Balthazar Korab Fans Invited to BPL Event With Author Comazzi

Korab Photo 2Baldwin Public Library is pleased to announce that John Comazzi – author of Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography – will pay a special visit to Baldwin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, for a book talk and question-and-answer period.  Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event courtesy of Book Beat.

Mr. Comazzi is visiting the Baldwin Public Library as part of the Library of Michigan’s 2013 Michigan Notable Authors Tour. The authors whose engaging works were chosen as Michigan Notable Books selections will visit nearly 50 libraries throughout the state.

“It’s a treat to have Mr. Comazzi in our community, sharing his captivating work in such an open, accessible way.  Given the strong local interest in the work of Balthazar Korab, we are delighted to host Mr. Comazzi on the Michigan Notable Authors Tour,” said Doug Koschik, Library Director.

“This year’s Michigan Notable Books delve into wonderfully diverse topics and offer something of interest for just about everyone,” said State Librarian Nancy R. Robertson.

Mr. Comazzi is an Associate Professor of Architecture in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota.  He received a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Virginia and both a M.Arch and M.S. in Architecture History and Theory from the University of Michigan.  He teaches at the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor.

The Baldwin Public Library is located at 300 W. Merrill St. in downtown Birmingham.  For details about this author event, call 248-554-4650 or visit the Web at www.baldwinlib.org.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries and universities. It matters.

– Posted by Megan Shaffer, courtesy of Baldwin Public Library

Acclaimed Author Thomas Lynch to Read his Latest at Local Commemoration

Thomas Lynch*

Elaine Morse was a long-time Birmingham resident and much-loved member of the community until her death in April 2012.  She had the knack of inspiring joy and respect in those around her.

Among her many contributions to the Birmingham area was her service on the boards of the Baldwin Public Library and the Friends of the Birmingham Historical Museum & Park. “Everyone associated with Baldwin is pleased and honored to be offering this event in memory of Elaine, who accomplished so much for the Library and the rest of Birmingham,” said Doug Koschik, Library Director.

On Sunday, October 28 at 2 p.m., the Baldwin Public Library will commemorate Elaine by hosting a poetry reading in her honor.  At this program, the critically-acclaimed author, Thomas Lynch will read from his two most recent books of poems, Walking Papers and The Sin-Eater: A Breviary.

Thomas Lynch is a writer and funeral director from Milford, Michigan. His first book of nonfiction, The Undertaking, won the American Book Award and the Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Award.  Another of his books, Bodies in Motion and at Rest, won the Great Lakes Book Award.  Two more, Booking Passage and Apparition and Late Fictions, were named Notable Books by the Library of Michigan.

Naturally, copies of Mr. Lynch’s books will be available for purchase and signing at the reading courtesy of Book Beat Bookstore. The Baldwin Public Library is located in downtown Birmingham at 300 W. Merrill Street and can be reached at 248-647-1700 or through the Library’s website at www.baldwinlib.org.

*Photo taken from McLean & Eakin

– Event information provided in conjunction with the Baldwin Public Library

Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

Post by Megan Shaffer

Book Lovers Grab a Bite for Great Cause at Baldwin!

Don’t miss Baldwin Public Library’s Books & Bites at Baldwin fundraiser this week! On Thursday, October 18, 2012, local restaurants will come together to feature fine food and drink in Baldwin’s Grand Hall in hopes of raising money for the library. This year, the event’s proceeds will fund an upgrade of Baldwin’s teen area.

Last year, which marked the first Books & Bites at Baldwin, drew a capacity crowd and raised enough money for a renovation of the Early Learning Corner in the Youth Room. Tickets are available for $50.00 each and sponsorship opportunities are available as well. For a complete list of sponsors and more information on how you can get involved, link to www.baldwinlib.org/booksbites.

The Baldwin event begins at 6:00 p.m. and reservations are necessary. Baldwin Public Library is located at 300 West Merrill in Birmingham. For more information you can contact Josh Rouan at 248-554-4683.

*Support your local bookstores, library, and universities. It matters.

– Post by Megan Shaffer

Baldwin Public Library Presents ‘Greetings from Michigan’

     Book Beat and the Baldwin Public Library present Greetings from Michigan, an afternoon with four Michigan authors of young adult literature.  Amy AckleyTracey BilenBeth Neffand Lara Zielin will be at the Baldwin Public Library (300 W. Merrill Street, Birmingham, MI 48009) from 1:30 to 3:30 pm  on Tuesday, July 24.  Combat any summer doldrums with an opportunity to meet four fresh new faces in the world of young adult fiction. Three of these new books take place in Michigan! For More Information: click here

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Information taken from the Book Beat Summer Newsletter and posted by Megan Shaffer

Natalie Taylor Brings ‘Signs of Life’ to Birmingham Biggby Coffee

Signs of Life: A MemoirWhat do you do if you’re 24 years old, five months pregnant, and your husband suddenly – tragically – dies? If you’re Natalie Taylor, you write one honestly good book. Yes, we all know that shelves sag with overdone memoirs of tainted childhoods, deeds done wrong, and ruined lives, but Taylor defies the dark and opts to soar instead with this tight uplifter, Signs of Life.

Natalie’s husband Josh Taylor died on Father’s Day of 2007. He was 27 years old, married to the woman he loved, and happily awaiting the birth of their first child. Who would have thought that a quick blow to the back of his head while Carveboarding would put an end to his own life just as the one he created was beginning to bloom?

Signs of Life is the narrative compilation of Natalie Taylor’s journal entries that span the year following her husband’s death, yet Taylor’s pragmatic approach toward handling her grief is precisely what lands Signs of Life in its own little camp of the genre. Though Taylor’s voice cuts with pure pain and candor, she unwittingly softens the blow with her straight-forward sincerity and unwavering humor.

“When I decide to do something, I want it done quickly. I do not dilly-dally. When Dr. G. told me that grief takes time, I wanted to say, ‘But what about for the smart kids?’ I took Advanced Placement Calculus in high school. Let’s talk Advanced Placement Grief. But one of the first things I realize about this stupid emotion is that AP Grief does not exist. Time goes by, weeks pass, a month passes, my belly grows, my hair grows, but when I wake up in the morning it feels exactly the same. Grief goes at its own speed.”

As Taylor begins to piece together the brokenness of her life, the fog of her grief lifts just enough to reveal a bit more of both herself and the world around her. Through Josh’s death, Taylor is inadvertently exposed to life outside of the insulated bubble in which she grew up. Instead of self-absorption with her own sorrows, Taylor finds in herself an unexpected wellspring of compassion and understanding for all walks of life.

Taylor is a high school English teacher, and she structures Signs of Life around the books she teaches and those that pass through her hands the year after Josh’s death. Seeking solace through literature, Taylor looks to some heavy hitters for help. Alice Walker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ralph Waldo Emerson are but a few of the many authors who step up to hold Taylor’s grieving hand.

Also balanced by the support of some killer friends and family, Taylor puts you on a nickname basis with Ads, Matthews, Moo and more, but it’s never overdone. Taylor’s memoir is incredibly fresh and breathes life and hilarity into the not-so-funny-at-all realm of death, darkness and grief. While Signs of Life is based on Josh Taylor’s terribly sad and untimely death, one can’t miss the budding evolution of a determined woman, a beautiful baby boy, and the incredible ongoing power of life.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

– Post by Megan Shaffer

Bruce Allen Kopytek Brings “Jake’s” Back to Birmingham – ‘Jacobson’s: I Miss It So!’

Jacobson's: I Miss It So!I clearly remember sunny strolls through the streets of Birmingham as a young girl. Hoping to hit my dad up for a new pair of Levi’s at Here and Now, popping into Machus for their famous savory salad, or ogling the infinite selection of Pappagallo purse covers  were often on my little shopping list of likes as we walked easy around 1980’s downtown Birmingham.

The one store that I never had to plead a visit to was Jacobson’s. If you lived in the Birmingham area, you’ll recall that Jacobson’s, in it’s day, was a fashionable destination that offered everything from wedding gowns to baby booties. Elegant sales men and women would efficiently assist as you browsed, quietly calculate your totals on small hand-written pads, and deftly tissue your purchases and send you on your way.

From it’s opening in 1950 until it’s closing in 2002, “Jake’s” was a mainstay of  Birmingham’s bustling retail district. The modest store that began in Reed City, Michigan in 1868 not only expanded across the state, but into the hearts and memories of its patrons as well.

Shelby Township author and architect Bruce Allen Kopytek has carved a unique literary niche for himself as a department store historian. Kopytek’s interest in department stores that either no longer exist or have changed beyond recognition are, in fact, the impetus behind his book Jacobson’s: I Miss It So! The Story of a Michigan Fashion Institution (The History Press).

Kopytek’s Jacobson’s: I Miss It So! takes a look at the much loved Michigan institution, the various buildings and personalities behind the upscale outfitter, and Nathan Rosenfeld, the retail genius behind it all. Kopytek’s nostalgic retail story and study Jacobson’s: I Miss It So! was also recently selected as a 2012 Michigan Notable Book.

Though Jacobson’s no longer  exists physically, Mr. Kopytek has managed to preserve it virtually. If you have the time, it is well worth a visit to Kopytek’s blog, the Department Store Museum. This online site  is a beauty designed to pay homage to “America’s great, late-lamented department stores.” Other stores featured include Gimbels, I. Magnin & Co., and Sage-Allen with fabulous pictures and intriguing information.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

– Post by Megan Shaffer

Women’s National Book Association Hosts Hot Authors Bonnie Jo Campbell and Samuel Park at BPL

Cover ImageFans of fiction opted out of the beautiful sunshine this past weekend to head indoors instead. Why? Authors Bonnie Jo Campbell and Samuel Park were in town for a reading and signing of their latest books as part of the Women’s National Book Association 2011 National Reading Group Month.

Baldwin Public Library played host to both authors Sunday in celebration of the WNBA Detroit Chapter’s October programming. Bonnie Jo Campbell and Samuel Park, who recently released Once Upon A River and This Burns My Heart respectively, read to an appreciative audience followed by a discussion and Q&A session regarding their latest novels.

Michigan author Bonnie Jo Campbell has received numerous awards and was a finalist  for the 2009 National Book Award for fiction. Once Upon A River, Campbell’s fourth published book, is an absolute stunner and tells the troubled story of sixteen-year-old Margo Crane.

Cover Image“I wanted to write the most American book I could,” said Campbell of Once Upon A River. Campbell’s main character Margo invokes the spirit of Annie Oakley, and hones her skills as a sharpshooter to navigate the ebb and flow of her hardscrabble life. Like Margo, Campbell grew up along the rivers of Michigan and used her intimate knowledge of river life to flesh out her story.

Samuel Park, who is an assistant professor of English at Columbia College, flew in from Chicago to discuss his debut novel This Burns My Heart. Based on stories from his mother’s life, This Burns My Heart is set in South Korea in the 1960’s and centers on the young woman Soo-Ja Choi who is bound by both marriage and culture.

“This book is about permanence of choice,” said Park of his post-Korean War novel. After Park’s own mother told him she turned down a promising suitor the very day before her wedding, Park became intrigued with the idea of choice and how many possibilities life can hold based on the decisions we make.

Both Campbell and Park are easy at the mic and were incredibly engaging. Plenty of laughs were shared as the authors took ample time to field personal questions and speak sincerely about the challenges of publishing, the pressures of writing and the painstaking wait for those early reviews.

Naturally, copies of Once Upon A River and This Burns My Heart were available for sale from Colleen Kammer of Book Beat Bookstore. It is certainly of note that Kammer is the recipient of the 2011 Detroit WNBA Bookwoman Award.

This Baldwin Public Library event was taped and will be made available on the BPL site in the near future.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

Hot Authors on Tap at Baldwin Public Library

Cover ImageOne of the biggest bummers of Borders closing its doors is that it provided a great spot for hosting big-title events where readers could get up close and personal with the authors they love to read. However, we all know that the closing of one door often leads to the opening – or awareness – of another, and it’s none other than our very own public libraries that continuously provide top-notch programming and events.

As always, Baldwin Public Library has a number of fantastic author events planned, and this October is shaping up to be a stellar month. Author Jaimy Gordon will be at the BPL on October 2, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. for a book talk and signing of her novel Lord of Misrule. Dr. Gordon, who is a professor Western Michigan University, won the 2010 National Book Award for Lord of Misrule, which offers a gritty glimpse into the seedier side of small-time horse racing.

Cover ImageAlso on tap is author Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of the recently released novel Once Upon A River. Campbell’s American Salvage was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction and a 2010 Michigan Notable Book as well. Campbell will appear at Baldwin Public Library on Sunday, October 9 at 2 p.m. Cover Image

Appearing with Campbell is Chicago author Samuel Park. Park’s debut novel, This Burns My Heart, is both romance and literary drama set in 1960’s South Korea and has been called “quietly stunning,” “smart,” and a “visceral romance.”

It is of note that both Gordon and Campbell live in Michigan and have brought much recognition to the incredible literary talent that resides right here in our state. In addition, Wayne State University Press received some well-deserved applause as publisher of American Salvage.

Naturally, Book Beat Bookstore will be stationed at all events with available copies on hand for purchase and signing. A Night Light Revue reader recap: Gordon’s book is a stretch for traditional readers, but I thought it was excellent and strongly recommend the title. I have yet to read American Salvage, but Once Upon A River now sits on my list of all time favorites. I haven’t read Park’s book yet, but you can link here for a full review.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries and universities. It matters.

– Post by Megan Shaffer

Related Links

-Christopher Walton’s article:  Critics are raving over Kalamazoo author Bonnie Jo Campbell’s new novel

‘The Known World’ Falls Flat for Friends Book Group

DetailsIt had been a while since my last visit it to the Friends Don’t Let Friends Read Alone book group discussion at Zuma Coffee House in Birmingham. The Baldwin Public Library’s monthly group met just last week, so I made it a point to pull up a chair and join the conversation on their latest pick The Known World by Edward P. Jones.

Jones’s Pulitzer Prize winner apparently didn’t have quite the same awe-inspiring effect on the book club as it did on the literary masses. While it was agreed by all that The Known World certainly deserves the nod it received globally for its content, the heavy-hitting work of fiction made a much softer thud among the group at Zuma.

Though the Friends had mixed reviews regarding The Known World, the book decidedly paved the way for interesting paths of digression. Haves versus have-nots, indentured servants, modern day slaves, and racial passing were just a few of the many hot topics that kept the coffee and conversation flowing.

For some readers finishing a book and moving right on to the next title simply isn’t enough. Readers often feel the need to dig a little deeper and hash out the themes and meanings behind different authors and their works; for this the book club is key.

While there are some who equate the idea of a good book discussion with that of a solid snooze, many of us who voraciously read find it nothing but narcotic. Attempting to fit the literary pieces of a written work into the larger puzzle of life is not a thundering headache, but rather a nice pop of head candy in an otherwise “think for you” world.

The Friends group is an easy, ever-changing, laid back bunch. However, if you’re more the solitary type there are a couple of smart book groups online that have caught my eye over the past few months. I haven’t participated in any of them but Algonquin, The New Yorker, and NPR all offer interactive sites where readers can engage.

If you are interested in joining the next Friends Don’t Let Friends Read Alone book group discussion, it will take place at Zuma Coffee House in Birmingham on Tuesday, June 21st at 7:00 pm. Kathryn Bergeron, who hosts the monthly meetings, has announced The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows as the next selection. Copies are available at the Baldwin Public Library.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

‘Friends of the Library’ are Friends Indeed

Book lovers turned out en masse last Saturday morning looking to add a few new titles to their personal collections. On what was an absolutely flawless Spring morning, I was just one of many local bibliophiles who opted out of the brilliant sunshine for a little stint of shopping on the lower level of the Baldwin Public Library.

We all need friends, but no one does it quite like Baldwin’s Friends of the Library when it comes to their Semi-Annual Used Book Sale. The excitement was palpable as book enthusiasts eagerly thumbed, browsed, and flipped through more than 10,000 books looking for literary treasures. Be it novel, cookbook, movie, or music, the Friends had it all broken down and categorized into tight, tidy sections allowing patrons the opportunity to snag prime hardcovers and paperbacks for just a few bucks a book.

With library funds dwindling, bookstores closing, and the surge of e-books, many avid readers are now looking toward used book sales as a way to stockpile their reading stash while also contributing to a great cause. Friends of the Library treasurer Joe Wolf expected some 600-700 book buyers to move through Baldwin during the weekend’s Spring sale, and said the 2010 Fall sale made about $13,000.

In our tight economy, the Friends of the Library play an integral role in financing library programs, above and beyond the library’s budget. All proceeds from the Friends’ sales go directly to library programs and materials. Author visits, summer reading programs, movie screenings, and Everyone’s Reading  programs are just a sampling of the extended list of gifts the Friends provide. Simply stated by one of Baldwin’s librarians, “We couldn’t do it without them.”

If you’re looking to contribute on either end, the next used book sale will take place in November. The Friends accept books, CDs, DVDs, and GameBoys in excellent to good condition. If you have donations, you can leave them on the shelves by the elevator doors on Baldwin’s main floor. Tax receipts for donations can also be requested at the Circulation Desk.

If you can’t wait until November for the next big used book sale, you might want to check out Bookstock in Livonia next week. All proceeds benefit literacy and education initiatives for our local communities.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer