Girls Standing On Lawns

Stand for something,
stand for something!
Otherwise what do
you stand for,
why are you even standing?

Is it possible to fall in love with a book? Of course. This one did not fall short of that. While reading Girls Standing On Lawns I was overcome with a sense of nostalgia, feminism, purpose, and life.

This little book is the first in a series of collaborations between illustrator Maira Kalman, author Daniel Handler, and the Museum of Modern Art. It is filled with photographs of girls standing on lawns that are straight from MoMA's collection. With each photo is text by Handler, with paintings by Kalman interspersed. The way the words and images unfold together is magical and you can’t help but wonder… who are these girls standing on lawns? How many times have we stood on a lawn in a similar fashion on the first day of school, on graduation day, or on Easter Sunday and posed for a quick snapshot whether we wanted to or not? There is such a sense of history and normalcy in looking back at such "unartistic" vernacular photos, and here done in such a touching way.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #529 - “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.” ~ Noam Chomsky

M(iranda) J. Carter's fiction debut - The Strangler Vine * * is longlisted for the 2104 Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) and a finalist for the British Crime Writers' Association John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award.

Calcutta, 1837. Young William Avery was broke, homesick and for months, had waited for a commission in the East India Company's army that might never come through. Then out of the blue, he was assigned a secret mission by the Company's administrator with the promise of a promotion and a return to his beloved home in Devon.

Avery was to join Jeremiah Blake, a former Company agent gone native who turned out to be a genius at languages and disguises. The pair was to search for the missing English poet Xavier Mountstuart who has been sighted at some of the most dangerous places in all of India, overrun by the Thuggees. While wildly popular with the locals as well as audience at home (Avery being an avid fan himself), it was rumored that Mountstuart's next poem would likely lift the lid on Calcutta society, exposing not only the wickedness of the Company Sahibs, their greed and their immodesty, but also that of the princely courts of the "Hindoo and Mussulman" - a personification of the twisted gray trunks called "strangler vines" that squeeze the life out of other trees.

"Meticulously researched and packed with period detail," it will appeal to historical fiction fans who love action, adventure, and intrigue, particularly those of Bernard Cornwell, David Liss, and Iain Pears. Like many, I am waiting impatiently for the promised sequel The Infidel Stain, and to pick up the trail of this unforgettable investigative pair.

* * = 2 starred reviews

ALEX award winner Lock In

In February John Scalzi's book Lock In was one of 10 books to win the Alex award given out by the ALA and YALSA.

Lock In takes place in a world where 1.7 million people have contracted an illness that makes them unable to move or communicate. They are aware of their surrounding but unable to act, this syndrome is called "Locked In Syndrome" but in Scalzi's book they refer to the people who suffer from it as Haden's.
The world develops technology to let these Haden's move and be functional members of society. Now someone is killing them. Chris Shane is one of those and now he has to try and find out who is killing other Haden's and why.

This Sci Fi Mystery will grab you and make you want to finish.

If you are interested in reading more of John Scalzi's work you should out his Hugo award winners Old Man's War and Redshirts

Early Warning, sequel to Some Luck, is here!

Early Warning, the second book in Jane Smiley’s trilogy that follows a century in the life of a Midwestern farm family, is now available! The first book in the trilogy, Some Luck, was published in late 2014 and was well-received by critics and readers alike. Beginning in the early 1920s, Some Luck spanned over 30 years, carrying the family into the mid-twentieth century. Early Warning picks up where Some Luck left off, and continues on into the 1980s, following the next generations of the family.

Jane Smiley won the Pulitzer for her book A Thousand Acres, and her talents continue to shine in the Last Hundred Years trilogy. She deftly manages to keep the books going at a quick pace while still detailing intimate moments with various characters, and hitting historically important events in American history. Each chapter covers one year, and it takes awhile to adjust to the necessarily whirlwind pace of the book. With the years slipping past one another at so brisk a speed, Smiley leaves out many events that might be detailed in other books that span less time. But this pace really serves to highlight the events and emotions that Smiley does choose to include, and makes them infinitely more meaningful.

The final installment of the trilogy, The Golden Age, will be published in October 2015. You can read more about the trilogy and Smiley’s thoughts on it in this article.

Little Pig, Little Pig

This week Ms. Amanda read piggie stories at preschool storytime and boy did we have fun! We heard the tale of the Long-Nosed Pig and learned how pigs got their short snouts. We listened to Little Pig Joins the Band and we joined Little Pig in marching around the room to marching music by John Phillip Sousa played by the University of Michigan Band. And of course we had to hear an Elephant and Piggie story! These Mo Willems stories are treats and we read Happy Pig Day. If you're in the mood for more stories about pigs, check out some of these titles!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #528 - “A caregiver is changed by the culture of illness, just as one is changed by the dynamic era in which one lives." ~ Diane Ackerman

Shortlisted for the 2013 Costa First Novel Award, Meeting the English by award-winning Scottish poet Kate Clanchy brings to mind Maggie O'Farrell's Instructions for a Heatwave for the delectabe tragic/comic family drama, played out during one of London's sweltering heatwaves.

Having help nursed his single father through his final illness and worked part-time in an old people's home, 17 year-old Struan Robertson feels equipped to answer an ad for "Literary Giant seeks young man to push bathchair. Ideal 'gap year' opportunity." This brings the Cuik (Scotland) orphan south to London, into the chaotic household of Phillip Prys, playwright/novelist who recently suffered a massive stroke.

Arriving in London in the freakishly hot summer of 1989, smart but naïve Struan finds himself particularly unprepared to deal with the heat, with Phillip's two self-involved teenage children, two wives, and a literary agent who buzz about the house but too busy with their peculiar obsessions to lend a hand in Phillip's care. "As the city bakes, Struan finds himself tangled in a midsummer's dream of mistaken identity, giddying property prices, wild swimming, and overwhelming passions. For everyone, it is to be a life-changing summer."

In this "sharp-eyed satire of 1980s London...Clanchy brings to her portrait of Thatcher-era London an assured beauty of language and acid detail. The effect is that of a brilliant, multicolored fireworks display illuminating the antics of the residents of the London Zoo." Check out the full review in The Guardian, which praised this debut as "richly conceived, original and very entertaining."

For those who enjoyed The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison, and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.


Leopardpox!, by first-time author Orna Landau, is an adorable new addition to our collection. In the story, Sadie is having the funnest sick day ever. The reason why? Sadie has developed a wild case of the leopardpox!

When little Sadie falls ill and is transformed into a leopard cub (claws, spots and all), her mother doesn't know what to do. Sadie's mother takes her to the pediatrician, who cannot help because he is "a doctor for children, not for leopards". Sadie's brother suggests they take her to the veterinarian, who also cannot help due to the fact that Sadie is a perfectly healthy leopard cub. Sadie and her family race around town in an attempt to find a cure. Will Sadie have the leopardpox forever?

This imaginative story features delightful and cartoonish illustrations and small, funny details throughout the book (particularly the ending). Fans of the book may also enjoy other silly stories such as Diary of a Worm, Duck on a Bike or Niño Wrestles the World.

New Teen Fiction for Summer!

The library has just added a ton of new teen fiction titles to our collection. Here’s a preview of some of the brand new books, just in time for summer!

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly: A teen girl escapes from the cult where she has been held prisoner, only to find herself thrown in jail and suspected of knowing who murdered her former cult leader. In order to truly have the freedom that Minnow has always wanted, she will have to come to terms with parting with the secrets of her horrible past.

Boo: One minute Oliver is standing by his locker, and the next minute he finds himself in an afterlife exclusively for teens. He’s been a victim of a school shooting. As he adjusts to his new life in the “Town,” he meets another boy from his hometown who was a victim of the same shooter. As the two band together to figure out the identity of their murderer, they uncover a truth that will affect them both deeply.

After Hours: A group of diverse teens has found employment at a restaurant for the summer. After closing time, they play a dare-based gambling game called Tips, hoping to make additional money. Of course, scandals, secrets, and hook ups abound, making for a fast-paced and juicy read.

The Devil You Know: After a rough childhood working for her father and caring for her younger brother, rebellious Cadie takes off to join two of her cousins, who are hiking and camping their way through Florida for the summer. She learns soon after that one of these cousins just might be a murderer.

Check out these and lots of other exciting new books for teens at any of our AADL locations!

Cooking with Orange is the New Black

Fans of the hit TV show Orange is the New Black have June 12 on their calendars, as that’s when the 3rd season hits Netflix! Season 2 was quite the season and I’m excited to see what season 3 will bring and to see if the show can keep up the comedy magic.

To curb your craving for the show comes a special cookbook!

Orange is the New Black The Cookbook is written by the show’s creator Jenji Kohan and three others. It features recipes such as Taystee’s Sweet and Hot Chicken Wings, Big Boo’s Roasted Corn, Piper’s Cleanse, Pennsatucky’s Beer Can Bird, Crazy Eyes’s Exploding Strawberry Pie, Red’s Thanksgiving Gravy, and more. That’s right, your favorite characters write a little blurb (in their voice) and offer up recipes to suit their (and your) soul. Check it out! It’s funny!

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Lish McBride

Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Lish McBride.

McBride is from the Pacific Northwest (specifically in Seattle these days) and likes it there even though it rains a lot. She has a day job working at Third Place Books and holds an MFA in fiction from the University of New Orleans. She's also a big fan of wearing pajamas as often as possible.

Her debut novel, HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER (2010), tells the story of Seattle fast-wood worker Sam who discovers that he is a necromancer. His powers, though, are latent, and he’s going to need a lot of help figuring out this new way of … er, living, before a fellow necromancer who sees Sam as a threat to his business takes Sam out of the picture. It was a finalist for the ALA's William C. Morris Debut Award. NECROMANCING THE STONE (2012) is the sequel. McBride’s most recent book, FIREBUG (2014), is about pyrokinetic hitman Ava who escapes to a life on the road with her friends in attempts to escape the magical mafia she contracts with. A sequel, PYROMANTIC, is due out in 2016. FIREBUG and its sequel take place in the same world as HOLD ME CLOSER.

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