Staff Choices

Posted by bweiner on 12/03/16
cover image
 
In her 2016 novel Everfair, Nisi Shawl tackles a complex and seldom visited period in world history, the colonization of the Congo by King Leopold II of Belgium. The story of the massive slaughter and dehumanization of the Congolese was repressed for many years, and now Shawl brings it to life in a unique and spectacular way. She avoids bland academic interpretations and passive retrospectives and instead takes us on a journey through the Congo as she rewrites history with a fresh expression, using the steampunk genre as her vehicle.

As with all speculative fiction, you must immerse yourself in the “what if”, and the alternate reality she proposes. What if steam power were available much earlier in the Congo? Would this have given them the power to support and protect their people? Would it be possible to create a safe haven, and would this Utopia be enough to withstand the pressure and exploitation from challenging sources?

But it is in the telling of this story that Shawl really shines. There is no single perspective here; the characters telling the story are male, female, Europeans, Americans, Africans, and Asians, they are kings, servants, politicians, nurses and scientists, and this fascinating blend of voices contributes deeply to the rich tapestry of this tale.

Enough said. I have revealed more than I should.  Check this book out and go on a remarkable journey with a unique voice in speculative fiction.
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/23/16
cover image
Watching the first season of Outsiders was sheer escapism. At the top of a mountain dwells a clan that has lived and survive there for over 200 years - no TV, no book learning, no internet, no Republican and Democratic parties.  What they do have is family, blood, tradition, and the will to live.
 
The Ferrell family is led by the Bren’in. The current one, Lady Ray, is old and near-ready to pass the customary oak (symbol of power) staff on to her eldest son, Big Foster (actor David Morse). Big Foster would be a very poor choice for the next Bren’in – for more reasons than worth the time to list.
Time is the one thing running out for the clan. A powerful energy company wants to make billions mining the coal that lies under the top of the Farrell’s mountain. They will stop at nothing to evict the residents.

What I like most about this new series is the fact that up high on the Ferrell mountaintop, the males still garnish the illusion that they have the most power. Gillian Alexy stars as G'Winveer Farrell, the clan's healer. She is a quiet force that bears close watching. Ryan Hurst (Remember the Titans) who formally held the popular role of "Opie" on Sons of Anarchy, plays Li'l Foster Farrell, the troubled son of Big Foster. He's the shows' gentle giant. Perfect casting and the producers saved on his costume budget because his appearance mirrors his SOA wardrobe – complete down to the untaimed long beard and hair.

Don’t let the title mislead. There is an outsider amongst the insiders on Farrell Mountain. Asa Farrell, played by actor Joe Anderson, fled his family 10 years ago to see the world. He joined the Army and finally, after seeing the error of his ways, returned home, tail tucked, hat in hand, and is immediately tossed in a cage for 6 months to ponder his past and future plight. The tension builds when he learns that the love of his life, G'Winveer, is betrothed to Li'l Foster.

 
WGN has picked up the option for a 2nd season; so sit back and see which really rules: big business or true love.

 
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/23/16
cover image
Watching the first season of Outsiders was sheer escapism. At the top of a mountain dwells a clan that has lived and survive there for over 200 years - no TV, no book learning, no internet, no Republican and Democratic parties.  What they do have is family, blood, tradition, and the will to live.
 
The Ferrell family is led by the Bren’in. The current one, Lady Ray, is old and near-ready to pass the customary oak (symbol of power) staff on to her eldest son, Big Foster (actor David Morse). Big Foster would be a very poor choice for the next Bren’in – for more reasons than worth the time to list.
Time is the one thing running out for the clan. A powerful energy company wants to make billions mining the coal that lies under the top of the Farrell’s mountain. They will stop at nothing to evict the residents.

What I like most about this new series is the fact that up high on the Ferrell mountaintop, the males still garnish the illusion that they have the most power. Gillian Alexy stars as G'Winveer Farrell, the clan's healer. She is a quiet force that bears close watching. Ryan Hurst (Remember the Titans) who formally held the popular role of "Opie" on Sons of Anarchy, plays Li'l Foster Farrell, the troubled son of Big Foster. He's the shows' gentle giant. Perfect casting and the producers saved on his costume budget because his appearance mirrors his SOA wardrobe – complete down to the untaimed long beard and hair.

Don’t let the title mislead. There is an outsider amongst the insiders on Farrell Mountain. Asa Farrell, played by actor Joe Anderson, fled his family 10 years ago to see the world. He joined the Army and finally, after seeing the error of his ways, returned home, tail tucked, hat in hand, and is immediately tossed in a cage for 6 months to ponder his past and future plight. The tension builds when he learns that the love of his life, G'Winveer, is betrothed to Li'l Foster.

 
WGN has picked up the options for a 2nd season so sit back and see if big business or true love rules out.

Posted by ahenkels on 11/07/16
cover image
When I heard that the co-creator of Whole 30 wrote a new book, I was curious about it. Whole 30 to me screams “diet! Can’t do this!” and a book from someone who created this writing about freedom from food was too irresistible to pass up. Whole 30, in case you are unfamiliar, is a 30 day “reset” (to use the terms of the author) where you avoid grains, dairy, alcohol, beans and soy. There is a lot more details and it’s tough. I only lasted 10 days when I tried it a year ago.

This book, however, is so much more than Whole 30. In Food Freedom Forever, author Melissa Hartwig shares her own journey to freedom from dieting and how to have a healthy relationship with food. It all starts with a “reset”, where you restrict your food for a short term and then slowly reintroduce foods to see how your body reacts. Hartwig also goes into details on how to complete your “resets” and also gives reasons and advice for going through this process.

It’s definitely an interesting read if you enjoy reading about foods and how to have better habits around food. It’s a great read if you are going through a diet for whatever reason and want some advice on how to talk to people and deal with stressful situations around food. 
Food, Health
Posted by lsears on 11/03/16
cover image
Two half-sisters who never had the chance to meet led very different lives. Effia married a British man and Esi is sold into slavery. The story begins in British-colonized Ghana in the 1750’s and then follows these two women’s children’s lives into contemporary time, each chapter moving forward in the voice of the next generation.

Despite the seriousness of the subject it is beautifully written; it is about weakness and strength, freedom and human rights. Sometimes the story unfolds in a way that simply reports the facts, and I found this unpretentious manner of storytelling to be even more impactful. Parts are raw, undiluted, heartbreaking, troubling and made me uncomfortable but this is exactly why this is a book that should be read. Author Yaa Gyasi carefully researched history for this novel. The Cape Coast Castle referenced in Homegoing still stands today, now as a museum.

I listened to Homegoing on audiobook, the narrator’s authentic accent and pronunciation adds depth to the story.
Posted by Sltader on 10/29/16
cover image
A very easy and delicious cookbook for the busy individual!
 
This is a great slow cooker book. There are 3 'at-a-glance' icons that certainly help meal planning, especially for busy moms! 1. Ready in 4 hours’ meals 2. Five ingredient meals (not including water, salt, pepper and oils) - and lastly 3. Express prep - only take 10 minutes of prep time meals!

There are recipes from effortless appetizers and beverages, to swift sweets. Also, there are directions for no fuss salads and sides, along with a section of quick breads.

Gazing through this cookbook I can see our family grazing on some of their delicious recipes throughout the year – Pepperoni Pizza Soup, Cranberry Mustard Pork Loin, Spicy Hash Brown Supper, Eye-Opening Burritos, Cheesy Tater Tot Dinner, Elvis’ pudding cake, and even Chimichurri Monkey Bread.

Unfortunately, not every recipe has a pictures but most do so that is reassuring when looking at what you created. If you can overlook some typos and you are not a gourmet chef, this cookbook is perfect for meal planning. This ready reference would mostly be appreciated by the busy mom or dad for a quick, tasty meal. Bon Appétit!
 
Cookbooks
Posted by bweiner on 10/21/16
cover image
 
This Census-Taker, by British author China Miéville, will confound you with more questions than answers in this surreal narrative, with its strange imagination and moody quality. Miéville creates a space that erupts and burns with originality.

This small, thought provoking tale takes us on a journey with a boy who thinks he witnesses a murder, but is unable to trust his own memory. This story appears to be a fairy tale, yet it defies the usual conventions of that genre. Miéville keenly lets the story unfold through the unique vantage point of the child. His sparse revelations cautiously satisfy, while leaving us unsettled and unsure.

Captivating, challenging, this is Miéville at his finest. If you are willing to send your imagination to new heights, to indulge in beautifully constructed language and navigate a world of complex, peculiar characters, this is the story for you.
fantasy
Posted by Uncle Will on 10/20/16
cover image
The Dark Valley is precisely what the title says. This dark Danish film, Das finstere Tal (original title), is shot in Val Senales, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy. It features a rising young star, Sam Riley, as the brooding, deeply conflicted, stranger who arrives totally unwanted to a remote valley at the foot of the Alps. When asked what his business is (before rudely being told to turn his horse around and ride back the way he came) he says that he's a photographer.

The answer is problematic on many levels. The valley is a closed community that is ruled by a land-baron and his many sons. Male strangers are always turned away. Since no one knows what a photograph is, the novelty is the new visitor's free pass. Winter is coming and once it sets in, the mountain pass will become closed by the snow. The stranger, Greider, in need of lodging, is forced upon a mother and her soon-to-wed daughter.

 
This film's powerful in its lack of color. All the scenes are dark and dreary which helps create the feeling that the valley village is encompassed and even consumed by evil. The plot is a mystery that isn't hard to figure out; however, the film's an ode to the gritty, tight Westerns of the '60's and '70's - a period in films where the hero is a loner, fighting incredible odds, non-supported by the suppressed citizens, but is willing to die for his cause. 
 
This film is a psychological study of man-the-manipulator. It is not for everyone’s taste, but it worth a watch.
Posted by jdunc on 09/29/16
cover image
Comedian Jim Gaffigan is a father of five, self-described fat and in love with food. You may recognize Gaffigan as a recent contributor to CBS Sunday Morning. The only way to take in Food: A Love Story is by audio so you can pick up on all of the voices, sarcasm, and nuances that only a comedian can deliver.

Gaffigan has Midwestern roots and in many ways this has informed his love of food. He provides hilarious observations from traveling around the country as he examines America’s, often unhealthy, relationship with food. The book starts with an examination of regional food. Spoiler alert: The Midwest is the home of Super Bowl Sunday food (pizza, bratwurst, and wings).

He also provides a funny examination of fast food, dessert (especially funny observations on cake), and breakfast food. Gaffigan is unashamed, for the most part, about his food habits. You’ll find yourself laughing out loud and thinking "that is so true."
Posted by Sltader on 09/28/16
cover image
From the Roaring 20s through the 1960s, there was no address more glamorous than New York’s “women only” Barbizon Hotel.  Nicknamed 'The Dollhouse' by the gentlemen of the time, the Barbizon was a combined charm school and dormitory that would shelter a parade of yet-to-be-discovered damsels—Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Candice Bergen, Sylvia Plath, Ali MacGraw, and many more.

Fiona Davis’s debut novel, The Dollhouse, alternates chapters between 1952 and present day.

New York City, 2016, Rose Lewis is a journalist who is working at a job she doesn't particularly care for. Her relationship status would be considered complicated at best and she's caring for her elderly father. She's living with her divorced boyfriend in a condo in the renovated Barbizon Hotel. It's here where she meets an elderly woman with a veil covering her face. From the doorman, she learns the woman was involved in a mysterious scandal back in the 1950s. The reporter in Rose is intrigued and can't let this go until she finds out every last detail about who the woman is and what happened to cause her to wear a veil.

New York City, 1952, Darby McLaughlin just stepped off the train from Ohio. Enrolled in Katherine Gibbs, Darby plans on making a career as a secretary. She's naive and has low self-esteem. After a run-in with some mean girls on her floor, Darby is ready to scurry back home when she meets Esme, a maid at the hotel. Esme helps Darby start to break out of her shell and explore new things. But Esme has a domineering influence over Darby that starts to take her down a dangerous path and ultimately leads to tragedy.

Davis illuminates past and present New York City, taking readers all over the city from Brooklyn to Harlem, eating at 50’s cafes, listening to jazz musician greats in nightclubs, and creating a mystery and love story all in one. I was intrigued by the twists and turns of the mystery, but I most enjoyed the history of the building and time period.
Want recommendations on what to read next? Email advisory@ahml.info and we will be happy to assist you in finding a great book to read.
Browse our collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks and learn how to use them with your eReader, tablet, or computer.

Additional Resources

 
If your status is Confirmed Registration, your spot for the event is confirmed.

If registration for this event is full, you will be placed on a waiting list. Wait listed registrants are moved to the confirmed registration list (in the order of registration) when cancelations are received. You will receive an email notification if you are moved from the wait list to the confirmed registration list.

6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy