Fabulous Fiction Firsts #488 - “I was made and meant to look for you and wait for you and become yours forever.” ~ Robert Browning

I am so pleased to have discovered The Awakening of Miss Prim * by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera, a charming and intelligent debut novel that is already a bestseller in Europe.

An ad for the post of a librarian for a private collection brings Prudencia Prim to the remote French village of San Ireneo de Arnois. Intelligence, highly accomplished and self-assured, she accepts the job (we will find out the reasons soon enough) though she finds the situation highly peculiar. Her employer "the man in the wingchair", a book-loving intellectual, is dashing yet "stubborn, domineering, and arrogant" (his own words), always ready with a critique of her cherished Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. What disturbs Prudencia most is the flock of children that "the man in the wingchair" is determined to home-school with a most unconventional curriculum.

As Prudencia settles into her routine and gets acquainted with the neighbors and the villagers, she finds them capable of charm and eccentricity in equal measure, determined as they are to preserve their singular little community from the modern world outside. Her hope for friendship might indeed open her heart for much more. "Set against a backdrop of steaming cups of tea, freshly baked cakes, and lovely company, The Awakening of Miss Prim is a distinctive and delightfully entertaining tale of literature, philosophy, and the search for happiness."

In a recent interview with the Madrid-based investigative-journalist-turned-author, she disclosed that the Village of San Irenoe de Arnois is an imaginary place, inspired by the European tradition; where small communities were often built near abbeys; where people’s lives have a human scale; and where tradition and culture are regarded as treasures - a welcome respite and curiosity in "a world that’s so fast and so noisy." Sorry, folks. Hope you haven't packed your bags already.

For Pym and Von Arnim readers, this is an author to watch.

* = starred review

My Life in Middlemarch

All avid readers have at least one book that has had a profound impact on their life. For Rebecca Mead that book is Middlemarch. She explores this connection between individual and text in My Life in Middlemarch, a fabulous mixture of biography, memoir, and literary criticism. Mead demonstrates how a novel can speak to an individual on multiple levels and engage with readers. This is not a typical memoir which is author-centric. Instead the focus is more on George Eliot’s biography and how it relates to her work (Middlemarch in particular).

There is a lovely quote near the middle of the book which captures Mead’s view of literature and the overall tone of My Life in Middlemarch, “A book may not tell us exactly how to live our own lives, but our own lives can teach us how to read a book.”

October is Bat Appreciation Month

Do you like bananas, cocoa, or agave? You can thank bats for that! (Bats are major pollinators of those plants.) Do you hate pesky insects like flies, mosquitoes, and gnats? You can thank bats for eating those! (One bat can eat up to 5,000 insects a night!) Bats are an extremely important part of the ecosystem, and now is a great time to celebrate how wonderful they are. October is Bat Appreciation Month, and boy do we have a lot of bat books and DVDs for you to check out!

Brian Lies has a great series of picture books including Bats at the Library, Bats at the Ballgame, and Bats at the Beach. And don't forget the classic Stellaluna by Janell Cannon!

If you’re interested in learning more facts about bats, we have a large selection of nonfiction books for both kids and adults. We even have a downloadable book about the link between bat echolocation and radar technology!

Sadly, many bat populations are on the decline due to things like loss of habitat and the dreaded “white-nose syndrome.” You can find out about the plight of the little brown bat (native to Michigan!) in the new book The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bat: A Scientific Mystery. Get those holds placed now!

One way you can help out bats is by building a bat house for your backyard. And guess what? We have a book for that!

The last week of October is National Bat Week (Oct 26 –Nov 1). The Organization for Bat Conservation, a Michigan-based, nonprofit environmental educational organization, has launched a Save the Bats campaign to raise awareness of the problems facing bat populations around the world. Check them out and find more ways you can help save bats!

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner (2014) film began showing in theaters in September, but The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, has been thrilling readers since 2009. A post-apocalyptic science fiction book written for young adults, The Maze Runner will especially appeal to readers of dystopian literature like The Hunger Games and Divergent.

The Maze Runner audiobook, read by Mark Deakins, offers a captivating experience of Dashner’s novel. The narration is well-characterized and Deakins voice is clear and articulate. As the plot builds, Deakins' rendition of the characters brings their struggle to life, drawing his listeners further into the story.

The adventure begins with Thomas, a teenage boy who doesn’t remember anything about his life before the moment he arrives in The Glade. He quickly learns that, though he is welcomed by the other boys and The Glade is safe, the maze surrounding it is inhabited by dangerous creatures. Thomas is plagued by the thought that he has been sent to The Glade for a reason and is desperate to explore the maze in search of an exit. The Gladers have only one connection to the outside world: a lift, operated by The Creators, that offers supplies and a new boy every thirty days. The day after Thomas arrives, everyone is shocked when the lift delivers another member to their group. This time, it includes a message: “She’s the last one.”

The Glade community has survived with teamwork and commitment to their common goals - survival and escape. The appearance of Thomas and the girl changes everything, and Thomas must convince The Gladers to accept him before they can work together, and before time runs out.

If you've seen the movie or read the book, the AADL has the other audiobooks in The Maze Runner series, too! The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and the prequel The Kill Order are all read by Mark Deakins and promise to be as exciting and engaging as book one. Still want more? Mark your calendar, because James Dasher has announced his plan to release another prequel to The Maze Runner, called The Fever Code, in 2016.

All Things Dad With Nationally-Known “Dad Blogger” Doug French

Wednesday December 10, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

Doug French, co-founder of the Dad 2.0 Summit, will discuss the evolution of the modern dad, as well as the myriad issues – such as work/life balance, paid parental leave, and outdated media stereotypes that confront us as engaged parents.

As we navigate these challenges, and male childcare becomes more commonplace, dad networks are popping up all over the country to help us raise our kids the best we can, and to help ensure that they inherit a more enlightened perception of masculinity.

Doug has been a dad blogger since 2003. He's been profiled in or written for several magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Slate, The Huffington Post, Babble, and Parents. He is a contributor to Michigan Public Radio and frequently speaks at conferences such as BlogHer, Mom 2.0, and BlissDom about fatherhood, parenting, and content marketing. You can find out more about him at mrdougfrench.com.

Star Wars Reads!

On Saturday, October 11 libraries and book stores across the country will be celebrating the 3rd annual Star Wars Reads Day! It’s a day to celebrate reading and all things Star Wars. Last year over 2,000 Star Wars Reads Day events took place! Do you geek Star Wars? Do you geek books?

Hey kids, maybe you’re into Star Wars graphic novels, chapter books, easy readers, or informational books. Or maybe you dig all things LEGO Star Wars! Adults, maybe you’re into Star Wars graphic novels, science fiction books, or informational books. There are also plenty of Star Wars graphic novels and novels for teens too. AADL has many books to choose from for all ages.

Don’t forget about the Star Wars television shows and movies also available for consumption!

This Saturday at noon at Malletts Creek we are hosting a craft program featuring Star Wars themed crafts for children in Grades K-5. Join us! May the Force be with you no matter how you choose to celebrate or what books you choose to read.

2014 Nobel Prize for Literature Awarded to Patrick Modiano

French author Patrick Modiano became the 111th person to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The reason given by the Swedish Academy was “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”

Born outside Paris in 1945, Modiano is a prolific novelist and screenwriter. His work continually combines topics such as identity, guilt, and memory with recurring places, namely Paris, and events, often the German occupation of France during World War II.

For example, Mondiano's novel Missing Person, which won France's Prix Goncourt in 1979, features an amnesia-stricken private investigator determined to use his paltry clues to piece together the story of his life from before the Nazi occupation. The book draws from classic noir fiction and ghost stories, but is a thematically rich and atmospheric read. Check our catalog for more books and films by Modiano.

Pioneer Girl: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Autobiography!

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series has been beloved by readers for over eighty years. As many of us know, Wilder based the books on her true experiences growing up in the Midwest in the later half of the 19th century. It was her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who eventually convinced Wilder to write down her memories and helped her edit them into the books that were published between 1932 and 1943. Today, the series has been expanded to include fictional books telling the stories of several generations of Wilder women, from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s great-grandmother Martha through Rose herself.

Although Wilder has said that many of the stories told in the Little House on the Prairie books actually happened, not all are completely rooted in fact. If you’re looking for a completely true account of Wilder’s amazing life, her soon-to-be-published annotated autobiography, Pioneer Girl, is the book for you. Wilder and her daughter had attempted to get this autobiography published in the 1930s, but the rougher aspects of her stories prevented publishers from accepting the book. It is true that many of the charming stories that readers are familiar with from the Little House series are present in Pioneer Girl, but Wilder also describes the less-than-pleasant aspects of growing up in the still-developing Midwest. Overall, Pioneer Girl is a moving and fascinating story and a must-read for Little House fans.

You can find out more about the Little House books, including which order to read them in on the Little House website.

PreK BITS - Flossie And the FOX

Ms. Rachel brought foxes to Storytime !
The GINGERBREAD BOY went the way of all gingerbread cookies that ever came out of the oven... after he met the fox.
"A-Hunting We Will Go" started and ended with fox, and there were so many animals to rhyme with as we sang.
FLOSSIE And The FOX is the story of a clever girl who can outfox the fox.

Since Gingerbread and Runaway food motifs are common in folklore, here are more stories to try:
RUNAWAY LATKES by Leslie Kimmelman.
RUNAWAY PEPPERCORN a Hindi tale by Sucitrāi Rāmadurai.
RUNAWAY PUMPKIN by Kevin Lewis.
RUNAWAY RICE CAKE and RUNAWAY WOK by Ying Chang Compestine.
GINGERBREAD GIRL by Lisa Campbell Ernst.
GINGERBREAD BABY by Janet Squires.
GINGERBREAD COWBOY by
LET'S GO OUTSIDE ! tells how to play the outdoor game "A-Hunting We Will Go".
The LITTLE COOKIE by Margaret Hillert, is a version for beginning readers to master.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #487 - “There are two ways of seeing: with the body and with the soul. The body's sight can sometimes forget, but the soul remembers forever.” ~ Alexandre Dumas

In What is Visible *, debut novelist Kimberly Elkins presents a "wonderfully imaginative and scrupulously researched" fictional memoir of the life and challenges of Laura Bridgman, the first deaf and blind woman to learn language, some fifty years before Helen Keller. Though she was an internationally renowned figure in the mid-19th century, Laura has been all but forgotten by history.

At age 2, Laura lost her sight, hearing, and the ability to taste and smell from scarlet fever. At age 7, she was taken from her family home in Hanover, New Hampshire by Dr. Samuel Howe, founder of the Perkins Institute in Boston, and taught to communicate via hand spelling. Laura soon became celebrated figure attracting hundreds to exhibitions at the Institution, including a visit by Charles Dickens and Dorothea Dix. But Laura suffered greatly when Dr. Howe married and began a family of his own.

"Told in alternating chapters by Laura, Howe, his poet wife Julia, and Laura's beloved teacher Sarah Wight, this is a complex, multilayered portrait of a woman who longed to communicate and to love and be loved. Elkins fully captures her difficult nature and her relentless pursuit of connection."

Blind * * *, a YA debut by Ann Arbor native (Community High) and Alex Award winner (Big Girl Small) Rachel DeWoskin is "one of those rare books that utterly absorbs the reader into the life and experience of another."

When 14 yr. old Emma Sasha Silver loses her eyesight in a freak accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to learning to decipher braille. After a year at the Briarly School for the Blind, she is finally able to return home. But just as she is able to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide.

"DeWoskin...skillfully balances the pain of loss with the promise of new experiences and discovery.... The life of a formerly sighted teen blossoms in Emma's strong voice as she explores the world, conquers fears, and attempts living everyday life again with her large, bustling, Jewish suburban family. A gracefully written, memorable, and enlightening novel. "

”A vivid, sensory tour of the shifting landscapes of blindness and teen relationships."

* = starred review
* * * = 3 starred reviews

Syndicate content