Upcoming Programs All programs sponsored by the Friends of Benzie Shores District Library
Circle Time Mondays at 10:00 a.m. Infants and toddlers and their parents/caregivers will have fun rhyming and moving with Miss Char. Children build their repertoire each week with rhymes, both old and new.
Free Mending Mondays at 10:30 a.m. - Noon A volunteer will be at the library every Monday 10:30 am - noon to repair clothing while you wait. If you have a tear in your shirt, your child has a rip in her jeans, or the hem has unraveled from your table cloth, please bring your items to the library during "Mending Time" No formal wear or upholstery, no drop offs.
Tech Tuesdays Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. A library staff member will be available to help with library related technology issues. Learn how to download e-books and e-audiobooks to your personal devices or learn how to use the digitized newspapers.
Breakfast Book Share Wednesday, February 15th at 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. Bring your own coffee or tea and talk about books. Share what you have read recently, and find out what fellow community members have been reading. This is a great way to discover new books!
Adult Coloring Thursdays from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Come to the library and enjoy an hour of coloring. All materials provided. All are welcome.
Story Time with Miss Kaitlin Friday February 17th and 24th at 10 a.m. Stories and fun with Miss Kaitlin. Designed for preschool aged children, but all are welcome. A special water themed story time is planned for February 17th as part of the Benzie County Water Festival.
Artemis League (teen program) Tuesday, February 21st at 7 p.m. The Artemis Space Bridge Simulator is a multi-stationed, networked PC game simulating a working spaceship bridge. The Helm, Weapons, Engineer, Comms, and Science officers all work together under a Captain against computer enemies and other bridge teams. Defend the universe @ your library! Only teens (grades 7 through 12) are allowed in the library during this time.
FREE Homework Help Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. FREE homework help for grades 4-6. If you would like to register your child for this program, call (352-4671) or visit the library.
"Screenagers" Film Community Discussion Thursday, March 9th at 7:00 p.m. Information Technology Executive Susan Swanson will lead a discussion on digital citizenship (using technology responsibly). This is a follow-up discussion stemming from the recent screening at the Garden Theater of the film, "Screenagers.” If you missed the movie, you are still welcome and encouraged to attend.
Everyone is welcome to a presentation, CIVILITY IN THE PUBLIC DISCOURSE, which will be held at the library on Thursday, February 16 at 7:00pm. This community discussion, moderated by Maggie VanHaften, will focus on ways in which we can be more respectful, empathetic, and considerate in our interactions with others.
Civility, how we talk to and treat each other, is important to the quality of life in our community. Words are powerful and it is very important that they are used in constructive ways. Public libraries are a perfect place for civility discussions because libraries are committed to serving everyone, to lifelong learning, to the exchange of ideas, and to providing accurate, balanced information.
The purpose of this gathering is to explore the idea of civility in our community and to see if there is an interest in further discussions on this issue. The focus will be on processes not topics.
Thank you to the Friends and all who contributed to our wish list items. The Friends were able to purchase two computers, two sets of end-of-stack shelving and a universal charging station. Our next project is to automate the inside door between the foyer and circulation desk.
Books, Books, Books…..
For a long time, in my reading life, I didn’t appreciate short stories. Once I started reading some amazing ones, I became a huge fan. I feel the same about memoirs. I thought, “For crying out loud, everyone has a story.” In fact, memoirs by gifted writers who have stories to tell are superb. As society has changed and the openness of expression has become more acceptable the genre has evolved.
I loved Mary Karr’s ART OF MEMOIR, which is a wonderful introduction to both writing and reading memoirs. Mary Karr has studied and taught memoir as a genre and memoir writing for decades. She is also a gifted memoirist. What I found so fascinating about this book was that she interspersed information about a variety of titles with her own story. When I finished reading this book I had an inexhaustible list of books to look forward to reading.
One thing I find intriguing about memoirs is the passion each author conveys. The authors really want us to understand them. For me, this seems to lead to an emotional connection between the reader and the author. The authors are telling the truth as they perceive it. In fact, individual family members may remember an incident quite differently, but the memoirist describes the incident through perceptions colored by feelings. The way the author tells it ‘feels’ like the truth because of the authentic voice. It is, as they say, “the truth of the heart.”
The best memoirs seem to stem from childhoods that are train wrecks or from overwhelmingly strong emotions. COCKTAIL HOUR UNDER THE TREE OF FORGETFULNESS by Alexandra Fuller, GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls and a GIRL NAMED ZIPPY by Haven Kimmel have train wreck childhoods in common. I loved all three of these. I think the survival of their childhoods by these three women is nothing short of heroic. LOST IN PLACE by Mark Salzman is a funny, poignant and honest coming-of-age narrative. I read it at the time that I had a teenage son and it was totally enlightening. The author was filled with zest and passion, then he would quit whatever he loved, feeling like a phony while continuing to figure out who he genuinely was. It is a book full of laughs and poignant insights about growing up. MY LIFE ON THE ROAD by Gloria Steinem is an eye-opener. To quote my son-in-law, “Gloria Steinem tells a marvelous story detailing her journey through politics via travels across the entire United States, many times over. I had no idea the travel required and the financial limitations imposed by such a noble ideal. To assume this story is solely about feminism would be a natural assumption and incorrect. As the pages turn the lure of the gypsy life is felt as much as read. Shaped by family dynamics that many of us can relate to and a natural unfolding of events lays out the how's and why's to arguably the biggest question concerning Gloria Steinem. She seemingly stopped short of elected official?” ON WRITING by Stephen King, like THE ART OF MEMOIR, is partly a personal history as well as an instruction book on creativity and writing. It is extremely good. M TRAIN by Patti Smith is a book I read on a whim, without high expectations and ended up loving it. I think, because Patti Smith is such an appreciative observer of the world and its many details. She is not only a meticulous, awestruck, caring observer, but she is also able to describe what she sees and feels. GHOST RIDER by Neil Peart is a memoir from the heart. Although the writing is not terribly sophisticated and he often lapses into clichés, there is never a moment that the reader doubts the honesty of his feeling. In the space of a year he loses his only child and his wife. Trying to figure out how to go on living, he takes off on an epic motorcycle journey. As he says, “Anything can happen, and sometimes that’s good.” MY LOSING SEASON by Pat Conroy is a well-written narrative in which Conroy distills life and life’s lessons into one season of basketball. He, and his teammates, embarked on a season in which they hoped to be national champions and ended up losing, losing, losing. Feeling like a fraud or a phony is a theme that runs through many memoirs. Conroy says, “Because I grew up a complete stranger to myself, I did not even seem to catch a glimpse of a determined young man who developed in secret during college.” His lesson, “I never once approached greatness but toward the end of my career, I was always in the game.” THIS HOUSE OF SKY by Ivan Doig is a stunningly beautiful description of growing up in Montana. In the past, I have only read Doig’s fiction books, but on my memoir quest I decided to read this. He is a wonderful writer who can evoke such a perfect sense of time and place. In his search for self, he discovers who he is, “It was getting clearer and clearer to me what I was in life. I was a relic. And the son of another relic. And the grandson of yet a third relic.” LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren is a book not to be missed! The author tells her story with a deep love for her work, science, and the world around her. Her respect of the process of science, her love for people and the joy the world brings her make this a great read. WAITING FOR THE MORNING TRAIN by Bruce Catton is, of course, the ultimate must-read-memoir for anyone connected to Benzie County. Catton tells of his boyhood and what life was like here before we became so dependent on cars.
I’ve read that every time we access a memory, it is changed. I’ve been thinking about that. Perhaps it is because when we retell our stories we validate who we are, who we were and the decisions we made. Every time we tap a memory, we are different, so the memory is interpreted through a different level of understanding. I have absolutely no idea if we become more objective, forgiving or judgmental of our younger selves. Maybe it is possible that we end up with a better understanding of our essential selves.
I am gnashing my teeth over all the memoirs I cannot include (Bruce Springsteen’s BORN TO RUN, TOWNIE by Andre Dubus III, BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah or Michael Moore’s HERE COMES TROUBLE for instance!) The library does have a great collection of memoirs, biographies and autobiographies…I hope, this Valentine season, you fall in love with one of these books!
Just a reminder that our e-library services never close: FREE Overdrive ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies, and our digital newspaper archive. MeL.org provides thousands of books and full text articles from home...all the time and anytime!