Open to the Public Since 1894
206 S. Spring St.Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Harbor Springs Festival of the BookSeptember 29-October 1st
TEDtalk and Discussion:"The Shame of Online Shaming"Thursday 10/5 at 7:00pm
Local Author EventRichard BachusThursday 10/12 at 6:00pm
Tail Waggin' Tutors (Children Read to a Dog)Saturday 10/14 at 10:00am
Happy fall! Is it technically fall yet? You'd never know it around here, would you? The kids are back in school anyhow and we're all getting back into our routines. But that doesn't mean it's quiet at the library! I mean, it's quiet of course...but we do have a lot going on in the next month:
First of all is the 2nd annual Harbor Springs Festival of the Book! This year there will be more than 50 presenters and authors coming to our community to hold a series of readings, discussions, and lectures around town from September 29th-October 1st.
The Harbor Springs Library is pleased to be the venue for picture book storytime at 9:30am on Saturday, September 30th. Terry Border, Sarvinder Naberhaus, Salina Yoon, Leslie Helakoski, and Lisa Wheeler will be reading their children's books aloud in 20 minute increments. On Sunday, there will be a discussion titled "Young Women on the Brink" at 9:30am with authors Julie Buntin, Cara Hoffman, and Mindy McGinnis. This will be a panel about young women characters on the brink of adulthood. At 11:00am, there will be a discussion titled "Letting Characters Take the Lead" with authors Jack Cheng, Gabe Habash, Brendan Kiely, and Adam Silvera. This panel will be about character driven storytelling.
We're excited to be a part of the Festival of the Book and look forward to hosting these events. All three events held at the library are free and open to the public. We have a shelf at the library full of books by authors of this year's festival (look at the reviews at the bottom of this newsletter) and there's still time to check them out!
Cyndi Kramer will be leading our next TEDtalk and discussion on Thursday, October 5th at 7pm. Every month or so we hold a screening of TEDtalks based on a theme and then hold a community conversation afterward. This month's topic is "The Shame of Online Shaming." Please join us and lend your voice to the discussion!
On Thursday, October 12th, at 6pm we'll be holding a local author event: Richard Bachus will be here to read from his new novel, "Into No Man's Land." Richard will be signing copies afterward.
Last but not least, we'll be holding another session of Tail Waggin' Tutors (Children Read to a Dog) on Saturday, October 14th at 10am. Micky the certified therapy Newfoundland will be here to listen to children practicing reading aloud. There is a schedule in 15 minute increments at the library and we ask that you call us at 526-2531 to preregister your child so they have one-on-one time with Micky. They can bring their favorite book or pick one of ours. Tail Waggin' Tutors is always free and always fun.
Here are some of our newest books by HSFOTB authors at the library:
A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City, by Drew Philp
A young man finds joy in a “place they said no one could love.”
In 2009, at age 23, Philp bought a house for $500 in Detroit: an abandoned 1903 Queen Anne with a wraparound porch. One of many such bargains available in the bankrupt city, the house and the story of its yearslong rehabilitation are the focus of this fresh, honest, often stirring debut, which began as a BuzzFeed feature. A shy, idealistic working-class white kid from rural Michigan, the author arrived in the 80 percent black city with no friends, job, or money. Fixing the house “would be a protest of sorts,” he reasoned, an expression of his contempt for the wealthy suburban lifestyle of Ann Arbor, where he had just attended the University of Michigan. Working odd jobs, he found himself in a frightening city of wild dogs, frequent shootings, suspicious fires, and near-daily offers of drugs or sex. One new neighbor, Zeno, a crack dealer, asked him, “are you wearing a wire, motherfucker?” Another told Philp about a county auction of thousands of abandoned houses, an event that kicks off this deeply felt, sharply observed personal quest to create meaning and community out of the fallen city’s “cinders of racism and consumerism and escape.” Often hungry and scared, the author had help from his parents and new friends (most wild spirits sharing in the adventure of a revitalizing city) in working with abandoned materials to cobble his broken-down home, from chimney and stairs to foundation. The grueling process not only reveals his growing maturity, but also becomes a window on the look and feel of present-day Detroit and the neighborly people struggling to achieve satisfying lives there. Philp ably outlines the broad issues of race and class in the city, but it is the warmth and liveliness of his storytelling that will win many readers. “It is your sacred duty to find hope somewhere,” he reminds us.
A standout in the Detroit rehab genre. (Kirkus Reviews)
The Almost SIsters, by Joshilyn Jackson
Jackson (The Opposite of Everyone, 2016, etc.) has written another spirited page-turner set in a new South still haunted by the ghosts of the old.
Leia, single at 38, writes popular graphic novels but is gun-shy with men. Following a boozy one-night stand at a comic-book convention, she has “fetched up pregnant” with a biracial child. Then she hears that her beloved 90-year-old grandma Birchie has slipped into dementia and is acting out: at church, Birchie has loudly, and lewdly, revealed what she knows about the new pastor’s relationship with a (married) parishioner. Leia decides to take charge, driving from her home in Norfolk, Virginia, to the small town in Alabama where Birchie lives with her lifelong friend Wattie, a black woman whose mother was her family’s housekeeper. Complications ensue—not least of which is the discovery of a trunk filled with the bones of someone who has met a violent end. There’s a whiff of Southern Gothic here and plenty of sex, lies, and family secrets. (The author’s fans will also recognize some elements from earlier novels). But Jackson is bighearted and, in the end, optimistic. She writes vivid, funny characters, and her voice is distinctive and authentic. She can also toss off amusing pop-culture references that make this narrative sound very au courant: Leia’s stepsister’s divorce “would be so perfectly done it would make Gwyenth Paltrow’s conscious uncoupling look like a bar brawl.” Jackson doesn’t do trite. Even when Leia ruminates on race, the author frames things in a fresh way: “There was no such thing as mixed-race in…America....The whole country had called a mixed-race man our ‘first black president.’ ” Perhaps the novel overreaches—the ending is a bit sober for what comes before—but it’s not a major flaw.
A satisfying, entertaining read from an admired writer who deserves to be a household name. (Kirkus Reviews)
The Dark Net, by Benjamin Percy
In Percy’s (Thrill Me, 2016, etc.) techno-horror thriller, a small band of misfits must counteract a full-scale demon possession of Portland, Oregon.
Below the internet we use every day lurks a violent and terrible place known as the Dark Net. This is where people come to satisfy their most destructive and perverted desires, and, according to Percy, it’s naturally where demons would go when working to possess people in the 21st century. While the demons in question begin by possessing the bodies of humans in order to physically manipulate and control technology, their ultimate quest is nothing less than complete domination of the human race, to be achieved through torture and mass murder. And the only people who can stop it are a 12-year-old blind girl, two demon hunters “on the spectrum” (meaning they have supernatural tendencies of their own), and an intrepid reporter. Percy’s vision rather obviously offers commentary on our contemporary lifestyle: “People fuss so much about what they eat.…But they don’t worry as much about what they consume online.” Once the demon virus is released from the Dark Net, anyone accessing our everyday staples—Netflix, Tinder, Google—becomes a homicidal maniac. Percy takes the darkest conspiracy theories you can imagine and makes them the stuff of nightmares. Oh, and all this happens on Halloween, “the fall climax…a time of reaping harvest, of accounting.” Humankind is held responsible for its irresponsibility, paying the price for all the convenience we take for granted, for our obsession with the digital world. While the message is effective and scary, though, the characters and the writing fall short of mesmerizing.
Who says science and religion are incompatible? There's something undeniably creepy about the thought that your smartphone can possess you. A gory cautionary tale. (Kirkus Reviews)
Wedding Bush Road, by David Francis
A man heads from LA to his native Australia to check on his ailing mother and ends up refereeing a host of domestic squabbles instead.
Daniel, the narrator of Francis’ likable if unpolished third novel (Stray Dog Winter, 2009, etc.), is a lawyer planning a comfortable Christmas with his new girlfriend, Isabel, when his mother, Ruthie, calls from rural southeast Australia saying she’ll be “dead as Dickens by the end of the year.” Upon his arrival, though, it’s clear mom lured him back to help with disarray on the homestead. Ruthie has long been estranged from Daniel’s philandering father, Earley, who has stoked enough jealousy and anger in a tenant, Sharen, that she set fire to a car on the property. All three have gathered up a generation or two’s worth of resentments, and the place is feral: Sharen keeps a horse in a spare room in her cottage, and Sharen’s son, Reggie, openly spies on Daniel. But Francis proves that this reckless landscape also has a darkly seductive pull, underscored by Daniel’s growing attraction to Sharen, an attractive pot-smoking free spirit. Their ill-advised and speedy fling (the novel takes place over the course of a week) is the novel’s main energy source, to the point where other elements pale in comparison. Earley and the other locals are relatively distant figures (Isabel commands a lot of the word count but plays a minor role), and while Reggie owns the stage in the brief interludes he narrates, the threats of the arrival of his father on the scene don’t amount to much. Ultimately this is a conventional midlife crisis tale, but one bolstered by Francis’ sharp language about a landscape where “death and hardship are passed off...like so many handkerchiefs, laughed away with a weary acceptance.”
Domestic drama with an offbeat, rural flavor. (Kirkus Reviews)
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, by Denise Kiernan
A fresh take on the secret city built in the mountains of Tennessee as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II.
Kiernan (co-author: Stuff Every American Should Know, 2012, etc.) examines the construction of what became known as Oak Ridge, Tenn., a city built as part of the atomic bomb program. She has worked intensively with surviving women members of the work force and with local residents to put together the oral history on which this account is based. In the two years after the federal government took ownership of around 80,000 acres of mountain woodland and farm sites, the population rose to 75,000, and consumption of electric power from the nearby generating plant outpaced New York City. Many of the workers recruited were young women from farm backgrounds whom project administrators judged to be particularly suitable to the kinds of work that needed to be done, under the veil of secrecy that was imposed. The security and discouragement from talking about work becomes a pervasive feature of Kiernan’s narrative. Those who violated guidelines were speedily removed, never to be seen around the site again. The author parallels her account of the construction of Oak Ridge with chapters on the development of the science that made nuclear fission possible, and she shows how Oak Ridge became a city and community after the war.
An inspiring account of how people can respond with their best when called upon. (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.
Amélie Trufant Dawson
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Harbor Springs Library206 S. Spring StreetHarbor Springs, MI 49740
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