Film Adaptation Alert: Me Before You

Jojo Moyes’ novel Me Before You might break your heart, sure, but it’s also going to make you laugh and remember to appreciate the loved ones in your life. The story starts with Will Traynor, a wealthy man with a big appetite for life, in the board room or on his global thrill-seeking expeditions, enduring an accident that leaves him a quadriplegic. Enter Louisa Clark, an ordinary, small-town girl, who lands a position as his caretaker and starts off just trying to get through each day without infuriating him. Eventually, a bond develops, and soon, they find great happiness in each other’s company.

This is a story about knowing your own mind and what it is to love with true unselfishness, and how difficult both of those things can be. It manages to be both meaningful and quirky without becoming too heavy-handed or too wacky. And yeah, you’re going to want to have some tissues handy at the end, but the range of emotions you’ll experience on the way are well worth the tears.

The book has now been adapted into a feature film, starring Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clark and Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin. The movie comes out June 3, and the official trailer has just been released.

It's Blind Date with a Book season!

Stop by any of the AADL locations for a sweet February surprise! Adults and teens will find Blind Date with a Book displays, where one can hopefully find the mysterious book of their dreams! Books (and movies!) wrapped in butcher paper have a short description of what the material inside contains… but you’ll have to check out the item and take it home to unwrap to find out if it’s really meant for you!

Kids aren’t left out either! There are Surprise Book displays at every location too, where kids will find mystery books and movies wrapped up with only hints written on them to imply what’s inside. These displays will be up for the entire month of February, so don’t miss your chance to find your match.

What Do You Do With an Idea?

“This is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult.”

What Do You Do With an Idea?, written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom, is a delightful picture book with a positive message. The story is simple, but its themes of creativity and confidence are big! A little boy discovers “an idea” that perplexes him. He tries to ignore it, he tries to hide it, but he eventually realizes he wants to help it. And when he does, AMAZING things happen!

What Do You Do With an Idea? has wonderful illustrations. The “idea” spreads color and warmth to the pages, which begin in black and white. Each turn of the page had me smiling!
I recommend this book for readers of all ages – but especially for parents who want to encourage their children to think BIG.

PreK BITS - “A” is for Art

There were ARTful stories in Preschool Storytime @ Malletts Creek this week.
Ms. Rachel drew “Monkey Face” while telling the story.
The book MONKEY FACE is long out of print but the tale lives on in oral tradition.
Frank Asch is the author and his books are still popular.
The BIG ORANGE SPLOT is a story of Mr. Plumbean and the day a big orange splot lands on his house. What would YOU do?

For more Artful stories try these favorites:
I AIN’T GONNA PAINT NO MORE! … is totally singable as you read the pages and enjoy the pictures.
VINCENT PAINTS HIS HOUSE ... Vincent Van Gogh of course!
LILY BROWN’S PAINTINGS … a young artist growing …
SCRIBBLE … what if you scribbled on your sister’s things?
BEAR’S PICTURE … what if folks don’t think your art is right?
PURPLE GREEN And YELLOW … what if your markers go places they aren’t supposed to go ?
The DAY The CRAYONS CAME HOME … sequel to The DAY The CRAYONS QUIT … stories from the crayon box.
DOG LOVES DRAWING by Louise Yates.
SHAPE SONG SWINGALONG … a song on a CD to go along …
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ANIMAL? … a collection of stories and poems told by a collection of famous children’s book illustrators.

The End of the Tour

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of David Foster Wallace’s (1962-2008) magnum opus Infinite Jest, so it’s a great time to revisit the 1996 work.

At the time the book was published Rolling Stone Magazine sent reporter David Lipsky to follow Wallace on his book tour promoting the book.

The five-day interview didn’t get published in the magazine but became Lipsky's New York Times-bestselling book Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace in 2010. The book was recently adapted for screen which resulted in the film The End of the Tour.

The End of the Tour stars Jason Segel as Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as Lipsky. Lipsky tags along on a road trip with Wallace and they have conversation after conversation on just about everything, with Lipsky getting it all on tape. It’s a striking look at how you view yourself, and then once you are well-known how others perceive you. It begs the question – does it really matter? I haven’t read Infinite Jest, but I’m super curious about the brain of David Foster Wallace, and found the movie provocative and thought provoking about what rests in the minds of those we label genius.

This Bridge Will Not Be Gray

With story by Dave Eggers and art by Tucker Nichols, This Bridge Will Not Be Gray is a mild history of the building of San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge, offering up facts about the construction of the bridge and the big debate about what color to paint it. Most involved figured the bridge would be gray. Gray was serious. Gray was safe. If that was the case, then how did it end up painted International Orange? This book answers that question in a delightful way.

The book backs the idea that standing up for yourself and your ideas is worth something! Even if the idea is bold and courageous and unusual and even strange.

Published by McSweeney’s it has that bit of wit you know and love, as well as whimsical and colorful paper cut-outs as design. Eggers is known for his books for adults, such as Pulitzer finalist A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and is the founder McSweeney’s and co-founder 826 Valencia (which lead to 826michigan!).

Become an Expert in All Things Wheel of Time!

It's been almost 3 years since the final volume of the Wheel of Time series was published, and if you're anything like me, you're ready for more Wheel of Time. Well, we're in luck, because Robert Jordan's wife (and editor) along with others from his editorial staff have published a wonderful companion to the series entitled The Wheel of Time Companion. It is in many respects an encyclopedia of all things Wheel of Time, lovingly put together by the people who knew the series best, along with help from Jordan's notorious record keeping. What you'll see in this book will spoil many of the RAFO (read and find out) moments from the series, so if you're still working your way through the series, read with caution lest you ruin some of the best revelations!

For those new to the series, the Wheel of Time is a series of 14 books (and one prequel) starting with The Eye of the World. Like many epic fantasies, the story deals with an ancient prophecy, the Prophecy of the Dragon, and the return of the Dark One, Shaytan, who was sealed away by male magic users during one of the previous ages of the world. The series has been read by millions of people worldwide. The series was finished by Brandon Sanderson after author Robert Jordan's death.

If you are a fan of epic fantasy, check out the Wheel of Time series. And if you are a fan of the series, you must check out The Wheel of Time Companion.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #578

The Longest Night * * by Andria Williams is inspired by a little-known historical fact - the nation’s only fatal nuclear accident, which occurred on January 3rd, 1961. Williams’ debut explores the lead-up to the tragedy through the eyes of a young army specialist and his wife.

Idaho Falls, 1959. Neither Paul Collier nor Nat(alie) fits in very well in their new home. Paul, the newest enlisted man at the experimental nuclear reactor, is dismayed at the problematic and dangerous condition of the reactor. When a clash with his buffoonish supervisor turns violent, he is deployed to Greenland for 6 months.

Left behind with two young children and pregnant with a third, Nat tries to make friends with the prim-and-proper army wives whose scintillating marital drama play out behind closed doors. But she finds her deepest friendship with a handsome young Mormon cowboy named Esrom, who proves to be both a help and a bright spot in her life, as well as a temptation and fuel for the rumor mill. Upon Paul's return, a nuclear event will force them to make decisions that will alter the course of their lives and others in the community.

"A smoldering, altogether impressive debut that probes the social and emotional strains on military families in a fresh and insightful way." May we also suggest: The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit; You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon; and Changing Light by Nora Gallagher.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Rereading the Classics - Silas Marner by George Eliot

Having to read Silas Marner in eleventh grade almost ruined it for me. I didn’t recognize what a gem it is. Actually, I may not have finished it. Fortunately, I decided to give it a second chance and it is now one of my very favorite books. If you are looking for a classic book, which is very readable, and on the short side, and is one of the most endearing stories imaginable, look no further.

Silas Marner is the quintessence of the miser. Betrayed by his best friend, unjustly cast out from his religious community, set adrift in a world he could no longer love or trust, he now earns his meager existence by weaving in a small Midlands village, and, alienated from any human relationship, he hoards the gold sovereigns with which he is paid, counting them nightly. In Marner’s sad and lonely life, gold has substituted for love, for companionship, for the belief in the goodness of humanity.

Then, all his considerable amount of gold is stolen; almost twenty years of hoarding and the light of his life, all gone. Though his neighbors try to console him, his pain is bottomless. About a week later, through a series of synchronicities, a small, abandoned child, with golden curls, wanders into his cottage as the bells are tolling in the New Year, and, to the astonishment of the village, he welcomes the child as the substitute for his gold. The floodgates of Silas’s love and warmth open to the little girl, and thus begins the relationship which completely redeems his life. He is saved and transformed by the trust and love of the child, and his great love for her, and, in the process, is restored to the human community. Beautiful. When, sixteen years later, he is reunited with his stolen gold, he is indifferent to its allure.

One of the best book-to-movie adaptations I have ever seen is the film of Silas Marner, with Ben Kingsley performing brilliantly in the title role. Completely true to the story, getting all the details and characters right, creating the ambiance of the time and place perfectly, with a haunting score, this is the finest of English period drama.

The Seventh Most Important Thing

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall received a lot of Newbery buzz in 2015, and while it didn’t win the award, it’s still a winner.

"On a bitter November day in Washington, D.C., when everything felt metallic – when the sky was gray and the wind stung and the dry leaves were making death-rattle sounds in the alleys – thirteen-year-old Arthur Owens picked up a brick from the corner of a crumbling building and threw it at an old man's head."

It didn’t hit the man’s head, it hit his arm. Arthur is then sent to juvie and ultimately assigned community service working for the old man – who they called the Junk Man, since he’s often spotted wheeling a shopping cart and digging through garbage throughout the neighborhood. Was Arthur really supposed to pick through trash collecting things for the crazy old man who stole his dead father’s hat?

Arthur is tasked with rummaging for what the Junk Man, AKA James Hampton, AKA St. James, calls the seven most important things: light bulbs, foil, mirrors, pieces of wood, glass bottles, coffee cans, and cardboard. His father has died, his sister is a pest, he has no friends, he gets bullied at school, he spent time in juvie and is now known as a "bad kid," and now he has to work for the Junk Man collecting weird stuff. Eventually Arthur comes to realize the importance of what the trash will become, and this bit of community service ends up being a life-changing experience for all involved.

The book is set in 1960s but you can barely tell. The character of Hampton is based on real-life American folk artist James Hampton who spent over a decade creating his vision of heaven from scraps. While Hampton is based on a real man the rest of the characters and story are fictitious. If you're not familiar with Hampton's art, read the book before you dig for details!

It’s a lovely youth novel, great for middle grade readers and for fans of Gary Schmidt’s books.

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