* Due to the closure for elevator repair, the Downtown Library is not currently available to select as a request pickup point. Please select another location for new requests.

Nicola's Books: Meet Julie Lawson Timmer

If you're wanting to meet Ann Arbor-based author Julie Lawson Timmer, she'll be signing books at Nicolas Books in Westgate Shopping Center on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. Her debut novel is Five Days Left. From the publisher's description: "Mara is a successful lawyer, and devoted wife and mother. Struggling with a devastating illness, she has set herself five days to make the ultimate decision for her family. Scott lives a thousand miles away, and is a foster parent to a troubled eight-year-old. Scott is facing his own five day countdown until his beloved foster son is returned to his biological mother. The two connect through an online forum, and find a friendship to help guide them through the most difficult, and momentous, week of their lives. . . "

Alternative Fairy Tales

One reason why I love fairy tales so much is because I love the alternative ways that different authors choose to tell the familiar stories. Putting twists on famous fairy tales opens up whole new interpretations for readers and viewers, and can really change the way certain characters are portrayed. The AADL has a whole host of alternative fairy tale stories of all types. One of my favorite collections is a teen series, contributed to by various authors, that “retells” many different fairy tales. There are 15 total retellings in the series, including Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of The Little Mermaid, Before Midnight: A Retelling of Cinderella, The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of Rumpelstiltskin and Beauty Sleep: A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty along with retellings of Jack and the Beanstalk, The Magic Flute, and others.

In the adult book Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeyemi has reimagined the story of Snow White and the Deven Dwarfs as set in the United States in the 1950s and 60s. Maintaining the focus of the original fairy tale’s obsession with beauty, Oyeyemi turns her retelling into a story of race, vanity, and family, while also painting an enchanting picture of life in Massachusetts during the mid-twentieth century. Readers will find that Boy, Snow, Bird is a thought-provoking novel, described as “gloriously unsettling” by the New York Times Book Review.

For those who are eager to read a number of alternative fairy tales, we even have some collections of retold favorites. Try Swan Sister: Fairy Tales Retold, or The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold, both compilations of alternative fairy tales from many cultures written by famous authors.

Also in our collection are The Stepsister’s Tale, Snow White and Rose Red, and the movie Ever After: A Cinderella Story.

Saved By The Bell Turns 25

25 years ago today Saved By The Bell debuted on NBC and teenage television was changed with the introduction of heartthrob Zack Morris and the rest of cast of the show. The sitcom ran from 1989-1993. Can you believe it’s been 25 years since we first met Screech and the gang? And why does Mario Lopez (Slater) still look the same? Other things to ponder: The College Years, the summer beach episodes, the Hawaii episodes, The Max, Mr. Belding, the pleated pants and bright colors.

If you need to scratch that itch, check out seasons 1-4 on DVD. Or for more TV shows set in high school, explore the titles on this list.

Celebrating Batman’s 75th Birthday

It may be hard to believe that Bruce Wayne began his crusade against crime 75 years ago (he looks so young!), but this year marks just that occasion. To commemorate this milestone DC Comics has released a volume consisting of some of the greatest bat-stories ever told. Batman: a celebration of 75 years is sure to engage and entertain both new and experienced Bat-readers. While you’re waiting for your hold to come in, or if you’d like to brush up on what Batman’s been up to for the last few decades, be sure to check out some of these Bat-classics from our catalog!

The Long Halloween - Batman is on the hunt for a serial killer whose devious crimes coincide with major holidays. Noirish and complex, perhaps the greatest Batman story ever told.

Batman: Year One - Writer Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) offers his take on the successes and failures of Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon during Batman’s first year in Gotham. Year One is counted as one of the inspirations for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.

The Dark Knight Returns - Frank Miller adds to the Batman canon by bringing an aged Bruce Wayne out of retirement to battle the powerful Mutant Gang and -- gasp! -- Superman. This Miller classic was drawn upon as source material for 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.

Knightfall Part One: Broken Bat - Creative team Chuck Dixon and Doug Moench introduce Batman to one of his strongest and most intelligent foes: Bane! Tune in to find out just how far the Batman can bend before he breaks.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #477 - Spotlight on Family Sagas

The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing * by Mira Jacob opens with celebrated brain surgeon Thomas Eapen sitting on his porch at his home in New Mexico talking to dead relatives. At least that is the story his wife, Kamala, prone to exaggeration, tells their daughter, Amina, a Seattle area wedding photographer. Knowing that she has been manipulated, Amina nevertheless, arranges for a visit home where she soon realizes that something may actually be wrong with her father. The trouble might be rooted in the family's visit to India some twenty years ago; the tension between her father and Ammachy, her grandmother and family matriarch; and the mystery behind the death of her older brother, the rebellious and brilliant Akhil.

"(L)ight and optimistic, unpretentious and refreshingly witty... Jacob has created characters with evident care and treats them with gentleness even as they fight viciously with each other. Her prose is sharp and true and deeply funny." "(A) winning, irreverent debut novel about a family wrestling with its future and its past."

Matthew Thomas's debut - We Are Not Ourselves * * is "a very moving book about the dangers of always wanting more."

Smart and ambitious Eileen Tumulty, dutiful daughter born to hard-drinking Irish working-class parents, looks for a better life for herself by training as a nurse. When she marries Ed Leary, a quiet neuroscientist, she is disappointed with his choice teaching at a community college despite more lucrative and prestigious offers. With their Jackson Heights (Queens) neighborhood in decline, Eileen is desperate to move out of the city (and up the social ladder), into a fixer-upper that they could ill afford. Then Ed is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.

"Thomas works on a large canvas to create a memorable depiction of Eileen's vibrant spirit, the intimacy of her love for Ed, and the desperate stoicism she exhibits as reality narrows her dreams. Her life, observed over a span of six decades, comes close to a definitive portrait of American social dynamics in the 20th century. Thomas's emotional truthfulness combines with the novel's texture and scope to create an unforgettable narrative."

Thirty-five years (and 20-some titles) after her wildly successful generational saga set in Australia - The Thorn Birds (based on her family's history), Colleen McCullough returns to the genre with Bittersweet, an epic romance set in the decades after WWI, about two sets of Latimer twins, all trained as nurses but each with her own ambitions.

"McCullough's background in medicine is apparent as she seamlessly weaves in information about the history of nurse's training in Australia and the development of modern pathology. Bittersweet is both a fascinating exploration of the bonds between sisters and a fine historical novel."

* = starred review
* * = 2 starred reviews

Great Book for Teens: Since You’ve Been Gone

I’ve been a fan of Morgan Matson ever since reading her first book, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, but this summer, I completely fell in love with her latest book, Since You’ve Been Gone.

Shy Emily knows her sociable best friend Sloane will always be there to take charge in new situations, but when Emily returns home from a family trip, she discovers her best friend is gone. Sloane is not at home and won’t answer her calls or texts. Then Emily receives a mysterious letter from Sloane, a list of fifteen random things to do – like kiss a stranger and ride a horse – and hopes that completing this list will somehow reveal what happened to Sloane. More coming-of-age story than mystery, this book will resonate with any shy teen who has had to grow more outgoing after a big life change. It's a great read for anyone who enjoys smart realistic teen fiction with a touch of romance and is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Stephanie Perkins.

Badge Drop #10: Stop Feeling List-less! Try These New Badges!

PLAYERS, START YOUR ENGINES! Or...at least your BRAINS!

We've got some goodies to give you, and those goodies are, of course, SHINY NEW BADGES!

Feeling list-less? MAKE SOME LISTS and earn the latest contribution badges! Want to get out and EXPLORE? We've got a badge in ANN ARBOR'S BIGGEST PARK! Need more animal adventures? LIONS, AND SERPENTS AND AARDVARKS, OH MY!

From constellations to creatures to a player pick (Thanks, SG Player Olivia!), we've got LOTS for you to do with this set of badges.

2014 Badge Drop #10



So, lace up your hiking shoes, dig into the story of our 7th president, don your bat-cape, and look to the sky this week! And don't forget there's still some time to catch up on any of this summer's previous badges, too!

THANKS FOR PLAYING!

It's National Aviation Week!

Happy National Aviation Week, all! Today is the start of an entire week dedicated to celebrating aviation. National Aviation Day, which is also Orville Wright's birthday, will be on August 19th, but if you can't wait until then to start learning about aviation, we've got you covered! Here are some great choices:

For kids:
A is for Airplane: An Aviation Alphabet: Little ones can work on their alphabet using all aviation-themed words!
The Wright Brothers: How they Invented the Airplane is a Newberry Honor book that follows the Wright brothers and will teach young ones about how they got started.
The Wright Brothers for Kids: How they Invented the Airplane: 21 Activities Exploring the Science and History of Flight: For kids that want to take a more hands-on approach to learning about flight, this book offers up a variety of fun aviation-themed activities.
Night flight : Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic: This beautiful book's exciting details and daring illustrations will leave kids wanting to learn all they can about Amelia Earhart. If they're begging for more, direct them to the fabulous Amelia Lost :The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart!

For adults:
Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies is a new book that traces the first people to fly in planes as they fought to control publicity and show off their own inventions and bravery.
Feel like watching something? Enjoy the 2004 Oscar-winner The Aviator, or delve into Amelia Earhart's story (among other!) with Unsolved Mysteries: Strange Legends.

Finally, no aviation list could be complete without the classic movie Airplane! or How to Build a Hovercraft: Air Cannons, Magnet Motors, and 25 other Amazing DIY Science Projects, a book that will teach you how to build your own unstoppable paper airplane!

Australian illustrator and writer Shaun Tan

If you haven't picked up a book by Australian illustrator and writer Shaun Tan before, drop everything you're doing and check him out. Winning awards since 1992 for his illustrations - including the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (an international award recognizing outstanding individuals' career contributions to children's literature), two Hugo Awards for Best Professional Artist, and even an Academy Award for Best Short Film for an adaptation of his book The Lost Thing - Shaun Tan is an artistic force to be reckoned with.

His wordless graphic novel The Arrival made a splash when it came out in 2006, and his follow up Tales from Outer Suburbia was a big hit in the US as well. This year Tan released a book called Rules of Summer, and it's a must see.

Rules of Summer follow the lives of two boys who explain the "rules" they learned over one summer. By no means wordy, Rules of Summer is primarily a visual exploration of the fantasy world the boys create out of their urban landscape. It's a story of creativity and cooperation with lush visuals and a great sense of humor.

New CDs: Fleetwood Mac!

Fleetwood Mac fans will be happy about a recently added CD to the Ann Arbor District Library collection: Tribute to Fleetwood Mac. 17 different beloved Fleetwood Mac songs are covered by a variety of lesser known artists on this unique album and I really enjoyed hearing the twists that the different groups put on the classic songs. Some tracks sound nearly identical to the Fleetwood originals with only minor instrumental changes, while others sound like completely different tunes, barely recognizable as covers of the well-known originals. Tribute to Fleetwood Mac is definitely a must-hear for those who love the band (who, incidentally, are fully reunited and on tour this fall!).

AADL also recently added the Fleetwood Mac album Mirage to our collection, which the band released in 1982, after the 1979 Tusk. Although Mirage is not as well-known or loved as the unbeatable Rumours, it does have the wonderful tracks "Gypsy" and "Hold Me" on it and the whole album has a classic Fleetwood Mac feel.

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