Rubber Band Bracelets!

It seems like kids everywhere are making and wearing jewelry out of colorful rubber bands. Perhaps a Rainbow Loom made its way to your house in December? Rubber band bracelet fun is a book that offers more designs to create with the loom, including the triple rainbow bracelet, the beaded bonanza and the flower bracelet. There’s also Totally awesome rubber band jewelry, which offers tips, tricks and more designs to create. If you’ve got a stash of tiny rubber bands on hand and are waiting for the next project, give them a whirl!

Now Available Through AADL: Downloadable Issues of Midwestern Gothic

Literary journals can be a marvelous way to discover work by writers you might not already be familiar with — a gateway to some of the most interesting new writing. Midwestern Gothic is "a quarterly print literary journal out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, dedicated to featuring work about or inspired by the Midwest, by writers who live or have lived here."

Is this limiting? The breadth of work collected in Midwestern Gothic — issue after issue — proves that it's not.

The journal, now on its twelfth release, "aims to collect the very best in Midwestern fiction writing in a way that has never been done before, cataloging the oeuvre of an often-overlooked region of the United States ripe with its own mythologies and tall tales." An August interview with AnnArbor.com gives more insight into the journal's background and its founders, Robert James Russell and Jeff Pfaller.

We're happy to report that now you can read every issue of Midwestern Gothic by downloading them directly from AADL's website! A dozen issues are currently in our catalog, and new issues will be added upon release.

If you like what you read in Midwestern Gothic, their MG Press imprint will be celebrating the release of the novel Above All Men with an event at Literati Bookstore on Monday, Feb 17 at 7pm.

The 780s - Music Books at AADL

If music occupies a big room in your pleasure palace, then browsing the 780s at Ann Arbor District Library will provide great rewards. Whether you're looking for scores to practice or perform, biographies to explore, or genre histories to absorb, surfing aadl.org or browsing on the third floor at the Downtown Library or in the Youth Dept. will be the mother lode. Titles like French Baroque Music: From Beaujoyeulx to Rameau, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘N’ Roll, Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music, Cats of Any Color: Jazz, Black and White, Yiddish Folk Songs from the Ruth Rubin Archive, Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues, Sabastian: A Book About Bach, The Mikado, or Teach Yourself Guitar, give you just a smattering of the wide selection. So visit aadl soon and find your musical bliss!

Parent’s Corner: Science Fair Time!

The Downtown library has a shelf in the Youth Department known as the Parent Shelf. On this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from language to behavior to safety to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.”

Winter is in high gear, the new year started and the kids are back in school. This means that science fair season will soon be upon us! Many children in the area will complete a project for school. AADL has a slew of books with a variety of science fair projects in them, including a few on the parent shelf. It’s not too early to browse through the experiments and see what might be a good choice for you to work on!

Citizen Science

Science is everywhere. This gives scientists a lot of work to do, and many questions to work toward solving. Because of this, scientists also have much data to collect. Enter citizen science!

Citizen science is scientific research conducted entirely or in part by amateurs.

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard encourages kids to try four different activities, one for each season. The team behind this book aim to promote science as a rewarding hands-on activity.

If this sounds like a good book, you might also like The Hive Detectives: A Chronicle of a Bee Catastrophe, also by Loree Griffin Burns.

The Story Prize finalists have been announced

The Story Prize, now in its 10th year, announced their three finalists competing for the top prize which recognizes an "...author of an outstanding collection of short fiction..." published in the previous year.

This year's finalists are:

Andrea Barrett, for Archangel -- Ms. Barrett is no stranger to literary awards. She won the 1996 National Book Award for Ship Fever and Other Stories. The four stories in Archangel span two centuries and use science as a backdrop for the protagonists' efforts to make sense of a dangerous world.

Novelist Rebecca Lee (The City Is a Rising Tide (2006) got the nod for her first short story collection, Bobcat: & Other Stories, seven tales that examine the messy interiors of human relationships in all their chaotic permutations.

It is hard to find a critic who did not rave about George Saunders' Tenth of December. This, his his seventh collection of short stories, already has won the Pem/Malamud Award for Excellence. In these ten short pieces, Saunders writes beautifully about heroism, PTSD, and hope in the face of a devastating medical crisis.

There is already a Story Prize winner. For the second time in its history it has award The Story Prize Spotlight Award. This year's recipient is Ben Stroud, for his ten-entry collection of historical fiction short stories, Byzantium, for which he received $1000.

The winner, who will receive a $20,000 purse and an engraved bowl, will be announced Wedneday, March 5th at the New School's Auditorium in New York City.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads: Present and Past

On Tuesday, January 21, from 7-9 pm at Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building, Ruta Sepetys, author of Between Shades of Gray, this year's AA/Ypsi Reads selection, discusses her book as well as signs copies. (With doors opening at 6 pm.)

But you can explore previous AA/Ypsi Reads authors right now. Our online Video Collection includes the AA/Ypsi Reads lectures from Jonathan Weiner, author of the 2006 selection The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Own Time, William Poy Lee, author of the 2008 selection The Eighth Promise: An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother, Timothy Ferris, author of the 2009 selection Seeing in the Dark: How Amateur Astronomers are Discovering the Wonders of the Universe, Jerry Dennis, author of the 2010 selection The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, and Richard Glaubman, co-author of the 2011 selection Life is So Good.

There are also audio podcasts featuring interviews with Timothy Ferris, Jerry Dennis, and Richard Glaubman.

And if you're looking to expand your AA/Ypsi Reads horizons beyond the authors, check out the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Video Collection Page containing related lectures and discussions from the past nine years.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #447 - "The humble knitter sits in the center between heaven and earth" ~ Susan Gordon Lydon, The Knitting Sutra

Ah, what a great time to snuggle deep into your easy chair and immerse yourself in The Wishing Thread, writer Lisa Van Allen's debut novel - a "Chick-lit cozy meets magical realism with inevitably warm and fuzzy results."

For centuries (really!) the Van Ripper women, owners of The Stitchery, have always been "touched by a vague darkness, a miasma of speculation". When the matriarch Mariah dies, she leaves her three nieces this Tarrytown yarn shop, a "derelict architectural hodgepodge", by design as much as by willful neglect.

Aubrey, shy and reliable, has dedicated her life to weaving spells for the community while working as a librarian's assistant. Bitty, pragmatic and persistent, has long rejected magic in favor of a normal upbringing for her children, only to be frustrated by her daughter's instinctive interest in knitting. Meggie, restless and free-spirited, follows her own set of rules. Like it or not, they all share the ability to knit by request, the most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens, thus granting health, success, or even a blossoming romance, just for the asking. But no one more than the Van Rippers know that magic demands sacrifice.

Now the Stitchery is in danger as an unscrupulous developer plans to raze the town square and put up a shopping mall. The sisters are divided whether to stay or sell. Complicating matters is handsome handyman Vic Oliveira, who is making one of them question her allegiance to The Stitchery.

"In Allen's debut novel, knitting becomes a rich metaphor for the power of women, of the disenfranchised, of the desperate. Steeped in the spirit of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," this bewitching tale will delight fans of magical realism."

Lovely blurbs by Meg Waite Clayton and Lisa Verge Higgins. Fans of Sarah Addison Allen will be delighted.

Amazon Teen Bestseller: Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students

Currently #15 on Amazon's list of bestselling teen books is the Kindle edition of Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students, by Mignon Fogarty. The author is the creator of The Grammar Girl website and Quick and Dirty Tips Network. Here's what School Library Journal said about this book: "“Budding writers will find it invaluable.”

Purple Rose: Redwood Curtain

Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea is showing Redwood Curtain, a play by Lanford Wilson January 16 through March 15. From the Purple Rose website: "Geri is a young prodigy searching for her birth father. While visiting her aunt in northern California, Geri meets a homeless veteran, Lyman, who has chosen to hide behind the curtain of the Redwood Forest. Discovering startling similarities between Lyman and her natural father, she decides he is the key to her true heritage. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Talley’s Folly, Book of Days and Rain Dance comes a magical story of family and self-discovery. *Contains mild adult language." Ticket information is here.

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