Perhaps you’ve kept up on our weekly submission of Staff Recommendations to the Ferndale Patch… At the end of each week, someone from your Ferndale Library offered up their own Top Picks for the week – to help you find what to read (or watch) NEXT…
That tradition will continue on the Oakland County~115 – starting in April
To give you an idea of what to expect – our Library’s Director, Jessica Keyser, submitted this special edition of our weekly recommendations.
Jessica’s Picks: Adventures Near and Far
Early spring in Michigan (which is really often more like an extended winter) is the time of year when I find my wanderlust reaches a fever pitch. Books can rescue me from my gray sky-induced malaise by transporting me to other times and places, without the hassle and expense of actually going somewhere. Here are a few books that have been lifting my spirits as I await warmer days, green grass and sunshine.
Boy, Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
This novel is a modern interpretation of the classic fairy tale of Snow White. The story is set in 1950s America. Oyeyemi cleverly uses the “Mirror, Mirror” theme of Snow White to turn our gaze to themes of race and identity. I always find Oyeyemi’s stories to be though-provoking and original, and this latest book does not disappoint.
This book is a fascinating field guide to the Lafayette Park towers and condominiums in Detroit. Lafayette Park is home to the largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the world. Today, it is one of Detroit’s most racially integrated and economically stable neighborhoods, and the beautiful landscape design of Alfred Cladwell has matured beautifully. Thanks for the View includes interviews with and essays by residents; reproductions of archival material; and new photographs of the residential neighborhood in its current state. I am not an architecture buff, but I found this book to be highly intriguing, probably because the focus is on the lives of the people who live in Lafayette Park more than the buildings themselves. I loved perusing the photos of each housing unit, and marveling at the different ways that people inhabit identical spaces.
Jessica’s next picks tie into our current FERNDALE READS season-long series of events; an annual community-wide book club we host for the city – this year’s title is: Annie’s Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg (who will visit us in May for a special reading/discussion of the book -which happens to be based on his family’s true story, growing up in metro Detroit).
So I know everyone is reading this book right now, but that is kind of the point, isn’t it? In case you have been hiding under a rock, Annie’s Ghosts is this year’s selection for Ferndale Reads, and it is also the Great Michigan Read. Annie’s Ghosts is a fascinating memoir about the author’s search to discover the circumstances of his late aunt’s life, whose existence he did not learn of until the time of his own mother’s passing. Luxenberg uncovers all sorts of family secrets that he did not expect to find, and he also reveals many secrets of Detroit’s past in the process. If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend picking up a free copy of Annie’s Ghosts at the Ferndale Public Library, and join us for some of the exciting programs that we have going on through May for Ferndale Reads, culminating in a visit by Steve Luxenberg at the Rust Belt Market on May 22nd.
Reading Annie’s Ghosts made me think more about the memoir genre, which led me to stumble upon the concept of the six-word memoir. The concept of the six-word memoir was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous six-word story: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” The editors of Smith magazine challenged their readers to write their own stories in just six words, and they were amazed by the response. This book is a compilation of the best six-word memoirs, some by authors who are household names, and some by obscure authors, as the title suggests. I have truly enjoyed picking this book up for a very quick escape. It truly is amazing how the breadth of human experience can be expressed in just six words.