News and Reviews
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 2:51pm by richretyi
Enjoy this set of phone wallpapers that celebrate the Downtown Library through history.
Fri, 04/17/2020 - 5:31pm by eli
Want to hide the reality of your home office, and show your support for local history at the same time? Well, you're in luck! The AADL Archives Team is proud to deliver to you these zoom-ready virtual backdrops! Choose from stately, serene, kooky, or more! Just download the images of your choice for use with your friendly neighborhood virtual-backdrop-supporting videoconferencing software. Enjoy, and stay safe!
Kindergarteners from Bach Elementary Show Off Their Valentine's Bulletin Board, February 1964 | Photo by Eck Stanger, Ann Arbor News
Fri, 04/17/2020 - 8:15am by muffy
The Mountains Sing, * * * first novel in English by celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Quế Mai Phan (in downloadable eBook and audiobook) is a multigenerational saga of the Trần family. Narrated in tandem by Tran Dieu Lan and her granddaughter, it spans much of the 20th century, through decades of occupations and war.
Born into one of the wealthiest farming families in Nghệ An Province, Dieu Lan lived through the French Occupation, only to witness her father’s gruesome murder at the hands of a brutal Japanese soldier. Surviving on wild fruits and insects during the Great Famine of 1945, she had to give away her 6 children during the Land Reform, escaping execution only through the kindness of a longtime family retainer, her brother not so lucky. Through humiliating work and ingenuity, she managed to prosper and to reunite her family, only to watch them join the NVA to fight against the South and the US Army.
The novel opens with a harrowing scene of the bombing of Hanoi in 1972, when Dieu Lan was again doing everything possible to keep a loved one alive - this time her 12 year-old granddaughter Huong “fragrance”, and gradually "opened the door of her childhood" with stories - believing “(i)f our stories survive, we will not die.”
The title of the novel references a hand-carved wooden bird, Huong’s only tangible remembrance of her father. This bird -the son ca “The Mountain Sings", would keep company with the soldiers as they walked into battle. The Vietnamese believe its songs can reach heaven and bring back the souls of the dead.
“Recalling Min Jin Lee and Lisa See, Nguyen displays a lush and captivating storyteller’s gift as she effortlessly transports readers to another world, leaving them wishing for more.“ (Library Journal)
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Thu, 04/16/2020 - 4:10pm by eli
Back many years after its mysterious disappearance, we're pleased to relaunch MINECRAFT ANN ARBOR! On the server, you'll find a huge flat map of the Ann Arbor area, where players have been building their own homes or their favorite buildings! You can connect to it from version 1.15.2 of Minecraft Java Edition using Multiplayer Direct Connect to minecraft.aadl.org . Note: we're sorry, but this server is not compatible with Minecraft Pocket Edition on mobile devices or Minecraft on Game Consoles.
Most of the Downtown Area in Minecraft Ann Arbor was built by local legend Jan Wolter, who put a ton of time into the server. He passed away in 2015, but his work on this server has been preserved so you can still enjoy a bit of Downtown Ann Arbor while socially distancing!
Part of the idea is to make the outsides of buildings as real as possible, but the insides can be whatever you want, whether just like they are, or what you always hoped they would be. A mix between the real and the fantasy worlds is fun for everyone!
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #732, “Here the oppression of women is very subtle... But here it is done psychologically and by education.” ~ Nawal El Saadawi
Fri, 04/10/2020 - 10:15am by muffy
Named one of the most anticipated debuts of 2020, The Illness Lesson * * by Bard Fiction Prize winner Clare Beams (in downloadable OverDrive eBook and audiobook) is what the New York Times Book Reviewer called “(a)stoundingly original.”
Ashwell (MA), on the site of a previously failed utopian commune, scholar/philosopher Samuel Hood opened a school for young women, offering a classical education, uncommon in post-Civil War America. Named “Trilling Heart” after a mysterious flock of red birds, Samuel enlisted his daughter Caroline, and David, a return veteran as teachers.
Among the students was Eliza, whose father, Miles Pearson penned The Darkening Glass, a popular gothic romance rumored to be autobiographical, and involved a beautiful young woman, modeled after Caroline’s mother. When the students, one after another, began to manifest bizarre physical symptoms of rashes, fits and sleepwalking, Caroline suspected Eliza, until she herself fell victim to the illness. Fearing reprisal from the parents, Samuel sent for his friend Dr. Hawkins, whose exploitative and malevolent treatments made Caroline question the judgment and integrity of those she trusted.
“This suspenseful and vividly evocative tale expertly explores women's oppression as well as their sexuality through the eyes of a heroine who is sometimes maddening, at other times sympathetic, and always wholly compelling and beautifully rendered.” (Booklist)
Soon to be released is Catherine House * * by Elisabeth Thomas, (The June Indie Next List), gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a small, highly selective college, and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate, Ines Murillo who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.
“Surreal imagery, spare characterization, and artful, hypnotic prose lend Thomas's tale a delirious air, but at the book's core lies a profound portrait of depression and adolescent turmoil. Fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History will devour this philosophical fever dream.” (Publishers Weekly)
Readers might also like to explore: The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister (in eBook and audiobook) - a moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about secrets and lies, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives; and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (in eBook and audiobook) is about desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, spanning much of the 18th and 19th centuries.
* * = 2 starred reviews
Fri, 04/03/2020 - 8:22am by muffy
The Lost Book of Adana Moreau * * * by Michael Zapata (in downloadable OverDrive eBook and audiobook) is the unlikely story of how two strangers are connected by a manuscript destroyed decades ago. This “an enchanting blend of history, science, and fairy tale” (Booklist) is also about the preservation of memory, the resilience of the human spirit, the bind of family, and the power of friendship.
New Orleans, 1929. A Dominican immigrant, identified only as Dominicana, married to a pirate, wrote The Lost City, a science fiction masterpiece about alternate realities, but she fell gravely ill before the sequel A Model Earth, could be published. The author instructed her son, 10-year old Maxwell, to burn the only copy of the manuscript upon her death.
Chicago, 2005. Saul Drower just lost his grandfather Ben, who adopted him after his parents were killed in a terrorist attack when he was just 5. Among Ben’s effects was a package addressed to theoretical physicist Dr. Maxwell Moreau at a university in Chile. When the package returned undeliverable, Saul saw that it was a manuscript to A Model Earth. With the help of his investigative journalist friend Javier Silva, they tracked down Maxwell to New Orleans. Hoping to fulfill his grandfather’s last wish and to unearth Ben’s link to the manuscript, Saul and Javier drove right into a city laid waste by Hurricane Katrina.
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Fri, 03/27/2020 - 8:18am by muffy
Oona Out of Order * by Margarita Montimore (in downloadable OverDrive eBook and audiobook) opens on New Year's Eve 1982, when Oona Lockhart is looking forward to turning 19 and the amazing year ahead - whether she chooses to tour with her boyfriend Dale and their rock band, or a year abroad at the London School of Economics.
But at the stroke of midnight, Oona awakes (she blames it on too much champagne) to find herself in her 51-year-old self in 2015, a bit lumpy, but immensely wealthy. Thanks to her faithful personal assistant Kenzie, a letter left from her earlier self, and her mother Madeleine, Oona learns that she will be bouncing around in time through all the years of her life, hitting each only once.
And so begins Oona Out of Order - from clubbing with a fringe group, traveling the world, being married to a man she does not remember, to losing the love of her life. While she mourns missed opportunities and unfulfilled relationships, Oona is determined to truly live in the moment, and to fully appreciate the love of family.
“In the end, we must give credit to Oona for finding joy and even humor in her situation and to Montimore for developing a complex narrative held together by simple truths. Read this to get a bit lost, to root for a character with a strong love for herself, and to connect on a deeply human level with the fear of leading an incomplete life… A heartfelt novel that celebrates its implausibility with a unique joie de vivre. “ (Kirkus Reviews)
For fans of The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (in eBook and audiobook). Readers might also enjoy Overseas by Beatriz Williams (in eBook) (2012), and Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald (in eBook and audiobook) (2019).
* =Starred review
Fri, 03/20/2020 - 2:54pm by eli
AADL has reopened, and you can now get a library card in-person!
Need to renew your card? Just come to any desk, and bring something with your current address!
WHO'S ELIGIBLE FOR AN AADL CARD
If you live within the Ann Arbor Public Schools boundaries (with the exception of Northfield Township), or if you are a student or teacher at AAPS, you may obtain a resident library card with no fee.
Fabulous Fiction Firsts #729, “Baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple.” ~ W.P. Kinsella
Fri, 03/20/2020 - 8:15am by muffy
The Cactus League (in downloadable OverDrive eBook) by the editor of the Paris Review, Emily Nemens opens with the 2011 spring training of the Los Angeles Lions at their new state-of-the-art facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. At the center of the novel is their “movie-star handsome, paparazzi famous and spectacularly talented” outfielder Jason Goodyear. This recently divorced Golden Glove winner and American League MVP runner-up seems to be coming apart at the seams.
In a series of interconnected stories, we come to know the individuals who orbit around Jason: a sportswriter going after a sensational story; a batting coach dealing with a domestic crisis; a fortysomething cleat chaser eager to test her charm; with a big Nike deal on the table, an agent hopes to keep his client out of the tabloids; an owner who allows his personal agenda to shape the season; an ill-paid stadium organist; a young boy at the mercy of his mother’s addiction; and Jason’s fellow players who are willing to do what it takes, just to play.
“Nemens has... written a novel about baseball and how it shapes the lives of athletes as much as the town that supports it - and a beautiful one at that. Like the best sportswriting, this bighearted, finely observed novel is about far more than the game.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Emily Nemens grew up a Seattle Mariners fan. Her family’s trips to spring training in Arizona informed the setting. In a recent interview with Kirkus, she shared the three baseball books that inspired The Cactus League.
Another baseball book this spring that is definitely not JUST about the game is Gish Jen’s The Resisters. The author needs no introduction. Her latest is the story, set in a near-future dystopian America, of one family’s struggle to maintain its humanity and normalcy in circumstances that threaten their every value--as well as their very existence.
At the heart is young Gwen, born with a golden arm, she plays in secret in an underground league all of her young life. When her talent is discovered, and is recruited by the university for the privileged, her moral and personal resolve will be severely tested.
Tue, 03/17/2020 - 4:59pm by eli
AADL is seeking proposals from qualified Janitorial and Mechanical Contractors to provide Janitorial or Mechanical services to all AADL locations. The Request For Proposal Documents are attached here. Responses are due May 8, 2020 by Noon. For questions contact AADL Facilities Manager Len Lemorie at email@example.com .
Mon, 03/16/2020 - 3:08pm by KatieD
While the library's physical locations may be closed for now, check out Libby. Libby is a free app offered through AADL that lets you download audiobooks and kindle books straight to your phone. I've created step-by-step instructions for using Libby along with screenshots! You will need your library card to create a Libby account.
Mon, 03/16/2020 - 10:22am by eli
New to the Summer Game / Bummer Game? Watch This Video for a walkthrough of the first three badges!
Everything's closed! We're all hunkered down! Everything is canceled! We're all doing our part to FLATTEN THAT CURVE....
And WHAT A BUMMER!
But SURELY, you knew that your very own AADL STAFFERS, once safely ENSCONCED in their own homes, would not be content to just leave you to SIT ON YOUR HANDS for an UNKNOWN NUMBER OF WEEKS.
And so... we are proud to offer to you several new THINGS TO DO, first and foremost of which is a little diversion called THE BUMMER GAME!
Building on our WILDLY SUCCESSFUL Summer Game, each day at Noon we'll release 3 new Badges! WHAT'S A BADGE you ask, an ember of hope catching alight? Well, they're like PUZZLES you can solve online, across the web and through our catalog, and when you find game codes and complete badges, you get POINTS.
BUT WHAT ARE POINTS you ask, as a manifold of new POSSIBILITIES unfolds before you? Well, when you find BUMMER GAME codes and complete BUMMER GAME badges, you'll earn points for the upcoming SUMMER GAME 2020! That's right! ADVANCE BONUS!
BUT WHAT DO I DO WITH POINTS, you wonder, as a vision of yourself after this is all over appears, strutting down Fifth Avenue throwing handfuls of points at passersby with BOTH HANDS. Well, In July, the SUMMER GAME SHOP will open, and you'll be able to SPEND THOSE POINTS on amazing Library Merch!
All you need to do to play is log in to (or create) an aadl.org account, no library card required. Then visit play.aadl.org and you'll see all the badges as we release them, a leaderboard, and more fun opportunities as we go. Starting with our very first BUMMER GAME BADGE DROP Monday 3/16 at Noon!
Got any questions? Don't hesitate to contact us or text us at 734-327-4200.
So, Stay Tuned, Stay Safe, and as always... THANKS FOR PLAYING!
Sat, 03/14/2020 - 10:26am by muffy
Saint X * by Alexis Schaitkin (in downloadable eBook and audiobook) On the last night of their family vacation on the Caribbean island of Saint X, college-aged Alison Thomas disappeared, and her body was later discovered in a remote cay. Two local men, employees of the resort, Clive Richardson and Edwin Hastie last seen at a watering hole with Alison were arrested but were released for lack of evidence.
Eighteen years later, Alison’s younger sister Claire who was only seven at the time of the incident, is now working in Manhattan. One night, she finds herself in Clive Richardson’s cab. Obsessed with learning what happened to Alison, she stalks Clive and embeds herself in his life. As she waits for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them.
“As the novel gradually shifts to Clive's point of view, Schaitkin subverts the other characters' assumptions about the lives and intentions of strangers.” (Publishers Weekly) Most striking of all is Alison’s diary, astonishing in its raw depiction of a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.
“This killer debut is both a thriller with a vivid setting and an insightful study of race, class, and obsession.” (Kirkus Reviews)
* = Starred review
Fri, 03/13/2020 - 8:30am by josie
The AADL will close today, Friday March 13, 2020, at 6:00 PM for an indefinite period. This closure is our effort to join in reducing the spread of Covid-19 in our community.
Details about your library account and services follow in this message. We are all sorry about closing the Library, but it is more important for us all to be safe and healthy during this difficult time.
Tue, 03/03/2020 - 9:18am by eli
We're delighted to announce the opening of 4 new meeting rooms you can book yourself with your library card!
- The Emerald Room at Traverwood Branch seats up to 8.
- The Muskrat Room at Pittsfield Branch seats up to 35.
- The Painted Turtle Room at Pittsfield Branch seats up to 8.
Fri, 02/28/2020 - 8:31am by muffy
NPR Book Reviewer Michael Schaub called The Regrets * * by Amy Bonnaffons, “(a) dazzling debut novel… Wildly inventive and daring, a reflection on the limits of love that's both hilarious and heartbreaking.”
Due to an institutional error at the Office of the afterlife, 26-year old Thomas Barrett is unable to "cross over"(motorcycle accident that killed his best friend), and must complete a 3-month stint on earth so as to allow the Office to process his eventual arrival. Apart from the detailed report he must submit weekly, there are rules he is encouraged to follow so as not to incur regrets. Chief among them: not to attempt any new relationships, and especially no sexual contact.
Rachel Starr, a young librarian has rotten luck with men, but she is certain the handsome, golden-haired, melancholy young man sitting at her Brooklyn bus stop day after day is different. When she finally approaches him, the chemistry between them is undeniable, and their affair, intense and all-consuming. But as Thomas approaches the end of his time on earth, he begins to fade, body part by body part, until he is invisible. Distraught and confused, Rachel turns to Mark, her newly-single college boyfriend for solace.
“It is a plot that could be - that should be - unbearably twee, oppressively quirky, in love with its own melancholy. Instead, Bonnaffons’ (The Wrong Heaven, 2018) first full-length novel is a rare pleasure: a philosophical rom-com too weird, too bodily, too precise, too fun to get bogged down in trembling sentiment. Deep and deeply funny.” (Kirkus Reviews)
* * = 2 starred reviews
Just released is another rom-com based on a clerical error at the Afterlife Administration: Daisy Cooper's Rules for Living by Tamsin Keily. In this 'Bridget Jones meets "The Good Place" ', a woman whose untimely death sparks the journey of a lifetime.
Daisy Cooper is flying high, just about to move in with her boyfriend. A slip on an icy patch lands her in the Afterlife - except she is a bit early - by 50 years. Stuck in limbo, prevented from fully passing on while Death sorts out the mistake, she becomes his assistant. Working together, Daisy finds that Death isn't the Grim Reaper she believed him to be. And as she learns how to survive this strange reality, friendship, hope and love begin to come alive in the most unexpected ways.
"Keily's debut is a witty and clever look at life, love, and grief..." (Booklist)
Fri, 02/21/2020 - 4:20pm by muffy
The Authenticity Project (in downloadable OverDrive eBook and audiobook) by popular British blogger Clare Pooley, is inspired by her personal story. She discovered that “telling the truth about your life really can work magic and change the lives of many other people for the better.”
79-year old Julian Jessop was once the darling of the London art world, hobnobbing (and dressed) by the likes of Vivienne Westwood. Now alone and reclusive, he looks back at a life filled with lies and deceit, and realizes that “everyone lies about their lives”. In a green notebook entitled “The Authenticity Project” which he leaves at his neighborhood cafe, he recounts his story and challenges whoever picks up the notebook to share the truth.
From a cozy cafe, to a swanky wine bar, to the beaches off the South China Sea and back, the notebook brings together cafe owner Monica - a former city lawyer who longs for romance and family; Hazard, a high-flying financial trader and an equal-opportunity addict; Riley, a happy-go-lucky Aussie gardener with commitment issues; and Alice, who trades in her glamorous PR job for messy motherhood, but clings to her staged Instagram persona for validation.
“This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free….Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Tue, 02/18/2020 - 8:26am by eli
Thank you all for your patience while Traverwood has been closed for renovation! While we planned for a 10-week closure, we need just one more week to get the branch ready for business.
Traverwood Branch reopens at 10am on Monday, March 2, and features:
- new carpet
Fri, 02/14/2020 - 9:17am by muffy
Followers, * * * * Megan Angelo’s “spectacular debut...masterfully explores the dark side of social media.” (Publishers Weekly). Told in the alternating voices of Orla Cadden in 2015--2016, and Marlow Clipp in 2051, Followers traces the paths they take through time towards each other.
Instead of writing her novel, Orla is a reporter at Lady-ish, a celeb blog, churning out puff pieces to pay the rent on her Manhattan apartment. Her new roommate Florence (Floss) Natuzzi, a scheming, A-lister wannabe, persuades Orla that the way for them both to get ahead is for Orla to craft stories, any story (“forget about doing the right thing”) that would put Floss before the public eye, with Orla catching the afterglow.
2051. Constellation, California, is a closed community where government-appointed and corporation-sponsored celebrities like Marlow and her husband Ellis live 24/7 on camera, closely watched by their 11.6 million loyal followers, their every thought and action monitored by an implant called “The Device”. No longer enjoying her popularity and prescribed lifestyle, Marlow dreams of fleeing. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, she summons the courage to run in search of the truth, leading her to that fateful day in 2016 when the world as we knew it, was forever changed.
“Angelo masterfully intertwines the lives of Orla, Floss, and Marlow while reflecting a painfully accurate picture of our current fame-driven, tech-obsessed society and its possible destruction.... Angelo also weaves in a perspective on contemporary political decisions (The Wall, immigration/deportation) and the effect they could have on us all in the not-so-distant future. This is an intricate and brave story of friendship, ambition, and love and the lengths people will go to protect it all.“ (Booklist)
* * * * = 4 starred reviews
Mon, 02/10/2020 - 7:21pm by muffy
London, 1946. 2 years after liberation, former British spy Olivia “Livy” Nash worked as a proofreader for a third- rate newspaper by day and devoted her evenings to the company of black-market Polish vodka. When she was sacked and about to be turned out by her landlord, she was approached by the infamous Ian Fleming, offering her the opportunity to return to Paris, posing as a journalist to track down a list of former Nazi spies and collaborators, who could be useful in fighting “the next war”.
But what really sent Livy back to the City of Light, was the chance to confront the traitor among their WWII Resistant unit, who delivered Livy, nicknamed “Spitfire” and her lover/Commander Peter Scobee into the hands of the Gestapo, thus drawing her back into the dangerous world of spies and counterspies.
“Huie does an excellent job dramatizing events in the early days of the cold war. Vibrant characters, international intrigue, gritty action, and a wittily acerbic Ian Fleming, too—who could ask for more?” (Publishers Weekly)
* = Starred review
Wed, 01/08/2020 - 2:57pm by muffy
January brings the highly anticipated debut Such a Fun Age* by Kiley Reid. (Check out the New York Times Review and the NPR interview with the author.) It’s the latest HELLO SUNSHINE (Reese Witherspoon's Book Club) pick. Film rights sold to Lena Waithe.
25 year-old Temple grad Emira Tucker knows she is good at her job - nannying for Philadelphia newcomer Alix Chamberlain and her 2 young daughters, never mind she is aimless, broke, and a disappointment to her ambitious parents. As a favor to her employer, Emira leaves a party early to babysit the Chamberlains’ toddler Briar. A late-night visit to the local high-end supermarket proves problematic when the store security, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping. A bystander captures the whole incident on video, and it goes viral.
While Emira is humiliated, Alix resolves to make things right, unwittingly bringing into their midst Kelley, someone from Alix’s past, with “unintended--as well as willfully unseen--consequences.” (Publishers Weekly).
“Reid illuminates difficult truths about race, society, and power with a fresh, light hand. We're all familiar with the phrases white privilege and race relations, but rarely has a book vivified these terms in such a lucid, absorbing, graceful, forceful, but unforced way.” (Library Journal)
* = Starred review
Mon, 01/06/2020 - 9:00pm by muffy
In this “brashly retro escapist caper“ (Kirkus Reviews), master thief Riley Wolfe has just stolen a 12-ton statue in broad daylight during its installation ceremony in Downtown Chicago, and dropped the sponsor, a big pharma CEO into the freezing waters of Lake Michigan from a combat helicopter. Next, he sets his sights on stealing the Iranian Crown Jewels, on loan to a small Manhattan private museum. Valued at billions, and protected by a state-of-the-art high tech security system, not to mention the legendary heavily-armed Revolutionary Guards, the true attraction for Riley is one simple fact: they are absolutely unstealable. And Riley has never shied away from a challenge.
As Riley’s intricate, audacious (and often ruthless) plan unfolds, he is pursued by a brilliant and relentless Chicago FBI agent Frank Delgado, setting in motion a nail-biting game of cat and mouse.
* = Starred review
Tue, 12/31/2019 - 11:59pm by richretyi
Of the millions of items circulated at the Ann Arbor District Library in 2019, here were the most requested, including fiction, non-fiction, movies, music, tools, art prints, and TV & miniseries.
Tue, 12/24/2019 - 8:58am by richretyi
All AADL locations will close at 6pm on Tuesday (Dec. 31) and all locations will be closed Wednesday (Jan. 1). The AADL will reopen at 9am on Thursday (Jan. 2) with regular hours. Have a safe and happy New Year!
Mon, 12/23/2019 - 7:49pm by muffy
The Girl Who Reads on the Métro (Overdrive eAudio) is French author Christine Féret-Fleury’s first book to be translated (by Ros Schwartz) into English. “With a cast of characters reminiscent of the French film Amélie, Féret-Fleury creates a world that is delightful and enchanting...Light and sweet as a bonbon, this little confection of a book is delicious." (Kirkus Reviews)
Juliette, a real-estate agent, leads a perfectly ordinary (and rather solitary) life in Paris. On her daily metro rides, she notices other riders and the books they are reading - the lady with the cookbook, the man in a green hat who reads about insects, and the romance reader who always tears up at page 247.
One morning Juliette decides to walk to her office, and find herself in an unfamiliar neighborhood. When she sees a young girl slips through a rusty gate wedged open with a book, she follows, thus walking into the bizarre and enchanting lives of Soliman, his young daughter, Zaide, and Books Unlimited. Before she realizes what is happening, Juliette agrees to become a passeur, taking used books from Soliman’s “store”, and using her intuition, matches books with readers. Without a second thought, Juliette quits her job, dives headlong into a new life, and discovers that the life she may change the most could be her own.
Mon, 12/16/2019 - 5:55pm by muffy
“To consider yourself well versed in contemporary literature without reading short stories is to visit the Eiffel Tower and say you’ve seen Europe. Not only would monumental writers be missing from your literary tour, but entire angles and moves and structures of which the novel, in its bulk, is incapable.” ~ Rebecca Makkai, Music for Wartime, (2015)
4 debut collections introducing 4 remarkable new voices in short fiction.
Show Them a Good Time: Short Stories by Nicole Flattery (Trinity College, Dublin) A blisteringly original and wickedly funny collection tells the stories of women slotted into restrictive roles: the celebrity’s girlfriend, the widower’s second wife, the lecherous professor’s student, the corporate employee. And yet, Flattery’s characters blithely demolish the boundaries of these limited and limiting social types with complexity and caustic intelligence.
"A seamless blend of reality and the surreal, Flattery's stories defy genre in an affecting yet unobtrusive manner. Readers should expect to be equal parts intrigued and unsettled." (Publishers Weekly) For fans of Mary Gaitskill, Miranda July, Joy Williams, and Ottessa Moshfegh.
This debut collection The Beadworkers: Stories by Beth Piatote (Piatote is Nez Perce, and a Native American Studies professor at UC Berkeley) is “told with humor, subtlety, and spareness that explore the inventive and unforgettable pattern of Native American life in the contemporary world...(with) unifying themes in the strength of kinship, the pulse of longing, and the language of return.”
"Hope and heartbreak abound in this debut collection set among Native Americans in the northwest . . . Piatote balances the emotional complexities of her characters' lives with the political complexity of their relationship with an America all too eager to look away. A poignant and challenging look at the way the past and present collide." (Kirkus Review)
Young Australian author Josephine Rowe's debut collection Here Until August: Stories is full of heartbreak, travel, and seduction. They follow the fates of characters who, by choice or by force, are traveling beyond the boundaries of their known worlds. These are people who move with the seasons. We meet them negotiating reluctant or cowardly departures, navigating uncertain returns, or biding the disquieting calm that so often precedes moments of decisive action.
From the Catskills to New South Wales, from the remote and abandoned island outposts of Newfoundland to the sprawl of a North American metropolis, these transformative stories show how the places where we choose to live our lives can just as easily turn us inward as outward.
The characters in Happy Like This by Ashley Wurzbacher, are smart girls and professional women—social scientists, linguists, speech therapists, plant physiologists, dancers—who search for happiness in roles and relationships that are often unscripted or unconventional. In the midst of their ambivalence about marriage, monogamy, and motherhood and their struggles to accept and love their bodies, they look to other women for solidarity, stability, and validation. Sometimes they find it; sometimes they don’t.
Winner of The John Simmons Short Fiction Award, "Wurzbacher dives into the lives of women in this brilliant collection, examining the ways they live and relate to each other while harboring their own secrets and feelings. Her lyrical prose and unflinchingly confrontational voice are powerful and captivating." (Booklist)
Wed, 12/11/2019 - 3:51pm by richretyi
All AADL locations will be closed on Tuesday (Dec. 24) and Wednesday (Dec. 25). Regular Library operations and hours resume on Thursday (Dec. 26).
Tue, 12/10/2019 - 8:00pm by muffy
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 by Kirkus Reviews, Get a Life, Chloe Brown * * * launches the first in the Brown Sister series by self-published author Talia Hibbert, and marks her first release by a mainstream publisher.
“(A) socially inept control freak" by her own account, Chloe Brown is forced to re-examine her life after a near-death experience. Chronically-ill (Fibromyalgia), and practically home-bound, her whole social circle consists of her siblings and family. Then she comes up with seven directives to help her "Get a Life". At the top of the list - move out of her family's palatial home into her own apartment, where she immediately runs afoul with the snarky building superintendent, Redford "Red" Morgan who sees her as yet another privileged, spoiled brat. Buff, tattooed, with an easy smile that quickly charmed her sisters and all the other residents, Chloe is determined not to like him, that is until they strike a bargain.
“This interracial romance with a disabled heroine is an #OwnVoices treat that will satisfy readers who love a cinnamon-roll hero and love scenes that scorch the dang pages. “ (Booklist)
“...(t)his is an incredibly funny, romantic, and uplifting book. Red is as charming, sexy, and vulnerable as can be, but Chloe steals the show with her sarcasm, wit, and eccentric coping mechanisms.” (Kirkus Reviews) . For fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang. For another steamy, interracial romance, try Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher, one with a surprising UM/Ann Arbor connection.
* * * = 3 starred reviews
Tue, 11/26/2019 - 7:49pm by muffy
Before you dive into On Swift Horses * by Shannon Pufahl (Stanford, Stegner Fellow), you might be interested in listening to NPR's Scott Simon talks with the author about her debut novel - inspired by her grandmother’s story.
In 1956, newly-wed Muriel and Lee left her Kansas hometown for San Diego, hoping for a better life and a little bungalow all of their own. Lee’s brother Julius, was supposed to join them but disappeared without a word. Eavesdropping on her customers at the Heyday Lounge frequented by retired jockeys and bookies, Muriel began slipping off to the racetrack and trying her luck with the horses. Wildly successful, she secretly used her winning to allow Lee to fulfill his dream of a house in the suburbs.
When Julius, a habitual gambler finally showed up, with a mustang in tow, Muriel was secretly pleased while Lee was guarded, until Julius’s secretive and reckless past caught up with him, bringing discord into their lives, and forcing Muriel to look deep into her heart.
Narrated by Muriel and Julius in turn, “...Pufahl's sharp, gritty details of 1950s San Diego and Las Vegas effectively draw the reader into her protagonists' struggles to bring meaning to their lives, however different their experiences.” (Library Journal)
“Pufahl's prose is lush and slow with the romance of emotion and the postwar frontier. Her dialogue is sparse and pointed, every word deliberately spoken. On Swift Horses is a queer Western for an utterly contemporary audience.” (Booklist)
* = Starred review
Mon, 11/25/2019 - 9:09am by eli
Now that Pittsfield Branch has reopened, we're getting ready for our last branch closure of this round of renovations. Traverwood Branch Library will be closed starting December 16th for up to 10 weeks of renovation.
Any requests that would have been ready for pickup at Traverwood Branch will be held at Westgate Branch instead. If you'd like to have your Traverwood requests held at another location, you can change that yourself on your my account page, or just contact us and let us know your preference. Don't forget that there's lots of parking behind Westgate Branch's rear entrance! Just go around the Rite Aid end to find it.
During this closure, we'll be replacing the carpet, refinishing the wood floors, constructing a new bookable meeting room, and rearranging some shelving. We'll also be reworking the rotating program room doors for better safety and utility, replacing all the public internet and kids game computers, and relabeling the collection into categories.