Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads: Present and Past

On Tuesday, January 21, from 7-9 pm at Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building, Ruta Sepetys, author of Between Shades of Gray, this year's AA/Ypsi Reads selection, discusses her book as well as signs copies. (With doors opening at 6 pm.)

But you can explore previous AA/Ypsi Reads authors right now. Our online Video Collection includes the AA/Ypsi Reads lectures from Jonathan Weiner, author of the 2006 selection The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Own Time, William Poy Lee, author of the 2008 selection The Eighth Promise: An American Son's Tribute to His Toisanese Mother, Timothy Ferris, author of the 2009 selection Seeing in the Dark: How Amateur Astronomers are Discovering the Wonders of the Universe, Jerry Dennis, author of the 2010 selection The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, and Richard Glaubman, co-author of the 2011 selection Life is So Good.

There are also audio podcasts featuring interviews with Timothy Ferris, Jerry Dennis, and Richard Glaubman.

And if you're looking to expand your AA/Ypsi Reads horizons beyond the authors, check out the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Video Collection Page containing related lectures and discussions from the past nine years.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2014 is Here!

January and February are Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads months. AA/Ypsi Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book.

This year's theme is A Very Good Read and the chosen book is Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, the story of a Lithuanian teen during WWII whose life is torn apart when the Soviets invade her home.

Check out the AA/Ypsi Reads webpage featuring resources, upcoming events and upcoming discussions.

Read Current Magazine's interview with Ruta Sepetys.

And don't miss this month's events:
Thursday, January 9, 7-8:30 pm at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room
U-M History Professor Brian Porter-Szucs provides rich background and broader context for the book's milieu as he discusses WWII In Eastern Europe.

Tuesday, January 21, 7-9 pm at Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building
Author Ruta Sepetys discusses her book as well as signs copies. The doors open at 6 pm.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2014: the final two!


The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads screening committee has narrowed this coming year's read to two finalists, with the theme A Very Good Read. A panel of well-known locals – musician Mark Braun (Mr. B); radio and TV personality Lucy Ann Lance, Ann Arbor Chronicle publisher Mary Morgan, Ann Arbor City Council Member Sally Petersen, and Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber – will be reading the two books "The Garden of Evening Mists" and "Between Shades of Gray" to determine just will be selected.

You, too, have a say – just head on over to aaypsireads.org and leave a comment about which book you'd prefer! The selection committee will be keeping an eye out for your feedback.

Take a quick look at the descriptions of our two finalists:

The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng: Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice "until the monsoon comes." Then she can design a garden for herself. As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to the gardener and his art, while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the Garden of Evening Mists remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys: Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life--until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?

The official read will take place in January through February 2014. For more information, check out aaypsireads.org.

Suggest a Title for AA/Ypsi Reads 2014

The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book.

The 2014 Reads theme is A Very Good Read and will highlight a work of fiction. Suggest a title for a ‘Very Good Read’ to the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads planning committees (by June 30) and your suggestion just might be this year's title!

Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads 2013 Book Discussion

Tuesday February 19, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

Join us for an open discussion of the book that is the focus of this year's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads - "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander.

This discussion, led by Ann Arbor District Library staff, will examine this stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status--denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.

This event is for adults and teens (grade 9 and up).

Film & Discussion: Broken On All Sides

Matthew Pillischer, director of this 2012 documentary, will lead a discussion after a screening of the film. Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration and New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S. focuses on mass incarceration in the U.S. and racial inequalities in the criminal justice system. It discusses the theory that mass incarceration has become "The New Jim Crow" by targeting people of color and allowing much of the discrimination that was legal in the Jim Crow era to be applied to "criminals."

Using interviews with people on many sides of the criminal justice system--including Michelle Alexander the author of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads book, The New Jim Crow-- the film attempts to answer and provoke questions about the American penal system.

Cosponsored by the UM Community Scholars Program.

Thursday, February 21 | 6 - 8:30 PM | Grade 9 - Adult | Downtown Library Lower Level Multi-Purpose Room

11th Annual Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Event At Washtenaw Community College

Thursday February 7, 2013: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Washtenaw Community College - Morris Lawrence Building 4800 East Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105 (map)

This 11th annual event focuses on the 2013 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads book selection "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander and will also explore this year's theme Understanding Race.

The Keynote Speaker will be one of America's most influential civil rights attorneys - Connie Rice, Co-Director for the Advancement Project, Los Angeles, and renowned for her unconventional approaches to tackling problems of inequity and exclusion. Rice is also the author of "Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones".

Doors for this event will open at 6 pm to offer the opportunity to connect with local community agencies and representatives who will be staffing resource tables in the lobby. There will also be time following the event to interact with these local organizations. Copies of "The New Jim Crow" and "Power Concedes Nothing" will be for sale and the event will include a book signing.

Film & Discussion: Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix of Race and Identity

Blacking Up explores racial identity through the lens of hip-hop music and culture.
This 2010 documentary examines the popularity of hip-hop among America's white youth, and considers whether this reflects
new racial understanding in white America or reinforces an ugly history of stereotypes.

The director, Robert A. Clift is a filmmaker from Washington, DC, whose previous film, Stealing Home: The Case of Cuban Baseball, appeared nationally on PBS.
He is currently writing his dissertation for the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University

A discussion will follow the film.
Cosponsored by the UM Community Scholars Program
Thursday, January 31, 6:00 - 8:30 PM | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Learn How To Host Your Own Book Discussion: Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads: "The New Jim Crow" Book Discussion Training

Sunday, January 13, 2013: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room AB

Are you interested is planning and hosting an Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads book discussion for your school or community? This year's theme is 'Understanding Race' and the book for 2013 is The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.

Representatives from the Understanding RACE Project will lead this workshop, presenting tips and tools for leading a discussion of the theme of Race and this award-winning book.

This event is for adults and teens (grade 9 and up).

Family Science Workshop: Just Like Me?

Saturday January 12, 2013: 10:00 am to 11:00 am -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

What makes us different? What makes us the same?

Families will learn about the biological reasons behind skin color, hair texture and explore other inherited genetic traits like the ability to taste certain compounds. Families will also get to perform a DNA extraction.

This event is for grades K-5 with an adult.

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