Ages 18+.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #507 -“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” ~ Gautama Buddha

Before I Go * by Colleen Oakley, given the premise, could have been a sentimental tearjerker but instead, yes, it is heart-wrenching of course, but surprisingly upbeat and life-affirming.

27 year old grad. student Daisy Richmond beat cancer once but on her third "Cancerversary", the cancer is back - Stage IV, aggressive and inoperable. She knows she won't be around for husband Jack's graduation from vet school - something they have worked, sacrificed and delayed their life-plans (kids and vacations) for. What terrifies Daisy most is not dying, but leaving brilliant, domestically-challenged, absent-minded Jack on his own. So instead of planning some "make-a-wish" grown-up getaway for her last days, she is going to find Jack a wife with the time she has left.

With the help of her best friend Kayleigh, Daisy systematically scouts out dog parks (must love dogs) coffee shops and online dating sites looking for the perfect match for Jack. But when it looks like she is way too successful in her quest, Daisy has a change of heart.

Debut novelist Oakley "expertly tugs at the heartstrings with well-rounded characters and a liberal dose of gallows humor."

For readers who enjoyed Hello Goodbye by Emily Chenoweth (a FFF); P.S. I love you by Cecelia Ahern that has been adapted into film; Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber; and Promises to Keep by Jane Green - novels that deal with difficult issues of illnesses and grief, holding on and letting go of the ones we love.

* = starred review

Let Freedom Ring: Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Music

On Monday, January 19, AADL will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy in music, with two very special performances at the Downtown Library.

All ages are invited at 1 p.m for acclaimed percussion group Biakuye presenting a cross-cultural experience rooted in American innovation and African tradition.

In Akan languages, biakuye means unity, and their style unites percussionists from varied backgrounds, traditional instruments and found objects, and West African musical traditions and American jazz concepts.The group's members come from both Africa and the United States, and have a local connection. Mark Stone and Roger Braun attended the University of Michigan together, studying percussion. Mark spent a year in Ghana while at U of M, where he met master drummer Kofi Ameyaw. The three later formed Biakuye, and have since added and rotated members, but their unique and energetic sound remains, celebrating cultural unity and collaboration. Biakuye will perform in the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room.

In the evening, Baritone Emery Stephens and accompanist Alvin Waddles will give an interactive lecture and concert highlighting the musical legacy and achievements of African-American composers and arrangers.

They will discuss such recognizable tunes as “This Little Light of Mine,” “It’s Me, O Lord,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and composers such as Harry T. Burleigh, John Work, and Margaret Bonds. Both Emory Stephens and Alvin Waddles have performed, studied, and taught throughout the area and around the country and will join us for an entertaining and informative performance at 7 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room.

Can’t make it? Use these lists of books on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement for children, teens, adults, graphic novels, and picture books to mark the day.

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms

Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers, has done it again. Her newest children’s fiction novel, Cartwheeling In Thunderstorms is a fantastic treat of words and imagery.

Young Wilhelmina Silver, better known as Will, Cartwheel, or Wildcat, lives half-wild in Africa on a farm with her English born father and best animal friends. She spends time running the plains with her best friend Simon, and the monkeys and hyenas she’s grown to love and care for. Will is as feisty as can be and the boys are no match for her wit and spunk. Whip-smart, spontaneous, and ever a dreamer, Will’s happy and magical world gets ripped apart when the family farm is sold and she is sent to a boarding school in London, where she sticks out like dirty thumb.

It’s a charming story with an irresistable voice in Will Silver.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #506

Wildalone * by Krassi Zourkova opens with an enchanting tale of a monk's erotic encounter with samodivias (or wildalones), and thus sets the scene for this "darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery. "

Thea(dora) Slavin, a Bulgarian piano prodigy arrives on the Princeton campus and is immediately thrown into the maelstrom of freshman activities. Beyond the requisite college-life adjustments, she is juggling a demanding schedule of classes, practice and performance, as well as struggling to adapt to unfamiliar American ways.

Privately, Thea is harboring a secret ambition - to find out what happened to her sister Elza who died violently 15 years ago as a Princeton freshman and her body went missing mysterious before the family had a chance to claim it. Thea grew up in the family's oppressive silence concerning Elza's death and is determined to find out what happened.

Her first clue comes from an unlikely source - her Art History professor who leads and baits her to a Greek vase in the Museum, depicting the Dionysian Mysteries. Then there is her shadowy "stalker", a devilishly handsome and exceedingly enigmatic young man who fades in and out of her consciousness. Before long, she finds herself romantically entangled with not only Jake Estlin, but also with his older brother Rhys, gradually being drawn into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous - one that might yield the answers to Elza's fate, as well as the terrifying truth about her own family.

(Bulgarian native) "Zourkova (Princeton, Art History and Harvard Law) pulls off a balancing act that few debut authors manage: a clever, dark (paranormal) romance steeped in mystery, with a bittersweet thread of melancholy and keen sense of place."

"Mesmerizing and addictive,... a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches." The ending strongly hints at a sequel. Let's hope we won't have to wait long.

* = starred review

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #505 - "It's a lot easier to be lost than found. It's the reason we're always searching and rarely discovered--so many locks not enough keys.” ~ Sarah Dessen

Lost & Found * by Brooke Davis, a Penguin First Flight author, is "an irresistible debut novel about the wisdom of the very young, the mischief of the very old, and the magic that happens when no one else is looking."

7 yr. old Millie Bird was left at the Ginormous Women's Undies Department of the local store by her distraught mother shortly after her father's death. 87 yr. old Karl, the touch-typist made a daring escape from a care facility and has been secretly camping out in the Men's dressing rooms at night. They bonded over their Lists of Dead Things, muffins, and creative use of the store merchandise until they were caught. It was the police station for Karl but he managed to free Millie who made her way home, only to find the house empty.

Across the street, 82 yr. old Agatha Pantha has not left her house in 7 years, since the day she buried her husband, nor had she spoken to a live person if you don't count shouting at passersby. But when she saw the curly-haired little girl roaming alone in that house, she marched right over to take matters in hand.

Brought together by determination, luck, and a kindly bus driver, the three embarked on a road trip across Western Australia to find Millie's mother. Along the way, they discovered that being "old" could be a state of mind; that the young could be wise; and happiness could catch you unawares, if you gave it a chance.

Already a runaway bestseller at home, Lost & Found was originally written as the author's PhD thesis on grief at Curtin University in Western Australia. It was inspired by her mother's sudden death while Brooke was traveling abroad.

If you've enjoyed meeting our Millie here, then you would be charmed by the young protagonists in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman and 2 a.m. at the Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino, and their stories.

* = starred review

The Hole

The Hole is such a magical picture book! Brain Pickings describes it as an “existential meditation in simple Scandinavian illustrations and die-cut magic,” and I could not say it any better.

The Hole is written and illustrated by Øyvind Torseter, was translated from Norweigan, and features sparse dialog. Our main character moves into an apartment and discovers that there is a hole in it and he searches to find out the cause. This includes boxing up the hole and taking it to a lab for testing. The best part of this book is the illustrations and the fact that there is a pencil-sized hole going through the entire book from the chipboard covers through the pages. And the hole gets wonderfully incorporated into every illustration and scene. It’s marvelous! It really makes you think about where that hole came from. Where does it begin and end? Why is it there at all? If you’re looking for a beautiful thinker of a children’s book, here you go.

For more beautiful books published by Enchanted Lion Books be sure to check out our nice list of AADL owned titles.

Building Blocks for Local Food Entrepreneurs

Ypsilanti's Spark East, Growing Hope, "Think Local First" and Whole Foods are teaming up to host a series of Building Blocks workshops to help local food entrepreneurs grow their small businesses. Each workshop will have a panel of local experts on the topic. The 3rd session of the series continues Monday, January 12, at 7:00 PM, where they'll be hearing from local agencies about the resources they have to offer start up businesses.

For planning purposes, and to find out more about the series, the hosts are asking that you register ahead by clicking here.

New Downloadable Stories by Laura Pershin Raynor!

Local and national storyteller Laura Pershin Raynor tells stories for all ages – not just your favorite storytime tales.

New in the AADL catalog are two of her albums that are now available to listen to online as well as download – for free! These are stories for older children, teens and adults. So if you love listening to well told, funny tales of youth and bygone eras, look no further.

First up is Tough Cookies. This album features Cootie Shots, Yiddish Curses, Bleeding Madras, Tater Tots and International Intrigue that spices up the pot in this story brew about girls with pluck.

Summertime & The Livin' Is Easy features surprising summer stories about garage bands, mysterious celebrities and city slickers in the not so Wild West.

Beyond downloads, a couple other albums by Raynor are available for actual check out. Whether you're familiar with Laura's story magic or not, these are worth a listen.

Just learning about AADL's download collection?! Check out ALL the other music, book and pattern downloads available on aadl.org for free!

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

“We form. We shine. We burn. Kapow.”

Printz Honor author A.S. King has done it again. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future is superbly written and features a unique premise.

Glory is seventeen. Her mother commited suicide when Glory was just four years old. Her father is depressed and works from home on the couch. Her boy-obsessed best friend Ellie lives across the street in a hippie commune. She is about to graduate high school and our story begins at the end of her childhood.

One night something happens that allows Glory and Ellie to see a person's infinite past and future simply by looking at them. In this future there is a second civil war, women’s rights disappear, there’s a new tyrannical leader, a new army, and young girls vanish daily. Glory takes meticulous notes on what she sees hoping it will make a difference.

Glory is a fantasticlly written teen character. She is the odd-girl-out, a loner with no need for friends. She has her camera and the newly unlocked darkroom of her dead mother. And with the discovery of her mother’s old notebooks Glory learns mountains about herself and her family and how it all came to be, and it allows her to see a better future for herself.

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall Comes to TV

Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy has been a historical fiction powerhouse - with both entries, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies becoming bestsellers and Booker Prize winners. The final book in the trilogy is underway, with no official release date at this time, although Mantel has shared details readers can expect to encounter in The Mirror and the Light.

Now Mantel’s epic is coming to TV. After assisting with the stage adaptation of her work by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Mantel signed off on a BBC adaptation, with the caveat that the show avoid historical errors and any ”nonsense” added for drama.

The six-part series will air on BBC2 in Britain later this year, with an PBS Masterpiece American release to follow. Fans of the Showtime series Homeland will be interested to see Damian Lewis (Nicholas Brody) in the meaty role of Henry VIII as part of the star-studded cast. An official trailer was just released, so fans can enjoy a quick peek to tide them over.

Syndicate content