Live Music with Rio Grande Valley Songwriters in the Round
Literary Fiction Author Panel
Michael Ferro, Kelly Fordon & Laura Hulthen Thomas
Praise for Title 13
"Affecting and inventively funny... Ferro's work is an eclectic mélange." --Kirkus Reviews
"A wonderful experience and a terribly compelling character study... sometimes fun, sometimes dark. For a first-time novelist, (Ferro is) very knowing about the emotional territory of life. A very, very ambitious book." --Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune and host of "After Hours with Rick Kogan"
"TITLE 13 is a darkly comic story for our time, a mélange of 'Barton Fink,' 'Office Space,' and Kafka, a novel that examines our alienation from one another and increasingly, our own country. Michael A. Ferro is a young writer on the rise." --Nickolas Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs, Beneath the Bonfire, and The Hearts of Men
“Readers who enjoy stories of political and individual blundering and irony should run, not walk, to TITLE 13: it's a hard-hitting story wrapped in a unique voice that makes it nearly impossible to put down." --Midwest Book Review
About Title 13
A timely investigation into the heart of a despotic faction within the government, TITLE 13 deftly blends satirical comedy aimed at the hot-button issues of modern culture with the gut-wrenching reality of an intensely personal descent into addiction.
Heald Brown might be responsible for the loss of highly classified TITLE 13 government documents--and may have hopelessly lost himself as well. Since leaving his home in Detroit for Chicago during the recession, Heald teeters anxiously between despondency and bombastic sarcasm, striving to understand a country gone mad while clinging to his quixotic roots.
Trying to deny the frightening course of his alcoholism, Heald struggles with his mounting paranoia, and his relationships with his concerned family and dying grandmother, all while juggling a budding office romance at the US government's Chicago Regional Census Center. Heald's reality soon digresses into farcical absurdity, fevered isolation, and arcane psychological revelation, hilarious though redoubtable in nature. Meanwhile the TITLE 13 secrets remain at large, haunting each character and tangling the interwoven threads of Heald's life, as the real question looms: Is it the TITLE 13 information that Heald has lost, or his sanity?
Praise for Garden for the Blind
“Garden for the Blind is one of the most intricately and beautifully constructed works of fictions I’ve read…. Kelly Fordon is a writer to admire, and to keep an eye on, and this work is one I’m never going to forget.” – Laura Kasischke, author of Mind of Winter and Eden Springs
In Garden for the Blind, Kelly Fordon has situated her stories such that they dazzle with the immediacy of deeply felt life even as together they awe with the epic sweep of a life lived…. An unforgettable first collection.” – Daniel Mueller, author of Nights I Dreamed of Hubert Humphrey and How Animals Mate
About Garden for the Blind
In Garden for the Blind, trouble lurks just outside the door for Kelly Fordon's diverse yet interdependent characters. As a young girl growing up in an affluent suburb bordering Detroit, Alice Townley witnesses a tragic accident at her parents' lavish party. In the years that follow, Alice is left mostly in the care of the household staff, free to forge friendships with other pampered and damaged teens. When she and her friend Mike decide to pin a crime on another student at their exclusive high school, the consequences will reverberate for years to come.
Set between 1974 and 2012, Fordon's intricately woven stories follow Alice and Mike through high school, college, and into middle age, but also skillfully incorporate stories of their friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers who are touched by the same themes of privilege, folly, neglect, and resilience. A WWII veteran sleepwalks out of his home at night, led by vivid flashbacks. A Buddhist monk is assaulted by a robber while seated in meditation. A teenaged girl is shot walking home from the corner store with a friend. A lifelong teacher of blind children is targeted by vandals at the school she founded.
Garden for the Blind visits suburban and working-class homes, hidden sanctuaries and dangerous neighborhoods, illustrating the connections between settings and relationships (whether close or distant) and the strange motivations that keep us moving forward. All readers of fiction will enjoy the nimble unfolding of Fordon's narrative in this collection.
Praise for States of Motion
"Thomas generously gives us the whole messy life. This is deeply satisfying, but you have to pay attention. [ . . . ] Her many Michigan settings are varied, detailed, and familiar to us. She is adept at giving us a character in a few words. They feel like people we have all known. Their thoughts have often been our thoughts, and their secrets are not far from our own." - Gloria Whelan, Michigan Bookmark via Stateside with Cynthia Canty on Michigan Public Radio
"Laura Hulthen Thomas ruminates on the harried and heartbreaking minutiae of everyday people in her riveting short-story collection, States of Motion. These eight tales take the seemingly familiar and subvert it, revealing the discord that aggression and sexual trauma can cause. Set in a series of small Michigan towns, each of Thomas's stories brims with emotional nuance and a sense of grief.” - Foreward Review
About States of Motion
Newton's Laws of Motion describe the relationship between a body and its response to the forces acting upon it. For the men and women in States of Motion, imbalance is a way of life. Set in Michigan small towns both real and fictional, the stories in Laura Hulthen Thomas's collection take place against a backdrop of economic turmoil and the domestic cost of the war on terror. As familiar places, privilege, and faith disappear, what remains leaves these broken characters wondering what hope is left for them. These stories follow blue collars and white, cops and immigrants, and mothers and sons as they defend a world that is quickly vanishing.
The eight stories in States of Motion follow tough, quixotic characters struggling to reinvent themselves even as they cling to what they've lost. A grieving father embraces his town's suspicions of him as the sole suspect in his daughter's disappearance. A driving instructor struggles to care for his abusive mother between training lessons with two flirtatious teens. A behavioral researcher studying the fear response must face her own fears when her childhood attacker returns to ask for her forgiveness. Conditioned by their traumatic pasts to be both sympathetic and numb to suffering, the characters in these stories clutch at a chance to find peace on the other side of terror. From the isolated roadways of Michigan's countryside to the research labs of a major university, the way forward is both one last hope and a deep-seated fear.
The profoundly emotional stories in States of Motion will interest any reader of contemporary literary fiction.
Please join us for a very special author discussion with Stephen Mack Jones and the In Good Company Book Club. This amazing and lively book group has the best discussions every month! They are always open to new members and this month they are bringing the author along. Established in 1997, In Good Company is a diverse group who enjoy being in the company of good friends, reading, and discussing books authored by and about people of color from the African Diaspora. You do not need to be a member to attend this event.
Book Launch Party with Shutta Crum and Rhonda Gowler Greene
Join us for a book launch party for all ages for two fantastic Michigan picture book authors! There will be refreshments, prizes, and stories, presented by Shutta Crum -- celebrating the release of her most recent book, Mousling’s Words -- and Rhonda Gowler Greene, whose most recent title, Let’s Go ABC!: Things that Go, from A to Z, released on May 15th.
Praise for Mousling’s Words
"This earnest and encouraging title fits on the shelf of books for book- lovers, with just a bit of cat-and-mouse drama thrown into the happy-ending narrative." — Booklist
"...A tribute to the way books can unite even the unlikeliest of friends." —Publishers Weekly
About Mouseling’s Words
In this lively introduction to the pleasure of words, a timid young mouse's first trip out of the nest becomes a reading adventure. Mouseling has grown up surrounded by words, scraps of paper torn from menus. Once he leaves the nest, he decides that discovering words is his mission in life and finds more words than he can count, spelling and sounding them out, thrilled by each one. The library offers a treasure trove of words, also danger: a cat. When Mouseling realizes that the cat would rather know what's in the books than eat him for dinner, he starts reading aloud to the cat—the best gift he can give in exchange for the world of stories.
Praise for Let’s Go ABC!: Things that Go, from A to Z
"Creative and appealing . . . Each page consists of a singsonglike rhyme that makes for a jovial readaloud." - School Library Journal
"The featured letters are often incorporated into the vehicles or other parts of Kirk’s appealing digital illustrations, but when kids realize that the amiable, dressed-animal characters also represent those letters, naming them adds to the fun. . . . A versatile, enjoyable picture book for kids enthralled by vehicles." - Booklist
"It's the interactions among the cast of animals that generate the fun in the full-spread illustrations. There are lots of vehicle-themed alphabet books, but very few are as all-inclusive as this one is." - Kirkus Reviews
About Let’s Go ABC!: Things that Go, from A to Z
The alphabet comes to zooming, vrooming life with vehicles for every letter, A to Z! A big, boxy bus drives up for letter B, a kayak floats by for letter K, and a rocket blasts off for letter R. A fun and thrilling range of planes, trains, automobiles, and more take readers on a ride through this charming early-learning book.
Beloved picture book author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrator Daniel Kirk join forces for another classic rhyming story for every fan of things that go!
Stephanie Feldstein presents The Animal Lover’s Guide to Changing the World
Benefitting The Humane Society of Huron Valley Bountiful Bowls Program
With more than 7.5 billion people on the planet, wildlife is going extinct at the fastest rate since the dinosaurs. Three to four million dogs and cats are killed in shelters every year; billions of chickens, pigs, and cows are killed for food; and countless animals are killed in research labs or their habitat. The numbers are daunting, but there’s good news too! Even one person truly can make a difference without breaking the bank.
With Stephanie Feldstein's straightforward and encouraging guidance, readers will learn how to take action to create a better world for the animals we love. It starts with changes as simple as taking a shorter shower, skipping meat once a week, wearing "this" not "that," and extends all the way to online activism and politics.
The animals need us; so let's get on with some world changing!
E. Lawrence Abel presents John Wilkes Booth and the Women Who Loved Him
Before he shot the president of the United States and entered the annals of history as a killer, actor John Wilkes Booth had quite a way with women. There was the actress who cut his throat and almost killed him in a jealous rage. There was the prostitute who tried to kill herself because he abandoned her. There was the actress who would swear she witnessed him murdering Lincoln, even though she was thousands of miles away at the time. John Wilkes Booth was hungry for fame, touchy about politics, and a notorious womanizer. But this book isn't about John Wilkes Booth---not really. This book is about his women: women who were once notorious in their own right; women who were consumed by love, jealousy, strife, and heartbreak; women whose lives took wild turns before and after Lincoln's assassination; women whom have been condemned to the footnotes of history... until now.
Former EMU professor Gigi Langer presents 50 Ways to Worry Less Now
Join us for an event we could all use, as retired Eastern Michigan University professor Gigi Langer presents her book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection. Gigi will teach us two simple techniques to reduce our negative thinking, and answer questions before signing copies!
Praise for 50 Ways to Worry Less Now
“Langer's frank and empathetic tone will comfort readers, as will the practical steps she teaches in this tome.” --Featured Book, Publishers Weekly (BookLife)
“I've become reluctant to recommend personal growth books to my clients because so few seem to focus on taking action. Worry Less Now is different. Rather than setting herself up as the authority, it's clear that she works the strategies and tools as part of her ongoing growth. She comes across as warm, humorous, approachable, accepting, credible, and sincerely invested in the personal growth of her readers.” --Christine McCully, LMC, MA.
About 50 Ways to Worry Less Now
Thirty years ago, Gigi Langer was a prisoner of her worries who used alcohol, romance, and professional accomplishments to soothe her frayed nerves. When she stopped drinking, she began applying tools from therapy, recovery programs, scientific research, and a variety of philosophical and spiritual teachings to overcome her anxieties and stress.
Worry Less Now offers four life strategies and 50 eclectic tools to dissolve the whispered lies of negative self-talk. Although many books address negative thinking, very few give the reader step-by-step directions on how to defeat it. Others simply advocate a single approach.
With candor and humor, Langer describes a wide variety of strategies that helped her and others defeat dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, addiction, and worry about loved ones. As an award-winning writer and professor, Langer skillfully shares compelling stories and exercises that empower readers to:
-MANAGE life's most difficult challenges with calm wisdom
-CREATE relationships that blossom and thrive
-FULFILL your dreams without limitations
-SERVE others in their personal growth
Regardless of the situation, you'll be able to gain peace, clarity, and wisdom.
Join us for a book talk and signing with John U Bacon for his new book The Best of Bacon. Says John, “I wrote these stories between 1992 and 2018. They cover a dozen different sports for a dozen different media outlets, from the Ann Arbor News to National Public Radio, and they stretch from a couple pages to a dozen. But they have one thing in common: they all meant a lot to me when I wrote them, and they still do today.”
Talk & Signing with NYT Bestselling Poet Iain S. Thomas, aka pleasefindthis
Join us for an author talk with Iain S. Thomas ─ also known as pleasefindthis ─ the man behind I Wrote This For You, the blog turned into a bestselling poetry book phenomenon. Started 2007, I Wrote This For You is an acclaimed exploration of hauntingly beautiful words, photography and emotion that's unique to each person that reads it.
Praise for I Wrote This for You
"One of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Ever." —BT, Grammy Nominated Composer and Technologist
"This is me. This is you. This is us. This is every human being, past and present, old and young, of every ethnicity, race and faith. Our every complex human emotion translated into words. Someone knows and someone understands. This is the essence of what it truly means to be human." —Ethar El-Katatney, CNN African Journalist Of The Year, award-winning journalist, blogger and author
"The magnificent beauty of I Wrote This For You is quite simply this: the book is elegantly incomplete without you. No one else in the world can read it the way you do. No one." —Matthew E. May, author, The Elegant Solution, In Pursuit Of Elegance, The Shibumi Strategy
"I bought the I Wrote This For You book in actual, real-life paperback, and it soothes my soul. Buy it if you can." —Laura Prudom, Associate Editor, AOL/HuffPo TV
Clifford Costumed Character Story Time
Join us for a special costumed character story time with Clifford, the Big Red Dog, in honor of Children’s Book Week! We’ll read a Clifford story, and little ones will get a chance to meet Clifford. Parents are encouraged to bring cameras for pictures!