Aitkin Library will be handing out candy today, October 31, Halloween from 6 until we close at 7.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
by Sebastian Junger
Published by Hatchett Book Group (134 pages)
Available at Aitkin Library in hardcover and downloadable audiobook
Book Review by Marty Rheaume
In Tribe, Junger explores the social phenomenon of tribal membership. By diving into our psychological need for belonging, Junger discovers our most horrific experiences have a mysterious allure. In the aftermath of adversity, war, and national disaster, people look back nostalgically at the bonds they built and the intensity of being alive in the midst of threatening environments. This observation provides the canvas to trace these paradoxical feelings back to our tribal roots and show how our lack of connection and purpose manifest themselves in neurotic and pathological behavior.
Many of us suffer the ennui of modern life. Our basic needs are met with little direct connection to our daily tasks, so it can be hard to find meaning in our work. Families are spread out across the state, country, and globe disrupting familial bonds. Our human interactions are often reduced to social media and work, leaving people dissatisfied, lonely, and empty. Ironically, when fate interrupts and we’re put in a position of survival where we work with a small group of people, we find these experiences enrich our lives with meaning, despite the trauma we also experience.
Viewed through the perspective Junger provides, so many of our curious modern conditions make sense. The partisan bickering, racist resentment, addiction, depression, mass shootings, suicide and everything else can be viewed as failures in man’s search for meaning. People are looking for their tribe and looking for meaning. Even though societal affluence grows, we’re afflicted with alienation and angst, because our instincts and muscle memory are telling us to search for something that’s rapidly disappearing.
The allure for connection and meaning still has immense pull on our psyches. It helps explain human fascination with war. War acts as a pressure cooker for creating meaning and intimate bonds. As horrific as it can be, those who go through war can develop an attachment or even addiction to the intimacy, adrenaline, and sense of purpose war offers. Returning veterans are challenged with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a struggle to assimilate back into civilian life. As horrible as war is, at least they had a purpose and each other.
Junger uses his own experience, studies, anecdotes and statistics to support his observations. His narrative makes intuitive sense to the reader. Most of us can remember the camaraderie of a sports team, along with the feelings of pride we held after our collective suffering or the impromptu barbeques after a big storm when the power goes out. We’ve witnessed this in our own lives, and he makes it easy for us to extrapolate these observations onto society. He doesn’t provide us with any answers, but he holds up a mirror, so we can observe our intense search for meaning and connection. Maybe it’ll help us form our own tribes.
Ourselves in Concert
Sweet and Sour Irish Love Songs
Aitkin Library Donovan Room
Tuesday, October 3 at 6 pm
We’re excited to present Ourselves in an acoustic concert event in the Donovan Room. You’ll hear sweet and sour Irish love songs. Get in the spirit and tap your feet and sing along to the upbeat folky sounds from the Trio. Ourselves features local musicians Lynn Surbrook, along with Walt and Tom Schlicting.
Harper Collins Publishers, 2017
Available at Aitkin Memorial District Library
Book review by Marty Rheaume
In our America of 2017, tensions between the police and African American Community are as tight as they’ve been since Rodney King. Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter groups are at each other’s throats, white nationalists are marching in Virginia. Every day brings us headlines highlighting disturbing racial animosity stubbornly refusing to bury itself, and we all wonder if this is really happening. When suffering through this surreal and anachronistic reality, fiction is the only place we can turn. In “The Force” we view the complexities and ironies of the current racial conflagration through the eyes of an elite NYPD cop whose love/hate relationship with New York City and its Harlem residents moves him to lie, cheat, steal, and kill in order to save the city from itself, but who’s going to save the city from him and “Da Force?”
Sergeant detective Denny Malone is the baddest cop in New York City. He made his way to the top by breaking all the rules. He follows his own code, not the code written by bureaucrats in New York, Albany, Washington, or anywhere else. As long as he kept making New York Times caliber busts and putting criminals behind bars (or in coffins), they closed their eyes, but his own code is getting harder to define. He could justify cutting corners to make a bust or lying to get a warrant, but breaking the rules to enrich himself has left him disillusioned. Through flashbacks from a jail cell, we follow him step-by-step as he crosses lines from being an idealistic cop to a dirty cop to a filthy cop. At rock bottom and long beyond redemption, he’s plotting to go out in a sacrificial blaze of glory to prevent the rest of the city from burning to the ground.
Winslow reigns as king of epic crime fiction. His 2015 work, “The Cartel,” examined the brutal lives of Mexican Narcos and the people who sell their souls to fight them. “The Force” returns to our side of the border to explore the relationships between the police, the (mostly black) inner-city denizens whom they protect and serve, and the politicians who view both sides as a means to an end. Once again, Winslow captures the Zeitgeist, bringing the headlines to life. This novel is so strikingly topical, it’s hard to believe he’s been researching it for 5 years, but his willingness to put in work doing the research is what separates him from other crime writers. While making allowances for a larger than life anti-hero in Malone, the rest of the book is saturated in gritty realism. It’s a street level view of the messy complexities and contradictions of race relations, and a deep exploration into the human heart in conflict with itself.
CASH PRIZES for top 3 males and top three females
1st Place: $100
2nd Place: $50
3rd Place: $25
Medals will also be earned by top finishers, and many other prizes from local businesses will be awarded after the race.
Join us May 20th for the 1st annual Croswell Library Parks and Paths 5K run and 2 Mile walk. This unique 5k course will follow a bike path around the giant Michigan Sugar plant on the outksirts of scenic downtown Croswell, and then cut through the heart of the small city in order to cross the Black River and take a wide loop through the famous Swinging Bridge Park before returning to the finish line. The 5k loop includes running on grass paths and dirt trails along with the paved bike path. The 2 mile walk sticks to the paved bike path.
Starting line is at the Truman Street Park near the Cannery Village Apartments (15 Truman St.) in Croswell. Parking will be available at Croswell City Light and Power (120 E. Sanborn), along city streets, and public parking is available in a number of locations downtown a few hundred yards from the starting line (so you can get a good warm-up before the race!). No parking in the apartment complex near the starting line.
Paint Your Own Watercolor in Less than 4 Hours!
Saturday January 28 @ 10 am
$15 payment must be made to reserve your spot.
Sign up at the library.
Internationally known professional artist Suzanne Boeck will be in the library to guide us step by step in creating the lovely landscape watercolor seen below. The goal of the class is to focus on painting trees. It will be an 11″ X 14″ painting completed on high quality 100% rag paper. All skill levels welcome. No experience is necessary, and supplies will be provided. Hope to see you here!
Power of the Dog by Don Winslow
Wednesday, January 25 @ 6:30 pm
Exceptional books illuminate, allowing us to see the world or ourselves in a way previously obscured. Sometimes, this new light reveals something awe-inspiring, beautiful, and mysterious. Other times, it reveals something brutal and horrifying, and maybe the lights should have just stayed off, because what is seen can never be unseen. The “Power of the Dog” is one of those books.
Unofficially America’s longest war, the Drug War is a failure. The bodies pile up, but the drugs continue to flow into people’s lungs, up their noses and through their veins. Meanwhile, the cartels that peddle them amass wealth, power, and influence. Winslow dramatizes this brutal reality in “The Power of the Dog.” We view it through the perspectives of Art Keller, a rogue DEA agent, and Adan Barrera, Keller’s former friend who consolidated power to become the Drug Kingpin of all of Mexico, el patron. Through the eyes of these rivals, we witness 25 years of brutal violence, heartbreaking betrayals, and empty victories in a game that nobody ever wins.
The seriousness of the issue and the depth of the characters separate “The Power of the Dog” from the average crime fiction. The Drug War and Cold War intertwine, alliances tangle, and Faustian bargains are the only options available. Keller knows the battle against the cartels will cost him everything, but his addiction to this dogfight is as powerful as any drug. Barrera would like to run the cartel with the banality of a corporation, but the cost of being the king is paid in blood.
Wars aren’t fought by two people alone. Reluctant killers, left-wing priests, perspicacious prostitutes, Mexican cowboys and an alphabet soup of government organizations on both sides of the border have agendas of their own, and nobody comes out of this combat unscathed. Some pay in dollars. Some pay with their lives, and some pay with their souls.
Get into the Christmas Spirit
Essential Oils Make & Take
Monday, December 5
~ 5:30 PM ~
Cost is $10
Register here or at the library
Cinna-mint Lip Balm,
Candy Cane Sugar Scrub
Christmas Scented Room Spray
Holiday Joy Body Spray
Aitkin Library Craft Night
Mondays from 3-5
On Monday, December 5th, join us for a special craft night where you can learn to make these homemade necklaces. You’ll just need to bring a few materials: 1/4 yard of a material of your choice and 11 beads approximately 1/2 to 1″ long. We will have a sewing machine there to use and instructions Wear them yourselves or give them for gifts!
It’s that spooky time of year again! A time when ghosts, goblins, and ghouls wander the streets extorting treats by threatening tricks to ever suspecting households. Every year, Aitkin Library has a contest to choose which ghost or ghoul, or cowboy or princess… most honors the Halloween spirit. On Thursday, October 27 at 5:30 we’ll be having our Halloween party. It’ll start with a bag of treats and a spooky Halloween special. Afterwards, kids will decorate their own pumpkins with paint and/or stickers. At the end of the party, awards will be given for best costumes.