Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

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.

Essential Oils Class

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Essential Oils Class
Hosted in the Library Basement
Monday, October 16th at 5:30

A recipes Q&A, you’ll be able to get information about products you’ll be able to make yourself at home. You may bring your own oils or you may purchase them during the class to take home.

Watercolor Class

Watercolor Class
October 28th at 10 AM
$20
Spots are limited. Sign up at the library or call us.

Suzanne Boeck is back by popular demand! Create your own slice of the Michigan coast with dazzling watercolors. No experience necessary. All supplies will be provided.

 

Halloween Costume Party

No automatic alt text available.Halloween Costume Party
Thursday, October 19th @ 6 pm

Join us for our annual Halloween Costume Contest!!! Mini-pumpkins and mess-free paint markers will be provided for decorating, and we’ll also play Haunted Hide & Seek, where all manner of tricks and treats will be found! The night will wrap up with Costume Contest awards. First, Second, and Third place winners will be awarded spooky classics on DVD.

Book Club

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Aitkin Library Book Club
November 1, 6:30 pm
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
Copies available at Aitkin Library

Join us November 1st to discuss ‘Mornings on Horseback,’ the National Book Award Winning biography of our most interesting president. Theodore Roosevelt is loved and hated on both the Right and the Left for his Progressive policies and larger than life personality.

‘Mornings…’ explores his formative years as he metamorphosized from a sickly boy to a hardened Rough-Rider. TR embodies the glory and contradiction that are America. To understand him is to understand America and understand ourselves.

Ourselves in Concert

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.

The Force by Don Winslow

The Force
Don Winslow
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.

Watercolor Class

Watercolor Painting Class
With Suzanne Boeck
10 am Saturday, September 16, 2017
$20: Sign-Up Here

Learn to paint this delightful watercolor design with internationally known artist Suzanne Boeck. You’ll be amazed by what you can learn in 3-4 hours. With Suzanne’s guidance, you’ll turn a blank piece of paper into your own personal masterpiece!

Alex’s Animal Adventure

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Saturday July 22nd and 29th, and August 5th and 12th at 10:15 am

We’ll have a different animal visitor with use at these story times. Including mice, hamsters, gerbils and even a cat!

 

Silly Story Time with Alyssa

Image result for story timeSilly Story Time with Alyssa
Every Wednesday at 10:15 am

Join us for a fun craft or activity and an amazing story. We’ll do activities such as rock painting, Mom and Child Yoga, and much more!