Fabulous Fiction Firsts #503 - “Letter writing is the only device combining solitude with good company.” ~ George Gordon Byron

For many of us who travel over the break, it is crucial to have the company of a good audio book. Here are some tried-and-true winners that take the form of epistolary novels and will keep you engaged and entertained.

I just returned That Part Was True (2014) by Deborah McKinlay. Charming and delightful, with mouth-watering recipes. Highly recommended.

"Spinsterly" (self-described) 46 year-old Brit. Eve Petworth is long-divorced, privileged and painfully shy. Then uncharacteristically she strikes up a pen pal friendship with successful American novelist Jackson Cooper (think Robert Parker) through their mutual love of food and fine cooking. Over time, they support each other through challenges (hers, a bridezilla daughter and his, writer's block) and personal relationship dramas before Jackson suggests they meet for a culinary rendezvous in Paris.

Attachments (2011) by Rainbow Rowell
Gossiping and sharing their personal secrets on e-mail in spite of their company's online monitoring practices, Beth and Jennifer unwittingly amuse Internet security officer Lincoln, who unexpectedly falls for Beth while reading their correspondence.

Frances and Bernard (2013) by Carlene Bauer (FFF, a Fabulous Fiction Firsts)
It is not love at first sight for Frances and Bernard. She finds him faintly ridiculous while he sees her as aloof. But after that first meeting, Bernard writes Frances a letter which changes everything and soon they are immersed in the kind of fast, deep friendship that can alter the course of lives.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2008) by Mary Ann Shaffer (a FFF)
In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton finds inspiration for her next book in her correspondence with a native of Guernsey, who tells her about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club born as an alibi during German occupation.

Letters from Skye (2013) by Jessica Brockmole (a FFF)
A love story told in letters spans two world wars and follows the correspondence between a poet on the Scottish Isle of Skye and an American volunteer ambulance driver for the French Army, an affair that is discovered years later when the poet disappears.

Safe travels.

Tons of Popular New CDs at the Library!

Lots of brand new CDs are on order for the AADL and now is the time to get on the holds list! Here are just a few of the exciting new titles we have coming:

1989, by Taylor Swift, produced two number one singles this year: “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off.” This is the singer’s fifth studio album and what she has said is her first “official pop album,” as opposed to her country and country-pop albums of the past. In their annual list, Rolling Stone named 1989 #10 on the 50 Best Albums of 2014.

24 karat gold: songs from the vault, is Stevie Nicks’ much publicized eighth solo album. Most of the songs are new versions of demos that Nicks recorded in the 70s and 80s, with a few from the 90s thrown in, along with a cover of Vanessa Carlton’s “Carousel.” The album debuted at #7 on the Billboard 200 and has been well-received by music critics.

747, by Lady Antebellum, released in late September of this year, is the sixth studio album by the popular country group. Their single “Bartender,” from this album, hit number 1 on the US Country Airplay chart this past summer and the album itself debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200. Fans love Lady A’s easy, often celebratory country-pop tunes, and 747 did not disappoint!

Art Official Age, marks the return of Prince “with a contemporary concoction of soul, R&B, and funk with immediate and prominent melodies.” This is Prince’s thirty-third studio album (!), and was released in conjunction with a second album, Plectrumelectrum, by Prince and his all-female touring band, 3rdeyegirl. Prince’s fans have been pleasantly surprised by this album, and excited that the artist’s musical talents have far from diminished over the years.

You can browse the “New CDs” section of our catalog to see these titles and the other brand new music that the library has!

New Youth CD: Muppets Most Wanted Soundtrack

Among new AADL music CDs for kids is the soundtrack Muppets Most Wanted, featuring favorite Muppet songs and cast performances, plus new recordings from Oscar winner Bret McKenzie. The lineup includes "We're Doing a Sequel," performed by the Muppets with special appearances by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. Also on the CD: My name first_ _ _your name -- I'm number one -- The Casa Grande -- The big house -- Stick with me -- I'll get you what you want (Cockatoo in Malibu) -- The Muppet Show theme -- "Answer some questions" -- Interrogation song -- "Oh Foo Foo, it's always been a fight" -- Something so right -- We're goin' underground -- Working in the coal mine -- The gulag finale -- Together again -- Moves like Jagger -- Macarena (Bayside Boys remix) -- Muppets most wanted score suite -- We're doing a sequel (demo) ; -- The big house (demo) ; -- What you want (outtake) ; -- I'll get you what you want (Cockatoo in Malibu) (demo) ; -- Something so right (demo). Check this CD out!

Readalikes for Serial Fans


Millions of people are hooked on the new Serial podcast, in which journalist Sarah Koenig attempts to unravel the 1999 murder of Baltimore-area high schooler Hae Min Lee and the subsequent conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed for the crime. New episodes are released each Thursday, and binge-listeners of the show are eager to listen, re-listen, and debate the findings and their suspicions.

Here are a few nonfiction titles that might help pass the time between episode releases - each title features a crime, compelling characters, and an attempt to piece together the clues to make sense of the whole picture.

Blood Will Out - Walter Kirn's examination of a con artist who posed for years as "Clark Rockefeller," an ambiguously wealthy member of the upper crust, heavily features Kirn's own multi-year friendship with the man who turned out to be not just duplicitous, but dangerous as well.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt's story of Savannah is unique in that the crime around which the book is centered almost gets lost amid the outsized personalities of his cast of characters, which includes a flamboyant antiques dealer, a voodoo priestess, and the unforgettable scene-stealer Lady Chablis.

The Monster of Florence - author Douglas Preston becomes spectacularly entangled in this investigation of a violent serial killer stalking couples in the Italian countryside. The extreme ineptitude of the police force on this case is as appalling as the dedication of journalists like co-author Mario Spezi is admirable.

People Who Eat Darkness - award-winning journalist Richard Lloyd Parry traces the disappearance of a young woman in Japan through the search and investigation phases which lead finally to her murder trial, even at the risk of his own safety.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher - Kate Summerscale dissects Britain's infamous Road Hill House murder case which featured a locked room scenario, mishandled evidence, and in an unusual addition for 1860 - a detective, one of the first eight members of the newly-formed Scotland Yard.

What addictive stories have been satisfying your Serial cravings? Share them in the comments! Also - Adnan: guilty or no?

New Youth BOCDs @ AADL

If there is a family road trip in your future, consider taking along a few New Youth Books on CD. Recorded stories can keep a family entertained for hours. Our newest selections include Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue, an Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger. In this book, state tests are coming up as the Origami Rebel Alliance finds powerful allies in their fight against the "FunTime test preparation program". Another new selection is Absolutely Almost, by Lisa Graff, in which a new nanny named Calista makes a big difference in the confidence of Albie, a ten-year-old boy. Enjoy!

PreK BITS - "J" for Journey and Jaguar

Ms. Rachel received "J" in the Letter Box .... so-o what can you do with "J" ?

Mouse went on a "Journey" to mother's house ... a story from MOUSE TALES by Arnold Lobel.
We used verbs that begin with "J" (jiggle; jog; jazz; jitterbug; jump) to the tune of "Walk Walk Walk ... Around The Block" ... accompanied by Miss Sara's music.
Jaguar took a jealous journey with his jungle drum, ... just as Leopard did in LEOPARD'S DRUM, an Asanti trickster folk tale.

For more books on Journeys:
JOURNEY, an illustrated masterpiece for taking a visual journey.
DREAM ANIMALS a Bedtime Journey
FOLLOWING PAPA'S SONG
WE'RE SAILING DOWN The NILE, a Journey Through Egypt
The QUEEN'S PROGRESS, a sumptuous journey through the English countryside with Queen Elizabeth I in 1500 on her way to her summer home.
MY NAME I NOT ALEXANDER an imaginative journey, where Alexander discovers how great men become heroes.
RED KNIT CAP GIRL

AADL World Languages Audiobook Collection

Did you know the AADL has audiobooks in many languages? If you're learning a new language (or already know a few!), check out some of these titles:

Award Winning Books:

The Pulitzer Prize winning story, Enrique's Journey (Spanish) by Sonia Nazario

The Harry Potter series in German and French.

Classic Literature:

Of Mice and Men (French) by John Steinbeck

Old Man and the Sea (Chinese) by Ernest Hemingway

For Kids:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Spanish) by C.S. Lewis

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Italian) by Lewis Carroll

For more fiction and nonfiction audiobooks in Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish, browse our World Languages Collection!

Yes Please

Yes Please by Amy Poehler is everything I thought it would be. It is funny, candid, and at times, it addresses deeper issues like negative self-talk, disability, and divorce. According to the book jacket, Yes Please is "A collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers, Yes Please offers Amy's thoughts on everything from her 'too safe' childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and 'the biz,' the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a 'face for wigs.' Yes Please is chock-full of words and wisdom to live by."

If you enjoy reading the smart and poignant writings of Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Lena Dunham, Sarah Silverman, Mindy Kaling, and Carol Burnett (I could go on and on, but I think you get the point) then I assure you, you will enjoy Poehler’s book. To give you any indication about how quickly it reads, I checked it out yesterday evening and before morning had read half of it…and I’m a slow reader.

If you prefer audiobooks, we have you covered. You can put the BOCD on hold here and experience Poehler's book by listening to her read it. Her voice is pretty strong in her writing, but I imagine her jokes will only be improved by her own vocal inflections. I know as much as I enjoyed reading Bossypants, I loved listening to it.

New Youth CDs @ the Library

The library has lots of new youth CDs, including the soundtrack of Disney Maleficent. Composed by James Newton Howard, the CD also credits Lana Del Rey. Other new youth CDs at the library include the soundtrack to Muppets Most Wanted and Kidz Bop: Party Pop!. Check them out!

Audiobook for Kids: The Fourteenth Goldfish

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm offers a fresh, funny, and surprisingly thoughtful take on a classic science fiction premise: a potion to make you young again.

Sixth-grader Ellie’s life with her colorful drama-teacher mom is turned upside-down when her old-fashioned, opinionated grandfather moves in with them. The twist? Her grandfather is a scientist who has uncovered the secret to anti-aging and is now a thirteen-year-old boy! While trying to help her grandfather recover the anti-aging potion from his lab, Ellie finds new friends, develops a growing love for science and a greater understanding of her unconventional family.

I found the audiobook to be a particular treat, with a narrator who not only sounds like a middle-school girl but also delivers lines with such perfect comic timing that I found myself laughing out loud again and again.

Fans of The Water Castle or other science-centered books for girls will definitely want to check it out.

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