Now Available at AADL: Instant Streaming of 'The Michigan Beer Film' and Podcast of Ann Arbor Brewing History

Michigan craft beer has taken off in recent years, developing hoards of dedicated followers and providing some truly amazing beers to our local communities. In fact, the Michigan beer scene is experiencing rapid growth and what better way to explore this fascinating (and fun) local craft industry than with The Michigan Beer Film?! Produced by Rhino Media, a Kalamazoo based visual media production company with lots of talent, The Michigan Beer Film is a top-notch documentary about the beer that our great state is crafting and the people behind it.

AADL is proud to be partnering with Rhino Media to make this film available through instant stream directly from our catalog! Just click on this link or search the catalog, sign in to your library account (linked to your AADL library card), and – voila! – watch the movie. Watch it instantly online without worrying about setting up apps, or going through a third party. Easy!

And if that’s not enough, check out this podcast interview with local beer historian and author of “Ann Arbor Beer” David Bardallis. He discusses the history of brewing in Ann Arbor for a fresh and entertaining perspective on our town’s important role in the making of Michigan beer.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

In New York City, in the spring of 1911, something happened which appalled and enraged the average citizen and began to turn the tide in the struggle for worker’s rights. This was the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, where 146 young women and men, locked into their workplace so they could not take breaks, perished. Most jumped to their deaths from the ninth floor to avoid dying in the flames.

Coney Island, freak shows and The Dreamland Amusement Park, were places where average Brooklyn citizens found their entertainment and escape at the tumultuous turn of the 20th century. It was a macabre and painful existence for the “wonders” who provided that entertainment, sadly deformed and exotic people and animals, who were on display to provide thrills and chills to the insatiable public.

New York native, and prolific author, Alice Hoffman, has written a wonder of a book about her home town in 1911, framed by two monumental and tragic fires and exploring the life of a young woman who was raised to perform in the Museum of Extraordinary Things, a typical “freak” show of the period, as a mermaid. She is exploited cruelly by the owner, her own father, but she finds special friends who give her the opportunity to learn about the world beyond her tank.

Part mystery, part love story, part documentary, and completely magical, Hoffman manages to create a fictional context to explore the history of photography, the labor movement, Coney Island, Orthodox Jewish life in the tenements, the exploitation of factory workers and the first wild animals made to perform for the public in amusement parks. Threading through the grim tale of the underbelly of turn-of-the-century, untamed New York and Brooklyn, its gangsters, criminals, corrupt police, and immoral factory owners, is a deep, enduring story of unlikely friendships and of love, between parent and child, and between young lovers trying to find their true selves, seeking to break free from the confinement and cruelty in which they find themselves enmeshed.

Hoffman has become an ardent and gifted storyteller, and with this subject matter, so close to her own history (both her grandfathers were immigrant factory workers turned labor radicals), she shines. Don’t miss The Museum of Extraordinary Things. (The one she wrote before this was amazing too: The Dovekeepers.)

South African Crime (and Fabulous Fiction Firsts #479)

The Sunday Times Fiction winner Andrew Brown introduces tormented Detective Inspector Eberard Februarie, in Coldsleep Lullaby * *, an intelligent and compelling police procedural set in Stellenbosch, in the heart of South Africa's wine region. Just released in the U.S., this series opener involves the murder of a young woman in the underworld of an old university town fraught with prejudice and sexual hedonism.

Melanie Du Preez, daughter of a prominent law professor is found floating in a river. DI Eberard Februarie, recently reinstated after an emotional meltdown is called to investigate. Eberard discovers a scrapbook of lullabies that Melanie had collected over the years, which could hold a clue to unlock the case. In alternating chapters, the readers learn of the Dutch East India Company's colonization of the region in the 17th century that ultimately plays a role in the current murder. Two other victims will die in rapid succession before the volatile case is solved.

"With its lush, detailed descriptions, Brown's debut successfully captures both the beautiful landscapes and the violent textures of South Africa's racially charged history."

Cobra (an October release) by Deon Meyer - the "King of South African crime", again probes the social and racial complexities of post-apartheid South Africa. The bodies of three people are found at an exclusive guest house in the beautiful Franschhoek wine valley. Two of them were professional bodyguards, but the renowned mathematician David Adair they were protecting is nowhere to be found. Detective Benny Griessel of Cape Town's elite Hawks found spent shell cases at the crime scene bearing a chilling engraving: the flaring head of a spitting cobra, trademark of an international assassin team.

Meanwhile, a small-time pickpocket Tyrone Kleinbooi who steals to put his sister through med school, inadvertently winds up as the Cobra next target. With the help of his colleagues, Detective Benny Griessel rushes to untangle a case that only grows more complex. From Cape Town's famous waterfront to a deadly showdown on a suburban train, Cobra hurtles towards a shocking finale and someone may not make it out alive.

Needing no introduction is the latest in the award-winning series by Malla Nunn Present Darkness *. With Christmas approaching, Detective Sergeant of the Johannesburg major crimes squad, Emmanuel Cooper's much anticipated vacation plan evaporates when a white couple has been assaulted and left for dead in their bedroom. A witness identifies the attacker as Aaron Shabalala, the youngest son of Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala -- Cooper's best friend and a man to whom he owes his life.

Readers might also explore the David Bengu series by Michael Stanley; the Jacob Tshabalala series by Richard Kunzmann; and the Heat of the Sun mini television series.

* * = 2 starred reviews
* = starred review

Badge Drop #12: The Final Badge-Down!


OH. MY. GOSH. Can you, will you, DO you BELIEVE IT?!

The summer has ZOOMED by, week-by-week, badge drop-by-badge drop. We know someone else used the slogan "good to the last drop," but we REALLY MEAN IT. So, THIS (badge) drop is OVERFLOWING with 21 MARVELOUS BADGES!

Most of them declare you the MASTER of something. Want a title to flaunt to all your friends? You could be a WILD KINGDOM MASTER! Or, you could be a BUNNY HOP MASTER — slightly less imposing-sounding, but MUCH more cuddly! What will YOU MASTER? Cryptography? Botany? Exploring? You STILL HAVE TIME to finish up the last badge or two in a series and SCORE that title (and badge!).

Let's get to it:

2014 Badge Drop #12



So...there's only a teeny, tiny little bit of sand left in the METAPHORICAL HOURGLASS of the SUMMER GAME! So, waste no time, dear players! GET TO IT! Enter in your reading/listening/watching, add in those reviews you've been dreaming up, visit branches and other spots around town, and COME SAY HI at our SG Wrap Party this weekend!

There are just about 55 HOURS left until the Summer Game's STUNNING CONCLUSION! You have until 11:59 SUNDAY, AUGUST 31 to earn THOSE FINAL SUPER-SPECIAL BADGES! We KNOW you can squeak in a few more. WE BELIEVE IN YOU!

We're already getting a little misty-eyed over here, thinking how we'll miss SG14, but... don't worry, we're also SCHEMING FOR SG15. So, don't spend TOO much time getting nostalgic — hop to it! Let's wrap up Summer Game 2014 in STYLE!

As always, this year and every year...

THANKS FOR PLAYING!

Help! We Need A Title!

Any fans of the fabulous interactive picture book Press Here by Hervé Tullet? Help! We Need A Title! is his newest. It’s a clever and sweet book that has half drawn “characters” that speak to the reader, because the book is not finished! There are no characters, story or plot. Until they knock on the author’s door! He then supplies a short little story that doesn’t quite satisfy the characters looking for a story. My favorite part is the nod to Press Here, where the reader is asked to “press here” to turn off the author’s desk lamp. A bit quirky, but indeed fun.

For another fun book where the author "speaks" in the book, check out Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett. The book comes to a halt when the writer and the illustrator disagree. It's a great read and super funny.

Unique New Adult Historical Fiction: The Miniaturist

Jessie Burton’s brand new The Miniaturist is a fascinating and unusual tale set in Amsterdam in the late 17th century. The story opens with the arrival in the city of Nella Oortman , who is prepared to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. She feels unwelcome in her new home; despite its beauty, Johannes is distant and she knows no one else in the city. Nella is fascinated, however, by the wedding gift that Johannes gives her: a miniature replica of their home that Nella may furnish as she chooses. When Nella hires a renowned miniaturist to construct and paint the furnishings of her tiny house, the small creations shockingly begin to mimic the pieces that they are based on in real life in amazing and unsettling ways.

As the miniaturist works to complete the replica of the Brandts’ home, Nella learns more and more about her husband and about the secretive world of their household. It seems as though the miniaturist can foresee the future, but as the book progresses, Nella begins to wonder if the unusual man is really there to help or… or to ruin her.

“Enchanting, beautifully written, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth,” reads the book jacket. The dramatic backdrop of pious 1680s Denmark only adds to the mystery and intrigue that Burton has created for readers in this book. The UK Observer calls The Miniaturist a “fabulously gripping read” and accurately recommends it to fans of Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch. This fast-paced read is perfect to put as number one on your autumn reading list.

An Amazing Assembly of Alphabet Books

I love alphabet books, and am always on the lookout for ones I haven't read. Thankfully, new and interesting alphabet books are being published all the time. Check out some of our new arrivals that will delight adults and kids alike.

The ABC of Fabulous Princesses by Willy Puchner presents readers with twenty-six fabulous bird princesses, one for each letter of the alphabet, along with their interests, favorite foods, and gifts for the prince. Readers are invited to decide which princess is best for the prince. Apart from being a delightful read aloud, this book invites audience participation!

S is For Salmon- A Pacific Northwest Alphabet by Hannah Viano gives each letter an emblem of the Pacific Northwest. The illustrations, made using a papercut technique, are breathtaking, and one gets a sense of the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest. One wonders what alphabet we would have for Michigan- S is for Sleeping Bear Dunes, perhaps?

Last, but certainly not least, we have the noisiest of the new alphabet books. Adam Watkins' R is for Robot follows a colorful cast of robots as they assemble the alphabet, accompanied by beeps, clangs, and whirrs. If you like robots and making silly noises, this one's for you!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

If you are looking for an Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz read alike with a fairy twist you should certainly give Catherynne Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making a try.

The story begins with a 12 year old girl named September. September is an ordinary girl from Omaha, Nebraska who longs to play a special part in an adventure. After a character from Fairyland called The Green Wind steals her away one night, she finally gets her chance to experience some excitement. She meets many fantastical characters and makes some good friends along the way, including A-Through-L, a wyvern who believes his father to have been a library and therefore considers himself a "Wyverary."

The writing is superb and Valente does an excellent job of painting vivid pictures of fantastical scenes and situations with her words. If you enjoy The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making don't miss the sequel The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There where September returns to Fairyland for a brand new adventure.

Badge Drop #11: Drop the Beat


Okay Summer Gamers, it's Friday, and Friday means BADGE DROP! And this week we have a very special musical episode of Summer Game Badge Drop. We've got a few new Pop Music badges for you and some musical installments of Lydia and Constellations. I guess that's it for the musical theme really, but what can you expect? Isn't part of what you love about the Summer Game how CRAZY RANDOM it is? We've got plenty for you non-music lovers, too, including a new Explorer (this time you are headed to the UM Museum of Natural History!) and TWO Player Picks from fabulous players KathyD and Zigzagog!

Let's go to the badgelist:

2014 Badge Drop #11



Now that your brains are all salivating over delicious new badges, there's something we should discuss. It's August 22, which means fall is on its way soon. And if there's one thing we leave behind in the fall (get it, leave, like the leaves fall, nevermind), its the Summer Game! That's right, there are only 10 DAYS LEFT before the Summer Game closes its doors for another season. So what does that mean for you, dear player? It means you've got until midnight on Sunday, August 31 to earn all of those badges you've been putting off, tag, rate, and review all of those items in the catalog, and get to all of those library branches, local businesses, and terrarium locales to complete your code collections! That's 10 DAYS AND COUNTING!

And, as always--say it along with me--THANKS FOR PLAYING!

Sizzling Summer Reads #4 (& Fabulous Fiction Firsts #478 ) "Summer's lease hath all too short a date.” ~ William Shakespeare

The Last Kings of Sark * by Rosa Rankin-Gee (named one of Esquire magazine's 75 Brilliant Young Brits', and winner of the Shakespeare & Company's international Paris Literary Prize in 2011).

Sark, pop.400, a remote car-less Channel Island, reached only by an all-day ferry ride (or private plane) from Guernsey. Jude, a recent grad (St. Andrews and wrongly assumed to be a guy, as in Law, Hey, and the Obscure), is hired by Eddy, the patriarch of the Defoe family to tutor 16 year-old Pip for the summer before university. Thrown together by necessity, Jude and Sofi, the magnetic, mercurial family cook, quickly bond as roommates and coconspirators. Left on their own away from adult eyes, the three embark on a magical summer of exploring. Years later, as their lives take them to Paris, Normandy and London, memories of the summer they shared on Sark remain.

Debut novelist "Rankin-Gee's tactile, mellifluous prose is on full display here, as the tiniest details help fully immerse readers in the otherworldly island setting." "The fluid sexuality will be a welcome offering for readers of LGBT fiction. "

"Compelling, sensual, and lyrical..., a tale of complicated love, only children and missed opportunities."

Anne Rivers Siddons offers her fans another emotionally gripping, beach-themed read with The Girls of August.

Every August, four women gather for a week of relaxation at a beach house. This started when their husbands met at med school, and the rich Cornelia, married to the party-animal Teddy, invited them to her beach house. Cornelia didn't last, and the annual trip was suspended when Melinda (Mrs. Teddy #2) dies in a tragic accident, and the Girls of August slowly drift apart.

When "Baby," who is half the age of the other ladies becomes Mrs. Teddy #3, she attempts to reestablish the August ritual. As Rachel, Barbara and narrator Maddy gather at a remote beach house on a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, the women must come to terms with their differences and find a sense of unity in the midst of health issues, marital conflict, and infertility as they ride out a violent storm.

Not ready to bide the bare-foot season farewell? Try Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky; All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue; The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank; The Island by Elin Hilderbrand; and A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. Enjoy these precious last days of summer.

* = starred review

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