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.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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