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.”

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.

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.

Texts from Jane Eyre

In the hilarious new book Texts from Jane Eyre, and Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Chracters, readers get to see goofy, imagined text conversations involving characters from many well-known books. This fun book is a quick read, and definitely offers some hearty chuckles by placing centuries-old characters in the modern day. I was especially pleased by how well the author, Mallory Ortberg, takes the often-humorous neuroses of these characters and accurately imagines how they would come through via text message. Even the writing style of the book that each character appears in is maintained in the texts. Ortberg initially wrote some “text” series for the website The Toast and you can see those—and get a preview of the book!—here.

Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indriðason

Detective Erlendur is back! Fans of Arnaldur Indriðason’s popular Icelandic mystery series will be happy to know that the beloved brooding Erlendur is back in Strange Shores. The past two novels in the series (Outrage and Black Skies) have featured his colleagues, Sigurdur Óli and Elínborg, while Erlendur was on holiday in the East Fjords of Iceland. In this newest book Erlendur is at the focus again, and of course he’s thinking of the past. Set in eastern Iceland, this book is a bit of a twist from the usual police procedural from Indriðason.

Detective Erlendur is still on the hunt for his brother who disappeared in a snow storm when they were both small boys. It has haunted him his whole life as a dark shadow and he continues to search for him. Since then Erlendur has been obsessed with weather related missing persons cases.

Decades ago in the frozen fjords of eastern Iceland a woman disappeared. And Erlendur finds himself searching for her and learns a story of terrible lies and deceit. He also comes closer than he ever has to finding out what became of his little brother in that terrible blizzard long ago, and we learn more about the emotions that drive Erlendur's deep search.

If you’re not hooked on this series yet… Read them in order. The first three are amazing. If you're looking for more Nordic crime fiction authors... Check out this list.

Fantasy for Kids: A Snicker of Magic

There’s something magical about Midnight Gulch – or, at least, there used to be. When twelve-year-old Felicity Pickle moves to Midnight Gulch with her little sister Frannie Jo and their wandering-spirit mother, the only magic she is hoping to find is a home. Soon, though, Felicity is caught up in the story of how Midnight Gulch lost its magic and plots a way to break the old curse and bring the magic back.

If you enjoyed recent Newbery-Honor-winners like Savvy or Three Times Lucky, then you should definitely check out A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd. All three feature spunky heroines with unique, lyrical voices and surrounded by lovably quirky communities who support our heroines when they need them.

What Happens When…

My balloon floats up, out of the zoo…? And to my bucket when I leave it on the beach…? And to the cottage when we go back to school…?

This charming new picture book, What Happens When…, answers these questions in a whimsical way with fold out pages featuring simple and colorful illustrations depicting what *might* just happen. It’s quite magical. Kids will enjoy following along with you and finding the hidden items and using their imaginations to give other examples of what happens to those lost socks, etc.

Happy National Kale Day!

Today is National Kale Day! How will you celebrate? Perhaps with a green pear-kale smoothie to start the day, followed by a nice massaged kale salad with dried cranberries and a balsamic dressing for lunch, followed by roasted veggies over garlic sautéed kale for dinner.

Kale is a much talked about superfood that can be eaten cooked or raw in a variety of ways in place of lettuce or spinach to spice things up a bit. If you’re still skeptical, there are many varieties to choose from as far as taste goes – curly, purple, Russian, dinosaur?!

For some recipes featuring kale and other greens, check out these leafy green books at the library. Also, local gardener Diana Dyer (garlic!) has a blog called 365 Days of Kale where she offers a ton of recipes, info, and insight on the health benefits of kale. Don’t forget to check out the site for National Kale Day to see how you can be a Kale Hero! Enjoy ~~

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