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The 2018 Washtenaw Reads Title Has Been Selected!

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 5:00pm

After much deliberation, the book for the 2018 Washtenaw Reads program has been selected. A panel of community members from Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline and Ypsilanti voted on the winner from two finalist titles. Without further ado, this year's title is...

Homegoing Cover Image

 

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi.

 

Homegoing follows the parallel paths of two half sisters, born into different villages in 18th century Ghana, and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. The book has won many awards, including the PEN/ Hemingway Award, the NBCC’s John Leonard Award, New York Times Notable Book, Washington Post Notable Book and was named one of the best books of 2016 by NPR, Time, Oprah.com, Harper’s Bazaar, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Esquire, Elle, Paste, Entertainment Weekly, the Skimm, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and BuzzFeed. One of the highlights of Washtenaw Reads each year is a visit from the author. Yaa Gyasi will appear in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, February 6 at 7:00 pm at Rackham Auditorium in a program entitled "Homegoing: A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi" - The 2018 Institute for the Humanities Jill S. Harris Memorial Lecture." The event includes a book signing and copies of the book will be for sale. Washtenaw Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Copies of Homegoing can be found at AADL and in libraries and bookstores throughout Washtenaw County. Keep an eye on the Washtenaw Reads website, wread.org, for more information on upcoming events, as well as reading and discussion resources.

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Two Washtenaw Reads Finalists for 2018!

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 1:34pm

The two finalist titles for the 2018 edition of Washtenaw Reads have been selected!

The Screening Committee met through the summer to read and discuss some of the top fiction and non-fiction titles of the last few years and to narrow down to two titles for the final selection committee to read. Without further ado, the nominees are:

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016)

Homegoing follows the parallel paths of two half sisters from different tribal villages in Ghana and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

Thank You for Your Service, by David FInkel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013)

In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel follows a group of soldiers as they return home from the front lines in Baghdad and struggle to reintegrate—both into their family lives and into American society at large. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like—not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done.

Both books are available at the library. You can leave your feedback about the two finalist titles on the Washtenaw Reads Finalist Page, and keep checking the WR site for the announcement of the selected read later this fall!

The Washtenaw Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Participating libraries include Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline, and Ypsilanti.

Thank You for Your Service

Thank You for Your Service, by David Finkel

No journalist has reckoned with the psychology of war as intimately as David Finkel. In The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel embedded with the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion as they carried out the infamous “surge,” a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed them all forever.

In Thank You for Your Service, Finkel follows many of those same men as they return home and struggle to reintegrate—both into their family lives and into American society at large. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like—not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done. Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding, and it offers a more complete picture than we have ever had of two essential questions: When we ask young men and women to go to war, what are we asking of them? And when they return, what are we thanking them for?

Full list of Awards: USA Today Best Books of the Year, Christian Science Monitor Best Books of the Year, Chicago Tribune Best Books of the Year, Minneapolis Star Tribune Holiday Book Recommendations, The Economist Magazine Books of the Year, The Telegraph (UK) Best Books of the Year, New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year, L.A. Times Book Prize - Finalist, Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year, NPR Best Book of the Year, Barnes and Noble Best New Books of the Year, Apple iBooks Best of the Year, The Globe Books 100, Washington Post Best Books of the Year, Chapters Indigo Best of the Year, Carla Furstenberg Cohen Literary Prize, National Book Critics Circle Awards - Nominee, Helen Bernstein Book Award - Nominee, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, Amazon.com Best Books of the Year, Boston Globe Best Books of the Year, Seattle Times Best Books of the Year, Audie Award Finalist

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (New York:Alfred A. Knopf, 2016)

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.

Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

Winner of the PEN/ Hemingway Award, Winner of the NBCC’s John Leonard Award, New York Times Notable Book, Washington Post Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, Time, Oprah.com, Harper’s Bazaar, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Esquire, Elle, Paste, Entertainment Weekly, the Skimm, Minneapolis Star Tribune, BuzzFeed

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

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Participate in this year's Washtenaw Reads!

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 11:47am

[cover_image]|1479216[/cover_image]

[:http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1479216|$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America] is this year’s [:http://aareads.aadl.org/|Washtenaw Reads] book selection. Researched and written by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the book details the lives of six different families who barely survive on less than $2.00 a day in various parts of the country. Eye-opening and alarming, the book also explains the laws behind the reasons that some people are forced to live on so little. The [http://www.aadl.org/node/349023| authors will speak at Rackham Auditorium] on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00p.m. The event includes time for questions and book signing.

The AADL is also hosting several more intimate discussions of the book. The first of these takes place on Wednesday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. in the Downtown Library multipurpose room. The second will occur on Sunday, February 12 at 3:00 p.m. at Westgate Branch in the Westside Room. All are welcome to attend these guided discussions, with no registration required. Participants may want to bring a copy of the book—available at all AADL locations—to reference during the discussion.

For more events surrounding this year’s Washtenaw Reads selection, follow the link [:http://aareads.aadl.org/aareads/events|here].

Looking for resources about $2.00 a Day, including interviews with the authors and related reading? Visit the link [:http://aareads.aadl.org/aareads/resources|here].

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The Read has been Selected!

Fri, 09/30/2016 - 3:53pm

[img_assist|nid=347809|title=WR logo|desc=WR logo|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=83]The votes are in, and a decision has been made! The official title for the 2017 Washtenaw Reads is [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1479216|$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America] by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer.

$2.00 a Day explores the deep poverty of families surviving on $2.00 or less per person per day—about 1.5 million households in America, including about 3 million children. Edin and Shaefer try to understand how and where these families live, and what happened to make them so desperately poor. You can learn more about the title on [http://aareads.aadl.org/node/347106|the Washtenaw Reads website].

Washtenaw Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. A panel of community members from Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline, and Ypsilanti chose this book from two finalist titles.

The Read will take place in January and February 2017, and will include book discussions and related events. Both authors will appear at the Washtenaw Reads author event, to be scheduled for February 2017 in Ann Arbor.

$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Shaefer

Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no income if she didn’t donate plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna, in Chicago, have gone for days with nothing to eat other than spoiled milk.

After two decades of groundbreaking research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before — households surviving on virtually no cash income. Edin, whose deep examination of her subjects’ lives has “turned sociology upside down” (Mother Jones), teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on surveys of the incomes of the poor. The two made a surprising discovery: the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million American households, including about three million children.

But the fuller story remained to be told. Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? What do they do to survive? In search of answers, Edin and Shaefer traveled across the country to speak with families living in this extreme poverty. Through the book’s many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America’s extreme poor. Not just a powerful exposé, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

Orhan's Inheritance

Orhan's Inheritance, by Aline Ohanesian

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But his grandfather has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, Seda, an aging woman in a retirement home in Los Angeles.

Over time, Orhan begins to unearth the story that eighty-seven-year-old Seda so closely guards–a story that, if it’s told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which Orhan’s family is built and could unravel Orhan’s own future.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

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Green Card Stories

Fri, 02/12/2016 - 8:56am

[img_assist|nid=329243|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=79]

Join us as author [http://www.saundraamrhein.com|Saundra Amrhein] shares life stories depicted in her book, "Green Card Stories," including the legal, social, emotional, financial, and spiritual obstacles that mirrors what immigrants continue to face across the USA.

This event is held in conjunction with Ann Arbor District Library’s film and discussion series Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.

"Green Card Stories" depicts 50 recent U.S. immigrants—each with permanent residence or citizenship—in powerfully written short narratives and compelling portraits. Each story is as old as the foundation of this nation, but also reflects the global trends and conflicts of the 21st century. Arriving from all corners of the globe, coming for work, love, to study, invest, or escape persecution, the people in this book share a steely resourcefulness and a determination to fulfill their potential in America.

Saundra Amrhein is a freelance journalist, writer, author, speaker and reporter writing articles, news and blogs about Immigration and Cuba. A former reporter at the St. Petersburg Times, she has been a journalist for more than 21 years, focusing on immigration, asylum, and refugee issues. She is currently a [http://www.mjfellows.org/fellows|Knight Wallace Fellow] at the University of Michigan.

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Get More Out Of This Year's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 11:19am

[img_assist|nid=324891|title=The Book of Unknown Americans|desc=Cover of The Book of Unknown Americans, with a painted picture of a girl turned around with long black hair in a braid and a pink collared shirt over a blue background|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=148]If you’re ready for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2016, be sure to check out the Reads Website! At [http://aareads.aadl.org/|aaypsireads.org], you’ll find all sorts of information and resources to help you get more out of this year’s Read and how to lead your own community discussion.

If you still need to get a copy of The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, stop in to any location and pick one up from the display shelf or head over to [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/title/the%20book%20of%20unknown%20americans|the catalog] and choose from several different formats. We have paperbacks, large print, audiobooks, and even a [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1459521|Spanish translation]. Copies of the book are also available at the Ypsilanti District Library and at area bookstores.

Take a look at the [http://aareads.aadl.org/aareads/resources|Resources page], with loads of resources especially for book clubs following along with the Read. There is a Reader’s Guide with discussion questions, tips for hosting a book discussion and keeping it on track, and even [http://aareads.aadl.org/node/326453|download-and-print posters] to promote your book discussion or other Reads-related event. If you do plan to host an event, let us know! We’ll list it with other Reads-related programming throughout January and February, including our [http://www.aadl.org/latinoamericans|Latino Americans: 500 Years of History] film series. You can also find lists of films about the Latino experience and immigration, a few podcasts about the book and Latino culture, and the author's recommendations of the best books of 2015.

Finally, be sure to mark your calendar for [http://www.aadl.org/node/324630|a special visit from the author], Cristina Henriquez, on Tuesday, February 23 at 7 pm. Ms. Henriquez will be at the Towsley Auditorium on the campus of Washtenaw Community College to discuss her writing and especially The Book of Unknown Americans. Books will be for sale, and there will also be a booksigning following the talk.