Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Celebrate My Bookstore

My Bookstore, the anthology published by Black Dog & Leventhal in support of booksellers across the country, came out November 13, and I'm making my way through it. So far, I've especially liked Richard Russo's introduction. His first bookstore, like mine, was a stationery store. "Alvord and Smith was a store for people who--though I couldn't have articulated it at the time--had aspirations beyond life in a grungy mill town...to me, bookstores, like my first one, remain places of genuine wonder...Bookstores, like libraries, are the physical manifestation of the wide world's longest, best, most thrilling conversation. The people who work in them will tell you who's saying what. If you ask,...they'll put in your hand something you just have to read, by someone you've never heard of, someone just now entering the conversation, who wants to talk to you about things that matter."

I'm also taken with Louise Erdrich's tale of a coffee date that led to browsing in Magers & Quinn Booksellers. Her date chose a Roethke collection for her. "Bookstore Lovers, I married him."

My sheep characters invaded my essay, pages 302-304, about Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor. We'll celebrate my bookstore, My Bookstore, and my book Elena's Story, at 7 p.m. on December 5. "Sheep Phone It In" concerns the limits of e-commerce, and comes to a happy end in the Westgate Shopping Center. You're invited.

Monday, November 26, 2012

More on Earthquake Relief in Quetzaltenango

The Riecken Foundation has posted these pictures of efforts made through the Huitán library to get supplies to families who lost their homes in the Guatemalan earthquake of November 7.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Earthquake Relief in Quetzaltenango

Guatemala has experienced two earthquakes in the past two weeks, and the area around Huitán, Quetzaltenango was hit hard. Biblioteca Comunitaria Mi Nuevo Mundo Huitán has been helping out in the relief efforts. Donations of food, clothing, and bedding have come to families whose homes were destroyed. We loved visiting the Huitán area, which inspired Elena's Story. Donations may be made to the Riecken Foundation, indicating Huitán relief. Here's more about the situation.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Writers on the River

The River Raisin flows next to Ellis Library & Reference Center, home of Writers on the River
The 14th annual Writers on the River book fair brought authors and book-buyers to the Monroe County Library System's Ellis branch yesterday. I loved being able to meet book enthusiasts. Kudos to MCLS for this event! Here are pictures of me and some of the young people's authors who came:
Sheep for sale--and Elena's Story, too
Debbie Taylor with the photo that inspired her picture book, Sweet Music in Harlem
Tracy Bilen with her new novel, What She Left Behind
Michael Monroe and Kalli Reid

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


If you're participating in National Novel Writing Month, here's some scenery to put you in the mood for communing with your inner self: a statue of Henry David Thoreau, by a reconstruction of his cabin near Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Raccoon Tune Concert

Here's Josh Penman, composer and performer of the symphony piece Raccoon Tune, with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra in yesterday's family concert.  Josh and two raccoon-masked percussionists marched down the aisle playing trash-can lids to start the tale of intrepid foraging, which leads to a frantic chase and ends with a triumphant feast of fish.

Josh writes that he was inspired by Howard Fine's artwork for my story: "This comes right from the cover of the book, where you can see three raccoons singing and banging on trash cans. How could I possibly resist that?"

The A2SO also played selections from The Lion King; and Saint-Saens's  Carnival of the Animals, featuring pianists Elizabeth and Sonya Schumann. Poets from Ann Arbor's Neutral Zone VOLUME Poetry Project recited verses they had written to accompany the Carnival music.

Thanks to the A2SO for bringing fresh creations from our community to the Michigan Theater and for playing so well!