Best Bets for Summer Reading

What are the best books of 2019 so far? Looking for a great book to read at the beach? #Books can enhance your vacation as well as your staycation this summer. We’ve rounded up five of the best-reviewed and buzz-heavy books of the last couple months, with links to our online catalog, provided.

Take these stories with you on your trip, or just take them into your backyard for a literary lounge in a hammock or lawn chair. We have a mix of Pulitzer finalists and debut novelists on this list, with a blend of genres and an undoubtedly interesting collection of characters.

It's Never Too Early to Be Trendy

Normal People
Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney’s narrative voice and realistic dialogue all but grabs you by the wrist and pulls you into the world, never letting go; it’s an eloquently written and achingly poignant page turner that readers will likely feel compelled to finish in the span of a weekend. This coming-of-age story is about a friendship between Connell and Marriane as they exit their teenage years and enter college; it’s a unique friendship that becomes a relationship, but evolves into a friendship…, until it becomes a restarted relationship…and a re-restarted friendship.

Orange World
Karen Russell

Karen Russell’s fiction has made an impression with readers for her balance of the outlandish and the profound, a mix of magical realism and slice-of-life. “Orange World” is one of several short stories in her latest, which blends Rumpelstiltskin with Rosemary’s Baby, along with another fairy-tale-esque story of star-crossed lovers, one a young man and the other a 2,000-year-old girl emerging from a bog. This isn’t your typical summer beach read, but it’ll will be a refreshing batch of tales to get lost in while on vacation.

The Farm
Joanne Ramos

‘The Farm’ has been compared to dystopic literary landmarks like Atwood’s ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ and Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go,’  mixing chilling yet realistic imaginings of a luxury retreat where guests sign on to be “hosts” in exchange for a substantial monetary reimbursement. The catch is that guests are forbidden from leaving the grounds, and are kept from contacting anyone on the outside over the nine-months of host service. For Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, every moment of her stay is monitored by the administers of Golden Oaks, as she’s tasked with producing the perfect baby (for someone else). The Farm tells the story of Jane’s struggle to reconnect with her family on the outside.

Miracle Creek
Angie Kim

Angie Kim threads along a twisty/tense drama spliced with mystery and modern suburban intrigue, perfect for fans of Lianne Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies” or Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere.” Secrets of misdeeds and rivalries come to the fore during a trial seeking the truth around the deadly explosion of an experimental medical device meant to treat autism and infertility.  The murder trial winds up upending a small community and weighs upon the married couple of Korean immigrants at the story’s center, who run this experimental pressurized oxygen chamber for their patients.

Home Remedies

Xuan Juliana Wang

The stories collected here explore the nuanced experiences of what it’s like to be a Chinese millennial in this day and age. Wang captures a composite of energies and emotions from a cast of characters representing an emerging generation facing an uncertain future. Wang’s literary montage creates a portrait of people feeling the pull between heritage and tradition against the advances of a brave new digital vanguard, introducing you to characters as varied as live-streaming stars, to quigong grandmasters, telling stories of parents raising a family in America and athletes competing at the Beijing Olympics.

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“Library of Board Games” This Sunday is The Latest Among a Series of Unique Events

the loaded die (1)

Hey everyone. Jeff here. I’ve been working at the library for several years, and I gotta say, looking ahead to this Sunday’s event with The Loaded Die, I’m feeling really appreciative for the support and enthusiasm we consistently receive from the community to continue coordinating atypical events and adventurous programming ideas to be hosted here at the library.

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If you’re reading this in time, consider signing up for this Sunday’s Board Game Party with The Loaded Die. Madison and Kyle will be here to meet you, talk about their store in the Rust Belt Market and then challenge you to play one of a dozen games from their massive collection… Otus Supply will supply us with some pizza (while slices last) and Detroit Cookie Co. provides the crucial dessert factor to augment your gaming.

Kyle Sweeney and Madison Reitzel, co-owners of the Loaded Die, are coming to the Ferndale Library to tell the story of their neighborhood game store on Sunday, June 2, at 2 pm.

Over the last three years, since they set up shop inside The Rust Belt Market, Sweeney and Reitzel have been developing what they call “satellite libraries,” installing collections of their games inside breweries, taprooms, and gastropubs, to augment the social experience for downtown Ferndale and the Metro Detroit area–but now they’ll be inside an actual “library.”


Over the last several years, I’ve been a co-coordinator (or lead planner) on events that have wound up bringing in marching bands, furniture-sized synthesizer rigs, a turkey-carving demonstration from local butchers like Farm Field Table, a microbrewing demonstration from Axle Brewing…, not to mention a few instances where we had temporary liquor licenses, but also other events like a Chinese Restaurant taste-off, Yoga classes, live music video production, Cat Castle crafts, theatre performances of scary stories by Josh Malerman from the Wow Town troupe, ambient experimental music improvised during art exhibitions, and so much more…….

….and now, some super fun board games with The Loaded Die, on Sunday at 2pm. A perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon, with free parking everywhere, and hopefully some weather that accommodates walking/biking. Oh, and probably some delicious beverages as well, swing by. Sign up here.  

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Biography Section

IMG-2259Jordan Wriight

Head Librarian of Youth Services

Jordan has been working at FADL for over six years. He started as a volunteer while he was in library school, was hired on as a youth services assistant, progressed to part time librarian, to full time, and is now the Head of Youth Services. What a journey!



Elissa: What do you love about working at FADL?
Jordan: I really like that it’s a downtown library and centrally located. I feel like we’re in the middle of it all and a cornerstone of the community.

Elissa: Best or favorite part of your job?
Jordan: Working with happy kids!

Elissa: You’re known for being the musician on staff. What instruments do you play and how long have you been playing music?
Jordan: I play guitar, bass, drums, and harmonica. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 11 (just shy of 20 years). I’ve picked up the other ones along the way.

Elissa: How many bands have you been in?
Jordan: (Stops to count) Close to 10.

Elissa: What’s been your favorite one to play in?
Jordan: I like playing by myself actually. (JD Wright – you can find this in our collection.)

Elissa: What is most misunderstood aspect of your job?/What do people get wrong about your job?
Jordan: Occasionally I get asked how long I’ve been volunteering for, like people assume that I don’t get paid to be a children’s librarian. People generally don’t understand what we do on a day-to-day basis, we’re like a jack-of-all-trades.

Elissa: Favorite collection or thing we circ at FADL?
Jordan: Books! Adult fiction probably–my favorite genre is literary fiction, if that’s actually a genre.

Elissa: Best book you’ve ever read?
Jordan: I can’t answer that question– My favorite author is Richard Russo.  The last book I finished was Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and I loved it.

Elissa: What do you love about Ferndale as a community/city?
Jordan: I like that it’s dense, walkable, open-minded, and people seem to care about the place that they live in. They seem invested in it.

Elissa: How do you spend your days off?
Jordan: Reading, exercising, playing music, tinkering around the house, and going to bed early.

Elissa: You’re one of FADL’s resident coffee enthusiasts (caffeine addict) and are seen drinking coffee literally all day long. What’s your favorite brew?
Jordan: I like Starbucks’ Italian Roast.  Black, no sugar.






Elissa: Any pets?
Jordan: Jakeman. He’s a 10-year-old mostly Beagle mutt.  He’s very nice, but not very smart.






Elissa: What’s the best advice you ever received?
Jordan: Regarding winter coats:  You can look cool or you can be warm, pick one.

Elissa: If you were stuck on an island, what would you take with you?
Jordan: I don’t plan on being stuck on an island.

Elissa: If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?  
Jordan: I’m a saver.

Elissa: Top three bands?
Jordan: Tom Petty, The Replacements, and the Weakerthans.

Elissa: Favorite song to sing at karaoke?
Jordan: “Hurts So Good” by John Mellencamp

Elissa: Best book-to-movie adaptation?
Jordan: It’s not quite a movie, but Band of Brothers was really good.  I don’t watch a lot of movies.

Elissa: Chocolate or vanilla?
Jordan: For ice cream, vanilla. Chocolate otherwise.

Elissa: Beach or woods?
Jordan: Woods.

Elissa: Favorite season?
Jordan: Fall.

Elissa: Is there anything I should have asked you that I didn’t?
Jordan: I like going to bed early.

Elissa: You already said that.
Jordan: I want to emphasize it though.

Elissa: How early are we talking?
Jordan: I like to be in bed by 10, asleep by 11 at the latest. I like to shoot for 9 hours a night.  Over the past year, I’ve been trying to develop better sleeping habits, so it’s something that’s become really important to me.  It makes going to parties kind of hard.

 As Jordan mentioned, he is a jack-of-all-trades, so you can catch him at the youth reference desk, around the library playing his guitar for the little ones, or jumping in when there’s an issue with the building (at the time of the interview, Jordan both got up on a book ladder to untie a cord to one of the blinds in the community room AND he also touched up a wall). As a children’s librarian, he’s also frequently seen doing community outreach to schools and other orgs. Say hi and sing along next time you see him!


As part of the Biography Section, we invite other staff members to give their kudos to Jordan. Here is what they had to say:

Jasmine: I love that Jordan is methodical. I can be rather compulsive and I benefit from having a supervisor who doesn’t tend to rush into big-decision making. Jordan is not easily worked up. I don’t find that he excites easily, but I respect him for it because when he does offer his support it’s always timely. It’s been challenging trying to create programs in hopes of increasing teen participation. Though I don’t go to him to complain about it, it has been a hard challenge to overcome. Recently, he shared with me his support over one of my ideas. He shared with me, that he knows what it feels like to reach out to an organization, and not always feel as though I’m receiving back what I am giving, basically. I appreciated his honesty and encouragement because it helped me to realize his expertise in the field, and that even though we don’t tend to talk a lot about it; he gets it, and he cares.

Kelly: Jordan has kept up leading the blinding pace of youth programming. Whenever he has a question for me, he’s very thoughtful in how he asks and I feel like he truly listens when anyone talks to him.

Kathleen: I love that Jordan, being a musician, is able to play an instrument  for the little children’s story time. Live music makes such a difference. Jordan is very supportive, and the Children’s staff with him as department head has been creating some very interesting and exciting programs. He sets such an outstanding example for healthy eating too, eating whole sweet peppers like they’re apples!

Kerrie: I’ve always admired that Jordan is very patient in general and keeps his calm during odd/difficult situations. He’s always willing to help out and watch the adult desk, or jump in and help with other tasks. He’s been doing a great job since taking over from our old department head, and summer reading is coming along wonderfully. I don’t know how he’ll have time to do so many programs in June! I also like that he’s adding cool new items to our collection, like the vox books and STEM kits, and beefing up the foreign language books for kids. The level of outreach and he and the rest of the children’s department do with Ferndale schools is also impressive.

Ed: Jordan started out as a volunteer here.  It was a happy day when we hired him on. He’s brought a lot of talent, creativity, and kindness to our youth department.  I’ve enjoyed watching and being a part of his professional growth.

999071_603100109735849_1420660186_nJeff: Jordan’s mastered the art of being down to earth with his head in the clouds. What I mean is, he can be so even-keel, ready for anything, and yet he’s always thinking up something new to try, or thinking outside the box. He’s multifaceted…, able to chat with me about dense historical or niche-focused environmental non-fiction books, then transition to music and songwriters we like, then to hockey…, and then he can go out and transition into a total charmer and theatrical sweetheart for the young children at storytimes. I think we became best friends when we both dressed up as blue flying monkeys together for the Wizard of the Oz-themed Halloween Party one year.

Susan: I love seeing how much fun he has with the kids, whether it’s doing a program with them or saying hello as they come into the kids section.  You can tell he really likes getting to know all the kids and families. He also does a fantastic job with the children’s nonfiction collection 🙂

Darlene: Jordan is great! He’s a great team player, cheerleader, and go-getter. I’ve enjoyed working with him over the past few years and also watching him grow into a leader. He’s fun to joke around with, chat with about books, and cookies (obviously).

Michelle: Jordan is an unflappable leader. He has introduced innovative new materials (STEM kits & talking books) and programs (1,000 books before Kindergarten & Drag Queen Story Hour) since he became head of the youth department. He is always quietly and smoothly improving things, and is just a cool dude to work with.

Cheryll: Jordan Wright is a well rounded professional that knows how to have fun as well as taking the lead in our Youth Services Department. Jordan also has the ability to make a person feel valued and included. I could go on about Mr. Wright and his fantastically smooth personality but I won’t. Please give a big kudos to Mr. Wright…
P.S. He’s also a great singer and guitar player.

Aby: Jordan is awesome. Funny and super nice. The patrons love him and he’s always helping the parents out. He’s also in a band so tons of cool points on that alone!

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Teens Can Prepare To Be Professionals at Ferndale Library’s Career Expo, June 3

career night

High school students utilize library resources for research papers and assignments all the time, but on Mon., Jun. 3, they can find resources and make connections to cultivate their future careers. Local teens can learn how they can get hired and put their best foot forward in a job interview at this Ferndale Library career fair, where they can meet, ask questions and seek advice from several regional professionals like lawyers, city planners, social workers, musicians, artists, web developers, graphic designers and more.

Ferndale’s Youth Services Librarians have already coordinated a Resume Workshop for teens, but what makes this event unique is that there will be no registration required. Space will be limited for the Resume Workshop, but the Career Expo is open to everyone aged 15-22. This engaging opportunity to meet and talk with local professionals will be beneficial for any teens are eager to take on after-school jobs, juniors looking to pick up more hours over the summer, or recently graduated seniors contemplating their careers before, during and beyond college.

Local professionals will introduce themselves to teens in attendance and talk briefly about how they got into their field and attained their current positions. Then the format opens up for teens to ask further questions about aspects like the necessary education track, specific qualifications, valuable experiences, and anything else that could be needed that helps one advance in the 21st-century job landscape. Best of all, it’s designed to help teens build their self-confidence and develop a deeper sense of purpose, drive, and inspiration. There is no registration required, and teens can arrive at the library at 6:30 pm, to find out “how to get hired.”


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Events Schedule for Summer Reading 2019: A Universe of Stories

June 18 – 6:30pm – Summer Concert Series featuring a solo performance by Joe Hertler


June 20 – 4:30pm – Middle School Book Club

June 22 – 2-4pm – Summer Reading Blastoff & Ice Cream Social  


June 24 – 6:30pm – Ask an Astronomer

June 24 – 6:30pm – Teen Summer Book Club meets at Oak Park Rec Center

June 25  – 6:30pm – Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead

June 26 – 6:30pm – Stranger Things Craft Night (Adults / families)

June 29 – 2pm – “Astroreader” Magical Comedy with Joel Tacey

June 30 – 2pm – Rainwater Harvesting (Gardening Program for Adults)

July 10 – 6:30pm – Sci Fi Book Club Film Screening

July 13 – 12pm – Michigan Science Center presents “Amazing Astronomy”

July 15 – 6:30pm – “Light of the Moon” t-shirt designing workshop (Adults)

July 16 – 6:30pm – Summer Concert Series: Aston Neighborhood Pleasure Club

July 17 – 1pm – Flying Aces Frisbee Show

July 18 – 4:30pm – Middle School Book Club

June 19  – 4:30pm – Vamos a Leer – (“Let’s Read!”) Bilingual Storytime Kickoff (Spanish)

June 28 – 6:30pm – Open Mic Night for Teens

July 20 – 2pm – “Space Party”

July 22 – 6:30pm – Teen Summer Book Club meets at Oak Park Rec Center

July 31 – 2pm – Starlab Planetarium

July 31 – 6:30pm – Star Wars Trivia Night (Adults / families)

August 1 – Artist Reception – Painter Anna Brabant

August 2-4 – Blackhole Escape Pod – Escape Room (Registration Required)

August 7 – 6:30pm – Film Discussion: Vertigo & Rosemary’s Baby

August 13 – 6:30pm – Teen Summer Book Club meets at Oak Park Rec Center

August 14 – 7pm – Sci Fi Book Club – “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang

August 15 – 4:30pm – Middle School Book Club

August 20 – Summer Concert Series Finale with Ronny Tibbs

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Upcoming Events for Summer Reading: A Universe of Stories

Joel Tacey

AMAZING ASTRONOMYStarLab Inflatable Planetarium

Space Food (1)

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The Biography Section


pictured: One of Anne’s two cats, Milo

Anne Kabel 
Anne Kabel is a substitute librarian who has worked at FADL for a year and a half. Prior to her time with us, she was the Head Librarian of Adult Services at Southfield Public Library for four years; she worked there for a total of 14 years. Before that, she served as a Reference Librarian at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham. She has been a Ferndale resident for 40+ years.


How long have you worked in libraries?
Probably about 45 years total. I knew that’s what I wanted to do from the get-go, so when I was in college, I worked in the public library. I went to University of Michigan for my graduate degree and worked there, too.

What do you love about working at FADL?
I like that it’s small but mighty. There’s a lot of resources that we can offer, and we will do anything we can to make sure the patron gets what they need.

Best or favorite part of your job?
Helping somebody find a good book to read, that’s the very favorite thing. Second is that they get what they need, whatever that is.   I also like that this jobs makes me a whiz at trivia games!

What is most misunderstood aspect of your job?/What do people get wrong about your job?
We really don’t just sit and read all day!

Favorite collection or thing we circ at FADL?
Some of my favorite things are mysteries, so I like our mystery collection.

As someone with years of perspective, what is the biggest way you’ve seen libraries change?
I think [the biggest thing] is being computerized and digitized and that we’re able to put our fingers on books much more quickly than when I started out. Being hooked up with other libraries in the area and around the state helps with the speediness of this.

Where do you think libraries are going in the future?
I think we’re going to stay in people’s lives, our mission might change a little bit, as it has over the last decade or two. We’ll always be there to provide the information people are looking for.

Best book you’ve ever read?
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It’s a science fiction book in which humanity goes out into space to meet non-Earthlings. It shows the flaws in us, as well as the strengths as we meet these new beings. (This book is available in our collection.)

What do you love about Ferndale as a community/city?
I like that we change, that’s we aren’t stuck in the same old ruts. As a community, even though we’ve had some rocky times, we’re pretty accepting of everybody.

How do you spend your days off?
I travel, I read, I quilt (baby quilts), I like watching old movies. We are often in Tulsa, visiting our son and daughter-in-law and our three grandkids there.  I’m sometimes watch our granddaughters, Maggie and Rose, who are here in Ferndale.

Any pets?
We have two cats–Abby and Milo (Elissa: This is funny because another staff member, Jeff Milo, informally known as “Milo” is Anne’s nephew.) But the cat came from a shelter with the name in place already. Jeff said he was honored to share the name.

What’s the best advice you ever received?
You don’t have to finish a book!

If you were stuck on an island, what would you take with you?
Books, my husband, and sunscreen. (Elissa: I like how he came in  second!)

If I gave you $100, what would you spend it on?
Right now, flowers for the garden. Perennials that work in the shade: black-eyed Susans and plants to attract butterflies.

Best book-to-movie adaptation?
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx (we have both the book and the movie available in our collections).

Chocolate or vanilla?

Beach or woods?
(Anne pauses.) Can it be woods leading up to a beach?

Favorite season?

 You can you find Anne subbing here and there throughout the week on either the Adult or Youth Reference desks. If you know of a good mystery to recommend or if you’re seeking to solve one yourself, let Anne know! She also works with the Good Neighbor’s Garden up at Martin Road Park, where that group has a plot, so you might find her pottering around there or in her front yard. Anne is excited about the Seed Library we’ve just launched here at FADL

As part of the Biography Section, we invite other staff members to give their kudos to Anne.
Here is what they had to say:

Kelly: Anne is always friendly even though we don’t see each other much. She’s always game to work on weird little projects. She always asks questions when she doesn’t know our policy/procedure. She’s got a good vibe and seems genuinely happy to be here!

Andrea: One of the best bosses, ever! (She was my boss at Southfield)

Darlene: I love having Anne on our team. She’s so easy going and cheerful. She’s got years of experience under her librarian belt and is always happy to lend a hand on projects.

Jeff: Anne is my aunt, she’s like a second mother to me…, but I have to say, her career has made me so proud to be a library staffer. She’s kind, compassionate and wise.

Aby: Anne is super super sweet. She always has a smile for everyone and it can really make your day a whole lot better when she shoots one your way. Patrons love her and are always happy to ask her for help. Basically Anne is amazing!

Jasmine: Anne is super approachable and efficient. She was kind of enough to take on a YA call number project for me, and it seemed like she had fun completing it! I’ve asked her to do small things, but no matter the size she smiles and does it, with joy. I love how polite she can be, and that she’s willing to assist in whatever way she can. Her helpfulness is such an asset to the library.

Nicole: I have SO many nice things to say about Anne, but here’s something short and sweet: Anne Kabel is an all-star librarian. Apart from her infectious enthusiasm and genuine kind-hearted nature- she has a subtle, convincing way of describing what she has read that makes you want to read things you would have otherwise never considered. As a librarian, this is a coveted skill, but also I think the sign of someone who reads with a truly open mind. I admire Anne’s patience and dedication to her community. Thank you for always putting a smile on my face, Anne!

Ed: Anne has been such a help to me on some big projects I’ve asked her to get in on.  I value her experience, expertise and reliability.


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