New Adult Nonfiction: A Deadly Wandering

In the brand new book A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention by Pulitzer Prize winning author Matt Richtel, humans’ relationship with technology is explored through the lens of a deadly car accident. Utah college student Reggie Shaw killed two scientists while weaving in and out of his lane on the highway, texting a friend. Richtel describes the accident and follows Shaw through the aftermath, including the investigation, Shaw’s prosecution and his ultimate redemption. This tragedy offers a unique backdrop for the larger issues that Richtel explores in this fascinating book. He uses recent scientific findings on human attention, evolution, and the impact of technology on our brains to explain how it embeds itself into “all aspects of our lives, plays to our deepest social instincts, and preys on parts of the brain that crave stimulation, creating loops of compulsion and even addiction” (from book jacket). Richtel also uses all this information as a jumping-off point for actionable solutions to help manage our personal and societal distractions.

Matt Richtel is a reporter for the New York Times who focuses on the impact of technology on our lives. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for a series of articles that exposed the risks of distracted driving and its root causes. His work has prompted widespread reform in promoting awareness of and creating policies against distracted driving. He is also the author of Hooked: A Thriller About Love and Other Addictions, and Devil’s Plaything: a Mystery for Idle Minds.

New Youth BOCDs @ AADL

If there is a family road trip in your future, consider taking along a few New Youth Books on CD. Recorded stories can keep a family entertained for hours. Our newest selections include Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue, an Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger. In this book, state tests are coming up as the Origami Rebel Alliance finds powerful allies in their fight against the "FunTime test preparation program". Another new selection is Absolutely Almost, by Lisa Graff, in which a new nanny named Calista makes a big difference in the confidence of Albie, a ten-year-old boy. Enjoy!

Handmade Marketplace

The Handmade Marketplace, 2nd Edition: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online is an amazing resource for anyone embarking on a new craft business or wanting to beef up their current one. The book discusses everything you want to know and learn about running your own crafty business in this day and age.

Handmade Marketplace talks about branding and logos, how to pick the right name, how/when/where to market via blogs, websites, social media, etc., how to set up a blog or website, taxes, the deal with wholesale and brick & mortar stores, how to get into craft fairs, how to set up a successful online shop, and more. It also features Q&A with several notable crafters offering tips. I really like that the book isn't all about "make stuff and create an Etsy shop."

The book is insightful, laid out beautifully, written in a wonderfully easy-to-follow format, and is chock full of useful information. Even if you think your bizz is well put together, it's nice to get some feedback to make sure you're on point and doing what you can to craft a great business!

From the same author is Grow your handmade business: How to envision, develop, and sustain a successful creative business, and here’s a list of many more books with great info!

New Nonfiction for Kids: Get the Scoop on Animal Puke!

Animal- and nature- lovers will delight in all of the amazing facts they find on regurgitation and emesis (a.k.a. vomit) in Get the Scoop on Animal Puke! by Dawn Cusick! Despite the slightly off-putting cover of this book, this eye-catching new addition to the youth collection is sure to be a hit! Vomit as seen in nature doesn't have to be considered disgusting. As written by Cusick, "...gross and weird things we see in nature help animals compete and survive. Animal puke isn't gross: it's really pretty cool."

Here are some amazing facts that I was surprised to learn from this book:

  • Some animals vomit to protect themselves from predators or poisonous food.
  • Scavengers like turkey vultures expel highly acidic vomit to ward off potential thieves from eating their carrion food.
  • You may remember Genie's advice about camels in the movie Aladdin: "Watch out, they spit!" In truth, the "spit" that Genie is warning us about is really vomit, which camels eject when scared. Apparently it smells really bad.
  • Have you ever seen video of a snake eating an entire egg in one mouthful? They have trouble digesting the egg shell, so they make sure to spit that part back out after they eat it.
  • Many animals are "ruminant," meaning the plants or foods they eat are not fully digestible the first time, so they need to keep chewing it until it can go through their intestines. All ruminant animals have four(!) stomachs, and include cows, goats, deer, and giraffes.

Want to learn even more amazing and strange animal facts? Check out these fascinating animal books!

AA/Ypsi Reads 2015 Book Chosen!

The votes are in and it's been decided this year's book for the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti Reads 2015 will be A Tale For the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

The theme was A Very Good Read. A five-member panel consisting of: area blogger Mark Maynard; Ann Arbor News Entertainment Reporter Jenn McKee; Musician San Slomovits; Ypsilanti City Council Member Dan Vogt; and Ann Arbor City Council Member Chuck Warpehoski - chose the book earlier this month from two finalist titles.

A brilliant, unforgettable novel, A Tale For the Time Being is an inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home. Published in 2014, the novel won the Medici Book Club Prize the L.A. Times Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of three novels, "My Year of Meats," "All Over Creation," and "A Tale for the Time Being." Her critically acclaimed independent films, including "Halving the Bones," have been screened at Sundance and aired on PBS.

Read "A Tale For the Time Being" with your community and be sure to see the author who is scheduled to appear at the annual Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads event on Wednesday, February 11 from 7 – 8:30 pm at Rackham Auditorium!

Vanessa and Her Sister: new fiction on the life of Virginia Woolf

Vanessa and Her Sister, by Priya Parmar, is a brand new book that offers a look at a fascinating time and place in world history. The year is 1905 and pre-war London is bustling with young artists and intellectuals. The four orphaned Stephens siblings—Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby and Adrian—decide to take a house together in fashionable Bloomsbury. All young, gifted and unmarried, they bring together a glittering circle of talented and outrageous friends that will eventually become known as the Bloomsbury Group. At the center of the circle are the sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. When the book opens, Vanessa, the painter, has never sold a piece of her work and Virginia, the writer, has just had her book review turned down. But as time passes, the sisters and the others in the circle begin to meet with success. When Vanessa falls in love, her complicated and possessive sister feels dangerously abandoned and begins a tailspin of self-destruction. With the threat of tragedy looming over the family, Vanessa must decide how to save herself and her loved ones while also protecting her own happiness.

This book is has been recommended for fans of Loving Frank, The Chaperone, and The Paris Wife and offers a fascinating and intimate viewpoint of the life of Virginia Woolf and her struggles with mental illness.

Boyhood on DVD

Director Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is one of my favorite films of 2014. People seem to either love it or hate it, but it’s been one of the most talked about films of the year.

Boyhood follows a young boy named Mason through ages 5 to 18. The film was shot over 12 years using the same cast. So not only do we see the boy grow up over those years, we see his parents, sister, and the rest of the cast grow and change as well. They filmed for a few weeks per year every year during the film’s making, often writing the script as they went from year to year.

It’s a groundbreaking concept and it was truly maginificent to see on the big screen. To watch a precious 5 year old turn into an awkward teen and then into an adult right before our eyes. Normally after a 3 hour film, I’m ready to go. But once we see Mason at age 18 and off on his next adventure… well, I wanted to keep following him.

Kate Atkinson Fans Rejoice!


Kate Atkinson, whose epic Life After Life tore up time and space and heartstrings, has announced that her next book will return to the same world, this time focused on Teddy, the beloved youngest child in the Todd family. Her new book, "A God In Ruins" will be released in May 2015.

The article in The Guardian describes that the plot "will explore how Teddy – "would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father" – navigates "the perils and progress of the twentieth century."

After the multiple realities explored by Life After Life, I'm very interested to discover in what reality "A God In Ruins" occurs, and if the story moves in a linear fashion, or if Teddy has some second chances of his own.

If you haven't read Kate Atkinson before, Life After Life is a great place to start. When it was published in 2013, it enjoyed great success, winning many awards and much critical praise. I also highly recommend her ingeniously plotted Case Histories, which kicks off her excellent Jackson Brodie mystery series.

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.

Surviving Hitler: A love story

Directed by John Keith Wasson, Surviving Hitler: A love story is an inspiring account of war, resistance, and survival in Nazi Germany. Jutta is a teenager in a country that is on the threshold of war when she discovers that she is Jewish. Struck by this discovery, and faced with the atrocities of war, she joins the German resistance and meets a wounded soldier named Helmuth. The two quickly form a romantic attachment and join the Valkyrie plot to assassinate Hitler. Though there are tragic elements to the story (inevitable when it is set in Nazi Germany), there is a happy ending.

This film is a combination of interviews with Jutta and original 8mm footage shot by Helmuth. According to GQ magazine, these “home movies, which miraculously survived the war in Helmuth’s mother’s apartment, are reason enough to watch Surviving Hitler, providing a rare and intimate glimpse of relatively ordinary life carrying on in Berlin despite the encroaching horror.” (read the whole review here)

Surviving Hitler premiered at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and has won 3 awards including the Full Frame Inspiration Award, Ojai Festival Theme Award, and the Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film.

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