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.

Two Washtenaw Reads Finalists for 2018!

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!

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.

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