NWS Summer Selections
Below are listed the current selections for the 2021 summer season! Buy here on the website or in-store. We also ship!
September 9th, 7PM (In Person Event)
Pam Houston was originally scheduled to join the National Writers Series in April of 2020, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring her back for a discussion of the book she originally planned to talk with us about: Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country.
Deep Creek is the winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award for Creative Nonfiction as well as the 2020 Reading the West Advocacy Award. This gripping personal memoir shows us how Houston learns what it means to care for a piece of land and the creatures on it.
Elk calves and bluebirds mark the changing seasons, winter temperatures drop to 35 below, and lightning sparks a 110,000-acre wildfire, threatening her century-old barn and all its inhabitants. Through her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, she explores what ties her to the earth, the ranch most of all.
Alongside her devoted Irish wolfhounds and a spirited troupe of horses, donkeys, and Icelandic sheep, Houston makes her ranch into a sanctuary, a place where she discovers how the natural world has mothered and healed her after a childhood of horrific parental abuse and neglect.
Booklist says that the “always impressive” Houston “is in striking form here. Her talent remains remarkable and her words extraordinarily affecting and effective.”
October 7th, 7 PM
(VIRTUAL EVENT) Mary Roach last graced the National Writers Series stage in June 2017 when she joined us to discuss Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. Her next book is such a perfect continuation of that discussion we couldn’t help but bring her back to talk about Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.
Join us as “America’s funniest science writer” (Peter Carlson, Washington Post), takes us on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet.
What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.
Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to “problem” wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem—and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.
October 14th, 7PM
This event includes a ticket to the virtual event and a hardcover copy of Cloud Cuckoo Land ($32 total). The book goes on sale September 28 and will be available for pickup or shipping at that date.
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, perhaps the most bestselling and beloved literary fiction of our time, comes the highly anticipated Cloud Cuckoo Land.
Set in Constantinople in the fifteenth century, in a small town in present-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decades from now, Anthony Doerr’s gorgeous third novel is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope—and a book. In Cloud Cuckoo Land, Doerr has created a magnificent tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness—with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us, and with those who will be here after we’re gone.
Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship—of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.
October 18th, 7PM
Virtual tickets are available through the National Writers Series website, while in-person tickets can be purchased through the writers series.
From the author of the breakout global bestseller The Silent Patient comes the highly-anticipated second thriller from Alex Michaelides: The Maidens.
Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.
Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge. Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?
When another body is found, Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.
The New York Times calls The Maidens “irresistible” and The Guardian calls it “intelligent and propulsive … tautly plotted and impeccably paced” while Newsweek raved that The Maidens “permanently cements [Michaelides] as a top modern author with this new work, a masterful, slow burn blend of Greek mythology and a knife-edged plot.”
November 4th, 7 PM
At this moment, and in our community, actually talking about race is one of the most important things we can learn to do. On November 4, Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, is bringing the conversation to all of us in northern Michigan with a special virtual event.
This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America and inspires hope for an antiracist future. Jason Reynolds uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to inform this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. The book takes readers on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also demonstrates that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
November 18th, 7PM
From Omar El Akkad, the widely acclaimed, best-selling author of American War, comes What Strange Paradise: a beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving new novel that looks at the global refugee crisis through the eyes of a child.
More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another overfilled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives back in their homelands. But miraculously, someone has survived the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who is soon rescued by Vänna.
Vänna is a teenage girl, who, despite being native to the island, experiences her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vänna and Amir are complete strangers, though they don’t speak a common language, Vänna is determined to do whatever it takes to save the boy.
What Strange Paradise is the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. But it is also a story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair—and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.
The Globe and Mail says that What Strange Paradise will “get under your skin and into your soul” while the New York Times says the book “so astutely unpacks the us-versus-them dynamics of our divided world that it deserves to be an instant classic.”
DECEMBER 9TH, 7PM
Virtual tickets are available through the National Writers Series website, while in-person tickets can be purchased through the City Opera House.
We’re closing our fall season in a big way, with an appearance from perhaps the breakout Michigan author of the decade: Angeline Boulley.
Boulley’s stunning debut novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter —a book that took her a decade to write—was an instant bestseller when it was released in March of this year. NPR called the book “[An] absolute powerhouse of a debut” and Booklist calls it “an incredible thriller, not to be missed.” It’s also set to be adapted for Netflix by Higher Grounds, the production company run by Barack and Michelle Obama.
As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in—both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When her family is struck by tragedy, Daunis puts her dreams on hold to care for her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team.
After Daunis witnesses a shocking murder that thrusts her into a criminal investigation, she agrees to go undercover. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. How far will she go to protect her community if it means tearing apart the only world she’s ever known?