Fabulous Fiction Firsts #527 - Spotlight on Canadian Debuts

These 3 noteoworthy debuts share more than geography. Two are mysteries/police procedurals; two have strong historical significance; and all are inspired by real persons and/or events.

Asylum by Jeannette De Beauvoir is set in Montreal where Martine LeDuc is the director of PR for the mayor's office. Four women are found brutally murdered and shockingly posed on park benches throughout the city. Fearing a threat to tourism, the Mayor tasked Martine to act as liaison with the police department. She is paired with a young detective, Julian Fletcher. Together they dig deep into the city's and the country's past, only to uncover a link between the four women: all were involved with the decades-old Duplessis orphanage scandal. "A complex and heartbreaking mystery."

"Meticulously researched and resounding with the force of myth" The Thunder of Giants by Toronto playwright Joel Fishbane, "blends fact and fiction in a sweeping narrative that spans nearly a hundred years. Against the backdrop of epic events, two extraordinary women become reluctant celebrities in the hopes of surviving a world too small to contain them."

In 1937, at nearly eight feet tall, Andorra Kelsey, known in Detroit as the Giant of Elsa Street, is looking for a way to escape when a Hollywood movie scout offers her the role of Anna Swan (here is the link to the Canadian Anna Swan digital archive), the celebrated Nova Scotia giantess who toured with P.T. Barnum's "Human Marvels" traveling show.

Told in parallel, while Andorra is seen as a disgrace by an embarrassed family, Anna Swan (born 1846) becomes a famed attraction as she falls in love with Gavin Clarke, a veteran of the Civil War. Both women struggle to prove to the world that they are more than the sum of their measurements. "A genial, appealing celebration of two strong, independent women; recommended for fans of historical fiction." Especially for those who enjoyed The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker.

In The Unquiet Dead * * by Ausma Zehanat Khan, Detective Esa Khatta, head of Canada's new Community Policing Section specialized in handling minority-sensitive cases, is called in to investigate the death of wealthy businessman Christopher Drayton, found at the bottom of a bluff near his home in Lake Ontario. As Esa and his partner Detective Rachel Getty dig into the background of Drayton, it is evident that this upstanding Canadian citizen is in truth, a Bosnian war criminal - Lieutenant Colonel Drazen Krstic, with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 where thousands of Muslim men, women and children were slaughtered. As Khattak and Getty interview imams and neighbors and sort out what justice really means, they are forced to navigate the lingering effects of a horrible conflict and their own broken lives.

"In her spellbinding debut, Ausma Zehanat Khan (a former law professor with a specialty in Balkan war crimes) has written a complex and provocative story of loss, redemption, and the cost of justice..." "Readers of international crime fiction will be most drawn to the story, but anyone looking for an intensely memorable mystery should put this book at the top of their list."

* * = 2 starred reviews

Award Winning Audiobook: The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time

The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. Originally published in 1994, recorded for audio in 2012. 12 hrs. 20 mins.

Awards: Audiofile Magazine's Earphones Award 2010; in print, the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, 1995.

Author: Jonathan Weiner

Narrator: Victor Bevine

Synopsis:
Peter and Rosemary Grant are evolutionary biologists that have observed and studied about 20 generations of the finches living on the island of Daphne Major since 1973. The subjects of their research are a few of the 15 species known as “Darwin’s Finches” - some of the many creatures gathered by Charles Darwin during his voyage on the HMS Beagle . Darwin’s finch specimens were instrumental in the development of his theory of evolution by natural selection, and he discussed the divergence of Galapagos bird species in his book, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Jonathan Weiner’s engaging writing reinforces the premise that change happens continually, and that evolution is ongoing and non-stop. Weiner’s interviews with the Grants fit seamlessly with his other examples of advancing evolution: insect and bacterial resistance to substances once used for control and the pressure of sexual selection and predation on colorful male guppies. The Beak of the Finch is a wonderful introduction for anyone curious about evolution, and Victor Bevine’s narration gives life to the Grant’s mission. I consider this audiobook a personal favorite!

For more information about evolution and natural selection, try these audiobook titles:
Biology: The Science of Life: Part 1 and Part 2 by Stephen Nowicki
On the Origin of Species (abridged) by Charles Darwin
The Joy of Science (Lecture 57) by Robert M. Hazen
Origins of Life: Part 2 of 2 (Lecture 23) by Robert M. Hazen
Evolutionary Biology: The Darwinian Revolution Part 1 by Allen MacNeill

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!

Download of the Day: April 30


King of Beaver and Beaver Lights from Mackinac and Lake Stories - Mary Hartwell Catherwood

Several tales that take place on Michigan's Beaver Island.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

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.

Download of the Day: April 29


Apatosaurus - Lucia Raatma

How Apatosaurus lived, what it looked like, and more, in an easy-to-read format.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

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.

Download of the Day: April 28


Mochimochi Land's Stackable Cats Pattern - Anna Hrachovec

Cats are have officially taken the top spot for the #1 pet in the US. What's better than a real cat? A tiny, knitted cat. Better than that? Three knitted cats - that stack! This delightful knitted set is perfect for those needing an allergen free cat. Learn to make cats and knit stacks and stacks of cats.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

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