What are the hot items at the Library?
Here’s what Ann Arbor District Library staff members are recommending to readers. Visit aadl.org/theann for links to the material discussed below.
A cautionary tale of sexting
“Thousand Words” by acclaimed author Jennifer Brown is a wrenching piece of realistic fiction that shows — not in a preachy way — that sexting is stupid and dangerous. This new book, written for readers in about grades nine-11, stars 10th-grader Ashleigh, who is pressured by her friends into texting a full-frontal nude photograph of herself to her boyfriend. The photo is meant for his eyes only, but when he leaves for college, there is a nasty break-up. Seeking revenge, he sends the photo to everyone on his contact list.
Ashleigh is shocked when she is arrested and facing community service and her ex-boyfriend may be headed to prison. The community — where Ashleigh’s father is superintendent of schools — is in an uproar. Gradually, Ashleigh is able to work through layers of issues and find hope in a future, with help from a shy, kind and troubled young man she meets in community service. This is an engaging, beautifully written novel that parents and teens probably should discuss together. I thought it was a believable story and a valuable literary cautionary tale.
Fun comedy/detective hybrid from Carl Hiaasen
“Bad Monkey,” by Carl Hiaasen, is nothing short of morbidly hilarious. An ex-detective named Yancy is determined to win back his job on the Monroe County police force by proving he can solve one of the most gruesome and puzzling murder cases the beach town has ever seen. Yancy suspects foul play and will do anything to see that the truth comes to light.
Hiaasen’s private eye style mirrors the darkness of “The Big Sleep” while incorporating ridiculous characters more reflective of “The Big Lebowski,” with characters that offer a slightly offensive vocabulary. Readers will laugh to tears over their uproariously selfish acts, such as when an enormous spec home diminishes natural wildlife and blocks the beautiful Florida sunsets and Yancy subjects the builder to constant pranks to destroy his business prospects. The novel also features a detailed setting with side stories that augment the main plot line.
Blast from the past: ‘Eight is Enough’
Maybe it’s because I was an only child, but as a kid in the late ’70s and early ’80s “Eight is Enough” was my favorite TV show. I was devastated when it was cancelled after its fifth season in 1981.
“Eight is Enough,” originally based on the life and memoir of the same name by Thomas Braden, was a family comedy/drama about Tom, his wife Joan, and their eight children, David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy and Nicholas, living in Sacramento. Actress Diana Hyland played Joan, but the actress became ill and tragically died shortly after the first episode aired. The entire show was retooled and Tom Bradford became a widower.
Abby, played by Broadway star Betty Buckley, became Tom’s love interest in season two. Son Tommy, played by Willie Ames, became a teen idol and would later appear on the Scott Baio vehicle “Charles in Charge.” The brightest star to emerge from “Eight is Enough” didn’t arrive until the final season: Ralph Macchio caused hearts to go pitter pat when he debuted as Abby’s troubled nephew Jeremy. Check out seasons one and two at AADL. Seasons three and four are on order!