NPR in Town and at the Library

Did you know that you can access some of your favorite NPR shows and their related materials through the library? The AADL has full episodes of This American Life and A Prairie Home Companion as well as excerpts from some of the more famous segments of the shows all on CD. These are great to listen to at home or in the car, and most are appropriate for all ages. The library also has a collection of CDs called I Heard It on NPR, which showcase some of the more popular singers and musicians that have appeared over the years on the radio station.

Garrison Keiller, the host of A Prairie Home Companion, has also written several novels about the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, which he often references in the show. These include Pontoon: A Lake Wobegon Novel, Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance, and Lake Wobegon, Summer 1956, among others, all of which you can find at the AADL.

In addition, the NPR show Radiolab, hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, is on live tour this fall, and is stopping next week at the Michigan Theater here in Ann Arbor! You can listen to recordings of previous Radiolab shows on their website, and there are plenty of tickets still available through their site for the live show on October 7, 2013.

Audiobook: A Spooky Ghost Story for Teens

In the mood for a scary story this fall? Then give The Diviners by Libba Bray a listen.

Set in 1920s New York City, this paranormal tale pits a ghostly serial killer – who has returned from the grave to fulfill his gruesome mission – against seventeen-year-old diviner Evie O’Neill. As the story begins, Evie’s ability to divine memories from objects lands her in enough trouble to send her off to New York City to stay with her uncle, the curator of the “Museum of Creepy-Crawlies.” When her uncle is called in to help with a murder investigation, Evie soon finds herself caught up in the hunt for the Occult Killer.

The diverse cast, which also includes a lively Ziegfield girl, a charming pick-pocket and a Langston-Hughes-loving poet, are all expertly voiced by narrator January LaVoy.

The audiobook was also named one of YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 2013.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #427 - "One man's magic is another man's engineering..." ~ Robert A. Heinlein

This fall's BIG book (563 pp.) is Emily Croy Barker's much anticipated The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic. Marketed as a readalike for Lev Grossman's The Magicians series and Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy, "...this ambitious, densely packed debut" by journalist Barker tells of a young woman's ordeal after walking through a portal into an alternate world where to survive, she must learn real magic. A dark fairy tale with plenty of curb appeal for fantasy, time-travel, and alternate-reality fans.

Nora Fischer expects Adam to propose, instead he is off to marry someone else. Once a promising academic, her dissertation is hopelessly stalled and her advisor has lost interest. During a miserable weekend at a friend's wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she is transformed into a stunning beauty and living a fairy tale life, complete with glamor and promise of love. Then the elegant veneer shatters. Her only real ally and a reluctant one at that is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. Under his tutelage, Nora studies magic. To their surprise, Nora's academic training and resolve makes her an apt student. When an opportunity to slip back through the portal to her former life presents itself, Nora faces a tough decision.

"Barker weaves together classic fantasy and romantic elements (including shout-outs to Pride and Prejudice and hints of Wuthering Heights) to produce a well-rounded, smooth, and subtle tale."

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Ghostly International

YOU can access over 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

Fans of local music unite! Music from Ann Arbor's independent record label Ghostly International has arrived at the library and is ready for you to download!

ELECTRONIC / POP / ROCK
Midwest Product: Floating Happily Somewhere Between Music Genres
Ann Arbor trio Midwest Product welds live instrumentation to crafty electronics for output that could easily be described as both cold machine funk and ionized indie-pop. Inspired by the industrial sheen of early New Order and the hyperbolic romance of Prince’s early material, Specifics is a debut album that references the group’s love for early electro styles, warm glitch, and atmospheric post-rock in equal parts. Recommended!

RAP / HIP HOP
Dabrye: Fractured Hip-Hop Production
Taking the next logical step in his evolutionary hip-hop album cycle, Dabrye rounded up a formidable crew of MCs to create Two/Three. A moody, propulsive take on the genre, the Blade Runner-esque beats help cage rhymes ranging from world events to the street, with little chance to catch your breath. The result is a dizzying narcotic rush stronger than a back alley glue hit. Five years after his meticulously sculpted debut One/Three, local artist Tadd Mullinix made yet another indelible mark with this hip-hop sound. Gritty singles “Air” and “Game Over” have thus far foretold the progression of the Dabrye sound, and in the full-length context these tracks fit together as pieces of an unstoppable manifesto.

ELECTRONIC / IDM / AMBIENT
Christopher Willits: Gentle Sound Clashes
Christopher Willits’ newest record on Ghostly International, 2010’s Tiger Flower Circle Sun, is his most technologically complex yet—it’s also his most organic, drifting skyward in a swell of ambient hums and subtle polyrhythms. On Tiger Flower Circle Sun, Christopher Willits takes his attention to craft further than ever before, using the language of ambient, dream-pop, experimental electronic, and afro-latin music to explore themes of love, connectivity, and universal vibrations. With Tiger Flower Circle Sun, Willits has created a diverse, effortlessly complex album of sublime beauty.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #425 - "A good neighbor is a very desireable thing" ~ T. Jefferson

Don't pass up Amy Grace Loyd's debut novel The Affairs of Others, a quiet but intense look at the tangled lives in a Brooklyn neighborhood apartment building.

Owner of the building, a young widow still grieving from her husband's death, Celia Cassill picks her tenants for their ability to respect each other's privacy and more importantly, her solitude. Everything changes with the arrival of a summer sublet - Hope, a dazzling woman on the run from a bad marriage. As Hope slips into depression, the carefully constructed walls of Celia's world are tested and the sanctity of her building is shattered. When one of the tenants disappears, all the residents are forced to abandon their separate spaces for a far more intimate one, leading to a surprising conclusion and the promise of genuine joy.

"The Affairs of Othe is a story about the irrepressibility of life and desire, no matter the sorrows or obstacles." "Dark and sensual, with just a touch of suspense, this first novel offers a heartwrenchingly honest story about grief while still allowing for a glimmer of hope."

An executive editor at Byliner Inc. and a former fiction and literary editor at Playboy magazine, Amy is a recipient of both MacDowell and Yaddo fellowships.

A fabulously fun readalike would be Elinor Lipman's The View from Penthouse B where two middle-aged sisters become unexpected roommates in a Manhattan apartment as they recover from widowhood, divorce, and Bernie Madoff. In their reduced circumstances, they resort to take in a boarder - a handsome, gay cupcake-baker who coaches them back into the dating world.

Audio listeners might also give the heartwarming The Wildwater Walking Club a try. Author Clair Cook presents the tale of three women neighbors who share struggles with unfaithful men, rebellious children, and parental expectations while taking long walks near their homes on Wildwater Way (Seattle), a friendship marked by a road trip, a lavender festival, and a clothesline controversy.

Thinking about good neighbors brings to mind the denizens at 28 Barbary Lane, as chronicled by Armistead Maupin in his Tales of the City (1978) where Mary Ann Singleton, newly relocated to San Francisco, soon finds her life entwined with those of her varied neighbors and myriad colorful characters. This title and others to follow in the series were adapted into movies.

A Musical Fairy-Tale Audiobook for Kids

If you enjoy music with your audiobooks, then try Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (author of the Newbery-Honor-winning Ella Enchanted).

In this loose adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, pale-skinned Aza feels like she will never fit in, not at home in her adopted parent’s inn nor at the royal court. Her unusual coloring and ungainly size make her stand out wherever she goes. Fortunately, Aza is also gifted with a beautiful singing voice, but when the new queen asks Aza to use her voice to help her deceive the kingdom, Aza learns important lessons about loyalty, love and beauty.

What makes this audiobook experience unique, however, is its music. Every song is set to an original tune, and lots of dialogue is sung as well, so the whole listening experience is rather like listening to a full-cast musical. Musical fans and fairy-tale fans alike will want to check out this audiobook.

September is Classical Music Month

Fall is quickly approaching (officially September 22nd!), and soon the weather will turn crisp and cool. It is the perfect time of year to reflect on the beauty and timelessness of classical music. September is Classical Music Month, and AADL has an extensive collection of CDs with which to enjoy the season!

If complex, elaborate harmonic music is your thing, or you can't get enough of the harpsichord, check out the Baroque era (1600-1750) composers like Bach, Vivaldi, or Purcell. Want something a little simpler, delicate, and more melodic? That would be the Classical era (1750-1830) composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Paganini. Maybe you're looking for emotional, expressive, sometimes surprising music, in which case you'll want to search out the Romantic era (1830-1900) composers like Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and Schubert. Or jump into the 20th Century and explore intense symphonies with composers like Mahler, mathematical music with Schoenberg, and jazzy rhythms with Gershwin.

Still not sure where to start? ClassicFM has a wonderful, easy to use online guide to the various music eras.

And of course, we have some great books to guide you as well. The Rough Guide to Classical Music, How to Listen to Great Music, 1001 Classic Music Albums You Must Hear Before You Die or The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

Allen Lanier, co-founder of Blue Öyster Cult, has died

Allen Lanier, co-founder of Blue Öyster Cult, died August 14.

Lanier, a multi-talented musician, formed the band, Soft White Underbelly in 1967. It morphed into Blue Öyster Cult in 1971. Except for a two-year absence, Lanier stayed with the band until his retirement in 2006.

In addition to playing keyboard and guitar, he wrote a couple of songs for BOC including In Thee, from the 1998 album, Heaven Forbid.

In addition to his work with BOC, he collaborated with several other rockers. He and Patti Smith co-wrote Elegie from her album, Horses (1975), in which he also played guitar. Smith wrote about their personal and professional relationship in her popular 2010 autobiography, Just Kids. He also played keyboard, uncredited, for The Clash's Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad, which can be heard on The Essential Clash ( 2003).

Lanier, long suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) due to his heavy smoking habit, reunited with Blue Öyster Cult last November for a one-time performance in New York.

Lanier, who was a voracious reader (comparative religions was one of his favorite subjects) was just 67 years old when he died.

Fantastic Fantasy Audiobook

Do you love classic fantasies, like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz, where a bored young heroine travels out of our world and into a world of magic and mayhem? If so, then you should definitely check out Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

With its rich, old-fashioned language, this audiobook will carry you to Fairyland where you will follow twelve-year-old September through a series of wonderous strange adventures. You will befriend a wyverary (part-wyvern, part-library) and a shy, blue-skinned boy called Saturday. You will ride amidst a herd of wild bicycles. You will even follow September as she confronts the wicked Marquess, who may not be as wicked as September supposes.

Fans will also want to check out its sequel The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, in which September journeys to shadow kingdom below Fairyland.

So just remember, if you're feeling bored this summer, there's no better cure for boredom than a trip to Fairyland!

This American Life

Planning a road trip and in need of some listening material? AADL’s collection of the radio show This American Life might be the perfect solution. This American Life is a weekly public radio program that is broadcast on over 500 stations with over 1.8 million listeners. It is produced by Chicago Public Media, distributed by Public Radio International and can be heard on National Public Radio stations all over the country. The radio show has a simple format; each show has a theme and people share their stories based on the chosen theme. Stories range from two infant girls accidently switched at birth and what happens when the families finally find out the truth, to people who go to extremes to find and pursue their true love. Hosted by Ira Glass, the show often has guests the likes of David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell who offer delightfully funny stories that have you laughing out loud! In 2008 This American Life was brought to the screen and Season 1 and 2 DVDs can be check out of the AADL collection as well. Whether you choose to listen or watch This American Life, you won’t walk away disappointed with the slice of life stories from people of all walks of life.

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