Fabulous Fiction Firsts #508

January brings a number of terrific debut novels. The one I am most excited to share is Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm (MFA, Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan). Follow her on Facebook, and plan to attend her signing @ Literati, 7pm on January 27.

She calls herself Julie now, from California. For the past 2 years, Grace restores bric-a-brac, repairs antiques and jewelry in a Paris chop shop, and lives alone in a shabby room. Regularly, she checks the Garland (TN) newspaper online for news of a case involving robbery of The Wynne House, a local heritage estate and museum, and the two young men caught for the crime, a heist that Grace meticulously engineered. Now, Grace's past and carefully constructed lies are about to catch up with her half way around the world, as the two men are being paroled.

In a series of flashbacks, from small-town USA to the Manhattan art scene, and the backstreets of Europe, we follow the "unbecoming-of-age" of a young woman with a special gift for restoration and for reinventing herself with equal deftness.

"Mesmerizing, nail-biting, atmospheric, and sensual... Unbecoming is an intricately plotted and psychologically nuanced heist novel that turns on suspense and slippery identity."

"Scherm mixes a character study with a caper novel full of double-crosses, lies, and betrayals... She is at her best when describing precious objects: a Dutch master's still life, a James Mont cigar box with hidden compartment, an ornate centerpiece with fanciful fruit and figurines, and silver spoons ignored by their owners but appreciated by the professional hired to evaluate them."

Readers looking for an elegantly well-played cat-and-mouse game should delight in Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief (1954); The Thomas Crown Affair (1968, and the 1999 remake); and White Collar, the just concluded (sadly) tv series.

Fans of Gillian Flynn who appreciate "(a) bleak tone, deeply flawed protagonist, and dysfunctional relationships" wouldn't want to miss this one. And let's not forget Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels as read-alikes.

Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home, is coming to Ann Arbor

Hugely popular graphic novelist Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama, and many other graphic novels, will be coming to the Michigan Theater on January 22, 2015. Bechdel's work intertwines political and personal spheres. She uses stories of her father's life before gay rights and her mother's life prior to the women's rights movement to portray intimate images of oppression. In Fun Home, her most popular work, Bechdel shares her personal tales of coming-of-age and coming out in the 1950s and 1960s, under the shadow of her parents' unhappy marriage and nation-wide homophobia.

Bechdel's talk at the Michigan Theater will begin at 5:10pm. The event is free and open to the public. You can read more about Bechdel and the event itself here.

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday February 19, 2015: 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

This event is intended for Adults
This event will be recorded

For the last year and a half, crowds have gathered each month in the early evening - in bars and venues around Ann Arbor. Around 7pm, it begins: three boisterous speakers geek out up front. What is this? Some secret club?

Nope! It's Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! And it's open to anyone and everyone who loves to learn or share what they love.

For the uninitiated, Nerd Nite (NN) has been described as “...like the Discovery Channel™…with beer!” Sounds fun, right? It is! NN is held monthly in 70+ cities, giving several folks the opportunity to give 18-21minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines. Imagine learning about everything from the science of the Simpsons to the genealogy of Godzilla. Fun stuff!

Doors open at 6:30, and speakers start at 7pm.

So show up, have a drink, meet other nerds, and learn a bunch of awesome new junk!

Want to see past topics and a little more info? Check NNA2's site.

AADL is sponsoring this month's event, so there will be NO COVER!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Any and all nerds (and non-nerds!) who love learning and having a great time are welcome to join us!

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday January 29, 2015: 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

This event is intended for Adults
This event will be recorded

For the last year and a half, crowds have gathered each month in the early evening - in bars and venues around Ann Arbor. Around 7pm, it begins: three boisterous speakers geek out up front. What is this? Some secret club?

Nope! It's Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! And it's open to anyone and everyone who loves to learn or share what they love.

For the uninitiated, Nerd Nite (NN) has been described as “...like the Discovery Channel™…with beer!” Sounds fun, right? It is! NN is held monthly in 70+ cities, giving several folks the opportunity to give 18-21minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines. Imagine learning about everything from the science of the Simpsons to the genealogy of Godzilla. Fun stuff!

Doors open at 6:30, and speakers start at 7pm.

Nerd Nite welcomes 2015 with a roster spanning history, sound and action!

We all like a good story now and then, right? All the better if that story is something from our city’s collective past. Local history geek & author Patti Smith will take us on a tour of the Good the Bad and the Ornery in Tree Town’s past. Like the sound of that? Carl Engelke will expose us to different sounds — heroic trumpet fanfares — as he considers music and physics in the natural history of the trumpet.
Finally, who couldn’t use an extra boost of self-confidence? Martial arts trainer Sal Sanfratello will illustrate how direct action and experimentation may help us become a little more balanced and courageous in our everyday lives.

Ponder some of our past, consider your favorite fanfare, and take action — grab a beer and say hi to your fellow nerds!

Want to see past topics and a little more info? Check NNA2's site.

AADL is sponsoring this month's event, so there will be NO COVER!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Any and all nerds (and non-nerds!) who love learning and having a great time are welcome to join us!

CANCELLED - Nerd Nite Ann Arbor presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday December 11, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

Due to circumstances beyond our control - the December edition of Nerd Nite has been cancelled.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Local Music: Timothy Monger

Friday January 30, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

AADL highlights a local performing artist with this evening concert by Timothy Monger, best known for his work with Michigan rock group Great Lakes Myth Society, which he co-founded with his brother James.

For this performance, Monger will be joined by Patrick Herek on piano. He'll also use guitar pedals and a few other musical items from AADL’s circulating Music Tools collection!

In 2004, Monger released his debut solo album Summer Cherry Ghosts. The lush baroque-pop song cycle earned favorable comparisons to Elliot Smith, Electric Light Orchestra and early Bee Gees and was re-released in Japan the following year.

The success of Great Lakes Myth Society’s literate, folk-tinged rock eventually landed them a deal with Michigan indie Quack! Media in 2006 and their sophomore effort Compass Rose Bouquet was released in 2007 to glowing reviews. This was followed with several national tours, multiple appearances at SXSW and shows with Patti Smith, British Sea Power, The Hidden Cameras and The Hold Steady among others.

In 2009, Monger recorded his second solo album and performed regularly both as a solo artist and with his newly formed backing band Timothy Monger State Park. His sophomore album The New Britton Sound is a beautiful melding of elegant pop, and lyrical folk-rock named for the small rural town of Britton, Michigan where the bulk of it was recorded and written. Released in June 2011 on his own Northern Detective record label, the album was a stylistic leap forward, moving away from the orchestral leanings in favor of a more organic, rural pop sound.

Vietnamerica: Pop-Up Exhibition by GB Tran

The University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities has a new Pop-Up exhibition series in the Osterman Common Room (#1022). The first, Vietnamerica, is an exhibition of images from GB Tran's graphic memoir of the same name, a visually stunning portrait of survival, escape, and reinvention, and of the fit of the American immigrants' dream. The exhibition will be up through Friday, November 7.

GB Tran be there to talk about his work on Friday, November 7, 2014 at 2:00pm.

Note: The Common Room at Institute for the Humanities is open M-F 9am-5pm.

Tiny Expo: Ann Arbor's biggest little indie arts & craft fair — Downtown, December 13th!

Ann Arbor's biggest little indie arts & craft fair is back! After a few years of hopping around to different locales, Tiny Expo will land at the Downtown AADL this December 13th, 11am—5:30pm!

Just what IS Tiny Expo? It's a fun local, and handmade shopping experience that began with a small group of artists in 2010. As the initial group of creative folks banded together to hold a fun, informal little fair, expo-goers responded, and the show grew just a teeny bit each year. Finding a location that could fit everyone was a perennial challenge, though, and so Tiny Expo jumped around town — from Kerrytown to Felch Street and back again.

This year, the Downtown Library will host Tiny Expo's marvelous collection of local indie artists and crafters, including a few audience favorites from past Tiny Expo editions! We'll be announcing the final artist roster in mid November, but if you or an artist you know might be a good fit, you can apply here to be a part of things!

So, get excited, get ready, and mark your calendar — for the biggest little indie arts and craft fair, this December!

Halloween Events at the AADL!

We love Halloween at the AADL, and we have lots of fun events planned for other Halloween lovers, too! On Tuesday evening, October 28, adults and teens can make decorative Halloween wreaths at the Pittsfield branch of the library. On Wednesday, October 29, we’ll be celebrating Dia de los Muertos by making Day of the Dead Shrinky Dink skull charms at the Mallets Creek location. And, on Halloween itself, we have tons of activities for little ones. In the morning, at both 9:30 and 10:30, there will be a special, first-ever Halloween-themed puppet show at the downtown library! Preschoolers will definitely enjoy the Halloween storytime that morning, also taking place at the downtown library and featuring, music, finger plays, and holiday stories. Kids can come in their costumes for treats here at the library, and then join up with the Treat Parade! The library has partnered with the Main Street Association and we’re a stop on this year’s parade! For more information about any of our Halloween events, you can call or ask at any of the AADL locations. Happy Halloween!

Literati: Violin Monster Concert and Storytime

A human dressed up as "Violin Monster" will be at Literati bookstore at 7pm Thursday Oct. 30, the evening before Halloween. Literati is located at 124 E. Washington in downtown Ann Arbor. From their web page: "Violin Monster will play some music, read some stories, share some of his spookiest, scariest memories... and he may even need some help from the audience remembering them! Join us for this fun, spooky event for all ages. AAAAWWWOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!" At the library we have lots of books for young people about Halloween.

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