New Marvel Graphic Novels @ AADL

For fans of comic books, graphic novels, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe this weekend is sure to delight. Avengers: Age of Ultron debuts at theaters nationwide this Friday and Saturday is Free Comic Book Day at local comic book shops across the country. Before immersing yourself in this weekend’s festivities, take a second to check out these new Marvel books at AADL -- because once Ultron is over and your free comics have been read, you’ll need something to fill the void.

Avengers & X-Men: AXIS: When the Red Skull hijacks the brain of Professor Charles Xavier he is transformed into the Red Onslaught and World War Hate begins. Personalities, allegiances, and motivations become skewed and twisted and the Marvel Universe looks like nothing you’ve seen before.

Frank Miller’s Daredevil & Daredevil Vols. 1 and 2: Within eleven days of its Netflix release, Daredevil became the company’s most-watched original series. AADL has recently added the first two volumes of Marvel NOW’s Daredevil, and a three-volume set written by Frank Miller (300, Batman: Year One, Sin City). Drop in and spend some time with the defender of Hell's Kitchen.

Silver Surfer: Marvel relaunched this title in early 2014 with writer Dan Slott (Superior Spider-man) and artist Mike Allred bringing the cosmic traveler vividly to life. Allred’s art is the main attraction here; Allred’s pop-art style fits perfectly with the characters and landscape.

Ms. Marvel Vol. 2: Keep up with Kamala Khan as she navigates being both a teen and a superhero. Super-cute, super-fun, super-Marvelous!

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own

Kate Bolick’s 2011 Atlantic cover story “All the Single Ladies,” abruptly started a much-needed conversation about the role of single women in America, and about how our increasing numbers are changing contemporary culture. Stating that she “wanted to take advantage of the intimacy that a book offers, and draw the reader into my imaginary life, to better share the nuances of my single experience,” Bolick expanded the article into the recently published book Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own. The book’s premise is that solitude is a thing to treasure, not fear. How do women who are living, working, and aging alone construct meaningful lives? How do single women find a sense of community while also embracing their solitude—be it temporary or permanent? Bolick emphasizes that the number of women living alone in this country continues to increase: we marry later, the divorce rate is high, and life expectancies are getting longer. All these factors contribute to the 50% of women who consider themselves single today.

It’s refreshing to see the typical stereotypes of spinsters—cat ladies, strange aunts, etc—debunked in Bolick’s book. She highlights women like herself who have chosen to put work, friends, hobbies, travel, and other pursuits at the center of their lives. Of course, she also writes candidly about the challenges of a single life. Spinster offers a fresh look at singlehood, and the unique chances that it offers to live our lives authentically.

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Jennifer Armentrout


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 Jennifer Armentrout.

Armentrout hails from West Virginia and writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. Under the pen name J. Lynn, she has also written several adult and new adult novels. She enjoys watching bad zombie flicks and spending time with her husband and her Jack Russell named Loki.

The library owns many of Armentrout's books, including the Covenant series (begin with DAIMON) the Lux series (begin with OBSIDIAN), and the Dark Elements series (begin with WHITE HOT KISS). Her stand-alone book DON'T LOOK BACK (2014) was nominated for the 2014 Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. In it, seventeen-year-old Sam has what she thinks is the perfect life--hot boyfriend, popularity, wealth--until one night she and her best friend Cassie disappear. When Sam returns, she has amnesia: no memory of what has happened or where Cassie is. Realizing she wasn't a very good person before her disappearance, Sam is grateful for the chance to start anew, but snippets of memory are coming back to her, and the more she remembers, the more danger she's in from someone who wants to make sure that night is kept secret forever.

PreK BITS - "G" is for Gardens

Ms. Rachel told garden stories in Preschool Storytime this week.
“The Garden” is from FROG And TOAD ALL YEAR by Arnold Lobel
WHAT DOES BUNNY SEE? is a rhyming color and flower poetry book by Linda Sue Park
You can find the ”Wake Up You Sleepyheads” action song recorded on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! by the Allards.
Ms. Sara sang "The Garden Song" also known as "Inch By Inch". It is recorded on Ten Carrot Diamond by Charlotte Diamond.

For more spring garden stories try the following:
UP IN The GARDEN And DOWN IN The DIRT
LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN
BUMBLEBEE, BUMBLEBEE, DO YOU KNOW ME?
SOPHIE’S SQUASH. Sophie makes friends with a very special squash.
ALISON'S ZINNIA, an alphabet book.
MAKING BUTTERFLY GARDENS, a garden book for children to do with adults.
PLANT A LITTLE SEED. The children participate in community gardens.
TEN HUNGRY RABBITS, a color and vegetable garden book.
MUNCHA! MUNCHA! MUNCHA! by Candace Felming]
LINNEA IN MONET'S GARDEN, which can also be seen on DVD
Get out your garden gloves and prepare to plant.

Nature Anatomy: a book for the eye and the mind

The awesome new book Nature Anatomy, by Julia Rothman, is a delight for the eyes and the mind. In it, Rothman takes “the curious parts and pieces of the natural world” and diagrams and explains them beautifully. “If you’ve ever wanted to see how mountains are formed or wondered about the life cycle of a mushroom or the different types of feathers on a bird, you’ll delight in exploring Rothman’s diagrams, drawings and dissections,” reads the back cover of the book. I loved how “un-textbook” Rothman’s work is. Her drawings and explanations are simple, well-placed, and alternatingly cute and beautiful. There is enough detail to really learn about a given subject, but not so much that the casual reader would feel bogged down or bored. Truly, Nature Anatomy is a gem for both the least and the most science-minded.

Rothman is also the author of Farm Anatomy, a similarly designed and equally rewarding read.

"It's All Write!" Finalists Posted!

The finalists of the 2015 "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest are now officially posted! Thank you to all of the writers who participated. This year was the most competitive yet, with more entries than ever before and even better stories.

All writers are invited to the Awards Celebration on Sunday, June 7 with Rebecca Donovan for writing inspiration and delicious refreshments! Winners will be announced at the Awards Celebration and will be posted online on Monday, June 8.

Don't forget to keep on writing, writers of Ann Arbor and beyond! As Neil Gaiman so eloquently says, "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." To keep up your skills all spring and summer long, check out AADL's list of writing resources and books for teens!

Bruno, Chief of Police: Got Truffles?

Following the adventures of Bruno Courreges, the chief of police (in fact, the only police) in a small town of the Perigord in France, is a tour de force of excitement and pleasure. Well-conceived mysteries, comtemporary and edgy, are balanced with Bruno’s propensity for gardening, cooking, training his bassett hound puppy and riding his horse around the countryside. He is a friend and mentor to his whole village, protecting the farmers and market growers from egregious and invasive regulations, coaching the kids' tennis and rugby teams and upholding a strong, but individual, sense of rightness about surviving the vagaries of modern life and the bureaucrats of the EU. A nice juxtaposition here of domesticity, small-village life in modern France and the inevitable murder and mayhem.

Bruno has his own website and, rumor has it, a cookbook coming soon, but start with these recipes. He has become a larger-than-life character whose exploits and lifestyle provide an enviable counterpoint to, well, everyday life. I recommend you start with Bruno, Chief of Police and proceed in order through the eight (so far) books!

Library Lists: Nonfiction for Fiction Readers

I used to spend most of my time reading fiction and would often have to force myself to pick up a nonfiction book, even if it was about a subject I'm truly interested in. There’s so much great nonfiction out there though that sometimes I felt like I’m missing out (and indeed I was)! If you’re interested in reading more nonfiction but still crave the sweeping storylines and character development of novels, the books on this list are a great place to start your delve into the nonfiction world.

Devil in the White City combines the story of the planning and execution of the Chicago World’s Fair with that of a serial killer who targeted his victims throughout the duration of the Fair. The two stories complement one another well, making for a gripping story that reads just like a fictional murder mystery—with the added chills of being real!

Wild is Cheryl’s Strayed’s now famous account of her physical and personal journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. After a tough childhood and young adulthood, Strayed makes the decision to hike the PCT as a way to heal her mind and her heart, and to challenge her body. Her account of her journey is riveting and brutal, making for a fast-paced, breathtaking read.

The Tipping Point: Malcom Gladwell is known for his popular books on sociology and psychology. This was his first, and revolves around the psychology of the magical moment when a trend becomes a trend. Also try Outliers and David and Goliath, both also by Gladwell.

The Warren Commission Report: a graphic investigation into the Kennedy assassination is a well-researched and wonderfully designed non-fiction graphic novel. It clearly and concisely presents the all-too-often muddled details of the JFK assassination and ensuing investigation and is a great book for both readers who are generally unfamiliar with the event, and for those who know a great deal about it but want to see the subject presented in a unique manner.

Set in the fascinating, beautiful, mysterious Savannah, Georgia, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has a cast of characters that are completely unforgettable. The book begins almost as a travel log, with author John Berendt describing unique details about Savannah and offering interesting historical facts about the city and surrounding area to readers. These chapters are so engrossing, that it’s easy to forget that the book actually becomes a true crime story. When that turning point does occur, it happens subtly and smoothly, and the book slides gracefully from a Southern narrative to a revealing look at a strange and unlikely murder mystery.

In I Wear the Black Hat, cultural critic Chuck Klosterman theorizes about how the modern world understands the concept of villainy. Why are some villains lauded as anti-heroes while others, who have often committed lesser crimes, destined to be hated by the masses until the end of time? Find out in this witty, culturally relevant analysis of mass media.

Since its publication in the late 1990s, The Boys of Summer has been a favorite of sports lovers everywhere. Roger Kahn, the “dean of American sports writers,” shares his stories of growing up down the street from Ebbets Field, and delves deeply into the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers leading up to their 1955 win of the World Series. Kahn then tracks the fascinating stories of the players as they age and move beyond their baseball-playing years. A great read for fans of baseball, history, Americana, or all of the above.

Women in Clothes is a unique, almost artistic piece. Compiled by four friends, the book includes advice and anecdotes from over six hundred women and dwells on not just what we wear but on all the elements of style. As the back cover reads, Women in Clothes is “an exploration into the questions we ask ourselves while getting dressed every day.”

Desert Solitaire is Edward Abbey’s classic recount of his time spent in the wilderness of the American southwest. The book is adventurous, passionate, poetic, and clever. Its ongoing popularity is a testament to its timelessness… and its ability to allow readers to experience a place that, for the most part, no longer exists.

A Short History of Nearly Everything is a scientific odyssey like no other by beloved author Bill Bryson. In this book, he attempts to understand everything—and impart his understanding to readers—from the Big Bang to the rise of civilizations. He takes challenging subjects: geology, physics, astronomy, paleontology… and does his best to make them understandable to people who, like himself, were rendered bored or terrified of science in school.

There are even more great books for the reluctant nonfiction reader on this more extensive list!

It's Only Stanley!

"It's very late, and Stanley is up to something. Will you figure out what he's doing before his sleepy family does?"

Author Jon Agee, known for his whimsical and deeply funny picture books, has just published a new gem: It's Only Stanley.

This charming story begins with the family dog Stanley howling at the moon late one night. The Wimbledon family springs awake, only to find that "it's only Stanley". But the story doesn't end there. The Wimbledons are awoken time and time again, as Stanley's activities become more and more fantastical. The clanking sound that wakes the family turns out to be Stanley fixing the oil tank, and the funky smell emanating from the kitchen is only Stanley making catfish stew. The story builds until it culminates in a very satisfying (yet somewhat bizarre) ending.

The entire story is written in verse, which adds a nice rhythm to this fun read-aloud. The simple watercolor illustrations also add to the story, with hidden gags and clues that hint towards the book's surprising ending. This hilarious book is a must-read for fans of Click Clack Moo.

For more interesting and hilarious reads by Jon Agee, check out Orangutan Tongs : Poems to Tangle Your Tongue, The Retired Kid, and Who Ordered the Jumbo Shrimp? : and Other Oxymorons.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #526

Lady Montfort's (Clementine Elizabeth Talbot) annual summer ball is the highlight of the season, not just for the household but for the county, and all their London friends. With the millions of details to be seen to, her ladyship relies heavily on her capable and resourceful housekeeper Edith Jackson, a handsome woman in her early thirties. The 1912 ball went off without a hitch. Even the weather was perfect to show off the Montfort's new sunken garden. Tragedy strikes in the early hours of the next morning when the gamekeeper finds a body, hanging in a gibbet that turns out to be that of Teddy Mallory, Lord Montford's dishonorable nephew, just expelled from Christ Church, Oxford.

When it was discovered that a new housemaid and one of their London guests also disappeared during the night, Scotland Yard gets involved. After unwittingly witnessed a violent confrontation between her son Harry, Lord Haversham and Teddy in the early evening, Lady Montfort fears that the official police inquiry is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect. Taking matters into her own hands, the countess enlists the help of Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case.

In Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman "an enchanting debut, author Tessa Arlen (incorporates) exquisite period detail into her well-mannered mystery, offers readers an engaging peek into the lives of upper and lower classes of early 1900s England combined with a little history interspersed." For those who enjoyed English country house mysteries like Gosford Park and Kate Morton's The House at Riverton.

If the elegant estate on the jacket cover brings to mind another establishment depicted in a long-running Masterpiece Theatre TV series, it's intentional. In fact, Tessa Arlen will participate in a panel discussion entitled Downton Malice: British Historical Period Mysteries at the Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Maryland, Sunday, May 3, 2015.

Historical mystery fans interested specifically in the Edwardian era may wish to check out the author's Redoubtable Edwardians blog, choke-full of fabulous information and readalikes.

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