Cozy Books for Winter

Are you feeling done with winter even though winter isn’t done with you? I can relate! Luckily, we’ve got some great kids books to make the winter more cozy and fun. My favorite new addition to this group is Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold, by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen. This book is a true gem. Each page combines poems about life during the winter, gorgeous illustrations, and a sidebar explaining the facts behind the poem. For a lovely mix of art and science, you can’t get much better than this book!

If you’re going stir crazy and need some fun activities, check out Fun and Festive Winter Crafts, which will teach you how to make a number of seasonal crafts and offers information on the science of winter. Creating Winter Crafts will also help drive away boredom.

Finally, if you want a hilarious and sweet winter classic, try the great picture book Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester. And for older readers, check out my personal winter favorite, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic The Long Winter. I guarantee you that this book will make you feel better about our winters!

Grab some hot chocolate and cozy up with one of these books! Spring will be here before we know it. Hopefully.

The World of PostSecret

The wildly popular community mail art project PostSecret, in which individuals decorate and mail a postcard with a secret on it to creator Frank Warren, was first established in 2005. Since then, the secrets that Frank has received have been displayed around the world in museums and galleries, and are posted on the PostSecret website, as well as published in PostSecret books. It had been a few years since a PostSecret book was published, but now fans can be excited about The World of PostSecret, the sixth book displaying some of the thousands of postcards that Frank receives. The book also features images and secrets from the short-lived PostSecret app. The range of emotions that one experiences while reading a PostSecret book is vast. The secrets will make you cringe, laugh, cry, and shake your head in disbelief and appreciation. I especially enjoyed The World of PostSecret because it contains follow-up stories to some of the secrets that readers might be most curious about.

Other PostSecret books in the AADL collection include The Secret Lives of Men and Woman, My Secret, Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives, and A Lifetime of Secrets.

Waiting (not so) patiently for The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins?

Everyone’s going nuts for The Girl on the Train - they’re calling it the next Gone Girl, and a major studio has already snapped up the movie rights.

The Girl on the Train is Rachel, who is at rock bottom after her divorce, she’s lost her job and is rapidly boozing her way through her savings account. Each day she takes the train into the city and passes her former home - where her ex-husband lives with his new family. She blocks this out by daydreaming about a couple whose house is also visible from the train, imagining their perfect life and solid marriage. It’s a pleasant distraction from her unhappy reality, until the woman from her dream couple goes missing and Rachel finds herself embroiled in the fallout. It’s a great read, a psychological thriller in which the narrator is so unreliable, even she doesn’t know what she’s seen or done.

Here are a few titles that should help tide you over, for even more, check out this list.

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson - An amnesiac tries to piece together her identity and her past, while determining who she can and can’t trust.

Defending Jacob by William Landay - This story of a family whose high school age son is accused of murdering a classmate heavily features the theme of the how well one can know another person - even a family member.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emme Healey - An elderly woman struggling with dementia is convinced that her friend Elizabeth is missing and in need of help, but in her search for Elizabeth, she begins to discover clues of her own sister’s disappearance many years earlier.

The Killer Next Door or Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood - In Alex Marwood’s thrillers, everyone has something to hide and things are not what they seem, but everyone in these seedy settings would rather mind their own business than look to closely at their neighbors, until mounting violence leaves them no other choice.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson - This dark thriller stirs together infidelity, a devious woman with a dangerous past and a swapped murder, ala Strangers on a Train.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight - A mother attempts to reconcile the truth behind her over-achieving daughter’s apparent suicide at her tony private school.

Four Perfect Pebbles: A Talk with Holocaust Survivor and Author Marion Blumenthal Lazan

Thursday February 12, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults, teens and youth (grade 4 and up)

Author Marion Blumenthal Lazan will share her message of understanding and tolerance through recounting her experience as a young girl interned by the Nazis during WWII. Born in Germany, Lazan and her family were attempting to escape through Holland when the country fell to the Nazis. Her family spent more than six years imprisoned in various refugee and labor camps, including Bergen-Belsen. Shortly after their release, her father died of typhus contracted while in the camp. Three years later, at age 13, Lazan emigrated to the United States with her mother and sister, ready to start a new life in Illinois.

Lazan is the author of Four Perfect Pebbles, a memoir for young people about her family's struggle to survive the horrors of the Nazis. Copies of her book will be available for sale and signing.

Literature as Words and Art

Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals by Dinah Fried features a photograph of a would-be meal depicting a novel, artfully laid out and photographed. It also features a quote from the book as well as a few bits of trivia about the novel or the food. This is done for many books, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Road, The Namesake, A Wrinkle In Time, and A Confederacy of Dunces.

Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines by Samantha Hahn features beautiful watercolors of women from various classic novels, along with a quintessential quote from the woman. The titles featured include East of Eden, The Bell Jar, Crime and Punishment, Jane Eyre, and more.

Both books are part of the book display on the 1st floor downtown that includes gems found within AADL’s art book collection – and oh there are so many beautiful art books! Sometimes judging a book by its cover can be a wonderful thing.

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

Synopsis:
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.

Emerging Writers: Writing & Review Meetup

Thursday June 18, 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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