Euphoria: a slim novel jam-packed with action and feeling

Many of us have heard of the fascinating 2014 Kirkus Prize winning novel Euphoria, by Lily King. The bright cover caught my eye almost a year ago, but I finally found the chance to read it just this past week. King’s novel is told from several perspectives, and tells the story of three young and gifted anthropologists studying the tibes of New Guinea in the early 1930s. Husband and wife team Nell and Fen have just finished studying the violent and superstitious Mumbanyo tribe, and their relationship and sanity are both on thin ice. When they encounter fellow anthropologist Bankson, he leads them to the peaceful, female-dominated Tam tribe to study and recover. However, an ensuing love triangle, and the misdeed’s of Nell’s husband Fen threaten their careers, their friendship, and their lives. This book is both a fascinating portrait of intimate relationships, and an accurate and shocking tale of what some of the first anthropologists encountered when they ventured out into the field.

It’s particularly interesting to note that King based the character of Nell Stone on real events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead. Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa is her psychological study of tribal youth, and documents her travels to Samoa at age twenty-three, where she conducted her first fieldwork. It has been compared to Darwin's Origin of Species for its scientific relevance as well as its readability. You can also read Jane Howard’s biography of Margaret Mead, titled Margaret Mead: A Life, to find out even more about the amazing woman that inspired King to write Euphoria.

Revving Up for the Reads

Ann Arbor Reads Logo: Ann Arbor Reads LogoAnn Arbor Reads Logo: Ann Arbor Reads LogoThe finalists for this year’s Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads have been chosen! They are The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, a work of fiction, and Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, a work of non-fiction. More information about the books is available on the finalists page of the Reads website.

For more than 10 years, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti communities have come together to share the same book during Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads. This year’s theme is “A Very Good Read,” and may be a work of fiction or non-fiction. A panel of local individuals will read both books and determine which one will be the official Read for 2016, which will take place in January and February. If you’d like to participate now, you can read both books, available in stores and at your local library, and leave your comments on the books’ pages at

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading a book. It was launched in 2003 by the University of Michigan Life Sciences, Values, and Society Program, and was modeled after a program started by the Seattle Public Library. Now, the Reads program is co-sponsored by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti District Libraries and supported by interested civic groups, the University of Michigan School of LS&A, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Public Schools, local bookstores, Eastern Michigan University Libraries and Washtenaw Community College.

Storybook Crafts: Dr. Seuss

Sunday May 1, 2016: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grade K- 5

It’s craft time featuring the Dr. Seuss book series!

This event corresponds with the Michigan Theater’s “Not Just for Kids” May 7 performance of "Seussical".

Storybook Crafts: Alexander and the Super, Wonderful, Very Good, Excellent Day!

Monday April 4, 2016: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grades K - 5

It’s time for crafts and games featuring the "Alexander" book series by Judith Viorst!

This event corresponds with the Michigan Theater’s “Not Just for Kids” April 10 performance of "Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move".

Storybook Crafts: "Junie B. Jones"

Saturday February 6, 2016: 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grade 1–5.

It’s craft time featuring the book series Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park!

This event corresponds with the Michigan Theater’s “Not Just for Kids” February 13 performance of "Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School."

Man Booker Prize Shortlist Announced!

The Man Booker Prize Award finalists were announced today. Currently, American Yanagihara is a favorite to win, although competition is fierce, including previous Booker Prize finalist Tom McCarthy and Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Tyler.

The nominees are:

Marlon James - A Brief History of Seven Killings
Tom McCarthy - Satin Island
Chigozie Obioma - The Fishermen
Sunjeev Sahota - The Year of the Runaways (US publication coming March 2016)
Anne Tyler - A Spool of Blue Thread
Hanya Yanagihara - A Little Life

This year continues the policy introduced in 2014 of allowing all authors writing in English, regardless of nationality, to be considered for the award. Michael Wood, chair of the judging panel commented that the selections on this year's list explore the darker areas of life, but stressed the quality of the books, saying, "What’s quite interesting is trying to work out how one can have such pleasure in books with such terrible stuff.”

Two Delightful New Picture Books

The AADL always has lots of fun new picture books on our shelves, but I was particularly pleased with two brand new books that I discovered just the other day.

Under a Pig Tree, by Margie Palatini and Chuck Groenink, is a hilarious mixed-up book, where the word and picture "fig" is replaced with the word and picture "pig." Initially an educational tale about the history and prominence of the delicious fig fruit, the story becomes a whole lot funnier when one imagines PIGS growing on trees instead! "Nothing is better than a pig right off a tree," states the book. "Look for the ones on low branches. They droop a bit, but feel nice and soft." This is accompanied by an image of a cheerful couple picking a plump, enthused pig off of a tree. At the end of the book are delicious recipes (using FIGS, not PIGS) that readers will want to try out!

In Mr. Postmouse's Rounds, an adorable little mail-mouse makes the rounds to the homes of other animals delivering letters and packages. The illustrations are the true standout of this book: each animal lives in a home perfectly suited to their needs, and author/illustrator Marianne DuBuc has drawn the homes in cross-section so that readers can see inside! From moles and ants, to snakes, bears, octopi, turtles and penguins, the diversity of animals and animal-homes pictured in this book are fun and fascinating. And, the packages that Mr. Postmouse delivers are clever and will amuse readers of all ages!

Check out these, and our other great new picture books in the NEW areas at all our locations!

Mamas and Babies

This week at preschool storytime Ms. Amanda told and read stories featuring mamas and babies. The babies were of the pig, kangaroo and human variety.

In Piglet and Mama, little pig strayed a little too far from mama and he spends the story checking in with many animal friends to see if they’ve seen mama, all the while he cries “I want my mama!”

What Shall We Do With the Boohoo Baby? is a silly story where a baby does nothing but cry BOOHOOOO. We changed the baby, fed it, played with it, and the baby still cried. Eventually the baby stopped crying – can you guess how we made that happen? It’s adorable.

In Nighty, Night Cooper a small kangaroo is being put to bed by his mother, but he wants her to sing “one more song.” So she continues to do so. The songs featured in the story are ones that have new lyrics and classic tunes your little ones might recognize. So cute! And by the author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!

Magazines On Flipster

Flipster Large LogoFlipster Large Logo
Enjoy reading magazines like Time, Fine Cooking, Forbes, People, Rolling Stone? Well now these and many other popular titles for kids and adults can be read online with our new database called Flipster. For the kids, there's Ladybug, Ranger Rick, Zoobooks, and more! New issues as well as some back issues are available now to read on your computer and other electronic devices. So sit back, relax, and read a magazine !

Kerrytown BookFest: The Art of the Book

Now through October 15, 2015 -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Exhibit

The Kerrytown BookFest celebrates all aspects of book writing and creation. This year, this annual exhibit at the Library showcases entries from the festival’s 8th annual Book Cover Design contest for high school students.

The contest, open to all Michigan High School students, asks the students to reimagine a cover for a chosen book and give a visual interpretation to the written word. The contest winners will be announced at the reception.

This year’s book is My Last Kiss, a young adult novel by Bethany Neal. Over 100 entries were judged by Bethany Neal, author; Paula Newcombe, graphic designer for the University of Michigan Press; and Melissa Weisberg, Macmillan Publishing Company representative.

Eight finalists were chosen on the basis of originality, execution, and understanding and application of the subject matter

The public is invited to an opening reception for the exhibit and the BookFest on Friday, September 11 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm on the third floor of the Downtown Library This event will include: elegant refreshments; exquisite music by harpist Deborah Gabrion; and remarks by Robin Agnew, Kerrytown BookFest President and owner of Aunt Agatha’s bookstore, who will present an overview of the exhibit and the book design contest

The Kerrytown BookFest, which will be held on Sunday, September 13, is an event celebrating those who create books and those who read them. The primary goal is to highlight the area’s rich heritage in the book and printing arts while showcasing local and regional individuals, businesses, and organizations. Since 2003, the BookFest has been growing, sharing, and discovering more and more about the rich book culture in this region.

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