Amanda Goldblatt will join Elizabeth Ellen in conversation to discuss her debut title, Hard Mouth.
About the Book
For ten years, Denny’s father has battled cancer. The drawn-out loss has forged Denny into a dazed, antisocial young woman. On the clock, she works as a lab tech, readying fruit flies for experimentation. In her spare time, only her parents, an aggressively kind best friend, and her blowhard imaginary pal Gene—who she knows isn’t real—ornament her stale days in the DC suburbs.
Now her father’s cancer is back for a third time, and he’s rejecting treatment. Denny’s transgressive reaction is to flee. She begins to dismantle her life, constructing in its place the fantasy of perfect detachment. Unsure whether the impulse is monastic or suicidal, she rents a secluded cabin in the mountains. When she discovers life in the wilderness isn’t the perfect detachment she was expecting—and that she isn’t as alone as she’d hoped—Denny is forced to reckon with this failure while confronting a new life with its own set of pleasures and dangerous incursions.
Morbidly funny, subversive, and startling, Hard Mouth, the debut novel from 2018 NEA
Creative Writing Fellow Amanda Goldblatt, unpacks what it means to live while others are dying.
About the Author
AMANDA GOLDBLATT is a writer and teacher living in Chicago. She is a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, and her fiction and essays have appeared in such journals as The Southern Review, NOON, Fence, Diagram, Hobart, and American Short Fiction. Hard Mouth is her debut novel.
About the Conversationalist
Elizabeth Ellen is the author of the novel Person/a, chosen by Lithub as a ‘best work of experimental literature’ for 2017. Her writing has been featured in such places as American Short Fiction, Salon, Bennington Review, BOMB, Joyland and Catapult. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for her story, “Teen Culture,” included in her most recent collection Saul Stories. In 2018, she published her poetry collection Elizabeth Ellen. She is the founder of Short Flight/Long Drive books (SF/LD) and is deputy editor at Hobart literary journal. Her first story collection—Fast Machine—is an indie cult classic. She lives in Ann Arbor.
We welcome Christina Milletti to the store for a reading from her Juniper Prize-winning novel Choke Box: A Fem-Noir, part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati Series. Free and open to the public, book signing to follow.
About the book: When Edward Tamlin disappears while writing his memoir, Jane Tamlin (his wife and the mother of his young children) begins to write a secret, corrective “counter-memoir” of her own. Calling the book Choke Box, she reveals intimate, often irreverent, details about her family and marriage, rejecting — and occasionally celebrating — her suspected role in her husband’s disappearance.
Choke Box isn’t Jane’s first book. From her room in the Buffalo Psychiatric Institute, she slowly reveals a hidden history of the ghost authorship that has sabotaged her family and driven her to madness. Her latest work, finally written under her own name, is designed to reclaim her dark and troubled story. Yet even as Jane portrays her life as a wife, mother, and slighted artist with sardonic candor, her every word is underscored by one belief above all others: the complete truth is always a secret. But the stories we tell may help us survive — if they don’t kill us first.
Christina Milletti is associate professor of English at the University at Buffalo and author of the short story collection The Religious & Other Fictions. Her work has appeared in the Iowa Review, Best New American Voices, the Masters Review, Denver Quarterly, the Cincinnati Review, and the Brooklyn Rail, among other outlets.
So what is “the faith that time forgot”? Have you ever wondered if there is more to the Christian story than you were taught? Are you a seeker for the truth, a truth that may very well lead beyond the well-worn paths of traditional religion? The Faith That Time Forgot presents new insights and alternative perspectives to many spiritual and theological issues, inviting you to come on a mystical, magical journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth. Go beyond your preconceived limitations and explore the reaches of the unknown. Much has been left in the shadows over the centuries. Much has been entombed, but not for eternity. Now is the time to bring light into this darkness and allow the silent shadows to speak. This is a quest for the Grail within yourself – your own Holy of Holies. Come join us! The journey continues! Books available for purchase in person or Kindle as well as paperback versions at Amazon. com.
Michigan native, Sarah R. Baughman shares her debut novel – A Light in the Lake, a compassionate story about grief, family and the possibility of magic.
About the Book
Twelve-year-old Addie should avoid Maple Lake. After all, her twin brother Amos drowned there only a few months ago. But its crisp, clear water runs in her veins, and the notebook Amos left behind, filled with clues about a mysterious creature in the lake’s inky-blue depths, keeps calling her back. She never took Amos seriously when he was alive, but doesn’t she owe it to him to figure out, once and for all, if there’s really something out there? When she’s offered a Young Scientist position studying the lake for the summer, Addie accepts, yearning for the cool wind in her hair and that sparkle on the lake, despite her parent’s misgivings.
Addie promises her parents that she’ll remain under the scientists’ supervision and stick to her job of helping them measure water pollution levels, but she can’t resist the secrets of Maple Lake. Addie enlists Tai, the son of one of the visiting scientists, to help her sneak off and investigate Amos’s evidence of the creature. The more time Addie spends out on the water, the more she discovers the same deep-down feeling Amos had about the magic in Maple Lake. But when the scientists trace the pollution to surrounding dairy farms, including the one run by her beloved aunt and uncle, Addie finds herself caught between her family’s interests and Maple Lake’s future and between the science she has always prized and the magic that brings her closer to her brother.
Brimming with hope, the agony of a child’s first experience with death, the beauty and enchantment of a summer spent lakeside, and pleasantly punctuated with STEM appeal, The Light in the Lake is an inspiring coming-of-age novel for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish, When You Reach Me, and The Fourteenth Goldfish. Sarah Baughman’s middle grade voice is pitch-perfect, and rarely do we see a first-time author with such a firm grasp on emotion and character. The Light in the Lake buoys themes of grief and the afterlife, while empowering brave readers to explore possibilities and wonder.
About the Author
Sarah R. Baughman is a former middle and high school English teacher who now works as an educational consultant and author. She graduated from Grinnell College and the University of Michigan, then went on to teach English overseas in three different countries – China, Bolivia, and Germany. After six years in rural Vermont, Sarah now lives with her husband and two children in her home state of Michigan, where she spends as much time as possible in the woods and water. The Light in the Lake is her first novel.
Shachar Pinsker, professor, Judaic Studies and Middle East Studies, University of Michigan discusses his book A Rich Brew: How Cafes Created Modern Jewish Culture. The book explores the ways in which cafes provide a window into understanding modern Jewish culture and modernity. Through its focus on Jewish cafe culture in six cities: Odessa, Warsaw, Vienna, Berlin, New York, and Tel Aviv, we see how Jews who migrated to cities gravitated towards cafes as important spaces and sites for producing Jewish culture. It is a story of the global aspects of Jewish modernity, what it means to be part of the public sphere, and the ways in which cafes present an important backdrop to the changes and challenges of modernity.
This event includes a book signing and books will be for sale. This event is in partnership with the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor (CHAA), an organization of scholars, cooks, food writers, nutritionists, collectors, students, and others interested in the study of culinary history and gastronomy. Their mission is to promote the study of culinary history through regular programs open to members and guests, through the quarterly newsletter Repast, and through exchanges of information with other such organizations.
We welcome University of Michigan professor Alexandra Minna Stern to discuss her new book, Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right is Warping the American Imagination, which Kirkus calls “An important study that extends the knowledge from other recent books that have demonstrated a stubbornly pervasive network of white nationalists.”
About the book: What is the alt-right? What do they believe, and how did they take center stage in the American social and political consciousness?
From a loose movement that lurked in the shadows in the early 2000s, the alt-right has achieved a level of visibility that has allowed it to expand significantly throughout America’s cultural, political, and digital landscapes. Racist, sexist, and homophobic beliefs that were previously unspeakable have become commonplace, normalized, and accepted—endangering American democracy and society as a whole. Yet in order to dismantle the destructive movement that has invaded our public consciousness, we must first understand the core beliefs that drive the alt-right.
To help guide us through the contemporary moment, historian Alexandra Minna Stern excavates the alt-right memes and tropes that have erupted online and explores the alt-right’s central texts, narratives, constructs, and insider language. She digs to the root of the alt-right’s motivations: their deep-seated fear of an oncoming “white genocide” that can only be remedied through swift and aggressive action to reclaim white power. As the group makes concerted efforts to cast off the vestiges of neo-Nazism and normalize their appearance and their beliefs, the alt-right and their ideas can be hard to recognize. Through careful analysis, Stern brings awareness to the underlying concepts that guide the alt-right and animate its overlapping forms of racism, xenophobia, transphobia, and anti-egalitarianism. She explains the key ideas of “red-pilling,” strategic trolling, gender essentialism, and the alt-right’s ultimate fantasy: a future where minorities have been removed and “cleansed” from the body politic and a white ethnostate is established in the United States. By unearthing the hidden mechanisms that power white nationalism, Stern reveals just how pervasive this movement truly is.
Professor Stern is the author of the prize-winning book Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America, (University of California Press, 2005) and Telling Genes: The Story of Genetic Counseling in America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012) is a Choice 2013 Outstanding Academic Title in Health Sciences.
We welcome University of Michigan Professor Susan J. Douglas in support of her new book, Celebrity: A History of Fame. Free and open to the public, book signing to follow.
About the book: Today, celebrity culture is an inescapable part of our media landscape and our everyday lives. This was not always the case. Over the past century, media technologies have increasingly expanded the production and proliferation of fame. Celebrity explores this revolution and its often under-estimated impact on American culture. Using numerous precedent-setting examples spanning more than one hundred years of media history, Douglas and McDonnell trace the dynamic relationship between celebrity and the technologies of mass communication that have shaped the nature of fame in the United States.
Susan J. Douglas is the Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Communication Studies at The University of Michigan. She is the author of five books, including The Rise of Enlightened Sexism (2010), Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination (1999) and Where The Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media (1994).
After writing 9 books about the joy of canoeing & kayaking rivers, lifelong Michigan resident Doc Fletcher moves to dry land for his latest book: The History of Tiger Stadium: A Love Letter to Baseball at Michigan & Trumbull, honoring The Cathedral at The Corner where – together with great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, siblings, children, godchildren, & friends – we have cheered our Detroit Tigers. Although the structure is gone, the memories remain…
“It was a night game, the field a shade of green that was the most beautiful color I’d ever seen, the smells, sounds, and sights of the pre-game action delightfully overwhelming… the air filled with the bouquet of hot dogs, spilt beer, and a cigar aroma much like that of the House of Windsor stogies preferred by my Dad. Cries of the vendors peddling those items pierced the air. Several Tigers were engaged in a game of pepper along the box seats down the right field foul line, as nearby Bill Freehan tossed a ball back ‘n forth with a teammate, entertaining the fans by playfully catching the ball behind his back.”
Doc will share stories from the book of the characters on the field, in the stands, and those in the neighborhoods surrounding the ballpark, as well as about the broadcasters who brought the action to us when we couldn’t be there ourselves.
This event includes a book signing and books will be for sale.
Ann Arbor Natives Polly Rosenwaike and Cody Walker are joining us in conversation around their most recent works. Polly will be sharing her beautifully written series of stories about… conception and Cody, he will share his brilliantly written comedic poetry.
Author: Polly Rosenwaike
Title: Look How Happy I’m Making You
A candid, ultimately buoyant debut story collection about the realities of the “baby years,” whether you’re having one or not.
The women in Polly Rosenwaike’s Look How Happy I’m Making You want to be mothers, or aren’t sure they want to be mothers, or—having recently given birth—are overwhelmed by what they’ve wrought. Sharp and unsettling, wry and moving in its portrayal of love, friendship, and family, this collection expands the conversation about some of women’s most intimate experiences.
Author: Cody Walker
Title: The Trumpiad
The new U.S. president doesn’t read books, but for everyone else, there’s Cody Walker’s The Trumpiad, a blistering and hilarious take on America’s political collapse. Key Difference: I wouldn’t lump / Trump / in with Hitler and Mussolini. / Trump’s hands are littler. (They’re teeny.) The Trumpiad will be published on April 29th 2017, which, if no one manages to stop him, will mark Trump’s 100th day in office.
About the Authors
Polly Rosenwaike’s story collection, Look How Happy I’m Making You, was a featured book pick in O Magazine, Ms., People, and New York Magazine. Her stories, reviews, and essays have been published in The O. Henry Prize Stories, Glimmer Train, New England Review, The Cut, the New York Times Book Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, Lit Hub, and The Millions. She is the fiction editor of the Michigan Quarterly Review.
Cody Walker directs the Creative Writing Sub-concentration at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He’s the author of two full-length poetry collections—The Self-Styled No-Child and Shuffle and Breakdown—and a chapbook, The Trumpiad. (The chapbook doubles as a fundraiser for the ACLU.) His work appears in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and The Best American Poetry. He’s the co-director of the Bear River Writers’ Conference and the co-editor of Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest.