Blogs

Detroit Horror Writer Josh Malerman Releases His Second Novel, Black Mad Wheel

Michiganders might recognize the name Josh Malerman for a few different reasons. First, music fans might remember him as the lead singer of a band called The High Strung—a national rock act that toured the United States and even penned the theme song to the Showtime TV series Shameless. But Malerman also proved himself to be a talented novelist in 2014 with his debut novel Bird Box, which follows a mother and her children as they try to navigate a world dominated by an ominous force that, when seen, turns its victims suicidal. The book gained widespread acclaim due to its breakneck pace and minimalist prose, and earned praise from countless publications. The guy is multi-talented, to say the least.

Last month, Malerman released his follow-up to Bird Box. The novel, titled Black Mad Wheel, follows a washed-up Detroit rock band that is tasked with uncovering a dangerous noise in the heart of an African desert. With Malerman’s own experience in the Detroit music scene and Bird Box’s reputation, it’s one of my most anticipated books of the summer. You can check it out (or revisit Bird Box) in the links below.

Black Mad Wheel
Bird Box

Murakami’s Men Without Women Showcases Unique Talent in Seven Short Tales

Haruki Murakami is known for many things in the fiction world, but his brevity isn’t necessarily one of them. The Japanese writer—who achieved great success with massive tomes like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and IQ84—has gained a dedicated fanbase through his funny, moving, and completely unique characters who ultimately navigate dreamlike realities.

Though Murakami hasn’t published a novel since 2014, new and old fans will be delighted to know that a set of short stories is on the way to JDL. Titled Men Without Women, the seven-story collection explores characters who have found themselves alone in the world. With the collection quickly gathering critical acclaim, there’s no better time to check out Murakami’s unmistakable fiction, especially in such a manageable size.

Men Without Women
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
IQ84
Kafka on the Shore

Timothy Zahn Reintroduces a Beloved Star Wars Villain with Thrawn

The announcement of a new Star Wars trilogy was bittersweet for many readers. Of course, it was great news for obvious reasons: over the next decade, we’ll see plenty of new Star Wars films. But new storylines also meant that beloved books from the Star Wars’ extended universe were excluded from Disney’s new, proper canon. One of those storylines was Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy, a series of novels that took place following Return of the Jedi. The three books—Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command—were published to great acclaim between 1994 and 1999.

Dazzling fans with his terrifying intellect, the titular Imperial Admiral Thrawn became a fast favorite for Star Wars readers. With Disney’s official canon in place, Thrawn had been excluded from that story until this week, when Zahn course-corrected Thrawn’s place in Star Wars history with this new book. According to fans of the series, Thrawn paints an accurate portrait of the Imperial Admiral while integrating him into the new canon. With May 4 (as in, May the Fourth be with you) acting as the obvious date to celebrate all things Star Wars, there’s no better time to dive into Zahn’s new book.

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn
The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

Remembering WWI a Century Later

Earlier this month, history buffs everywhere commemorated the 100-year anniversary of America’s entry into World War I. Aside from offering many great resources on the subject, JDL also offered a panel on April 20 to discuss Woodrow Wilson’s lasting impact after the World War I era. If you were unable to make the event, JDL still has plenty of resources for those looking to dive into this historic era.

100 Years of WWI

World War I Day by Day by Ian Westwell

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, a Great War by Joe LaConte

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Wilson by Scott A. Berg

Adam Alter’s ‘Irresistible’ Illuminates the Science Behind Tech Addiction

There is a surprising fact that opens Adam Alter’s newest book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked: the late Steve Jobs, Apple computers’ co-founder, wouldn’t allow his children to handle an iPad. Nearly a decade after the product’s release, it is easy to understand Jobs’ rationale: Americans are interacting with small, glowing screens more than ever—and many researchers now agree that these devices might also cause behavioral addictions.

Alter’s book isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, as there are many books that discuss technology’s negative impact on humans. But Alter encourages readers to co-exist with—not quit—devices by understanding the behaviors associated with tech addiction. This is a must-read for anyone curious about managing their own tech habits, or understanding how it might impact young children and adolescents.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter

Architect Pigs, Scaredy Squirrels, and Magic Trees: March is Reading Month at JDL


Move over Howard Roark, there are a few new architects in the library. In celebration of reading month, JDL has highlighted many different children’s books through programming in the month of March. One of the selections is Steven Guarnaccia’s architectural-inspired take on the Three Little Pigs. While this is a fun take on a classic children’s story, Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale also offers a closer look at the work of famous architects like Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

March’s programming also includes activities around Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping, Tap the Magic Tree, LEGOs and more. You can view a list of all of the reading month programming here.

Celebrate Black History Month with Congressman John Lewis’ March Graphic Novels

Casual fans of comic books might associate the format with capes and super powers, but one of the decade’s most lauded pieces of sequential art features none of the above. In collaboration with writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, Georgia congressman John Lewis has created an essential retelling of the Civil Rights Movement with March, a three-part graphic novel series that began in 2013 and wrapped up last year.

Inspired by the comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, the March series recounts Lewis’ own quest for civil rights—from Alabama sit-ins to a historic march on Selma. With praise from former president Bill Clinton, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, and countless rave reviews, March is required reading for anyone interested in the American Civil Rights Movement.


March by John Lewis

After Inauguration, Two Very Different Books See Massive Sale Spikes

Reactions to President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration were divisive, but one industry has enjoyed increased revenue from both sides of the political coin: book selling. After Trump’s January 20 inauguration, two books quickly scaled Amazon’s best-seller list. The kicker is, both books are unusual contenders for such a rapid sales increase in 2017; both are decades old, and neither was penned by an author named J.K. Rowling.

George Orwell’s 1984, a dystopian novel of rebellion, and Trump’s own business manifesto, The Art of the Deal, saw massive sales increases following the presidential inauguration. In the case of 1984, the BBC reported that sales increased by 9,500 percent—which spurred Signet Classics to print another 100,000 copies. Trump’s Art of the Deal has sold steadily through his campaign, but readers have shown an increased interest in his 11 steps for business success in recent weeks. JDL has copies of both, which can be reserved below.

1984 by George Orwell

Art of the Deal by Donald Trump


With Grammys Approaching, it’s Time to Check Out Underdog Nominees

With popular music considered, 2016 might be remembered most for the loss of musicians such as Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Leon Russel, Sharon Jones, and more. Plenty of great music was released in 2016, some of which might have been overshadowed by those huge losses, but music fans will have another chance to hear this year’s best through the impending Grammy Awards. Though fans of pop music shouldn’t be surprised that mainstays like Adele, Beyoncé, and Drake earned multiple nods from the Grammys, there are plenty of underdog nominations worth a listen. Though JDL has albums from the nominees in all the major categories, here are a few under-the-radar artists worth checking out.

 

The 59th annual Grammy Awards are set to take place on Feb. 12.sia

 

A Sailor’s Guide to Earth – Sturgill Simpson  (Album of the Year nominee)

Malibu  – Anderson .Paak  (Best Urban Contemporary Album nominee)

This is Acting – Sia (Best Pop Vocal Album nominee)

Magma  – Gojira (Best Rock Album nominee)

Blank Face – Schoolboy Q (Best Rap Performance nominee)

Sweetgirl, a 2017 Free Press Notable Book, Explores Hope and Family Through a Michigan Blizzard

Few things pair better than cold weather and indoor reading, and one book that might drastically improve your winter is Sweetgirl. The novel is the first from writer Travis Mulhauser, who grew up in Petoskey and sets his stories in a fictional Michigan locale called Cutler County. Mulhauser’s work has earned comparisons to gritty Appalachian writers like Ron Rash (Serena) and Daniel Woodrell (Winter’s Bone), but Mulhauser sets his work apart with his truly funny voice.

 

SweetGirl

Sweetgirl, which the Detroit Free Press recognized as one of Michigan’s most notable books of 2017, shows a blizzard through the eyes of 16-year-old Percy James. Percy’s mother, a drug addict, has just gone missing, and the blunt, courageous teen has to navigate her isolated small town in hopes of bringing her mother home safely. With Sweetgirl, Mulhauser builds a convincing portrait of Midwestern, small-town living that’s as hopeful as it is grim. Thanks to its lean size, Sweetgirl can be devoured in an afternoon—or through the course of another inevitable snow storm.

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