It’s A Boy’s Life

When I was homeschooling my sons, I took them to the library to choose whatever books they wanted. They would take their books to the circulation desk while I stood there hoping to see at least one fiction book. Why fiction? Simply because I wanted my sons to share in my appreciation for the elements of fiction: Plot, Setting, Character, Conflict, Symbol, and seeing the world from another Point of View. I never succeeded in passing on my love of fiction to my sons, however, we found a compromise with fiction and non-fiction; magazines. Below is a list of magazines that will appeal to boys whether they prefer to read fiction or non-fiction:

Grades 1 – 5
Boys' Life : for all boys, Highlights for Kids, National Geographic Kids, Nintendo Power, Owl, Ranger Rick, Sports Illustrated Kids, WWE Kids, Zoobooks

Grades 6 – 12
Drum, ESPN, Game Pro, Guitar, Game Informer, Mad ,Thrasher, Transworld Skateboarding, White Dwarf

Not Your Average Book Group

Looking for ways to kick up your book group this summer? At a recent Booklist webinar, several publishing bigwigs tossed around ideas for making your group more social and less stuffy.

Magazines. If you're stressed for time and reading Cutting for Stone in four weeks just isn't going to happen, then consider using an issue of a magazine or just one article. You can now put magazines on hold through your online account at the AADL, and the title selection is massive. Try a trending topic in a lesser known mag, like Commentary or The Crisis. Or go for the adventurous with Rock and Ice or Ski.

Go Out. Minnesota's largest open book group goes by the name Books & Bars, who says their group "isn’t your mother’s book club. We provide a unique atmosphere for a lively discussion of interesting authors, fun people, good food and drinks." They read everything from The Hunger Games series to McCarthy's The Road.

Some libraries are also organizing book groups in social settings, like Skokie Public Library's LitLounge, which hosts book swaps and trivia nights in addition to discussions. At the Oak Park Public Library in Illinois, they have Genre-X, a twenties and thirties book group that meets at The Snug, a room at the local brewpub and discuss in person what they've been chatting about via their Goodreads group.

For more book group ideas from Booklist, check out their quick and insightful blogs.

Magazine Update -- Film Stars, The World Cup and Swimming Babies

swimming baby by tomeppy, Flickr.comswimming baby by tomeppy, Flickr.com
If our scorching 90-degree weather is any indication, summer is finally here! Before packing up to hit the beach, make sure to check out some of our awesome youth magazines.

For Parents:
American Baby -- Stroller reviews, tips for new dads and a guide for teaching your tot to swim.

For Kids:
Nintendo Power -- Check out Sonic Generations for the 3DS, plus an advance look at Mega Man Legends 3!

Sports Illustrated Kids -- Learn more about the Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto and the Brazilian world cup star Marta. Also in this issue, a profile of the US women's world cup team, and "10 Ways to Make Sports More Awesome."

For Teens:
Justine -- College advice, a great list of books for summer reading, and a look at actor Grey Damon - leading man of new series "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" (based on these books).

Lucky -- A talk with actress and teen book author Lauren Conrad, and style advice from actress Rose Byrne.

Thrasher -- It's "The Interview Issue," and you will not believe how many interviews they managed to cram into this magazine: Aaron Homoki, Cody McEntire, Ben Hatchell and Daniel Lutheran are only the merest sampling of what Thrasher has to offer.

WWE Magazine -- An interview with John Cena, and 50 things to do this summer.

June 1st is National Running Day

Whether you run every day and National Running Day is just another Wednesday to you, or if you haven't run since you were a kid but you think it might be (even a little bit) fun, today's a perfect day to lace up those shoes and go for a run. One of the most popular and beautiful places to run in Ann Arbor is Gallup Park, home to a paved, pancake flat, multi-use path that's easy to get to from the parking lots shown here, or you can run there if you're extra ambitious.

After your run, stop by the National Running Day website and post why you run on the scrolling inspire badge. Check out the sometimes funny, often motivating reasons why other people run, such as "I run because I like to eat. A LOT", "I run for cheap therapy", "I run because no one thought I could", and "I run so I can smile the rest of the day". The site also has 10 Ways to Celebrate National Running day, which applies to any day of the week.

The AADL has a great collection of running books and media for the first timer and for the veteran. Happy running!

Magazine Update -- Owl Cake, Skateboarding Stars and "The Other Middleton"

Pippa with Pink HatPippa with Pink Hat
Memorial Day is right around the corner! If constant rain prevents you from hitting the pool, at least you will be able to read some great new youth and teen magazines! Or, hey, you could also read them at the pool...

Kids:
Owl Magazine celebrates their 35th birthday by giving you presents! You can win a retro owl t-shirt, and also bake an owl-shaped caked. Cuuute! Also inside are "Animal All Stars" and "10 Things You Didn't Know About Water."

Teens:
Transworld Skateboarding welcomes the "New Breed" of up-and-coming skateboard virtuosos and has fun interviewing Julian Davidson, Felipe Gustavo and Theotis Beasley, as well as oodles more.

Us Weekly shares the diet and exercise secrets of the stars in the "Hot Bodies" issue. You can also read the latest gossip about Leonardo DiCaprio's love life and Pippa Middleton, the sister of the new Duchess of Cambridge.

Of course, we have plenty more great magazines to read while working on your tan! Come on down and check some out, before Memorial Day Weekend!

The Thunderdrome: Unearthing a Gem in Detroit

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Let's time travel. It's 1969 and we're in Dorais Park, Detroit, near E. Eight Mile and Mound Road. Construction has just been completed on a brand new velodrome -- a cycling venue consisting of a steeply banked, concrete oval loop, 250 meters long -- in anticipation of the U.S. National Track Championships held there later that year. This Championship and the many that follow are bright spots in a declining neighborhood. For the next 20 years, the city maintains this bastion of bike racing against urban devastation, marked here by the closure of the Chrysler assembly plant across the street.

Eventually, the Dorais Park Velodrome is abandoned by the city and handed over to the elements. Illegal car races are sometimes held here, accelerating the cracking of the concrete that was only designed to sustain bicycles, while bushes, grasses, and trees split apart the fissures. Two decades of neglect take their toll.

Welcome to 2010. A group of renegade urban landscapers, known as The Mower Gang, take their lawn care equipment to Dorais Park, unearth the velodrome, and begin rehabbing the battered beauty. It's renamed The Thunderdrome, an homage to the post-apocalyptic Mad Max film series from the '80s, and a race is staged for two-wheeled vehicles that October.

As race organizer Ben Wojdyla writes, "the Thunderdrome wouldn't be limited to just bicycles. We wanted higher speeds and more excitement. We wanted loony subcultures, weirdos, a scene, a spectacle—something people could get excited about. So in addition to traditional fixed-gear road bicycles, geared bikes and mountain bikes, we also invited racers on mopeds, scooters and pit bikes". The Fall race is a success, drawing hundreds of spectators and racers and spawning the demand for a Spring race, which will take place this Saturday, April 30, at noon. Detroit reinvention and DIY spirit charge headlong into the future of the city.

The latest issue of Bicycling Magazine, with holdings at all AADL locations, has an article on the Thunderdrome, as does the October 2010 issue of Popular Mechanics. Check out the Thunderdrome's website for more details on the race.velorace3velorace3

Magazine Update -- Beauty, Money, Drama ...and Recycling

piggy bank by alancleaver_2000, Flickr.compiggy bank by alancleaver_2000, Flickr.com
As some gear up for the chocolate bunny and jellybean eating of Easter weekend, others are excited about our new teen and youth magazines!

Teen magazines have a bumper crop this month:
Celebrity Hairstyles -- Learn how to choose the right makeup for your hair and steal the hairstyle secrets of the cast of Modern Family, plus "350 Summer Hair Secrets."
ESPN Magazine -- This issue is "All About the Money." Find out how athletes splurge, and what they do when the money runs out.
Teen Voices -- Learn about henna, as well as serious issues like child marriage and teen runaways. Includes an interview with Liz Murray, who wrote Breaking Night as a memoir of her own experience as a homeless teen in New York.
Us Weekly -- The drama behind the scenes on "Dancing With the Stars," and the Style Stars of 2011!

For the kids and parents we have:
Family Fun -- With crafts for Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day, as well as recycle crafts for turning trash into treasures.
New Moon Girls -- The issue shares girls' true travel stories, and asks the question "What's your definition of beauty?"

AADL youth and teen magazines -- as colorful as a spring treat, but 100% sugar free.

New York Times databases

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The library subscribes to two slightly different New York Times databases. The first provides full text articles of the newspaper from 1980 to the present. The second is the New York Times Historical database covering the period 1851-2007. The historical database provides scanned copies of the original newspapers including obituaries and images when available as PDFs. A great resource for genealogists and history buffs alike! The daily New York Times in print is available at all our branches and we retain 6 weeks worth.

Magazine Update -- Giraffes, Plays and Magical Neurology

by stevendepolo, Flickr.comby stevendepolo, Flickr.com

You may have noticed that Ann Arbor is steadily sinking into the ground. Shocking news! But as you await the inevitable plunge towards the center of the Earth, at least you can read these cool new magazines.

For the kids:
Zootles is all about Giraffes, the tallest animals on Earth!

Plays Magazine gives you seven all new scripts for aspiring thespians, including "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder" inspired by the classic Sherlock Holmes story!

Dig magazine digs into the Aztecs (get it?), and Muse magazine tells you about the weird brain glitches that make magic tricks work.

For the parents:
American Baby is ready to tell you all about decoding your baby's mood signals, dealing with kid-caused embarrassment, and going on baby-friendly vacations.

Have fun!

Teen (and Parent) Magazine Update -- Home Schooling, Conspiracy Theorists and Luchador Socks

image by Odin Fotografia, Flickr.comimage by Odin Fotografia, Flickr.com
As winter and spring duke it out for supremacy, a beautiful new collection of magazines has blossomed in our teen room. Check out these lovely flowers:

For Teens:
Audrey -- All about Actress Olivia Munn, plus an article on the presence of Asian-Americans in mainstream TV shows.

ESPN Magazine -- See athletes strut their stuff in this special Style Report, in more ways then one, plus Derrick Rose shows off his luchador socks.

Rolling Stone -- Where else can you see Snooki, rock star Sammy Hagar and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in the same place? Plus, 2011's coolest new faces.

Sorry, parents, I've only got one magazine for you this time, but it's a good one:
Home Education Magazine has ideas on teaching your kids about gardening and food, as well as a list of books for Women's History Month!

Get out your umbrella and come check out these cool magazines!

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