Kate Atkinson Fans Rejoice!


Kate Atkinson, whose epic Life After Life tore up time and space and heartstrings, has announced that her next book will return to the same world, this time focused on Teddy, the beloved youngest child in the Todd family. Her new book, "A God In Ruins" will be released in May 2015.

The article in The Guardian describes that the plot "will explore how Teddy – "would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father" – navigates "the perils and progress of the twentieth century."

After the multiple realities explored by Life After Life, I'm very interested to discover in what reality "A God In Ruins" occurs, and if the story moves in a linear fashion, or if Teddy has some second chances of his own.

If you haven't read Kate Atkinson before, Life After Life is a great place to start. When it was published in 2013, it enjoyed great success, winning many awards and much critical praise. I also highly recommend her ingeniously plotted Case Histories, which kicks off her excellent Jackson Brodie mystery series.

Chicken Soup with Rice, so nice!

In November’s gusty gale I will flop my flippy tail
And spout hot soup-I’ll be a whale!
Spouting once, spouting twice
Spouting chicken soup with rice!

There is a small collection of books that travels through life with me and comes out when I want the comfort of an old friend. The book Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak is one of them and is almost always plucked from the bookshelf around the time the leaves near the end of their fall dance and coats and mittens become a part of my daily wardrobe. Written in 1962, it‘s part of a small collection of books Sendak called the Nutshell Library. (The other titles in the series are: Alligators All Around: an alphabet, One was Johnny: a counting book and Pierre: a cautionary tale.) Each book tells a different story in rhyme and covers topics like the months, counting and the alphabet. Chicken Soup with Rice covers the days of the month and you get the picture early on that the little boy in the book really loves chicken soup with rice! The book is delicious in its play with rhymes and the illustrations are true Maurice Sendak. A nice compliment to this little gem can be found on Carol King’s CD Really Rosie. She put the words to song and created a nice little ditty that will have you humming it for days.

British culinary history comes to life in Historic Heston

I was fascinated when I picked up the amazing new cookbook Historic Heston, by Heston Blumenthal. The book is a James Beard Award Winner for Cookbook of the Year 2014 and that prize was certainly well-deserved. In this fascinating tome, Blumenthal takes readers and chefs on a journey through the culinary history of Britain, from the middle ages all the way to modern day. “Alighting upon the most iconic and intriguing dishes, such as Meat Fruit, Powdered Duck, Tipsy Cake and Mock Turtle Soup, he delves into the story behind each one, before using them as inspiration for his own modern recipes,” reads the cover. I was particularly wonder-struck by the photography in the cookbook by Romas Foord: the image of a beautiful orange on one page is revealed to be constructed completely out of marzipan on the next. Later in the book, a close-up of meat stew is detailed enough to expose the individual spices in the broth. Seeing the ancient dishes as they would have been created in midieval times is a treat and Blumenthal’s adaptations to make them modern are completely usable. Historic Heston is truly a must-peruse for those interested in cooking, photography or British history.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday February 19, 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 Yang 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.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday January 22, 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 Yang 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.

New Craft Books!

Have you been keeping up with all the new craft books that have been rolling in? Book on crafting all sorts of things, including sewing, paper love, duct tape engineering, repurposing, and more. Now that the days get dark so early, it's a perfect time to start planning some new at-home projects to work on this fall and winter. I know I like to hunker down with old TV shows on DVD and a new project to keep me going. Here are a few stand-out titles:

Love At First Stitch

Scissors, Paper, Craft

Handcrafted Christmas: ornaments, decorations, and cookie recipes to make at home

Half yard heaven: easy sewing projects using left-over pieces of fabric

No-sew love: 50 fun projects to make without a needle and thread

And here are more of the new crafty maker books to keep an eye out for! Tis the season to craft. Wait, tis always the season to craft.

Once Upon An Alphabet

If words make up stories, and letters make up words, then stories are made of letters.
In this menagerie we have stories, made of words, made FOR all the letters.

Once Upon An Alphabet: Short Stories For All the Letters is written and illustrated by the amazing Oliver Jeffers. The picture book has a (cute or charming or funny or silly or weird or dark) short story for each letter of the alphabet, accompanied by quirky and beautiful illustrations. The stories feature some great vocabulary that dances off the page. This book is a real treat for both adults and children who aren't afraid of dark humor. (All the letters have great stories, but I recommend W. Since W is for Whiraffe!)

The Wild Truth; the untold story behind Into the Wild

Many of us are familiar with the fascinating story of Chris McCandless, told so fantastically by Jon Krakauer in 1996’s Into the Wild. Krakauer reports the true story of Chris’s desertion of his wealthy family, abandonment of his car and other possessions, donation of the $25,000 he had to his name to charity and ensuing adventures hitchhiking to Alaska and his life completely off the grid there. Months after his departure, his emaciated body was found in the Alaskan wilderness by a moose hunter.

Chris’s story was a controversial one, as many readers wondered how he could justify deserting his family and friends, leaving them to worry and wonder for months, and ultimately mourn his death. Other readers admired and often envied him for his courage and dedication to following his own path. The book enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the late 2000s, when it was made into a movie by the same title.

Now, Chris’s beloved sister Carine McCandless has written a revealing new book about her brother and about their childhood that offers vast amounts of insight into the reasoning behind Chris’s decision to leave his loved ones. In The Wild Truth: The Untold Story of Sibling Survival, Carine describes in vivid detail the realities of McCandless family life when she and Chris were growing up. “Carine was Chris's best friend, the person with whom he had the closest bond, and who witnessed firsthand the dysfunctional and violent family dynamic that made Chris willing to embrace the harsh wilderness of Alaska,” reads the book jacket. “In the many years since the tragedy of Chris's death, Carine has searched for some kind of redemption. In this touching and deeply personal memoir, she reveals how she has learned that real redemption can only come from speaking the truth.” Fans of Into the Wild will surely be interested in reading this insightful look into the nuances of Chris’s story.

Parent’s Corner: Top Picks

The Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and on this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from homework to potty training to time-outs to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” Here are a few stand-out titles worth a peek:

Making grateful kids: The science of building character

How to be the parent you always wanted to be

For additional parent resources check out the long list of titles in the catalog and located on the Parent Shelf!

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.

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