20 Feet From Stardom

Last summer I boasted about the wonderful documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom, that my nephew, Jason Zeldes, edited. Today it was nominated for an Oscar. It's simply impossible to sit still when you hear these remarkable women sing!

Family Science Workshop

Are you a dinosaur lover?

Then join us for Dining on Dinos: Long Necks, Sharp Teeth, Club Tails, Killer Claws on Saturday, January 18 from 10-11 AM at the Pittsfield Branch. This Family Science Workshop from the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History will introduce young dinosaur lovers to what fossils can teach us about dinosaurs. The event is intended for children K-5 accompanied by an adult.

You can learn more about dinosaur fossils by checking out these dinosaur fossil books. Be sure to also check out our Science Tools, some of which include models of dinosaur fossils.

See all of our upcoming Family Science Workshops here.

Writing Inspiration for Teens

Working on or even just thinking about writing a short story for the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest but need some inspiration? AADL has a lot of books with authors’ thoughts on writing:

King of the mild frontier: an ill-advised autobiography comes directly from Chris Crutcher, author of Deadline and Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories (providing fuel for the movie Angus). He shares details of his difficult childhood as well as the cathartic effects of writing.

Hole in my life by Jack Gantos combines harsh truths with aspiring hope. He discusses his 15 months in federal prison and how he turned his life around through writing and attending college. Gantos is well-known for Dead End in Norvelt, Rotten Ralph, and the Joey Pigza series.

Still need more inspiration? Check out this list of inspirational books with writing prompts and other teens’ stories. In honor of yesterday’s “John Green Day” at Mental Floss, you can read some of his quotes on writing.

Jon Stewart's movie based on this book


If you are a fan of the Daily Show, you probably know that host, Jon Stewart, has been in post-production on his movie directorial debut, Rosewater. But did you know that it is based on the book, Then they came for me : a family's story of love, captivity, and survival by Canadian-Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari ? It is a harrowing story of imprisonment for over 100 days in Iran's notorious Evin Prison and the brutal interrogation he endured. One of the most bizarre reasons he was imprisoned was for an 'interview' he had with Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones who was pretending to be a spy (Jones plays himself in the movie). The segment called Behind the Veil: Minarets of Menace can be found on the Daily Show's website here. According to Bahari's interrogators, this was proof he was making plans to overthrow their government. Bahari later stated that the captors knew it was satire but were looking for anything to keep him locked up. An excellent interview between Jones and Bahari after his release can be found here. Award winning Mexican actor, Gael Garcia Bernal will be portraying Bahari in the movie.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #448 - "The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time" ~Abraham Lincoln

Author and New York Times critic Stacey D'Erasmo called Greg Baxter's debut novel The Apartment * "one of the best novels I have read in a long time, ...(f)ollowing the lead of James Joyce (Ulysses) Don DeLillo (Cosmopolis) and others, the novel takes place over the course of a single day."

On a snowy day in late December, an unnamed American leaves his shabby hotel in an old European city to meet a woman who has agreed to help him find an apartment. As the day unfolds, they meet some of her friends, attend a party, and by dribs and drabs, we learn that the forty-something American served in Iraq, became a highly paid military contractor, a past he hopes to forget, while at the brink of an uncertain future as a couple.

"Baxter's clear-eyed first novel provides an unflinching portrait of the ways that guilt shapes us, and demonstrates an ultimately redemptive faith in the alchemies and uncertainties of friendship and love."

"A very smart novel that recognizes the limits of intelligence and the distortions of memory."

This thoughtful, quietly penetrating book is for those seeking more than a quick read.

For other novels that take place in the span of a day, try Saturday by Ian McEwan, Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk, A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood, and not to forget Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway.

* = starred review

Two New Teen Fiction Series

Looking for a new series to get into? Consider these recent additions to AADL’s catalog:

The Opportunity is a series about Harmon Holt, a millionaire who’s giving back to his community by offering internships at the companies he owns to students from his old high school. These lucky teens have the chance to intern in their dream career fields – fashion, music, pro-football – but the jobs aren’t all sunshine and roses. In Size 0, Thea works with a big-deal LA fashion designer and struggles with how models are treated and the impact of fashion on body image. In Box Office Smash, Jason can’t wait to get into the movie business and discovers the unfortunate truth that sometimes you have to start small to get where you want to be.

For those of you who enjoy the Fast and the Furious movie series or restoring old cars, don’t miss Turbocharged. This series explores the exciting, action-packed world of street-racing, drifting, and modded cars. Drift: Nissan Skyline is the story of Kekoa, a new kid in town who runs afoul of the local drifting king and must beat him in a showdown to prove he’s not going to let anyone bully him. In Blind Curve: Acura Integra, Penny and her brother revamp the old car that has been in their family’s garage of years, but before Penny can show off her modding and racing skills, a hit-and-run accident that almost kills a classmate leaves her shaken.

Red Libraries

In the epilogue of Rosamund Bartlett's Tolstoy: A Russian Life, she traces the evolution of the great writer’s place in the new Bolshevik state. Some of this appraisal, not surprisingly, was based on an article V.I. Lenin wrote in 1908 praising Tolstoy's immense pride in his mother country, while being critical of his lifelong attachment to the gentry. In a speech by Anatoly Lunacharsky, made on Sept. 9, 1928, the centenary of the Tolstoy’s birth, the Bolshevik journal Red Librarian stated that Count Leo Tolstoy was the only pre-revolutionary Russian writer to have maintained his popularity. Bartlett stated that rural Russians often waited for months to read the one copy of War and Peace from the local library. It’s good to know that libraries and the Red Librarian had a place in the Soviet Union, and that you can still get many of Tolstoy’s works at aadl!

Rubber Band Bracelets!

It seems like kids everywhere are making and wearing jewelry out of colorful rubber bands. Perhaps a Rainbow Loom made its way to your house in December? Rubber band bracelet fun is a book that offers more designs to create with the loom, including the triple rainbow bracelet, the beaded bonanza and the flower bracelet. There’s also Totally awesome rubber band jewelry, which offers tips, tricks and more designs to create. If you’ve got a stash of tiny rubber bands on hand and are waiting for the next project, give them a whirl!

Now Available Through AADL: Downloadable Issues of Midwestern Gothic

Literary journals can be a marvelous way to discover work by writers you might not already be familiar with — a gateway to some of the most interesting new writing. Midwestern Gothic is "a quarterly print literary journal out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, dedicated to featuring work about or inspired by the Midwest, by writers who live or have lived here."

Is this limiting? The breadth of work collected in Midwestern Gothic — issue after issue — proves that it's not.

The journal, now on its twelfth release, "aims to collect the very best in Midwestern fiction writing in a way that has never been done before, cataloging the oeuvre of an often-overlooked region of the United States ripe with its own mythologies and tall tales." An August interview with AnnArbor.com gives more insight into the journal's background and its founders, Robert James Russell and Jeff Pfaller.

We're happy to report that now you can read every issue of Midwestern Gothic by downloading them directly from AADL's website! A dozen issues are currently in our catalog, and new issues will be added upon release.

If you like what you read in Midwestern Gothic, their MG Press imprint will be celebrating the release of the novel Above All Men with an event at Literati Bookstore on Monday, Feb 17 at 7pm.

The 780s - Music Books at AADL

If music occupies a big room in your pleasure palace, then browsing the 780s at Ann Arbor District Library will provide great rewards. Whether you're looking for scores to practice or perform, biographies to explore, or genre histories to absorb, surfing aadl.org or browsing on the third floor at the Downtown Library or in the Youth Dept. will be the mother lode. Titles like French Baroque Music: From Beaujoyeulx to Rameau, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘N’ Roll, Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music, Cats of Any Color: Jazz, Black and White, Yiddish Folk Songs from the Ruth Rubin Archive, Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues, Sabastian: A Book About Bach, The Mikado, or Teach Yourself Guitar, give you just a smattering of the wide selection. So visit aadl soon and find your musical bliss!

Syndicate content