Radiolab Reads

Some of you may be familiar with the Peabody-award winning radio show/podcast Radiolab, which airs on nearly 450 stations across the United States. Here in Ann Arbor, you can hear it on Michigan Public Radio on Friday and Sunday evenings. I love Radiolab for the vast array of topics that they cover in a fun, informative manner. There is a ton to learn in every episode and short that they do, and hosts Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad interview fascinating, knowledgeable people, turning their information into incredibly compelling stories.

I recently discovered the invaluable resource Radiolab Reads, a “virtual bookshelf” that compiles all of the books mentioned in their episodes, with links to the Amazon page for each book. Even if you’re not familiar with the show, this site is an amazing compilation of books on every topic imaginable. Most of the books are non-fiction, and this site might be particularly appealing to reluctant non-fiction readers since you’re sure to find something that catches your eye!

If you tend to—literally—judge books by their cover (hey, it’s okay, we all do it sometimes!), Radiolab has a cool tumblr with the covers of each of the books mentioned on their Radiolab Reads page. You can sort by genre, and find the link to the books’ Amazon pages after clicking on a given cover.

Nearly all of the books discussed on these Radiolab pages can be borrowed from the AADL. You can search our catalog for any that you're interested in. For more information about Radiolab, visit their website, and find specifics about how to listen to the show here.

Seconds? Yes, please!

Even though school has started and the weather looks and feels a lot like Fall, it’s not too late to catch up on any Summer blockbusters you may have missed. Seconds is author/artist Bryan Lee O’Malley’s first graphic novel since he finished up the much-acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series nearly four years ago, and those who waited patiently were awarded with a huge payoff.

Seconds follows twenty-something Katie, a formerly successful chef whose life seems to be stuck in a rut. After Katie causes an accident that injures a server, she returns home to her apartment only to find the tools and instructions to prevent the accident from happening in the first place:

1) Write Your Mistake
2) Ingest One Mushroom
3) Go To Sleep
4) Wake Anew

When Katie’s first delve into fixing her own reality works, she is tempted -- over and over -- to fix everything in her life. And when her actions threaten her reality and sanity, Katie becomes desperate to make things right one final time.

Fans of O’Malley’s work will appreciate his signature comedy that runs throughout the book, but will also be pleasantly surprised at the maturity O’Malley demonstrates. The story holds together well and none of the action seems forced.

Exploring themes of “existential angst, hope, fantasy, growing up and learning how to be okay with your own decisions,” O’Malley has created a stand-alone novel that will delight his established fanbase and is a perfect starting point for readers new to the genre.

The Warren Commission Report

Out today is The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation by comic maestros Dan Mishkin, Ernie Colon, and Jerzy Drozd, host of AADL’s Comics Are Great podcast! This new graphic novel brings the titular report, put together by a seven-member commission called for by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to life. The commission determined there was no "credible evidence" to support any theory other than a lone gunman, but even now, America wonders. Was there a magic bullet? Did the shots come from Texas School Book Depository, or from the now-infamous grassy knoll? How could the Warren Commission reach the conclusions that it did? We've all got questions about the moments leading up to JFK's death, and the Warren Commission report provides one possible set of answers, answers now fantastically illustrated for your perusal.

Want to meet the minds behind the book? Wonder just what kind of research writing and drawing about something so historic requires? Want to get your own spanking new copy signed? Vault of Midnight comic book store is hosting a signing with Dan Mishkin and Jerzy Drozd from 7 pm to 9:30 pm tomorrow, Wednesday, September 17th. If making a fabulous comic masterpiece of your own is more your speed, consider coming to AADL's Webcomics Lab tomorrow from 6 to 8 pm at the Malletts Creek Branch. We'll have some great art toys for you to play with – if you've never gotten your hands on a Wacom tablet, or a light box, or Manga Studio, come on over!

PreK Bits - Carrots (and Rabbits)

Carrots grow from carrot seeds and this is how we know it ... from Ms. Rachel's Storytime this week!
The CARROT SEED a classic by Ruth Krauss was re-enacted (with musical accompaniment).
CARROT SOUP brings farm friends together in a big surprise ending!

You can do the veggie cheer .... as you make soup!!
Go! Go veggies! Go, go, go veggies!
Chop veggies to the right
Chop veggies to the left
Throw them in the soup pot
Where we like them BEST!

Here are more carrot (and Rabbit) stories when you have the time:
WE'RE RABBITS! by Lisa Westberg Peters
The GIANT CARROT by Jan Peck, a carrot adaptation of a Russian Folktale.
RABBIT FOOD by Susanna Gretz. Young John Rabbit has a surprising dislike for .... ?
CHRISTOPHER COUNTING by Valeri Gorbachev. Christopher Rabbit has a new skill ... counting things.
When you feel adventurous and silly ..... try:
CREEPY CARROTS by Aaron Reynolds.
RABBIT And The NOT-SO-BIG BAD WOLF by Michael Escoffier.

2014 Young People's National Book Award Longlist Announced!

It's that time of year again - book award season! This year the National Book Award for Young People has listed ten youth and teen fiction and non-fiction titles in the running for the 2014 National Book Awards. The titles in contention are:
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Girls Like Us by Gail Giles
Skink-No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Threatened by Eliot Schrefer
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
Noggin by John Corey Whaley
Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two by Deborah Wiles
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
A few of these titles are on order and should appear in our catalog shortly so that holds may be placed.

Ghost Stories

If your kids are anything like mine they’re already planning for Halloween. It just can’t be helped with the feel of fall in the air and the local stores already stocking spooky decorations and treats. The Ann Arbor District Library has a plethora of books to help feed your ghostly appetite and really get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end. The books Ghosts of the Alamo, Ghosts of Alcatraz, Ghosts of Gettysburg, and Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery will send readers on trips through different parts of the United States that claim to have ghostly inhabitants. Each book has eerie pictures and real life accounts of ghostly sightings and spooky encounters. You'll visit the sights of haunted hotels, creepy caves, ghastly graveyards and more. The series isn't too scary for the timid, but eerie enough that ghost-lovers will want to read the whole set!

NEW Picture Book: Don't Play with Your Food!

Bob Shea has come out with another silly and fun picture book: Don't Play with Your Food! Buddy is just like any other monster. He hates flowers, feels angry at the sun, and loves to scare animals with his loud RAWR! It is just in his monster nature that he wants to eat a group of cute little bunnies, but when they tell him they were just about to make cupcakes, he is not so sure about eating them anymore. Soon he finds himself swimming at the pool and even visiting the carnival with them! Is it possible that what once started as a deflection from being eaten could end in...friendship? Find out in "Don't Play with Your Food!"

Do you love Bob Shea and his wacky sense of humor? Check out some of his other books at AADL: Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, New Socks, and I'm a Shark. If you've already read everything by Bob Shea, some other hilarious picture book authors include Jan Thomas, David Shannon, and Mo Willems.

New Teen Fiction!

Strange and Ever After is the third and final book of the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy, by Susan Dennard. This fun and unique series blends together lots of great elements: fantasy, romance, steampunk, historical fiction…and zombies! In this final installment, main character Eleanor Fitt travels to Egypt to track down and battle the evil necromancer who kidnapped her mother, brother, and friends. The conclusion of this pursuit causes unexpected consequences that will change Eleanor, and the world, forever. Haven’t read the first two books in the trilogy? Start with Something Strange and Deadly and follow with A Darkness Strange and Lovely, before finding out how it all ends in Strange and Ever After.

Touted as a combination of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, Cammie McGovern’s new book Say What You Will is a heartfelt and honest story. Amy, who was born with cerebral palsy, has struggled her whole life to move, communicate and even control her facial expressions. When she finally decides to hire student aides to assist her during her senior year of high school, Matthew, who suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder and crippling fears, is thrust into her life. Despite their physical, psychological and emotional differences, a friendship blossoms between the two. Readers will fly through this book eager to find out if the teens’ unique connection may grow into something more.

The Ring and the Crown, by prolific teen author Melissa de la Cruz, is set in an alternate 19th century world in which the Franco-British empire controls the only source of magic. Told from the perspective of five different characters related to the royal court, the story is a light and fun historical fantasy/romance. In order to protect the empire, Princess Marie-Victoria must enter into a loveless marriage with the heir to the Prussian throne. With the aid of her childhood friend Aelwyn, Marie conspires to escaper her fate… and potentially changes the fate of the entire world while she’s at it!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #483 - The Ann Arbor Connection

Ann Arbor author Julie Lawson Timmer's debut novel Five Days Left * * is part of the Penguin First Flights program. If you missed her live chat on Sept. 10th, click on this link for an archived edition.

Wife, mother, and top-notch Texas lawyer, Mara Nichols is losing her battle with a rapidly-progressing case of Huntington's disease. She has set a date to end her life to cut short a decline she believes will destroy her family. Now she has five days left in which to prepare herself, tidy her affairs, and say goodbye to her loved ones. While in Royal Oak (MI) middle-school teacher Scott Coffman dreads having to part with his foster son, eight-year-old Curtis. In five days, he will have to relinquish Curtis back to his junkie mother when she is release from prison. Mara and Scoot meet anonymously in an online therapy forum, and through their daily posts, Timmer deftly compares their shared dilemmas of when and how to let go.

"Absorbing, deeply affecting, and ultimately uplifting, it heralds the arrival of an author to watch." Perfect for fans of thoughtful, issue-driven fiction of Carol Rifka Brunt; Jacquelyn Mitchard; and Jodi Picoult.

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street * by Susan Jane Gilman (UM, MFA in Creative Writing, and author of several well-received nonfiction titles) is "an ambitious and lavish immigrant rags-to-riches-to-rags first novel rife with humor and moxie."

At 75, American businesswoman Lillian Dunkle (think Leona Helmsley) is facing federal tax evasion charges, and no one is shedding any tears. This abrasive and ruthless entrepreneur started life as Malka Treynovsky, the youngest of 4 daughters in a poor Russian Jewish immigrant family. Soon after their arrival in New York, she was quickly abandoned and taken in by a kindly Italian ices peddler, and renamed Lillian Maria Dinello. Through grit, wits, and some luck, she, along with her husband Albert Dunkle, built the successful Dunkle's Famous Ice Cream empire.

"Gilman's numerous strengths are showcased, such as character-driven narrative, a ready sense of wit, and a rich historical canvas, in this case based on the unlikely subject of the 20th-century American ice cream industry. "

Readalikes: Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies; My Notorious Life by Kate Manning; and The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani.

* * = 2 starred reviews
* = starred review

A Princess and a Pig Switch Places...

What would happen if a princess and a pig switched places? If you guessed a lot of laughs, you’re right! Check out Jonathan Emmett’s hilarious picture book The Princess and the Pig to find out exactly what happens when a princess is raised by pig farmers and a pig is raised… as a princess! Perfect for fans of Robert Munsch’s classic picture book The Paper Bag Princess, and my favorite picture book discovery this year.

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