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Blog Post

Three brilliant wordsmiths

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 4:27pm by Lucy S

As presented in delightfully rendered, craftily composed biographies of wordsmiths for children (of all ages).

Edward Estlin Cummings was born on October 14, 1894 and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts by two supportive and creative parents, who introduced Estlin to the wonderful world of words and provided him with the space to use them magically. Estlin’s love of words was illuminated by his passion for drawing and painting, so that the poems he created used words for language and illustration. This very unique style of poetry is well known to any who are familiar with the works of e.e. cummings. In enormous smallness : a story of e.e. cummings, Matthew Burgess details cummings’ childhood and his journey to becoming a poetry pioneer. Kris Di Giamomo’s illustrations are the perfect match to both Burgess’s and cummings’ words. Words appear as pictorial representations of leaves on trees, clouds, the night sky.

cummings was greatly inspired by the outside world that he noticed as a child. So was William Carlos Williams, born in 1883 in Rutherford, New Jersey. Jen Bryant gives us Williams’ story in A river of words: the story of William Carlos Williams. As Williams grew older and had less time for outdoor pursuits, he realized that poetry instilled in him the same feeling as the sounds of the natural world. Unlike cummings, Williams did not find the poetry bursting out of him. He first tried his hand at writing like the famous English poets he had read in school, but found that this style could not convey the images he was seeing in his mind. He put aside rhyme and rhythm and “let each poem find its own special shape on the page.” Williams became a doctor to pay the bills, but often used his prescription pads for jotting down the lines in his head. After each day of work, he wrote to create the poems that are so well known and well loved today, poems about plums and wheelbarrows. Like Di Giamomo, illustrator Melissa Sweet demonstrates that pictures can be made with words.

Bryant and Sweet team up again in The right word : Roget and his thesaurus to give us the story of another great wordsmith. Born in London in 1779, Peter Mark Roget was a collector of words, and because of his accumulation, we have one of the most amazing, breathtaking books there is. The Greek translation of thesaurus is “treasure house,” and there is not a better word within it to describe it. As a child, Roget didn’t have many friends, but he had books, and reading them inspired him to make his own. He organized his words differently from cummings and Williams: he created lists. As he grew older he realized that there was always an ideal word to describe anything and that if those perfect words could all be found in one place, a book sure to provide the best word, than the world would be improved for it. Like Williams, Roget also became a doctor, but it was ultimately his wondrous compendium of words, the “Collections of English Synonyms Classified and Arranged,” that created his legacy. Bryant tells Roget's story in way that exhibits her own admiration for the thesaurus, and Sweet has once again used words as active, cheerful illustrations to show how letters can convey meaning on many levels.

The stories of these three scribes will appeal to word-lovers of any age, even help to create some new ones. And yes, I used a thesaurus to write this. I always do, regularly, repeatedly, and evermore.

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Crafts

Zine Workshop

Monday January 8, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room
Grade 6 - Adult

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Blog Post

Grasping for that Grassy Green Cover...

Sat, 10/07/2017 - 4:25pm by LibraryLiz

But then, lo and behold, there was ANOTHER time at the library...with that book you saw on a shelf, with a GREEN cover, that drew you in - but, of course, you had to pass it by in that moment for some unbeknownst reason. Now, if you should find yourself green with envy for that grassy-colored cover, I may have the book for you! I've recently created a list of books that have, or have had, green covers - whether or not their most recent editions have that gorgeous emerald hue, they did at some point! Plus, this list is welcome to all kinds of green covered books...

Whether it be a marshy green of the novel The Marsh King's Daughter, a gawky bright green like The Awkward Age, or perhaps the olive green of Behind the Mask, all green covers are welcome on this compilation list. But this list isn't just for the adults! There's also a wide age range available for the younger reader greedy for the green...

Whether it's from the teen section like Fablehaven, maybe Gary Paulsen's The River, or even Insurgent from Veronica Roth's best-selling Divergent series, this list has a generous collection of green covered pages that you might have left on the shelf. Even the youth may have glazed over a glorious green book resting on it's display, such as The Secret Garden or Evermore Dragon. This list also gives a gateway to the many genres that glisten with glittering green covers at the library...

Maybe you were gleefully grasping through science fiction and found The Best of Ian McDonald or David Hutchinson's Acadie? Could you have gone gallivanting through the Express Shelf and seen My Absolute Darling or found The Essex Serpent? What about the non-fiction readers, who may have glanced through the graceful stacks, gazing at gripping covers glorifying goodly grub for the growing kids or great grammatical rhymes?

This list has ALL THE THINGS (or would like to have) and is growing each day! Please feel free to take a gander, and graciously grumble or gab about other green-covered books you think others may be searching for, so the list gets gargantuan. Just think: someone out there could be looking for a leafy-green book jacket that you've read before - maybe you've got the answer they've been grieving for as they search the grand volumes we have here at AADL. Or perhaps you yourself have getting grumpy in the search, and the book is in this list already!!! Only one way to find out...

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Public Event

Washtenaw Reads Book Discussion: Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Sunday February 11, 2018: 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Pittsfield Branch: Program Room
Grade 9 - Adult

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Public Event

Washtenaw Reads Book Discussion: Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Tuesday January 30, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room
Grade 9 - Adult

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Blog Post

The 2018 Washtenaw Reads Title Has Been Selected!

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 5:00pm by valerieclaires

After much deliberation, the book for the 2018 Washtenaw Reads program has been selected. A panel of community members from Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline and Ypsilanti voted on the winner from two finalist titles. Without further ado, this year's title is...

Homegoing Cover Image

 

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi.

 

Homegoing follows the parallel paths of two half sisters, born into different villages in 18th century Ghana, and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. The book has won many awards, including the PEN/ Hemingway Award, the NBCC’s John Leonard Award, New York Times Notable Book, Washington Post Notable Book and was named one of the best books of 2016 by NPR, Time, Oprah.com, Harper’s Bazaar, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Esquire, Elle, Paste, Entertainment Weekly, the Skimm, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and BuzzFeed. One of the highlights of Washtenaw Reads each year is a visit from the author. Yaa Gyasi will appear in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, February 6 at 7:00 pm at Rackham Auditorium in a program entitled "Homegoing: A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi" - The 2018 Institute for the Humanities Jill S. Harris Memorial Lecture." The event includes a book signing and copies of the book will be for sale. Washtenaw Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Copies of Homegoing can be found at AADL and in libraries and bookstores throughout Washtenaw County. Keep an eye on the Washtenaw Reads website, wread.org, for more information on upcoming events, as well as reading and discussion resources.

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Lectures & Panel Discussions

Emerging Writers Workshop: Reading Like a Writer

Monday March 5, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:45pm
Westgate Branch: West Side Room
Grade 6 - Adult

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Lectures & Panel Discussions

Emerging Writers Workshop: High-Concept Ideas

Monday February 5, 2018: 7:00pm to 8:45pm
Westgate Branch: West Side Room
Grade 6 - Adult

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Blog Post

Happy Birthday Mark Rothko!

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 7:00am by hazelbakerp

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was an Abstract Expressionist painter, famously known for his color field paintings: six or seven foot canvases painted with large rectangle swaths of color. The subjects of his paintings appear simple, and often people view them with the thought “well, I could do that.” However, Rothko’s paintings are not necessarily about the technical skill involved, they are about the way the painting makes the viewer feel, the emotions that the work elicits in the observer, and about creating the illusion of spatial infinity. Abstract Expressionism as a movement came about in New York in the 1940s, and focused on the "sublime," defined as working to capture and portray the unspeakable, be it emotion, the divine, or the cosmic. For some abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock, the art of their work is in the emotion expressed during the act of painting. For Rothko, the art is in the relationship between his painting and the viewer, in being overwhelmed by the sensation of the colors, and becoming emerged in the painting. The artist is known for saying the viewer should ideally experience his work from 18 inches away, as to become one with the painting. While our art prints are not to scale, they still do an excellent job of eliciting emotion and are available for check out here. (For the full viewing experience, be sure to check out Orange, Brown which is on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts!) To read more about the artist, check out this book written by his son, or this biography. You can also find books about Abstract Expressionism here.

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Blog Post

Yearning for the Yellow Cover...

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 1:05pm by LibraryLiz

And then, there was ANOTHER time at the library...there was that book you saw on a shelf, with a YELLOW cover, that caught your eye - but, for whatever reason, you had to pass it by. Now, if you should find yourself sour-faced like a lemon for that long lost spark of interest, I may have the book for you! I've recently created a list of books that have, or have had, yellow covers - whether or not their most recent editions have that bright lemon hue, they did at some point! Plus, this list is welcome to all kinds of yellow covered books...

Whether it be a musty yellow of the novel My Italian Bulldozer, a golden yellow like the published script of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, or perhaps the traffic-sign yellow of Chemistry, all yellow covers are welcome on this compilation list. But this list isn't just for the adults! There's also a wide age range available for the younger reader yelping for the yellow...

If it's from the Teen section like Kill All the Happies or maybe Fever Code from the Maze Runner series, this list has many canary-yellow covered pages that you might have left on the shelf for a later date. Even the youth may have left a book resting on it's display, such as Sam and Eva or Daddy Long Legs. This list also provides you with options from every genre in the library...

Maybe you were browsing through historical fiction and found Homegoing or The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks? Could you have been possibly perusing the Express Shelf and seen We Are Never Meeting in Real Life or found How to Raise an Adult on the parent shelf? What about the non-fiction readers, who may have browsed through the stacks seeing covers that advertised oversized animals or a search for peace of mind?

This list has ALL THE THINGS (or would like to have) and is growing each day! Please feel free to take a look, and make comments of other yellow-covered books you think others may be searching for, so the list can continue to grow. Just think: someone out there could be looking for a yellow book jacket that you've read before - maybe you have the answer they've been looking for as they search the numerous volumes we have here at AADL. Or perhaps you yourself have been searching, and the book is in this list already!!! Only one way to find out...