Missing Downton Abbey? Try these readalikes!

For Downton Abbey fans, the recent conclusion of Season 4 on PBS brings a long wait before we get to enjoy more of Lady Mary, Tom Branson, Anna, and our other favorite characters. If you are missing Downton Abbey, why not try some of the Downton Abbey readalikes that the AADL has to offer? The library has some wonderful fiction and non-fiction books that will transport you back to the time period of Downton Abbey, making the wait for Season 5 a bit easier!

Try Lady Almina and the Read Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, the fascinating story of the real family that inspired the creation of the television show, written by the Countess of Carnarvon, an inhabitant of the castle today. The true story and the show have many parallels, and this amazing book draws on diary entries, letters, photographs and remaining physical materials to paint a vivid picture of life at Highclere Castle during the early twentieth century. This book also has a companion: Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey, which tells the story of the American woman who married the man who would eventually become the 6th Earl of Carnarvon. Similar to Cora and Lord Grantham, Lady Catherine and her husband must struggle to cope with changes in the traditions of the British aristocracy during the tumultuous period after World War I.

If fiction is more your style, try the sweeping novel Belle Cora, the story of a determined woman who was orphaned at a young age, sent into near slavery at her aunt and uncle’s farm, and eventually ends up in Gold Rush California, the adventures piling up along the way. The story paints a vivid picture of the United States during the mid-nineteenth century. We also have A Star For Mrs. Blake, the story of five American women who travel to France in the early 1930s to seek out the graves of their sons, who all died during World War I. The women are drastically different and meet for the first time right before they set out on their journey. Readers of A Star For Mrs. Blake will enjoy this moving story and recognize the book’s descriptions of the post-war era in Europe from the more recent seasons of Downton Abbey.

We also have Park Lane, the story of a young girl who takes a position as a housemaid in 1914 on Park Lane in London and gets caught up in the lives of the home’s wealthy inhabitants, and A Spider in the Cup, a mystery set in 1933 that begins with the discovery of the body of a young woman in the Thames River.

Finally, why not try your hand at a few Downton Abbey-motivated recipes while you wait for Season 5? AADL has The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook and Edwardian Cooking: 80 recipes inspired by Downton Abbey’s elegant meals.

Happy Downton-inspired reading (and cooking)!

HBO's True Detective Season Finale is Sunday - Still Time to Read The King in Yellow - NO SPOILERS!

True Detective is an American television anthology crime drama series on HBO. Season one stars Matthew McConaughey, and Woody Harrelson, and uses multiple timelines to trace two Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division homicide detectives' hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana across seventeen years.

If you've been watching HBO's hot, new series, you're probably obsessed with all of the various literary allusions and references. If you have delved into the fandom behind the show you definitely want to read The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers. The King in Yellow was originally published in 1895 and is now in the public domain. We uploaded a PDF copy to our catalog (from Project Gutenberg) so AADL cardholders can download and read it easily. Some unscrupulous types are taking advantage of the hype and printing the free PDF and charging people for a copy.

Even if you don't have an AADL card you can find free copies, in a variety of formats, of the book at Project Gutenberg.

For even more True Detective-related reads, check out this list.

Emerging Writers Workshop: Marketing Your Book

Thursday August 7, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

Matching your book with its target audience can be daunting, but it can be done. In this workshop, local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang discuss social media for writers, how to set up a blog or a website, how much a publisher will do for you, and effective ways to market yourself. This is the sixth in a monthly series of writing and publishing events called the Emerging Writers Workshops. These events feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday July 24, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up.

This is a monthly meetup that welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects. Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will be on hand to offer encouragement, answer questions, and point writers to resources. These open houses complement the Emerging Writers Workshops. These events feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing.

Emerging Writers Workshop: Uploads, Downloads, Covers, and Content

Thursday July 10, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for for adults and teens grade 6 and up

Getting a book into print (or e-readers) is a challenge! Authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang discuss the mechanics of formatting and uploading a book, where to find covers, timing, and advanced promotions.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday June 19, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

A monthly meeting that welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects. Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will be on hand to offer encouragement, answer questions, and point writers to resources. These open houses complement the Emerging Writers Workshops. These events feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing.

Emerging Writers Workshop: Breaking Into the Publishing World

Thursday June 5, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

How do you enter the publishing world without an agent? Do you have to have one? Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will cover the basics of the submission process as well as the nuts and bolts of contracts, advances, and how writers get paid. This is the third in the monthly series Emerging Writers Workshops. These events feature perspectives from both traditional and indie publishing. Considerations for fiction and non-fiction writing will be covered.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday May 15, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up

This monthly meeting welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects.

Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will be on hand to offer encouragement, answer questions, and point writers to resources.

These open houses complement the Emerging Writers Workshop, held earlier in the month, and feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing.

Emerging Writers Workshop: Publishing Options

Thursday May 1, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

The world is changing and today’s writer has more options than ever to see their work in print. Which is the right one for you?

Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will explore the differences between traditional publishing and “indie” self-publishing, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each path. This is the third in a monthly series of writing and publishing events called the Emerging Writers Workshops.

These events feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing. Considerations for fiction and non-fiction writing will be covered as well.

There will also be an opportunity for workshop attendees to meet up at the Traverwood Branch on Thursday, May 15 from 7 – 8:45 pm to discuss their works-in-progress. Both Lara Zielin and Margaret Yang will be on hand to offer advice, tips and review. These open houses will be a wonderful time to meet your fellow writers and potentially create your own writing group.

A Modern Fairy Tale

Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” had inspired many fantastic works in the last few years, including Disney’s Frozen and Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs. Fans of the latter will definitely want to check out the latest Snow Queen-inspired novel, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee.

The story takes place in a magical, labyrinth-like museum in a country where the snow never stops. While exploring the museum one day, Ophelia discovers the prison of the Marvelous Boy, a boy who never ages and who is destined to give the sword to the hero who will slay the Snow Queen. Though still grieving the death of her mother, Ophelia agrees to team up with the Marvelous Boy to help him defeat the Snow Queen and end the endless winter.

What I loved most about this novel was its careful balance of fantasy and reality. While much of the plot and the tone of the story feel like a dreamy or sometimes nightmarish fairy tale, Ophelia’s grief and its effect upon her family keep the heart of the story incredible real.

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