An Author and his Therapy Dog

Author Luis Montalvan is scheduled to sign books at Barnes and Noble, 3235 Washtenaw Ave in Ann Arbor, on Aug. 16 at 11:30 am. He will be joined by Tuesday, his therapy dog, and he will discuss his books including Until Tuesday : a wounded warrior and the golden retriever who saved him and Tuesday tucks me in : the loyal bond between a soldier and his service dog. Man and dog have been featured by the Late Show with David Letterman, NPR and National Geographic. Montalvan will answer questions and demonstrate Tuesday's Animal Assisted Therapy techniques.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Those interested in personal memoirs and stories will love Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin. Six honest teens from diverse backgrounds share their inspirational and often heartbreaking experiences in trying to find and identify who they really are. Each teen describes how they first realized they were a different gender and their transitional experiences since then. With a format based on taped interviews, readers will feel as though they are having a conversation with each teen in person. In addition to providing a great introduction to readers first exploring what it means to be transgender or intersex, "Beyond Magenta" would function well in teen book clubs or group discussions on identity. An extensive glossary and resource guide are located in the back of the book for extra clarification and further research.

Susan Kuklin is well-known for her raw and informative nonfiction books, including No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row and Iqbal Masih and the Crusaders Against Child Slavery. Many of her books, including "Beyond Magenta", feature her own engaging photography. To learn more about Susan Kuklin, visit her website.

Readalikes for upcoming AADL speaker Daniel Jones' Modern Love column!

Daniel Jones, editor of the weekly New York Times column Modern Love, will be speaking at the downtown location of the Ann Arbor District Library this Sunday at 3:00. The Modern Love column is adored by readers worldwide, and can be found online here. Jones has also written and edited several books, the latest of which is Love Illuminated: exploring life’s most mystifying subject (with the help of 50,000 strangers) and was published this year. Using thousands of the stories that he has been sent over the past decade, Jones extracts the ten aspects of love as he sees them from these tales of joy and woe, explaining these aspects in the book. At his talk on Sunday, Jones will discuss Love Illuminated and his column and will answer questions, and there will be the opportunity for attendees to purchase his books. You can read more about the event here.

If you are a fan of Jones’ column and his work, as I am, you may want to check out some of the essay and story collections on love that we have here at AADL as many of them read similarly to the column. I enjoyed This I Believe: on love, part of the popular “this I believe” series. There’s also Handbook for the Heart: original writings on love and Heart of the City: nine stories on love and serendipity on the streets of New York. If you enjoy poetry, the collection You Drive Me Crazy: love poems for real life is fun and applicable to all as is 77 Love Sonnets by Garrison Keillor.

You can also read more about Love Illuminated and the Modern Love column in this interview with Jones.

A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life

In 2007, James Bowen was a recovering heroin addict enrolled in a methadone program, lived in sheltered housing, and busked on the streets of London for rent, utilities, and his daily bread. He had been in and out of homelessness for years, estranged from his father and geographically distant from his mother in Australia. He did what he could do to get by without falling back into the traps of his past, one day at a time.

And then one spring evening he met an orange tom cat outside of his apartment. Assuming he belonged to someone else, Bowen left him alone. But then the friendly cat was back again. And again. And eventually Bowen took him in, brought him to the vet to clean up a wounded leg, and gave him a safe place in which to recover. But even when Bowen tried to find the cat's family (no luck) or put him back on the street (the cat wouldn't have that nonsense), he relented and decided to keep Bob - named for a character in the TV show Twin Peaks - on a permanent basis.

What really surprised Bowen, and what he and Bob became best known for (featured around the world in YouTube videos) was when Bob decided to accompany Bowen on his busking rounds!

If you want to read more about this delightful duo, and learn about Bowen and Bob's close calls with police, dogs, and drunks, but also their encounters with old friends, gift-giving strangers, helpful store workers, and Bowen's monumental step toward clean living, check out A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life. It's a quick and fun read that is sure to warm your heart.

Love cat stories? Don't miss these other great reads!
Homer's Odyssey
Kitty Cornered
The Cat Who Came for Christmas

New Self-Help Book: 10% Happier

Self-help stories, in my opinion, can be very inspiring. So how can I resist this new book: 10 % Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-help That Actually Works -- a True Story, by Dan Harris. From the AADL catalog book description: "After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists . . . " Currently there are 46 holds on one copy. Make that 47 -- I just placed mine.

Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything

I became a fan of Barbara Ehrenreich after reading her 2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America. Her latest book, Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything is currently at the top of my to-read list, based on a review I just read in the April issue of the monthly journal BookPage. Ehrenreich, a scientist who has described herself as a "fourth-generation atheist," is a leading thinker and fabulous writer. Her book, a blend of memoir and metaphysical reflection, is reviewed under the headline "An atheist reconsiders the human 'situation.'" In the book, Ehrenreich writes about her childhood quest to find answers to universal questions such as "Why are we here?" As a middle-aged woman, she revisits her childhood mission and tells BookPage that yes, she believes that she has risen to the challenge made by her 1958 self, "What have you learned since you wrote this?" You can pick up a free copy of BookPage at any library location. You can place a hold on Living with a Wild God here. There currently are 24 requests on 5 copies.

Youth Biographies by Brad Meltzer

Author Brad Meltzer is known for his best-selling mystery novels, including The Book of Lies and The Inner Circle.

His latest books are for children! And they’re cool! It’s a series called Ordinary People Change the World and features biographies on some extraordinary folks that started out as ordinary, just like me and you. Check out the wonderfully illustrated I Am Abraham Lincoln and I Am Amelia Earhart. In these books young readers get to see famous faces from history doing fun things as children.

Hitler's Children

This moving documentary tackles what it means to have a negative family legacy, and how different descendants strive to overcome the guilt they feel for what their ancestors have done. It follows the children and grandchildren of Goering, Himmler, and Frank. They reminisce about their childhood and reflect on memories they have of their relatives. Their stories are riveting and have much to teach those of us who are familiar with history but may not have as much of a personal connection to the narratives that spring from that history.

Some descendants exile themselves like Bettina Goering, who now resides in the Santa Fe desert. The film shows her throwing a get together for friends and neighbors where she celebrates German heritage with traditional German food and music. One gets the impression that she is desperately trying to reclaim the good aspects of her cultural history. Others such at Niklas Frank (son of Hans Frank and Hitler’s godson), have devoted their lives to passionately speaking out against the crimes of their relatives. Frank travels around speaking about the atrocities his parents committed and fervently admonishes them.

If you are interested in this topic and wish to discover more stories and psychological effects of growing up with such relatives make sure to check out Hitler's Children the book, as well as Born Guilty and Legacy of Silence. Also, if you are interested in discovering more about your own family history be sure to check out the ancestry.com library edition that is available at your local AADL branch.

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.

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.

Syndicate content