The 2018 Washtenaw Reads Title Has Been Selected!

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, 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.

Emerging Writers Workshop: Understanding Story Arc

Monday January 8, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

When talking about fiction, we often separate plot from character, discussing each separately. But when writing, the two go hand in hand, and must be considered together. Does plot come from character growth? Or does the character serve the plot? In this workshop, Alex Kourvo and Bethany Neal will show you how to integrate plot and character into one seamless novel that works on multiple levels. ​

This is part of the monthly Emerging Writers Workshops, which offer support, learning, and advice for local authors. Each month, two weeks after the workshop, there is a meet-up where the instructors will read samples of your work and offer advice and assistance in a casual, supportive atmosphere. Do you have a completed manuscript? Consider submitting it to the library's imprint Fifth Avenue Press: fifthavenue.press.

Fifth Avenue Press Book Release Reception: AADL's Local Publishing Imprint

Sunday November 5, 2017: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Open Area

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

The Ann Arbor District Library is pleased to announce the release of nine literary works under our new Fifth Avenue Press imprint. Join us to hear readings and meet our debut group of authors, buy their books, get them signed, and enjoy light refreshments!

Our local authors have something to offer for just about every reader. For younger children, we're releasing two picture books and an Ann Arbor-based comic for all ages; for adults, we're publishing a book of poetry, two memoirs, a murder mystery, and a collection of humorous and historical Ann Arbor stories!

Technical Solace: a book of poetry, by Rebecca G. Biber
Ginger Stands Her Ground: a memoir, by Virginia Ford
Tales From the Dork Side: a memoir, by R.J. Fox
Michigan Moon: a picture book, by Meg Gower
Takedown: a murder mystery, by Jeff Kass
Chad Agamemnon: a comic book set in Ann Arbor, by Carolyn Nowak
The Book of Ann Arbor: An Extremely Serious History Book, by Rich Retyi
A Monster on Main Street: a picture book set in Ann Arbor, by Emily Siwek
Light From the Cage: 25 Years in a Prison Classroom, by Judy Patterson Wenzel

Plus, author Debbie Taylor will offer a sneak peek into her forthcoming 2018 Fifth Avenue Press picture book: Over in Motown!

For more information about Fifth Avenue Press or to submit your work visit fifthavenue.press.

Lights, Camera, Austen: the screen adaptations of Jane Austen

Wednesday December 13, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

U-M graduate student instructor Anne Mecklenburg will discuss the many, many adaptations of Jane Austen's work. Have you seen every Jane Austen miniseries multiple times? Remain devoted to the Greer Garson/Laurence Olivier Pride and Prejudice? Really liked that one with the zombies? Loved Clueless? No matter your favorite, this event is a chance to learn more about the history and context of Jane Austen novels on film. Naturally, we'll be watching a lot of clips!

This event is part of a partnership with the University of Michigan Jane Austen 1817-2017: A Bicentennial Exhibit.

Discuss "The Girl on the Train" Before Author Paula Hawkins Visits Ann Arbor!

Monday May 8, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

Paula Hawkins, author of the wildly popular thriller The Girl on the Train, will visit Ann Arbor on May 17. Hosted by Nicola's Books, she'll be doing a reading and Q&A session for her new book Into The Water at Nicola's.

Join us for a discussion of this bestseller at AADL before meeting her in person!

"The Girl On The Train" tells the story of a woman who is privy to the inner lives of a couple, as she passes their house on the train every morning. She becomes obsessed with the beautiful woman and her husband, and involves herself in the case when the woman turns up missing.

AADL staff will lead a discussion of this psychological mystery. This event is cosponsored by Nicola's Books.

AADL Book Discussion: Hillbilly Elegy

Saturday May 13, 2017: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

Join AADL staff and community members for a discussion of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance.

This fascinating and moving book is the author's own story of his family, and how he moved from poverty to a middle class life while battling the demons of his upbringing. The eye-opening book describes poverty in America from a first-hand perspective, and explains how growing up poor leaves a lasting effect.

Staff will lead a discussion of the book and related themes.

AADL Book Discussion: Hillbilly Elegy

Tuesday April 25, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Conference Room A

Join AADL staff and community members for a discussion of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance.

This fascinating and moving book is the author's own story of his family, and how he moved from poverty to a middle class life while battling the demons of his upbringing. The eye-opening book describes poverty in America from a first-hand perspective, and explains how growing up poor leaves a lasting effect. Staff will lead a discussion of the book and related themes.

Can't make this discussion? There will be a second session on on the same book and topic on Saturday, May 13 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm at Malletts Creek Branch.

Advent Reflections from Michigan's Northern Woods with Author Gayle Boss

Saturday November 12, 2016: 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Inspired by the landscape and animals of the north woods, Michigan author Gayle Boss writes with the heart of a poet in her new collection of Advent reflections All Creation Waits.

Twenty-five portraits meditate on how wild animals adapt to winter's darkness and cold, inspiring us with the ancient wisdom that darkness is not the end, but the way to a new beginning. Each reflection is accompanied by a striking and sensitive woodcut in deep blacks and brilliant whites by artist David G. Klein.

Be inspired with the beauty of winter and the natural world as Gayle Boss discusses how this unique volume came to be. She will also take a closer look at the gorgeous woodcut illustrations in large-scale.

This event will be held at AADL's Pittsfield location, overlooking the wetlands where many of the animals that inspired this volume find a home. This event will also include a book signing, and books will be for sale.

Washtenaw Reads Book Discussion: "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America"

Sunday February 12, 2017: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

This event is intended for grade 9–adult

AADL staff lead a discussion of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Shaefer, the book selected for Washtenaw Reads 2017.

After two decades of groundbreaking research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before: households surviving on virtually no income, a level of destitution so deep as to be unthought-of in the world’s most advanced capitalist economy. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on surveys of the incomes of the poor, to discover that 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.

The result of their investigative teamwork is this book, which received much critical acclaim. "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" won the prestigious Hillman Prize for Book Journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, was short-listed for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation and was named a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.

Copies of the book are available at area libraries and bookstores. For more information on Washtenaw Reads, visit the Reads website at wread.org.

Washtenaw Reads Book Discussion: "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America"

Wednesday January 25, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for grade 9 - adult

AADL staff lead a discussion of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Shaefer, the book selected for Washtenaw Reads 2017.

After two decades of groundbreaking research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before: households surviving on virtually no income, a level of destitution so deep as to be unthought-of in the world’s most advanced capitalist economy. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on surveys of the incomes of the poor, to discover that 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.

The result of their investigative teamwork is this book, which received much critical acclaim. "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" won the prestigious Hillman Prize for Book Journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, was short-listed for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation and was named a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.

Copies of the book are available at area libraries and bookstores. For more information on Washtenaw Reads, visit the Reads website at wread.org.

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