Hilarious new BIRD picture books!

School is back in session, but not everyone goes to elementary school: little birdies have to attend flight school! Or at least, those little birdies do who are SUPPOSED to learn how to fly. When Penguin arrives for HIS first day of flight school, Teacher is taken aback.

"But you, dear, are a penguin," she says.
"Undeniable," Penguin replies, "but I have the soul of an eagle."

So begins the hilariously told and illustrated story of Penguin's attempts to learn to fly in Lita Judge's Flight School. And just imagine what happens when Penguin decides to bring his friend Ostrich along for a lesson!

If you're interested in other goofy bird books, The ABC of Fabulous Princesses, by Willy Puchner, is a must-read. Prince William must find a wife, and all of the bird empresses are eager to impress him. Some are big, some are small, some are quiet, some are loud... but they all come from different countries bearing a unique gift for Prince William. Puchner's illustrations and rhymes are funny and fantastic. This is a great book not meant just for folks first learning their alphabet!

100 Sideways Miles

100 Sideways Miles is Andrew Smith’s 9th young adult novel and follows the amazingly awesome Winger and the bizzare yet fascinating Grasshopper Jungle. His latest 100 Sideways Miles falls into the “greening of young adult lit” category (thanks to the popular books by YA author John Green) that feature realistic characters with funny narration that’s easy to fall in love with.

16 year old Finn Easton suffers from epilepsy after a childhood freak accident involving his mother and a falling horse. He is also the inspiration for a character in his fiction-writing father’s best-selling novel. These facts do not make him the most popular kid in town. This unique guy does not view time in minutes, he sees it in miles. Finn’s adventures include his funny best friend Cade, his first crush, dealing with “blanking out” during seizures, and the inevitable college-bound road trip with a surprise end result. This book is a winner, and is on the longlist for the National Book Award For Young People's Fiction. (For ages 14 and up.)

Local Event: Check Out 11 Homes

If you’re looking for something fun and educational to do the weekend of Oct. 4-5, check out the Remodelers Home Tour, put on by the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor and the Washtenaw Remodelers Council. Hours are Saturday 11 am – 6 pm and Sunday noon – 6 pm; cost is $10 per adult. Here at the library we have lots of good information about remodeling.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #485 - “...weddings are giant Rorschach tests onto which everyone around you projects their fears, fantasies, and expectations -- many of which they've been cultivating since the day you were born.” ~ Susan Jane Gilman

Come, indulge with me...

Cancel the Wedding by debut author Carolyn Dingman

On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiance. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane's premature death from cancer. Though Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified with their mother's final wish, it offers Olivia a temporary reprieve from decision about her dream job that she now hates, and her upcoming wedding she is having second thoughts about. With her 14-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads to Tillman, GA, on a summer road trip looking for answers about her mother, and comes to know a great deal more about herself. Readers who sympathize with Oliva's difficult situation would enjoy You Are the Love of My Life by Susan Richards Shreve.

A Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman - a feast for the senses, and a moving novel of love, forgiveness, and trust, set among the beaches and vineyards of southern France.

Olivia and Brody have found the perfect spot for their small wedding - an idyllic inn nestled in a valley in the Mediterranean town of Cassis, if only they can count on their families and guests to behave. Impulsive and reckless Nell, Olivia's oldest daughter from her first marriage invites a complete stranger. Olivia's youngest daughter, Carly, generally responsible and pragmatic decides to let her hair down for a change. Jake, Brody's playboy best man, and Fanny, Brody's mother arrive with toxic emotional baggage.

A delicious, compelling, and utterly enchanting novel, that captures the complex and enduring bonds of family, and our boundless faith in love. "Women's fiction fans will enjoy Sussman's knowing exploration of mother/daughter relationships and the bond between sisters. The vivid description of Provence will whisk the reader away to the Mediterranean tout suite." A great readalike for Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead.

The Beekeeper's Ball * by Susan Wiggs is the second in the "Bella Vista Chronicles" after The Apple Orchard (2013). Set in the lush Sonoma Valley wine country, the narrative now centers on Isabel Johansen who is in the process of transforming her childhood home into a destination cooking school, and planning the wedding festivities for her sister Tess (the protagonist in the first title in the Chronicles).

When a intrepid (and very cocky) journalist/biographer Cormac "Mac" O'Neill is mistaken for a beekeeper and is almost killed by Isabel's bees, the relationship between them gets off on a rocky start. But Mac's project of writing her grandfather's biography, including his role in the Danish Resistance during WWII, forces them to work together. As much as Isabel denies it, she's getting more and more attracted to Mac.

"Wiggs' carefully detailed plotlines, one contemporary and one historical, with their candid look at relationships and their long-term effects, are sure to captivate readers." Recipes included.

"What makes this moving narrative so memorable is the fearlessness of families and friends who find strength in each other through the horrors of war and loss." If you enjoyed Jojo Moyes' The Girl You Left Behind, you won't be disappointed.

Here are some of my personal favorites (in no particular order) on the drama that often threatens to undo even the best-laid wedding plans: Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand; A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve; The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham; and Philosophy Made Simple by Robert Hellenga.

* = starred review

Great Teen Non-Fiction: "Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design"

If you or a young person in your life is interested in graphic design, be sure to check out Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd. The book was a finalist for this year's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for young people ages 12-18. From YALSA: "This innovative book offers an introduction to the history and basic concepts of graphic design from one of the most successful designers working today. Using real world examples and rich visual aids, Kidd teaches readers how effective design can communicate ideas and messages, and he suggests ways to think critically about the design elements that infuse the media around us. Kidd invites readers to experiment with design themselves by ending the book with a series of 10 design challenges and offers a venue to share their work online."

Ree Drummond: The Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond’s memoir of how she met, fell in love with, and married her rancher husband is hilarious, romantic, and charming. Titled The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, A Love Story and published back in 2011, the entirely true story definitely made me want to find my own cowboy out there somewhere! Ree was born in urban Oklahoma and went to college at USC, where she fell in love with the city life. After a few years in Los Angeles, she moves back home temporarily before she plans to move to Chicago. When she meets “Marlboro Man” one night in a smoky hometown bar and he begins to woo her, Ree’s plans change somewhat and before she knows it she finds herself the wife of a down-home Oklahoma rancher, living over an hour from the nearest grocery store and surrounded by cattle rather than skyscrapers. Ree’s stories of her new country life are completely heartwarming.

After publishing this lovely memoir, Ree was inspired to write more and has produced several fantastic cookbooks complete with delicious, easy recipes interspersed with more stories of family life at the ranch. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: recipes from an accidental country girl, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: food from my frontier, and The Pioneer Woman Cooks: a year of holidays, are all beautifully photographed, adorably written, and extremely handy to have in any kitchen!

Most recently, Ree has branched out into writing children’s books about Charlie the ranch basset hound, who is based off of the basset hound that she and her family own in real life. There’s Charlie the Ranch Dog, Charlie the Ranch Dog: where’s the bacon?, Charlie and the New Baby, and Charlie and the Christmas Kitty, as well as several other picture books about the lazy, mischievous dog.

For more information about Ree, and for additional recipes, stories, and photos, check out her awesome blog The Pioneer Woman.

PreK Bits - "D" is for DAY at the Farm

Ms. Rachel brought Farm stories for Preschool Storytime this week.
In GOBBLE GOBBLE MOOoo TRACTOR BOOK by Jez Alborough ... Farmer Dougal did not get up one morning and the animals drove the tractor .... just pretend!
We sang "Farmer Brown Had 5 Red Apples" which can be found with other farm songs in the CD ABC and 123 Songs by Sharon, Lois and Bram...
Mr. Bingle needed help getting the last big apple from the top of his tree in APPLE PIE by Anne Wellington.
Both stories are fun, ... and unfortunately out of print, ... but you can still get copies through MelCat loans with your AADL card.

You can browse the webcatalog for farm stories or you can try some favorites listed below:
LITTLE APPLE GOAT by Caroline Church. The little goat who loves to eat apples ... unknowingly becomes the planter of the new apple trees.
CHARLIE And The NEW BABY by Ree Drummond, is a story of a new calf (with adorable pictures by Diane DeGroat) ... who needs extra attention while Charlie the dog is feeling neglected.
E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm by Judy Sierra ... is a story that happens with the help of the Hen.
Henry is tired of an un-tidy farm so he creates HENRY'S MAP.
THESE BEES COUNT ... Farmer Ellen shows how to listen to the bees.
The NOISY FARM ... to practice lots of animal noises.
The YEAR At MAPLE HILL FARM ... an illustrated classic by Alice Provensen.

Celebrate Your Right to Read Comics!

It's Banned Books Week and this year ALA and CBLDF have joined forces to raise awareness of frequently challenged comics. In the last few years, attempts to ban critically acclaimed graphic novels Persepolis and Barefoot Gen made international headlines. Other comics attacked in recent years include the all-ages classic Bone by Jeff Smith, which made ALA’s list of the ten most challenged books in 2013, as well as acclaimed books for adult readers like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Learn more about which comics have been banned or challenged here.

Local Banned Books Week events:

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #484 -“Sometimes we want what we want even if we know it’s going to kill us.” ~ Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

Rainey Royal by Dylan Landis

In these 14 linked stories (one of which won a 2014 O. Henry Prize), 14 yr.old Rainey Royal lives with her famous jazz musician father in a once-elegant Brownstone in Greenwich Village after her mother ran away to an ashram. Surrounded by her father's groupies and hangers-on, predators disguised as her father's best friend, she is lonely and vulnerable. Thankfully, there is her best friend Tina. As she tries desperately to nurture her own artistic talent and build a substitute family, she rebels in unconventional, sometimes criminal ways.

"Landis' captivating first novel is a ringing tribute to friendship, autonomy, and artistic presence." She "offers a rich, sometimes challenging portrait of young women doing their best to grow in the absence of positive role models."

From National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree (see the video interviews) and Rona Jaffe Award-winner comes an urgent, intensely visceral debut novel about a young waitress whose downward spiral is narrated in electric prose - Love Me Back.

Merritt Tierce follows Marie, a single mother who gives in to brutally self-destructive tendencies with alcohol, drugs, self-cutting and one-night stands, looking for obliteration if not pleasure. The one thing that brings her life focus is her job as a waitress in an upscale Dallas steakhouse which she tackles with an easy smile and strong work ethic. "You keep your standards high and your work strong but these are necessary for success; you keep your dignity separate, somewhere else, attached to different things."

"(A) flawed thing of beauty, as terribly uncomfortable to read as it is often brilliant,...Tierce's first novel is unsentimental and unresolved but ultimately laced with an undercurrent of hope."

If you have never read indie author K.A. Tucker, praised for her "likeable characters, steamy liaisons, and surprising plot twists" (Kirkus Reviews), you might really enjoy Five Ways to Fall.

Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making wrong choices; she's made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her violent "redecorating" of her two-timing ex-husband's apartment lands her in jail, she decides to accept the only life-line thrown to her and moves to Miami to work for her stepfather, a renowned attorney.

Things are going well. Reese even finds she enjoys legal work and is good at it... until an embarrassing last-fling on a tequila-soaked weekend in Cancun walks into the office, and introduces himself as Ben Morris, the firm's new ace attorney. Now if Reese and Ben are truly smart, they would have stay clear of each other. But that won't make for a good story.

"A fun, flirty, super sexy love story that offers all of the best of opposites attracting".

Radiolab Reads

Some of you may be familiar with the Peabody-award winning radio show/podcast Radiolab, which airs on nearly 450 stations across the United States. Here in Ann Arbor, you can hear it on Michigan Public Radio on Friday and Sunday evenings. I love Radiolab for the vast array of topics that they cover in a fun, informative manner. There is a ton to learn in every episode and short that they do, and hosts Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad interview fascinating, knowledgeable people, turning their information into incredibly compelling stories.

I recently discovered the invaluable resource Radiolab Reads, a “virtual bookshelf” that compiles all of the books mentioned in their episodes, with links to the Amazon page for each book. Even if you’re not familiar with the show, this site is an amazing compilation of books on every topic imaginable. Most of the books are non-fiction, and this site might be particularly appealing to reluctant non-fiction readers since you’re sure to find something that catches your eye!

If you tend to—literally—judge books by their cover (hey, it’s okay, we all do it sometimes!), Radiolab has a cool tumblr with the covers of each of the books mentioned on their Radiolab Reads page. You can sort by genre, and find the link to the books’ Amazon pages after clicking on a given cover.

Nearly all of the books discussed on these Radiolab pages can be borrowed from the AADL. You can search our catalog for any that you're interested in. For more information about Radiolab, visit their website, and find specifics about how to listen to the show here.

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