Ages 18+.

National Bread Machine Baking Month

January is almost over, but it's not to celebrate National Bread Baking Month.

Whether you're the owner of a new bread machine, or whether you have one that you might want to dust off, Bread Machine Magic can get you started. That book isn't your only choice, you might find something you like in The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Baking, The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book, or The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook.

You don't have to have a bread machine, though, to get into the spirit of bread making.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is a great book for those who are interested in making bread at home, but are less interested in developing a mastery of broad bread-making techniques. Jim Lahey's, My Bread is another good book for those who want the bread, but not the kneading.

Vegans and people who can't eat gluten don't need to be left out either! Gluten Free & Vegan Bread is the right book for people with those particular dietary restrictions.

Maybe you're intrigued by the idea of spending some time with grains in the kitchen, but not quite sure that you're ready to take the next step. In that case, you might check out Video Bread Basics. Sometimes a DVD can deliver a blast of information in a short amount of time.

Maybe your bread making adventures will inspire you to embark on a journey to make the perfect loaf. William Alexander did just that, and you can read about it in 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning and a Perfect Crust.

Austenland

Austenland is a new movie based on the novel written by Shannon Hale. The novel’s protagonist is Jane Austen obsessed Jane Hayes. Jane is in her 30's when her great aunt dies leaving her a large amount of money. The catch is that the money must be spent on a vacation involving an English resort that panders to the Austen lovers of the world. During her vacation Jane searches for a Regency era gentleman to fall in love with and hopes to rid herself of her dreams of Mr. Darcy by the end of the vacation. The goal is to return to her life without comparing all men to Mr. Darcy. Will she succeed or will the insanity of this absurd vacation only further her obsession?

The twelve year old girl living inside of me giggled manically when she saw the preview for this movie. It has received mixed reviews and the negative ones are generally written by significant others who were dragged to a screening against their will. It will most likely be overly cheesy, but what can you expect from a movie centered on Jane Austen obsession. At that point isn’t the cheesiness part of the fun?

Wild Swan Theater: Under the African Sky

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 1 pm, when Wild Swan Theater presents Under the African Sky in Towsley Auditorium. The other three performances already are sold out. The play is a humorous collection of well- known African tales including Why the Sky is Far Away, The Talking Vegetables and Tug-of-Vine. Performers will use acting, storytelling, and drumming, with instruments including a balaphone, a djembe, and a talking drum. The show is for children age 4 to third grade and there will be plenty of chances for audience participation.

Suicide Prevention & Addiction

There is an alarmingly high prevalence of suicide among people with addiction and people in early recovery, and the period of early recovery from addiction is especially high risk. Family, friends and professionals are often strategically positioned to recognize suicidal thinking and intervene to help. This program will raise awareness of the signs of suicidal thinking, describe ways to offer support and obtain help for people who may be contemplating suicide. Participants will learn how to recognize suicidal thinking, reach out and offer support to others contemplating suicide, obtain help when suicidal thoughts are present, and access local and national suicide prevention and intervention resources.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #449

Inspired by the true story of African-American WWII veteran Isaac Woodard, Deborah Johnson's The Secret of Magic * is a clear-eyed depiction of the post-war Deep South, and a young female attorney's attempt of the impossible - attaining justice for a black man.

Joe Howard Wilson called his father from a rest stop to let him know that he was within hours of being home. But he never arrived. Two weeks later, his body was found.

A newly minted attorney at the NAACP office in New York, Regina Robichard worked for a young Thurgood Marshall who sent her down to Revere, Mississippi, after receiving a letter asking that they look into the murder of a black war hero. The letter was signed by M(ary) P. Calhoun, a reclusive author whose novel The Secret of Magic about white and black children playing together in a magical forest, had captivated a young Regina.

"Johnson offers a completely engaging Southern gothic with unforgettable characters in this fictionalized account of a pivotal NAACP case from the 1940s".

"Passionate but never didactic, Johnson wisely allows the novel's politics to play second fiddle to the intimate, nuanced drama of the young black Yankee and middle-aged white Southerner in this provocative story about race in America that becomes a deeply felt metaphor for all human relationships."

* = starred review

Play Connection for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum

Play with toys, pet gentle dogs and chat with Dr. Rick Solomon, from the Play Project on Sunday, February 2nd at the Downtown Library from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. We have a fun space for construction toys and a quiet space for relaxing. For this third Play Connection event we have the awesome Therapy Dogs from Therapaws joining us just for fun!

Play ProjectPlay Project

Adulting and The Defining Decade are great reads for twenty-somethings!

Young adulthood can be a challenging time. As someone who is navigating the ups and downs of my twenties right now, I am frequently surprised at the unique and unexpected situations that I am presented with as I continue to grow up. As young adults have become more forthcoming about the trials and tribulations of their twenties in recent years, many authors—some of them still young adults themselves—have stepped up to write books giving advice to twenty-somethings and sharing their own experiences. Hoping for some tips, I read two of these such books, both of which you can check out from AADL.

In Adulting, 27-year-old Kelly Williams Brown gives hilarious and practical advice to young adults on a huge variety of topics. She covers cooking, cleaning, moving to a new area, relationships with friends, family and significant others, jobs and working, and many other areas of importance. Brown admits that she is still growing up herself and shares many of her own successes and failures throughout the book. The idea for this book came from Brown’s blog, which you can peruse here.

The Defining Decade is written by clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay, and outlines why one’s twenties are an extremely important time period if one wants to be successful later in life. Jay argues against the “thirty-is-the-new-twenty” mentality and offers advice to those in their twenties while also sharing stories from her own practice and from the young people who come to her seeking help.

I found both of these books to be extremely interesting, entertaining and helpful, and I found myself agreeing with most of what the authors put forward. These two books are a great read for anyone in their twenties, for anyone who interacts with people in their twenties, and for anyone who feels like they may still have some growing up to do!

Red Libraries

In the epilogue of Rosamund Bartlett's Tolstoy: A Russian Life, she traces the evolution of the great writer’s place in the new Bolshevik state. Some of this appraisal, not surprisingly, was based on an article V.I. Lenin wrote in 1908 praising Tolstoy's immense pride in his mother country, while being critical of his lifelong attachment to the gentry. In a speech by Anatoly Lunacharsky, made on Sept. 9, 1928, the centenary of the Tolstoy’s birth, the Bolshevik journal Red Librarian stated that Count Leo Tolstoy was the only pre-revolutionary Russian writer to have maintained his popularity. Bartlett stated that rural Russians often waited for months to read the one copy of War and Peace from the local library. It’s good to know that libraries and the Red Librarian had a place in the Soviet Union, and that you can still get many of Tolstoy’s works at aadl!

The Story Prize finalists have been announced

The Story Prize, now in its 10th year, announced their three finalists competing for the top prize which recognizes an "...author of an outstanding collection of short fiction..." published in the previous year.

This year's finalists are:

Andrea Barrett, for Archangel -- Ms. Barrett is no stranger to literary awards. She won the 1996 National Book Award for Ship Fever and Other Stories. The four stories in Archangel span two centuries and use science as a backdrop for the protagonists' efforts to make sense of a dangerous world.

Novelist Rebecca Lee (The City Is a Rising Tide (2006) got the nod for her first short story collection, Bobcat: & Other Stories, seven tales that examine the messy interiors of human relationships in all their chaotic permutations.

It is hard to find a critic who did not rave about George Saunders' Tenth of December. This, his his seventh collection of short stories, already has won the Pem/Malamud Award for Excellence. In these ten short pieces, Saunders writes beautifully about heroism, PTSD, and hope in the face of a devastating medical crisis.

There is already a Story Prize winner. For the second time in its history it has award The Story Prize Spotlight Award. This year's recipient is Ben Stroud, for his ten-entry collection of historical fiction short stories, Byzantium, for which he received $1000.

The winner, who will receive a $20,000 purse and an engraved bowl, will be announced Wedneday, March 5th at the New School's Auditorium in New York City.

Golden Globes 2014

Last night, amidst the glitz and glamour that is Hollywood at its most celebratory, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hosted the 71st Golden Globe Awards which recognize the best that movies and television have to offer.

Hosted again by the popular duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, more than two dozen prizes were received with the usual mix of speeches that ran the gamut from eloquent to a stunned scrambling for coherence, from blink-and-you'll-miss-it brevity to gassiness that shouted over the 'stop, you're done' musical cues from the orchestra.

Among the winners were:

12 Years a Slave for Best Motion Picture, Drama -- based on the 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup who was born a freeman in New York and then captured and enslaved in New Orleans.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama went to Cate Blanchett for her mesmerizing portrayal of a New York socialite who has lost it all and is forced to move in with her working-poor sister in San Francisco in Blue Jasmine, directed by Woody Allen, who took heat last night from his family and foes via Twitter, when he accepted a Lifetime Achievement award later in the evening.

Amy Poehler got to switch roles when she captured the category of Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy for her portrayal of Leslie Knope in the NBC hit series, Parks and Recreation.

Check out the complete list of winners here.

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