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Lectures & Panel Discussions

Backyard Brains: DIY Neuroscience with Greg Gage

Tuesday September 15, 2015: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room
Adults And Teens In Grades 6 And Up.

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Public Event

Excellent Explosions!

Sunday November 1, 2015: 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Pittsfield Branch: Program Room
Grades K-5

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Public Event

Hatching Dinosaur Egg Experiment!

Saturday November 21, 2015: 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room
Grades K-5.

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Public Event

Sensation Stations

Thursday December 10, 2015: 10:30am to 11:30am
Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room
Ages 10 Months–2 Years

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Public Event

Sensation Stations

Monday November 9, 2015: 10:30am to 11:30am
Traverwood Branch: Program Room
Ages 10 Months–2 Years

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Public Event

Sensation Stations

Thursday October 8, 2015: 10:30am to 11:30am
Pittsfield Branch: Program Room
Ages 10 Months–2 Years

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Blog Post

Nature Walk @ Barton Nature Area this Thursday

[img_assist|nid=315140|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=75]The Ann Arbor District Library and [:http://www.a2gov.org/departments/Parks-Recreation/nap/Pages/NaturalAreaPreservation.aspx|Natural Area Preservation] team up each year to offer a series of informative walks at local nature areas throughout the summer. This year's first nature walk will take place this Thursday, May 7 from 7:00-8:30pm at the Barton Nature Area.

Barton Nature Area is a 102-acre park located along the Huron River divided into two sections. A variety of ecosystems can be seen in Barton, including old field, prairie, wet shrubland, mesic forest and emergent marsh. A representative from NAP will lead the walk, offer information about native plants and animals, and about the landscape, and answer questions. We'll meet in the parking lot off of Huron River Drive, just north of Bird Rd. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes and bring water if you'd like.

Other walks this summer will take place at Argo Nature Area, Furstenburg Nature Area and Black Pond Woods.

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Blog Post

Award Winning Audiobook: The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time

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[b:1437248|The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time]. Originally published in 1994, recorded for audio in 2012. 12 hrs. 20 mins.

Awards: Audiofile Magazine's Earphones Award 2010; in print, the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, 1995.

Author: [:catalog/search/author/"Weiner%2C%20Jonathan."|Jonathan Weiner]

Narrator: [:catalog/search/author/%2522Bevine%252C%2BVictor.%2522|Victor Bevine]

Synopsis:
Peter and Rosemary Grant are evolutionary biologists that have observed and studied about 20 generations of the finches living on the island of Daphne Major since 1973. The subjects of their research are a few of the 15 species known as “Darwin’s Finches” - some of the many creatures gathered by Charles Darwin during his voyage on the HMS Beagle . Darwin’s finch specimens were instrumental in the development of his theory of evolution by natural selection, and he discussed the divergence of Galapagos bird species in his book, [b:1019469|The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection]. Jonathan Weiner’s engaging writing reinforces the premise that change happens continually, and that evolution is ongoing and non-stop. Weiner’s interviews with the Grants fit seamlessly with his other examples of advancing evolution: insect and bacterial resistance to substances once used for control and the pressure of sexual selection and predation on colorful male guppies. The Beak of the Finch is a wonderful introduction for anyone curious about evolution, and Victor Bevine’s narration gives life to the Grant’s mission. I consider this audiobook a personal favorite!

For more information about evolution and natural selection, try these audiobook titles:
[b:1468658|Biology: The Science of Life: Part 1] and [b:1298997|Part 2] by Stephen Nowicki
[b:1361129|On the Origin of Species (abridged)] by Charles Darwin
[b:1456897|The Joy of Science] (Lecture 57) by Robert M. Hazen
[b:1262642|Origins of Life: Part 2 of 2] (Lecture 23) by Robert M. Hazen
[b:1394812|Evolutionary Biology: The Darwinian Revolution Part 1] by Allen MacNeill

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Blog Post

Nature Anatomy: a book for the eye and the mind

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The awesome new book [:catalog/record/1468883|Nature Anatomy], by Julia Rothman, is a delight for the eyes and the mind. In it, Rothman takes “the curious parts and pieces of the natural world” and diagrams and explains them beautifully. “If you’ve ever wanted to see how mountains are formed or wondered about the life cycle of a mushroom or the different types of feathers on a bird, you’ll delight in exploring Rothman’s diagrams, drawings and dissections,” reads the back cover of the book. I loved how “un-textbook” Rothman’s work is. Her drawings and explanations are simple, well-placed, and alternatingly cute and beautiful. There is enough detail to really learn about a given subject, but not so much that the casual reader would feel bogged down or bored. Truly, Nature Anatomy is a gem for both the least and the most science-minded.

Rothman is also the author of Farm Anatomy, a similarly designed and equally rewarding read.

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Blog Post

Library Lists: Nonfiction for Fiction Readers

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I used to spend most of my time reading fiction and would often have to force myself to pick up a nonfiction book, even if it was about a subject I'm truly interested in. There’s so much great nonfiction out there though that sometimes I felt like I’m missing out (and indeed I was)! If you’re interested in reading more nonfiction but still crave the sweeping storylines and character development of novels, the books on this list are a great place to start your delve into the nonfiction world.

[:catalog/record/1200392|Devil in the White City] combines the story of the planning and execution of the Chicago World’s Fair with that of a serial killer who targeted his victims throughout the duration of the Fair. The two stories complement one another well, making for a gripping story that reads just like a fictional murder mystery—with the added chills of being real!

[:catalog/record/1404951|Wild] is Cheryl’s Strayed’s now famous account of her physical and personal journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. After a tough childhood and young adulthood, Strayed makes the decision to hike the PCT as a way to heal her mind and her heart, and to challenge her body. Her account of her journey is riveting and brutal, making for a fast-paced, breathtaking read.

[:catalog/record/1166562|The Tipping Point]: Malcom Gladwell is known for his popular books on sociology and psychology. This was his first, and revolves around the psychology of the magical moment when a trend becomes a trend. Also try Outliers and David and Goliath, both also by Gladwell.

[:catalog/record/1457451|The Warren Commission Report: a graphic investigation into the Kennedy assassination] is a well-researched and wonderfully designed non-fiction graphic novel. It clearly and concisely presents the all-too-often muddled details of the JFK assassination and ensuing investigation and is a great book for both readers who are generally unfamiliar with the event, and for those who know a great deal about it but want to see the subject presented in a unique manner.

Set in the fascinating, beautiful, mysterious Savannah, Georgia, [:catalog/record/1085490|Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil] has a cast of characters that are completely unforgettable. The book begins almost as a travel log, with author John Berendt describing unique details about Savannah and offering interesting historical facts about the city and surrounding area to readers. These chapters are so engrossing, that it’s easy to forget that the book actually becomes a true crime story. When that turning point does occur, it happens subtly and smoothly, and the book slides gracefully from a Southern narrative to a revealing look at a strange and unlikely murder mystery.

In [:catalog/record/1433489|I Wear the Black Hat], cultural critic Chuck Klosterman theorizes about how the modern world understands the concept of villainy. Why are some villains lauded as anti-heroes while others, who have often committed lesser crimes, destined to be hated by the masses until the end of time? Find out in this witty, culturally relevant analysis of mass media.

Since its publication in the late 1990s, [:catalog/record/1037150|The Boys of Summer] has been a favorite of sports lovers everywhere. Roger Kahn, the “dean of American sports writers,” shares his stories of growing up down the street from Ebbets Field, and delves deeply into the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers leading up to their 1955 win of the World Series. Kahn then tracks the fascinating stories of the players as they age and move beyond their baseball-playing years. A great read for fans of baseball, history, Americana, or all of the above.

[:catalog/record/1458956|Women in Clothes] is a unique, almost artistic piece. Compiled by four friends, the book includes advice and anecdotes from over six hundred women and dwells on not just what we wear but on all the elements of style. As the back cover reads, Women in Clothes is “an exploration into the questions we ask ourselves while getting dressed every day.”

[:catalog/record/1226589|Desert Solitaire] is Edward Abbey’s classic recount of his time spent in the wilderness of the American southwest. The book is adventurous, passionate, poetic, and clever. Its ongoing popularity is a testament to its timelessness… and its ability to allow readers to experience a place that, for the most part, no longer exists.

[:catalog/record/1203860|A Short History of Nearly Everything] is a scientific odyssey like no other by beloved author Bill Bryson. In this book, he attempts to understand everything—and impart his understanding to readers—from the Big Bang to the rise of civilizations. He takes challenging subjects: geology, physics, astronomy, paleontology… and does his best to make them understandable to people who, like himself, were rendered bored or terrified of science in school.

There are even more great books for the reluctant nonfiction reader on this more extensive [:http://www.aadl.org/user/lists/59302|list]!