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Ages 18+.

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TV Spotlight: Home Movies

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 11:59am

Home Movies is one of funniest, most enjoyable little shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. It’s so simple and bizarre. The animated show centers on 8 year old Brendan Small, a budding filmmaker who enjoys making videos with his two best friends, Jason and Melissa. He lives with his divorced mother and baby sister. Brendan also plays soccer and forms a warped father/son relationship with his coach, John McGuirk. Happenings include identifying a body, a camp out, guitarmageddon, bad advice, and puppy adoption.

Sounds pretty average, but it’s the dialog that sets it apart. With a sparse script and room for improv, the actors created believable and funny dialog that is so dry and witty. Anything out of McGuirk’s mouth is pretty much the best thing ever.

Created by Loren Bouchard and Brendan Small, the show premiered in Squigglevision in 1999 on UPN, and was cancelled after just five episodes. The show came back in 2001 on Cartoon Network and was the first program in the Adult Swim block of shows. And there it happily sat bringing forth balance to even weirder shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

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Feeling Anxious?

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 4:39pm

The following memoirs are all unflinchingly honest and personal accounts of those grappling with anxiety and panic disorders.

In My Age of Anxiety : Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind, Scott Stossel reports with candor on his constant and continued battles with severe anxiety in many forms. Accessible, readable, funny, forthright and extremely well researched, Stossel’s book offers alternating personal accounts with examinations of anxiety as seen in past and present science and philosophy. Daniel Smith also looks at how writers, scientists and other thinkers have considered anxiety while delving deeply into his own in Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety. Like Stossel, Smith allows readers a very close look at his daily fears, and like Stossel bravely tackles the subject with much humor.

Andrea Petersen was a student at the University of Michigan when she suffered her first panic attack. In On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety, she recalls how she went from doctor to doctor, one misdiagnosis after another to realize that her physical pain was caused by debilitating anxiety. She was eventually diagnosed with several different anxiety disorders.

Petersen chronicles her anxiety on a very personal level, but also takes us through myriad treatments, both past and present, as well as the physiology and genetics of anxiety disorders.

These accounts of crippling anxiety mixed with studies of this common and misunderstood mental illness have the potential to offer considerable help to anyone suffering from anxiety or close to someone who is.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #652

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 3:28pm

Conversations with Friends * * * by Sally Rooney (Trinity College, Dublin) is drawn largely from conversations with the author's own friends.

Frances, a poet and aspiring writer performs at spoken-word poetry events around the college with her best friend and former lover Bobbi. At one of these events, Melissa, a well-known photojournalist proposes to do a piece on them. Invited to her Monkstown home, Bobbi falls under Melissa's spell while Frances is more impressed with the trappings of wealth and success, and instantly drawn to Melissa's gorgeous and standoffdish husband, Nick, an actor.

Mild flirtation and furtive conversations between the two turn into a clandestine affair, but it is Frances' literary ambition and secrets kept that ultimately attenuate the bonds among them all.

"With painful missteps and wise triumphs, Frances probes her beliefs in most everything—sexuality, relationships, politics, and her family—and learns to distinguish between what she’s told and what she thinks. Less a coming-of-age story and more a coming-of-now tale, Rooney’s first novel is a smart, sexy, realistic portrayal of a woman finding herself in and out of a well-depicted friendship." (Booklist)

"Readers who enjoyed Belinda McKeon's Tender and Caitriona Lally's Eggshells will enjoy this exceptional debut." (Library Journal)

* * * = 3 starred reviews

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Waiting on the White Covered Book...

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 5:59pm

Sooo, this OTHER time at the library...there was that book you saw on a shelf, with a WHITE cover, that caught your eye - but, for whatever reason, you had to pass it by. Now, if you should find yourself whimpering 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, white covers - whether or not their most recent editions have that snowy hue, they did at some point! Plus, this list is welcome to all kinds of white covered books...

Whether it be a musty white of the novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, a white with multi-colored dots - like the self-help book The Bright Hour, or perhaps a stark-white of the Ypsi Reads choice book, $2.00 A Day, all white 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 waiting on the white...

Be it from the Teen section like The Hate You Give, Everything, Everything, or maybe Red Queen this list has many pearly-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 The Book of Mistakes or The Very Busy Spider. This list also provides you with options from every genre in the library...

Maybe you were browsing through the thrillers and found Enemy of the State or Dragon Teeth by Jurrasic Park author Michael Crichton? Could you have been possibly perusing the Express Shelf and seen Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body on the shelf? What about the non-fiction readers, who may have browsed through the stacks seeing covers that advertised payment via internet or staying healthy as you age!

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 white-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 white 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...

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New TV Shows @ AADL

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 1:17pm

Well, I suppose the days are growing shorter and it's time to get in queue for some new television series to watch. The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they popular, new, or classics. So we have you covered! Here are more new-to-AADL series:

Riverdale, Season 1
A subversive take on Archie and his friends, exploring small-town life, and the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale's wholesome facade.

Class, Season 1
Like all teenagers, the students at Coal Hill Academy have hidden secrets and desires. They are facing their own worst fears, navigating a life of friends, parents, school, sex, sorrow and possibly the end of existence. The very walls of space and time are starting to thin. Something is pressing on the other side: something waiting for its chance to kill everyone and everything, to bring us all into Shadow.

Crashing, Season 1
The semi-autobiographical show follows Pete (Pete Holmes) as a New York comic who is forced to make a new start for himself after his wife leaves him.

Big Little Lies, Season 1
The apparently perfect lives of three mothers of first graders unravel to the point of murder. Based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty, and features of a powerhouse cast of Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, and Laura Dern.

Chesapeake Shores, Season 1
Abby O'Brien Winters returns to Chesapeake Shores when she receives a panicked phone call from her younger sister Jess, who has renovated the charming Inn at Eagle Point. The Maryland town her father built has many sad memories and Abby, thanks to her demanding career, divorce and young twin daughters, has not had time to spare. Saving the inn from foreclosure means dealing not only with her fractured family but also with Trace Riley, the man she left ten years ago. Based on the book series by Sherryl Woods.

Jessica Jones, Season 1
Haunted by a tragedy that broke her world apart, Jessica Jones settles in Hell's Kitchen, New York City, and opens her own detective agency with the hope of rebuilding her life and keeping the lights on in her apartment. She discovers that the source of her trauma, a mind-controlling sociopath named Kilgrave, has resurfaced.

Delicious, Series 1
Professional chef Leo has everything he ever wanted: a prosperous hotel business, a beautiful family, and an amiable relationship with his ex-wife, Gina, to whom he owes much of his success. Leo’s glamorous wife, Sam, starts to suspect that he is having an affair. None of them could anticipate the disastrous chain of events that follows.

Bull, Season 1
Brilliant, brash, and charming, Dr. Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition, and high-tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses, and the accused tick.

Sharpe, Season 1
Set during the Napoleonic wars of nineteenth century Spain. This fast-moving, hard-hitting action adventure series, based on Bernard Cornwell's best-selling novels, brings to life all the danger and romance of one of the bloodiest wars in history.

Designated Survivor, Season 1
A low-level Cabinet member (Kiefer Sutherland) becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

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Five Must-Read Graphic Novels for Adults

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:10pm

It's hard to deny that adult graphic novels, as a genre, have come into their own. Here are some of my personal favorites. Together, they capture much of the diverse array of creative and narrative possibilities being explored by contemporary artists and authors.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters (book one) -by Emil Ferris-
This title likely requires no introduction. First time writer Emil Ferris made big waves when this book was released earlier this year. With lush, intricate artwork, and with a haunting murder-mystery at its core, 'My Favorite Thing is Monsters' makes for a deeply compelling read. For more, check out this review from NPR's 'Fresh Air'.

California Dreamin': Cass Elliot before the Mamas & the Papas -by Pénélope Bagieu-
Few artists have received as much praise for their talent, or been as much of a target for body-shaming as 'Mama' Cass Elliot. 'California Dreamin'' gets behind the fame and the ugliness of the stories surrounding her death, and shows her as both a talented vocalist and as a human being. Click the link for a review from Paste.

The Torture Report: a graphic adaptation -by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón-
Drawing from the accounts detailed in the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture conducted by agents of the US government, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón bring the stark realities documented in the report to life in a way that mere words on a page never could. The brutality of these real-life events make 'The Torture Report' a tough read, but maybe that dose of reality makes it an essential read as well. Here's an exerpt at Slate, and a review from NPR.

The Museum Vaults -by Marc-Antoine Mathieu-
Mixing equal parts of fantasy and satire, 'The Museum Vaults' follows the adventures of an art expert as he delves ever deeper into an endless labyrinth underneath the Louvre in Paris. The illustrations are inventive, beautiful, and often downright eerie. Here's a review from The Guardian.

Lost Property -by Andy Poyiadgi-
While technically a part of our teen graphic novel collection, 'Lost Property' is a slim, stunningly beautiful work that will certainly speak to adults as well as it speaks to teens. When a man walks into a small shop, he is confronted with the realization that it is filled, exclusively, with every item he has ever owned and lost. Questions of why and how this has happened are quickly overridden by a more central one: what will he do with all the lost ephemera of his life, now that he's found it? Follow the link for a review from Broken Frontier.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 5:11pm

“Read Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing and you’ll feel the immense weight of history—and the immense strength it takes to persevere in the face of it. This novel is a searing, urgent read for anyone who thinks the shadows of slavery and Jim Crow have passed, and anyone who assumes the ghosts of the past are easy to placate. It’s hard to imagine a more necessary book for this political era.”
Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere

Jesmyn Ward returns with her first piece of full-length fiction since her National Book Award winner, Salvage the Bones (2011). Her new novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, has already been placed in some high company. Ward’s fictional Mississippi town of Bois Sauvage has been compared to William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County in As I Lay Dying, its haunting spirits likened to those in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Sing, Unburied, Sing and its characters share a multi-generational memory and an understanding the of journey and toils of those who came before. Ghosts create a connection between the living, mourning with them.

Ward’s characters belong to three generations of a Mississippi family. Jojo and his little sister, Kayla, are being mostly raised by their grandparents. Their mother, Leonie, drifts in and out of the picture in a drug-induced haze, their father, Michael, is serving time in the Mississippi State Penitentiary, a prison farm known as Parchman. When Michael is released, Leonie brings Jojo and Kayla to pick him up. Their journey is not an easy one, their bodies crammed in a dirty, hot car, always hungry and thirsty, traveling dangerous terrain. Three narrative voices relay the details of the trip to Parchman and back; Jojo, Leonie, and Richie, a young boy whom Jojo’s grandfather had served time with in Parchman. Richie died when he was 15. That his voice not only shares in the telling of this story, but speaks to Jojo directly, shows how masterfully Ward can weave magical realism into her storytelling. These supernatural elements feel at home here, in the swampy, steamy, deep south of the Mississippi Gulf. Richie is not the only spirit who appears on these pages. Leonie is often visited by her deceased brother Given. Jojo hears not only from Richie, but is highly attuned to the sounds of the natural world, truly as if the earth’s song has been unburied for him. “Home ain’t always about a place...home is about the earth. Whether the earth open up to you. Whether it pull you so close the space between you and it melt and y’all one and it beats like your heart. Same time.”

Ward’s story retells the hardships of past racism in the south and outlines the brutality of it in the present day. She illuminates this country’s struggle with race relations, police brutality, mass incarceration, by using the voices of the past and the present in conversation. Though her characters, both living and dead, speak often of cruelty and inhumanity, Ward’s matter-of-fact tone and presentation, coupled with her use of magical realism, imbues her words with an inflection that is calm and lyrical. Sing, Unburied, Sing is a moving and important work.

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Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 6:07pm

Mitch Prinstein, the Director of Clinical Pyschology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, explains the science behind popularity—and why it can be so elusive for many—in his new book. Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World explains why whether or not we are “popular” as children plays such a huge role in our development. Whether or not we were popular in elementary school and high school has surprising effects on our careers, family life and friendships later on and, interestingly, it's difficult to change our “popularity level.” Prinstein explains that, although we can control to a certain extent whether we are popular or not, craving popularity and striving for it is part of our biology—it’s the way humans are wired.

Prinstein also delves into the difference between being popular because one is likable and being popular because one has high status. Both types of people are socially powerful, but the way others feel about them is vastly different. It’s interesting to read about the details and the science behind popularity, because it’s an issue that even the happiest among us struggle with from time to time. We can all relate to wanting to be well-liked and well-received, and Prinstein’s book offers useful advice for using and controlling those impulses.

Popular is a particularly interesting read today, as social media becomes ever more prevalent in our lives.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #651

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 4:15pm

Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, is one of the swankiest locales in the United States and yet, it is here, that this gem of a contemporary western The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo * by Ian Stansel is set.

Brothers Frank and Silas Van Loy, the best horse trainers in San Geronimo, former partners in the ranching business, have been feuding for years. Drunken brawls, nasty pranks, poisoning each other's livestock, they are not above shooting each other, often for nothing more than a Stetson hat.

The novel opens with Silas fleeing on horseback after killing his brother. Hot on his trail is Frank's wife Lena, to carry out her own brand of frontier justice. At her side is Rain, Lena and Frank's loyal stable assistant there to keep Lena company. As the three head into the wild and rugged Northern Californian coastal country, Stansel gradually builds on their back stories through flashbacks, foreshadowing a revelation and conclusion both shocking and inevitable.

Stansel has written a captivating novel, elegantly spare in language but big in purpose. It is a moving exploration of the complicated and fateful bonds of brotherhood. For fans of Kent Haruf, Larry McMurtry, Molly Gloss, and Smith Henderson.

* = Starred review

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Organizing Your Stuff!

Fri, 08/25/2017 - 3:44pm

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Do you look around your home, and wonder where all of the clutter comes from? There have been books about whether or not your belongings bring you joy, and this is an important concept; many believe that streamlining your surroundings can also help bring order to other places in life. Let’s take a moment to look at organization in a more basic way, a way to be able to get through daily life, without being overwhelmed by the clutter.

AADL offers some alternatives to scouring the internet for popular organizational hacks. [b:1487933|The complete book of home organization], gives you tips and tricks for organizing your home inside and out. In, [b:1497413|Cut the clutter : a simple organization plan for a clean and tidy home], the author shares how to clean and de-clutter your home, and how to keep it that way. Here’s one for caregivers that need to de-clutter both adult and kid spaces, [b:1422052|Secrets of an organized mom: from overflowing closets to the chaotic play areas : a room-by-room guide to decluttering and streamlining your home for a happier family].

Whichever method you choose, happy organizing!