Ages 18+.

Opiates & Medicine: Where are we, America?

Dawn Farm kicks off their Education Series this year by presenting on the topic of opiates & medicine which has been deemed an "epidemic" by CDC Director Thomas Frieden. Local and national leaders and media headlines echo & highlight this concern. How did we get this way? What drives this “epidemic?” This presentation will be a historically based look at the medical use of opiates, especially in American society. It will focus on the development and use of narcotic medications against the background of the three opiate epidemics in America. The presenter will discuss the history of opiates in medicine, opiate addiction as a brain disease, issues in the use of opiates to treat chronic pain and the medical treatment of addiction. The session is September 22 from 7:30-9:00 PM at the SJMH Education Center.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #552 - “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” ~ Martin Buber

Winner of the 2012 Wilhelm Raabe Literature Prize, Imperium: a fiction of the South Seas * * by Swiss novelist/screenwriter Christian Kracht is "an outrageous, fantastical, uncategorizable novel of obsession, adventure, and coconuts."

In this fictionalized tale about August Engelhardt (1870-1919), a German citizen who founded a sun-worshipping, coconut-eating cult, who purchased a small island in Dutch New Guinea, where he lived as a nudist. Madness eventually took hold and further isolated him from the few people on the island who cared about him. "Comparable to the adventure stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London, and Daniel Defoe, albeit with a definite philosophical inclination."

Come Away With Me by Karma Brown. A patch of black ice on Christmas Eve will change Tegan Lawson's life in ways she never could have imagined. Almost consumed by grief (of losing her baby) and anger (at her husband Gabe who was driving) until she is reminded of their Jar of Spontaneity, a collection of their dream destinations and experiences, and thus, begins an adventure of a lifetime and a search for forgiveness.

"A warmly compelling love story, with flashbacks that start with the couple's meeting as freshmen at Northwestern eight years earlier, this becomes a wrenching account of dealing with unbearable loss. Have tissues at hand for Brown's deeply moving debut."

Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff is the answer to every single parent's dream. Jennifer Sharpe is barely able to keep her head above water as she juggles a demanding boss and even more demanding children and their schedules... that is until a brilliant physicist secretly installs a miraculous time-travel app on her phone that allows her to be in more than one place at the same time. Jennifer is almost literally, beside herself with glee, and is hopefully hooked... until the inventor threatens to remove the app from her phone for breaking the rules.

"(A) modern-day fairy tale in which one woman learns to overcome the challenges and appreciate the joys of living life in real time."

In The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright, Philadelphia wine critic Che Milan is dumped by her longtime lover on the same day that her mother's ashes arrive on her doorstep, with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury. So she joins a group of eight women to walk the sixty miles from London to Canterbury Cathedral. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love.

Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Crossover Graphic Novels September Edition (this ones for teens and adults!)

Now normally when blogging on crossover graphic novels it's youth graphic novels that can be read by any age, this time I'm shaking things up a little bit and talking about teen graphic novels that are so great that adults should be reading them as well! And to further change things up instead of the normal 3 I'm giving you 4 graphic novels that you should be reading, like right now!

The first is Nimona by Noel Stevenson (that's the same person behind the awesome series Lumberjanes that I blogged about a while ago). I could write an entire blog post on why you should read Nimona , but then I wouldn't get to tell you about the other great graphic novels, so I'm going to give you the quick lowdown on everything you need to know about Nimona. Nimona is a shapeshifting girl who decides that she wants to work for this awesome evil villain Lord Blackheart (don't worry his heart isn't as black as he would have you believe). They take on the forces of "the Institution" the totalitarian regime that is seriously up to no good! If you like fantasy, sci fi, awesome strong female characters or sharks you should be already reading this now!

The second is Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?. Don't worry this story is not really about trying to pick up girls in a dungeon but rather its about a boy who is the only member of the family of a goddess, that's right all of the ancient gods are in this world and have families of adventurers working for them, who is trying to be a hero, the kind that he used to read about as a kid and sometimes that means hard work and almost being eaten by a Minotaur. This is another book that's great if you like fantasy books, or if you like RPG's (role playing games) or if you want to know the answer to the question Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?

The third is This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. This book has one multiple awards (including an Eisner!!) but if the awards aren't enough to get you to want to read it, and you want to know something like what it's about and why you should read it, I guess I'll oblige! This graphic novel is about two girls on the cusp between adolescence and young adulthood and they find themselves at the same beach for the summer. The artwork alone is breathtaking and worth admiring but paired with the language of the book it's a truly remarkable book. It captures a very particular time in a young woman's life excellently and also brings in so many of the pressures that they go through. If you are a teen and want something to read, you should read this, if you appreciate great art, read this, if you have long since passed from young adulthood into full blown adulthood you should read this, it's not full of so many of the cliches that you find in many "coming of age" stories.

The fourth and final book is SuperMutant Magic Academy is not a traditional graphic novel, instead it is a series of one or two shot comics set in the wonderful world where people with extraordinary abilities go to school. This book is very humorous and almost every page will give you something to be entertained by. The comic originated as a webcomic before being bound into a volume and you really get the feel of that when you read it. It's not the most polished or prettiest graphic novel on the shelf but it's one that will keep you reading.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #551

The title - Everybody Rise *, a first novel by the Loeb Award-winning investigative reporter at The New York Times Stephanie Clifford, is taken from the Stephen Sondheim lyric to Ladies Who Lunch.

Set in the years leading up to the 2008 financial collapse, 26 year-old Evelyn Beegan finally lands a real job with a social-media start-up called People Like Us that aims at the elites, by overselling her New England prep school and society connections that are at best, marginal. Now she must deliver. Hoping to impress her new bosses by recruiting Camilla Rutherford ("the clear center of young New York") as a new member, she is not above using her good friend Preston Hacking ("a Winthrop on his mother's side,") to gain entry to the Adirondack camps, thick with socialites, Wall Streeters and Who's Who.

Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, and despises her mother's social-climbing ways, but now she is forced to embrace them. With endless rounds of charity events, regattas, debuts, and excessive shopping and dining, Evelyn soon finds the lure of belonging intoxicating, and starts trying to pass as old money herself. When her father's unfortunate downfall becomes public, she chooses to distance herself rather than to rally around family.

"A masterful tale of social climbing and entrenched class distinctions, as seen through the eyes of an outsider who desperately wants in. Tense, hilarious, and bursting with gorgeous language. Stephanie Clifford is a 21st-century Edith Wharton." Will appeal to fans of The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

* = starred review

Blackout: a moving portrait of alcoholism and recovery

Sarah Hepola writes of her experiences with both alcoholism and sobriety in the deeply personal, relatable, and relevant new book Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. With so many college activities now focused around drinking, it's often difficult after graduation has occurred for young people to shed the mentality of making-everything-more-fun-with-alcohol. Alcohol-fueled events and parties extend into our twenties, thirties and beyond, and the line between normal alcohol consumption and alcoholism is increasingly blurred for many young people. Hepola calls alcohol the “gasoline of all adventure” for her when she was in her younger years. She spent fun nights at cocktail parties and at bars, drinking til last call… but the frivolity didn’t come without a price. She blacked out often and was left spending entire mornings trying to piece together what she had done the night before, making self-deprecating jokes to cover her shame. As with many alcoholics, her career flourished during this time, but as the blackouts continued, Hepola was forced to admit the truth: the alcohol she thought she needed to lift her spirits was depressing her and negatively affecting her health and relationships. Thus, she embarks on a new and unexpected adventure: that of sobriety.

This memoir is simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, and always unfailingly honest. A highly recommended read for anyone who has been forced to reinvent themselves or cope with necessary change, Blackout reveals how sometimes giving up the thing we cherish the most can allow us to truly find ourselves.

For other excellent stories about women and alcoholism, try Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas, Note Found in a Bottle, by Susan Cheever, and Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, by Ann Dowsett Johnston.

Basic ESL Courses: Learn English Online

Introducing Basic ESL®! Enter by way of "Instant Access" provided by AADL!

Basic ESL® is an online system built to help students learn English as a second language. This learning system is built with the basic building blocks of the English language including the basic vocabulary of around 2,800 words as well as the basic sentence structures that people use in their daily lives. It consists of 4 courses. Each course is a level in the language learning system. Each level consists of 5 chapters that contain 3 lessons each. The courses are geared to elementary, intermediate, high school and adult education students. You can find this resource in the language section of AADL's research databases.

Looking for more practice? The Easy English News is available at all of our branches. It contains current events written at a fourth grade reading level. It's written in a way to build your vocabulary and help you read for meaning. There's also News for You, which you can find at AADL's downtown location or put a hold on a copy and have it sent to the location most convenient for you. Both publications have vocabulary words, puzzles and interactive websites.

Maus is a must read!

Maus by Art Spiegelman is one of those graphic novels that has a history. Not just within the page but the actual book itself. When the book came out it was hailed as one of the comics that everyone must read, and not much has changed in the almost 25 years that has past sinces its publication. Yet with so much positive hype about it's a hard book to pin down on just what it is. Is it a historical graphic novel, a fable, a graphic memoir or is it something that mixes all of these different genres together? This graphic novel will leave you with questions!

So what exacltly is Maus?
Maus is a story about being a Jew during the Second World War. It frames the experiences of of Jews in the war in an anthropomorphic (animals having human form) way. The mice in Maus are Jews and the Cats are Nazi's.
This book won a Pulitzer prize (one of the only graphic novels to do this!) and is just as popular now as it was when it was first published. If you're interested in graphic memoirs, anthropomorphic dramas, or the history of the Second World War you shoud read Maus.

MI Hidden Talent Tour

A statewide tour to inspire Michigan companies to hire workers with disabilities is coming to Ann Arbor on Sept 24, 2015. Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard H. Bernstein will share stories about companies who found valuable workers who have a disability. As part of the MI Hidden Talent Tour, these state leaders, along with local organizations helping with this effort, will provide resources and answer questions for business leaders who want to explore this untapped pool of talent. The event takes place at Washtenaw Community College, Morris J. Lawrence Auditorium, 4800 East Huron River Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Welcome reception at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 6:00 p.m. Please RSVP by registering here.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #550

An international bestseller, first published in German in March 2012, Death in Brittany * * by Jean-Luc Bannalec (a pseudonym) introduces the first case of Commissaire Georges Dupin.

At the height of the tourist season, Commissaire Georges Dupin, the cantankerous Parisian transplant to the coastal town of Concarneau, is dragged from his morning croissant and coffee to the village of Pont-Aven, where the 91-year-old hotelier Pierre-Louis Pennec has been found murdered in his restaurant.

Dupin and his team identify five principal suspects, amony them a rising political star, a longtime friend of the victim, and a well-respected art historian. The case is further complicated when a second death occurs and a painting (perhaps a genuine second version of Gauguin's famous Vision After the Sermon) disappears from Pennec's hotel. As Dupin delves further into the lives of the victims and the suspects, he uncovers a web of secrecy and silence in this picture-perfect seaside village that once played host to Paul Gauguin and other post-Impressionist painters in the 19th century, members of the loosely connected Pont-Aven School.

"Dupin is fascinating to watch - he's both cranky and enthusiastic... The star of the mystery, though, is Brittany. Bannalec feeds the reader with intriguing bits of history (for example, Bretons are descended from the Celts, who fled Britain during the Anglo-Saxon invasions) and culture, along with bracing glimpses of centuries-old stone buildings, river banks, and the sea."

For mystery fans who enjoyed the Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg series by Fred Vargas; the Chief Magistrate Antoine Verlaque series by M.L. Longworth, set in charming and historic Aix-en-Provence; and Martin Walker's delightful Bruno Courreges series set in the fictional town of St Denis, in the picturesque Perigord region of rural France - featuring the consummate cook and locavore who happens to be the Chief of Police.

* * = 2 starred review

New in the Cormoran Strike series: Career of Evil

The latest mystery from author Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J. K. Rowling), featuring private detective Cormoran Strike, is now available! Titled Career of Evil, the book opens with a mysterious package delivered to Cormoran’s assistant. To their surprise and horror, the package contains a woman’s severed leg. Narrowing the suspects down to four twisted people from Cormoran’s past, he and his assistant take matters into their own hands to pursue the perpetrator. Galbraith’s previous mysteries have appealed to a wide audience not only for their gripping excitement and unexpected twists, but also for their character development, and Career of Evil is no different. It is the third installment in the Cormoran Strike novels, following The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. Place your hold today!

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