Blu-ray!
Wed, 04/18/2018 - 5:06pm by Lucy S
Amanda Lipitz’s outstanding documentary STEP is worth making time to watch. It follows the development and progress of a step team at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, and features a close-up look at the lives of several members of this team. Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger, and Tayla Solomon all have different reasons for joining the team (or in Blessin’s case founding it) and different hopes and trajectories for their senior year at this charter school that aims to send 100% of its graduates to college. What these three young women share is their dedication, determination, and incredible skill when it comes to step, where they give their all, both mentally and physically. The scenes featuring tense rehearsals and captivating competitions, and the vulnerability that Blessin, Cori, Tayla and others are willing to share with viewers, combine to make a powerful and moving film. STEP was highly awarded. A few of its accolades include a Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary in 2018.
Wed, 04/18/2018 - 11:03am by muffy
Drawn largely from her articles for The New Yorker, war reporter Wendell Steavenson’s debut novel Paris Metro was initially intended as a nonfiction book about the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre, until the November attacks happened.
Catherine (Kit) Kittredge, an British-American reporter, traversed the Middle East following 9/11, filing human interest stories from some of the most dangerous geopolitical hot spots. She met Ahmed Solemani, a Westernized Iraqi diplomat in Baghdad. After their wedding, they moved to Paris where Ahmed began working for the UN. A divorce followed, but not before Kit was left to raise Little Ahmed, his son from a previous marriage, alone. In the company of a makeshift family of diplomats, photographers, and artists, these “two mongrel outcasts brought together by fate” became a family of two. When they lost a friend at Charlie Hebdo, and Kit witnessed firsthand terrorists storming the Bataclan Theatre, she began to distrust those closest to her - her husband, and her own son.
“With unflinching realism and complicated, captivating characters, Steavenson tackles the turbulent realities of the war against terror by diving deeply into the history and motivations of the people waging their own personal battles in search of the truth.” (Booklist)
Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:08am by ngop
Ever wanted to know what it would like in a world where everyone has a superpower? Want to know who people are referring to when they say "Green Naruto"? My Hero Academia follows a world where most people develop supernatural abilities known as Quirks. Izuku Midoriya, Deku for short, dreams to be a hero as well. There's just one little problem standing in Deku's way. He's Quirkless, and the chances are slim. Determined, Deku dedicates his time to studying in hopes that he can join a high school for heroes.
Although Deku is definitely not a ninja and nowhere related to the Naruto series, his story is full of adventure and inspiration. I highly recommend watching the series.
Wed, 04/18/2018 - 8:56am by eapearce
**Suggestions for the 2019 Washtenaw Read are now closed. Thank you for your suggestions!**
The Washtenaw Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Participating libraries include Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline, and Ypsilanti.
Each year, a committee of librarians, teachers, bookstore owners, and members of the public gathers to read a variety of suggested titles and select one to be that year's Washtenaw Read. This year's theme is again simply "A Very Good Read," and can be fiction or non-fiction. The Read will take place in January and February 2019 and typically culminates in a visit from the author of the selected book.
Tue, 04/17/2018 - 8:29pm by -alex-
This lush, beautifully rendered graphic novel is guaranteed to keep you glued to the page. Miles Hyman's adaptation of Shirley Jackson's classic short story packs an entire small town's worth of tension and detail into 135 slim pages. All is not as it seems in the American heartland, and the reader will encounter more than they bargained for.
Fri, 04/13/2018 - 6:50pm by muffy
The way single, thirtysomething Laura got pregnant in 1981 sets the tone for this original take on the mother-daughter novel. Emma is the product of a one-night stand with a burglar while house-sitting for her parents. Consider herself to be progressive, liberal, (& proud to be unfashionable), Laura nevertheless raised Emma the only way she knew - penthouse apartment, private school, summer at the shores, all with the help of a healthy trust fund and Upper East Side connections. When Emma developed into an independent young woman, it seems more in spite of her mother rather than because of her. “This is a thoughtful novel of trying to find oneself despite an assigned place in the world.” (Publishers Weekly)
Not far away in Waterbury CT, another mother-daughter duo struggles with similar issues under drastically different circumstances. In Brass* * *, debut novelist Xhenet Aliu draws on her own life to tell the story of 2 generations of an immigrant family - the mother-daughter connections; resilience; and dreams that endure despite the odds.
* * *= 3 starred reviews
Thu, 04/12/2018 - 3:12pm by mbt
Not everyone loves country music, but it's hard to find anyone who won't listen to an old Johnny Cash tune. After hearing that Johnny Cash: Forever Words, a new CD featuring various artists performing unheard Cash writings was about to be released, I discovered Forever Words: The Unknown Poems a book comprised of Cash's unpublished writing. The forward, written by Johnny's son John, is a heart-warming account of his dad's true self, his brilliance. "All that made up my father is to be found in this book, within these 'forever words'." Then, as often happens, one thing lead to another and I had to listen to Johnny Cash Unchained when I read that Chris Cornell's performance on Johnny Cash Forever Words was one of his last. Johnny had covered Soundgarden's Rusty Cage twenty one years earlier on that album. It's interesting how lives become woven together from a love of music.
Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:13am by Lucy S
Today, April 12, marks the 102nd birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary. This “living legend” is the creator of many timeless and memorable characters such as Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse and my personal favorite, Ramona Quimby. I spent countless hours with Ramona as a child, but it was through reading Cleary’s books to my children that I came to truly appreciate Klickitat Street and all its residents. Mr. and Mrs. Quimby set a wonderful example of how to raise a spirited child. They are some of my most admired literary parents. Cleary herself was a late reader as she was raised in a small Oregon town without a library. Once she mastered reading she spent the rest of her childhood with books and was inspired to create the kind of stories she wanted to read, but couldn’t find. For that I would like to say thank you to Beverly Cleary and Happy Birthday!
Wed, 04/11/2018 - 6:05pm by samanthar
The Beguiled is a Southern Gothic novel set in 1864 Virginia. Three years into the civil war, an all-girls boarding school houses two teachers and five young girls. They find themselves caught in a situation of morality and deception when a wounded Yankee soldier is found in the woods outside their manor. The plot slowly unfolds as each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, and more of their motivation is revealed. This novel will draw you in and have you anxiously awaiting to see who is really charming who under the hot Southern sun.
The book was published in 1966, but went out of print. It was recently put into reprint for the release of the 2017 movie remake by Sofia Coppola, starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Colin Farrell. The original movie adaptation from 1971 stars Clint Eastwood.
Wed, 04/11/2018 - 12:40pm by ngop
Debuted April 3, 1998, on TV Japan, Cowboy Bebop has become one of the staple anime classics. In fact, Cowboy Bebop was the first ever anime televised on Cartoon Network on September 2, 2001. The anime series follows a group of registered bounty hunters (Cowboys) that chase criminals around the Solar System and reside on a spaceship called Bebop. Throughout the series, you'll watch the team go through fun times, dangerous mishaps, and problems from the past. It's a definite must-watch for all anime fans and those interested in getting into anime.
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.