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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #717, “Women’s voices always rise two octaves when they talk to cleaning women or cats.” ~ Lucia Berlin

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 7:12pm by muffy


In Vacuum in the Dark * *  by Jen Beagin, Mona is twenty-six and cleans houses for a living in Taos, New Mexico. Though this is a standalone second novel, you might want to start with Pretend I’m Dead, in order to get the full backstory.  Named “A Best Book of the Year” by O, The Oprah Magazine, and shortlisted for Kirkus Review’s First Novel Prize, the 2017 Whiting Award winner Jen Beagin (a former cleaning lady herself) sets her debut in Lowell, MA where the 24 year-old Mona, alone and emotionally adrift, is trying to move forward in life. 

While handing out clean needles to drug addicts, she met and fell for Mr. Disgusting, a charismatic artist turned drug addict who proceeded to break her heart in unimaginable ways. To start afresh, she moved to Taos. There, she shares an adobe house with a new-age couple “Yoko and Yoko”; and gets hopelessly tangled up with a client’s husband. As her business picks up, Mona finds it increasing hard to keep a professional distance from her clients (snooping in their belongings and taking photographs). Then there is the Hungarian artist couple with serious substance-abuse and boundary issues who asks Mona to pose for them;  and a single father who may be hiding a disturbing secret.



Through it all, Mona is saved from her self-destructive tendencies by the voice of NPR's Terry Gross, a wise, imaginary best friend as she searches for meaning and belonging. 

Beagin is a wonderfully funny writer who also happens to tackle serious subjects, which few authors are able to pull off successfully…(She) never treats these subjects lightly, but she doesn't shy away from employing very dark humor; the result is a comic novel that's a joy to read but never frivolous or superficial.” (NPR)

For fans of Sunshine Cleaning.  Readers might also enjoy A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin. A 2015 finalist for the Kirkus Prize, these 43 stories “capture the lives of hard-living women from Denver to Peru to the Bay Area to the Texas borderlands.” 

* * = 2 starred reviews

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #716

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 6:33pm by muffy


London potter Elizabeth Macneal’s (Oxford U.) The Doll Factory * *  won the 2018 Caledonia Novel Award, and is a New York Times Editor’s Choice. 

Against the backdrop of the construction of the Crystal Palace for The Great Exhibition; and the contentious selection process of the Royal Academy exhibitions, Macneal creates a thrilling psychological thriller about art and obsession that the New York Times Book Review called “(a) lush, evocative Gothic.”

Iris Whittle toils long hours at a factory painting faces on porcelain dolls but secretly harbors the ambition to be an artist. When she is approached by Louis Frost, a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to pose for his painting, she agrees, against the wishes of her family, especially her twin sister Rose, on the condition that Louis would teach her how to paint. As Iris grows into her artistic talent and mutual affection with Louis, she is unaware of the attention of Silas Reed, a curiosity collector and taxidermist, who schemes to make Iris his prized specimen.

The only person who is convinced that Iris is in danger is a young street urchin that Iris befriends,  but he might not be a match for the evil that lurks in the seamier side of Victorian London. 

For further reading on this 19th century art movement, try The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites by Elizabeth Prettejohn and Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists. You might also enjoy the television series Desperate Romantics that dramatizes the Brotherhood’s quest for artistic immortality which takes them into some of the lewdest, darkest, and funniest corners of 1851 London. 

For information on the Crystal Palace, a marvel of its time, try Crystal Palace : Joseph Paxton and Charles Fox;  and the catalogue of one of the first World's Fairs.

* *  = 2 starred reviews

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #715, “With my friends, the sad truth is that our best “best friend” days are behind us…” ~ Mindy Kaling

Sat, 10/12/2019 - 4:26pm by muffy


The Other's Gold by Hopwood Award winner  Elizabeth Ames (Staudt), (MFA, UM) follows Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret, from their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorn College to adulthood.  Theater-major Lainey, a mixed-race adoptee, devotes herself to political activism and short-lived romances. Alice, a star athlete and pre-med student is secretive and reserve. Immensely wealthy, Korean-born Ji Sun is painfully aware of her otherness; and Margaret, with her questionable academic credentials, is marked by her extraordinary beauty. Gravitating to their beloved window seat, the foursome quickly become inseparable. 

This four-part novel - the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite is devoted to the terrible mistake each makes that galvanizes their friendship, and ultimately tests their loyalties and strength of character.

“This literary work (by debut author Ames) illustrates the strength it takes to maintain closeness despite moral and ethical setbacks. Dealing with issues of guilt, pain, and the realistic, ruthless hardships of life, The Other's Gold shows that friends will stay by your side, if you let them fully in.” (Booklist)


tell_me_everythingTell Me Everything * * *  by Cambria Brockman is a twist on the campus novel. 

Hawthorne College, Edelton, Maine.  Malin, Ruby, John, Max, Gemma, and Khaled have been friends since freshman year and inseparable as housemates - Gemma, an insecure theater major from London; John, a tall, handsome, and wealthy New Englander; Max, John’s cousin and a shy pre-med major; Khaled, a wise-cracking prince from Abu Dhabi; and Ruby, a beautiful art history major, and Malin, our narrator - an expert at hiding a troubling past. But by the time Senior Day is over, one of them is dead.

“(Debut author) Brockman perfectly captures the insecurities that plague young adults, as well as the intense relationships that form in the crucible that is college. Deliberate pacing complements the sinuous structure, with anxiety and dread mounting as the story lines coalesce. Not every reveal feels earned, but the shocking central twist and devastating conclusion amply compensate. Fans of Patricia Highsmith and Donna Tartt should take notice.” (Publishers Weekly) 

“A truly chilling thriller with a twist so quiet, you never hear it coming.” (Kirkus Reviews)

* * * = 3 starred reviews

May I also suggest Richard Russo’s latest Chances Are…Four decades after their graduation from Minerva College,  Lincoln, a commercial real estate broker, Teddy, a tiny-press publisher, and Mickey, a musician beyond his rockin' age, convene on Martha's Vineyard. But each man harbors secrets, and regrets for the part he played in the mystery that still haunts them since Memorial Day, 1971. 


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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #714

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 1:51pm by muffy


The Secrets We Kept * * *  by debut novelist Lara Prescott is set at the height of the Cold War, based on the true story of the CIA plot of infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the 20th century. 

Narrated by 3 women between 1949 and 1961, they were instrumental in bringing Doctor Zhivago to the West, when for a decade, celebrated poet Boris Pasternak could not find a publisher for his novel in Soviet Russia, banned "due to its critiques of the October Revolution and its so-called subversive nature".

In Moscow, Olga Vsevolodovna, Pasternak’s mistress and muse, and inspiration for Zhivago’s heroine, Lara endured three years at a Gulag for refusing to denounce Pasternak or the novel.   In Washington D. C., American-born Irina Drozdova, a typist at the Agency (CIA) found herself recruited for “fieldwork”, and under the tutelage of glamorous Sally Forrester, a former OSS agent, quickly learned the trade craft of being a “carrier” - make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents. Her ultimate mission - disguised as a nun, she was to place copies of Dr. Zhivago, printed in the original Russian into the hands of Soviet citizens visiting the 1958 World's Fair.

“Through lucid images and vibrant storytelling, Prescott creates an edgy postfeminist vision of the Cold War, encompassing Sputnik to glasnost, typing pool to gulag, for a smart, lively page-turner. This debut shines as spy story, publication thriller, and historical romance with a twist.” (Publishers Weekly) 

* * * = 3 starred reviews

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New! All Tools are now Requestable!

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 8:26am by eli

Good News Everyone! AADL's industry-leading Tools Collection is now available for request! Most tools go out for 1 week (with a few extended loan tools, such as sewing machines and telescopes) and can be renewed one time if there are no outstanding requests on that item.

You can request tools for pickup at any location, with the exception of a few oversize tools, like Guitars, or Giant Connect Four, which can only be requested for Downtown Pickup.

Thanks to those of you who have used our experimental Tools Event Bookings! We are winding down the experiment for the Winter while we use what we've learned to build a new Tools Event Booking system that will be easier to use. We will stop accepting new Tools Event Booking requests on September 30, and Event Bookings won't be available for dates after October 31st. The service will be back in the spring with a much easier process and the ability to see your bookings from your My Account page.

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Pittsfield Branch closing for Renovations 9/23

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 8:02am by eli

We're continuing a year of branch upgrades with some updates for the Pittsfield Branch Library. The branch will close at 6 PM on Sunday, September 22, for 6-8 weeks of work.

The updated Pittsfield branch will have three new bookable meeting rooms, including a large 35-person meeting room with screen for presentations. Also there will be new public computers and kids game computers, and the book collection will be converted to categories.

During the closure, any requests with a Pittsfield pickup point, or Pittsfield Summer Game Shop Orders, will be held at Westgate Branch. If you'd like your items ready for pickup sent to another branch, you can change the pickup location on your My Account page before it's ready, or just contact us when your items are ready and we can send them along for you.

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Library Closed on Monday, September 2

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 1:05pm by richretyi

All AADL locations will be closed on Monday, September 2. Regular Library operations and hours resume on Tuesday, September 3.

September 2 2019 Closed


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Fri, 08/23/2019 - 6:49pm by eli

This is it, players! The Final CLASSIC SHOP DROP of SUMMER GAME 2019! Featuring an assortment of DELIGHTFUL products, all announced in advance... and a BIG SURPRISE! Yes, deep in the recesses of the SUMMER GAME PRIZE VAULT we found a tub... a heavy tub, filled with MYSTERY and LUXURIOUSLY smelling of the roasted beans of the CACAO. Sure, this chocolate is a year old... so we TOOK ONE FOR THE TEAM and tasted it. AND IT WAS GOOD. This Chocolate is 100% safe, 100% edible and 100% DELICIOUS! Limit one per household, please, this is all we have and we know that EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!

But, that's not all! Beach Balls! Field Notes! Ultrapremium Messenger Bags! Cray Cray Crayons! The return of the enigmatic BEVERAGE WRENCH! With this drop, everything that's in the shop is now in there, so GET SHOPPING!

Especially if you want one of this year's Logo or Summer Game Baseball Shirts. To allow time for manufacturing, the cutoff for ordering either shirt is THIS SUNDAY, August 25th at Midnight. After that, the shirts will no longer be available to order, so if you want one, order one THIS WEEKEND!

And don't miss the excitement at next Saturday's GAME OVER GALA, at the Downtown Library from 3-5 PM on 8/31! Featuring both LIVE and SILENT AUCTIONS for rare Summer Game prizes and art... you won't want to miss this special event! The Auction begins at 4 PM and you'll need to register as a bidder, so arrive in time to get bidding! 

Summer Game is ROLLING towards the Master Badge drop and the LAST DAY for points... so make the most of these waning days of Summer, and THANKS FOR PLAYING!

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Downtown Library Closed for Water Main Work (August 20)

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:09am by richretyi

The Downtown Library will be closed Tuesday (August 20) due to water main work. All other locations are open as normal. We're sorry for the inconvenience.

august 20 closed


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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #713, “I blame Hollywood for skewing perspectives. Life is just a big romantic comedy to them, and if you meet cute, happily ever-after is a foregone conclusion.” ~ Jonathan Tropper

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 9:14am by muffy


In The Friend Zone * *  by Abby Jimenez, Josh Copland literally ran into Kristen Peterson with his truck. Spilled coffee and a borrowed shirt later, Kristen realized Josh is the new firefighter in her station, and best man to her maid of honor at their best friends’ wedding.  Funny, sexy, handy, and totally gets her, sarcasm and snarkiness notwithstanding, Kirsten is determined to keep Josh firmly in the friend zone, especially now that her boyfriend Tyler is returning home from a 2-year deployment, and moving in with her. Besides, Josh’s plan for a big family is a nonstarter for Kristen. All reasoning aside, the attraction between them is undeniable. 

“Jimenez manages to fulfill all expectations for a romantic comedy while refusing to sacrifice nuance. Biting wit and laugh-out-loud moments take priority, but the novel remains subtle in its sentimentality and sneaks up on the reader with unanticipated depth.“ (Publishers Weekly)



waiting_for_tom_hanksYA author Kerry Winfrey’s first title for adults Waiting for Tom Hanks is set in Columbus, Ohio where rom-com obsessed Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron while freelance writing internet content (diaper rash, hemorrhoids), and binge watching Sleepless in Seattle. 29 and still living in her childhood home with her Uncle Don, who moved in to take care of her when her mother died, Annie is waiting for her own Tom Hanks

When a high-profile director starts filming a rom-com in her neighborhood, Don manages to get her a job on the set. Annie’s first encounter with the lead actor Drew Danforth - a cocky Hollywood bad-boy, involves a cup of spilled coffee and snarky exchanges - definitely not the meet-cute she has been dreaming of, yet Annie finds herself drawn to him. “The chemistry between Annie and Drew is irresistible, and the plot's many moving pieces add complexity.” (Publishers Weekly). 

“Winfrey's sweet, hilarious novel is full of klutzy and charming characters, heartwarming moments, and laugh-out-loud one-liners. This quick read is sure to delight readers looking for an escape of everyday life, especially fans of Mary Ann Marlow and Helena Hunting (including Meet Cute, 2019).” (Booklist)

* * = 2 starred reviews

* = Starred review


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Fri, 08/16/2019 - 6:52pm by eli

Good evening SG Faithful! We've got the last two of our classic, retro, entomological / herpetological buttons for you tonight: that's the AAPL Shirted Ladybug and the AAPL Reading Rattler buttons! And then, a week from tonight is the last SHOP DROP of Summer Game 2019, featuring 6 classic items! You can see details in this blog post from earlier this summer. But while we've got you, we wanted to remind you of some IMPORTANT DATES!

That's the scoop y'all, have fun through the home stretch and don't let these deadlines sneak up on you! See you next week for the last Shop Drop and THANKS FOR PLAYING!

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #712

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 3:05pm by muffy


The New York Times book reviewer Ivy Pochoda called Disappearing Earth * * * *  by Fulbright fellow Julia Phillips “(a) superb debut—brilliant. Daring, nearly flawless.”  “(A)n unusual, cleverly constructed thriller, and also a deep dive into the culture of Russia’s remote Kamchatka peninsula." (Kirkus Reviews)

On an August afternoon, sisters Sofia (8), and Alyona(11) vanished from a public beach in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. A witness described seeing them with a man in a shiny black car, but in the ensuing weeks, the police investigation turned up nothing. The case paralleled the disappearance of an 18 year-old Native girl 3 years ago, officially ruled as a runaway. Over the course of the next year, we met the women connected by the 2 incidents - a reindeer herder’s daughter at university in the capital; a policeman’s wife; the journalist/mother of the missing sisters; a Native woman whose teenage daughter also disappeared.

“In fresh and unpredictable scenes depicting broken friendships and failed marriages, strained family gatherings, and rehearsals of a Native dance troupe, Phillips’ spellbinding prose is saturated with sensuous nuance and emotional intensity, as she subtly traces the shadows of Russia’s past and illuminates today’s daunting complexities of gender and identity, expectations and longing.” (Booklist) 


van_apfelThe Van Apfel Girls Are Gone * by Felicity McLean

In the long, hot summer of 1992, the Van Apfel sisters -- Ruth, Hannah, and the beautiful Cordelia, mysteriously disappeared from their home in the Sydney suburb. Though Ruth was eventually found dead, the disappearance of Hannah and Cordelia was never solved. Eleven year-old Tikka Malloy and her older sister, Laura, have been haunted ever since by the loss of their friends. 

Twenty years later, Tikka, now living in Baltimore, returns home to see Laura, recently diagnosed with cancer, and is immediately drawn back into the mystery.  “Through conversations with Laura, neighbors, and her parents, Tikka stumbles upon painful feelings of guilt, hidden secrets and scandals, and memories better left forgotten ... (that) lies hidden behind the cheerful facade of suburbia. This debut, part coming-of-age story and part crime thriller, is both forceful and unnerving.“ (Publishers Weekly)

* * * * = 4 starred reviews

* = Starred review




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SHOP DROP: 2 more vintage buttons, plus some AUCTION DETAILS!

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 6:42pm by eli

HELLO SUMMER GAME FAITHFUL! We're in the home stretch, with just a skosh over 3 weeks left in Summer Game 2019! So tonight, we've got 2 more vintage buttons from the Summer Reading Game days of Yore, and we'll have two more next Friday, followed by our last Shop Drop on 8/23. You can see details about that in this post from a few weeks ago. But for tonight, for you hardcore button collectors, we've got two of our absolute favorites: #10 AAPL Reading Frog, and #12 AAPL Happy Axolotl!

Then, be sure you're planning to attend the GAME OVER GALA on August 31st, where we'll have both Silent Auctions for some rare Summer Game Shop items, and a LIVE ART AUCTION for real art we just CAN'T WAIT TO GET RID OF! We'll start the auction around 4 PM, so make sure you arrive in time to get registered as a bidder and get your bidder card! We'll tell you at that point how many points you have to spend, so don't go into POINTS DEBT! During the auction, you just raise your Bidder Card to say that you are willing to pay the amount the Auctioneer is seeking for that item. Remember that that act is binding; you can't change your mind after you bid! We'll explain it all in person, but this is sure to be FUN and FASCINATING, so come young and old to bid on great stuff at the Gala!

We'll see you there, and THANKS FOR PLAYING!

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #711

Mon, 08/05/2019 - 1:59pm by muffy


For fans of The Rosie Project and The Kiss Quotient comes Ellie and the Harpmaker * * , Hazel Prior’s charming debut, set in England’s West Country.

Ellie Jacobs happened upon the Harp Barn on one of her walks on the moors, and met the exceedingly handsome harpmaker Dan Hollis. Happy in his solitude, making exquisite Celtic harps from local materials, Dan impulsively gifted Ellie, whom he referred to as the Exmoor housewife with a cherrywood harp (to match her cherry-colored socks) after learning that playing the harp was on Ellie’s bucket list. 

When Ellie’s domineering husband Clive insisted that Ellie return the harp, Dan offered to keep it at the barn, and introduced Ellie to Rhoda, a concert harpist for lessons. As Ellie made daily visits to her harp in secret, she found herself increasingly drawn to Dan - with all his “peculiarities and eccentricities, his self-sufficiency, his otherworldliness”. When the insanely jealous Clive discovered Ellie’s betrayal, it looked like their precariously balanced relationship might not survive. 

Told in the alternating voices of its two protagonists,  “Prior's debut probes the inner workings of two very different minds. Empathetic to its core, it's a delightfully heart-warming glimpse inside a lushly imagined world. Tender, free-spirited, and guaranteed to tug at readers' heartstrings.” (Booklist)

* * = 2 starred reviews

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Classic Shop Drop! Plus, FISH ELECTION RESULTS!

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 7:00pm by eli

Greetings, Players! Assuming any of you want anything to do with the Summer Game Shop, or Emoji, after attempting the insane UNIQUE ODE badge, we've got 6 items dropping into the Classic Shop today! CHECK IT:

AADL Pinteel UmbrellaAADL AAMPS Bluetooth SpeakerAADL Logo Pint GlassS.G. GiraffepantsUsed Stories-to-Go BagsAADL Emoji Hacky Sack

But THAT'S NOT ALL! Today also marks the release of the LONG-AWAITED FISH PIN SET! You can now add this delightful item to your cart and welcome the AADL FISH SQUAD to your home! (Squids not included.) And SPEAKING OF FISH, we all know you've been on veritable FINS AND SPINES waiting to hear the results of last week's FISH ELECTION! So, read on, and find out!

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SHOP DROP: Patches, Buttons, and finally.... COFFEE!

Fri, 07/26/2019 - 6:54pm by eli

It's the moment you've been waiting for! Our amazing ROOS ROAST SUPER SUMMER GAME BLEND is finally available! Only the freshest beans are bagged up weekly to fill our orders; you won't get free coffee from a library ANY FRESHER THAN THIS!

ALSO! We've got the return of some VERY RARE items that only you TRUE S.G. O.G.s are going to recognize; it's the return of VINTAGE LIBRARY BUTTONS to the SUMMER GAME SHOP! Plus a surprise AADL APOLLO AT 50 Patch! Astounding!

Pink Fish ButtonAADL Library of the Year ButtonAADL Apollo at 50 Patch

Stay tuned for a HUGE Shop Drop next Friday August 2, and don't forget that LIVE POINTS AUCTION coming up at the Game Over Gala on August 31st! Have fun and THANKS FOR PLAYING!

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SHOP NEWS: All About Classic Shop Drops... and AUCTIONS??!?

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 5:45pm by eli

GOOD EVENING SUMMER GAME FAITHFUL! We have some good news, and some bad news, and some just news. GOOD NEWS FIRST! Out of nowhere, a new CLASSIC SHOP ITEM has appeared! It is not super-exciting but it is TOTALLY NEW to the Summer Game Shop! If you're a Skatepark Fan, or perhaps became one last weekend at the Summer Game Spectacular, you can EMBLAZON SOMETHING with a Skatepark Sticker or Three! Only a limited quantity is available, but take a look in the Classic Shop for the Skatepark Sticker Set!

Now the bad news; we're not ready to accept Coffee orders yet. Don't blame our pals at Roos Roast, this one's on us. The bags for the coffee have not yet arrived and we don't think we'll be ready to ship Coffee next packing day, so we're delaying the opening of Coffee orders a few more days so that orders don't get mixed up. We won't make you wait until next Friday, so if you're desperate for Coffee, keep your eyes on the shop Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. It's all about the FRESHEST coffee and the LEAST LOGISTICAL COMPLEXITY in that order, so stay tuned, and thanks for your patience! We're so sorry for the delay!

So, here, for your ANTICIPATORY PLEASURE, is (most of) the Classic Shop Drop schedule for the rest of Summer Game 2019. We're focused on keeping the number of items in the shop at once down, as that leads to ERRORS and UNCERTAINTY, but we want you to have a crack at a lot of great stuff from years past. The items in the Classic Shop right now will stay up until sold out or until 7/31, whichever comes first. Then, here are our two other major CLASSIC SHOP DROPS and what they'll contain:

  • Friday, August 2nd, 7 PM:
    • 2018 Pinteel Umbrella
    • 2018 Pint Glass
    • 2018 Pocket Boombox Bluetooth Speaker
    • S.G. Giraffepants
    • 2018 Emoji Hackey Sack
    • Used Heavy-Duty Stories-to-go Bags
  • Friday, August 23rd, 7PM:
    • Secret Lab Field Notes Notebook
    • Multicolor Beachy Ball
    • 2017 Cray Cray Crayon
    • Ancient Bird Sliding Puzzle
    • 2015 Red Ultrapremium Logo Messenger Bag
    • Keyring Beverage Wrench

Those are the big ones! We also have some of our RARE and HIGHLY DESIRABLE Vintage Buttons from the ancient history of AADL; these will appear in the shop on Fridays when there isn't another Classic Shop Drop, starting next week. These are very limited quantity and are priced for the HIGH ROLLERS among you who treasure PRICELESS and BIZARRE AADL Memorabilia!

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! We're experimenting with some Silent Auctions of Artwork for points at our SUMMER GAME MIXERS as the Summer goes on, leading up to something VERY SPECIAL and UNIQUE at the Game Over Gala on August 31st! If you're able to attend that event, you may be able to BID WITH YOUR POINTS on both treasures from the Summer Game Shop, and works of Art that have previously been part of AADL Exhibits! We're hoping to have both silent and live points auctions at that event, so CLEAR YOUR CALENDARS, players! 

Hopefully that is almost ENOUGH INFO about what the Summer Game Shop has to offer this Summer; as always, let us know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, and THANKS FOR PLAYING!



p.s. If you're read this far, it's because you're observant and studious. And you're surely wondering about some weird stuff in the 2019 shop descriptions. All will be revealed with the August 2nd badge drop!

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #710, "The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live." ~ Auguste Rodin

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 4:29pm by muffy


If you enjoyed J. Courtney Sullivan’s Maine (2011), Beatriz WilliamsA Hundred Summers (2013), and last year’s blockbuster The High Season, you would not want to miss out on Montauk by Nicola Harrison, when one is transported to a Long Island resort in 1938. 

Bea(trice) Bordeaux was to spend the summer among Manhattan socialites at Montauk Manor while her banker husband Harry, would join her on the weekends. Amidst all the leisure activities and charity benefits, she was tasked to further Harry’s investment interest by cozying up to the high society wives. A Vassar grad from humble upbringing, she felt much more at ease with the solitary hikes around Montauk, once a fishing village, and befriending the townsfolk who catered to the every need of the resort guests. She was especially drawn to Elizabeth, the laundress and Thomas, the lighthouse keeper - a wounded war hero and a poet, gentle and enigmatic, an inviting contrast to her cold and brutish husband.

“Full of substance and delightful characters with intriguing and intricate lives, Harrison's first novel will be a strong pick for fans of historical fiction featuring strong female leads...” (Library Journal)



The Unbreakables, by Lisa Barr (her first in a contemporary setting) is a “well-crafted novel about heartbreak, passion, and reclaiming one's life.” (Booklist)

For 42 year-old Sophie Bloom, the humiliation was complete - finding out her surgeon husband Gabe made the top of the list on Ashley Madison, a hacked on-line dating site for married people, at her birthday dinner AND, her best friends were aware of Gabe's dalliances but kept the information from her.  A tearful call from her 19 year-old daughter Ava studying in Paris, sent Sophie across the Atlantic, hoping the distance would also give her perspective.

At loose ends after packing Ava off, Sophie heads out to the artist enclave of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. There, for the first time in a long time, Sophie rediscovers her zest for life and for art (she was once a promising sculptor) in spectacularly satisfying and libertine fashion. 

“This exquisitely wrought novel will appeal to readers who believe in the redemption of new beginnings, and in the necessity of facing the past while making a deliberate effort to move forward.” (Publishers Weekly) 

Would appeal to fans of Bridget Asher's The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted (2011). 


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New Bookable Meeting Rooms at Malletts Creek!

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 10:34am by eli

We're thrilled to introduce the availability of two new bookable meeting rooms at the Malletts Creek Branch! Introducing the River Birch Room and the Rain Garden Room!

River Birch Meeting Room at Malletts Creek Branch   Rain Garden Meeting Room at Malletts Creek Branch

The River Birch Room seats 10-12, and the Rain Garden Room seats 6-8. Both feature high-speed Wifi and power. A screen is coming for the River Birch Room but it's not quite ready yet. A few furniture changes are still coming too, but we wanted to get these rooms bookable while we put on the finishing touches.

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Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 10:13am by howarde

Book cover of Furious HoursAmong Harper Lee's abandoned works is a manuscript called The Reverend, a true crime story surrounded by facts so strange you couldn’t make them up.

Over the course of several years in 1970s rural Alabama, Reverend Willie Maxwell murdered five family members on whom he had taken out multiple life insurance policies. In the end, only two of the deaths could be declared homicides and Maxwell could not be tried for the second because he was murdered at the funeral of his last victim. How Maxwell killed his victims and what he did with the insurance money are still mysteries. The twist, however, is that Tom Radney, the lawyer who defended Maxwell in a criminal trial and a host of insurance claim disputes, went on to also successfully defend Maxwell’s murderer.

When Harper Lee heard about the Maxwell case, she traveled from New York to Alabama to gather as much evidence about it as possible. Having helped Truman Capote conduct interviews and prepare materials for In Cold Blood, Lee was the perfect person to write about this bizarre case, which took place only 150 miles from where she grew up. However, her years of work on the book disappeared, leaving a trail of clues as puzzling as Reverend Maxwell’s.

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Library Closed on Thursday, July 4

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 12:04pm by richretyi

All AADL locations will be closed on Thursday, July 4, with regular library hours resuming on Friday, July 5.

July 4 Closure


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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #709, Debut Rom-Coms

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 3:08pm by muffy

star_crossedTasmanian librarian Minnie Darke’s (Gemini) debut Star-Crossed has reviewers raving. Booklist called it “(u)tterly charming”; Library Journal thought it “(f)unny and enticing" where one woman's decision to tinker with the horoscopes of the man of her dreams has far-reaching consequences.  

When Justine Carmichael (Sagittarius) ran into Nick Jordan (Aquarius) at Sydney’s Alexandria Park Market, he was dressed as a fish. A struggling actor, Nick takes on odd jobs. Childhood best friends who have been apart for 13 years, 1 month, and 3 weeks, since their (memorable) joint family vacation when they were 14,  Justine is surprised to find Nick an astrological devotee, allowing his decision-making, romantic and professional, guided solely by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine - the Alexandria Park Star where Justine works as a staff writer. As Justine tweaks the monthly Aquarius column to prompt Nick into realizing they’re meant for each other, she unknowingly sets off a chain of events with life-changing decisions for Aquarius everywhere.

""Winning . . . Unpretentious, well-drawn characters and the fresh twist on the childhood sweethearts reunited setup make this perfect for fans of romantic comedies." (Publishers Weekly)



Red, White & Royal Blue * * Casey McQuiston’s debut, gives the much-loved royal romance genre a fun and refreshing update.

When an altercation and a ruined £75,000 cake at a royal wedding threaten an international scandal and the re-election bid of the first female president of the United States, First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is quickly dispatched to mend U.S./British relations by staging publicity photo-ops with his archnemesis, Henry, Prince of Wales. What started as a fake friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either could have imagined.  The pair (with the help of families and loyal staff) manages to meet at Wimbledon, a Texas ranch, and at a West Hollywood karaoke bar until a hacked White House server forces them to make an impossible decision.

“Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life. A clever, romantic, sexy love story.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Effervescent and empowering on all levels, Red, White & Royal Blue is both a well-written love story and a celebration of identity.” (NPR Review)

 * * = 2 starred reviews

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The History Behind the African American Downtown Festival

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 2:05pm by morseh

Lucille Hall Porter
Lucille Hall Porter at the Community Leaning Post, 1993

On Saturday June 1, 2019, Ann Arbor residents will gather for music, dance, food, crafts, and local business wares at the African American Downtown Festival. The festival was founded in 1996 by community leader Lucille Hall Porter (1917-2007). It celebrates the vibrant history of black-owned businesses and community organizations located on East Ann Street and North Fourth Avenue throughout the twentieth century.

In its early years, the festival was sponsored by Porter’s nonprofit, the Community Leaning Post, which operated out of 209-211 N. Fourth Ave. The building used to be owned by the Colored Welfare League, and before that by several different African American hoteliers, including heavyweight champion Hank Griffin. In 1966, Porter’s brother J.D. Hall purchased the building, recognizing its history as a cornerstone of the Ann Street Black Business District. By the mid 1980’s, Hall’s Barber Shop was the only black-owned business left in the once-thriving district.

Now the Ann Arbor Cultural and Community Events Coalition puts on the African American Downtown Festival, but the event’s location remains central to its mission. For most of the twentieth century, dozens of barber shops, shoe repair shops, dry cleaners, restaurants, pool halls, and blues bars anchored Ann Arbor’s black community, until police crackdowns and redevelopment pushed them out.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #708, Embracing Second Chances

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 6:43pm by muffy

theres_a_word_for_thatPicked as one of 9 Books Not to Judge by Their Covers,  There's a Word for That * is the first book for adults by YA author Sloane Tanen.  “The novel's title refers to German words that express concepts that take a whole sentence to convey in English, like Verschlimmbessern (to make matters worse in the process of trying to improve them) and Schnapsidee (a plan so stupid, it must have come from a drunken mind), and others make up the five sections of the book.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Retired film producer Marty Kessler, addicted to opioids, man-handled by his latest girlfriend Gail, is running through his life savings at an alarming rate while still supporting his daughters Janine and Amanda and her twins, Hailey and Jaycee. 41 year-old Janine, a former child star is struggling to make a life for herself. Recently divorced Amanda, a high school drama teacher worries about her girls’ future.

On the other side of the pond, celebrated novelist Bunny Small is self-medicating for a severe writer’s block and estrangement from her only son Henry. Unbeknownst to the family, Marty and Bunny were once married. Their reunion at Directions, a ritzy Malibu rehab center, will bring these two wildly flawed families together, for better or for worse.

“With equal parts humor and empathy, Tanen's first novel for adults employs multiple narrators and a skillfully drawn cross-generational family to examine how relatives impact one another… For readers who miss The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg (2012) and the Lamberts from Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections (2001).” (Booklist)

* = Starred review


The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted, the first solo effort by Australian author Robert Hillman is an “uplifting exploration of how people rise above tragedy to find joy.” (Publishers Weekly).

It is 1968, Tom Hope, a cash-strapped sheep farmer is hired to do some carpentry work for Hannah Babel, a recent immigrant and Holocaust survivor, determined to open the first bookstore in town. Trudy, Tom’s unstable wife, left him again but this time taking with her Peter, her son that Tom has raised as his own, to join a Jesus camp. Sophisticated, colorful, charismatic and haunted, Hannah lost her entire family at Auschwitz, including her young son and vowed never to love another child again. Despite the vast age difference, attraction between Tom and Hannah is mutual and they soon marry. But when a horrific act of violence sends Peter back to Tom, Hannah has a difficult decision to make.  

“The openness of the Australian countryside is an apt setting for a complex exploration of grief, faith, and restoration, and in poignant, meditative, and stirring prose Hillman tells a heartrending and heartwarming tale of love and sacrifice.” (Booklist)

Suggested for fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The Light Between Oceans."

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Library Closed on Monday, May 27

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 5:11pm by richretyi

All AADL locations will be closed on Monday, May 27, with regular library hours resuming on Tuesday, May 28.

Closed May 27, 2019


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New Stories to Go

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 1:35pm by evelyn

Stories to Go Summer LabelDo you know about our Stories to Go collection? These bags are a great way for kids to get a curated selection of books on a single topic. Each bag comes with approximately ten picture books on a topic (some bags also include a DVD). The bags check out for four weeks, and you can put them on hold to pick up at any branch you like!

We’ve recently added some brand new themes:

  • Coding (Learn to code! This kit includes a book to help parents learn to code too!)

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #707, Sizzling Summer Reads

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 9:16pm by muffy

stay_up_with_hugo_bestStay Up with Hugo Best *  by Erin Somers

29 year-old June Bloom, an aspiring comedy writer, has been working as a writers' assistant for a late-night talk show, Stay Up with Hugo Best when the show was cancelled for falling ratings. Unemployed with little prospect, June left the farewell party and made her way to an open-mic night at a dive bar where she unexpectedly met up with Hugo, and impulsively accepted the sixtysomething-womanizer’s invitation to spend the long Memorial Day weekend at his Greenwich mansion. Though the exact terms of the visit were never spelled out, June was realistic and clear-eyed enough to guess. The weekend started with a series of misunderstandings and misadventures and the presence of Hugo’s teenage son, Spencer, home from prep school further complicated matters.

“Somers sidesteps the predictable path the reader might expect this weekend to take, instead meandering into subtle, surprising territory… a winning debut.” (Publishers Weekly)

 * = Starred review

cheer_upNamed one of 2019's most anticipated reads by LitHub and Entertainment Weekly, Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe by Evan James is a hilarious and sophisticated comedy of manners about an eccentric family during one frenzied summer in the Pacific Northwest.

Carol Widdicombe is convinced moving into Willowbrook Manor, their new Bainbridge Island home would bring her husband Frank out of a deep depression. She is sure it won’t hurt to turn their elegant summer home into a showplace, perhaps even as a feature in a décor magazine. And so begins a whirlwind summer of multiple social dramas involving the family and a few chosen friends.

Their son Christopher, is nursing a broken heart after a year abroad in Italy. Michelle Briggs, Carol's personal assistant is enamored with Bradford Dearborne, a blue-blooded screenwriter and Frank’s tennis partner. Their gardener Marvelous Matthews, a recovering alcoholic, finds himself enchanted with Gracie Sloane, a self-help guru.

“When this alternately bumbling and clever cast of characters comes together, Willowbrook transforms into a circus of uncovered secrets, preposterous misunderstandings, and irrepressible passions.”  For fans of Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette?; Andrew Sean Greer's Less; and Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins.


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Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:42am by howarde

Book cover of Maybe You Should Talk to SomeoneWhen Lori Gottlieb’s boyfriend of two years unexpectedly leaves her, she experiences a midlife crisis, emotional meltdown, and accidentally-wear-pajamas-to-work loss of functionality. Gottlieb, herself a psychotherapist, decides that she needs to find a therapist. This lands her in the office of Wendell, a quiet, dorky, middle-aged therapist who has no patience for Gottlieb’s wallowing, but lots of faith in her ability to free herself from the mental traps she’s created in her life.

A book about a therapist’s experience in therapy might seem…I don’t know…boring, myopic, technical? But Gottlieb’s book brims with humanity and humor. As the story proceeds, Gottlieb’s breakup takes a backseat to her conversations with her clients. These include a TV screenwriter who seems to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder but actually just has a heartbreaking secret, a young successful academic dying of a rare form of cancer, and a 69 year old artist who, in the wake of her devastating family life, decides that she will commit suicide on her 70th birthday if her depression doesn’t clear up. Just as Gottlieb gains self-understanding and growth in her sessions with Wendell, Gottlieb’s clients undergo remarkable transformation as they face themselves, their problems, and their loved ones with compassion.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone has a lot of buzz—it’s even now in development as a TV series—but it’s definitely well-deserved. A great read for anyone interested in the human heart and psyche.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #706

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 2:41pm by muffy


Released on the author’s 50th birthday, Miracle Creek * * by Angie Kim is “delightfully startling, and startlingly moving.” (Sarah Crichton, Publisher)

Recent immigrants Pak and Young Yoo run the Miracle Submarine, an experimental hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatment facility in a small town in Virginia. Sessions (called dives) in the pressurized oxygen chamber are prescribed to treat conditions spanning from autism to infertility.

When the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes killing two people during an evening dive, Elizabeth Ward, the mother of one of the victims, is charged with murder. In the ensuing trial, Matt Thompson, a young doctor who survived the explosion is first to testify while every person present that evening must reckon with what really happened. Pak, now in a wheelchair, might be motivated by the insurance payout that could send daughter Mary to college. Young is plagued by the guilt of lying for her husband. The hot-tempered teenage Mary, now permanently scarred, hopes her not-completely innocent secret will not come to light.

"With so many complications and loose ends, one of the miracles of the novel is that the author ties it all together and arrives at a deeply satisfying - though not easy or sentimental ending. Intricate plotting and courtroom theatrics, combined with moving insight into parenting special needs children and the psychology of immigrants, make this book both a learning experience and a page-turner." (Kirkus Reviews)

* * = 2 starred reviews

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #705

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 2:39pm by muffy

wolf_and_the_watchmanNamed Best Debut Novel of 2017 by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers, and is pegged one of this year’s best books by the Washington Post, The Wolf and the Watchman *  by Niklas Natt och Dag will appeal to readers of Nordic crime fiction and historical mystery alike.

Stockholm, autumn 1793. Night watchman Mickel Cardell was roused from a drunken stupor to pull a floating corpse out of the Larder, once a pristine lake on Stockholm's Southern Isle, now a rancid bog. Cecil Winge, a young lawyer dying of consumption, was entrusted to solve this heinous crime where the body showed signs of prolonged torture. Aided by Cardell, the pair had little to go on beyond a scrap of fabric with an unusually design and the sighting of a green sedan chair. Eventually their painstaking investigation led them to the Eumenides, an ostensibly charitable upper-class organization.

“Natt och Dag's first novel is engrossing and gross. The imagery is vividly conveyed and not for the faint of heart or stomach. Yet for those who like their mysteries dark, this is a standout. The characterization is excellent, as is the evocation of eighteenth-century Stockholm, an uncommon historical setting that provides a vibrant backdrop for this unusual mystery. Natt och Dag's side-plots dovetail neatly, his pacing is skillful, and he explores with aplomb his novel's main theme, Homo homini lupus est  - Like a wolf is man to other man ~ Plautus.“ (Booklist)

* = Starred review