Local Creators

The Ann Arbor area has no shortage of great authors, musicians, filmmakers, and artists. AADL wants to help you find some of that great local talent through our blog, our catalog, and our events. AADL also provides access to the University of Michigan Press Online, a database where you can browse or search over 500 titles published by the University of Michigan Press right in your browser.

Our staff have pulled together some lists and tagged some content by local creators to help you find some homegrown work.

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Music

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Movies & TV

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Freddie Fernortner Series by Jonathan Rand

Local author Jonathan Rand of the popular American Chillers and Michigan Chillers series for children, has a series for younger readers called Freddie Fernortner: Fearless First Grader. The twelve book series can now be found at AADL!

The Freddie books feature a mix of spooky and silly aimed at early chapter book readers. Take a look if you’re looking for a new chapter book series by a very likeable Michigan author.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #508

January brings a number of terrific debut novels. The one I am most excited to share is Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm (MFA, Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan). Follow her on Facebook, and plan to attend her signing @ Literati, 7pm on January 27.

She calls herself Julie now, from California. For the past 2 years, Grace restores bric-a-brac, repairs antiques and jewelry in a Paris chop shop, and lives alone in a shabby room. Regularly, she checks the Garland (TN) newspaper online for news of a case involving robbery of The Wynne House, a local heritage estate and museum, and the two young men caught for the crime, a heist that Grace meticulously engineered. Now, Grace's past and carefully constructed lies are about to catch up with her half way around the world, as the two men are being paroled.

In a series of flashbacks, from small-town USA to the Manhattan art scene, and the backstreets of Europe, we follow the "unbecoming-of-age" of a young woman with a special gift for restoration and for reinventing herself with equal deftness.

"Mesmerizing, nail-biting, atmospheric, and sensual... Unbecoming is an intricately plotted and psychologically nuanced heist novel that turns on suspense and slippery identity."

"Scherm mixes a character study with a caper novel full of double-crosses, lies, and betrayals... She is at her best when describing precious objects: a Dutch master's still life, a James Mont cigar box with hidden compartment, an ornate centerpiece with fanciful fruit and figurines, and silver spoons ignored by their owners but appreciated by the professional hired to evaluate them."

Readers looking for an elegantly well-played cat-and-mouse game should delight in Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief (1954); The Thomas Crown Affair (1968, and the 1999 remake); and White Collar, the just concluded (sadly) tv series.

Fans of Gillian Flynn who appreciate "(a) bleak tone, deeply flawed protagonist, and dysfunctional relationships" wouldn't want to miss this one. And let's not forget Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels as read-alikes.

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Her Place in the World

Monday March 23, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grades 6 and up
This event will be recorded

Interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder is at a peak – especially with the recent publication of her autobiography Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.

At this special AADL evening, explore the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose experiences traveling and homesteading with her pioneer family spawned her series of popular children's books. Author and Wilder scholar William Anderson and University of Michigan History professor Michelle McClellan lead us on a journey through Laura's life and tell the story of how the places she lived have now taken on a life of their own.

Wilder's legacy extends far beyond her Little House series; millions know her from the 1970s television show based on her books, and the locations she wrote about, including Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri, have become tourist destinations for her devoted fans.

New Downloadable Stories by Laura Pershin Raynor!

Local and national storyteller Laura Pershin Raynor tells stories for all ages – not just your favorite storytime tales.

New in the AADL catalog are two of her albums that are now available to listen to online as well as download – for free! These are stories for older children, teens and adults. So if you love listening to well told, funny tales of youth and bygone eras, look no further.

First up is Tough Cookies. This album features Cootie Shots, Yiddish Curses, Bleeding Madras, Tater Tots and International Intrigue that spices up the pot in this story brew about girls with pluck.

Summertime & The Livin' Is Easy features surprising summer stories about garage bands, mysterious celebrities and city slickers in the not so Wild West.

Beyond downloads, a couple other albums by Raynor are available for actual check out. Whether you're familiar with Laura's story magic or not, these are worth a listen.

Just learning about AADL's download collection?! Check out ALL the other music, book and pattern downloads available on aadl.org for free!

Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor

Wednesday December 17, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Author Patti Smith will share stories and a slideshow of images from her new book, Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor, which was released in early November. The book looks at the remarkable people and businesses who have helped build our town. Its images show a town with mud streets, wooden sidewalks, liveries, tanneries and telegraph offices. It also features businesspeople, merchants, and citizens who lived and worked in our downtown. Described as a "love letter to a beloved city", Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor provides a look at the past and the people who helped to make Ann Arbor what it is today.

Author Patti Smith wanted to move to Ann Arbor since she was five years old, and is very grateful to live near downtown. She teaches special education and has recently finished writing a YA book. In addition to local history, Patti enjoys storytelling, social media, boxing, writing, and brewing beer. She lives in the Kerrytown area with her fiance, Ken, and their two cats.

Books will be available for sale and signing.

Tiny Expo: Ann Arbor's biggest little indie arts & craft fair — Downtown, December 13th!

Ann Arbor's biggest little indie arts & craft fair is back! After a few years of hopping around to different locales, Tiny Expo will land at the Downtown AADL this December 13th, 11am—5:30pm!

Just what IS Tiny Expo? It's a fun local, and handmade shopping experience that began with a small group of artists in 2010. As the initial group of creative folks banded together to hold a fun, informal little fair, expo-goers responded, and the show grew just a teeny bit each year. Finding a location that could fit everyone was a perennial challenge, though, and so Tiny Expo jumped around town — from Kerrytown to Felch Street and back again.

This year, the Downtown Library will host Tiny Expo's marvelous collection of local indie artists and crafters, including a few audience favorites from past Tiny Expo editions! We'll be announcing the final artist roster in mid November, but if you or an artist you know might be a good fit, you can apply here to be a part of things!

So, get excited, get ready, and mark your calendar — for the biggest little indie arts and craft fair, this December!

Chillers Author Johnathan Rand to visit AADL!

Join us Sunday, October 26 from 2-3pm downtown for a visit from local author Johnathan Rand! Rand is the author of the popular children’s chapter book series Michigan Chillers and American Chillers, with titles such as Poltergeists Of Petoskey, Dinosaurs Destroy Detroit and Great Lakes Ghost Ship.

He will talk about how he became a writer and how reading and writing are necessary in life. Books will be will for sale and he’ll be signing books after the event! Come give him a high five and ask him why he writes the books he does.

If you head up north, I recommend a visit to Chillermania! in Indian River. It’s the world headquarters for Rand’s books and a spookyish book store chock full of Rand’s books! It’s a feast for the eyes. I walked in this past spring and had a ton of fun.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #483 - The Ann Arbor Connection

Ann Arbor author Julie Lawson Timmer's debut novel Five Days Left * * is part of the Penguin First Flights program. If you missed her live chat on Sept. 10th, click on this link for an archived edition.

Wife, mother, and top-notch Texas lawyer, Mara Nichols is losing her battle with a rapidly-progressing case of Huntington's disease. She has set a date to end her life to cut short a decline she believes will destroy her family. Now she has five days left in which to prepare herself, tidy her affairs, and say goodbye to her loved ones. While in Royal Oak (MI) middle-school teacher Scott Coffman dreads having to part with his foster son, eight-year-old Curtis. In five days, he will have to relinquish Curtis back to his junkie mother when she is release from prison. Mara and Scoot meet anonymously in an online therapy forum, and through their daily posts, Timmer deftly compares their shared dilemmas of when and how to let go.

"Absorbing, deeply affecting, and ultimately uplifting, it heralds the arrival of an author to watch." Perfect for fans of thoughtful, issue-driven fiction of Carol Rifka Brunt; Jacquelyn Mitchard; and Jodi Picoult.

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street * by Susan Jane Gilman (UM, MFA in Creative Writing, and author of several well-received nonfiction titles) is "an ambitious and lavish immigrant rags-to-riches-to-rags first novel rife with humor and moxie."

At 75, American businesswoman Lillian Dunkle (think Leona Helmsley) is facing federal tax evasion charges, and no one is shedding any tears. This abrasive and ruthless entrepreneur started life as Malka Treynovsky, the youngest of 4 daughters in a poor Russian Jewish immigrant family. Soon after their arrival in New York, she was quickly abandoned and taken in by a kindly Italian ices peddler, and renamed Lillian Maria Dinello. Through grit, wits, and some luck, she, along with her husband Albert Dunkle, built the successful Dunkle's Famous Ice Cream empire.

"Gilman's numerous strengths are showcased, such as character-driven narrative, a ready sense of wit, and a rich historical canvas, in this case based on the unlikely subject of the 20th-century American ice cream industry. "

Readalikes: Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies; My Notorious Life by Kate Manning; and The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani.

* * = 2 starred reviews
* = starred review

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.

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