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The Return of AADL's Fifth Avenue Press: Local authors celebrate the release of their books on May 22

Tue, 05/17/2022 - 12:15pm by christopherporter

Fifth Avenue Press logo

The Ann Arbor District Library's Fifth Avenue Press, which started in 2017, helps local authors produce a print-ready book at no cost—from copyediting to cover design—and the writers retain all rights. In return, the library gets to distribute ebooks to its patrons without paying royalties, but authors can sell their books—print, digital, or audio—in whatever ways they choose and keep all the proceeds.

Fifth Avenue launches its fourth round of books on Sunday, May 22, with a book-release celebration from 1-3 pm in the lobby of AADL's downtown location, featuring author readings from many of the imprint's 10 new titles.

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Answer Me This: U-M lecturer Phil Christman explains it all in his new essay collection, “How to Be Normal” 

Thu, 04/28/2022 - 9:00am by christopherporter

Phil Christman photo by Scott C. Soderberg, Michigan Photography

Author photo by Scott C. Soderberg, Michigan Photography

Phil Christman takes on the problem of How to Be Normal in his new essay collection by interrogating broad categories of life. Like his earlier book, Midwest Futures, the essays are wide-ranging. For How to Be Normal, Christman tackles topics including “How to Be a Man,” “How to Be Religious,” and “How to Care.” Christman takes unexpected turns by bringing in references including Star Wars, Mark Fisher, and Marilynne Robinson. 

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Time is punctuated by motherhood, the pandemic, and a family rupture in poet Carmen Bugan’s new collection, "Time Being"

Tue, 04/26/2022 - 9:00am by christopherporter

Poet Carmen Bugan and her book Time Being

Carmen Bugan’s new poetry collection, Time Being, shows how the coronavirus has meant many different things to many people and also that it put us into our own bubbles. Bugan’s isolation includes her children, garden, home in New York, connection to Michigan, and eventual divorce. Her poems chronicle the months of isolation, motherhood, the excessive losses to the virus, and the ways that the pandemic, despite upending everything, was nevertheless not the only thing happening in 2020 and 2021. 

Bugan turns her outlook inward in Time Being. Part I serves as foreshadowing with the poem “Water ways” when the outcome of making footsteps on sand is that “the ocean erases them impatiently” as a parallel to the later repetitive, near-daily baking during the pandemic. In Part II when the pandemic strikes, the poems question, “But who could have imagined our / new lives six months ago?” and “Who would have known we’d be staying home / Nearly a year, the house growing around us / Like a shell, shutting out the life we knew?” The situation could not have been anticipated, as “Water ways” alludes:

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Patti F. Smith taps into the stories of brewpubs, brewers, and their beers in her new book, "Michigan Beer: A Heady History"

Mon, 04/11/2022 - 12:00pm by christopherporter

Patti F. Smith and her book Michigan Beer: An Heady History 

Patti F. Smith's introduction in her new book, Michigan Beer: A Heady History, may activate your thirst to take a seat at one of the state's many current establishments:

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Angeline Boulley’s YA Novel, "Firekeeper’s Daughter," Follows a Native Teen Who Discovers Intrigue and Betrayal in Her Upper Peninsula Community 

Mon, 04/04/2022 - 9:00am by christopherporter

Angeline Boulley and her book Firekeeper's Daughter

Angeline Boulley photo by Marcella Hadden

When author Angeline Boulley wrote her new young adult novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, she had a goal for the thriller. She writes about her main character, Daunis Fontaine, in her Author’s Note:

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Jennifer Huang reconceptualizes home in their new poetry collection, "Return Flight"

Tue, 03/22/2022 - 9:00am by christopherporter

Jennifer Huang and their new poetry collection, Return Flight

Poems in Jennifer Huang’s Return Flight map the ways that a person can depart and return to themself, though sometimes that self is no longer the same. Huang holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program, and their collection won the Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry in 2021 judged by Jos Charles. 

Some of Huang’s lines suggest disillusionment, given that “This is not what I imagined.” Other lines show a separation from oneself and the effect of external influence when, “The distance between me and I grew / So you could love me as you’ve / always imagined.”

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When the Draft Is Done: Author and U-M professor Peter Ho Davies on "The Art of Revision"

Wed, 03/09/2022 - 9:00am by christopherporter

Peter Ho Davies and his book The Art of Revision

Author photo by Lynne Raughley

How do authors go about the revision process?

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In "Alien Miss," Ann Arbor poet Carlina Duan explores the multiple identities Chinese Americans inhabit

Tue, 03/08/2022 - 9:00am by christopherporter

Poet Carlina Duan with her book Alien Miss

Carlina Duan’s new poetry collection, Alien Miss, delves into the history and experiences of Chinese people, particularly how immigrants and their families face or have faced marginalization in the United States and also how they find success. Poems go back to the Chinese Exclusion Act barring entry to the U.S. for Chinese laborers and are later contrasted by cozy family meals while growing up in America.

The contrast stands out, as one line reads, “I pledge allegiance.  to history, who eats me.” 

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Welcome to "Paradise": Jennifer Metsker's new book of poems explores a bipolar mind

Mon, 03/07/2022 - 8:15am by christopherporter

Jennifer Metsker and her book Hypergraphia and Other Failed Attempts at Paradise

In Hypergraphia and Other Failed Attempts at Paradise, Jennifer Metsker’s poems articulate a bipolar person's thoughts as they unravel. The poems show the mind making associations outside of rules as obsessions, fears, and beliefs take hold.