Ages 18+.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #515 - “A mathematical formula for happiness: Reality divided by expectations. There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations.” ~ Jodi Picoult

Bonita Avenue * * * by Peter Buwalda - the instant bestseller in its native Netherlands, a triple-award-winning debut optioned for a TV series, is "flat-out extraordinary." See the (New York Times review).

Three uniquely unreliable voices narrate this darkly humorous familial drama: the mentally precarious photographer Aaron Bever; his beautiful girlfriend, Joni; and her stepfather, eminent math genius (Fields Medal) and university rector Siem Sigerius. "They were a family of prevaricators - all of them had secrets and they all had something to hide".

Bonita Avenue, a street in Berkeley, California, where a younger Sigerius and his new family lived briefly while he pursued his mathematics career at the university, is remembered as a truly happy period before the family's troubles start. The reemergence of Wilbert,a convicted murderer and Siem's son from his first marriage, presents a threat to the family. Siem discovers the highly profitable web porn site created by Joni and Aaron, under particularly ignoble circumstances. "Guilt and fear rule the decisions the characters make, sending each further down the darkest of path."

"This tumultuous saga of a family breaking down...is "variously compelling, trashy and horrific."

In The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer, Rachela Karnokovitch, a much-admired rock star in mathematics, is rumored to have solved the million-dollar Navier-Stokes Millennium Prize problem just before her death, and secreted the solution somewhere. Uninvited, her quirky colleagues descend on Madison (WI), and on her grieving family in search of said solution. Her son Sasha, who wants nothing more than a family-only shivah, must referee the intruding geniuses.

"Interspersed with Rachela's recollections of growing up under Russian anti-Semitism, Rojstaczer, a PhD geophysicist, has created a complex and chaotic rainbow of characters that makes his first novel both comedic and compelling."

"An enjoyable debut... a multilayered story of family, genius, and loss."

* * * = 3 starred reviews

Sports talk-show host pens rich fiction

If you’re familiar with Mike Greenberg then you probably know him as the less athletic half of ESPN’s top-rated radio program Mike & Mike. What you may not know is that Greeny has forayed into the world of fiction, last month releasing his second novel.

My Father’s Wives follows Jonathan Sweetwater, an accomplished Wall Street banker, through two tumultuous weeks of disappointment and discovery. When Jon has reason to believe that his wife is having an affair, he hastily sets out to learn why his seemingly perfect life is falling apart. Central to this search is Jon’s father, the late US Senator Percival Sweetwater III whom Jon has not seen since his own ninth birthday party.

Since the Senator is not available for comment, Jon treks the globe in search of his father’s six wives, hoping that they will reveal some long-hidden truth about his father and himself.

Ultimately Greenberg’s book is about the nature of family and relationships. The well-developed characters feel real, and the use of sports as metaphor is well-done. The book is fast-paced and Jon’s globe-trekking search for answers adds a sense of mystery and suspense to the novel. And at just over two hundred pages placing it on hold is an easy commitment to make. Unless, that is, you’re afraid of that sort of thing.

You can check out Greenbergs other books here and a New York Times review of My Father's Wives here.

Easy English News For You

Are you an adult who is learning to read or is becoming an English Language Learner? AADL has a couple magazines that should get your attention.

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 our 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. Spread the word!

The new novel Lillian On Life is dazzling

The unobtrusive new novel Lillian On Life is a breath of fresh air! Alison Jean Lester writes in the unique voice of an elegant middle-aged woman looking back on her life. Never having married, Lillian has traveled the world alone meeting people, conquering several different careers, and learning life’s lessons. “In short vignettes, Lillian looks back, drawing an impressionistic portrait of a bold life full of adventure — erotic and otherwise — in prose spiked with unflinching observations, riotous riffs and poignant reflections,” says the review of the book in the Washington Post. Each chapter title of Lillian On Life implies what experiences Lillian will relate to readers in the coming pages; one chapter is titled “On leaving in order to stay” and another, “On getting out of bed.” These stories aren’t didactic in the least, however. Instead, they interweave and flow loosely along, painting a stunning portrait of a full life, not without sorrow, but made richer because of it.

This stunning book is Lester’s first novel and if readers are lucky, it won’t be the last. You can read the full review of Lillian On Life here.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #514 - "I want to trespass boundaries, erase all identifications, anything which fixes one permanently into one mold, one place, without hope of change.” ~ Anaïs Nin

Debut novelist Angelina Mirabella's The Sweetheart refers to Leonie Putzkammer, a 17 year-old with little prospect, living and caring for her widowed father in a Philadelphia row house and waiting tables at a diner. When an impulsive feat of athleticism on Bandstand comes to the attention of Salvatore Constantini, the legendary wrestling promoter, she is offered a chance to recast her future.

At Joe Pospisila's School for Lady Grappling, Leonie is put through a grueling regiment of physical training in and out of the ring; and coaching in dramatics (wrestling is after all, entertainment). To build a fan base, Leonie recreates herself as Gorgeous Gwen Davies, being tall, blonde, curvaceous does not hurt. Before long, she becomes known as "The Sweetheart of the ring" and has a genuine shot at the championship.

But the loneliness of the road, the injuries, the burden of finance eventually put a strain on her relationship with her out-of-work father, her tag-team partner/friend Screaming Mimi Hollander, and even on her budding romance with Sam (Spider) McGee, a men's champion wrestler. At a critical time in her debut season, Leonie finds she has a difficult decision to make.

"An engrossing portrait of the little-known (1950s) world of women's wrestling with questions about the nature of stardom and showing love..." "Angelina Mirabella's surprising, affecting, and morally complex novel describes how a single decision can ripple through the lives of everyone around us."

Recommended for those who enjoyed League of Their Own, a motion picture about the All American Girl’s Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) in the 1940s, based on a true story, and The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg - the story about five women who worked in a Phillips 66 gas station during the WWII years.

SELMA - Because They Marched

SELMA the movie, is up for Academy Awards 2015.
The story began over 50 years ago.
I was twelve years old when the Selma story was taking place in 1965.
My father was a Lutheran Campus Pastor, and my mother was a "Social Problems" Lecturer, at Mankato State University in Minnesota.
Pope John XXIII had convened "Vatican II", creating momentous changes within the Catholic Church.
Many people felt compelled to support and participate in the changes and history was being documented.

History is an amazing thing, and witnessing legends decades later is a moving opportunity.
The subject is especially timely when it falls during African-American History Month.
I find movies, documentaries and youth non-fiction overviews to be my favorite way to review and remember.
If you also like to research an era, surrounding a major movie, the following lists are some my recommendations on this era:

From the DVD Movie Collection:
SELMA
SISTERS Of SELMA: Bearing Witness For Change, includes first person interviews of participants in the civil rights movement, and the march from Selma to Montgomery.
FREEDOM RIDERS, "an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth" ... "personal conviction and the courage to organize against all odds."

From the Youth Collection:
BECAUSE THEY MARCHED: The People's Campaign For Voting Rights That Changed America, a new journalistic book covering the movement.
SELMA, LORD, SELMA a DVD movie, through the eyes of a child.
FREEDOM WALKERS: The Story Of The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the movement that produced a famous icon in Rosa Parks.
RUBY BRIDGES, a film of Ruby Bridge's story of integrating a grade school in New Orleans.

Significant biographies of little-known people who practiced for change:
The GIRL FROM The TAR PAPER SCHOOL: Barbara Rose Johns, a story that signifies common experiences leading up to the Civil Rights Movement.
CHILD Of The CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, Paula Young Shelton remembers the time.
AS FAST AS WORDS COULD FLY, a story based on personal experience of the author's father, Mason Steele.
The SCHOOL Is NOT WHITE! The Carter family stuggles to integrate an all-white school in Drew, Mississippi, in 1965.
LITTLE ROCK GIRL 1957 Nine African-American students made history when they defied a governor and integrated an Arkansas high school in 1957.
THROUGH MY EYES Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.

New Sherlock Holmes Story Found in a Scottish Attic


A new Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle has recently surfaced after being stored away in an attic in Scotland for more than 50 years. This is the first new Holmes story by the character's creator since the last adventure was published 80 years ago.

The story, Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, by deduction, the Brig Bazaar, is in the public domain and can be read freely online. Conan Doyle wrote the story to be part of a booklet called Book o' the Brig created as part of the Scottish town of Selkirk's fundraising effort to build a new bridge in 1904. The booklet's owner, historian Walter Elliot, received the booklet by a friend over 50 years ago, and stored it in his attic.

It's unusual that cleaning out one's attic results in an international news story, but mystery fans everywhere are rejoicing at this new addition to the Holmes canon!

Award Winning Audiobook: Ready Player One

Ready Player One 2011. 15 hrs., 41 min.

Awards: The book received an Alex Award from the American Library Association and won the 2012 Prometheus Award.

Author: Ernest Cline

Narrator: Wil Wheaton

Synopsis:
It is the year 2044, and Wade Watts is like everyone else - he escapes the horrible circumstances of his life by spending nearly all his time in the OASIS, a limitless world of virtual reality. Ready Player One is the story of a massive treasure hunt, where clues are only solved by players with the greatest knowledge of 1980s pop culture, and the quest for money and power undermines the future of the human race. This fast paced and engaging audiobook is enhanced by Wil Wheaton’s expert voice acting, and as a self proclaimed geek, the narrator is a perfect fit.

For similar audiobooks, check out:

Surface Detail by Iain Banks
Makers by Cory Doctorow
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #513 -“When one was reinventing oneself, anywhere could be home.” ~ Manju Kapur

A debut novel - Searching for Grace Kelly * by Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Callahan, is "a wonderful champagne bubble of a book - glamorous, aspirational, and relatable! The fifties never seem so fun! Wicked, naughty and clever." ~ Melissa de la Cruz

In the 1950s, there is no address more glamorous than New York's Barbizon Hotel for Women where the likes of Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Joan Crawford, Edna Ferber, and Sylvia Plath have called home. For Laura Dixon, former debutant, and a patrician beauty from Smith, arrives to work as a guest editor at Mademoiselle on the annual August college issue. In short order, she catches the eye of the most eligible bachelor in all of NY, and befriends a bartender of great intellect. Her wildly romantic, slightly thrumpy, take-charge roommate Dolly Hickey is a Katie Gibbs girl, counting on secretarial school and a job in publishing to spare her from the drudgery shared by the women in her working-class family upstate. Above all, she longs for her own prince-charming.

Vivian Windsor, a brash, redheaded British bombshell dreams of a singing career, while working as a cigarette girl at the famous Stork Club in the meantime, waiting for her big break, taking pleasures where she can, and breaking all the rules (Barbizon and otherwise) along the way.

Together, the three young women embark on a journey of self-discovery that will take them from the penthouse salons of Park Avenue to the Beat scene of Greenwich Village to Atlantic City's Steel Pier -- and into the arms of men who will alter their lives forever.

"Callahan's debut novel truly captures glamorous New York City from young women's perspective in the 1950s." "(He) suavely combines literary finesse and pulp fiction to create a fast-moving, heart-wrenching tale of romance and tragedy."

For those who remembered fondly The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe (adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film); The Group by Mary McCarthy; and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

If you like your settings strictly contemporary, try Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess and Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close.

* = starred review

Access Common Legal Forms Online

We often get questions at the library about finding legal forms for a variety of purposes. If you find yourself needing forms, the library offers access to the Legal Forms Library - a database of common legal forms. You can search for specific forms or browse by popular categories. Popular categories include:

Divorce
Bankruptcy
Power of Attorney
Wills and Estates
Landlord Tenant
Name Change
Real Estate
Sample Letters
Incorporation

You can access the database from here (then choose Legal Forms Library from the list). Forms are available for download and printing in Microsoft Word, Rich text, and PDF formats (depending on the individual form). The database is updated regularly and also includes a legal dictionary and a Q & A section. A great resource with a wealth of information!

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