Open to the Public Since 1894
206 S. Spring St.Harbor Springs, MI 49740
November 16th at 7pmTEDtalk and DiscussionSpeaking Up Even If your Voice Shakes
November 24th at 10amLibrary Book Sale
As I write this, we're patiently awaiting the Halloween parade of school children to march by the library. This town knows how to put on a parade, and we can't wait to look out our window over Main Street and see all the fun costumes!
We have a couple of special events coming up in November:
Our next TEDtalk and Discussion will be held on November 16th at 7pm. TEDtalks began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment, and Design converged. Today, it's a global community where people spread ideas and information via talks on a wide variety of topics given at TED conferences throughout the year. At the Harbor Springs Library, once a month we choose a theme and screen a small handful of TEDtalks together and follow them up with a community conversation led by Cyndi Kramer. Last month we talked about cyber shaming, and this month our topic will be "Speaking Up Even If Your Voice Shakes." Please join us and lend your unique perspective!
The Harbor Springs Library also holds two library book sales annually: the weekend before the 4th of July, and the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year, that means we'll be opening the doors on Friday, November 24th at 10am with tables of books for sale displayed throughout the library. Paperbacks are $1 and hardcovers are $2. We'll leave the books up for a week or so, but get here early for the best selection! Proceeds go toward maintaining our historic building and continuing to provide free library resources to our community.
Here are some of the newest books on the library shelves:
Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green
Nerdfighter Green’s latest takes readers through Indianapolis and the human biome.
Aza Holmes doesn’t feel like herself. But “if half the cells inside of you are not you, doesn’t that challenge the whole notion of me as a singular pronoun…?” When a local billionaire—and the father of her childhood friend, a white boy named Davis—disappears, Aza (who seems to be white) and her BFF, Daisy Ramirez (who is cued as Latina), plot to find him and claim the reward, amid rumors of corruption and an underexplored side plot about semi-immortal reptiles. The story revolves around anxious Aza’s dissociation from her body and life. Daisy chatters about Star Wars fan fiction (and calls Aza “Holmesy” ad nauseam), and Davis monologues about astronomy, while Aza obsesses over infection, the ever present, self-inflicted wound on her finger, and whether she’s “just a deeply flawed line of reasoning.” The thin but neatly constructed plot feels a bit like an excuse for Green to flex his philosophical muscles; teenagers questioning the mysteries of consciousness can identify with Aza, while others might wish that something—anything—really happens. The exploration of Aza’s life-threatening compulsions will resonate deeply with some, titillate others, and possibly trigger those in between.
Aza would claim that opinions about this book are unfairly influenced by “the gut-brain informational cycle,” which makes it hard to say what anyone else will think—but this is the new John Green; people will read this, or not, regardless of someone else’s gut flora. (Fiction. 14-18) (Kirkus Reviews)
The Templars, by Dan Jones
An up-close look at the legendary band of Crusaders.
Jones (Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty, 2015, etc.) examines the storied Templars, an organization of quasi-monastic warriors who rose to fame and power in the midst of the Crusades,only to rapidly collapse in questionable scandals. The author realizes that the allure of the Templars, then and now, is related to their otherworldly ideal. “In a sense,” he writes, “the Order had always existed in two spheres, the real and the imaginary.” The Templars uniquely combined the rigid discipline of a monastic order with the seemingly secular profession of soldier. This unusual pairing, along with the epic backdrop of the Crusades, made them popular among their contemporaries and has kept them in the public imagination since. Starting in 1119 as a band of soldiers committed to protecting Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, the Templars soon received the spiritual patronage of 12th-century divine Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard wrote the “rule” by which the Templars were to live and work and advocated for them with the powers that be. The Templars would go on to achieve great fame and eventually become very wealthy landowners. Late in the century, the armies of Saladin would decimate them and reverse their achievements; however, the order would live on and rise to prominence again. Early in the 14th century, Templar leaders were, rightly or wrongly, accused of heresy and many were imprisoned or put to death, putting an end to the order and, most importantly, to its power. Jones provides a meaty, well-researched history replete with primary source quotes. Organized in four distinct parts, the narrative clearly lays out the story of the Templars and their changing fortunes. Though steeped in the facts of medieval history, the book presents as accessible to general readers.
An exceptional introduction to the Templars. (Kirkus Reviews)
The Cuban Affair, by Nelson DeMille
Old bones and old grudges in contemporary Havana.
In this, his 20th, DeMille (Radiant Angel, 2015, etc.) deftly drops Daniel "Mac" MacCormick, captain of The Maine, a 42-foot sport fisherman out of Key West, into a storm of competing visions of Cuba’s future. When a trio of Cubans and Cuban-Americans, Carlos Macia, Eduardo Valazquez, and the lovely Sara Ortega, offer him a small fortune to participate in a scheme to recover documents and cash hidden in a cave during the Cuban Revolution of 1959, Mac is tempted and succumbs to both avarice and lust for Sara. The plan is to infiltrate Mac and Sara into Cuba as part of an educational tour under the auspices of Yale University (and some fun is had at the expense of the Elis). The two will break away from the tour, recover the money and documents, meet The Maine, which will be participating in a fishing tournament down the coast, and escape. Relations with Cuba are in flux; the exile community rejects the notion of a “Cuban Thaw,” and the security services in Cuba also resist the idea. But some in the U.S. promote a lessening of tensions, and some in Cuba itself understand that the nation cannot survive without a quick infusion of money and that the best hope is U.S. tourist dollars. The real poverty of Cuba is clearly described, as are the conditions of the infrastructure and the social climate. In spots the narrative seems to slog through discursive observations, but they are mostly informative and worthwhile, and then the plot picks up energy again. Though Mac and his mate Jack Colby seem to share a somewhat adolescent obsession with “getting laid,” they are stout fellows in a fight, and the thriller charts a satisfying course.
A good day’s work from an old pro. (Kirkus Reviews)
The Burning Girl, by Claire Messud
Messud (The Woman Upstairs, 2013, etc.) investigates the fraught intricacies of friendship and adolescence as two girls grow up and grow apart in a small Massachusetts town.
About to start her senior year of high school, narrator Julia painfully traces the loss of her childhood friend Cassie, a bold rule-breaker who goaded and thrilled cautious Julia even as she relied on her friend’s good sense to keep them safe. During the charmed intimacy of childhood, Julia wistfully recalls, “we had one mind and could roam its limits together, inventing stories and making ourselves as we wanted them to be.” But in seventh grade Cassie drifts away to a more popular crowd, adding insult to injury by dating and then dropping Peter, an older boy she knows Julia likes. With characteristically lucid prose, Messud perfectly captures the agonizing social insecurities of middle school in Julia’s seething assessment that Cassie “thought she could laugh at me to my face…she was Regina George from Mean Girls and I was Janis.” Payback comes when Cassie’s widowed mother, Bev, falls in love with Dr. Anders Shute, who may have an unhealthy interest in Cassie and certainly encourages Bev to confine and control her in ways that lead to a crisis. By this time, Julia has new friends of her own and a more secure social niche in ninth grade; she knows Cassie is in trouble but is too hurt and too invested in her new role—this is very much a book about masks and performances—to respond when Cassie tentatively reaches out. Although their shared past gives Julia the knowledge to forestall disaster when Cassie vanishes, Messud also suggests that we never truly know another, not even those we love best. That stark worldview only slowly becomes apparent in a narrative that for a long time seems more overwrought than events call for (it is, after all, narrated by a teenager), but by the novel’s closing pages it packs an emotional wallop.
Emotionally intense and quietly haunting. (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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