Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Natalie Recommends A Dance with Dragons

Finally got to the most recent book (as of this recommendation).   Following up after A Storm of Swords, this book does bring back characters who were otherwise absent in Feast of Crows (Jon, Danaerys, Bron and Tyrion) and fills in the gaps after a Storm of Swords as well as continuing on from A Feast of Crows.  It has quite a bit of action, a solid story, and of course, dragons.

This is primarily for adult audiences.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Meghan recommends Audie Award honorees

Did you know that there’s a special award to honor high-quality audiobooks? The Audie Award “seeks the very best in spoken-word entertainment, selecting winners worthy of what is known as the ‘Oscar’ of audiobooks, displaying excellence in narration, production, and content” (Booklist, 2020).  Last week’s ceremony marked the 25th anniversary of the Audies, given out by the Audio Publishers Association. You can find a list of honored audiobooks from our collection here.

The top honor, Audiobook of the Year, went to The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff, which we have in both CD and downloadable versions (CloudLibrary). The  New York Times Book Review said of this audio, “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 is a book exquisitely suited to audio format, a detailed cataloging of hundreds of personal stories, read by actors and culled from 5,000 oral histories conducted and archived around the country.”

One of my recent favorite listens is also on this list, Daisy Jones and the Six, which was nominated in the Best Multi-Voiced Performance category. It is a novel, but the structure is also an oral-history style, a behind-the-music documentary of a fictional band. It features a star-studded cast, including Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, Pablo Schreiber, and many veteran audiobook narrators such as Ari Fliakos, January LaVoy, Robinne Lee and Julia Whelan. The book’s structure was well-suited to audio format, and the multiple narrators brought their characters to life so well, I had to remind myself that it wasn’t about a real band!

Whether you listen to audiobooks all the time, or you’ve been waiting for the right book for your first listen, you’re sure to find something great on the list of Audie Award honorees!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Natalie recommends "A Feast for Crows"


The fourth book in the Fire and Ice series and a good read at that. Picking up after the events of A Storm of Swords, this story, like it's predecessors, follows several characters. This time, however, we have some new faces and this is the first book where Jon, Tyrion, and Daenerys, are not characters whose perspective we get to see from. However, unlike some (i.e. Ned, Cateylyn, and Robb), they will show up in the next book.  the new faces include Aeron Greyjoy (the Prophet/Drowned Man),  Asha Greyjoy (the Kraken's Daughter), Victarion Greyjoy (The Iron Captain/Reaver), Aero Hotah (the Captain of the Guards),  Arys Oakheart (The Soiled Knight), and Arianne Martell (The Queenmaker/Princess in the ​Tower). Arya and Sansa also go through an alias/name change to Cat of the Canals and Alayne respectively on account of Arya's training and Sansa being in hiding after the conclusion of A Storm of Swords.  

It's a bit of a change up, but it's not a bad one. Personally, Brienne, Arya, and Jamie's are my favorite parts. Cersei's was interesting too. It may be lacking with some of the characters you've come to like, but I would still recommend reading this book. It also covers season 4 as well as 5 and 6. This is for Adult audiences.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Natalie recommends "A Storm of Swords"

This is the third book in George R.R. Martin's acclaimed series Of Fire an Ice.  This one is longer than the previous to.  Not only in terms of action and story, but pages as well.  This is the longest book thus far, if not the longest book in the series.  That shouldn't detour you from reading this, however, as it is still pretty enjoyable.  And much like the previous two books, we get to see differing perspectives from different characters, including Jamie, Daenarys, Tyrion, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Catelyn, and Davos.  We get to see Brienne and Jamie get closer to Casterly Rock, what becomes of Sansa around the time of Joffrey's wedding, and Daenerys building up and army with her three dragons having grown more just to name a few things.

If you're wondering , and have seen the show, the book does outline all of season 3 of the show, part of the fourth, and the remaining possible sprinkled into the fifth.  This is a great book if you're looking for some good fantasy and is primarily for adult audiences.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Phil recommends "The Cold Dish" by Craig Johnson

North Branch’s Mystery Book Discussion selection for February is The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson, the first in the Walt Longmire Mystery series.  The popular Netflix series Longmire is based on these books.  Walt Longmire is the snarky but loveable sheriff of the fictional Absaroka County in Wyoming and is on the verge of retirement.  As you might expect, things don’t go as planned and he soon finds himself in charge of a murder investigation.  The victim is one of a group of four young men charged with a heinous crime - but let off easy - two years earlier and it appears that the lives of the remaining three boys are at risk.  Johnson populates his story with memorable characters, writes with humor and vivid detail, and his love for the American west and Wyoming shines through.  Fans of Clint Eastwood films would particularly enjoy this book and series.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Ann recommends "The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander

This book is written in verse and is a story about 2 twin teens and their passion for basketball which they share with their father. The teens are accomplished players on their middle school basketball team. Their father was also a very talented basketball player in his youth. He was all set to go pro, but an injury put a stop to those aspirations. However, he shares his love and knowledge of the game by coaching his sons and giving them “basketball rules”. Each rule is a tip to help make them a better player, but are also life lessons to help them navigate complex family relationships, as well as, the joys and tragedies of life.

Appropriate for upper elementary school age children, grades 4-6.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Kate recommends "Love Poems for People with Children"

Love Poems for People with Children

These short, funny poems explore the joys of family life and the challenges of keeping romance alive while raising children. Many parents will relate to author John Kenney’s topics, from flying with a baby to the grocery demands of a 26-year-old who seems to have no intention of ever leaving the family home.

This book is best for adults, as alcohol, marijuana, sex and disgusting baby diapers are all mentioned at some point.

Family Vacation

This is relaxing
I think to myself
on the first day of our vacation
as I hide
in the men’s room
of a Roy Rogers
at a rest stop
just off bumper-to-bumper I-95
while the kids
continue fighting
with tennis racquets
in the back seat.
And only five more hours to go.
I don’t want to leave this place
I whisper aloud.
Neither do I
says the man in the next stall.

Gretchen recommends "What Rose Forgot"

Nevada Barr, author of the popular Anna Pigeon series, has written an engaging standalone mystery called “What Rose Forgot.”  Rose Dennis finds herself drugged and trapped in an Alzheimer’s unit in a nursing home which no recollection of how she got there.  She manages to escape and enlist help from her 13 year-old granddaughter Mel, Mel’s friend Royal, and her hacker sister Marion to find out why nursing home residents are mysteriously dying.  Barr writes laugh-out-loud moments in the book as the idiosyncratic Rose wildly outwits the villains while the plot of the book underscores the vulnerability of the growing population of seniors.  A great read for adults.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Filippa recommends "Lucky Broken Girl"

This book takes place in the 1960’s and it centers around Ruthie, a young Jewish, Cuban born immigrant to the United States. She is just adjusting to her new surroundings in NY when her family gets into a car crash that leaves her in a body cast for almost a year. While in this full body cast, Ruthie discovers what true friendship is and that she is stronger than she thinks. It’s a beautifully written story that shows the kindness of strangers in a strange world.

Ruth Behar lives in Ann Arbor so is a local writer too! She was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in New York.

Appropriate for school age children.

Connie recommends "The Lightkeeper's Daughter"

The lightkeeper's daughters : a novel

I really enjoyed the audio version of this book - available digitally via the CMPL Overdrive app.  For those of you with newer automobiles that do not have CD players in them, or for those who like to listen in general to audio books, CMPL offers many great (and free!) digital options.  Call us for more details!  

The narration in this audio book was excellent!  Although it is fiction, the book was inspired by those who served on the Great Lakes, tending lighthouses during the early 1900's.  The story is complex and moving and will keep you paying close attention throughout the book.


"Though her mind is still sharp, Elizabeth's eyes have failed. No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.

With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together. Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own—to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse seventy years before.

As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan's connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is."

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Lisa recommends "Stomp"


I love books that encourage movement and action as they make reading a fun experience for kids.  Stomp by Ian Aurora is a new book that fits this category.  The listeners are encouraged to stomp and move throughout the book, whether you are stomping and wiggling your fingers or stomping and touching your nose.  For early child educators, this title is a great title for a crossing the midline activity.

Pair this title with From Head to Toe by Eric Carle and Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Cauley and you will have an entire room moving and grooving through story time.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Meghan recommends "Dora and the Lost City of Gold"

If you’ve been on the fence about watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold, I’m here to say “Go for it!’

This recent movie is a live-action reboot of the animated series Dora the Explorer, which ran on Nickelodeon from 2000 – 2009. In it, Dora lives in the jungle with her parents, who are explorers (and professors) searching for Parapata, a lost Incan city of gold. But when her parents get a lead on its location, they go off to find it while Dora is sent to stay with her Tia and Tio (and cousin Diego) in ‘the city’. First, Dora has some trouble assimilating in high school. Next, she stops hearing from her parents on her satellite phone. Then, she’s kidnapped by villains who are hoping she’ll lead them to her parents and Parapata. Unfortunately, Diego and two of her classmates are also kidnapped!

We watched this as a family and my 5-year old enjoyed the action and fart jokes. My 14-year old thought the representation of high school was spot-on, and got all the inside jokes about Dora, including Boots, songs about her backpack and little asides for the camera. I even enjoyed the self-aware humor and light-hearted fun.