The Read has been Selected!

WR logo: WR logoWR logo: WR logoThe votes are in, and a decision has been made! The official title for the 2017 Washtenaw Reads is $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 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!

Suggest a Title For Washtenaw Reads 2018

Read a good book lately? Suggest it for our next Read!

The Washtenaw Reads screening team is meeting throughout the summer to select finalist titles for consideration.

• 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 by a living author.
• Its treatment of issues should encourage readers to discuss the issues further with others, at home, work, reading clubs, and community events.
• Ideally, the subject should lead to constructive dialogues across our diverse communities.

How To Suggest A Title

To suggest a title for consideration, add a comment below (you must have a user account to comment) or visit the Washtenaw Reads Facebook page. Note: there is no fee, and you do not have to have an Ann Arbor District Library card to create a user account.

Thanks for your suggestions!

The Votes Are In!

The Book of Unknown AmericansThe Book of Unknown AmericansThe votes are in and the judges have spoken: the 2016 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads has been chosen! Our next community read is The Book of Unknown Americans: A Novel by Cristina Henriquez.

The book won awards and received critical acclaim for its story of hopes, dreams, love, and what it means to be an American. It centers on the story of a fifteen-year-old girl, Maribel, whose family must leave their life in Mexico so she can receive medical care. She falls in love with the neighbor's son, and their love has the potential to devastate everyone involved. The story includes viewpoints from both families, and immigrants from all over Latin America.

This year’s Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads theme is A Very Good Read and will take place during January and February 2016. You can learn more about Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, the book, and planned events on the AAY Reads website, or place a hold on the book from the Ann Arbor District Library.

Revving Up for the Reads

Ann Arbor Reads Logo: Ann Arbor Reads LogoAnn Arbor Reads Logo: Ann Arbor Reads LogoThe finalists for this year’s Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads have been chosen! They are The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, a work of fiction, and Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, a work of non-fiction. More information about the books is available on the finalists page of the Reads website.

For more than 10 years, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti communities have come together to share the same book during Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads. This year’s theme is “A Very Good Read,” and may be a work of fiction or non-fiction. A panel of local individuals will read both books and determine which one will be the official Read for 2016, which will take place in January and February. If you’d like to participate now, you can read both books, available in stores and at your local library, and leave your comments on the books’ pages at aaypsireads.org.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading a book. It was launched in 2003 by the University of Michigan Life Sciences, Values, and Society Program, and was modeled after a program started by the Seattle Public Library. Now, the Reads program is co-sponsored by the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti District Libraries and 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.

The Book of Unknown Americans

The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez

Arturo Rivera was the owner of a construction company in Pátzcuaro, Mexico. One day, as his beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, is helping him at a work site, she sustains an injury that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same again. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better.

When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core.

Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Central and Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

Just Mercy

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

Suggest a Title: 2016

Suggest A Title For Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads 2016

Read a good book lately?

Suggest a book that you believe is a very good read to the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads planning committees and your suggestion just might be the pick for the upcoming Reads (which will take place in January & February 2016). The book selected can be a work of fiction or non fiction.

Committees will be meeting over the summer to consider hundreds of possible titles – and they want your help!

You can suggest a title by commenting below .

Book Selection

• 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 by a living author.
• Its treatment of issues should encourage readers to discuss the issues further with others, at home, work, reading clubs, and community events.
• Ideally, the subject should lead to constructive dialogues across our diverse communities.

Suggest a title by June 15 and it will be considered for selection!

A Tale For the Time Being

A Tale For the Time Being A Tale For the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki.

Winner of the 2014 Medici Book Club Prize, the L.A. Times Book Prize and a finalist for the Booker Prize.

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century.

A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami.

As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

The book is full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!

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