Book Release: Eric Shonkwiler's Above All Men at Literati, 2/17

This coming Monday, Literati Bookstore hosts a launch party for Eric Shonkwiler's Above All Men, at 7pm. The title is published by Michigan’s own MG Press, a micro-press devoted to publishing a small number of titles each year.

An extension of the literary journal Midwestern Gothic, MG Press retains the same core values: shining a spotlight on Midwest authors by focusing on works that showcase all aspects of life—good, bad, or ugly.

Tom Lutz of the Los Angeles Review of Books declares that "Shonkwiler takes the world on his own terms, and wrestles it to the ground.”

AADL cardholders who are curious about Shonkwiler's writing can download one of his stories, "Gripping the Heel," in Issue #3 of Midwestern Gothic. In fact, Midwestern Gothic's entire back catalog is available electronically for cardholders.

Eric Shonkwiler’s writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Fiddleblack, [PANK] Magazine, and Midwestern Gothic. He was born and raised in Ohio, received his MFA from The University of California Riverside, and "has lived and worked in every contiguous U.S. time zone."

Reviews of New, Great Books from NPR!

Fans of “All Things Considered” on NPR may have heard reviews of some of the exciting new titles being released this month. Meg Wolitzer, author of the hugely popular The Interestings, reviewed a new collection of short stories by Molly Antopol, called The UnAmericans. These stories cover a wide range of geographic settings and time periods, and “keep going right past the point where you thought they would end,” says Wolitzer. Jumping from New York City, to the Ukraine, to Nazi-invaded Europe, the stories focus mainly on family and the connections we share with other individuals, be they strong or tenuous.

Also on “All Things Considered,” Ellah Alfrey reviewed Penelope Lively’s new book, Dancing Fish and Ammonites. Lively herself has been writing for 44 years and is the beloved author of both children’s books and award-winning novels. She classifies Dancing Fish and Ammonites as a memoir, but Alfrey argues that it is “less a memoir in the conventional sense and more a collection of thoughts, a scattering of advice and a reading list to treasure.” In it, Lively shares excerpts of her life (she was born in Egypt and sent to boarding school in England when she was 12, where she later attended university and raised a family) as well as observations that she has made over the years about the world as a whole. All of this is laced with quiet humor.

On NPR’s website, you can read and listen to the complete reviews of The UnAmericans and Dancing Fish and Ammonites here and here.

Parent’s Corner: Behavior Management

With parenthood comes a child that is a unique individual with their own way of behaving and viewing the world. One may ask: Is my child supposed to be behaving this way? They are out of control, what can I do? Why won’t my willful child listen to me? Why do they behave fine at home but act out in public? Maybe there are no correct answers to these questions, but boy do they get asked.

The Downtown library has a shelf in the Youth Department known as the Parent Shelf. On this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including behavior and everything from language to potty training to safety to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.”

The Parent Shelf has an assortment of books on the topic of child behavior. Here are a few to think about:

* Calm mama, happy baby: the simple, intuitive way to tame tears, improve sleep, and help your family thrive

* You can't make me (but I can be persuaded) : strategies for bringing out the best in your strong-willed child

* No more meltdowns : positive strategies for managing and preventing out-of-control behavior

The Bear’s Song

The Bear’s Song is a charming picture book written and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud. The beautiful, large and detailed illustrations help tell the story of a bear and his cub. Little Bear darts off after a bee, because honey is where the bees are! Papa Bear is left to run after Little Bear. He searches for him in the forest, in the big, busy city, and eventually an opera house—where things get a little silly for Papa Bear.

It is a darling story that is great for lap reading. Kids will enjoy searching for Little Bear and the bee on each of the pages as the story unfolds.

Highly acclaimed, the book has been on many top lists, including New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2013 and Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Books of 2013, which both feature some amazing children’s books!

The Candymakers

Since February is a traditional time for candy, it also seems like a perfect opportunity to sample this sweet story, The Candymakers by Wendy Mass.

Reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this book introduced readers to four twelve-year-olds competing in the Confectionery Association’s annual Best New Candy contest. Alternating between the perspectives of contestants Logan, Miles, Daisy and Philip, the story unfolds in truly surprising and delightful ways. Through these alternating perspectives, we come to learn that each contest is carrying a secret, but they will have to trust the others enough to reveal all in order to ensure a happy ending.

The audiobook, narrated by Mark Turetsky, is also worth checking out.

Perfect for fans of Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society or Pseudonymous Bosch’s The Name of This Book is Secret.

New Podcast Series: Martin Bandyke Under Covers

Many Ann Arborites recognize Martin Bandyke as the longtime morning drive host at ann arbor’s 107one, WQKL-FM, his home station since 2006. In addition to a friendly voice guiding locals through their a.m. soundtrack, Bandyke is also known for his delightfully format-free Fine Tuning program on Sundays. Readers of the Detroit Free Press may have enjoyed his periodic music coverage as well.

Prior to his tenure with 107one, listeners in Southeastern Michigan benefited from Bandyke's vast musical knowledge through his role at WDET-FM, Detroit - first as a host, and subsequently as Music Director from 1995-2005. His own passion for music began with his father Ted's love of records, evolved through his role as a gigging drummer, and led to working behind the counter as a musical matchmaker at Dearborn Music and Car City Records.

Although Bandyke's talent is no secret, many of the things he loves are found between covers - including both records and books. With this in mind, AADL is pleased to be partnering with Bandyke for a new series of podcasts, called Martin Bandyke Under Covers. These podcasts, hosted by Bandyke, evidence his knowledge of music and pop culture in interviews with a variety of authors, musicians and creators.

In the first Under Covers podcast, Bandyke chats with Ray Davies of the Kinks about his new memoir, Americana. The second episode features Bandyke in conversation with Vivek Tiwary about his graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle (a recent #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list), which traces the story of Brian Epstein, the Liverpool record shop owner who discovered and then managed the Beatles from 1961 until his untimely death in 1967.

These two episodes are just the beginning for Martin Bandyke Under Covers - stay tuned for more conversations and interviews with creative minds! If your interest in popular culture and media extends to film, we hope you'll join Bandyke with Michigan Theater director Russ Collins for an Academy Awards Preview event, Downtown on Wednesday, February 26, 7-8:30pm.

Available for Download through AADL: Books by Local Author Tristan Gregory

All four titles in The Wandering Tale series by local author Tristan Gregory are now available for download from the catalog! Satisfy an appetite for adventure (think swords, knights, and damsels and distress) with these little gems. Tight schedule? No worries - read a novella in one sitting!

If you're looking for something a little meatier, try Gregory's epic fantasy novel Twixt Heaven and Hell, where one wizard who dreams of peace will clash with a power-hungry warlord in control of sorcerers and demons in a battle to save his precious land and people. Full of magic, action, and plenty of atmospheric suspense - fantasy fans won't want to miss this one!

To download a book, click on one of the links below, then click on the book cover image underneath "Download This Item". Easy!! (If you aren't logged into your AADL account, you'll be prompted to do so - still pretty easy).

The Swordsman of Carn Nebeth (Wandering Tale 1)
The Three Fingers of Death (Wandering Tale 2)
The Giant of Tidesmouth (Wandering Tale 3)
The Crown Unconquered (Wandering Tale 4)

Twixt Heaven and Hell

Le Morte d'Arthur (a short story to whet your appetite)

ALA's 2014 Reading List Winners - Librarians' Top Picks in Genre Fiction

Congratulations to this year's winners in 8 genre fiction categories, just announced at the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. It is great to see among them some first novels. An added value of the Reading List (as opposed to the Notable Books) has always been the inclusion of the shortlists which enriches the readers exploration of the genres.

Adrenaline Winner:
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. This modern spy novel pits two covert operatives against each other in an intricate cat-and-mouse game. As Dominika and Nathaniel ply their tradecraft, they navigate the moral ambiguities of a post-Cold War world where no one is as they seem and betrayal is business as usual.

Short List
The Caretaker by A.X. Ahmad, a FFF (blog)
Ghostman by Roger Hobbs, a FFF (blog)
Lexicon by Max Barry
Lost by S.J. Bolton

Fantasy Winner
Vicious by V.E.Schwab. A friendly rivalry turns vicious when college friends Victor and Eli obtain super-human powers and use them for very different purposes. This dark paranormal fantasy, a riveting tale of vengeance and redemption, proves that extraordinary powers don’t necessarily make superheroes.

Short List
The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
American Elsewhere by Robert Bennett Jackson
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, a FFF (blog)

Youth & Teen Book Awards Announced!

For at least a year librarians all over the country read, and read, and read and then in the dead of winter in some predetermined location (this time it was Philadelphia) they meet at their annual conference and discuss, and argue and determine the best books, audio and video for children and teens! On Monday, January 27 the ALA (American Library Association) hosted the Youth Media Awards and came up with their best picks. Without further ado find out what books you should start reading NOW! The big three awards are the Newbery, Caldecott and the Printz, but there are many other awards so be sure to look through the whole list!

The Newbery Medal honors the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children

2014 Winner: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventure, by Kate DiCamillo

Honor Books:
Doll Bones, by Holly Black
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
One Came Home, by Amy Timberlake
Paperboy, by Vince Vawter

The Caldecott Medal honors the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

2014 Winner: Locomotive, illustrated and written by Brian Floca

Honor Books:
Journey, written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
Flora and the Flamingo, written and illustrated by Molly Idle
Mr. Wuffles! written and illustrated by David Wiesner

The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.

2014 Winner:
Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

Honor Books:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Austenland

Austenland is a new movie based on the novel written by Shannon Hale. The novel’s protagonist is Jane Austen obsessed Jane Hayes. Jane is in her 30's when her great aunt dies leaving her a large amount of money. The catch is that the money must be spent on a vacation involving an English resort that panders to the Austen lovers of the world. During her vacation Jane searches for a Regency era gentleman to fall in love with and hopes to rid herself of her dreams of Mr. Darcy by the end of the vacation. The goal is to return to her life without comparing all men to Mr. Darcy. Will she succeed or will the insanity of this absurd vacation only further her obsession?

The twelve year old girl living inside of me giggled manically when she saw the preview for this movie. It has received mixed reviews and the negative ones are generally written by significant others who were dragged to a screening against their will. It will most likely be overly cheesy, but what can you expect from a movie centered on Jane Austen obsession. At that point isn’t the cheesiness part of the fun?

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