Cool new nonfiction for kids: Skyscrapers!

Are you curious about how huge buildings like the John Hancock Center, the Eiffel Tower and the Chrysler Building were constructed? I know I am, and I’ve always been interested in the architectural feats that keep such towering structures upright for—in some cases—over a hundred years. The amazing new book Who Built That? Skyscrapers, by Didier Cornille, is an introduction to familiar skyscrapers and their architects geared towards kids… but absolutely fascinating for all ages!

My favorite part of the book are the amazing illustrations that show different stages of construction of each building, including the inside skeleton and the frame, so readers can find out how the structure manages to stand so tall. It is so cool to see! Readers can also learn a little bit about each architect including what inspired them to build the featured structure, and what other unique buildings they constructed during their careers.

If you want to learn even more about skyscrapers, try Skyscrapers: Inside and Out, Unbuilding, or Skyscraper, all available at the AADL.

Award Winning Audiobook: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 2008. 8 hours.

Awards: Audiofile Magazine's Earphones Award for excellence in narrative voice and style and vocal characterization; in print, the book reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list for paperback trade fiction in 2009.

Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Narrators: Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, Juliet Mills

The Society is a book club formed during World War II when the Nazi regime occupied Guernsey. Their story is told through a series of letters exchanged between the islanders and an English newspaper columnist in 1946. This correspondence reveals the members’ quirky personalities, as well as their joy and heartache during the occupation. The variety of characters - from a pig farmer to a phrenologist to a French concentration camp survivor - and the wonderful voice acting by five talented narrators make this audiobook truly outstanding.

For other multi-voice audiobooks, including some of the talented narrators mentioned above, try these titles:

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
Silent House by Orhan Pamuk
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
The 19th Wife: a novel by David Ebershoff

The Dark Side II: Highway of Horror With Bestselling Horror Authors Andrew Pyper & Nick Cutter

Tuesday March 3, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event will be recorded

Get ready for a spine-tingling evening when bestselling horror genre authors Andrew Pyper and Nick Cutter visit the Downtown Library for one night of chilling readings and conversation, as part of their Dark Side II: Highway of Horror author tour. There will also be plenty of time for questions and answers — if you dare! A book signing will follow, and books will be for sale.

Andrew Pyper is the award-winning author of six internationally bestselling novels, including The Killing Circle, a New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. Three of Pyper’s novels, including The Demonologist, are in active development for feature films. His new novel, The Damned, was released in February 2015 and has already been optioned as a feature film by Legendary Pictures.

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for Scotiabank Giller prize-nominated author Craig Davidson. Davidson has published four books of literary fiction, including Rust and Bone (which was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film of the same name), and Cataract City. Under the name Nick Cutter, he published The Troop in 2014 and his newest book, The Deep, in January 2015.

This event is cosponsored by Nicola's Books.

The End of Always deals beautifully with timeless issues

The setting of the new book The End of Always, by Randi Davenport, is unexpectedly haunting: turn-of-the-century Waukesha, Wisconsin, provides a stark backdrop to the chilling story that Davenport unveils slowly to readers. Seventeen-year-old Marie Reehs is consumed with memories of her mother, who died in a mysterious accident to which her father was the only witness. In her heart, Marie knows that her violent, abusive father murdered her mother, but her older sister is desperate to keep what remains of the family together and begs Marie to forget what she has seen. As Marie toils away every day at the local laundry, she vows that she will not marry a violent man, as seems to be the legacy for the women in her family. When she starts a love affair with a handsome and charismatic young man, she thinks that he may be the answer to her prayers for freedom, but readers must press on until the end of this luminescent book to find out if Marie will be able to break free from the Reehs women’s dark family curse.

Reading about domestic violence in a historical context was interesting and eye-opening. Although difficult to read at times, The End of Always is ultimately an uplifting and powerful story of a courageous woman trying to take charge of her own life.

A New Book from Harper Lee

That's right, you read that correctly! Harper Lee will publish her second book this July, more than 50 years after the release of her masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird. Her second book is called Go Set a Watchman. The book features an adult Scout visiting her father Atticus 20 years after the original story takes place. Lee wrote Go Set a Watchman before To Kill a Mockingbird, but thought that the draft had been lost until recently, when it was unearthed by her friend and lawyer.

Go Set a Watchman will be published by Penguin on July 14, 2015. You can prepare by reading To Kill a Mockingbird (either on your own or with your book club), watching the movie, or reading Charles Shields' amazing biography of Lee, Mockingbird.

Taco Tuesday: Books!

It’s Taco Tuesday! What are you making for dinner? Are you reading books about tacos? No?!

AADL has some fun children’s picture books to help complete your Taco Tuesday. Even better would be to nom on some tasty tacos while reading together.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin is hilarious! And is probably my favorite taco book of all time. The author also has a new non-taco book called Big Bad Bubble that is also worth a read. If you want to make Tuesday pizza day instead, then read Rubin’s Secret Pizza Party and be ready for laughs.

Have you ever eaten Mud Tacos? In this picture book the kids find out that the best thing about making mud tacos is not eating them. But no worries, after the kids take a trip to the market some real tacos are in order and are way more delicious.

Hungry yet? Don't eat mud. If you’re looking for dinner plans, here’s a list of taco-tastic cookbooks with recipes to last for many Tuesdays to come.

The 2015 Notable Books (Literary Fiction)

Being announced at the same time as the Reading List is one of the grand dame of ALA awards. "Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation’s readers a list of 25 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader." Here is the current fiction list:

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
How much sacrifice does the love of a sister require?

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Navigating the dark of World War II a German boy and a French girl survive using senses other than sight.

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell
The human condition: bleak but not without moments of redemption.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
A deceptively simple story reveals complexities of life choices.

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
A thoughtful exposition of love, in all its endless varieties.

The Enchanted: A Novel by Rene Denfield
Death row inmates await escape through execution in this weirdly gorgeous tale.

Narrow Road to the Deep North: A Novel by Richard Flanagan
Australian beaches, Burmese jungles, love and death permeate a story of World War II POWs.

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
From fish farm to big pharma, 100 years later it’s all the same.

Orfeo: A Novel by Richard Powers
On the run from Homeland Security, Peter Els reflects on a life of attempted creation and immortality through music and chemistry.

Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories by Ron Rash
A brutal and beautiful collection of human tales set in the Carolinas.

Station Eleven: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel
Love, music, and Shakespeare sustain survivors of a global pandemic.

Tigerman by Nick Harkaway
Funny, strange, and dangerous, the island of Mancreu may be beyond saving, but perhaps a superhero can bring redemption. “Full of win.”

Consult the full list for Poetry and Nonfiction picks.

The 2015 Reading List

While most of the country's households were glued to the Superbowl, and Chicago was slammed with a memorable snowstorm, the intrepid librarians at ALA Midwinter announced this past year's best of the best in genre fiction - the Reading List. The winner in each of the 8 categories are:

Adrenaline
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Detroit serves as the economically battered backdrop of this inventive, visceral suspense story about a series of bizarre murders that draws a group of memorable characters into a complex web of violence. Smart, stylish and addictive, this page-turner shows how the American Dream has failed many on a personal level.

Fantasy
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Following the sudden, suspicious deaths of his entire family, exiled half-goblin Maia becomes emperor, a role requiring diplomacy and adherence to strict protocols. Focusing on the intricacies of court life, this elegant novel unfolds at a pace that allows readers to savor the rich tapestry of character, setting and plot.

Historical Fiction
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Banished from the court of Versailles, spirited Charlotte-Rose de la Force meets a nun who weaves together the strands that form the Rapunzel fairy tale, revealing its surprising origins. A captivating marriage of history and folklore featuring characters true to their time periods, yet timeless in their dreams and desires.

Horror
The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman
Beneath the streets of 1970s New York, Joey meets the merry children, a gang of ancient child vampires, and discovers that immortality isn't all fun and games. Gritty, clever and gonzo, this fresh take on the vampire mythos gets darker and creepier as the pages turn.

Mystery
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver
This classic English mystery follows Amory and her estranged husband, Milo, whose paths cross at a seaside resort, where suspicious deaths implicate Amory’s former fiance, Gil. A vivid mystery that sparkles with personality as Amory and Milo puzzle out the truth behind the murders and negotiate their own complicated relationship.

Romance
Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
Comic misunderstandings ensue when playboy Bollywood director Samir travels to America to secure an annulment for his brother, married at age four to Mili in a traditional arranged Indian wedding ceremony. Appealing protagonists, a diverse supporting cast and a colorful multicultural backdrop lend this charming story unexpected emotional depth.

Science Fiction
The Martian by Andy Weir
Stranded on Mars, wisecracking botanist Mark Watney proves that an astronaut has to be smart, resourceful and, perhaps, a little crazy to survive. Strong characterization, well-researched but accessible technical detail, and a deft blend of suspense and humor will please science enthusiasts and fans of survival stories on any planet.

Women's Fiction
My Real Children by Jo Walton
Patricia Cowan, an elderly woman suffering from dementia, remembers two different lives, two different careers, two different families and two different worlds. A striking novel of how tragedy turns to joy and heartbreak turns to love with a narrative twist that hooks the reader and never lets go.

Check out the shortlists and readalikes, in the complete list.

Blind Date with a Book at your library!

Looking for a good book to read?

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, why not go on a blind date with a book?! Over the next three weeks, you’ll see displays at all the AADL locations (usually near the NEW teen and adult books) featuring unknown books wrapped in butcher paper, with a short hint description written on each one.

You won’t know the ‘identity’ of your date until you get home: it could be fiction or non-fiction, funny, informative, a mystery… but all of these books were recommended by one or more AADL staff members who personally enjoyed them. We hope we’ll introduce you to a book you’ll love!

Happy Valentine’s Day, and enjoy your “date!”

(And, if a book is too much “commitment” for you, we have blind date movies too!)

We also have “surprise” books and movies for kids, located where you find NEW kids books!

Stop by your nearest AADL location and check out these fun displays!

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday April 16, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up.

This is a monthly meetup that welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects. Local authors Lara Zielin and Margaret Alex Kourvo will be on hand to offer encouragement, answer questions, and point writers to resources. These open houses complement the Emerging Writers Workshops. These events feature perspectives from both traditional publishing and indie publishing and considerations of fiction and non-fiction writing.

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