Ages 18+.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #463 - "The books that help you most are those which make you think the most." ~ Pablo Neruda

As one reviewer puts it so aptly, Ruby * * "is difficult to read for its graphic and uncomfortable portrayal of racism, sexual violence, and religious intolerance", but debut author Cynthia Bond had me in the palm of her hand right from the start, opening with "Ruby Bell was a constant reminder of what could befall a woman whose shoe heels were too high".

Liberty Township, East Texas. Once so pretty that "it hurt to look at", Ruby is now "buck-crazy, ...(h)owling, half-naked mad". As a child, she suffered abuse beyond imagination, so as soon as she could, she fled to New York. When a telegram from her cousin forced her to return home, 30 year-old Ruby found herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. Once sharply dressed and coiffed, "she wore gray like rain clouds and wandered the red road in bared feet", and folks walked a curve path to avoid her door. Except for Ephram Jennings, who has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids. And on one end-of-summer day, 45 year-old Ephram asked his sister Celia to make up her white lay angel cake, thus began a long, sweet courtship that would anger the church folks in town. Eventually, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

"(E)xquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage."

"Definitely not for the faint of heart or for those who prefer lighter reads, this book exhibits a dark and redemptive beauty. Bond's prose is evocative of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, paying homage to the greats of Southern Gothic literature. "

A graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and American Academy of Dramatics Arts, PEN/Rosenthal Fellow Cynthia Bond founded the Blackbird Writing Collective. Currently, she teaches therapeutic writing at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Bittersweet: an enthralling, suspenseful summer read

Bittersweet, the brand new novel by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, had me in its suspenseful grips until the very last page! The book begins innocently enough with the introduction of the main character, shy and plain Mabel, who lives in awe of her college roommate Ev Winslow. Wealthy, beautiful and mysterious, Ev seems to barely notice Mabel until they connect one evening in their dorm room and become fast friends. Mabel is overjoyed when Ev invites her to her family’s stunning summer property on Lake Champlain, and prepares for what will surely be the best summer of her life. Readers can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding, however, even as Mabel makes new friends, lounges on the beach and flirts with Ev’s brother. How exactly does Ev’s family have so much money when none of them seem to have jobs? And why does Ev’s aging, senile aunt keep begging Mabel to “find the manila folder” in the old family archives? As Mabel becomes more and more immersed in present and past family drama, it seems as though not only her presence at the summer estate but her very life may be in danger.

Maggie Shipstead, popular author of Seating Arrangements and Astonish Me, writes of Bittersweet: “a wild New England gothic full of family secrets, mysteriously locked doors, sailboats, suntans, forbidden lust, and a few priceless works of art. An engrossing summer blast.” Indeed, Bittersweet is the kind of book you want to bring with you this summer, whether you’re laying on the beach or just curled up on the front porch.

You can read more about Bittersweet and about Beverly-Whittemore on the author’s website. She also wrote The Effects of Light, which you will find in our collection!

Suggest a Title

Suggest A Title For This Year's A Very Good Read

Read a good book lately? Suggest a book to the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads planning committees and your suggestion just might be the pick for the upcoming Reads (which will take place in January & February 2015).

This year’s theme is "A Very Good Read" and the book selected can be a work of fiction or non fiction.

Committees will be meeting over the summer to consider hundreds of possible titles – and they want your help!

You can suggest a title by commenting below, or by stopping by any Ann Arbor District Library or Ypsilanti District Library location. Suggest a title by July 7 and it will be considered for selection!

Book Selection

• The writing should be engaging and thought-provoking.
• The subjects discussed should be accessible to readers throughout the community, high-school age and above.
• The length, price, and availability of the book should be suited to involvement by the general public.
• The book should be by a living author.
• Its treatment of issues should encourage readers to discuss the issues further with others, at home, work, reading clubs, and community events.
• Ideally, the subject should lead to constructive dialogues across our diverse communities.

Don't forget to submit your book suggestion in one of the libraries or as a comment below before July 7th!

Teen Stuff: How I Live Now

A film based on the 2005 Printz award winning book by Meg Rosoff, How I Live Now is set in the near future in the UK. American teenager Daisy is sent to live with her cousins in the English countryside. Full of angst she is slow to communicate and form relationships with her family members. She slowly starts to open up and crack a smile or two when suddenly the UK falls into a military state and the the kids are forced to evacuate the farm as chaos and violence continues to surround them. Daisy tries to escape and this is her story.

See this list for more movies based on books teens love.

Coping with grief resources

Footprints on our hearts is a valuable resource for someone who has lost a child. The topic of loss can be so confusing and is made only more complex because everyone deals with loss differently. However the fact remains that no matter how a person deals with the death of their child or a loved one, there should be a conversation around it. AADL offers many DVDs and books that broach the topic of death and grief.

If you would prefer a workshop sort of environment instead of an inanimate DVD or book, AADL also hosts Grief 101:What to Expect When Grieving multiple times a year. The next time this event takes place is just next week on Tuesday June 17, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Pittsfield branch. At this program, Arbor Hospice’s Grief Support Services lead an educational session that will provide attendees with resources and information that are available to those experiencing the loss of a loved one. While grief is incredibly personal, sometimes it is just nice to know that you are not alone in the process.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #462 "There is no terror so consistent, so elusive to describe, as that which haunts a spy in a strange country" ~ John le Carré

One of the hottest titles this summer - I am Pilgrim * * * by Terry Hayes, a debut espionage thriller, and "a breakneck story reminiscent of John le Carré and Robert Ludlum at their finest."

A young boy watches as his father is publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.

In Damascus, a notorious Syrian biotech expert is found eyeless in a junkyard.

When a young woman is murdered in a seedy hotel near Ground Zero, lying face down in a pool of acid, teeth missing and fingerprints gone, NYPD homicide detective Ben Bradley calls in his long time friend, a retired, reclusive CIA operative to join the investigation. Code named Pilgrim, he immediately recognizes these techniques as ones pulled directly from his book, a cult classic of forensic science, written under a pen name. What follows is a thriller that jockeys between astonishingly detailed character study and breakneck globetrotting, pitting Pilgrim against an adversary known only as the Saracen who has devoted his life in service to jihad. His ultimate weapon - a synthesized fast-acting form of the smallpox virus that cannot be stopped. His target - the continental US.

The inevitable encounter between Pilgrim and the Saracen will come in Turkey, around the murder of a wealthy American, in a thrilling, twisting, beautifully orchestrated finale.

"Two psychos enter, and one psycho leaves. Good entertainment for readers with a penchant for mayhem, piles of bodies and a lethal biochemical agent or two."

Debut novelist Terry Hayes began his career as a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, and a foreign correspondent in the US during Watergate. He is also a screenwriter and producer.

* * * = 3 starred reviews

Hike @ Argo Nature Area tonight!

Join us and a representative from Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation on an informative nature walk tonight at 7:00pm at Argo Nature Area. This lovely 22-acre park runs along the Huron River offering beautiful views of the water through the oak, hickory and willow trees. The event will be a mixture of hiking the unpaved trail that runs along the river and learning about ecological restoration and native plants and animals from the NAP representative. Remember to wear comfortable clothing and bring water!

We will meet in the parking lot by the Argo Canoe Livery, just off of Longshore Drive.

The Fault in Our Stars on the Big Screen

Okay, Nerdfighters and John Green fans… Are you ready? For the past year and half John Green’s newest book, The Fault in Our Stars, has been insanely popular. And the book has reached peak buzz since the MOVIE adaptation comes out this Friday, June 6!

Hazel is a teen fighting terminal cancer. She meets and falls in love with Gus at a cancer support group. The book and movie tell the story of their romance along with their various health issues. It sounds like a downer, and it is – I went through a box of tissues reading the book. But the story celebrates being alive and being in love and I smiled as I cried and their endearing story.

Author John Green has been on set, and has been tweeting and Instagramming over the past year during filming and he and the film crew are very excited about the outcome. If the author loves it, will we? Of course when books you love get turned into movies you have to wonder… Will it be any good? Will it compare? Will the characters live up to your expectations?! We’ll find out Friday! Drop a comment and let us know what you think after you see the film!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #461 - “Human reason can excuse any evil; that is why it's so important that we don't rely on it.” ~ Veronica Roth

The Library Journal April Debut of the Month was The Bees * by Laline Paull.

Narrator Flora 717 is a lowly sanitation bee, born to "accept, obey, and serve" the Queen, and to abide by the strict hierarchies of the hive. Early on, Flora shows herself unique in many ways, some prove useful in a time when the hive is at risk. But when Flora discovers she is fertile, her desire to protect her egg will cast her in a totally new light, emboldening her to even challenge the Queen's role as mother to all.

"A powerful story reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale in which one original and independent thinker can change the course of a whole society."

Readers of the dystopia genre might also enjoy:

Shades of Grey: the road to High Saffron by Jasper Fforde. Welcome to Chromatacia, where for as long as anyone can remember society has been ruled by a Colortocracy. Social hierarchy is based upon one's limited color perception. In this world, you are what you can see, and Eddie Russett, a better-than-average red perception wants to move up.

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist. A gripping exploration of a society in the throes of an experiment, in which the "dispensable" ones are convinced under gentle coercion of the importance of sacrificing for the "necessary" ones.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. In the future United States, one woman wakes up to discover that her skin color has been changed to red as punishment for an abortion which has been outlawed. Now she must embark on a dangerous journey in order to find refuge from a hostile and threatening society.

* = starred review

Science Tools to Borrow

EarthEarthEarthEarthDid you know AADL has some really cool science tools available for cardholders to borrow? We have globes of the Earth and Mars; there are dinosaur and other prehistoric animal kits. There are several meters available such as an environmental, UV, sound, microwave and EMF . We also have stereo and digital microscopes and Dobsonian telescopes.

With summer almost here, plan a quiet evening stargazing with one of the telescopes or reserve one of the dinosaur kits to share with your little ones on a rainy day. If you are runner, consider borrowing the neulog pulse meter to compare your active and resting heart rate. With so many geeky-cool fun things to try, it may take all summer to try them all.

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