Wellness Table, Shout, and Breakfast and Browse

This week, as we do every week before break, we hosted a Breakfast and Browse.

It’s our chance to welcome the teachers in to get their books for their holiday, to showcase our newest titles and features, and to celebrate reading with snacks.

This B&B, we also had a Wellness Table, with all sorts of books for people looking to get into spring and out of the winter. With exams around the corner, stress seems to be a part of many people’s lives, and this is our way of presenting some of our resources to help.  We’ve been updating our mental health collection and making purchases to enhance those resources.


Speaking of mental health, K just read Shout, the newest book from Laurie Halse Anderson.

We are bringing Laurie Halse Anderson in December, and this new book is her memoir in poetry.  It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and honest, and worth a read for any person.

Any more would ruin it, but you can find it in the novels and verse section.

Librarians Read: Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul is a novelization adapted from a Broadway musical.

In case you missed the buzz, it was nominated for nine Tony awards, ultimately winning six including the 2017 Tony award for Best Musical. Not to mention winning a 2018 Grammy award for Best Musical Theater Album.

Dear Evan Hansen is all about fitting in. It is centered on Evan Hansen, a high school senior, who feels like an outsider in his own life. After a tragedy, Evan is involved in a misunderstanding which quickly snowballs from one lie into a web of deception. Along the way, Evan realizes lots of people, including many of his classmates, just want to be seen.

I approached this book with skepticism. Doubting that the author could translate the message and feeling of the performance, in which music is so integral, to the written page. Boy, was I wrong. This book grabbed me. It is messy and heavy and angsty, all aspects familiar to young adults.

For those of you who have seen the musical and are worried the story might be stale, the book includes additional material that was cut from the show which expands on the storyline.

If you are looking for a book about high school with depth and all the feels, I highly recommend taking a heady dive into Dear Evan Hansen. Find it in the Teen section of the HS/Adult fiction.

If you do not have the chance to see the musical, be sure to visit YouTube to check out some performance clips.

Librarians Read: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

Elle is an American teen who is down on her luck. This isn’t the bad grade, missed curfew, wrecked a car kind of luck. It is the non-present dad, mom in jail, living in foster care, life is tough – kind of a break. But like a fairy tale, Elle is given the opportunity to move to Tokyo to live with her wealthy hotel tycoon father.

Elle navigates culture shock and tries to discover what her place is in an unfamiliar country, as a student in her elite international school, and as a member of a new family. While encountering different expectations, cultural practices, and traditions, Elle struggles to reconcile her past with her present. Given the opportunity to reinvent herself, Elle finds a place among the popular group where she has to choose whether she will stay true to herself.

I found the characters entertaining and at the end of the book I wanted to know more about their stories. Currently, though this is just a standalone novel.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is relevant not only to the members of an international student body but to anyone who has moved to a new place and had to figure out how to fit in. Find it in the Teen section of the HS/Adult fiction.

Join the Big Library Read, April 1-15 on Overdrive

Alongside thousands of readers worldwide, AAS Moscow patrons can discover a remarkable true story through the largest global digital book club, Big Library Read. From April 1–15, booklovers can borrow, read and discuss Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung’s heartbreaking yet hopeful Homes: A Refugee Story ebook from their library with no waitlists or holds. AAA Moscow readers may join by visiting https://soraapp.com/library/aasru  downloading the Sora or Overdrive app. More than 19,000 libraries around the world are participating.

Big Library Read is available in more than 90 percent of public libraries in North America and facilitated by OverDrive, the leading platform for ebooks, audiobooks and magazines. Homes: A Refugee Story, a 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award finalist for nonfiction, was chosen by a popular vote of readers and librarians worldwide.

Homes: A Refugee Story chronicles the struggles of the al Rabeeah family who left their home in Iraq for Syria in hope of a safer life – just before the Syrian civil war broke out. Abu Bakr, one of eight children, was ten years old when the violence began on the streets around him: car bombings, attacks on his mosque and school, firebombs late at night. Homes tells of the strange juxtaposition of growing up as a typical teenager in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by normalcy – soccer, cousins, video games, friends.

Readers can join an online discussion about the book at https://discuss.biglibraryread.com/. The free program runs for two weeks and only requires an AAS Moscow Overdrive account to get started.

Read with us and enjoy!

Librarians Read: National Book Award Winners

The Friend really cracks open the world of modern literature with so many revelations about the culture, secrets, choices, sacrifices and mythos of those living the “dream” of being full-time writers. The self-awareness of this novel is what amazed and intrigued me but equally beautiful is the author’s exploration of grief as well as the bond between human and pet. A stunner in a tiny package, I am looking forward to reading this one again in a few years and appreciating new angles and perceptions. (Those with elderly pets as well as those with writing ambitions should proceed with caution – this book will probably hit too close to home.)

Take a look at the National Book Award site to see other winners in finalists in more categories. It’s very very well laid out and easy to click through.

Librarians Read: New Cookbooks

The library is always adding new cookbooks both the to adult and kids’ section. I thought that this one was terrific as it is filled with so many refreshing whole food recipes. So far I’ve tried the yogurt bowl with roasted oats and cherry pesto (amazing), the cauliflower tofu curry (fast, easy and savory), the miso meal (wonderfully flavored broth) and the desert chickpea cookie dough dip (very yummy on apple slices or just rolled into balls). Ingredients are pretty basic and have been easy to source and the recipes are largely vegan or simple enough to veganize so that works well for us. Can’t wait to make the gorgeous bowl on the cover and many others.

Librarians Read: New Nonfiction

I have often noticed the books that stay in my memory the longest are well-written narrative nonfiction. Here are 3 recent publications that were excellent.

The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century

This book was a fascinating true-crime tale that connects the worlds of natural history and fly-fishing, or more specifically the tradition-laden art of fly-tying. This would be a terrific one for discussion.

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals

Sy Montgomery’s account of her life as a scientist and writer, told by reflecting on her connections with 13 amazing animal companions is a true jewel. Those border collies! The octopi! The emu! A gem to share with anyone who loves animals or memoir.

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

This work created an absorbing portrait of the developments in Syria that led to the diaspora. This book was a terrific way to tune into a world crisis. It’s a short graphic work that leaves an impressive impact.

Librarians Read: SciFi and Fantasy

At AAS many students love reading science fiction, fantasy and dystopian novels and I do too. Some new and wonderful options are Dry, The Wicked King and Trail of Lightning. Here’s more info about each.

Dry: The residents of Southern California were warned to conserve water but almost no one was prepared for the day that the water taps were turned off. This harrowing survival story feels all too possible.

The Wicked King: The sweet and horrifying splendor of the world of faerie is back in book 2 of the Folk of the Air, but alas it was such a scintillating read that I finished it in one day. I’m considering reading the Cruel Prince again and then this one a second time. It was a brief but rich dalliance and I can’t wait for more.
Trail of Lightning: Packed full of action with mysterious characters both human and from Pueblo mythology. I thoroughly this enjoyed this fast-paced dystopian adventure.

Librarians Read (Listen?): Conviction Podcast

This podcast I heard about from the Reply All podcast, one of my favorites.  Reply All delves into techie things, and they have a great segment called Yes Yes No.  They take a Twitter message and break down all the information about it into digestible moments, explaining all the inside jokes of the interwebs.

Conviction, this other podcast, follows a bounty hunter-type-man who is trying to solve the trouble of this young man who was wrongly imprisoned for his crimes.  There’s drama, some serious matter, but the storytelling is just stellar.

I highly recommend this podcast.