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Animal Show-Offs!

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 2:11pm by Lucy S

BirdDid you know that there is fish called the sarcastic fringehead? I learned about this strangely-named, huge-mouthed, sharp-toothed fish from Steve Jenkins and Robin Page in their highly informative and entertaining book, Look at Me! How to attract Attention in the Animal World. This wonderful compendium of demonstrative animal behavior contains many examples of times when animals want to stand out rather than stay hidden.

Jim Arnosky also has a new book about animals called Look at Me! Wild Animal Show-Offs. His captivating illustrations are accompanied by personal details of his observations of unique animal performances in the wild.

Melissa Stewart highlights different outstanding characteristics in the animal world in Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs. Her book takes a humorous approach in presenting facts about those sometimes less admired animals; the ones that sleep the most, smell the worst, or take up the least amount of space. Stephanie Laberis’ illustrations add to the humor.

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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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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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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; and devises 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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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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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.