Only 8 months to wait for Wimpy Kid #8!

Eight’s the magic number (as in Magic 8-Balls) as Abrams Books for Young Readers announced the publication of the eighth title in Jeff Kinney’s bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair on Monday. The book will be published by Abrams’s Amulet Books imprint in the U.S. in November, with near-simultaneous publication taking place in seven additional countries: the U.K., Australia, Germany, Greece, Japan, Korea, and Norway.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Greg Heffley’s stories would be enjoyed by this many kids around the world,” said Kinney in a statement. While the title and exact release date of the new book have yet to be revealed, Abrams did release some teaser art (seen here), which suggests that—as usual—luck may not be on Greg’s side in the new book.

More than 85 million Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are in print in more than 44 territories; the three Wimpy Kid movies, based on the first three books in Kinney’s series, have grossed more than $250 million worldwide.

Yurt Living

It always happens, when life gets hectic and deadlines are knocking on my door I start thinking how wonderful it would be to escape and live in a Yurt somewhere in the the woods.

I became fascinated with yurts after watching the PBS Nature program Wild Horses of Mongolia with Julia Roberts. In this show Julia Roberts lives with a Mongolian family, experiencing life as a nomad while developing a special relationship with her hosts who live amongst wild horses. (One of their main staples is fermented mare’s milk that Julia describes as, “A fizzy warm…yogurt”.) While not a huge Julia fan, I find her to be captivating in this series. She's strikingly beautiful without any make-up or hair dresser to glam her up. Her happiness fills the screen!

A traditional yurt is a circular shelter used by nomads in Central Asia. They have been around for centuries and are designed to be dismantled and the parts carried compactly on camels or yaks and rebuilt on another site. Complete construction takes around 2 hours! Incidentally, the structures shown in this documentary are not yurts proper. Mongolians live in what is known as a Ger. It is a one-room transportable abode that often does not have a bathroom, running water or heat.

However, I’m not interested in nomadic yurt or ger living. I want a relaxing designer-style yurt complete with hardwood floors, running water and top of the line appliances. Yurts have become very popular in the United States as low cost, eco-friendly abodes. This form of micro-architecture has optimized the original yurt concept to create a shelter that is unwavering, easy to install, light-weight and leaves no residual damage to the ground because no permanent foundation is used. That’s the kind of yurt I’m talking about! Throw in a wall of books, Wi-fi connection and a nearby grocery store and I’d be all set!

If you’re ambitious and want to attempt the construction on your own, check out this book Tipis & yurts : authentic designs for circular shelters.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #389

Child of Vengeance *, the debut novel by David Kirk is part military history, part family saga, part action/adventure, based on the real-life exploits of Japan's greatest samurai - the legendary Musashi Miyamoto.

17th-century Japan was a land in turmoil where lords of the great clans schemed against each other, served by samurai bound to them by a rigid code of honor. Abandoned at an early age by his samurai father, young Bennosuke is raised by his uncle Dorinbo, a Shinto monk in their ancestral village. Though urged by Dorinbo to renounce Bushido, the "Way of the Warrior", Bennosuke worships his absent father. When Munisai returns, gravely injured, Bennosuke is forced to confront truths about his family's history and his own place in it, leading eventually onto a path "awash with blood, bravery, and vengeance", and culminating in the epochal Battle of Sekigahara in which Bennosuke will first proclaim his name as Mushashi Miyamoto.

Legendary director Hiroshi Inagaki first captured the saga of Musashi Miyamoto on film in The Samurai Trilogy, adaptations of the novels by Eiji Yoshikawa. Readers might also enjoy samurai character-driven novels, especially the historical mystery series by Laura Joh Rowland which depicts the precarious fortunes of Lord Ichiro Sano.

British David Kirk first became interested in Japan when his father gave him a copy of James Clavell's Shōgun : a novel of Japan. He has written his dissertation on samurai cinema, and now lives and teaches English in Japan.

* = starred review

Extraordinary Tale of Survival

Like all accounts of the Holocaust The Girl in the Green Sweater is disturbing and riveting at the same time. Krystyna Chiger is a young child when her family flees into the sewers to escape the final liquidation of Jews in Lvov, Poland. The Chigers do not spend those 14 months alone in the sewers. They start out as a group of around 20 people who all have connections to one another, but as time passes, there are people who choose to leave the sewers and take their chances above ground and others who die underground. In between these weighty occurrences, Chiger explains some of the everyday tasks that this tiny community had to preform in order to survive. This provides a surprising and disturbing look at what humans can actually live through. Being surrounded by human waste and severely lacking clean water, it is amazing that there were not more fatalities. This story of survival is inspiring, especially when told through the eyes of a child.

The importance of family is emphasized continually throughout the narrative. More than once Chiger describes horrific conditions but goes on to say that she did not mind them because her family was together. It is heart wrenching to think about all of the families that were not so lucky.

If this story interests you, but you are more cinematically inclined, you can check out In Darkness which is the new film depiction of the little community's time in the sewer from the director of Europa, Europa, Agnieszka Holland.

For an overwhelming list of other materials regarding the Holocaust, click here.

Pitch Perfect on DVD

I didn’t expect to enjoy Pitch Perfect, but I did. Beca is a freshman in college and she has no interest in college life. She’d rather be in the real world DJing and producing music. Her father is a professor at the school and makes a deal with her that if she is in college for a year and joins a club and hates it, she gets to drop out and he’ll pay her way to LA to make music.

Enter the Barden Bellas. The Bellas are an all girls a cappella group that take on their rival male singing group, and surprisingly, talented outsider Beca is able to add some life to their stale routines, which creates tension between her and the group's leader who isn't into changing up.

The film is quite funny with the singing cast offering many one liners. Watching the cast members create and perform the musical routines is pretty entertaining.

Wonderful World Languages # 4

Are you interested in films in other languages but just don’t know where to start? It can seem daunting to pick a movie to watch when it’s not in your native language. With “A Separation” in Persian, you can be sure of a great viewing experience. It won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011 as well as awards from the Fajr Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, the Golden Globes, the New York Film Critics Circle, and many more.

“A Separation”, a film by renowned director Asghar Farhadi, is a gripping drama about two families torn apart by love, fear, and lies. It begins with the debate of a married couple, Simin and Nader, who argue over bringing their daughter to Europe for a better life. They decide their only choice is divorce, because Nader needs to stay behind to care for his aging father with Alzheimer’s disease. Once a maid is hired to help care for the father, everything begins to fall apart.

Experience this great movie by checking it out on Blu-Ray or DVD from the AADL! You may also want to view Asghar Farhadi’s other great films, including “Fireworks Wednesday,” and “Low Heights.” Please note: "A Separation" offers subtitles in English and French, and presents some mature topics that are not suitable for children.

Audio Description Track on DVD!

AADL continues to grow its collection of films that have a Descriptive Video Service or DVS feature. More films are being produced for children and adults that are Described Video Recordings for L Card users to borrow. Some are even available by mail to our WLBPD patrons as Free Matter for the Blind. If your vision isn't what it used to be, you may want to try watching a film with described narration. That way you don't have to ask other folks what's happening on the screen and can concentrate on the film.

Ann Arbor Film Festival: Films, Archives, DVDs

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is next week! I love this time of year. So many films to see in just a few days time. Have you been hawking over the schedule and taking notes of what you’d like to see? Be ready, as the fun begins gala-style on Tuesday, March 19 and runs through Sunday, March 24.

Established in 1963, The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America, and we are lucky to have it in our own backyard. The 51st annual festival is bringing some wonderful experimental films to the Michigan Theater, and a visit from Ken Burns is also on deck!

Fore more film fodder, be sure to check out the Ann Arbor Film Festival Archive, accessible online. You’ll have full access to old photos, flyers, articles, festival programs, and interviews from past festivals. Meanwhile, to view some of the films of past festivals, check out these collections available at AADL:

Time Pieces: 46th Ann Arbor Film Festival, DVD collection, Volume 1

Unexplored territories: 47th Ann Arbor Film Festival, DVD collection, Volume 2

48th Ann Arbor Film Festival, DVD collection, Volume 3

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #387

When Kirkus Reviews called a novel "an outstanding debut", you take notice.

Truth in Advertising* * * by John Kenney is "wickedly funny, honest, at times sardonic, and ultimately moving story about the absurdity of corporate life, the complications of love, and the meaning of family".

Christmas is just around the corner. Madison Avenue ad-man Finbar Dolan is forced to cancel a much anticipated vacation in order to write/produce a commercial for his diaper account in time for the Super Bowl. Closing in on 40 and having recently called off a wedding, he is a bit of a mess and doesn't quite know it.

Unfortunately (or fortunately as it turns out...) things get worse. His long-estranged and once-abusive father is dying and reluctantly, Fin returns to his Boston root and comes face to face with a traumatized childhood he tries hard to forget.

"With wry wit, excellent pacing, and pitch-perfect, often hilarious dialog, New Yorker humorist and former advertising copywrite Kenney (website) has created something remarkable: a surprisingly funny novel about an adult American male finally becoming a man.

"(A) comic tour de force; for fans of Nick Hornby and Jonathan Tropper" and those who enjoyed the Mad Men series.

* * *= starred reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #385

Professional cellist Edward Kelsey Moore, whose short story "Grandma and the Elusive Fifth Crucifix" was selected as an audience favorite on NPR's Stories on Stage series just published his first novel. He lives in Chicago (website).

I sincerely hope you are not expecting The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat * being Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross, - the sensation from Detroit's Brewster-Douglass public housing project that helped put Motown Records on the map in the 1960s. But seriously, you won't be too disappointed once you've met Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean.

Dubbed "The Supremes" since their high school days, these Plainsview (IN) mavens have weathered life's storms together arm-in-arm. Dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband's infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean must try to live with a youthful mistake that continues to haunt her. Fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while entertaining visitations from her (dead) pot-smoking mother and an inebriated Eleanor Roosevelt. For four decades, what sustain these strong, funny women through marriages, children, happiness, and disappointments, is their Sunday table at Earl's Diner, the first black-own business in this racially divided town, where they can count on good food, gossip, occasional tears, uproarious banter and each other.

"With wit and love, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together four intertwined love stories, three devoted allies, and two sprightly earthbound spirits in a big-hearted debut novel that embraces the lives of people you will never forget."

Poised to give Waiting to Exhale, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Steel Magnolias a run for their money. Readers might also enjoy works by Pearl Cleage, and April Sinclair, or other novels on women's friendship.

* = starred review

Syndicate content