Reviews of The Living Great Lakes

The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas, by Jerry Dennis, c. 2003

Publishers Weekly
In his newest book, Dennis (From a Wooden Canoe) offers an engrossing description of being a crew member on the schooner Malabar on a six-week trip through the waters of Lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. Capt. Hajo Knuttel and other crew members such as Tim, the ship's creative cook, spring to life in this modern adventure tale. Dennis weaves anecdotes from his childhood, such as a family-fishing trip on Lake Michigan, together with informed commentary on the natural history of the lakes and the people who live there as well as evocative descriptions of the enchanting view of the forests along Lake Superior from the schooner. His narrative is a continual reminder of the dangers inherent in navigating the waters of these magnificent lakes as he details their current condition; he explains that in the 1970s, Lake Erie's waters were saved from an ecological disaster by a public outcry, yet other waters are still in danger from commercial dumping. But all does not go smoothly for the Malabar; Dennis's narrative takes on an air of adventure when, toward the end of the trip, the Malabar and its crew encounter a terrifying storm.

Dennis surveys the Inland Seas through the viewpoint of his lake-faring rambles in three different vessels: schooner, racing yacht, and voyageur canoe. As he passes the numerous spectacular sights the Great Lakes afford sailors, Dennis recalls their associated history in a vibrant blend of personal observation and geological, historical, and environmental anecdote. The main focus here is a schooner trip in 2000 from Grand Traverse Bay to Maine (via the Erie Canal). As the Malabar negotiates the treacherous Straits of Mackinac, Dennis not only covers the French missions, British forts, and innumerable shipwrecks in this storied area but also recollects his experience in the annual Chicago-to-Mackinac yacht race. Working in a separate, French fur-trapper style canoeing adventure on Lake Superior, Dennis touches on all five lakes in this compendium, endowing his chronicle with a breadth that makes it a fine introduction to the lakes' ecology.

Reader reviews on Amazon

'Life Is So Good' Chosen For Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2011

Life Is So Good: Life is so goodLife Is So Good: Life is so goodA selection team composed of community members has chosen Life Is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman as the selection for the 2011 Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads, which will take place in January & February of 2011. The book is the story of George Dawson, who learned to read at age 98.

The theme of this year’s read is What Makes Life Worth Living. There will be an author event with Richard Glaubman (George Dawson passed away in 2001) at Washtenaw Community College in late January. More details about that event will be available in the near future. The other titles under consideration were The Undertaking: Life Studies From The Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch and Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks.

Help Us Choose the Book for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2011

logologoIt's almost time for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads to begin once again. This year, our selection committee has chosen three finalists for our theme: What Makes Life Worth Living.

The finalists are Life Is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman, The Undertaking: Life Studies From The Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch, and Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks.

We have plenty of copies in stock and we appreciate your comments and opinions on which one should be our official selection for the Reads. Check these books out and then let us know which one you think should be chosen by leaving a comment on the book's page on the AA/Ypsi Reads website. The final selection will be announced in October.

You may also join our AA/Ypsi Reads page on Facebook to receive the latest news in your Facebook feed.

Two Finalists for 2010

Update 11/2/09: The Living Great Lakes is the selection for the 2010 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads.

A selection committee of community leaders, librarians, students and educators in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area will meet in mid-October to choose one of two books as the focus for this year on the subject of Michigan. Which book should be chosen? We appreciate your comments and opinions.

The two book finalists are available in alternative formats for those who are unable to read or use printed materials due to a physical disability (blindness, macular degeneration, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, dyslexia, etc.). Please contact the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled at 1-734-327-4224.

Click on the titles below for more information about the books and authors, and to add your comments.

The two books under consideration are:

Kevin Boyle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age. New York: H. Holt, 2004.

LivingGreat Lakes
Jerry Dennis, The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2003.

AADL Productions Podcast: AA/Ypsi Reads Author Jerry Dennis

In this episode, 2010 Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads author Jerry Dennis stops by to talk about Reads title The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas. Apart from being an award-winning nature writer, Jerry is also a lifelong Michigander whose experience of the Great Lakes reaches back to boyhood fishing trips. In this interview we learn about his life as a writer and what he has learned about the lakes through his research and many conversations with the people who live along them. We also get to hear his feelings about what makes the lakes so important to Michigan and Michigan so important to the fight to keep the lakes healthy. You can also watch the video of Jerry's presentation at Washtenaw Community College in the AADL Video Collection.

Attachment Size
AADL_Productions_Podcast-AA_Ypsi_Reads_Jerry_Dennis.mp3 38.1 MB

Our Future Great Lakes Ecosystem

Residents of the Great Lakes region share a devotion to our magnificent freshwater lakes for the many ways they enhance our lives. The lakes are part of a living ecosystem and their health, and that of the organisms that depend on them, is greatly influenced by human activity. James Diana, Director of the Michigan Sea Grant College Program, will review the massive environmental changes since European settlement. He'll look at current issues like Asian carp, round gobies, zebra and quagga mussels, botulism and harmful algal blooms to help us think about the future of this amazing natural resource. Join him at the Downtown Library, Monday, Feb. 15, 7-8:30 pm.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Author Event with Jerry Dennis

LivingGreat LakesLivingGreat Lakes

Jerry Dennis, the author of this year's selection for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, 'The Living Great Lakes: Searching For The Heart Of The Inland Seas', will make a special appearance at Washtenaw Community College on Thursday, January 28. Dennis, a resident of Traverse City, will discuss his 4-week journey through the Lakes as a crew-member on a tall-masted schooner. If you haven't yet read this fascinating book, we've got plenty of copies in stock. The focus of the 2010 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads program is Michigan and we have many more events planned through January and February around this theme. See them here.

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads is now on Facebook

facebookfacebookIn addition to our popular AADL Facebook page (we have over 900 fans!), we have just launched an Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Facebook page. Become a fan to receive updates on upcoming Reads events and book discussions.

Michigan's Fascinating Past

It took the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 for New Yorkers and others to start moving to Michigan Territory big-time. The peninsula then filled up so quickly that Michigan statehood was achieved in 1837. Over next hundred years, endeavors like timber, mining, shipping, farming, fishing, automobiles, music and education grew apace. Learn about the people and the place that accomplished all this at 2:00 on Sun., Jan. 24 at Malletts Creek Branch, as UM-Dearborn historian Martin Hershock recounts many exciting stories from Michigan's early years.

Automotive Expert David E. Davis Visits AADL


Join us on Saturday, January 16, in the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room as David E. Davis discusses the 2010 Auto Show And The Future Of Michigan’s Auto Industry as a part of the 2010 Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Series on Michigan.

Davis is an automotive journalist and magazine publisher. His experience within the automotive industry includes work as a race car driver, factory worker, car salesman, writer, and publisher. He is the founder of Automobile Magazine and Time magazine called Davis the "dean of automotive journalists."

At the event Davis will discuss trends to look for at this year’s auto show, Michigan’s role in the future of the industry, and his own history and accomplishments within the field.

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