As part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati Series, we welcome Zach Powers in support of his novel, First Cosmic Velocity, a stunningly imaginative novel about the Cold War, the Russian space program, and the amazing fraud that pulled the wool over the eyes of the world. Free and open to the public. Book signing to follow.
About the book: It’s 1964 in the USSR, and unbeknownst even to Premier Khrushchev himself, the Soviet space program is a sham. Well, half a sham. While the program has successfully launched five capsules into space, the Chief Designer and his team have never successfully brought one back to earth. To disguise this, they’ve used twins. But in a nation built on secrets and propaganda, the biggest lie of all is about to unravel.
By turns grim and whimsical, fatalistic and deeply hopeful, First Cosmic Velocity is a sweeping novel of the heights of mankind’s accomplishments, the depths of its folly, and the people–and canines–with whom we create family.
Zach Powers is the author of Gravity Changes, which won the BOA Short Fiction Prize, and his work has appeared in such places as American Short Fiction, Black Warrior Review, The Conium Review, and the Tin House blog. First Cosmic Velocity is his first novel.
As part of our ongoing Poetry at Literati Series, we welcome Valencia Robin in support of her debut collection, Ridiculous Light.
Valencia Robin’s first collection of poems, Ridiculous Light, won Persea Books’ 2018 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. A visual artist as well as a poet, her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in the New York Times, TriQuarterly, Foundry, Black Renaissance Noire, Kweli, The Cortland Review and elsewhere. Says Diana Whitney of the San Francisco Chronicle about Ridiculous Light: “These are praise poems for a dark time, musical poems that conjure up stories, transcendent poems to give to your mother, your lover, your friends, yourself.” The New York Times says: “The narrative lyrics in this debut collection travel from intimate to socio-historical and back again, finding room for routine wonders.” A Cave Canem Fellow, Valencia Robin holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia and an MFA in Art & Design from the University of Michigan. She currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. For more information, please see: valenciarobin.com
As part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati Series, we welcome Michigan author Caitlin Horrocks in support of her latest novel, The Vexations, A kaleidoscopic debut novel about love, family, genius, and the madness of art, circling the life of eccentric composer Erik Satie and La Belle Époque Paris, from a writer who is “wildly entertaining” (San Francisco Chronicle), “startlingly ingenious” (Boston Globe), and “impressively sharp” (New York Times Book Review). Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book: Erik Satie begins life with every possible advantage. But after the dual blows of his mother’s early death and his father’s breakdown upend his childhood, Erik and his younger siblings — Louise and Conrad — are scattered. Later, as an ambitious young composer, Erik flings himself into the Parisian art scene, aiming for greatness but achieving only notoriety.
As the years, then decades, pass, he alienates those in his circle as often as he inspires them, lashing out at friends and lovers like Claude Debussy and Suzanne Valadon. Only Louise and Conrad are steadfast allies. Together they strive to maintain their faith in their brother’s talent and hold fast the badly frayed threads of family. But in a journey that will take her from Normandy to Paris to Argentina, Louise is rocked by a severe loss that ultimately forces her into a reckoning with how Erik — obsessed with his art and hungry for fame — will never be the brother she’s wished for.
With her buoyant, vivid reimagination of an iconic artist’s eventful life, Caitlin Horrocks has written a captivating and ceaselessly entertaining novel about the tenacious bonds of family and the costs of greatness, both to ourselves and to those we love.
Caitlin Horrocks is the author of the story collection This Is Not Your City and a recipient of the O. Henry Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and the Plimpton Prize. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, the Paris Review, Tin House, One Story, and elsewhere and has been included in The Best American Short Stories. She lives with her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan
We welcome Kaitlin Sandeno, world champion swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, and former world record holder in support of her book with Dan D’Addona, Golden Glow: How Kaitlin Sandeno Achieved Gold in the Pool and in Life. Kaitlin uses her platform to help others, as the national spokesperson for the Jessie Rees Foundation, a coach for local youth teams, and general manager of the DC Trident. Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
Dan D’Addona is a writer and editor for Swimming WorldMagazine. He has covered swimming at all levels since 2003, including the NCAA championships, USA nationals, Duel in the Pool, and Olympic trials. D’Addona has won awards for sports journalism from The Associated Press and Michigan Press Association. He is also is the sports editor at The Holland Sentinel in Holland, Michigan, where he lives with his wife Corene and daughters Lena and Mara.
Kaitlin Sandeno Hogan is an American former competitive swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, world champion, and former world record-holder. She is the national spokesperson of the Jessie Rees Foundation, a motivational speaker, coach, sports commentator, emcee, host for world-class sporting events, and general manager of the DC Trident. She lives in Orange County, California, with her husband Peter.
The University of Michigan Transplant Center and Wolverines For Life present several authors/contributors of The Missing Piece: A Collection of Kidney Transplant Stories, as they share their experience as kidney donors or recipients.
The Missing Piece is a window into the world of kidney transplant recipients and donors. These powerful, first-hand accounts, written by patients at Michigan Medicine, provide frank glimpses into the highs and the lows experienced by those struggling with a life-altering illness. The contributing authors discuss the coping techniques that worked and those that did not; how they knew when it was time to consider dialysis; and, how they shared their experiences and news with family, friends, and even complete strangers in a quest for a donation from a living donor.
Attendees are encouraged to ask authors questions about their transplant experience, get a copy of their book signed, and join the organ donor registry to help support future transplant recipients.
If you are unable to attend but would still like to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, please visit www.golm.org/go/wfl. This event, a partnership with University of Michigan Transplant Center and Wolverines For Life, includes a book signing and books will be for sale at the event.
This event will be recorded
We welcome former Editor-in-Chief of Road & Track, Larry Webster, in support of his book Never Stop Driving. Signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book: With glorious photography and sharp writing, Never Stop Driving presents the case for the mental and social benefits of driving and engaging with automobiles. It also shows you–from dreaming about a car to living with it–how to jump in and get the most from your machine.
There’s never been a better time to go for a drive. As a nation, we are chronically overstressed, overworked, and not sleeping enough. Worse yet, our digital devices are taking ever increasing chunks of what remaining free time we do have. Activities that force us to engage with ourselves and the environment around us are needed more than ever.
Larry Webster is Hagerty Vice President of Content, where he oversees all print and web strategy. Webster is a longtime auto writer who ditched an engineering career for Car and Driver in 1994. Since then, he’s test driven a Formula 1 car, raced in the Baja 500, served as Automotive Editor at Popular Mechanics, and Editor-in-Chief of Road & Track. Webster resides with his family in Ann Arbor, MI.
A special joint meeting of our monthly Literati, Poetry, and Feminist Book Clubs!
Each club will meet in our second-floor events space to discuss August’s picks as usual. As always, you can purchase book club selections for 15% off the retail price.
During the event, each club’s moderator will also talk about their monthly book club to all guests–each club’s mission, selection process, upcoming picks for the fall, and more. Guests from these three book clubs will then have the opportunity to meet & greet over provided refreshments.
This a great opportunity to come to your normal book club while learning about our other book clubs, or–if you’re new to our book clubs–a chance to go through a complete meeting for one of them while learning about (and meeting participants from) all 3!
Feminist Book Club
We strive to foster a fun, thoughtful, and safe environment in which to discuss current issues surrounding feminism and equality.
This month, we’ll discuss The Old Drift, by Namwali Serpente
Poetry Book Club
Next to fostering a greater appreciation for poetry by reading poems aloud and sharing reflections, our other primary goal is to ensure that the book club space is safe, inclusive, and exciting
This month’s pick is A Piece of Good News, by Katie Peterson.
Literati Book Club
This month’s pick is Orange World and Other Stories, by Karen Russell!
We welcome Robert Mills to discuss JFK: The Last Speech, which explores the dramatic relationship between two seminal Americans–President John F. Kennedy and the poet Robert Frost–which reached its tragic climax in a surprising encounter with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War. Born out of these events is Kennedy’s remarkable speech about poetry and power, which alters the life course of a group of Amherst College classmates who witness this compelling address and continue to exemplify in their contemporary lives a portrait of the challenges facing America.
Roger M. Mills MD is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Pennsylvania medical school and completed his internal medicine training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. After serving in the United States Navy, he was a Research Fellow in cardiology at Harvard Medical School. He had a 30-year career in academic clinical cardiology, beginning in 1975 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA and including the University of Florida, where he was the medical director of the heart failure – heart transplant service and Professor of Medicine in the Cardiology Division. Before joining Scios in 2005, he was a staff cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
He lives in Dexter, MI with his wife, Katherine and their dog, Posie.
All invited to listen to guild members swap stories or bring their own to tell, at the AASG monthly meeting.
We welcome Jia Tolentino back to Ann Arbor in support of her debut collection of essays, Trick Mirror. A book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
Early praise for Trick Mirror:
“It’s easy to write about things as you wish they were–or as others tell you they must be. It’s much harder to think for yourself, with the minimum of self-delusion. It’s even harder to achieve at a moment like this, when our thoughts are subject to unprecedented manipulation, monetization, and surveillance. Yet Tolentino has managed to tell many inconvenient truths in Trick Mirror–and in enviable style. This is a whip-smart, challenging book that will prompt many of us to take a long, hard look in the mirror. It filled me with hope.”– Zadie Smith
“In Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino’s thinking surges with a fierce, electric lyricism. Her mind is animated by rigor and compassion at once. She’s horrified by the world and also in love with it. Her truths are knotty but her voice is crystalline enough to handle them. She’s always got skin in the game; she knows we all do. Her intelligence is unrelenting and full-blooded, a heart beating inside every critique. She refuses easy morals, false binaries, and redemptive epiphanies, but all that refusal is in the service of something tender, humane, and often achingly beautiful–an exploration of what we long for, how we long for it, and all the stories we tell ourselves along the way.” –Leslie Jamison, author of The Recovering
“It has been a consolation these last few years to know that no matter what was happening, Jia Tolentino would be writing about it, with a clear eye and a steady hand, a quick wit and a conscience, and in some of the best prose of her generation.” –Patricia Lockwood, author of Priestdaddy
Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Raised in Texas, she studied at the University of Virginia before serving in Kyrgyzstan in the Peace Corps and receiving her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. She was a contributing editor at The Hairpin and the deputy editor at Jezebel,and her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Grantland, Pitchfork, and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn.