Open to the Public Since 1894
206 S. Spring St.Harbor Springs, MI 49740
August 31st @ 7pmTEDtalk screening and discussion
September 1st @ 7pmMarshall Watson book signing
This is about the time that I need to remind myself to slow down. There's nothing more disappointing than looking up once school begins and asking "Where did summer go?!" Here we are in the middle of it! And between gorgeous Northern Michigan beach days and cool, stormy, stay-inside days, I've actually had a lot of time to read this summer. I'm glad to see that a lot of you are finding time too, because our new-book shelf has been thoroughly raided all summer!
While we try to stay present through the rest of the summer, we are still enjoying two weekly storytimes: every Wednesday at 10:30am for ages 4 and up, and every Thursday at 10:30am for toddlers 3 and under.
Our next TEDtalk screening and discussion led by Cyndi Kramer will take place on Thursday, August 31st, at 7pm. The topic will be everyday leadership. These are always interesting community conversations and we hope you'll join us with your unique perspective.
We're also pleased to serve as a venue on Friday, September 1st, at 7pm for a book signing hosted by Between the Covers: acclaimed interior designer Marshall Watson will be presenting a slideshow and signing copies of his new book, The Art of Elegance: Classic Interiors. Tickets are $10 and are available at Between the Covers. For more information please call 526-6658.
Like the rest of town (and indeed literati all over the state), we're looking forward to the Harbor Springs Festival of the Book! We've created a special shelf on the end cap of our nonfiction peninsula in the library entrance of Authors of the Festival so its attendees will be well prepared by September 29th. Click here to see a list of festival books available at the library.
Here are some of the newest books to grace our shelves:
Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
Hamid (Discontent and Its Civilizations, 2014, etc.) crafts a richly imaginative tale of love and loss in the ashes of civil war.
The country—well, it doesn’t much matter, one of any number that are riven by sectarian violence, by militias and fundamentalists and repressive government troops. It’s a place where a ponytailed spice merchant might vanish only to be found headless, decapitated “nape-first with a serrated knife to enhance discomfort.” Against this background, Nadia and Saeed don’t stand much of a chance; she wears a burka but only “so men don’t fuck with me,” but otherwise the two young lovers don’t do a lot to try to blend in, spending their days ingesting “shrooms” and smoking a little ganga to get away from the explosions and screams, listening to records that the militants have forbidden, trying to be as unnoticeable as possible, Saeed crouching in terror at the “flying robots high above in the darkening sky.” Fortunately, there’s a way out: some portal, both literal and fantastic, that the militants haven’t yet discovered and that, for a price, leads outside the embattled city to the West. “When we migrate,” writes Hamid, “we murder from our lives those we leave behind.” True, and Saeed and Nadia murder a bit of themselves in fleeing, too, making new homes in London and then San Francisco while shed of their old, innocent selves and now locked in descending unhappiness, sharing a bed without touching, just two among countless nameless and faceless refugees in an uncaring new world. Saeed and Nadia understand what would happen if millions of people suddenly turned up in their country, fleeing a war far away. That doesn’t really make things better, though. Unable to protect each other, fearful but resolute, their lives turn in unexpected ways in this new world.
One of the most bittersweet love stories in modern memory and a book to savor even while despairing of its truths. (Kirkus Reviews)
House of Names, by Colm Toibin
Tóibín, an enthusiast of classic storytelling, from the Bible (The Testament of Mary, 2012) to Henry James (The Master, 2004), this time takes a crack at Greek mythology.
This novel of palace intrigue is inspired by the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, focusing on the House of Atreus’ murderous infighting. Clytemnestra is provoked into a homicidal rage toward her husband, King Agamemnon, for sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia to win the Trojan War. As Clytemnestra schemes with her lover, Aegisthus, to plot Agamemnon’s death and fill the power vacuum in his wake, her two other children, Orestes and Electra, are sent into exile. And though the children eventually make their way back into the palace halls and mom’s trust, paranoia abounds within every relationship (“a performance that started with smiles and ended with shrieks,” as Electra puts it). The novel is broken into sections focusing on Clytemnestra, Electra, and Orestes, and the novel’s intensity—and to a large degree, its success—depends on who’s doing the talking. Clytemnestra, narrating in the first person, is a captivating and terrifying figure, heartbroken and ruthless in her lust for power. (“The gurgling sound he would make when I cut his throat became my obsession,” she fumes.) But Orestes’ portion of the tale, narrated in the third person, runs at a low boil of mustier fable-speak despite being packed with themes of protection, vengeance, and self-defense. That makes the novel feel tonally disjointed, but throughout, Tóibín captures the way that corruption breeds resentment and how resentment almost unstoppably breeds violence. The original myths established these characters as the gods’ playthings, but Tóibín reframes this version in “a time when the gods are fading,” the better to lay the blame for our human failures plainly on ourselves.
This reboot of an ancient story is alternately fiery and plodding, but Tóibín plainly grasps the reasons for its timelessness. (Kirkus Reviews)
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, by Sherman Alexie
The story of the popular Native American author’s difficult upbringing.
Alexie (Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories, 2012, etc.) won the National Book Award for his semiautobiographical young-adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007). Readers of that book will recognize some of those stories in this hardscrabble memoir about growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. In 142 chapters that combine poetry and prose, he goes back and forth in time as he riffs on his early years and his often verbally cruel and emotionally unpredictable mother and the conflicted relationship they had. In the early 1970s, Alexie’s parents and six children moved into a one-bedroom reservation house that lacked indoor plumbing or electricity. Later they moved to a “shoddily constructed” HUD house. Both parents were alcoholics; his mother quit drinking a few years later. Born hydrocephalic, Alexie had brain surgery at 5 months and again when he was 2. He suffered epileptic seizures until he was 7. Four soft burr holes in his skull remain, as well as a “Frankenstein mess of head scars.” He had “epically crooked teeth” and would “stutter and lisp.” He was constantly ridiculed. Always poor, his mother quilted to make money. His father did odd jobs, spent time in jail, and had numerous car accidents when drunk. When Alexie was 17, his father disappeared on a drinking binge. After seven days, he had to go look for him: “It was a family rule.” On the reservation, “violence is a clock, / ordinary and relentless. Even stopped, it doesn’t stop.” Alexie is related to “men who hit women, and to men and women who hit children.” Written in his familiar breezy, conversational, and aphoristic style, the book makes even the darkest personal experiences uplifting and bearable with the author’s wit, sarcasm, and humor.
Despite some repetition, this is a powerful, brutally honest memoir about a mother and the son who loved her. (Kirkus Reviews)
Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.
During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.
Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil. (Kirkus Reviews)
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.
Please come visit us soon! We'd love to recommend something to read on the beach or undercover (depending on the weather)!
Amélie Trufant Dawson
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Harbor Springs Library206 S. Spring StreetHarbor Springs, MI 49740
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