Ages 18+.

Mary and Max

When I read the news of Philp Seymour Hoffman’s passing I did a quick mental inventory of the movies I’ve seen that he is in, there are so many. The one that sticks out the most, and that I think he got the least amount of credit for, is the animated film Mary and Max. The film takes place from 1976 to 1998 and tells the story of the unlikely pen-pal friendship that lasts for 22 years between Mary (Toni Collette), a lonely 8-year-old girl who lives in Australia, and Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a 44-year-old, severely obese, secular Jew atheist with Asperger syndrome who lives in New York City. The central focus of the movie is the letters shared between Mary and Max and the stories behind their life and the lives of people around them. This dark comedy deals with very mature themes, such as death/suicide, mental health, and dark depictions of childhood innocence. It also deals with the themes of love, friendship and forgivness is a way that will leave you thinking about it long past the 92 minutes it will take to watch it.

Secret Pizza Party

Remember how funny and adorable and hilarious Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri is? Well, they’ve got another picture book out, made just for you fans of silly!

Secret Pizza Party features a raccoon that LOVES pizza. “Pizza smell” gives him the “happy screams.” But the poor raccoon in this book is always being chased off by someone with a broom. All he wants in life is some pizza! Eventually a plan is hatched for a secret pizza party. One that involves avoiding the broom factory and the raccoon-sniffing broom-bots. Will this raccoon ever get some pizza?! Read the book and find out.

You might also want to read Dragons Love Tacos, if you haven’t already. And for more funny picture books check out this nice list we've created!

Book Release: Eric Shonkwiler's Above All Men at Literati, 2/17

This coming Monday, Literati Bookstore hosts a launch party for Eric Shonkwiler's Above All Men, at 7pm. The title is published by Michigan’s own MG Press, a micro-press devoted to publishing a small number of titles each year.

An extension of the literary journal Midwestern Gothic, MG Press retains the same core values: shining a spotlight on Midwest authors by focusing on works that showcase all aspects of life—good, bad, or ugly.

Tom Lutz of the Los Angeles Review of Books declares that "Shonkwiler takes the world on his own terms, and wrestles it to the ground.”

AADL cardholders who are curious about Shonkwiler's writing can download one of his stories, "Gripping the Heel," in Issue #3 of Midwestern Gothic. In fact, Midwestern Gothic's entire back catalog is available electronically for cardholders.

Eric Shonkwiler’s writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Fiddleblack, [PANK] Magazine, and Midwestern Gothic. He was born and raised in Ohio, received his MFA from The University of California Riverside, and "has lived and worked in every contiguous U.S. time zone."

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor: February 20 & March 27

For the last year, crowds have gathered each month in the early evening - in bars and venues around Ann Arbor. Around 7pm, it begins: three boisterous speakers geek out up front. What is this? Some secret club?

Nope! It's Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! And it's open to anyone and everyone who loves to learn or share what they love.

For the uninitiated, Nerd Nite (NN) has been described as “...like the Discovery Channel™…with beer!” Sounds fun, right? It is! NN is held monthly in 70+ cities, giving several folks the opportunity to give 18-21minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines. Imagine learning about everything from the science of the Simpsons to the genealogy of Godzilla. Fun stuff!

The next Nerd Nite will be next Thursday, February 20, at LIVE (102 S First St.). Doors open at 6:30, and speakers start at 7pm. What topics are on tap? Find out where beer came from, what the inside of your hand looks like, and just who is looking through all the cameras you see everywhere! Cover is just $5 (payable in cash at the door, or in advance).

There's big news about March's Nerd Nite: AADL will be co-presenting the March 27 edition of Nerd Nite (thus making that date free for all to attend). We're still finalizing the speaker line-up, so if you have something you'd love to talk about, submit your talk idea ASAP. There's a chance you could be of the speakers!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Any and all nerds (and non-nerds!) who love learning and having a great time are welcome!

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.

Support for Adults with ADHD

Are you or a loved one affected with Adult Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder? If so, you may be interested in joining a local discussion group for information or support. This group meets from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at the WISD Teaching and Learning Center each month. The next meeting is Tuesday, February 18th from 7:00-8:30 pm. The meeting will include resources, an opportunity to share experiences and ideas. The following week, February 25, the group hosts speaker Sally Palaian, Ph.D with a talk titled: "Shame Free Money Management for Individuals with AD/HD". For more information contact: AnnArborADDults@gmail.com.

Parent’s Corner: Behavior Management

With parenthood comes a child that is a unique individual with their own way of behaving and viewing the world. One may ask: Is my child supposed to be behaving this way? They are out of control, what can I do? Why won’t my willful child listen to me? Why do they behave fine at home but act out in public? Maybe there are no correct answers to these questions, but boy do they get asked.

The Downtown library has a shelf in the Youth Department known as the Parent Shelf. On this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including behavior and everything from language to potty training to safety to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.”

The Parent Shelf has an assortment of books on the topic of child behavior. Here are a few to think about:

* Calm mama, happy baby: the simple, intuitive way to tame tears, improve sleep, and help your family thrive

* You can't make me (but I can be persuaded) : strategies for bringing out the best in your strong-willed child

* No more meltdowns : positive strategies for managing and preventing out-of-control behavior

Fun With Die-Cuts: Using the Sizzix Big Shot

Wednesday, February 19 | 6:30-8pm | Downtown – MPR | For grades 6th through Adult

Join us for an evening of paper craft fun. We will be using Sizzix Big Shot die-cut machines to create an assortment of paper die-cuts that can be use in making cards. There will be instruction on how to use the machine, and we’ll have all the paper and cards on hand for you to get creative with.

Soon several Sizzix Big Shot Machines will be joining AADL’s new collection of Art Tools that will circulate! This is a chance for you to explore all that the Sizzix Big Shot can do for your paper craft projects before it goes into circulation.

This event is for teens and adults, grade 6th and up.

Performance Network: Venus in Fur

Performance Netowrk Theatre -- in downtown Ann Arbor at 120 E. Huron -- will show Venus in Fur, a sex comedy by David Ives Feb. 27 - April 6. The Performance Network website describes the play as "A Sexy New Play from Broadway . . . Thomas, a beleaguered playwright/director, is desperate to find an actress to play Vanda, the female lead in his adaptation of the classic sadomasochist tale Venus in Fur. Into the audition room walks a vulgar and distraught actress—oddly enough, named Vanda. Though utterly wrong for the part, Vanda exhibits a strange command of the material. As the two work through the script, the lines between play and reality blur, entering into an increasingly serious battle of submission and domination that only one of them can win." Previews are February 27 – March 6. Opening Night: is March 7. Ticket information is here.

MUSIC TOOLS @ AADL! Play the Theramin!

It is the only musical instrument that you play without touching it. Invented in 1920 by Leon Theremin, the Theremin's distinctive "otherworldly" electronic sound infuses such famous movie soundtracks as the original The Day the Earth Stood Still and Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound. (A cousin of the Theremin, the Electro-Theremin creates "that sound" on The Beach Boys' Good Vibrations.) And if you watched the FX show American Horror Story: Coven, one of the witches on the show, Myrtle, played by the formidable and fantastic, Frances Conroy, played the Theramin on the show a few times. Wonder if you can play the instrument yourself? AADL is now offering a Moog Etherwave Theremin for checkout as part of the Music Tools collection, complete with User's Guide and the "Mastering the Theremin" DVD. Music Tools can be checked out for a week, are not renewable and not requestable. You can find them on the shelves next to the Downtown Library Circulation Desk.

Learn more about Leon Theremin's unusual life in the documentary Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey and explore other electronic instruments in the Music Tools collection such as the Stylophone and the Monotron.

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