Open to the Public Since 1894
206 S. Spring St.Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Can you believe it's nearly autumn? Kids are back in school, the air is crisping up, and the leaves are just starting to turn golden, orange, and red. And this year, fall is bringing something new to Harbor Springs- the much anticipated Harbor Springs Festival of the Book!The festival will be a three-day event (September 30th-October 2nd) consisting of lectures, panels, readings, and discussions taking place in various locations around Harbor Springs. There will be over 40 author-presenters coming into our little town! Check out the full schedule of events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as the entire list of events taking place here at the Harbor Springs Library. With the exception of four special ticketed affairs, the majority of events are free and open to the public.Please note that the Harbor Springs Library will be closing at 1:30pm on Friday, September 30th, in order to host the poetry event, and we will be closed on Saturday, October 1st, while we host Children's Picture Book Readings (read by the authors!) from 10-12, Middle Grade Fiction: Life's Big Questions from 1-2pm, and Young Adult Fiction: Smells Like Teen Spirit! from 3-4pm. On Sunday we'll be hosting Young Adult Fiction: Strength and Struggle from 10:30-11:30, and Fiction: A Lens on the Past from noon to 1. The events are all free and open to the public, but we will not be checking books out during this time. Seating will be limited. We hope you'll come see what it's all about and support this exciting venture!In the meantime, we have a shelf of books by authors of the Festival of the Book set aside at the Library- please come by and check it out!This Saturday, September 24th, will also be our monthly Tail Waggin' Tutors day, where children sign up for 15-minute slots to practice their reading aloud skills by reading to a certified therapy dog. This has proven to be a favorite around here, and children love our patient Newfoundland, Micky! He just adores listening to stories and doesn't interrupt when kids mispronounce a word or skip over something. He's just gently supportive and loving. There are still several openings, so please call the library at 526-2531 to put your child on the schedule.One last event I want to remind you of is on October 4th: due to popular demand, we'll be having another informal training session on our newest technological addition: OverDrive! If you haven't already heard, our patrons now have access to over 19,000 digital books for free on your own device via your Harbor Springs Library card and a free download of the OverDrive app. Bring your device at 5pm on Tuesday, October 4th, and we'll walk you through the steps of downloading the app, searching for an eBook or audiobook of your choice, and downloading it.
Here are some of the newest books to grace our shelves:Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler
An ingénue from the Midwest learns the ways of the world, and the flesh, during her year as a back waiter at a top Manhattan restaurant.A flurry of publicity surrounded the acquisition of this book, which was pitched by an MFA–grad waitress to an editor dining at one of her tables. Danler’s debut novel takes place behind the scenes of a restaurant in Union Square whose rigid hierarchy, arcane codes of behavior, and basis in servitude and manual labor makes it less like a modern workplace than the royal court of 18th-century France—but with tattoos and enough cocaine to rival Jay McInerney. There’s even a Dangerous Liaisons–type love triangle with the beautiful, naïve young narrator at its apex, batted between the mysterious, brilliant waitress who teaches her about wine and the dissolute, magnetic bartender who teaches her about oysters. The older woman says things like, “I know you. I remember you from my youth. You contain multitudes.” The older man “was bisexual, he slept with everyone, he slept with no one. He was an ex-heroin addict, he was sober, he was always a little drunk.” What 22-year-old could ever resist them? The writing is mostly incandescent, with visceral and gorgeous descriptions of flavors, pitch-perfect overheard dialogue, deep knowledge of food, wine, and the restaurant business, and only occasional lapses into unintentional pretentiousness. From her very first sentences—“You will develop a palate. A palate is a spot on your tongue where you remember. Where you assign words to the textures of taste. Eating becomes a discipline, language-obsessed. You will never simply eat food again”—Danler aims to mesmerize, to seduce, to fill you with sensual cravings. She also offers the rare impassioned defense of Britney Spears.As they say at the restaurant: pick up! (Kirkus Reviews)
The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
What if the metaphorical Underground Railroad had been an actual…underground railroad, complete with steam locomotive pulling a “dilapidated box car” along a subterranean nexus of steel tracks?For roughly its first 60 pages, this novel behaves like a prelude to a slave narrative which is, at once, more jolting and sepulchral than the classic firsthand accounts of William Wells Brown and Solomon Northup. Its protagonist, Cora, is among several African-American men and women enslaved on a Georgia plantation and facing a spectrum of savage indignities to their bodies and souls. A way out materializes in the form of an educated slave named Caesar, who tells her about an underground railroad that can deliver her and others northward to freedom. So far, so familiar. But Whitehead, whose eclectic body of work encompasses novels (Zone One, 2011, etc.) playing fast and loose with “real life,” both past and present, fires his most daring change-up yet by giving the underground railroad physical form. This train conveys Cora, Caesar, and other escapees first to a South Carolina also historically unrecognizable with its skyscrapers and its seemingly, if microscopically, more liberal attitude toward black people. Compared with Georgia, though, the place seems so much easier that Cora and Caesar are tempted to remain, until more sinister plans for the ex-slaves’ destiny reveal themselves. So it’s back on the train and on to several more stops: in North Carolina, where they’ve not only abolished slavery, but are intent on abolishing black people, too; through a barren, more forbidding Tennessee; on to a (seemingly) more hospitable Indiana, and restlessly onward. With each stop, a slave catcher named Ridgeway, dispensing long-winded rationales for his wicked calling, doggedly pursues Cora and her diminishing company of refugees. And with every change of venue, Cora discovers anew that “freedom was a thing that shifted as you looked at it, the way a forest is dense with trees up close but from outside, the empty meadow, you see its true limits.” Imagine a runaway slave novel written with Joseph Heller’s deadpan voice leasing both Frederick Douglass’ grim realities and H.P. Lovecraft’s rococo fantasies…and that’s when you begin to understand how startlingly original this book is.Whitehead continues the African-American artists' inquiry into race mythology and history with rousing audacity and razor-sharp ingenuity; he is now assuredly a writer of the first rank. (Kirkus Reviews)
The Girls, by Emma ClineAn award-winning young author uses Charles Manson and his followers as the inspiration for her first novel.Evie Boyd is in a city park the first time she sees the girls. With their bare feet and long hair and secondhand dresses they offer a vision of life beyond her suburban, upper-middle-class experience. “Like royalty in exile,” they suggest the possibility of another world, a world separate from the wreckage of her parents’ marriage, from the exacting lessons gleaned from teen magazines, from the unending effort of trying to be appealing. What 14-year-old Evie can’t see that day is that these girls aren’t any freer than she is. Shifting between the present and the summer of 1969, this novel explores the bitter dregs of 1960s counterculture. Narrating from middle age, Evie—like the reader—knows what’s going to happen. But Evie has had decades to analyze what she did and what was done to her, and Cline peoples her version of this oft-examined story with carefully crafted characters. The star in Evie’s solar system isn’t Russell, the Manson stand-in. Instead, it’s Suzanne, the young woman who becomes Evie’s surrogate mother, sister, lover, and—finally—protector. This book is, among other things, a love story. Cline makes old news fresh, but she also succumbs to an MFA’s fondness for strenuously inventive language: “Donna spooked her hands dreamily.” “The words slit with scientific desire.” “I felt the night churn in me like a wheel.” These metaphors are more baffling than illuminating. And Evie’s conclusion that patriarchal culture might turn any girl deadly feels powerfully true at first but less so upon reflection. Suzanne and her accomplices don’t turn on their oppressor like righteous Maenads; instead, they sacrifice themselves on his behalf. And there’s also the simple fact that very few girls become mass murderers.Vivid and ambitious. (Kirkus Reviews)Growing Up Mindful, by Christopher Willard
Willard (Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety), a clinical psychologist who advocates mindfulness as a stress relief practice, offers a helpful manual to introducing secular mindfulness practices to children and teens, as well as their parents. The book progresses from explaining mindfulness and its benefits, illustrated by helpful charts, to various strategies for introducing it to one’s children. Speaking as a parent himself, Willard writes that it’s imperative to 'cultivate our own practice.' He also cautions parents against raising the subject in the way that suggests to children 'that they are broken and in the need of fixing.' The better approach is to offer a practice that’s compatible with a child’s interests and fits into ongoing activities. To this end, he offers 101 'mindfulness cues' geared to children of different ages and temperaments, and discusses how mindfulness can be applied to actions as simple as eating and walking. On integrating mindfulness into play, the author says, 'The games our kids play... are practices for real life' and good preparation for becoming 'mindful and compassionate adults.' This is a well-written, practical guide with a useful appendix, 'Matching the Practice to the Child.' (Publishers Weekly)
Nutshell, by Ian McEwanSpeaking from the womb of his 28-year-old mother, this slim entertainment’s precocious narrator tells of sex and booze and something rotten in London.The story covers a few days as pregnant Trudy and her lover, Claude, bumble through a plan to use a poisoned smoothie to kill John, who is her estranged husband, Claude’s brother, and the fetus’s father. The motives are, as always, love and money: the Trudy-Claude affair is fueled by the prospect of selling John’s valuable London town house. The lovers paint John as a failed and boring poet, while a protégé’s post-mortem testimony indicates otherwise. Blame the little guy inside, an inevitably unreliable narrator at nine months’ gestation. Of course, the contrivance of a fetus as docent is a tricky one even with a writer as resourceful as McEwan (The Children Act, 2014, etc.). It cries out for awkward, pace-killing explanations: how can the unborn know Ex, Why, and Zed? McEwan works to suspend disbelief by giving his narrator versions of the five senses and an intellect that ranges far beyond his human cell thanks to his mother’s affection for talk radio, “podcast lectures and self-improving audio books.” He also has a persuasive, down-to-earth voice, which somehow makes more palatable his many insights and observations that add flesh to a meager story. A bit more flesh (perhaps a pound) comes with McEwan’s suggestion of a 21st-century prequel to Hamlet, quickly signaled in the names of the chief characters, (Ger)Trudy and Claude(ius), their kinships and murder plot, and many another allusion pointing to Elsinore of yore. Catching those allusions can be a fun sort of parlor game, but what they add up to, if anything, is unclear.Clever, likable, and yet unsatisfying, this tale too often bears out the narrator’s early claim: “I take in everything, even the trivia—of which there is much.” (Kirkus Reviews)Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. VanceA Yale Law School graduate’s account of his traumatic hillbilly childhood and the plight of America’s angry white working class.“Americans call them hillbillies, rednecks, or white trash,” writes Vance, a biotech executive and National Review contributor. “I call them neighbors, friends, and family.” In this understated, engaging debut, the author reflects on his stormy journey from the coal-country Kentucky hollers of Appalachia to the declining Rust Belt to life among the Ivy League–educated elite. Born into a poor Scots-Irish family—with a pill-addicted mother and “revolving door of father figures”—Vance was raised in Ohio by his beloved and newly middle-class grandparents, hardworking believers in the American dream who married in their teens and never shook the trappings (abuse, addiction, and constant fighting and screaming) of their native Kentucky’s hillbilly culture. Mamaw, his grandmother, once set her husband on fire when he came home drunk; Papaw, a violent grouch, tossed a Christmas tree out the back door. In scenes at once harrowing and hilarious, we come to know these loud, rowdy gun-toters as the loyal and loving family whose encouragement helped the author endure “decades of chaos and heartbreak.” In the Marines and at Yale, Vance learned to make responsible adult choices and overcame the learned helplessness that characterizes many in the working class. Pointedly identifying the cynicism and willingness to blame others endemic among that class, he describes the complex malaise—involving sociology, psychology, community, culture, and faith—that has left so many bereft of connections and social support and unable to find high-quality work. The solution, he believes, is not government action but in people asking themselves “what we can do to make things better.” Declaring that he survived with the help of caring family and friends, he writes, “I am one lucky son of a bitch.”An unusually timely and deeply affecting view of a social class whose health and economic problems are making headlines in this election year. (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 a privately funded library, we always appreciate your support.
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Harbor Springs Library206 S. Spring StreetHarbor Springs, MI 49740
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