Living Great Lakes Reading Guide Questions

    1. Do you have any sailing experience?

      a. Do you think the author did a good job of describing the experience?
      b. Do you have a preference for fresh or salt water sailing?
      c. Did you find the use and explanation of sailing terms useful?

    2. Do you have a favorite Great Lake?

      a. Did one lake seem more ‘favored’ than another in the book?
      b. Did the author make you want to learn more about a particular lake?

    3. Have you ever experienced living in tight quarters?

      a. Do you think the author described the relationships realistically?
      b. Do you think that the experience is the same (cramped quarters) on both land and sea?- why or why not?

    4. Librarians will use the phrase, “non-fiction that reads like fiction” to describe a book that is factual, but reads like a novel. Do you think that this describes The Living Great Lakes? Why or why not?

    5. There are several “stories” in this book:

      a. the actual sailing adventure
      b. the natural history of the Great Lakes
      c. the relationships between crew members
      d. the sailing differences between the Great Lakes and the ocean
      e. maritime history of the Great Lakes
      f. memoir of author’s experience
      Did you find one story more compelling than another? Are there too many stories?

    6. Which character did you identify with in the book? Why?

    7. Have you read many sea stories? Would you class The Living Great Lakes in this genre? Why or why not?

    8. Does this book make you proud to live in Michigan? Why or why not?

    9. Jerry Dennis discusses the demise of Michigan’s forests by logging. Has this book changed your perspective on Michigan’s natural resources, especially its water? Do you feel motivated to take care of our resources?

    10. What is something you learned in this book that you did not know before?

The Living Great Lakes

Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book.

In 2010, the program will encourage readers of all ages to explore the theme of Michigan.

An eleven-member selection team, composed of community members, educators, students and librarians from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area chose the book:

LivingGreat Lakes

The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, winner of the “Best Book of 2003” by the Outdoor Writers Association of America, chronicles author Jerry Dennis’ travels as a crew member on the tall-masted schooner Malabar on a four-week trip through the waters of Lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. The author, a resident of Traverse City, Michigan, reminisces on a lifetime spent near the lakes and interweaves his personal journey with stories from the biologists, fishermen and sailors that he met during his travels.

This title has been praised as “passionate, poetic, and meticulously researched. Its voice beckons like a trusted friend: look, discover, enjoy… this is history at its best and adventure richly described. A magical book, hugely enjoyable and entertaining” (Doug Stanton, author of In Harm’s Way).

Click here for copies available at the Ann Arbor District Library.

Click here for copies available at the Ypsilanti District Library.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

Arc of Justice

ArcOfJustice Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, by Kevin Boyle, chronicles the ordeal of Dr. Ossian Sweet, who moves with his young family to a previously all-white Detroit neighborhood in the steamy summer of 1925. When the local block association incites a mob to drive Sweet back to the ghetto, he gathers people to defend his new home with a deadly arsenal. The resulting shooting death of a white man leads to a sensational murder trial, featuring the legendary Clarence Darrow, fresh from the Scopes Monkey trial, defending Sweet, his family and their associates.

Written with a “novelist’s flair” Arc of Justice “grips right up to the stunning jaw-dropper of an ending” (Publishers Weekly). It is a National Book Award winner, New York Times Notable Book, and was cited as one of 2004’s Best Books by the Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Detroit Free Press, The Seattle Times and Salon.com.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

Arc Of Justice

Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, by Kevin Boyle, chronicles the ordeal of Dr. Ossian Sweet, who moves with his young family to a previously all-white Detroit neighborhood in the steamy summer of 1925. When the local block association incites a mob to drive Sweet back to the ghetto, he gathers people to defend his new home with a deadly arsenal. The resulting shooting death of a white man leads to a sensational murder trial, featuring the legendary Clarence Darrow, fresh from the Scopes Monkey trial, defending Sweet, his family and their associates. Written with a “novelist’s flair” Arc of Justice “grips right up to the stunning jaw-dropper of an ending” (Publishers Weekly). It is a National Book Award winner, New York Times Notable Book, and was cited as one of 2004’s Best Books by the Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Detroit Free Press, The Seattle Times and Salon.com.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

Three Finalists for 2009

A selection committee of community leaders, librarians, students and educators in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area will meet in mid-October to choose one of three books as the focus for this year. Which book should be chosen? We appreciate your comments and opinions.

The three book finalists are available in alternative formats for those who are unable to read or use printed materials due to a physical disability (blindness, macular degeneration, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, dyslexia, etc.). Please contact the Library of Michigan Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at 1-800-992-9012.

Click on the titles below for more information about the books and authors, and to add your comments.

The three books under consideration are:


Timothy Ferris, Seeing In The Dark: How Amateur Astronomers Are Discovering The Wonders Of The Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster, c2002.


Homer Hickam, Rocket Boys: A Memoir. New York: Delacorte Press, 1998.


Dava Sobel, The Planets. New York: Viking, 2005.

2009: How to Participate

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2009 is a community-wide event! How may you participate?

Hold A Discussion Group In Your Community

Organize an event or discussion related to the read.
Events may be open to the public or restricted. Examples include:
• Book clubs wishing to use the book at a private meeting or discussion
• College or high school instructors assigning the book to their class
• Local workplaces hosting discussion groups for their employees
• Coffee shops inviting customers to connect over coffee on a particular night

2009 Sponsors

Thanks to the following organizations for their contributions to the 2008 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads:
Ann Arbor District Library
Ann Arbor News
Community Television Network
University of Michigan
Washtenaw Community College
Ypsilanti District Library

Special Thanks to the Following Individuals Who Served on 2009 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Committees:

Blue Ribbon Committee
Laurel Champion, Publisher, Ann Arbor News
Mary Sue Coleman, President, University of Michigan
James Hawkins, Superintendent, Ypsilanti Schools
John Hieftje, Mayor, Ann Arbor

2009: The Universe: Yours to Discover

In 2009, the program will encourage readers of all ages to explore the theme The Universe: Yours To Discover.

   

Timothy Ferris, Seeing In The Dark: How Amateur Astronomers Are Discovering The Wonders Of The Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster, c2002.


Click here for information about all three finalists.

Statement of Purpose

The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue thorough the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book.

History

Launched in 2003 by the University of Michigan Life Sciences, Values and Society Program, the Reads project was fashioned after a civic reads program designed by the Seattle Public Library. The book chosen for the inaugural Reads was “Lincoln’s DNA,” by Phillip R. Reilly. The Ann Arbor District Library was a major partner in this effort along with other area organizations.

In subsequent years, the Reads Program has been co-sponsored by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti District Libraries and is supported by interested civic groups, the University of Michigan School of LS&A, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Public Schools, local bookstores, Eastern Michigan University Libraries and Washtenaw Community College.

Reads Theme

The theme that informs the selection of potential reads titles often follows the broad topic chosen for the University of Michigan’s LS&A School for its annual “theme semester.” Previous themes have included a review of civil rights in the United States in celebration of the anniversary of Brown v Board of Education; “Revolutions in Science,” a discussion of evolution and the scientific method and “We the People...” how we define citizenship.

Book Selection

Books chosen for the Reads should meet the following criteria:

Readability:

  • The writing should be engaging and thought-provoking
  • The subjects discussed should be accessible to readers throughout the community, high-school age and above
  • The length, price and availability of the book should be suited to involvement by the general public
  • The book should be available in audio format

Appropriateness:

  • The book should explore and develop an understanding of the theme of the Read
  • Its treatment of issues should encourage readers to discuss the subjects further with others, at home, work, reading clubs and community events.
  • Ideally, the exploration of these concerns should lead to constructive dialogues across the many boundaries that presently separate members of our community from each other, whether by race, gender, age, residence, occupation, or other affiliation.

Process:
Selecting the final book for the Reads is a two-pronged process. During the summer the Book Screening Committee made up of individuals selected as representative of various civic constituencies read approximately thirty titles of fiction and non-fiction that reflect the year’s theme. In the fall, the Book Selection Committee reviews the three titles suggested by the Screening Committee and makes a final recommendation of the Reads book for the coming year.

Book Discussions: 2009

Learn How To Moderate a Discussion Group
Training will be provided, at several conveniently located sites in January, for individuals who would like to learn how to moderate a discussion about the book for their organization or reading group.

These sessions will be interactive classes, conducted by Library and University staff. Model practices and advice on holding successful group discussions will be central features of the training. Registration is required and space is limited.

Sessions will be offered on the following dates at these locations:

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