Shelf. Life

A look at what's happening at Willard

You’re invited to join Willard’s Book Club

The April Book Club pick, How 'Bout That For A Crack Baby, was an unexpected favorite.

Recommended by one of our book club members, this memoir tells the early life of one of Detroit's most influential men, Shawn Blanchard. He began his life in the "hood" of Detroit, born addicted to crack, abandoned for the first four years of his life by his mother, and raised by his paternal grandmother while longing for the presence of his father.

Blanchard leaves no stone unturned. He talks about his illegal jobs to make ends meet, the deaths of his brothers and other close relatives, his family's history of incarceration, his own brief stint in incarceration, and eventually, how his education lifted him up and out of his former toxic life.

From this book, I learned the phrase "good bad examples," in other words, good examples of what not to do, and Blanchard says his life was full of them.

This book was totally not what I expected. I typically prefer fiction rather than nonfiction but, like The Long Haul (a memoir by trucker Finn Murphy), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.

How 'Bout That For A Crack Baby is currently circulating as a Book Club In A Bag kit.

May selection

We will be discussing The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, at Willard downtown.

In this historical fantasy, Li Lan is the daughter of a reclusive, single father, who has lost all his wealth. In order to secure her future Li Lan must marry into a wealthy family.

This is all perfectly fine for Li Lan; however, the young spirit of a wealthy family has set his sights on her. Through her dreams, he courts Li Lan but when it becomes clear that Li Lan has no interests in returning his affections, his plans turn sinister.

Choo does a wonderful job of introducing readers to Mayan and Chinese culture. Every now and then, she sprinkles in Chinese and Malay details such as lalang ("wild elephant grass"), qi ("life force"), and kebaya and baju (traditional shirt-dresses worn in Malaysia and Indonesia).

She delves into religions (Christianity, Catholicism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam), superstitions, and women's roles in the late 1800s, and European influences on all.

The Ghost Bride is an exciting read! I recommend coming to the book discussion even if you have not finished the book.

This book will circulate as a Book Club in a Bag kit after May 2. It also is available as a downloadable audio book and ebook through Willard apps.

Our lineup for the next few months includes Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (June 6), The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe (July 11), and The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker (Aug. 1).

Reference Librarian Jade Woodridge is currently reading "Who is Dracula's Father" by John Southerland.

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Thursday, 09 July 2020