Open to the Public Since 1894
206 S. Spring St.Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Thursday, 4/13 at 5:30pm
"Give All Food a Future"
A talk by Lindsey Walker of Emmet County Recycling about composting.
Saturday, 4/29 at 2:30pm
"The 3 Billy Goats Gruff"
A free children's play by the Thunder Bay Theatre
Thursday, 5/4 at 6:30pm
TEDtalk screening and discussion: Communication
Saturday, 5/6 at 10:00am
Storytime and Crafts at the Library
In this sporadically seasonable spring, I'm finding myself raking, weeding, and generally prepping my garden for this summer. My son is out "aerating the lawn" with his soccer cleats and I have crocus bulbs already beginning to pop, but I have a sneaking suspicion we're going to get at least one more snowfall so I'm not getting too comfortable. However, I am starting to at least think about compost for my flower beds. So I think it's timely that Lindsey Walker from Emmet County Recycling will be here on Thursday at 5:30pm to talk about composting in Emmet County! Her talk is titled "Give All Food a Future," and she'll be sharing best practices and options for recycling and composting as we get closer to Earth Day.
Last month we had a successful screening of 3 different TEDtalks about biased news followed by a great discussion led by Cyndi Kramer. We're going to keep that momentum going with the next TEDtalk screening and discussion planned for May 4th at 6:30pm, so mark your calendars! The topic will be "effective communication."
Finally, the Thunder Bay Theatre out of Alpena is going on the road this spring with a educational production of "The 3 Billy Goats Gruff" and they have generously offered to come to the Harbor Springs Library! We're excited to invite the children of our community to this free production at 2:30pm on Saturday, April 29th! Seating will be limited.
Here are some of our newest books in the library:
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See
A woman from the Akha tribe of China’s Yunnan province becomes a tea entrepreneur as her daughter grows up in California.
See explores another facet of Chinese culture, one that readers may find obscure but intriguing. Li-Yan, the only daughter of a tea-growing family, is a child of the Akha “ethnic minority,” as groups in China who are not of the Han majority are known. The Akha are governed by their beliefs in spirits, cleansing rituals, taboos, and the dictates of village shamans. As a teenager, circa 1988, Li-Yan witnesses the death of newborn twins, killed by their father as custom requires, because the Akha consider twin-ship a birth defect: such infants are branded “human rejects.” The Akha, inhabiting rugged, inaccessible terrain, have avoided the full brunt of China’s experiments in social engineering, including the Great Leap Forward and its resultant famine, the Cultural Revolution, and the One Child policy. Li-Yan’s family harvests mostly from wild tea trees as opposed to terraced bushes, and their product is discovered by a connoisseur, Huang, who will alter Li-Yan’s destiny. The Akha encourage youthful sexual experimentation, but progeny outside marriage are automatically “rejects.” So when Li-Yan discovers she is pregnant by her absent fiance, San-pa, she hides, with her mother’s help, in the secret grove of ancient tea trees which is her birthright. After the infant is born, Li-Yan journeys on foot to a town where she gives up her child. Over the next 20 years, we follow Li-Yan as she marries and is widowed, escapes her village, becomes a tea seller, and marries a wealthy recycling mogul, Jin. The couple moves to Pasadena. Intermittent dispatches inform readers that, unbeknownst to Li-Yan, her daughter, named Haley by her adoptive parents, is also in Pasadena. Haley’s challenges as a privileged American daughter pale in contrast to Li-Yan’s far more elemental concerns. Although representing exhaustive research on See’s part, and certainly engrossing, the extensive elucidation of international adoption, tea arcana, and Akha lore threatens to overwhelm the human drama.
Still, a riveting exercise in fictional anthropology.
The Stranger in the Woods, by Michael Finkel
A journalist’s account of a Massachusetts man who went deep into the Maine woods to live a life of solitude and self-sufficiency.
While scanning the news online, Finkel (True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, 2005) came across the story of Christopher Knight. Police officers had arrested Knight for burglary, but when they questioned him further, they discovered that their suspect had been living alone in the wild for 27 years. Fascinated, the author sought out the “North Pond hermit” to learn why he had turned his back on society and understand the challenges he now faced with reintegration. Knight’s boyhood and adolescence had been ordinary; his most outstanding traits were his shyness and penchant for solitude. Then, when he was 20, he suddenly quit his job. Without saying a word to friends or family, he went on a road trip that eventually led him to the shores of Moosehead Lake in Maine. There, he parked his car and, carrying only a backpack and a tent, “stepped into the trees and walked away.” Knight built a shelter deep in the woods, where he camped outdoors even during the bitterest of Maine winters. He broke into nearby cottages, where he stole only what he needed to survive, including food, clothing, and magazines. His burglaries—for which he admitted feeling “ashamed”—frightened residents at first. However, over time, many became used to his “visits” and even tried to leave out supplies for him to take. Through interviews conducted with the elusive Knight and those who knew him, Finkel creates a sympathetic portrait of a gentle yet quietly troubled man who willingly chose a Spartan existence in nature as a way to find the peace and freedom that eluded him in society. The narrative that emerges from Finkel’s compassionate research not only probes the nature of the relationship between the individual and society, but also ponders the meaning of happiness and fulfillment in the modern world.
A thoughtful, honest, and poignant portrait.
Mississippi Blood, by Greg Iles
Delta whodunit master Iles (The Bone Tree, 2015, etc.) brings his politically charged, timely trilogy of Mississippi murder and mayhem to a thunderous close.
Life for Penn Cage is never a bowl of cherries. A bucket of blood, more like it. As this last installment in the Natchez Burning trilogy opens, he’s in a bloodier mess than ever, depressed, full of bitter self-awareness: “When someone you love is murdered,” he reflects, “you learn things about yourself you’d give a great deal not to know.” Other questions loom. Why is his jailed father stubbornly clinging to a secret guaranteed to shake up otherwise sleepy Natchez? Now that the Klan-on-steroids villains have come under new management, what kind of awful mischief are they going to make for the place—and how do they figure in that secret, anyway? To begin to answer those questions, Iles swings full circle back into the territory of the first volume and its unlikely archive of once-forbidden, even now fraught interracial relationships; “anyone in possession of those ledgers,” Penn reveals, “would never have to worry about money again, so valuable would they be as a blackmail tool.” No, but there are plenty of other things to worry about, things that make the normally even-keeled Penn feel not so bad about shooting a bad guy in the back, “where I know his heart is pumping violently.” Iles mostly sticks to the format of the hard-boiled procedural, though there’s some nicely wrought courtroom drama here, too, with a none-too-subtle dig at a fellow Southern mysterian: “The why doesn’t come into it. That’s for John Grisham and the Law & Order writers to worry about.” Speedboats, bullets, and floods of the red stuff fly and flow, wrapping up to a clean conclusion—though with the slightest hint of an out, in case Iles decides to stretch the trilogy into another book or two.
Faulkner meets John D. MacDonald, and that’s all to the good. A boisterous, spills-and-chills entertainment from start to finish.
Two Good Dogs, by Susan Wilson
Single mom Skye Mitchell has sunk her last dime into a dream, owning the venerable, if run-down LakeView Hotel in the Berkshire Hills. It's here where she believes she'll give her fourteen-year-old daughter Cody a better life. But being an innkeeper is more challenging than she imagined, and Cody still manages to fall in with the wrong crowd. In addition, Cody is keeping an earth-shattering secret that she's terrified to reveal. The once loving, open girl has now become completely withdrawn, and Skye is both desperate and helpless to reach her.
When Adam March and his pit bull Chance check into the hotel, it becomes the first of many visits. Here in these peaceful mountains he finds an unexpected relief from his recent bereavement. He and the beleaguered innkeeper form a tentative friendship. Adam knows the struggles of raising a difficult teenager and Skye understands loneliness.
And then there is Mingo, a street kid with a pitbull dog of his own. When Cody discovers an overdosed Mingo, Adam takes the boy's dog not just for safekeeping, but to foster and then rehome. But the dog isn't the only one who needs saving. A makeshift family begins to form as four lost people learn to trust and rely on each other, with the help of two good dogs.
(From the Author's Website)
A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline
The real-life subject of an iconic work of art is given her own version of a canvas—space in which to reveal her tough personality, bruised heart, and “artist’s soul.”
The figure at the center of Andrew Wyeth’s celebrated painting Christina’s World has her back to the viewer, but Kline (Orphan Train, 2013, etc.) turns her to face the reader, simultaneously equipping her with a back story and a lyrical voice. Meet Christina Olson, “a middle-aged spinster” who narrates her life in segments, dodging back and forth between her origins and childhood and her adult life, all of this material rooted in the large Maine house built by her family, whose early members, relatives of Nathaniel Hawthorne, fled Salem in 1743. Born in 1893, Christina is a clever schoolgirl whose opportunity to train as a teacher will be obstructed by her parents, who need her to work at home. The progressive bone disease which makes mobility difficult and brings constant pain scarcely reduces her ceaseless domestic workload. At age 20 she has one tantalizing chance at love, but after that Christina’s horizons shrink until the day in 1939 when a friend introduces her to 22-year-old Andrew Wyeth. Christina, now 46, discovers a kindred spirit and Wyeth, a kind of muse whom he will paint several times. Kline lovingly evokes the restricted life of a sensitive woman forced to renounce the norms of intimacy and self-advancement while using her as a lens to capture the simple beauty of the American farming landscape: “The flat nails that secure the weather clapboards, the drip of water from the rusty cistern, cold blue light through a cracked window.”
It’s thin on plot, but Kline’s reading group–friendly novel delivers a character portrait that is painterly, sensuous, and sympathetic.
As a reminder, Katie down at Between the Covers offers a generous 20% discount on books intended to be donated to the library. She has a list of books that we'd love to receive, and we're more than happy to inscribe a bookplate honoring you, your child, your grandchild, your dog, or your favorite teacher! You can also donate directly to the library or on our website via Paypal. As an independently funded library that doesn't receive any tax dollars, we always appreciate your support.
We look forward to seeing you in the library,
Amélie Trufant Dawson
Director of the Harbor Springs Library
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Harbor Springs Library206 S. Spring StreetHarbor Springs, MI 49740
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