Fabulous Fiction Firsts #501 - “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it." ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.

2 UK debuts. 2 young women rising out of bleak adolescence to realize the individuals they are meant to be.

British cultural critic Caitlin Moran follows up her 2012 New York Times bestselling memoir How To Be a Woman with a debut novel - How to Build a Girl * * that draws from her own experience, having joined the music weekly Melody Maker at an very young age before becoming a prize-winning columnist at the London Times.

14-year-old Johanna Morrigan, the product of a large dysfunctional council-flat welfare family in the West Midlands, decides to remake herself after an embarrassing appearance on national TV. Almost overnight, the freaky fat girl who is at once "endearing, ­hilarious, pathetic, and wise" becomes the feared music reviewer Dolly Wilde (named after Oscar's niece - "this amazing alcoholic lesbian who was dead scandalous"), drinking regularly, having lots of sex, and writing acidulous reviews of rock bands. But it that enough?

"Moran's coming-of-age debut novel is both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, a treat for young adults as well as those who remember the era (1990s) and its music."

In Making Marion : where's Robin Hood when you need him? * * by Beth Moran, Marion Miller leaves behind her job as a library assistant, a doctor-fiance and a childhood of neglect and abuse in Ballydown, a hamlet in Northern Ireland for Nottinghamshire, to uncover her father's secret past.

Searching for Sherwood Forest Visitor Center lands her at the Peace and Pigs campsite, an impromptu job offer, and a place to call home. Though hard work and the determination to overcoming her shyness earn her friendship and acceptance, the locals refuse to talk when shown the photograph of her father as a young man, dressed as Robin Hood. Only Reuben, heir to Hatherstone Hall is willing to come to her aid, motivated by a connection to his family history.

"Roaming pigs, food fights, and conspiring chickens add flavor to this delightful debut, which also touches on mother-daughter relationships, family secrets, and finding love, and yourself."

"One of the best inspirational novels of the season", it will appeal to fans of Jane Green, Marian Keyes, and Jill Mansell.

* * = 2 starred reviews

New Youth BOCDs @ AADL

If there is a family road trip in your future, consider taking along a few New Youth Books on CD. Recorded stories can keep a family entertained for hours. Our newest selections include Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue, an Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger. In this book, state tests are coming up as the Origami Rebel Alliance finds powerful allies in their fight against the "FunTime test preparation program". Another new selection is Absolutely Almost, by Lisa Graff, in which a new nanny named Calista makes a big difference in the confidence of Albie, a ten-year-old boy. Enjoy!

TV Spotlight: Pee-wee’s Playhouse

Mekka-lekka-hi, Mekka-hiney-ho! Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Seasons 1 – 5 are now available at AADL! This cult classic stars Paul Reubens and aired from 1986-1990. Created by Reubens, it was designed to be an educational show for children and adults and was influenced by 1950s television shows such as Captain Kangaroo and Howdy Doody. With its quirky characters and colorful playhouse set, the show was a hit and remains a classic. The show features the zany Pee-Wee Herman and his many silly friends, including Cowboy Curtis, Conky the Robot, and Reba the Mail Lady. For more Pee-Wee, check out Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway.

Yes Please

Yes Please by Amy Poehler is everything I thought it would be. It is funny, candid, and at times, it addresses deeper issues like negative self-talk, disability, and divorce. According to the book jacket, Yes Please is "A collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers, Yes Please offers Amy's thoughts on everything from her 'too safe' childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and 'the biz,' the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a 'face for wigs.' Yes Please is chock-full of words and wisdom to live by."

If you enjoy reading the smart and poignant writings of Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Lena Dunham, Sarah Silverman, Mindy Kaling, and Carol Burnett (I could go on and on, but I think you get the point) then I assure you, you will enjoy Poehler’s book. To give you any indication about how quickly it reads, I checked it out yesterday evening and before morning had read half of it…and I’m a slow reader.

If you prefer audiobooks, we have you covered. You can put the BOCD on hold here and experience Poehler's book by listening to her read it. Her voice is pretty strong in her writing, but I imagine her jokes will only be improved by her own vocal inflections. I know as much as I enjoyed reading Bossypants, I loved listening to it.

Filmmaking fans? Moose fans?

Have I got a new picture book for you! This is a Moose, written by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, is hilarious! The book features many animals including the director duck who is trying to film the documentary “This is Moose,” and the shooting gets interrupted by Moose’s granny, a giraffe and outer space. Moose doesn’t want to be a moose, he wants to be an astronaut! The impatient director is about to quack up – all he wants is for the animals to play their proper roles! Will this film ever get beyond the the first scene? It's a great story about being able to be who you want to be. The back of the book also features a mini glossary of filmmaking terms.

Another not-so-new funny moose picture book is Z is For Moose, an alphabet story that gets a little mixed up when Moose gets upset.

Failure IS An Option

Gary Shteyngart will be at the Downtown Library on Tuesday, October 21 at 7 pm talking about his wildly funny book Little Failure.

Tweet to @aadl your "little failure" using the hashtag #LittleFailure for your chance to win a Failure Is An Option t-shirt.

Winners will be chosen at random and must be present at the event to win.

Little FailureLittle Failure

Texts from Jane Eyre

In the hilarious new book Texts from Jane Eyre, and Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Chracters, readers get to see goofy, imagined text conversations involving characters from many well-known books. This fun book is a quick read, and definitely offers some hearty chuckles by placing centuries-old characters in the modern day. I was especially pleased by how well the author, Mallory Ortberg, takes the often-humorous neuroses of these characters and accurately imagines how they would come through via text message. Even the writing style of the book that each character appears in is maintained in the texts. Ortberg initially wrote some “text” series for the website The Toast and you can see those—and get a preview of the book!—here.

Hilarious new BIRD picture books!

School is back in session, but not everyone goes to elementary school: little birdies have to attend flight school! Or at least, those little birdies do who are SUPPOSED to learn how to fly. When Penguin arrives for HIS first day of flight school, Teacher is taken aback.

"But you, dear, are a penguin," she says.
"Undeniable," Penguin replies, "but I have the soul of an eagle."

So begins the hilariously told and illustrated story of Penguin's attempts to learn to fly in Lita Judge's Flight School. And just imagine what happens when Penguin decides to bring his friend Ostrich along for a lesson!

If you're interested in other goofy bird books, The ABC of Fabulous Princesses, by Willy Puchner, is a must-read. Prince William must find a wife, and all of the bird empresses are eager to impress him. Some are big, some are small, some are quiet, some are loud... but they all come from different countries bearing a unique gift for Prince William. Puchner's illustrations and rhymes are funny and fantastic. This is a great book not meant just for folks first learning their alphabet!

A Princess and a Pig Switch Places...

What would happen if a princess and a pig switched places? If you guessed a lot of laughs, you’re right! Check out Jonathan Emmett’s hilarious picture book The Princess and the Pig to find out exactly what happens when a princess is raised by pig farmers and a pig is raised… as a princess! Perfect for fans of Robert Munsch’s classic picture book The Paper Bag Princess, and my favorite picture book discovery this year.

Wonderful Youth Poetry Books

The summer may be starting to wind down, but there's still plenty of time to read! One often-forgotten genre in the world of kid's books is poetry. There is a ton of great youth poetry out there beyond Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky (beloved as they are) and it's often short, sweet, and funny. Poetry can sometimes seem intimidating to get into, but the books below are anything but! With the summertime left to us, why not try out some of this awesome genre?

Mirror Mirror: A book of reversible verse and Follow Follow: a book of reverso verse, both by Marilyn Singer, are retellings of fairy tales with a twist: they tell one point of view read top to bottom, and another point of view when read bottom to top. Figuring out which fairy tale each story is telling is a lot of fun, plus the illustrations are gorgeous.

Following up the fairy tale theme, Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: false apology poems by Gail Carson Levine is full of fairy tale characters who aren't REALLY sorry for their misbehavior and use poems to falsely apologize a la William Carlo William's poem "This is Just to Say."

Last, but not least, we have This Is Just to Say: poems of apology and forgiveness by Joyce Sidman. This book features a (fictional) class of sixth graders writing poems asking for forgiveness for various infractions, both serious and less so, with a corresponding second half in which the poem recipients write their own poems in response. If you like your poetry to have a little narrative to it, this one is for you.

Go forth and explore poetry!

Syndicate content