Fabulous Fiction Firsts #494 - “Magic: it was what happened when the mind met the world, and the mind won for a change.” ~ Lev Grossman

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg is "an extraordinary adventure both dark and whimsical that will delight (readers) of all ages."

19 year-old Ceony Twill, graduated (at the top of her class) from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Despite her dreams of being a smelter, she has been assigned as a "Folder," (paper magic) - the lowest in the hierarchy in the pantheon of magicians.

Things get off to a rocky start when she is greeted at the door by a paper skeleton, but under the tutelage of the amiable Emery Thane, Ceony learns to bring the most amazing paper creatures to life. That is until Emery's past comes back to haunt him. To save her teacher's life, Ceony must face an Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic and embark on an unbelievable adventure.

Just released is The Glass Magician, the sequel.

If you have been floundering for something magical to read since The Night Circus, your wait is over. Fans of Karen Russell and Lev Grossman might want to check these out too.

Chicken Soup with Rice, so nice!

In November’s gusty gale I will flop my flippy tail
And spout hot soup-I’ll be a whale!
Spouting once, spouting twice
Spouting chicken soup with rice!

There is a small collection of books that travels through life with me and comes out when I want the comfort of an old friend. The book Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak is one of them and is almost always plucked from the bookshelf around the time the leaves near the end of their fall dance and coats and mittens become a part of my daily wardrobe. Written in 1962, it‘s part of a small collection of books Sendak called the Nutshell Library. (The other titles in the series are: Alligators All Around: an alphabet, One was Johnny: a counting book and Pierre: a cautionary tale.) Each book tells a different story in rhyme and covers topics like the months, counting and the alphabet. Chicken Soup with Rice covers the days of the month and you get the picture early on that the little boy in the book really loves chicken soup with rice! The book is delicious in its play with rhymes and the illustrations are true Maurice Sendak. A nice compliment to this little gem can be found on Carol King’s CD Really Rosie. She put the words to song and created a nice little ditty that will have you humming it for days.

PreK BITS - "J" for Journey and Jaguar

Ms. Rachel received "J" in the Letter Box .... so-o what can you do with "J" ?

Mouse went on a "Journey" to mother's house ... a story from MOUSE TALES by Arnold Lobel.
We used verbs that begin with "J" (jiggle; jog; jazz; jitterbug; jump) to the tune of "Walk Walk Walk ... Around The Block" ... accompanied by Miss Sara's music.
Jaguar took a jealous journey with his jungle drum, ... just as Leopard did in LEOPARD'S DRUM, an Asanti trickster folk tale.

For more books on Journeys:
JOURNEY, an illustrated masterpiece for taking a visual journey.
DREAM ANIMALS a Bedtime Journey
FOLLOWING PAPA'S SONG
WE'RE SAILING DOWN The NILE, a Journey Through Egypt
The QUEEN'S PROGRESS, a sumptuous journey through the English countryside with Queen Elizabeth I in 1500 on her way to her summer home.
MY NAME I NOT ALEXANDER an imaginative journey, where Alexander discovers how great men become heroes.
RED KNIT CAP GIRL

Hook's Revenge!

New to the shelves is Heidi Schulz's Hook's Revenge! This rousing adventure book features thirteen-year old Jocelyn, better know as Captain Hook's only daughter! After Hook meets his untimely end, Jocelyn must track down the fearsome crocodile that killed him in order to avenge her famous father. Along the way, Jocelyn meets a few familiar faces, including pirates, mermaids, fairies, and even Smee, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys themselves. Especially hilarious is the narrator, who tends to be a bit.... snarky. Over the course of the novel, Jocelyn finds her calling behind the helm of her ship and leads her swashbuckling friends through dangerous adventures. Hook's Revenge is a funny and touching book about a young girl struggling to find her place in the world.

Looking for other popular pirate books? Try Magic Marks the Spot and it's sequel: The Terror of the Southlands. Both novels are a part of The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series by Caroline Carlson, and follow main character Hilary Westfield, a girl who escapes finishing school to join a group of buccaneers on their pirate adventures.

British culinary history comes to life in Historic Heston

I was fascinated when I picked up the amazing new cookbook Historic Heston, by Heston Blumenthal. The book is a James Beard Award Winner for Cookbook of the Year 2014 and that prize was certainly well-deserved. In this fascinating tome, Blumenthal takes readers and chefs on a journey through the culinary history of Britain, from the middle ages all the way to modern day. “Alighting upon the most iconic and intriguing dishes, such as Meat Fruit, Powdered Duck, Tipsy Cake and Mock Turtle Soup, he delves into the story behind each one, before using them as inspiration for his own modern recipes,” reads the cover. I was particularly wonder-struck by the photography in the cookbook by Romas Foord: the image of a beautiful orange on one page is revealed to be constructed completely out of marzipan on the next. Later in the book, a close-up of meat stew is detailed enough to expose the individual spices in the broth. Seeing the ancient dishes as they would have been created in midieval times is a treat and Blumenthal’s adaptations to make them modern are completely usable. Historic Heston is truly a must-peruse for those interested in cooking, photography or British history.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday February 19, 2015: 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 and considerations of fiction and non-fiction writing.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday January 22, 2015: 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 and considerations of fiction and non-fiction writing.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #493 - “I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians.” ~ Francis Ford Coppola

Named 2008 Film Blogger of the Year by GQ (check out Self-Styled Siren), and freelance movie reviewer for the New York Post Farren Smith Nehme entertains and intrigues readers and film buffs alike with Missing Reels * - a "totally cinematic debut novel of young love, old movies, and an epic search for a long-lost silent film."

New York in the late 1980s. Ceinwen Reilly has just arrived from Yazoo City, Mississippi. Her min. wage job at a vintage store stretches barely to cover a shared shabby walkup on Avenue C; cigarettes; and her passion - classic movies. One day, Ceinwen, wearing one of her retro finds elicits a comment from their elderly neighbor Miriam. A glimpse of a photograph convinces Ceinwen of Miriam's starring role in the silent films.

When a charming British mathematician Matthew Hill breezes into Ceinwen's life, bringing wit, conversations, romance, and an introduction to Matthew's mentor who is a silent film history aficionado, Ceinwen (with Matthew trailing along) begins earnestly researching and tracking down the reels of Miriam's long-lost film masterpiece.

"The amateur gumshoes quickly find themselves immersed in a subculture of quirky film enthusiasts housing aging reels in basements, university archives, and private clubs across the city."

"A novel as winning and energetic as the grand Hollywood films that inspired it, Missing Reels is an irresistible, alchemical mix of Nora Ephron and David Nicholls that will charm and delight."

Feeling a little star-struck? You might enjoy:
The Age of Dreaming by Nina Revoyr; Not Without You by Harriet Evans; The Actress by Amy Sohn; Fame by Tilly Bagshawe; and Sunnyside by Glen David Gold.

* = starred review

New Craft Books!

Have you been keeping up with all the new craft books that have been rolling in? Book on crafting all sorts of things, including sewing, paper love, duct tape engineering, repurposing, and more. Now that the days get dark so early, it's a perfect time to start planning some new at-home projects to work on this fall and winter. I know I like to hunker down with old TV shows on DVD and a new project to keep me going. Here are a few stand-out titles:

Love At First Stitch

Scissors, Paper, Craft

Handcrafted Christmas: ornaments, decorations, and cookie recipes to make at home

Half yard heaven: easy sewing projects using left-over pieces of fabric

No-sew love: 50 fun projects to make without a needle and thread

And here are more of the new crafty maker books to keep an eye out for! Tis the season to craft. Wait, tis always the season to craft.

Once Upon An Alphabet

If words make up stories, and letters make up words, then stories are made of letters.
In this menagerie we have stories, made of words, made FOR all the letters.

Once Upon An Alphabet: Short Stories For All the Letters is written and illustrated by the amazing Oliver Jeffers. The picture book has a (cute or charming or funny or silly or weird or dark) short story for each letter of the alphabet, accompanied by quirky and beautiful illustrations. The stories feature some great vocabulary that dances off the page. This book is a real treat for both adults and children who aren't afraid of dark humor. (All the letters have great stories, but I recommend W. Since W is for Whiraffe!)

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