The Michigan Books Project: February

MBPThe Little Free Library

The Little Free Library is a remarkable organization my roommate illuminated me to recently, and I am excited to say Michigan has around twenty-five! The map shows a heavy dispersion of libraries around Traverse City, Ann Arbor, the metro-Detroit area, and Flint. These micro-libraries are found all around the world, and the organization promotes the free exchange of books, a focus on universal literacy, and to encourage communities to read together. The libraries almost look like birdhouses, making them a bit surreptitious, but check out the map to find little free libraries close to you. Their official website also has kits and designs for how to build your own and register a library on the map. (Grand Rapids seems noticeably untouched, hint hint)

57th Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday, April 7, in Lansing, Mich.

Old books fascinate me. Reading a rare, odorous, foxed, dog-eared, coffee-stained, crispy-paged, antediluvian, severed-spine edition of a novel gives me some nebulous sense of connection. I feel as if I am relating to that book, understanding its origins, and feeling a history through it. To sound prosaic, I believe old books have character. The Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper show is almost like a museum, allowing us to view gorgeous books in limited editions, signed copies, their original printing, and in their uninhibited, aging, ragged glory. I worked this show a couple years ago, and remember staring at a signed first edition of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest for what must have been an hour. (Unfortunately for me it was valued at $7,500) Anyway, this show will give you a chance to check out some amazing pieces of literary history.

Featured Author: Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison is a Michigan native from Grayling, and a graduate of Michigan State University. He is a prolific poet and novelist known for writing about the struggles of nature in relation to man, also known for his knowledge of food and cooking, which reveals itself in his writing. His best-known work is perhaps Legends of the Fall. He often writes about rural areas, including several books that take place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Admittedly, I am slightly behind on my reading this month. Sorry readers! I got distracted reading Christopher Isherwood. I am currently reading a collection of novellas by Harrison entitled The Farmer’s Daughter. I have found myself intrigued by Harrison’s vivid yet direct prose that frequently focuses on developing landscapes and animals as characters. In The Farmer’s Daughter, farm animals and dogs have particular personalities that correlate well with the descriptions of rural America. More so, Harrison’s straightforward attention to human motivations, including blatant and powerful descriptions of human sexuality, makes the characters seem unscripted and believable. While Harrison’s young female protagonist, Sarah Holcomb, is precocious, she still has a sense of naiveté and inexperience that make her relatable. Also, while Harrison eruditely references a hodgepodge of literature, it doesn’t come off venomous or intentionally isolating. It’s as if Harrison is giving us some insight into his own literary history. I am very excited to read the next couple novellas in this collection, and can’t wait to read more of his work.

Aram Mrjoian,Feature Writer

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