Fabulous Fiction Firsts #459 - Paris, far more than setting

Novelists' endless fascination with the city and we readers can't seem to get enough of it.

A Paris Apartment * - cramp, decrepit, shuttered for 70 years but it is Paris, and it is in the 9th arrondissement. Sotheby's European furniture specialist April Vogt is glad for the assignment, and for putting a little distance between her and a troubled marriage. Under the dust sheets, she finds a treasure trove of priceless furniture and works of art - one being a stunning portrait of Marthe de Florian, owner of the apartment and one of Belle Epoque's most renowned actresses/courtesans.

In Michelle Gable's debut, once April begins to read over letters and journals written by Marthe, suddenly it is no longer about the materiality and provenance of the objects, but more about an extraordinary life lived and the secrets buried in the apartment. In the process, April is force to take a deeper look into herself.

"Gable's debut is strongest when Paris is the focus...". "With its well-developed, memorable characters and the author's skillful transitioning between story lines, finding similarities in the lives of two women decades apart, this stunning and fascinating debut will capture the interest of a wide audience but particularly those interested in stories about women behind famous men..."

I am Having So Much Fun Here Without You * is a sardonic dig at Richard Haddon's predicament. In Courtney Maum's debut, as the novel opens in 2002, English artist Richard Haddon is on top of the world. His first solo show in a trendy gallery sold out. His beautiful French wife Anne, is a successful attorney with pedigree, and wealthy in-laws had bestowed on the young couple a palatial apartment at an enviable Pairs address. Then Anne finds the letters from Richard's mistress, a brash and sexy American journalist who has since moved on. Well, sort of.

In an effort to win back Anne's respect and affection, Richard intends to create the next masterpiece, proposing a controversial installation that would be a sly critique on Iraq's role in the global conflict around the issues of Weapon of Mass Destruction.

"Equally funny and touching, the novel strikes deep, presenting a sincere exploration of love and monogamy. These characters are complex, and their story reflects their confusion and desire... (a)n impressive, smart novel". (This debut is one of Library Reads picks for June).

Now, most appropriate for the City of Love, Emma Mars' (a pseudonym) Hotelles * - "Rife with sexual tension and mystery" this first tale in a trilogy is about a young Paris escort; the Hotel des Charmes where each room is dedicated to one of French history's greatest seductresses; and a silver notebook.

"Funny, sensual, candid, and revealing". It has been compared to The Story of O by Pauline Réage, originally published in 1954 and quickly became the talk of the Paris salons and cafes. While the identity of the author remains shrouded for 40 years, the novel went on to win the prestigious Prix des Deux Magots in 1955, and is still one of the most "curious and mysterious novels of recent times".

While I have your attention...just one more. Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 * *, an electrifying union of fact and fiction by Francine Prose, built around a famous photograph entitled Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle, 1932 by Brassai. Prose originally intends to write a biography of Violette Morris, a decorated athlete, race-car driver, and Nazi collaborator (she is the one NOT in a dress).

"In an intricately patterned, ever-morphing, lavishly well-informed plot..., it is Paris in the 1920s (that) shimmers with excitement, dissipation, and freedom. It is a place of intoxicating ambition, passion, art, and discontent, where louche jazz venues like the Chameleon Club draw expats, artists, libertines, and parvenus looking to indulge their true selves." "A dark and glorious tour de force".

* = starred review
* * = 2 starred reviews

Moo!

There are a lot of books about mooing at AADL. If you’re a reader of children’s picture books, animals and animal sounds are heavily featured in this area. Moo! by David LaRochelle is one of my favorite new picture books, and it’s told with only one word: MOO!

The gist of the story is that the cow gets ahold of the farmer’s car and takes it for a ride, and well, things don’t go so well for him. The coolest part of the whole book is that the entire is story is told using only the word “moo.” It’s a great opportunity for kids to learn about reading aloud, voice inflection and how the same word sounds differently when said with a “.” or an “!” at the end. Moo. Moo? Moo! Mooooooooooooo. Give it a whirl be ready to laugh!

Best New Music At AADL

AADL is constantly adding to its diverse selection of new CDs. If you're seeking some great new tunes, consider the following must-hear material.

"Modern Creation," The Whigs: Hailing from Atlanta, the Whigs are one of the solidest rock bands working today. They didn't quite break the big time with their great 2010 release, "In the Dark," but they've gone right on cranking out fun and unfussy records. The Whigs used to have more punk-inspired fire in their blood, but the band has eased up its average tempo a little to create more laid-back hooks that make for perfect summer driving jams. This record's lead single, "Hit Me," is a standout example of that formula. And if you like this one, check out the band's excellent 2012 release, "Enjoy the Company," also recently added to AADL's catalog!

"Teeth Dreams," The Hold Steady: With their sixth LP, the Hold Steady continue to prove themselves America's most literary (and, perhaps, all-around best) bar band. The big guitars and catchy riffs are great, but if you're not paying attention they can also be deceptively simple. Frontman Craig Finn is a true poet, spinning incisive, wistful and funny tales of barflies, townies and scenesters. Dig the amusing portrait of a girl you just can't take seriously in "Big Cig," or the anthemic "Spinners," which exhorts the weary-hearted to "get back out there" and find love. The songs are great rockers at surface level, but they're shot through with a distinguishing sense of humanity and positivity.

"Tomorrow's Hits," The Men: The Men got their start about five years ago with some pretty wild punk records, but they've since refined their sound to incorporate poppier hooks and some elements of classic Americana. That's still not to say the group is particularly polished; drummer Rich Samis botches a fill within the record's first 30 seconds, and the production is far from slick. But the band makes up for technical precision with sheer energy, recalling Crazy Horse's thundering majesty on "Dark Waltz," the Band's Southern shuffle on "Sleepless" and the shaggy charm of the Replacements in pretty much every track. Behold the piano- and horn-led momentum of "Another Night," and just try to resist.

Find more great new CDs here.

Games People Play

Just in time for summer, we have added games to our list of Unusual Stuff to Borrow. But, not just any ol' games! We now have giant-sized versions of small games and small-sized versions of giant games. Available only Downtown, we have giant lawn Checkers, giant Dominos, a mini Ping Pong table, Kubb and more, available for all AADL cardholders to check out.

The games are limited in quantity, and are on a first-come first-serve basis; they may not be renewed or requested. You can see the full catalog list of games here.

PreK BITS - SPRING time STORIES

Who's seen TULIPS? Whose seen ROBINS with WORMS?
Who's heard THUNDER? Who wears BOOTS in the RAIN?
Who's seen GREEN GRASS?
It's SPRING !!!

Ms. Rachel led WAITING For SPRING STORIES in Storytime.
The Bunnies hid from the rain. The Wind stole the clothes from the laundry line and the Tree gave the clothes back.
Everyone in the house got into bed as the thunder went BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!.

If you want more stories of SPRING, here are some favorites:
999 FROGS WAKE UP by Ken Kimura
KEVIN DISCOVERS SPRING by Liesbet Slegers
FLETCHER And The SPRINGTIME BLOSSOMS by Julia Rawlinson
SPRING THINGS by Bob Raczka
10 HUNGRY RABBITS by Anita Lobel
RUNNY BABBIT: A Billy Sook ... poetry in spoonerisms by Shel Silverstein

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #458

Julia Dahl, a reporter for CBS News and the New York Post specializing in crime and criminal justice impresses with her debut Invisible City *. A solid good read for fans of Gillian Flynn, Cara Hoffman and Laura Lippman. (Check out the New York Times Sunday Book Review).

Twenty-something Rebekah Roberts thinks herself lucky to be hired on as a stringer for the New York Tribune, a daily tabloid. On a brutal winter's evening, she is sent to cover a story at a Brooklyn scrap yard where the body of a woman, head shaved and naked is found. Before the identity of the victim could be established, the body is carried off and quickly buried without an autopsy. She is shocked by the NYPD's lackadaisical handling of the case and its reluctance to cross the ultra-orthodox Hasidic community, even at the risk of letting a killer get away with murder.

There is also a personal reason for Rebekah to keep pursuing the story. She is drawn to this cloistered world of the Hasidic community, hoping to find out more about her mother who abandoned her as an infant to return to her Hasidic roots. Then she crosses path with a rogue detective who knows her mother, arranges for Rebekah to interview persons close to the victim, and presses her to get at the truth. "As Rebekah wades deeper into her mother's world, she finds both brutal truths and a society that eschews outsiders."

"This novel is particularly notable for its combination of a skillfully wrought, increasingly suspenseful mystery populated by well-drawn characters and a deeply sympathetic understanding of a contemporary culture that remains insular for its own understandable reasons."

The explosive conclusion clearly anticipates a sequel. Can't wait.

* = starred review

The Secret of Raven Point

My memories of my late grandfather always involve the stories he told about his time in the army during World War II. I feel lucky that I was able to hear them before he died ten years ago. But did he talk only about the happy ones? What else did he experience that I will never know about? The Secret of Raven Point is a beautiful, moving story about a teenage girl who learns the hard way about the horrific nature of war and what it can do to people. I feel that this book deepened my connection with my own grandfather because it gave me a clearer glimpse of what he may have experienced, and why he needed to tell his story over and over.

The main character in the book, Juliet Dufresne, lies about her age, becomes a nurse and travels to the front lines in Italy when she receives a cryptic letter from her enlisted brother. She learns that he is missing and is desperate to find out what happened to him and whether he can be rescued. Meanwhile, she begins to work with a psychiatrist who is trying to prevent a patient who has experienced post-traumatic stress from facing court-martial for desertion in battle. The patient is so traumatized he cannot even speak. By coincidence, this same man may be the only one who knows what happened to Juliet’s brother, and helping the patient overcome his PTSD may be the only way to save him.

Myths and Common Fallacies

Have you ever wondered if what you were taught in school is completely wrong? Is blood really blue in the veins as it travels back to the heart like it is in textbook illustrations? Were Greek statues really colorless, boring decorations in the ancient world? By reading The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew you’ll learn that so much of the information that you think you know is factually inaccurate.

Did Marie Antoinette really say "Let them eat cake"? Did Columbus really discover that the world was round in 1492? Find out by reading more about common historical misconceptions like Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of World History or Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History.

Cutie and The Boxer

In the late 1960s, nineteen year old art student Noriko fell in love with 41 year old artist Ushio Shinohara. She put her own art career on hold to support his rising career in the bustling alcohol infused Manhattan art scene. The documentary Cutie and the Boxer tells the story of their long relationship and how they have struggled and survived together for over forty years, wondering if Ushio’s art will sell or if they’ll be able to make rent.

In his 80s Ushio continues with his “boxing” paintings, while Noriko has found a new voice in her own modern work as they embark on a joint exhibition. It’s a delightful documentary about what relationships can sustain over time, and how art can induce a magical atmosphere that can foster love. The film was nominated for a 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

New TV Shows @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new series on their way to AADL:

Orange is the New Black, Season 1
Brooklynite Piper Chapman's wild past comes back to haunt her 10 years later and results in her arrest and detention in a federal penitentiary. To pay her debt to society, Piper trades her comfortable New York life for an orange prison jumpsuit and finds unexpected conflict and camaraderie amidst an eccentric group of inmates. The critically acclaimed show is from the creator of Weeds and premiered as a Netflix-only TV show. The show is based on the memoir.

The Returned, Season 1
A seemingly random group of people find themselves in a state of confusion as they attempt to return home. What they don't know is that they have been dead for several years, and no one is expecting them back. Buried secrets emerge as they grapple with reality, struggling to reintegrate with their friends and families. But they aren't the only ones back from the dead. Their arrival coincides with a series of gruesome murders that resembles the work of a serial killer from the past.

Maverick, Seasons 1- 4
There were never more charismatic cowboys than Bret and Bart Maverick. Right from the beginning of the very first episode, Bret cons and card-sharks his way from town to town, followed later in the first season by Bart, who knows all his brother's tricks and then some. The Maverick boys, equally adapt with six-shooters as they are with a deck of cards, run up against poker cheats, outlaws, bandits, Indians, sheriffs, cattle hustlers, fortune hunters and even ghosts.

Ripper Street, Seasons 1 and 2
Haunted by the failure to catch London's most evil killer, Jack the Ripper, Inspector Edmund Reid now heads up the notorious H Division, the toughest police district in the East End. Reid and his men find themselves fighting to uphold justice and the rule of law, always fearing the Ripper is coming back for another reign of terror.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

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