Author Benjamin Busch to speak at library 2013.04.10

Written by David Green.


For the sixth year in a row, Morenci's Stair Public Library is scheduled to receive a visit from the author of a Michigan Notable Book.

Each year the Library of Michigan selects 20 books celebrating the state's people, places and events. Several of the authors are then assigned visits to select libraries around the state.

Books chosen this year feature topics as varied as a physically-challenged boy from Flint who went on to win an Olympic Gold Medal and pitch a no-hitter for the New York Yankees, the 1968 Detroit Tigers, survival of Kirtland’s warbler, a biography of Michigan’s first governor, northwest Michigan’s Fishtown, the revival of Detroit, saving the Theodore Roethke’s house, Michigan’s historic train stations, a memoir of a Detroit soul singer, a study of Michigan’s amphibians and reptiles, depression era Flint and an illustrated history of Detroit’s historic places of worship.

Benjamin Busch, the author of "Dust to Dust: A Memoir," will speak May 9 at Stair Public Library.

Busch's book is described as an extraordinary memoir about ordinary things: life and death, peace and war, the adventures of childhood and the revelations of adulthood.

Busch is a decorated U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer who served two combat tours in Iraq. Shortly after returning from his first tour, he was chosen to portray Baltimore police sergeant Anthony Colicchio in the award-winning HBO series "The Wire." He returned from his second Iraq experience in Ramadi just in time for the fourth season of The Wire.

Busch, the son of celebrated novelist Frederick Busch, tells a story of an ideal childhood in rural New York exploring woods and streams and about deployment to Iraq and the horrors of war. A reviewer stated that "the emotional power of his reflections on life, love, death and war make this memoir hard to put down and hard to forget."

Stair Public Library

Notable visits

2006 – Steve Amick

2008 – Tyree Guyton

2009 – Michael Rosenberg

2010 – Steve Luxenberg

2011 – Steve Lehto

2012 – Anthony Youn

2013 – Benjamin Busch


2013 Michigan Notable Books

The Michigan Notable Books list features 20 books published in the previous calendar year that are about Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a Michigan author

• "American Poet: A Novel" by Jeff Vande Zande.

Saginaw is the setting for this short novel, a coming-of-age story of a young poet returning home after graduating from college. The book champions the power of poetry and gives a solid voice to society’s underdogs.

• "The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan" by J. Alan Holman.

All of Michigan’s 54 species of amphibians and reptiles are covered in this unique and illustrated single volume. With minimal scientific jargon, Holman presents a discussion of habitat, including recent species accounts and distribution across the state.

• "Balthazar Korab, Architect of Photography" by John Comazzi

Comazzi for the first time captures the story of the life and career of one of Michigan’s most eminent photographers. Almost 200 images of Korab’s work along with a collection of more than 100 images from his portfolio of professionally commissioned architecture photography are included. 

• "Bear Has a Story to Tell" by Phillip C. Stead

The creators of the Caldecott-winning "A Sick Day for Amos McGee" offer another story about the reciprocal nature of friendship. The beautifully illustrated book, through the use of lively water colors, captures an endearing story of friendship and patience.

• "The Boy Governor: Stevens T. Mason and the Birth of Michigan Politics" by Don Faber

"The Boy Governor" tells the complete story of Michigan’s first governor and dominant political figure in the state’s early development. Mason’s story will appeal to readers with an interest in Michigan history or in stories about larger-than-life personalities from the past.

• "Canada" by Richard Ford

When 15-year-old Dell Parsons’ parents rob a bank, his sense of a normal life is forever altered. Canada successfully tells a story with rich language and dialogue filled with suspense, bleakness and human frailties and flaws. The story is equal parts coming-of-age story and touching story about the discovery of identity.

• "Death Dance of a Butterfly" by Melba Joyce Boyd

Boyd's latest poetry offering is an insightful examination of her relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Detroit comes alive in her powerful poems filled with touching human interactions and eulogies to loved ones.

• "Detroit City Is the Place to Be" by Mark Binelli

Binelli captures the pride, grit and hope Detroiters demonstrate as they fight to revitalize one of America’s great cities. The city’s current crisis has managed to do the unthinkable: turn the end of days into a laboratory for the future. Urban planners, land speculators, agriculturalists and utopian environmentalists all have been drawn to Detroit’s baroquely decaying, nothing-left-to-lose frontier.

• "Detroit’s Historic Places of Worship" compiled and edited by Marla O. Collum, Barbara E. Krueger and Dorothy Kostuch

Nearly 20 years in the making, Collum, Krueger and Kostuch thoroughly document 37 architecturally and historically significant places of worship that represent eight denominations and nearly 150 years of history in Detroit.

• "Fishtown: Leland Michigan’s Historic Fishery" by Laurie Sommers

In her new book, Fishtown author Laurie Sommers tells the story of this beloved place’s past and present through the remembrances of the commercial fishermen and ferry captains who have worked out of Fishtown since 1900.

• "Imperfect" by Jim Abbott/Tim Brown

Born without a right hand, Jim Abbott dreamed of someday being a great athlete. Raised in Flint, Abbott would become an ace pitcher in the major leagues. In the honest and insightful book, Abbott reveals the challenges he faced in becoming an elite pitcher, the insecurities he dealt with in a life spent as the different one, and the intense emotion generated by his encounters with physically-challenged children from around the country.

• "Ink Trails" by Jack Dempsey and Dave Dempsey

Long revered as the birthplace of many of the nation’s best-known authors, Michigan also has served as inspiration to countless others. In this entertaining and well-researched book, the secrets, legends, and myths surrounding some of Michigan’s literary luminaries are explored.

• "Kirtland’s Warbler" by William Rapai

William Rapai explores the bird's fascinating natural history as well as the complex and evolving relationships between the warbler, its environment, its human protectors, and state and federal policies that today threaten to eradicate decades of work done on the species' behalf.

• "Michigan’s Historic Railroad Stations" by Michael Hodges

Writer and photographer Michael H. Hodges presents depots ranging from functioning Amtrak stops (Jackson) to converted office buildings (Battle Creek) and spectacular abandoned wrecks (Saginaw and Detroit) to highlight the beauty of these iconic structures.

• "Mighty Miss Malone" by Christopher Paul Curtis

Deza Malone lives in Michigan in the 1930s. Her family is poor but hardworking and funny. Deza is smart and tries hard to be the smartest person possible. When the Depression hits and Deza's dad is involved in a terrible accident, the family is put to very trying tests.

• "Skeleton Box" by Bryan Gruley

Author Bryan Gruley pulls off a remarkable triple play by writing a suspenseful mystery, creating characters that reek of realistic human faults and foibles, and effectively drawing the novel’s tone, atmosphere and mood so that the reader is pulled into the darkness that envelops the town of Starvation Lake.

• "Summer of ‘68" by Tim Wendel

Tim Wendel takes readers on a wild ride through a season that saw pitching legends set new standards for excellence, baseball set against the backdrop of one of the most divisive and turbulent years in American history. Baseball became a rallying cry behind a colorful Tigers team led by Denny McLain, Mickey Lolich, Willie Horton and Al Kaline.

• "Woman Like Me" by Bettye LaVette

Bettye LaVette’s book chronicles her decades-long career as a singer on the fringes of the Motown greats and soul legends. She has come close to breaking out in the industry on so many occasions only to find things fall through in the end.

• "World of A Few Minutes Ago" by Jack Driscol

Award-winning author Jack Driscoll renders 10 stories from the point of view of characters aged 14 to 77 with a consistently deep understanding of each character’s internal world and emotional struggles. All of the stories are set against the quiet, powerful northern Michigan landscape.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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