New Year, New Resolutions, New Books

The new year often brings new year’s resolutions with it. Whatever your specific goals and aspirations may be for 2016, some of the newest non-fiction at the AADL offers tips and tricks for sticking to new habits, channeling creativity and keeping your life clutter-free, resolutions that I know many of us share!:

In Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, explores our habits and presents readers with an analytical and scientific framework for understanding them and, if desired, changing them for good. Rubin offers up dozens of strategies that she herself employs over the course of the book, and tests out on others. The emphasis of the book is on knowing ourselves and our habit tendencies so that we can pursue new habits in ways that truly work for us and build a foundation of good habits that can last a lifetime.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear explores the nature of inspiration. Many readers drew personal inspiration and empowerment from Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, and this new book asks readers to embrace natural curiosity and offers tools for facing down fears and insecurities. Gilbert discusses the attitudes and approaches that allowed her to live the creative life she had long dreamed of, and encourages readers in a pleasant and pragmatic manner to do the same to pursue the lives that they also dream of, whether one wants to write a book, address new challenges at work, move to a new city or simply lead each day with a greater sense of mindfulness.

The popularity of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, has swept across the entire world (the book was first written in Japanese and the first English publication was in Great Britain). The simple, slim book presents readers with the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing your space, also known as the KonMari Method. Kondo walks readers through the method step-by-step, which not only offers solutions for organizing, but also for getting rid of possessions one no longer needs and for better storing the possessions that one has. Although some aspects of the KonMari method may seem unusual, particularly to American readers, Kondo explains the rationale for each. For those whose goal in 2016 is to become better organized, this book is a must read.

Browse our catalog for these and other great books to help you stick to your new year’s resolutions this year!

Literati: Violin Monster Concert and Storytime

A human dressed up as "Violin Monster" will be at Literati bookstore at 7pm Thursday Oct. 30, the evening before Halloween. Literati is located at 124 E. Washington in downtown Ann Arbor. From their web page: "Violin Monster will play some music, read some stories, share some of his spookiest, scariest memories... and he may even need some help from the audience remembering them! Join us for this fun, spooky event for all ages. AAAAWWWOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!" At the library we have lots of books for young people about Halloween.

October is Bat Appreciation Month

Do you like bananas, cocoa, or agave? You can thank bats for that! (Bats are major pollinators of those plants.) Do you hate pesky insects like flies, mosquitoes, and gnats? You can thank bats for eating those! (One bat can eat up to 5,000 insects a night!) Bats are an extremely important part of the ecosystem, and now is a great time to celebrate how wonderful they are. October is Bat Appreciation Month, and boy do we have a lot of bat books and DVDs for you to check out!

Brian Lies has a great series of picture books including Bats at the Library, Bats at the Ballgame, and Bats at the Beach. And don't forget the classic Stellaluna by Janell Cannon!

If you’re interested in learning more facts about bats, we have a large selection of nonfiction books for both kids and adults. We even have a downloadable book about the link between bat echolocation and radar technology!

Sadly, many bat populations are on the decline due to things like loss of habitat and the dreaded “white-nose syndrome.” You can find out about the plight of the little brown bat (native to Michigan!) in the new book The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bat: A Scientific Mystery. Get those holds placed now!

One way you can help out bats is by building a bat house for your backyard. And guess what? We have a book for that!

The last week of October is National Bat Week (Oct 26 –Nov 1). The Organization for Bat Conservation, a Michigan-based, nonprofit environmental educational organization, has launched a Save the Bats campaign to raise awareness of the problems facing bat populations around the world. Check them out and find more ways you can help save bats!

July is National Parks and Recreation Month

Have you been enjoying visiting Ann Arbor's many parks to get the Park Explorer badges offered in our Summer Reading Game? I sure hope so, and this is a great time to do it - July is National Parks and Recreation Month!

Even if you're not playing along with the SRG, you can still have lots of fun at the parks around the town, county, and state. If you like taking long walks or hikes, don't miss Five-Star Trails: Ann Arbor and Detroit, which gives you some good trails to try like the Gallup Park Loop and several in the Pinckney State Park. More into cycling? Try Washtenaw County Bike Rides or Best Bike Rides Detroit and Ann Arbor, the latter of which includes road, bike path, and trail routes. Can't get enough of the outdoors? Want to spend DAYS and DAYS out in nature and never have to look at a computer screen or the back bumper of the guy in front of you in a traffic jam? Check out Michigan's Best Campgrounds and REALLY get to know your state's parks!

Those of you who'd prefer to stay indoors, now would be a good time to give the hilarious NBC comedy Parks and Recreation a try!

Hinamatsuri Paper Craft

Tuesday March 3, 2015: 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grades 3 - 8

Hinamatsuri – also known as Girl’s Day or Doll’s Day – is celebrated annually on March 3 in Japan. It’s a day to wish good health and happiness to young girls everywhere!

Learn about this special day, and make kokeshi-style and shiori ningyo-style dolls out of colorful paper and washi tape.

Kokeshi are wooden dolls of different shapes, and shiori ningyo are “bookmark dolls,”often made of washi.

February is National Bird-Feeding Month

It's been a rough winter here in Michigan, and we're not even done with it yet. But this weekend when I heard birds twittering in the trees amidst the snowfall, it put in mind the coming spring, and that's something to be excited for! While we're waiting for our beloved heralds of spring, the red-breasted robins*, there are still feathered friends among us who would probably appreciate a little celebration this February, so break out the seeds and suet - it's National Bird-Feeding Month!

Check out The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible, The Backyard Bird Lover's Ultimate How-To Guide, or The Bird Watching Answer Book for the who/what/where and when of feeding wild birds.

Not sure what birds you've got visiting your yard? Try Birds of Michigan: Field Guide, Birds of Michigan, National Geographic Field Guide to Birds: Michigan, or The Birds of Washtenaw County, Michigan. More of an auditory person? Birds of Michigan: Field Guide has an accompanying CD to help identify birds based on their vocalizations.

(*You can help observe and track the spring migration of the American robin. According to the data, looks like many are arriving early or have overwintered here!)

January is Get Organized Month!

The start of a new year is a great time to get your household, office, finances, and life in order. At AADL, we have a ton of books to help you on your path to orderliness!

Are you confused by the clutter that has consumed your family room? Are you never able to find important paperwork when you need it? Are you afraid of opening a close-to-bursting closet door for fear you may never get it shut again? Consider checking out some of the books in our Organizing Your Home list, which will help guide you through organizing the physical spaces as well as the intangible ones – finances, family, time, etc.

Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff you own? Having trouble letting go of items you don’t really use anymore? Do you ever feel mentally and/or physically exhausted keeping up with your belongings? Maybe it’s time to Simplify Your Life.

November is World Vegan Month

It's no secret that veganism - a lifestyle eschewing animal products - is on the rise. New York Times columnist Mark Bittman introduced to the world his popular "eat vegan before 6 p.m." diet this year with the release of his book VB6. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, John Salley, Emily Deschanel, Russell Simmons, and even former president Bill Clinton have been vocal about the benefits of their plant-based diets. Articles about the rise of veganism have appeared in New York Times, Huffington Post, Business Week, and Psychology Today. Vegan athletes are popping up in all kinds of disciplines - running, cycling, mixed martial arts, even football!

Whether you're a longtime vegan, a vegetarian thinking about making the switch, or an omnivore curious about plant-based diets, AADL has lots of great cookbooks to help you celebrate World Vegan Month!

For delicious meal ideas, check out the classic Veganomicon, the phenomenal Vegan Soul Kitchen, or the recent homage to Betty Crocker, Betty Goes Vegan. Got a sweet tooth? Don't miss Chloe's Vegan Desserts (the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are to die for!), The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook (vegan and gluten-free diets can go hand in hand), or Easy as Vegan Pie (which also has savory pies - just in time for the holidays!). Just want to know more about plant-based living and its myriad benefits? We've got lots of books and DVDs on that.

Halloween at the Library!

Halloween is a great holiday for all ages to celebrate, and the AADL has excellent resources to help you make this Halloween especially fun! Browse in our Halloween section to find books like Tricks and Treats: The Ultimate Halloween Book, A Halloween How-To: Costumes, Parties, Decorations an Destinations, and Halloween: The Best of Martha Stewart Living.

Check out our music collection to find Halloween CDs to help set the scene for a Halloween party or to play while kids get ready for trick-or-treating. We have Spooky Scary Sounds for Halloween, Andrew Gold’s Halloween Howls, 57 Kids Greatest Halloween Songs, Games and Stories, and many other Halloween-themed CDs.

We have tons of Halloween picture books for kids in our youth Holiday section, and we have a number of youth-oriented Halloween events this year, too. There will be two Halloween Parties on October 31st downtown, from 9:30 to 10:00AM and from 10:30 to 11:00AM, and a Halloween Story Time at our Pittsfield Branch that evening from 7:00 to 7:30PM, where kids will be able to hear Halloween stories and make a craft. Come celebrate with us!

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