Fabulous Fiction Firsts #493 - “I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians.” ~ Francis Ford Coppola

Named 2008 Film Blogger of the Year by GQ (check out Self-Styled Siren), and freelance movie reviewer for the New York Post Farren Smith Nehme entertains and intrigues readers and film buffs alike with Missing Reels * - a "totally cinematic debut novel of young love, old movies, and an epic search for a long-lost silent film."

New York in the late 1980s. Ceinwen Reilly has just arrived from Yazoo City, Mississippi. Her min. wage job at a vintage store stretches barely to cover a shared shabby walkup on Avenue C; cigarettes; and her passion - classic movies. One day, Ceinwen, wearing one of her retro finds elicits a comment from their elderly neighbor Miriam. A glimpse of a photograph convinces Ceinwen of Miriam's starring role in the silent films.

When a charming British mathematician Matthew Hill breezes into Ceinwen's life, bringing wit, conversations, romance, and an introduction to Matthew's mentor who is a silent film history aficionado, Ceinwen (with Matthew trailing along) begins earnestly researching and tracking down the reels of Miriam's long-lost film masterpiece.

"The amateur gumshoes quickly find themselves immersed in a subculture of quirky film enthusiasts housing aging reels in basements, university archives, and private clubs across the city."

"A novel as winning and energetic as the grand Hollywood films that inspired it, Missing Reels is an irresistible, alchemical mix of Nora Ephron and David Nicholls that will charm and delight."

Feeling a little star-struck? You might enjoy:
The Age of Dreaming by Nina Revoyr; Not Without You by Harriet Evans; The Actress by Amy Sohn; Fame by Tilly Bagshawe; and Sunnyside by Glen David Gold.

* = starred review

New Craft Books!

Have you been keeping up with all the new craft books that have been rolling in? Book on crafting all sorts of things, including sewing, paper love, duct tape engineering, repurposing, and more. Now that the days get dark so early, it's a perfect time to start planning some new at-home projects to work on this fall and winter. I know I like to hunker down with old TV shows on DVD and a new project to keep me going. Here are a few stand-out titles:

Love At First Stitch

Scissors, Paper, Craft

Handcrafted Christmas: ornaments, decorations, and cookie recipes to make at home

Half yard heaven: easy sewing projects using left-over pieces of fabric

No-sew love: 50 fun projects to make without a needle and thread

And here are more of the new crafty maker books to keep an eye out for! Tis the season to craft. Wait, tis always the season to craft.

Once Upon An Alphabet

If words make up stories, and letters make up words, then stories are made of letters.
In this menagerie we have stories, made of words, made FOR all the letters.

Once Upon An Alphabet: Short Stories For All the Letters is written and illustrated by the amazing Oliver Jeffers. The picture book has a (cute or charming or funny or silly or weird or dark) short story for each letter of the alphabet, accompanied by quirky and beautiful illustrations. The stories feature some great vocabulary that dances off the page. This book is a real treat for both adults and children who aren't afraid of dark humor. (All the letters have great stories, but I recommend W. Since W is for Whiraffe!)

AADL World Languages Audiobook Collection

Did you know the AADL has audiobooks in many languages? If you're learning a new language (or already know a few!), check out some of these titles:

Award Winning Books:

The Pulitzer Prize winning story, Enrique's Journey (Spanish) by Sonia Nazario

The Harry Potter series in German and French.

Classic Literature:

Of Mice and Men (French) by John Steinbeck

Old Man and the Sea (Chinese) by Ernest Hemingway

For Kids:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Spanish) by C.S. Lewis

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Italian) by Lewis Carroll

For more fiction and nonfiction audiobooks in Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish, browse our World Languages Collection!

Young Naturalist Awards Contest 2015

The American Museum of Natural History will once again host its popular Young Naturalist Awards contest this year for all students in grades 7-12 who are interested in science and nature. Young scientists can go outside and explore (in the backyard, at the park, at a pond, or even one of the Great Lakes, for example) to pose a question, create a hypothesis, and start collecting data. Then students write about their research in a thoughtful essay, including photographs or visuals and reflections on the outcome. In addition to all the outdoor fun, winning entrants will receive cash prizes, online publication, classroom resources for their teacher, and an all expenses paid trip to the Museum! Students may submit their essays from January 1, 2015 through March 1, 2015. Check out the American Museum of Natural History's website for more information!

Need help getting started on your submission? The first step is getting outside and exploring! You can even explore the great outdoors right near your favorite AADL branch: visit the beautiful Stapp Nature Area by Traverwood, the native plants of Malletts Creek, or the wetland areas of Pittsfield! Those looking to do background research can check out this list of books on nature. Library users can also check out items like binoculars, a birdsong scanning wand, a portable digital microscope, or the hybrid powered environmental quality meter from AADL's fantastic science tools collection for their research!

Good luck and happy exploring!

NEW Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book: The Long Haul!

Can't get enough of Greg Heffley and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series? Well you're in luck! Jeff Kinney just released his newest addition to the series, "The Long Haul," yesterday! This time Greg is definitely in for some eye-rolling and groans: he's going on a family road trip. That's right, he's stuck with Rodrick, Manny, Mom and Dad inside a car for what seems like eternity, and that can only mean one thing: this hilarious journey is sure to keep you laughing!

More good news! The official series website has a free excerpt for you to read, or you can read ALL OF IT by checking it out from AADL!

Even MORE good news! If you want to celebrate this awesome book series, join us at the Pittsfield Branch this Saturday (11/8) at 1pm for a Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book Release Party! We'll have crafts, games and prizes for the whole family!

The Wild Truth; the untold story behind Into the Wild

Many of us are familiar with the fascinating story of Chris McCandless, told so fantastically by Jon Krakauer in 1996’s Into the Wild. Krakauer reports the true story of Chris’s desertion of his wealthy family, abandonment of his car and other possessions, donation of the $25,000 he had to his name to charity and ensuing adventures hitchhiking to Alaska and his life completely off the grid there. Months after his departure, his emaciated body was found in the Alaskan wilderness by a moose hunter.

Chris’s story was a controversial one, as many readers wondered how he could justify deserting his family and friends, leaving them to worry and wonder for months, and ultimately mourn his death. Other readers admired and often envied him for his courage and dedication to following his own path. The book enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the late 2000s, when it was made into a movie by the same title.

Now, Chris’s beloved sister Carine McCandless has written a revealing new book about her brother and about their childhood that offers vast amounts of insight into the reasoning behind Chris’s decision to leave his loved ones. In The Wild Truth: The Untold Story of Sibling Survival, Carine describes in vivid detail the realities of McCandless family life when she and Chris were growing up. “Carine was Chris's best friend, the person with whom he had the closest bond, and who witnessed firsthand the dysfunctional and violent family dynamic that made Chris willing to embrace the harsh wilderness of Alaska,” reads the book jacket. “In the many years since the tragedy of Chris's death, Carine has searched for some kind of redemption. In this touching and deeply personal memoir, she reveals how she has learned that real redemption can only come from speaking the truth.” Fans of Into the Wild will surely be interested in reading this insightful look into the nuances of Chris’s story.

Parent’s Corner: Top Picks

The Parent Shelf is located in the downtown youth area, and on this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from homework to potty training to time-outs to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.” Here are a few stand-out titles worth a peek:

Making grateful kids: The science of building character

How to be the parent you always wanted to be

For additional parent resources check out the long list of titles in the catalog and located on the Parent Shelf!

Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster!

Little Puppy is looking for someone to play with. When Little Puppy runs into the terrifying Big Green Monster, he knows that this new friend will play with him! However, all the Big Green Monster wants is to be left alone. What will happen when these two very different personalities interact? Will Little Puppy ever find someone to play with?

In this charming and funny tale by Mike Wohnoutka, Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster interact and become unlikely (and unusual) friends. This sweet story of friendship is told primarily through hilarious illustrations, which showcase the differences between the energetic Little Puppy and the ferocious Big Green Monster.

Looking for a similar story? Give A Visitor for Bear a try! This fun picture book by Bonny Becker is sure to delight fans of Little Puppy. Also try A Splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom for another story involving patience and learning to accept differences.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #492 - “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong... I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

Miracle in a Dry Season * by Sarah Loudin Thomas is set in the small town of Wise, WV. (First in the Appalachian Blessings series)

Rumors and speculations swirl around single mother Perla Long and her 5 yr.old daughter Sadie when she comes to live with her uncle and aunt. Casewell Phillips, a church elder and a confirmed bachelor is charmed when he meets beautiful Perla, and before long, he is crafting doll furniture for Sadie. But like the townfolks, he is cautious of her past that hints of sordidness, and suspicious of her singular talent of producing literally an endless feast out of meager rations.

When a severe drought hits Wise, folks are torn between gratitude for Perla's gift, small-town gossip, and a minister bent on judgment. Perla and Casewell must look deep into their hearts and faith for guidance if they are to have a future.

"Thomas's fiction debut offers sympathetic, wholesome protagonists seeking to live faithful, prayerful lives and engaging supporting characters in subplots that explore the overarching themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the wideness of God's love."

Fans of Ann Tatlock, Karen Kingsbury, and Lisa Wingate now have a new author to watch.

* = starred review

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