Books on Tap - January 2016

Welcome the new year at Jimmy's on January 12 at 6:30pm when we discuss Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, 2015-2016 Great Michigan Read selection.

"Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end. 
Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed."

Review from Amazon.

New Titles for the Cloud Library - December 2015

Fresh titles in the Cloud Library include:










See the full list of all new Cloud Library eBooks for Adults.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

I first picked up this book when I noticed it was a future story for our Books & Bagels group, and then was further convinced to read it when I saw a review by my favorite author, Neil Gaiman, on the cover.

Thankfully I trusted in his review and our children's librarian Eva who picked it, because this book was an absolute delight to read. It features a 12-year-old girl named September who is whisked away from her mother in Omaha, Nebraska to go to Fairyland, where she has all sorts of adventures and finds true friendship with a wyvern named A-L (his father was a library, of course) and water-loving marid named Saturday along the way. The prose reads magically (almost in a Gaiman-esque way) and kept my attention throughout the story. Each chapter features a different adventure that September and her friends go on, from meeting alchemists in a land that is forever Autumn, to a bathhouse with a lonely soap golem, all part of the main goal of the story, which is September retrieving a sword for the Evil Marquess.

Like I said, this book is a delight, and a stunning example of why adults shouldn't neglect YA and children's fiction! This book was one of my favorites this year, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a tale with a very happy ending.

New Teen Titles for the Cloud Library - December 2015

Fresh titles for teens in the Cloud Library include:









See the full list of all new Cloud Library eBooks for Teens.

Books on Tap - December Follow Up

Hearing about new-to-me books is always a good time! We had an amazing wrap up of 2015 giving us all a new list of books to add to our libraries!

Click here to see a list of the books brought in by our group so that you have a list readily available for the holiday season.

In January 2016, we will read Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, the 2015-2016 Great Michigan Read.

My Account Access in Library Catalog has Been Restored

The My Account portion of the library's catalog is back online.  You are now able to:

  • Place holds
  • Renew items
  • Pay fines
  • View your reading history (if you have already opted-in to this program)
  • View the Cloud Library eBooks checked out on your account, and check-out/place holds on Cloud Library eBooks directly from the library's catalog. 

Thank you for your patience while we worked with our vendor to restore access to the My Account portion of the library catalog.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: a Memoir by Carrie Brownstein

Brownstein has fervor beyond the typical "music moves me" descriptions. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is a well-written biography that gives herstory to the Pacific Northwest punk scene.

If you've missed any of their albums, listen to the Sleater-Kinney catalog instantly on Hoopla.

Only Superhuman

Only Superhuman, by Christopher Bennett, is a hard scifi superhero novel.  Set in the future, genetically-enhanced humans have moved apart from the normals and gone to live in colonies on the astroid belt.  Some of these humans have powers that are decidedly beyond those of the average man, and to help preserve law and order, a group of such humans have banded together to fight crime.  The group that they have formed is called, "The Troubleshooters". 

The Troubleshooters have their work cut out for them, from fighting terrorist groups to investigating shady superhuman collations, to evaluating partnerships with other groups.  Bennett's story follows the adventures of a Troubleshooter named Emerald Blair, a.k.a. the Green Blaze, as she is drawn into a web of intrigue.  After all, in order to stop evil, you first have to recognize it as such.

The story's strengths are those traditionally associated with a comic book.  There are excellent fight scenes and an action-packed story keep the reader engaged.  Also, now we get to hear more of a superhero's inner monologue.  I found this to be somewhat entertaining at times, particularly the sections of the book that involve Blaze's concerns about making an entrance and tossing off one-liners.  Lastly, I respect Bennett for writing a plausible, hard-scifi superhero story.  "Hard Science Fiction" is a term usually reserved for stories with scientific advances which, given the state of science at the time of the books publication, seem both futeristic and reasonably plausible.  (The opposite would be "soft" scifi, where the science works in a manner functionally indistinguishable from magic.  Think of Superman's "I'm an alien with a human body type and I can fly!") 

However, the story is not without weaknesses.  There were quite a few romantic endeavours chronicled in the story. I don't mind romance in the books that I read, but I do mind frequent scenes with gratuitous details.  However, that is the only quibble that I have with the book.  Should one enjoy an action-packed superhero story and find such detriments as I have mentioned tolerable, then I would certainly recommend this book.

Bread and Jam For Frances by Russell Hoban

Russell Hoban’s Frances series is a staple of my childhood, and this book just might be my favorite of them all. The title character, Frances, is a lovable but imperfect badger who’s sometimes a little too stubborn and headstrong for her own good (hmm, I wonder why I related to her as a child…). In Bread and Jam For Frances, she decides that the only food she wants to eat is, drumroll: bread and jam. Her parents indulge her, and while at first it’s fun to have her favorite food for every meal, she quickly realizes that she’s missing out on a whole wide world of delicious food.

Although these books were written in the 1960s, their charm and heart and humor stand the test of time. I love that Frances is always allowed to make her own mistakes and learn her own lessons (usually in a way that’s both funny and heartfelt). I’ve been holding onto my childhood copy of this book my whole life, and whenever I pick it up to thumb through it, I remember why.

Literacy Through Lip-Reading

There’s a whole host of reasons to read, sing, and talk with your babies every day, from sharing a special bonding moment together to helping build their literacy skills, and now a new study about the speech development of infants confirms it: your babies learn to talk by listening to (and watching) you!

It’s not only the sounds of speech that helps teach babies how to talk. A recent study at the Florida Atlantic University shows that at around six months old, babies begin watching our mouths rather than our eyes as we speak to them. By essentially lip-reading, they start to figure out how to make those shapes and sounds on their own. At around one year old, they will start making eye contact again when spoken to, unless they encounter a new language, when they might watch lips more closely again.

So when you’re talking and singing to your babies, reading aloud to them, or bringing them to storytimes at the library, keep in mind that all of these interactions contribute to their literacy, helping them learn to speak and eventually read.

Read more about the study here, and find lots of books to share with your little ones at ELPL!

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett

This is such a fun book!  The premise is that there was a book called Birthday Bunny that a young boy, Alex, has altered to become Battle Bunny.  Each page has the "original" artwork and text that Alex has drawn over, added to, and altered in pencil.  If you just picked it up you might think the book had been vandalized.  So Alex tells the story of the Battle Bunny attempting to take over the world on his birthday.  Highly recommended for the young and young at heart.  My mother absolutely loved it when I showed it to her.

As an added bonus you can go to for a preview and you can download the original Birthday Bunny to print off and "vandalize" to make your own story!


Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

It is a duck?  Or a rabbit?  Kids will love this silly book that changes perspectives from a duck to a rabbit.  It's fun to have them weigh in on which one they see.  I've been waiting for the follow-up to this book - there's a teaser on the last page!