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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #685

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 8:36pm by muffy


Author/television writer Rebecca Serle’s young adult novel Famous In Love (2014) has been adapted into a television series. In her first novel for adults The Dinner List, “(t)hemes of love, loss, and forgiveness weave through (an) intriguing mix of the real and the fanciful.” (Booklist)

Arriving at the restaurant for her 30th birthday dinner with her best friend Jessica, Sabrina Nielsen finds 4 other guests seated at the table - the 5 people, dead or alive, she had picked to have dinner with when challenged by Jessica their junior year at USC. There is Audrey Hepburn, her father’s favorite actress (and Sabrina his favorite of Hepburn’s movies); Robert, her father who deserted the family when she was 5 and never looked back; Conrad, her college professor/mentor who has been a steady influence; and Tobias, her ex-fiance and a talented photographer.

Over the course of the dinner, it becomes clear that there's a reason these six people have been gathered together. “Serle alternates chapters of the dinner party with the story of Sabrina and Tobias’ romance, deftly, slowly revealing how and why they broke up.”(Kirkus Reviews)  As midnight approaches and the guests depart, Sabrina observes that “This dinner began as a reminder of all I have lost, but as I watch them now, all I can feel is profoundly grateful.”

For fans who delight in the magical realism of One Day, and the life-changing romance of Me Before You.

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

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 3:49pm by morseh

Signal of Liberty masthead, April 28, 1841

Part II: “Printers & Presses”

What printing press did the Signal of Liberty use? In his 1960 dissertation, John Edgar Kephart wrote that it was “probably” a Washington hand-press because of its popularity in America’s frontier states at the time. But he was not certain.

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All AADL Locations Closed On Monday, October 8

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 8:57am by TimG

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, October 8 for our annual staff training day.

Regular Library hours will resume on Tuesday, October 9.

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Treasure Quest #1: The Quest Begins!

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 6:00pm by nicole

Last night as you were sleeping a strange wind blew through the fog

and cracked open a portal in our item catalog!

There through this crack in time a strip of summer could be seen
and futuristic treasure poured out from 2019!

Perhaps it was the weather, or the witching hour's begun,
(or maybe it's a story—who cares, this is just for fun!),
But whatever the reason the result is still the same—
We found these 2019 points and had to make a game!

That game is this and this is what? A puzzle and a Quest!
Some clues and hints are given, but you’ll have to find the rest.
We forged some Keys, constructed Gates, and locked away these games.
It’s finding and unlocking them that will be your true aim!

Each starting month our catalog will hide a brand new Key
that opens up another fun-filled opportunity!
So that’s the game! You get the point, there’s nothing more to say:
Dust of your brains and compass—Treasure Quest is underway!


The Graveyard Key

Somewhere in the vast catalog a mysterious Key has appeared! The hunt for The Graveyard Key begins now!

Two boys go walking through the forest on a hallowed day.
A froggy sings.
A lantern swings
To light the wooded way.

A Beast lurks out in the Unknown just waiting for his turn,
So don't despair.
Be wise. Beware!
Or you'll be fuel to burn.


Click on the image to get started searching for this Key (and the Gate!), or do something else entirely, like:

Journey to the adventure-filled Badge List!

Travel into the wilds of the AADL Catalog!

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MeLCat is Back!

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 9:37am by eli

We are so pleased to announce that MeLCat interlibrary loan is back up and running! You can browse the catalog of all participating libraries in Michigan and request an item to be sent to your AADL pickup location of choice.

Once you've placed a request with MeLCat, the request will show up at the bottom of your aadl myaccount page, along with a link to MyMelCat where you can cancel your request if you'd like.

While your pending requests won't show your pickup location, rest assured it was set, and the item will be sent to your pickup location when it arrives. You can see the pickup location in MyMelCat to be sure.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #684

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 5:10pm by muffy


Entertainment Weekly called Confessions of the Fox * *, Jordy Rosenberg’s debut novel  “an ambitious work of metafiction, a sexy queer love story, and a rigorously researched and argued piece of scholarship, all rolled into one.”

Jack Sheppard (1702-24) and Bess Edgeworth were the most notorious thieves, jailbreakers, and lovers of 18th c. London. Yet no one knows the true story - until  2018, when transgender university professor R. Voth happens upon a manuscript, dated 1724 at a library book sale titled “Confessions of the Fox”. P, born a female was sold into servitude to a carpenter at twelve. Shackled in an attic room, P found an aptitude for picking locks. Roaming the streets at night,  P met and fell in love with Bess, a sex worker with links to London’s underworld and the queer subculture. Slight in built and nimble with tools, P fulfilled her desire to live as “Jack” and became one of the most wanted in the city’s criminal history. As Dr. Voth obsessively annotates the manuscript, desperate to find the answer, being drawn deeper into Jack and Bess’s tale, it becomes clear that their fates are intertwined, and only a miracle will save them all.

“Even when Rosenberg, a scholar of 18th-century literature and queer/trans theory at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, allows Voth to become pedantic, it’s in the service of this novel’s marvelous ambition: To show how easily marginalized voices are erased from our histories—and that restoring those voices is a disruptive project of devotion….a singular, daring, and thrilling novel: political, sexy, and cunning as a fox.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Fans of Sarah Waters's Fingersmith will find this a good companion-more political and academic, perhaps, but similarly absorbing in period detail” (Library Journal)

* * = 2 starred reviews

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Westgate Branch Closed for Construction on Tuesday (Sept. 25)

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 11:30am by richretyi

Westgate Branch will be closed due to construction on Tuesday (Sept. 25), reopening for regular hours on Wednesday (Sept. 26). Tuesday evening's A2Energy Power Hour event will be held as planned, with attendees entering Westgate through the Sweetwaters Cafe entrance. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

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Yes Please - Amy Poehler

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 5:35pm by potterbee

Dare I admit I haven’t watched but a couple episodes of Parks and Rec? For no specific reason, I just never spent time with this show although I have enjoyed what I’ve seen. I associated Amy Poehler with Saturday Night Live and, vaguely, the Upright Citizens Brigade, but didn't have any strong fandom feelings.

So, why did I choose her audiobook to join me in my evening walks? A friend said she enjoyed it, simple as that.

This is a fun audiobook! Amy doesn’t just read you the memoir she wrote, but takes advantage of the audio format. I was entertained by the special guest appearances and the included audio clips from shows being referenced. These additions round out the listening experience and pull you away from just plodding through the memories. It’s more of a show than a book and Amy kept me strolling until the end of the chapter (bonus steps!).

You can check out a copy in our audiobook collection or access an MP3 version through Overdrive.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #683

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 7:58am by muffy

ghostedGhosted * is UK author Rosie Walsh’s American debut.

For the past 19 years, successful (and newly single) non-profit entrepreneur Sarah Mackey returns home to spend the month of June with her parents in an idyllic corner of Gloucester. On a blistering hot day, she met Eddie David, coaxing a lost sheep back to pasture. Their connection was instant. After seven blissful days together, Eddie left on a planned vacation and disappeared, despite promises to call and plans made. Her constant email, texts and Facebook posts went unanswered. Rather than simply considered herself  “ghosted”, Sarah became increasingly worried as days and weeks went by.  But then she discovers she is right. There is a reason for Eddie's disappearance, and it is the one thing they didn't share with each other: the truth.

Told through a combination of letters, texts, voicemail, “Walsh weaves an intricate story of mystery, deception, grief, and forgiveness that begins slowly and builds steam as the plot twists and turns, and steers clear of predictability.” (Library Journal)

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.(Kirkus Reviews)

* = Starred review


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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #682 - I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. ~ William Ernest Henley

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 4:00pm by muffy


Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One, Raphaëlle Giordano’s debut, already a bestseller in France, will appeal to fans of The Alchemist and Hector and the Search for Happiness.

A flat tire in a thunderstorm on a secluded road at the outskirt of Paris brought Camille to Claude, a successful routinologist. Until that moment, the 38 year-old wife and mother with a good job, did not realize how unhappy she was. Claude deduces that Camille is suffering from a case of acute routinitis - that she’s dissatisfied, unmotivated, and unhappy even though she has everything she needs. Together, they devise an unconventional course of treatment to transform her life - from simple tasks (spring cleaning) to slightly odder ones (a hot air balloon ride), to ones that challenge her understanding of who she is and who she wants to be.

“Giordano has created a quick and light read...A fast, feel-good story about finding happiness.” (Kirkus Reviews). The author, a Paris-based expert in personal development kindly includes a Dictionary of Terms for those of us still waiting to meet our inner routinologist. Book groups will also find the discussion guide useful.

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MeLCat Returns October 1st!

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 5:18pm by eli

Good news, everyone! The long-awaited return of the MeLCat interlibrary loan system is finally happening! Beginning October 1st, 2018, AADL cardholders will regain the ability to request items from the MeLCat network, and AADL will resume loaning items to other libraries via the MeLCat network. Thanks to all of you for your patience through this unexpectedly long service interruption; we apologize for the delay, and we're thrilled to be bringing MeLCat back at last.

In addition, we'll be rolling out some other useful new features on October 1st for power users, including some improvements to the performance and capabilities of your My Account page, a new Points-o-Matic mode where you can help us organize scanned newspapers from microfilm, and another special surprise for those of you suffering from Summer Game withdrawal.

One thing to know for MeLCat aficionados; we used to be on the same system as MeLCat itself, so some features could be more tightly integrated. Now that we run a different system than the one MeLCat uses, if you want to renew or cancel your MeLCat items, you'll need to log in to MyMeLCat to do so. Your MeLCat checkouts and requests will show up in their own section on your My Account page, and they'll have a link to MyMeLCat where the renew or cancel buttons would be. MelCat requests cannot be frozen or have their pickup location changed once they've been placed.

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Loome Party : 20+ Tiny Yarn Projects to Make From Your Stash

Fri, 09/07/2018 - 1:22pm by manz

LWhat's hotter than this past summer? Pom-poms. Yes, pom-poms.  And tassels. They're a big trend in the craft and fashion world, and this book will get you all set on making the most gorgeous fiber accents to embellish your world! Step 1: Procure a Loome tool of some sort. Step 2: Make some poms! 

Loome Party starts out by discussing various types of fiber and which are suitable for different projects. The book includes directions for jewelry, keychains, garland, and more, all including pom-poms and tassels! You can basically add a pom-pom to anything. The instructions and photos are a great guide to crafting up a storm for all ages. I have to warn you though, once you pom, you can't stop. This craft is simple and fun, and is great for someone like me who adores yarn but doesn't knit or crochet. 

You don't *need* a Loome to make poms, there are plenty of directions on the internet on how to make a pom-pom maker. But this book focuses on ways to use the Loome tool to make poms and tassels -- it really is handy! 

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How to be a Victorian - by Ruth Goldman -

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 2:44pm by -alex-

book coverEver wondered how to wear a corset while you're swimming? Or maybe you've found yourself pondering how to groom your luscious Victorian beard, or how to tend your garden while wearing an enormous hoop skirt and crinoline. If so, How to be a Victorian has answers for you. Author Ruth Goldman offers all kinds of fascinating details, much of it drawn from her own personal experience living in, wearing, and working with the materials, clothes, and structures Victorians encountered in their daily lives. Goldman also draws from a wide array of historical sources and gives us an interesting and deeply moving picture of what it was really like living in the era, often drawn from the personal accounts of those who witnessed the excitements of the age of invention, and those who lived through the truly brutal realities of Victorian poverty. 

The sheer array of subjects Goodman covers is impressive, and she knows how to mix the entertaining with the serious, and mixes the joyous in with sad truths.  It's maybe the least likely page-turner you'll ever encounter, but it's a page-turner nonetheless.  You'll find How to be a Victorian in our adult non-fiction section.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #681

Sun, 09/02/2018 - 11:15am by muffy

shortest_way_homeLettie Teague’s article “Will Work for Wine: Oenophiles’ Second Acts”, about how financier, attorney, videogame designer left behind successful careers to pursue their passion in the wine business, in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, brought to mind  The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker - an accomplished debut (Publishers Weekly) that has been named one of the Best Books of 2018 by Real Simple.

After graduating from Haas MBA program at UC Berkeley, power couple Hannah and boyfriend Ethan are heading back to NYC - she, to a much-coveted job at Goldman Sachs and he, to start a business with friends from MIT.  But on a romantic weekend trip to Sonoma (Hannah is sure he is about to propose), she realizes she wants to stay in California, and in particular, Sonoma. At the family-run Bellosguardo Winery, she impulsively accepted a marketing job offer, telling herself and everyone concerned that it is only for the summer. Determined to use her management skills to turn the failing business around, Hannah quickly becomes invaluable to owners Everett and Linda, and inevitably becomes involved in their problematic relationship. Her attraction to their son William, a budding filmmaker, forces Hannah to evaluate her own life choices.

“This debut novel about a young woman following her heart and creating her happiness is engaging and fun.” (Library Journal). Readers might also enjoy Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave.

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Badge Drop #12: Drop the Mic

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 5:00pm by andrewjmac

It's the FINAL BADGE DROP of Summer Game 2018, time to drop this year's MASTER BADGES!  What is a Master Badge?  Why, its a badge you earn for having completed an entire badge series on the Badge List.  So if you've been keeping up with your badges all summer long today IS A HUGE BONUS POINT DAY FOR YOU!  And if you haven't...well, we have other news.

Today is more than just the Master Badge Drop, it's also the FINAL DAY OF SUMMER GAME, with just SEVEN HOURS LEFT to earn Summer Game 2018 points.  AND SINCE it's the last day of the game, that ALSO means that tonight is one of the biggest events in the Summer Game calendar, the Game Over Gala!  So drop by the Downtown Library tonight between 6 and 8 pm for cookies, coloring, camaraderie, and CODES!  

This alignment comes along only rarely, like a solar eclipse or the passing of a comet or a parking space right in front of the place you are actually going!  The game ends at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, you have to get your last-minute scrambling done by then!

So today we get to do that rarest of things and in one day deliver unto you a healthy load of Master Badges AND send Summer Game 2018 off in style.  IT'S ALMOST AS THOUGH WE HAD PLANNED IT (note: we have no control over which days of the week certain dates fall on, so we did not in fact plan it).  

Jolly BrancherFurst PrizeLord of the FliesFish FinaticVroom at the TopHero WorshipperFantastic FashionistaMission ControllerCivil End-gineerPrime GrooverBiggest LoserLie DetectiveOrgan GrinderArbor MasterGoblin King

And now, it's time to bid adieu to catalog badges, wave goodbye to hidden branch codes, say bearwell to ursine puns, cry "GORBLE!" to the Goblin Games, and--

Hold on, I'm just getting word that while Summer Game may be over THE GAMES GO ON!  But with no goblins or banners or green sheets or silly catalog searches, what could these games possibly BE?

-REVIEW REVIEWER reviews on, loaded with reviews for you to review from here to eternity!
-FRESH Points-O-Matic modes to be delivered in the coming weeks!
-UNHEARD OF and NEVER-SEE-BEFORE off-season games to astound and delight (and probably seriously stump) you!

But you'll be busy with school and work and soon enough shoveling the driveway out.  How could we possibly tempt you to keep playing ALL YEAR LONG?  How about if we told you that THESE GAMES ARE THE ONLY WAY TO EARN SUMMER GAME 2019 POINTS BEFORE IT EVEN STARTS?!  That's right, the only way to start racking up points NOW for Summer Game 2019 is to play away at the off-season games.  And who knows, you might also have some FUN, right?

If only there were a convenient location to visit to check up on when all of these new games might start and exactly what they are and how you can GET THEM POINTSSSS!  A convenient location like!  Oh, WAIT.  IT'S PLAY.AADL.ORG.

Remember that the Summer Game Shop will stay open until September 9th, so spend time today earning those points so you can take the next two week to deliberate on WHICH AWESOME PRIZES YOU WANT TO BUY.

In the meantime, we've only got one thing left to do between now and when we flip that big GAME OVER switch, and that's to tell you once again and fur real...THANKS FOR PLAYING!

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Audubon: On the Wings of the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Throwback Thursday: A River Runs Through It

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

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

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

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

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One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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

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

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

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #680

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * = 2 starred reviews

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AADL Closed On Labor Day

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

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

Regular hours resume on Tuesday, September 4.

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Wolves - by Emily Gravett -

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

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

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

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Back to School Already?!

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

cover of First Day Hooray child jumpingBack To School Books

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

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

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #679

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


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

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

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

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

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Louisa Pieper, Dedicated Local Historian and Preservationist

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

Louisa Pieper with Fred, July 1999

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

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

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

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

Part I: “Pi”

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

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

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #678

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

*= Starred review

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

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

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

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

Hey, look over there! It's BADGES!


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


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


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Throwback Thursday: Nobody's Fool

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

Nobody's Fool book cover

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

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

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #677

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


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

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

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

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

* * = 2 starred reviews