Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Summer Book Report

Last year, I wrote a post about how I spent my summer vacation. While I'm taking a slightly different approach this year, I'd still like to report back to everyone on my literary-centric activities.

- Several months ago, I joined the Book of the Month Club, even though I don't need more books or even anyone suggesting titles to me. But on the other hand, their curated selections allow you to take a step back from the bookstore, which is a crazy thing for me to say, since I adore bookstores, but I recognize the value of this for people who maybe don't have time for shopping but still want to get at least one novel in from time to time. Definitely check out any deals they have, because sometimes you'll be able to get an extra book (or a tote!) for free.

- In July, I visited both locations of The Island Bookstore: Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island, MI. Both have good selections of Michigan titles, and the island location is surprisingly well-stocked with both books and gifts, considering their small retail space and the fact that the rest of the street is lined mainly with souvenir shops and fudge makers. 

- Also in July, I made return trips to both McLean & Eakin in Petoskey, MI, and Schuler Books in Lansing, MI.

- And once more in July: the first annual Detroit Festival of Books was held in the Eastern Market. The event featured local authors and booksellers, and the turnout seemed to be good. While there, I picked up a title from The Porcupine's Quill, whose cover stock was absolutely gorgeous.

- In August, Dad and I went to Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI to see a panel discussion about  the new anthology And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017, which was a good time. Sue Harrison, M.L. Liebler, Phillip Sterling, and Keith Taylor were on the panel, and I appreciate their answers to a question I posed after the reading! (For an interview with Keith Taylor, check out the Brilliant Books website!)

- As a side note, Bookriot has released a list of the best bookstores in every state, and--whaddaya know--Brilliant Books, Literati, and McLean & Eakin are all represented in the Michigan section!

- Through my mother's generosity, I was able to enroll in an online course offered through GrubStreet, the popular Boston writing center. Six Weeks, Six Essays was taught by Grace Talusan, whose prompts, resources, and feedback were great. Although their summer courses are almost over, the center's online offerings for the fall are already listed on the site, so check that out if you'd like to brush up on your creative writing skills but don't want to go back to school.

- As you may have noticed, I actually took some time to blog this summer! Wow, what a concept: keeping up with my own project for once? Never saw that coming, tbh.

- If you haven't seen it yet: I wrote a(n almost) 2,500-word essay here on the blog about Sylvia Plath that is messy and ridiculous and fraught, but it felt good to write something approaching critical territory again. It's rare for me to engage in (nearly) academic composition, but it seemed like the thing to do at that particular moment, so there you have it.

- And to wrap things up, here's a cautionary tale: when I first moved home, the majority of my books were still packed up, so I ran over to the local Barnes & Noble to grab a couple of titles to tide me over. While browsing, I decided I needed more Chuck Klosterman in my life (which is perpetually true), and I bought a copy of I Wear the Black Hat to satisfy myself. I read it, and it was good, and I set it aside to be shelved later. Two or three days after that, I was looking for something in a box and found the book, but I couldn't remember having left it there. Lo and behold, I later saw the book on the bookshelf in my room. 

Yes, kids, I made the mistake all serious readers have made at least once in their lives: I bought a copy of this particular tome sometime in the past (I suspect it was last summer), forgot I had it, and then bought a new copy later. This is, I think, the second time I've faced such a dilemma, and I fully expect it to happen again in the future. #failcatefail


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