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Great Michigan Read program focuses on 'Annie's Ghosts'


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THE IRONWOOD Carnegie Library is participating in the statewide Great Michigan Read program, focusing on the book "Annie's Ghost," by Steve Luxenberg. The library will host three events throughout February about the book

IRONWOOD - The Ironwood Carnegie Library is joining a statewide effort to promote community reading and discussions.

Beginning Friday, the library will participate in the Great Michigan Read program, a biennial program, inviting all Michigan residents to join in a discussion on a single literary title. The program features the book, "Annie's Ghosts," by Steve Luxenberg.

"We are so excited to participate," library director Elaine Erickson said. "We did this back in 2008 and it was so much fun. The community really got into it and it was an opportunity for the community to get together and have a common discussion."

According to the Michigan Humanities Council, the book is "part memoir, part detective story, and part history."

The author, a Detroit native, tries to understand his mom's reasons for hiding her sister's existence. The story deals with Luxenberg's mother's world in the 1930s and 1940s, asl a poor immigrant family dealing with a child who had special needs.

"This one is really going to touch a common thread," Erickson said. "It's all about family secrets and researching your family and history, so there are a lot of elements a lot of our local residents can feel a connection to."

On Friday, residents can pick up a free copy of the book at the library. Only 20 copies are available.

"The state has a limited number, so we were lucky to get those 20 copies," Erickson said. "We will have a copy catalogued at the library, and I'm sure other libraries will have copies, as well. Hopefully, when people finish the book, they will also pass it on to other people to read."

On Feb. 24, the library will host an event allowing residents to meet Luxenberg via Skype and discuss the book, starting at 4 p.m.

According to Erickson, the library hopes to have "all the technological pieces in place" to showcase some new video-conferencing equipment during the author's visit.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed for that, but either way, you'll get a full experience talking with him," Erickson said. "He is a very nice guy and has been doing these talks all over Michigan."

The final event is scheduled for Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the library, featuring a presentation from local historian Larry Peterson called "Poor Farm."

The presentation will discuss local examples of immigrant farms and other information about the area.

"Larry is very knowledgeable about all historical things in Ironwood," Erickson said. "He is just a wealth of knowledge and very interesting."

As for the book, Erickson said it is "very, very good.

"I started reading it, and I did not put it down until I was finished," Erickson said. "I was up until 4 a.m. reading and I couldn't put it down."

All of the events are open to the public. Erickson said everyone is invited to attend, even if they haven't read the book.

"I want to stress that even though you may not have read the book, you are welcome to come to all of the events," Erickson said. "When meeting the author, it can be very interesting learning about his process and different themes of the book, and relate without having to read it. Community reads are very important because it's really an opportunity for residents to discuss and relate to a topic. We highly encourage people to attend."

For more information, call the Ironwood Carnegie Library at 906-932-0203.


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