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Blog Post

The Buddha in the Attic

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 1:07pm

The front cover features an open suitcase with a red umbrella in it.

Julie Otsuka's second novel, The Buddha in the Attic, begins like this:

"Come, Japanese!

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Lectures & Panel Discussions

Paperbacks from Hell with Grady Hendrix

Thursday March 29, 2018: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Live
Adults 21+

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Blog Post

Snow!

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 10:09am

In celebration of this year's First snow, magic snow here are some books to get you into the snowy spirit that don't necessarily end with you singing along to the Frozen!

Into the snow, Snow! Snow! Snow!, Splat the Cat : blow, snow, blow, Skippyjon Jones. Snow what, and Pete the Cat : snow daze are cute books about kids and animals playing in the snow. In case you're looking for more of a classic story, here's a few more children's titles you might be interested in: Clifford's first snow day where Clifford the puppy, before he grow's up to be The Big Red Dog, encounters snow for the first time; take a trip with Mrs. Frizzle in The Magic school bus lost in the snow; and who can forget this wonderful classic of a kid enjoying snow in The snowy day.

For Teens, we have After the snow, a futuristic tale about a boy in search of his missing family during a new ice age. There is a retelling of the classic fairytale, The Snow Queen, in Winter's child. Finally, in Snow-walker, we see a group rebelling against an evil ruler trying to control their land.

We even have a couple of cozy books for adults to, so you can warm up by the fires in the branches, or maybe with coffee or hot chocolate from Sweetwaters. First up, Wagging through the snow, a cute mystery where some adorable dogs are discovered at an abandoned house, right next to a dead body! Next we have another mystery, Snow White Christmas cookie, this time involving a small town and a big cover-up. And finally, Dashing through the snow, a funny love story about a couple who get caught up in some strange scenarios during the holiday season.

Hope you enjoy the snow, because they say there's more to come this weekend! Cozy up in the library, or your favorite chair, with some of these books to warm you up!

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Blog Post

The Empathy Exams

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:30pm

Leslie Jamison gets a job as a medical actor. She plays complex characters, women who are shy or embarrassed, or women who distrust doctors. Leslie assesses the medical students who interact with her. Do they wash their hands before the exam? Do the students ask important questions? Do they have empathy for their patients? The first essay of Leslie Jamison's book, The Empathy Exams, offers a view into a hidden world. How are doctors trained to empathize with patients? What does empathy mean to doctors? What does empathy mean to patients?

In her other essays, Jamison explores the idea of pain. How do people deal with chronic pain? Do people believe one another about their pain? How do doctors respond to pain? What kind of pain is "most important" or most recognized by society?

Jamison writes with tenderness and empathy about people in distress. The Empathy Exams is a beautiful portrait of agony in America that will keep you awake at night pondering the philosophy of

pain.

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Blog Post

New from Celeste Ng: Little Fires Everywhere

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 3:32pm

By now you've probably heard that Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You, has published her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere. Like Everything I Never Told You, Little Fires Everywhere is focused on family intricacies. However, while her first book centered upon one family, Ng's latest work explores how two families become intertwined. Set in Shaker Heights, Ohio (an idyllic community that got its start as an envisioned utopia by its creator) in the 1990s, the book masterfully weaves together several storylines full of moral ambiguities.

Single mother Mia and her daughter Pearl arrive in Shaker Heights in the summer, looking for a place to rent. Although most spaces are out of their price range, local landlady and prominent Shaker Heights resident Elena Richardson takes a liking to them and rents them the upper half of a duplex that she owns. Pearl quickly befriends the Richardson children, who are all about her age, and Mia, an artist, begins working as a housekeeper for the Richardsons to help make rent money. Readers know from the very beginning that this close relationship between landlords and tenants is a ticking time bomb; the book opens with the Richardsons' house in flames and Mia and Pearl leaving town in the dead of night. Still, we can't help but cheer for all of the characters in the book who--although all flawed in their own ways--are mostly kind-hearted. As the book goes on, Mrs. Richardson begins to dig into Mia and Pearl's past and all of the characters become involved in a local scandal--some intentionally and others by accident.

Little Fires Everywhere, like Everything I Never Told You, showcases Ng's ability to create amazingly nuanced characters that tell a story that is thought-provoking in part because of its shocking believability. I did feel that this story wasn't quite as gut-wrenching as her first, mostly because the number of players in Little Fires Everywhere makes it so that readers cannot really get to know and understand any single one. Without a doubt, however, if you liked Everything I Never Told You, Little Fires Everywhere is a must-read. And, if you're unfamiliar with Celeste Ng, now is the time to play catch up! I am already eagerly anticipating her third work.

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Blog Post

The Making of Jane Austen

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 9:05am

At the time of Jane Austen’s death in 1817, no one but close family and friends knew that she was a published author. Fast forward to 1995: a wet-shirted Colin Firth, starring in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice miniseries, seemingly launches Austen into pop culture superstardom and initiates an Austen craze that has continued ever since.

We are now used to Jane Austen cosplay conventions, spin-off novels, and countless Austen-themed tchotchkes. But it’s worth asking the question: How did Austen go from complete anonymity to a cultural institution?

The answer to that question, Devoney Looser argues, starts long before Colin Firth. And, she continues, it often has less to do with Jane Austen herself than with how Austen has been interpreted—and invented—by readers, illustrators, playwrights, screenwriters, actors, activists, and teachers.

In her new book, The Making of Jane Austen, Looser sets out uncover the little-known parts of Austen’s legacy in British and American culture. She focuses on five areas: how Austen has been illustrated, adapted for the stage, adapted for the screen, politicized, and taught in schools.

Looser turns away from literary histories of Austen and instead focuses on equally important but long-neglected appearances of Austen in popular culture. What makes her book so enjoyable is that she strolls down the byways of history, tracking down obscure figures like the young women (yes, women) who played Mr. Darcy in early stage adaptations of Pride and Prejudice or the author of the first Jane Austen dissertation, who was supposedly channeled by a spirit medium after his untimely death. (You can’t make this stuff up, folks!)

If The Making of Jane Austen piques your interest, be sure to mark your calendar for Anne-Charlotte Mecklenburg’s talk, “Lights, Camera, Austen: the screen adaptations of Jane Austen” at Westgate Branch from 7-8:30pm on Wednesday, December 13th. And stay tuned for info about all our upcoming Jane Austen events this winter in partnership with the University of Michigan—Austen Trivia! Embroidery! English Country Dancing! Everything to satisfy the Austenian heart.

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Blog Post

Out in the Open

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:14pm

Jesús Carrasco's debut novel Out in the Open, offers a fresh take on primal survival.

Carrasco's novel opens with an unnamed boy hiding in a hole. If the boy is found, the hole could become his grave. We follow the boy as he runs from malignant forces. At first, the reader is not sure who the boy is running from, or why.

The boy travels through a desolate and unforgiving expanse; he struggles to find food and water. Eventually the boy meets a goat herder who helps him. The characters develop a relationship, and a ray of hope sprouts from Carrasco's somber story. The connection between the goat herder and the boy is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the novel. However, it is memorizing to follow the characters on their daily struggle to survive; it certainly makes our lives seem effortless in comparison.

Jesús Carrasco is from Spain. Out in the Open was originally written in Spanish. Margaret Jull Costa translated the text into English. Carrasco's novel has now been published in more than twenty countries and has received many accolades. Out in the Open won the European Union Prize for Literature in 2016, as well as an English PEN award.

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Writing & Publishing

Emerging Writers: Writing and Review Meet-Up

Monday February 19, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:45pm
Westgate Branch: West Side Room
Grade 6 - Adult

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Writing & Publishing

Emerging Writers: Writing and Review Meet-Up

Monday January 29, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:45pm
Westgate Branch: West Side Room
Grade 6 - Adult