The 2014 One Book One Community program begins in September. The Northern Michigan University family and residents of Marquette County are invited to read the selected title: "Detroit: An American Autopsy" by Charlie LeDuff. Print and audio copies of this book can be checked out of your library, interloaned from other libraries or purchased at local bookstores.
Indignant and passionate, journalist LeDuff returns to his hometown of Detroit after a 20-year absence to investigate the downturn of this once rich and powerful industrial city which he links to family losses as well. He demonstrates the consequences of corrupt and inept city government and economic globalization on the fire department, homeless people and ordinary families. His wicked portrayal of several former city officials is both very humorous and terribly sad. This angry, raw and tough book is a provocative and emotional read.
LeDuff will speak to the public at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in NMU's University Center's Great Lakes Rooms. Free admission.
Other free activities include "Motor City Music" with Dave Ziegner and friends at the library on Oct. 29, public book discussions and displays. Visit www.pwpl.info and click on the One Book One Community link, visit www.nmu.edu/onebook, or call 226-4309 for more information.
"Burn" is a 2012 action-packed DVD that takes the viewer into the fires and the lives of Detroit firefighters as they try to save the city in spite of being the most over-worked and under-funded fire department in the country. The firefighters show remarkable courage, risking injury and death as they deal with abandoned neighborhoods, arson and a crippling budget.
"Detroit: Race Riots, Racial Conflicts, and Efforts to Bridge the Racial Divide" by Joe T. Darden and Richard W. Thomas was named a Michigan Notable Book for 2014. This study looks at the history of racial conflict and cooperation in Detroit, attending to post-1967 social and political developments. It focuses not only on black/white relations but also on the movement of more recent groups to Detroit including Middle Eastern, Arab, Hispanic and Asian Americans.
Detroit-area native Mark Binelli's "Detroit City is the Place to be: the Afterlife of an American Metropolis" chronicles the history of Detroit including early French settlers, the rise and fall of the auto industry, revolutionary music makers, race riots, drug culture and current signs of renewal and hope. Detroit is attracting people and businesses willing to take risks such as urban planners, land speculators, environmentalists, agriculturalists and others who are working to reinvent Detroit, perhaps making it into a smaller, greener, less segregated and more economically diverse city.
"Making Callaloo in Detroit" by Lolita Hernandez is a magical melodic collection of short stories based on the author's memories of growing up in Detroit eating callaloo, dancing to calypso music and celebrating Ole Year's night. Hernandez's fiction explores how her Caribbean community made their way in a midwestern city far away from their sunny, saltwater roots.
If you want a view of what is currently happening in Detroit's art scene and you wish to meet the artists take a look at "Canvas Detroit" by Julie Pincus and Nichole Christian. This graphic designer and writer team present, in full-color, a dazzling array of hundreds of pieces of contemporary artwork in a variety of formats created by individual artists and collectives who find their inspiration in Detroit.
A second documentary from 2012, "Detropia," opens with a long look at what has happened to Detroit. In 1930 Detroit was the fastest growing city in the world and one of America's great cities. Now, however, it is losing residents more quickly than any other American city. The filmmakers speak with longtime residents who discuss the effects of class, race, politics and global economics on Detroit. They refuse to give up on their city and struggle to find creative ways to keep Detroit alive.
"A Detroit Anthology," edited by Anna Clark, an independent journalist living in Detroit, is a collection of Detroit essays, stories, poetry and photographs from a diverse group of writers and photographers who are lifelong residents, newcomers or former Detroiters. Collectively, they provide a collage of Detroit's past, present and future. In his essay, Joseph Lichterman writes of the Detroit his immigrant grandparents knew and made their city. Although Detroit is no longer that, he hopes maybe one day it will be his. In their essay "Planting Seeds of Hope" Grace Lee Boggs and Scott Kurashige believe their organization, Detroit Summer, will bring about a new vision and model of community activism and a significant urban agricultural movement in Detroit. Clark's introduction declares, "We are a city moving through the fire of transformation. We are afire. There is no place I would rather be."
I hope a million others feel this way, too.
By Cathy Sullivan Seblonka
Collection Development/Reference Librarian