Open to the Public Since 1894
206 S. Spring St.Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Take Your Child to the Library Day!February 3rd all day!
February Story TImeFebruary 10th at 10:00am
LEGO ClubFebruary 24th 11am-12pm
TEDtalk and DiscussionMarch 1st at 7pm
Tail Waggin' TutorsMarch 10th at 10:30am
AARP Drivers' Safety ClassMarch 24th 1-4pmMarch 31st 1-4pm
We hope your new year is starting out well!
I'm nearly two wonderful books in so far this year, unless you count How to Eat Fried Worms and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which I've read aloud to my children. My TBR (to be read) pile grows ever taller I'm afraid.
We've had a lot going on at the Harbor Springs Library this month! The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners came up and gave a presentation about the history of women in the automobile industry, the author of the Michigan Chillers and American Chillers series gave a talk to a library full of children, Micky the story-loving Newfoundland visited, we held a digital book clinic on the new and updated Libby by OverDrive app, and we had our inaugural session of LEGO club!
If you missed the Libby by OverDrive clinic and would like assistance in downloading the app and learning how to borrow ebooks and audiobooks, call the library at 526-2531 or email me here and we can set up a time to sit down and talk about it. The new app is so streamlined and easy; we think you'll really love it!
February and March are shaping up to be busy as well...please join us for our upcoming events!
This coming Saturday the 3rd of February is the national Take Your Child to the Library Day! This is a nationwide initiative encouraging families to introduce their children with their local libraries. We'll have snacks and some fun things for kids and we invite everyone to come browse our shelves!
Our next Story Time and Crafts will be February 10th at 10:00am. As you might guess, it will have a Valentine theme. All ages are welcome!
LEGO Club will be held on the last Saturday of each month from 11am-noon and is open to 3rd-8th grade builders. We'll be coming up with themes for each session and letting creative juices flow! The next session will be February 24th.
Our last TEDtalk screening and discussion had a record turnout! We'll host the next one on Thursday, March 1st at 7pm. The topic will be "Words Matter." We'll all watch a small handful of TEDtalks interwoven with a community discussion led by Cyndi Kramer. More details to come in the next newsletter.
Here are some of the newest books on our shelves:
Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
This incandescent portrait of suburbia and family, creativity, and consumerism burns bright.
It’s not for nothing that Ng (Everything I Never Told You, 2014) begins her second novel, about the events leading to the burning of the home of an outwardly perfect-seeming family in Shaker Heights, Ohio, circa 1997, with two epigraphs about the planned community itself—attesting to its ability to provide its residents with “protection forever against…unwelcome change” and “a rather happy life” in Utopia. But unwelcome change is precisely what disrupts the Richardson family’s rather happy life, when Mia, a charismatic, somewhat mysterious artist, and her smart, shy 15-year-old daughter, Pearl, move to town and become tenants in a rental house Mrs. Richardson inherited from her parents. Mia and Pearl live a markedly different life from the Richardsons, an affluent couple and their four high school–age children—making art instead of money (apart from what little they need to get by); rooted in each other rather than a particular place (packing up what fits in their battered VW and moving on when “the bug” hits); and assembling a hodgepodge home from creatively repurposed, scavenged castoffs and love rather than gathering around them the symbols of a successful life in the American suburbs (a big house, a large family, gleaming appliances, chic clothes, many cars). What really sets Mia and Pearl apart and sets in motion the events leading to the “little fires everywhere” that will consume the Richardsons’ secure, stable world, however, is the way they hew to their own rules. In a place like Shaker Heights, a town built on plans and rules, and for a family like the Richardsons, who have structured their lives according to them, disdain for conformity acts as an accelerant, setting fire to the dormant sparks within them. The ultimate effect is cataclysmic. As in Everything I Never Told You, Ng conjures a sense of place and displacement and shows a remarkable ability to see—and reveal—a story from different perspectives. The characters she creates here are wonderfully appealing, and watching their paths connect—like little trails of flame leading inexorably toward one another to create a big inferno—is mesmerizing, casting into new light ideas about creativity and consumerism, parenthood and privilege.
With her second novel, Ng further proves she’s a sensitive, insightful writer with a striking ability to illuminate life in America. (Kirkus Reviews)
Grant, by Ron Chernow
A massive biography of the Civil War general and president, who “was the single most important figure behind Reconstruction.”
Most Americans know the traditional story of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885): a modest but brutal general who pummeled Robert E. Lee into submission and then became a bad president. Historians changed their minds a generation ago, and acclaimed historian Chernow (Washington: A Life, 2010, etc.), winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, goes along in this doorstop of a biography, which is admiring, intensely detailed, and rarely dull. A middling West Point graduate, Grant performed well during the Mexican War but resigned his commission, enduring seven years of failure before getting lucky. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was the only West Point graduate in the area, so local leaders gave him a command. Unlike other Union commanders, he was aggressive and unfazed by setbacks. His brilliant campaign at Vicksburg made him a national hero. Taking command of the Army of the Potomac, he forced Lee’s surrender, although it took a year. Easily elected in 1868, he was the only president who truly wanted Reconstruction to work. Despite achievements such as suppressing the Ku Klux Klan, he was fighting a losing battle. Historian Richard N. Current wrote, “by backing Radical Reconstruction as best he could, he made a greater effort to secure the constitutional rights of blacks than did any other President between Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson.” Recounting the dreary scandals that soiled his administration, Chernow emphasizes that Grant was disastrously lacking in cynicism. Loyal to friends and susceptible to shady characters, he was an easy mark, and he was fleeced regularly throughout his life. In this sympathetic biography, the author continues the revival of Grant’s reputation.
At nearly 1,000 pages, Chernow delivers a deeply researched, everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know biography, but few readers will regret the experience. For those seeking a shorter treatment, turn to Josiah Bunting’s Ulysses S. Grant (2004). (Kirkus Reviews)
Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
Short-story virtuoso Saunders' (Tenth of December, 2013, etc.) first novel is an exhilarating change of pace.
The bardo is a key concept of Tibetan Buddhism: a middle, or liminal, spiritual landscape where we are sent between physical lives. It's also a fitting master metaphor for Saunders’ first novel, which is about suspension: historical, personal, familial, and otherwise. The Lincoln of the title is our 16th president, sort of, although he is not yet dead. Rather, he is in a despair so deep it cannot be called mere mourning over his 11-year-old son, Willie, who died of typhoid in 1862. Saunders deftly interweaves historical accounts with his own fragmentary, multivoiced narration as young Willie is visited in the netherworld by his father, who somehow manages to bridge the gap between the living and the dead, at least temporarily. But the sneaky brilliance of the book is in the way Saunders uses these encounters—not so much to excavate an individual’s sense of loss as to connect it to a more national state of disarray. 1862, after all, was the height of the Civil War, when the outcome was far from assured. Lincoln was widely seen as being out of his depth, “a person of very inferior cast of character, wholly unequal to the crisis.” Among Saunders’ most essential insights is that, in his grief over Willie, Lincoln began to develop a hard-edged empathy, out of which he decided that “the swiftest halt to the [war] (therefore the greatest mercy) might be the bloodiest.” This is a hard truth, insisting that brutality now might save lives later, and it gives this novel a bitter moral edge. For those familiar with Saunders’ astonishing short fiction, such complexity is hardly unexpected, although this book is a departure for him stylistically and formally; longer, yes, but also more of a collage, a convocation of voices that overlap and argue, enlarging the scope of the narrative. It is also ruthless and relentless in its evocation not only of Lincoln and his quandary, but also of the tenuous existential state shared by all of us. Lincoln, after all, has become a shade now, like all the ghosts who populate this book. “Strange, isn’t it?” one character reflects. “To have dedicated one’s life to a certain venture, neglecting other aspects of one’s life, only to have that venture, in the end, amount to nothing at all, the products of one’s labors utterly forgotten?”
With this book, Saunders asserts a complex and disturbing vision in which society and cosmos blur. (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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