Ages 18+.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #492 - “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong... I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

Miracle in a Dry Season * by Sarah Loudin Thomas is set in the small town of Wise, WV.

Rumors and speculations swirl around single mother Perla Long and her 5 yr.old daughter Sadie when she comes to live with her uncle and aunt. Casewell Phillips, a church elder and a confirmed bachelor is charmed when he meets beautiful Perla and before long, he is crafting doll furniture for Sadie. But like the townfolks, he is cautious of her past that hints of sordidness and suspicious of her singular talent of producing literally an endless feast out of meager rations.

When a severe drought hits Wise, folks are torn between gratitude for Perla's gift and small-town gossip, and a minister bent on judgment. Perla and Casewell must look deep into their hearts and faith for guidance if they are to have a future.

"Thomas's fiction debut offers sympathetic, wholesome protagonists seeking to live faithful, prayerful lives and engaging supporting characters in subplots that explore the overarching themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the wideness of God's love."

Fans of Ann Tatlock, Karen Kingsbury, and Lisa Wingate now have a new author to watch.

* = starred review

Yes Please

Yes Please by Amy Poehler is everything I thought it would be. It is funny, candid, and at times, it addresses deeper issues like negative self-talk, disability, and divorce. According to the book jacket, Yes Please is "A collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers, Yes Please offers Amy's thoughts on everything from her 'too safe' childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and 'the biz,' the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a 'face for wigs.' Yes Please is chock-full of words and wisdom to live by."

If you enjoy reading the smart and poignant writings of Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Lena Dunham, Sarah Silverman, Mindy Kaling, and Carol Burnett (I could go on and on, but I think you get the point) then I assure you, you will enjoy Poehler’s book. To give you any indication about how quickly it reads, I checked it out yesterday evening and before morning had read half of it…and I’m a slow reader.

If you prefer audiobooks, we have you covered. You can put the BOCD on hold here and experience Poehler's book by listening to her read it. Her voice is pretty strong in her writing, but I imagine her jokes will only be improved by her own vocal inflections. I know as much as I enjoyed reading Bossypants, I loved listening to it.

New Fiction by Anita Diamant: The Boston Girl

Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent, Day After Night and The Last Days of Dogtown, has written a new novel to be published in 2015. Titled The Boston Girl, the book tells the story of Addie, a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century. Addie’s parents are suspicious of the changing world around them and want nothing more than to keep her and her two sisters close to home until they can marry suitably and begin families of their own. Addie’s curiosity and intelligence draw her outward, however, and she dreams of going to college and marrying for love, not convenience. As she ventures out into the world of short skirts, movie theaters, dancing, and opportunity, she experiences more than she would have ever dreamed possible. The premise of this lovely book is the question, “What made you the woman you are today?” asked of eighty-five-year-old Addie by her young granddaughter, which leads Addie to share her remarkable memories and experiences. “The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America,” reads the book jacket, “and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.”

Diamant’s books are notable for their focus on women in often-forgotten places and times in history. The Red Tent tells the story of the Biblical figure Dinah, a woman who’s life is only hinted at in the book of Genesis as the daughter of Jacob. Day After Night is a fascinating portrait of four female World War II concentration camp survivors who have escaped to Israel but are still trying to determine where they will fit in. Check these books and Diamant’s other works out at the AADL!

Vietnamerica: Pop-Up Exhibition by GB Tran

The University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities has a new Pop-Up exhibition series in the Osterman Common Room (#1022). The first, Vietnamerica, is an exhibition of images from GB Tran's graphic memoir of the same name, a visually stunning portrait of survival, escape, and reinvention, and of the fit of the American immigrants' dream. The exhibition will be up through Friday, November 7.

GB Tran be there to talk about his work on Friday, November 7, 2014 at 2:00pm.

Note: The Common Room at Institute for the Humanities is open M-F 9am-5pm.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #491 - “I've always wanted to play a spy, because it is the ultimate acting exercise. You are never what you seem.” ~ Benedict Cumberbatch

Called "one of the best and most compulsively readable spy-fiction debuts in years", one-time China correspondent for the BBC, Adam Brookes' debut Night Heron * * relocates the traditional Cold War thriller to modern China.

The novel opens with an edge-of-your-seat escape from a remote high-security Chinese labor camp. Prisoner 5995 was once a promising engineer, imprisoned for impulsively attacking a soldier during the Tiananmen Square protests. Back in Beijing, he (code name Peanut) is desperate to renew the deal with UK intelligence in passing along technology secrets, and mistakes British journalist Philip Mangan for an undercover operative who reluctantly, is drafted into the world of espionage. Navigating not only between their two governments, but also round the opaque American intelligence agenda, Mangan and Peanut find themselves running for their lives.

"Fans of the international espionage genre will inhale this fast tale in a few suspenseful breaths. Brookes uses multiple narrators - the spy, the engineer, the journalist, the agent, the boss, whose conflicting alliances tell the real story."

The Madness of July by James Naughtie is an "explosive, brilliantly written spy novel".

Set over the course of 6 sweltering days in 1976, an American spy is found dead, stuffed into a cupboard in the House of Commons. In his pocket is Will Flemyng's phone number. A former MI6 operative who is now a rising star in the Foreign Office, and tapped for the U.S. ambassadorship, Will is forced to return to his old craft in order to safeguard some of the most sensitive secrets of his government. In the meantime, Will and his 2 brothers with hearts set on vacation in the Scottish Highlands, are confronted with interlocking mysteries that involves family secrets and a cold crime case. Clever readers will sense early on that these threads are part of a single web.

"Unlike thrillers that focus on spycraft, this debut novel from a British political affairs journalist (The Washington Post and The Guardian) digs into the psychology of secrets hidden in the crevices between diplomacy and espionage."

"For mood and atmosphere, Alan Furst's novels come to mind and for tension and pace, think of the British TV series MI-5."

* * = 2 starred reviews

Mustache Madness!

In the month of November you might notice more men walking around sporting mustaches. No, there isn’t going to be a shortage of razors and shaving cream! Many of these men are taking part in a campaign called Movember. Movember started over 10 years ago in Australia as a way to raise awareness about men’s health. In the past few years the mustache movement has made its way across the world and has become an international campain that has raised $559 million and funded over 800 programs in 21 countries.
But hey, grown men aren’t the only ones allowed to have fun with Movember! Children can participate too by checking out these great books centered around, you got it, MUSTACHES!
Mo’s Mustache by Ben Clanton
Monster Mo's big, beautiful mustache inspires all of his friends to copy his style by growing fabulous mustaches of their own, leaving Mo to wonder how he will continue to distinguish himself.
Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos
When Baby Billy is born with a mustache, his family takes it in stride. They are reassured when he nobly saves the day in imaginary-play sessions as a cowboy or cop and his mustache looks good-guy great. But as time passes, their worst fears are confirmed when little Billy's mustache starts to curl up at the ends in a suspiciously villainous fashion. Sure enough, "Billy's disreputable mustache led him into a life of dreadful crime."
Mustache by Mac Barnett
When extremely good-looking King Duncan builds more and more tributes to his handsome face, neglecting kingdom projects and repairs, his loyal subjects find a mustachioed solution.
Big Bushy Mustache by Gary Soto
In order to look more like his father, Ricky borrows a mustache from a school costume, but when he loses it on the way home his father comes up with a replacement.

Strengthening Families

The Washtenaw Success By 6 Great Start Collaborative invite all teachers, caregivers, and others who work with young children to a presentation on strengthening families. Learn about the Five Protective Factors:

Parental Resilience
Social Connections
Concrete support in times of need
Knowledge of parenting and child development
Social and Emotional competence in children

Research shows these factors make all families stronger, even those dealing with toxic stress and trauma.

This Free event will be held on Friday, November 21 at WISD from 12:30 - 2:30. If you are interested, please RSVP

For further questions, please contact Elizabeth Smith at 734-994-8100 or esmith@washtenawisd.org.

New LGBTQ Books

Want to learn more about history, issues, and personal stories relating to the LGBTQ community? You’re in luck, because AADL just got in a bundle of new (and new to us) books on these topics!

For amazing vintage photographs of LGBTQ folks, check out the beautiful new book The Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride. Each photograph, which range in date from 1900 to 1960, tells a beautiful and intriguing story. Taken as a whole, these lovely portraits illuminate a part of history that is frequently glossed over. If the photographs make you wish you knew more about early American gay couples, take a look at Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America, which details the lives of two women who built a life together in the early 1800s.

If you’re interested in a primer on LGBTQ issues and facts, you will want to check out both "You Can Tell Just By Looking": And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People and Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue. For a more indepth look at these topics, try Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion and Gender Outlaws : The Next Generation.

The titles above are just a sample of the books we’ve gotten in! For a complete list, look here: New LGBTQ Books

New Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album: Hypnotic Eye

Did you know that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came out with their 13th studio album just a couple of months ago? Titled Hypnotic Eye, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. You may have heard some of the singles from the album on the radio over the past couple of months; “American Dream Plan B,” “Red River,” and “U Get Me High” have all had their share of time on the airwaves. Hypnotic Eye shows that age has far from deterred Tom Petty and his crew from making great music. The AADL just added the album to our collection, and you can join the hold list of eager fans waiting to give it a listen!

Of course, Hypnotic Eye isn’t the extent of our Tom Petty collection. We have nearly all of the other Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers albums, including 1994’s Wildflowers, 1979’s Damn the Torpedoes, 2006’s Highway Companion, and their 1993 Greatest Hits album. Interested in learning some Tom Petty music of your own? We have the sheet music and lyrics for his entire solo album, Full Moon Fever.

We also have the fascinating movie Runnin’ Down a Dream, which follows Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from their early beginnings in Gainesville through their 30th anniversary celebration. The DVD features lots of amazing footage and information from over three decades of the experiences of this wonderful band.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #490

Librarian (Louisiana) Ashley Weaver's stylish and charming debut Murder at the Brightwell features "a spunky heroine, a tense romance and red herrings galore" that would bring to mind Agatha Christie who created some of the most endearing and enduring amateur sleuths.

1932 England. Young Amory Ames, on impulse, accepts an invitation from her former fiance Gil Trent to vacation at the Brightwell, a luxurious seaside resort catering to the society set. The express purpose is for Amory to intervene in the forthcoming marriage of Gil's sister Emmeline to Rupert Howe, a disreputable ladies' man. No one sees the sharp prick of the irony more then Amory whose floundering marriage to the notoriously charming playboy Milo is a constant source of sorrow.

But when Rupert is found murdered and Gil is arrested for the crime, Amory must set aside their marital ennui, and reluctantly enlists Milo's help in finding the killer and clearing Trent's name. Soon, the pair's sleuthing puts them at the scene of a second murder, and in harm's way.

"A pleasant debut novel, nicely evoking the 1930s with strong atmosphere and the beginnings of some intriguing characters."

Readers eagerly anticipating a follow-up might want to get cozy with Dashiell Hammett's Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man series (and the 1934 film adaptation that is now a classic); the Australian Miss Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood (adapted into an exquisitely-costumed period television series); and the Dandy Gilver series by Catriona McPherson, set in Scotland.

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