Ages 18+.

Hot Summer Reads #1

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Figure It Out, is the theme for this year’s Summer Reading Program. Registration starts June 15 at all library locations. Watch the events page for fun programs and fantastic prizes for all ages.

To start your summer reading off with a bang, here is the Chicago Tribune's suggestions for Hot Reads for the Summer.

Portrait of a Justice

Washington Post reporters Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher have interviewed many to form a portrait of one of the most staunchly conservatives on the Supreme Court. Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas examines the many factors in the professional and personal life of Clarence Thomas that shape his views and influence American life.

Arabic books at the Ann Arbor Library!

At all of the Ann Arbor Library's branches, we have Arabic books available for checkout. The library has a growing collection, from contemporary authors such as Najib Mahfouz and Elias Khoury to Arabic translations of novels from other languages. Arabic books are available at every branch in the "Foreign language collection" under the call numbers FLC ARA. You can also search the catalog by call number "FLC ARA". Please check these books out and if you have any suggestions, comments or questions about Arabic books (or any other foreign language materials) at the library, please e-mail stantont@aadl.org. We welcome any book suggestions and comments.

Stories from Inside Iran

In Weekend Edition earlier this month, NPR interviewed the author of the new book, "Prisoner of Tehran : a Memoir." The author, Marina Nemat, talks about how she was almost executed in Iran, but was saved by a man who required her to marry him and convert to Islam. Listen to the NPR interview and check out the book here at the library.

Fabulous Fiction First #68

Set in a contemporary Dublin suburb, the first of a projected series, In the Woods* by Tana French is an “engrossing if melancholy” police procedural.

Young Katy Devlin's battered body has been found in the woods where an archaeological dig is in progress, the same woods, where 20 years ago three children went missing. The criminal investigation named "Operation Vestal" is led by Detectives Cassie Maddox and Adam Ryan. Unbeknownst to everyone including the police (except for Cassie), Adam is the only survivor from the earlier case.

When chilling similarities between the Devlin murder and Ryan’s flashes of recollection surface during the investigation, and the relationship between the partners becomes more complicated, we are treated to a psychological thriller with a breathtaking climax and a satisfying conclusion.

Readers of Harlan Coben's latest The Woods would find the storyline uncannily similar. You think they talked?

* = Starred Reviews, "An outstanding debut" ~Booklist

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #67

Critics are calling Rebecca Stott’s academic thriller Ghostwalk* “hypnotic”, “intelligent”, and “stunning”, (where) “Isaac Newton joins Dracula and Leonardo da Vinci”. Curious? I was.

Elizabeth Vogelsang, a Cambridge University scholar at work on a potentially controversial biography of Isaac Newton is found drowned and clutching a prism in her hand (a clue?). Lydia Brooke, a successful screenwriter is asked by Cameron Brown, her former lover and Elizabeth’s son to ghostwrite the last chapter of Elizabeth’s manuscript.

Lydia soon finds that Elizabeth’s cottage might be haunted and she is drawn into solving two series of murders centuries apart, both connected to 17th Century alchemy and present-day animal rights.

This well-researched and intricately crafted debut novel by British historian Stott (bio.) is a clever whodunit that entertains and instructs - of such varied subjects as optics, neuroscience, and animal testing. More interesting trivia on 17th Century Cambridge could be found on her website.

* = Starred Reviews

Mississippi journey

Mary Morris, author of another travel journal, Nothing to Declare takes a different kind of journey in The River Queen. The Mississippi River is her trail and a fixed up junker which she names the River Queen is her boat. With two eccentric but skilled boatman, Tom and Jerry, Morris makes the trip in tribute to her father, recently deceased, who grew up along the river in Illinois. Morris includes facts about the river and the personalities she encounters. She tries to come to terms with the difficult father she knew by visiting the run down towns and hot tourist spots he frequented. A good story for women who may be facing a similar passage as well as anyone who is fascinated by the lure of the great river,

Dinosaur Jr. at the Blind Pig

Did you wear flannel shirts and Doc Martens in the early 90's? Do you strongly identify as a Generation Xer? Then, you'll be happy to know that Dinosaur Jr., the indie rock band from the 90's, will be in Ann Arbor June 3rd and 4th at the Blind Pig. The original members recently reunited for a new album, their first since 1988, and are now on the road. However, if you're expecting a greatest hits set, you'll be a bit disapointed. The band is said to be primarily performing from their latest album, Beyond. So leave your flannel at home and discover something new. Doors open at 9:30 pm starting with Michigan band, Awesome Color.

Meanwhile check out their last album before they dissolved the name Dinosaur Jr. in 1997 as well as the book, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground. Dinosaur Jr. is just one of the many bands chronicled in the book.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #66

If you love adventures, steamy romance, political intrigues, religious passion, a bit of history painted in vivid colors, or simply a good story well told, you wouldn’t want to miss Tim Willock’s The Religion*.

First of a planned trilogy, it is set against the backdrop of the 1565 Great Siege of Malta. Roguish and disarmingly handsome Mattias Tannhauser, kidnapped by Muslim raiders as a child and trained as a holy warrior is now a soldier of fortune. What he does not bargain for is the charming Contessa Carla La Penautier to complicate his wild and boozy ways.
On the eve of the Turkish blockage of the island - the last strong hold of The Knight of St. John (a.k.a. The Religion), Carla agrees to marry Tannhauser (thus making him a Lord) if he would travel to Malta with her to rescue her son abandoned at birth. With the largest ever Ottoman armada on their tail and a vicious battle imminent, their quest is made even more overwhelming when the Pope’s brutal inquisitor with a secret agenda is working against them.

The story moves at a break-necked pace with non-stop action, without sacrificing good character development, historical details and a complex plot. Remarkable. Sure to become this summer’s blockbuster.

* = Starred Reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #65

Successful teen author Shannon Hale is breaking into the adult market with Austenland. Unabashedly chicklit, it is an engaging read you won’t want to put down.

Jane Hayes – pretty, clever, a 30something with a thriving career (graphic artist) and even better hair, has one embarrassing secret obsession. Despite a stream of promising boyfriends (numbered but not named), her heart belongs to Mr. Darcy (as in Jane Austen’s), in the form of Colin Firth.

When Great Aunt Carolyn leaves her a legacy of a three-week, all-expense-paid holiday to a Jane Austen fantasy camp, her bags are packed. At Pembrook Park, Jane swaps her 21st century persona for a 19th century sensibility, complete with wardrobe, country dances, walks in the park and a supply of gentlemen as romantic interest. But when Jane falls for the gardener, breaks the rules and is expelled, an unexpected “Mr. Darcy” (Colin Firth in a wet shirt) comes through with the goods.

The plot is fresh though the ending is predictable. The language is snappy and humorous. The characters are well observed. Although the heroine is not without fault – she is dreamy and vulnerable, she is also smart, resourceful, and endearingly hopeful. I hope we'll meet again.

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