Thursday, January 29, 2015

Date Night at the Library!

Looking for something fun to do with your significant other, your best friend, or even just want a nice night out on your own?

Stop into the library, February 12th for Date Night!

Starting at 5:30 PM, we'll have a Chocolate Tasting including some traditional favorites as well as the unusual. Then, at 6:00 we'll be showing a chocolate-lover's delight film, staring Johnny Depp,  Juliette Binoche, and Judi Dench.

Other upcoming programs include:
Friday Morning Storytimes resume February 2nd. 9:30 AM
Monthly Evening Storytime, February 10th, 6 PM
Special Early Release Day Matinee Movie, February 18th, 2 PM
Author Talk with Jen Larson, Feb. 19th, 6 PM

Monday, January 19, 2015

Author Talk: Jen Larsen

We're thrilled to have our first Author Talk for 2015 on the books! Mark your calendars for February 19th at 6 PM, when we'll have Jen Larsen, author of Stranger Here with us at AMPL.

Jen Larsen is a writer and editor living in Madison, WI. She was born in the Bronx, has lived in all the boroughs of New York City, and moved to San Francisco for grad school. Four years ago she ended up in Ogden. It’s a long story, but one of the best moves she’s ever made. She’s wanted to be a writer since the day she realized that books were actually written by real people, but she only recently realized that she could be one of those real people too.

Larsen spent her whole life anywhere from overweight to fat to obese, and at her heaviest was 316 pounds. Though she believed passionately, desperately, in health at any size and self-acceptance, and wanted to be a body image warrior more than anything, she wasn’t able to deal with the physical and emotional issues engendered by being fat in a world made for skinny people. In 2006, she underwent weight loss surgery and lost almost 200 pounds. She found out that being considered skinny by society’s standards didn’t do much to fix her depression, her anxiety, her insecurity. Now 168 pounds and six years later, she's still struggling with her self-image, but feels lucky to have experienced the full spectrum of weight and size issues on either end of the scale.

For two years Larsen was the featured blogger at Condé Nast's Elastic Waist. Her columns have also been syndicated on Yahoo!'s Shine Network for Women. She was a contributor to Big Fat Deal, a blog about weight in media and popular culture, and her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Word Riot, Emprise Review, and South Loop Review, among other publications. She is obsessed with tattoos as a way to transform your body, and has an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco. She continues to work at being one of those real people who write books. Find her at,, and on twitter @jenfoo.

Jen's book, Stranger Here: How weight-loss surgery transformed my body and messed with my head is available through the MORE Catalog.

Jen Larsen always thought that if she could only lose some weight, she would be unstoppable. When diet after diet failed, she decided to try bariatric surgery, and it worked: she lost 180 pounds. As the weight fell away, though, Larsen realized that getting skinny was not the magical cure she thought it would be—and suddenly, she wasn’t sure who she was anymore.

Stranger Here is the brutally honest, surprisingly hilarious story of one woman’s journey from one extreme of the weight spectrum to the other, and of the unexpected emotional chaos it created. Insightful and unsparing, Larsen depicts the exhilarating highs and devastating lows she experienced as a result of her weight loss—the incredible joy of finally beginning to look like the image of herself she’s always carried inside her head, and the crushing pain and confusion of feeling like a stranger in her own body after losing the weight that had always defined her.  

(Biography and book summary from 

If you have questions, please contact Samma at We look forward to having Jen in the library and hope you can join us!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rediscover Your Favorite Fairy Tales!

If you haven't stopped into the library lately, you haven't taken notice of our current display items: Classic Novels! If you have stopped in, you might have noticed there is an extreme lack of Fairy Tales in the mix.

We all know our fairy tales; they're some of the first stories we ever hear as children, and they've been passed along from generation to generation. There has been a surge recently in publishing for re-tellings and re-workings of not only classic novels (as the pillar display shows), but also of those favorite Fairy Tales.

Personally, I'm a huge fan of fairy tales and fantasy in general. Here are just a few picks from the genre, all available via the MORE catalog.  Most of these titles are cataloged as Young Adult, but don't let that deter you from picking up one of these great retellings! Several of these authors (such as Alex Flinn and Jane Yolen) also have several other retelling novels, or the books are part of a series.

(Summaries courtesy of GoodReads)

1. Alias Hook (Peter Pan; which is included in my display, but this book sounded too interesting to not include). Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

2. Cinder (Cinderella, as well as ties to others such as Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel): Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. --Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

3. Beastly (Beauty and the Beast): I am a beast. A beast. --Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright--a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster. --You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever--ruined--unless I can break the spell. --Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly... beastly.

4. Kill Me Softly (Mixture): Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined. --In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again --But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist

5. Briar Rose (Snow White & Briar Rose) Ever since she was a child, Rebecca has been enchanted by her grandmother Gemma’s stories about Briar Rose. But a promise Rebecca makes to her dying grandmother will lead her on a remarkable journey to uncover the truth of Gemma’s astonishing claim: I am Briar Rose. A journey that will lead her to unspeakable brutality and horror. But also to redemption and hope.

6. Godmother (Cinderella) Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming. --But on that fateful night, something went terribly and beautifully wrong. Lil allowed herself the unthinkable: to feel the emotions of human beings and fall in love with the prince herself, going to the ball in place of Cinderella in her exquisitely gorgeous human guise. For her unforgivable mistake, she was banished to live among humans. Then one day she meets Veronica–and suddenly it becomes clear to Lil that she’s been given a chance at redemption. If she can find a soul mate for Veronica, she may right her wrong and return to the fairy world she so deeply longs for.

7. Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile (Mix; I had to include at least one graphic novel --and even if comics aren't your thing, you won't regret giving this series a shot!) When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown's sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber

These are just a few of the many titles out there. For more, here are some of my favorite GoodReads lists:

Classic Fairy Tales Retold 
Mythologies and Retellings of Fairy Tales and Classics 
Best Twisted Fairy Tales 
Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fresh Year; Fresh Programing

2014 is now behind us, and that means it's a brand new year to start up some fresh programs or take a look at what we've been offering for awhile that you may not have noticed before!

Set up already for this month are two special story times with Cassie. Enjoy a Bedtime tale in your jammies at the library on January 13th, then on January 23rd while the kids are off from school for a Teacher Work Day, the family is invited into the library for fun times with Elephant and Piggie!

The Book Club will be kicking off their first 2015 discussion with We Were Liars by E. Lockhart before picking up The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout for February.

We Were Liars: (Summary from GoodReads)
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

The Burgess Boys: (Summary from GoodReads)
Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

Finally, to wrap up January, we're starting a new (and so far unnamed) Fiber Arts group for all of those who work with threads and yarns in their crafting. Anyone with interest in learning to take up a skill, or if you're just looking to be social or share your work, is welcome to stop by!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Classics Challenge

This month we are all about the classics here at the library, Samma has gathered a few of her favorites for display as well as a few of those titles that have been revisited by authors throughout the years.  While there has been some talk between staff on what makes a book a classic, whether it needs to acknowledge the age of the volume or not, I tend to lean towards titles where the quality of its content describes it as a classic.  Not simply that it has lasted 10, 50, or more years, although titles that have done this may tend to be labeled a classic simply for speaking to the public for so long.  Books like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catch in the Rye, or The Great Gatsby are titles that have resonated with many of their readers and often tend to be read not once but over and over again in a person’s lifetime. 
With the beginning of the new year bringing resolutions and challenges, I would like to start off with a challenge of my own.  To see how many classics can be read through 2015.  Whether you are a member of a site like Goodreads, which the library is, or tracking your titles offline and letting us know how many you were able to fit in. 

Good Luck and Happy Reading!