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Eagle Harbor Book Group, 2008

Book and Meeting Schedule, Summer, 2008

June 29--Mary Strohl, Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Venue: Jack and Louise Marta's-- 6081 Lakeshore Drive ( Road 9) Eagle River, MI. Telephone: 337-23378

(On M-26, 2 miles East of the bridge over the Eagle River or about 1 mile West of Jacob's Creek Falls, turn North toward the lake on Road 9. Drive directly toward the lake until you see the gray/green house on the right. Park anywhere. The front door is on the woods side.)
Patricia Van Pelt relays this news about our first author: This October, Graywolf Press will reissue one of Per Petterson's earlier works, To Siberia. Viking Magazine writes, "The story centers around a brother and sister who are forced to come together after their grandfather's suicide. The girl dreams of escaping to Siberia, while the boy becomes increasingly involved in resisting the Nazis. Readers who were struck by Petterson's sharply etched characters and unique prose style will want to clear room on their nightstands for this fresh edition."

July 20--Dave Owens, Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Venue: Nancy Wakeman hosting at the old Rice Hotel on Second St., Eagle Harbor. Refreshments courtesy Dave and Ruth Own with help from Shirley Flood and Elaine Rysiewicz.

July 27--Steve Lehto, Death's Door by Steve Lehto
Venue: Community Building, Eagle Harbor.

August 10, Poetry Night
Venue: Peter and Patricia Van Pelts, Eagle Harbor
(On Marina Drive from east edge of Eagle Harbor, on the right just before the Yacht Club parking lot.)

August 17--Tiffany Dawson, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
(If you have an Amazon Kindle, this title is available for $9)
(On 6 Aug. Clint added some comments on this book's page.)
Venue: Mary and Tom Strohl, 13131/13130 Apache Lane, Bete Gris, Telephone: 289-4273.

From U.S. 41 at Delaware, take the Lac la Belle-Bete Grise Road to Lac la Belle (approx 4 miles). At the bottom of the steep hill bear left on to Bete Grise Road. When passing the mailboxes on your left, mark 2.8 miles to Apache Lane. Turn left on to Apache Lane for approximately 250 yards. Turn right towards the large Cottage and park. Enter the cottage through the kitchen door underneath the light. We can accommodate seven or eight parked cars so car pool if you can. Apache Lane is unimproved and has some impressive pot holes. Drive very slowly at idle speed with your foot resting lightly on the brake.
Tom Strohl

August 24--Jack Marta, The Great Lakes Water Wars by Peter Annin
Changed Venue: Eagle Harbor Community Building.
The Great Lakes Basin Compact passed by the U.S. Senate (All nine Articles) can be seen by Clicking or use this link to go the the Great Lakes Commission's own page.
And of course there's Peter Annin's own great web at

September 7--Marcia Mason, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni
Venue: Ginny Jamison's at Gratiot Lake. (Directions copied from the 2006 schedule: 5461 Peterman Lane (Southeast off US-41 on Gratiot Lake Road. At bottom of hill after Gratiot Lake in sight, turn left on Gratiot Lake Drive. Turn right on Petermann Lane. Stay to the right to end of lane.)
After you've read the book you might this review informative.

Voting Results for 2008

Fifteen Titles Ranked by Votes as of end of voting
The six titles in bold will be worked into 2008 schedule

Rank Votes

1 14 A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni--Mary Srohl

2.5 13 The Great Lakes Water Wars by Peter Anin--John Marta

2.5 13 Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan--David Owens

4 12 The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls--Tiffany Dawson

5 10 Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson--Mary Strohl

6.5 09 Death's Door by Steve Lehto--Mary Beyers

6.5 09 The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai by John Tayman--Joanne Bollinger

8 08 People of the Book
by Geraldine Brooks--Patricia VanPelt

9.5 07 The Worst Hard Times by Timothy Eagan--Elaine Wildman

9.5 07 Wind Fall: The End of the Affair by William Buckley--Tom Srohl

11 05 Saving the Family Cottage: A Guide to Succession Planning for Your Cottage, Cabin, Camp or Vacation Home by Stuart J. Hollander --Mary Beyers

13 03 The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire by Khassan Baiev with Ruth and Nicholas Danioff--
Tiffany Dawson

13 03 The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams--Mack Kelly

13 03 March by Geraldine Books--Mary Strohl

15 02 The Red Azalea by Anchee Min--Elaine Wildman

118 votes were cast by 25 different voters.


Nominations and Discussion, Summer 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Husseini

Mary Strohl writes: Here's a book I highly recommend for the book club, by the author of The Kite Runner. I just checked Amazon and it's now available in paperback. I read it while we were driving cross-country enroute to Michigan last summer and could not put it down. I refer you to the reviews at

The Great Lakes Water Wars by Peter Annin: Hardcover, Aug., 2006. Available from for $16.27

John Marta writes: How the water is used, diverted and added to, the Great Lakes History and related controversies. Clint ruminates: A timely topic. For our grandchildren and beyond the depletion of the world's fresh water will likely have consequences far more serious than the depletion of fossil fuels faced by our generation. Maybe they'll see the Nation's second civil war but this time it'll be the northern tier of states seceding from the union to escape federal laws which continue the pumping of Great Lakes water to draught-ravished southern states. I'm not ready to vote yet--but note for general interest that two of the books on the list are only available in hardback: People of the Book and Great Lakes Water Wars. Both are available from Amazon for about $17 however. Mary Mary P. Strohl 1209 W 8th St Davis, CA 95616 (530) 756-5568 Andrew Tallon points out the following link discusses the 'Compact' desribed by Annin in the book: It also can be reached through the site given in the book:

Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

David writes: We strongly recommend "Omnivore's Dilemma". Not only is it a fascinating book, and easy to read, we think it is one of the most important books we've read in a long time. It should be required reading. We have been telling everyone we know to read it, including local markets. One after another, Pollan presents these fascinating revelations about our food chain, many of which are intentionally kept from consumers. Be one of those who knows! Read this book and think about it. It does make shopping and eating out more tricky, but you don't have to do the right thing all the time, you just need to know what's going on with stuff you buy. David Owens This title has been discussed on these pages for a couple of years.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls Tiffany writes: I would like to suggest the following books for the summer book group: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and The Oath, A Surgeon Under Fire by Khassan Baiev with Ruth and Nicholas Danioff. These books are both non-fiction. I have enjoyed looking over the list and have found some interesting reading . By andy behrman First, "The Glass Castle" is a real page turner - - I couldn't put it down and finished it in about four hours - - a record for me! It's probably the most thoughtful and sensitive memoir I can ever remember reading - - told with such grace, kindness and fabulous sense of humor. It's probably the best account ever written of a dysfunctional family -- and it must have taken Walls so much courage to put pen to paper and recount the details of her rather bizarre childhood - - which although it's like none other and is so dramatic - - any reader will relate to it. Readers will find bits and pieces of their own parents in Rex and Rose Mary Walls. Her journey across the country, ending up in a poor mining town in West Virginia and then finally in New York City, is a fascinating tale of survival. Her zest for life, even when eating margarine and sugar and bundled in a cardboard box with sweaters, coats and huddling with her pets, is unbelievably beautiful - - and motivating. If I could give a book ten stars, it would be "The Glass Castle." Clint notes: The science and math Rex Walls lays on his kids reads pretty soundly it seems to me. On one point I don't agree--the reason stars 'twinkle.' Many stars and other star-like objects pulsate, but on a longer time scale. Stars, even though huge, are so far away they act like point sources of light and can be blocked out by a dust particle in our atmosphere floating across. Just as your finger can blot out a whole house if the house is a distance away. This is what makes stars 'twinkle' sometimes.

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

Mary weites: It seems like our list of fiction selections is quite low. Here is another suggestion that was my favorite book this winter. Per Petterson is a Norwegian author who won awards for Out Stealing Horses. It is a short book, with sparse words creating the scenes and the characters. The loneliness of Norwegian winters bring back reminiscences of winters in the UP. Beautiful writing which is memorable and haunting. Read reviews on Amazon. It will be released in paperback April 29th and can be pre-ordered now. Mary Strohl

Please add this review from
From The New Yorker
In this quiet but compelling novel, Trond Sander, a widower nearing seventy, moves to a bare house in remote eastern Norway, seeking the life of quiet contemplation that he has always longed for. A chance encounter with a neighbor­the brother, as it happens, of his childhood friend Jon­causes him to ruminate on the summer of 1948, the last he spent with his adored father, who abandoned the family soon afterward. Trond’s recollections center on a single afternoon, when he and Jon set out to take some horses from a nearby farm; what began as an exhilarating adventure ended abruptly and traumatically in an act of unexpected cruelty. Petterson’s spare and deliberate prose has astonishing force, and the narrative gains further power from the artful interplay of Trond’s childhood and adult perspectives. Loss is conveyed with all the intensity of a boy’s perception, but acquires new resonance in the brooding consciousness of the older man.

Death's Door The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder by Steve Lehto:

Mary Beyers writes: We were talking about book group and feel it would be quite interesting to all of us to include some books on the history of the Keweenaw. One of our favorites is Death's Door by Steve Lehto. We;ve really enjoyed that and found many names of ancestors of current Eagle Harbor residents.

ByG. E. Mantel "RCM-Maki - Steve Lehto of suburban Detroit brings to the table a unique set of qualifications: a legal "sharp eye," previous historical writing experience, impressive Copper Country roots & a long-standing, Finnish-American passion for getting to the bottom of the "1913 Massacre" story.

Yes, that same "1913 Massacre" written & sung by Woody Guthrie and later performed by his protégé, Bob Dylan ... and also the subject of a great forthcoming film documentary by New York filmmakers Louis Galdieri & Ken Ross.
"Death's Door" is, quite simply, destined to be crowned the proverbial "Final Word" about what happened at Italian Hall, Calumet, Michigan, why it's never been officially solved and why it's still such a bone of contention within the local community.
Far more than just another "cute little book" about the legendary copper mining center of the Upper Great Lakes, this latest from Lehto adds much to our appreciation and deepens our understanding of the area's history.

The author's insistence in keeping the discussion of the incident within the framework of the brutal, bloody 1913-14 copper strike is nothing short of a stroke of genius, resulting in a justifiable, pleasing mixture of up-tempo drama & that ugly-but-necessary touch of meticulous (and all too often, tedious) legalese. But of utmost importance is the author's unveiling of a determined sensibility as he contemplated (and often avoided) the use of mainstream newspaper reports to untangle the mess; as I saw for myself a few years ago during the editing of my own "Calumet: Copper Country Metropolis," Calumet was economically & politically a one-horse town with a one-horse press, period.
What we have, in the end, is the first ever book to bring all the aspects of the Italian Hall incident under one cover; and the most important book about Old Calumet to be published in over 20 years.
My personal exchanges with the author with regards to some of the details also revealed a gutsy, genuine sense of humility which could have only abetted his desires to "get the facts straight." Steve Lehto, in the spirit of the late John Voelker, is the Real Deal and I hope to hear more from him sometime soon.

The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of of Molokai by John Tayman.

Joanne writes: A very well-written account, based on volumes of research, of the leper colony of molodai--it would provide ample opportunity for good discussion, while leaving lasting memories with the individual reader.

By C. Hutton "book maven -Much like the early years of the AIDS epidemic, leprosy had created a fear of the unknown and brought out the worst of human nature. Supported by Biblical injunctions (like the ones that supported slavery), bigots would hunt down and exile those with leprosy as if they were sin incarnate instead of a person infected with a disease. Image isolating for life someone with migraines merely for having migraines -- there was no court of appeals, just a prison for life because they were ill.
America's role in this inhumane madness came after the American occupation of the Hawaiian Islands in 1893. The island of Molokai was already the site for exiled lepers on an isolated sliver of land for nearly three decades. American policy was one of neglect and of allowing "The Colony" to exist until 1969 -- a quarter century after safe medical treatment was devised.
The history of "The Colony" on Molokai will make the reader angry and ashamed of how the lepers were condemned, exiled, cut off from the world as if they were subhuman. Mr. Tayman graphically describes the cost that the lepers paid in being ostracized by society and the painful suffering endured by them with minimal medical care, shelter and food. James Michener described the leper colony in his sprawling historical epic novel "Hawaii"-1959. "The Colony" is not an easy book to read but it is a book worth reading.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Patraicia writes: I have just finished reading Geraldine Brooks' newest book, "People of the Book'and would like to suggest it as a crossover, as it is Historical Fiction. I see that Mary has suggested 'March' which won a Pulitzer. I loved her first book too, 'Year of Wonders'. All are historical fiction. Perhaps we could do Geraldine Brooks. It is provocative material and very interesting.

I'm not ready to vote yet--but note for general interest that two of the books on the list are only available in hardback: People of the Book and Great Lakes Water Wars. Both are available from Amazon for about $17

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Thomas Egan.

Elaine writes: A study of the experiences of families who lived through the Dust Bowl and stayed put.

From last summer's discussion:

JoAnne writes: After having read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan last summer, I find myself thinking of so many different passages as I shop, prepare meals, or even think about food. Beautifully written non-fiction, it is an important, eye-opening, fascinating book.
The Worst Hard Time" is a different approach to the story of the Dust Bowl, concentrating on the people who stayed and suffered rather than on those who fled--searing stories of perseverance and courage.
Both books were recommended for this past summer's discussions and didn't make the cut. They are well worth your time and attention. Lecture over! Joanne

Wind Fall: The End of the Affair by William F. Buckley

Tom thinks it might be interesting to read something by William F. Buckley who just died and was such a prolific writer and wordsmith. I checked out from the library: Wind Fall: The End of the Affair by Buckley. The jacket of Wind Fall says it is a "personal, spiritual, and occupational summation in the form of a sea log." "It is the renavigation in a sailing ketch" ---"a sad book by a happy man about the sweetness of life that is inevitably filled with loss and sorrow." It was written in 1992, and unfortunately Amazon only offers copies from secondary used book dealers. Perhaps one of our book club members has read one of Buckley's more recent books to recommend.

On 7 April Tom Strohl adds this comment: The book is non-fiction. it is a chronicle of Buckley's and his crew's experiences while engaged in a "pleasure" cruise on a chartered 36 foot sloop across the Atlantic retracing Columbus's 1492 route. The story is humorous yet introspective and tells us something about this talented, intellecual man.

How to Save the Family Cottage, author unknown

Mary Beyer writes: Another work of non-fiction. I don't have my copy with me but it is written by a Michigan attorney. Loads of interesting facts on the subject and many of us are concerned about this issue.

Clint adds: Mary may be talking about Saving the Family Cottage: A Guide to Succession Planning for Your Cottage, Cabin, Camp or Vacation Home by Stuart J. Hollander. Mr. Hollander was an attorney in Sutton Bay. He passed away last August.

Nancy Wakeman Adds: The author of Saving the Family Cottage (Copyright 2007) sent in by my sister Mary is: Stuart J Hollander. Stuart is an estate planning attorney from Leelanau County in MI. The book is a guide that explains that through careful planning your family cottage can be enjoyed by generations to come. He gives many examples of positive and negative planning.

The Oath, A Surgeon Under Fire by Khassan Baiev with Ruth and Nicholas Danioff

Tiffany writes: I would like to suggest the following books for the summer book group: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and The Oath, A Surgeon Under Fire by Khassan Baiev with Ruth and Nicholas Danioff. These books are both non-fiction. I have enjoyed looking over the list and have found some interesting reading.

By Mercy Bell "mmbell" (Southeast Massachusetts, USA) - See all my reviews

If you are interested in war, modern politics, news, or human rights, you need to read this book. It shows what warfare is really like, what happens to people after governments make decisions. And it is heartbreaking, but you cannot put it down.

The conflict in Chechnya is mostly forgotten and then often miscontrued topic for most of the world. Dr. Khassan Baiev's memoir sheds a light on the horrors of life in Chechnya since 1994, what this ghastly, genocidal war means for the common people and Russian grunts. Baiev is a surgeon with a big heart, and never turned anyone away. He explains casualties from the rather disturbing anatomical perspective of a surgeon, illustrating how fragile bodies and how much pain people can suffer.

The book starts with his life before the war: of the ancient and beautiful Chechen traditions, of the extreme and often brutal Russian racism. As you read the book, the cultural differences between the ancient highlander Chechens and the rest of the Western world seem dwarfed by how lovely their life was, and how, as you read it, you can see yourself in their world. What stays with you is that once you empathize on this level, the eruption of war and desolation is utterly heartbreaking. Because Baiev lived it we see an intimate world being shattered, not a headline.

Baiev (narrowly) survives years of war until both the Russians and Chechen guerillas are out for his head because his clientele includes everyone (and mostly civilians) so he has to escape to America, and eventually moved to Boston. His observants description of coming to America, seeing how peaceful it is here, how people of many races coexist, and how a town in Vermont took care of his family, gives you a deeper appreciation for what we have in this country and that many take for granted.

I've never read anything that captures so vividly and personally the heartbreakingly human face of war. I think everyone should read it just to be educated on something that is going on at this moment, but that many people do not know about or simply don't understand. It speaks of overwhelming swaths of cruelty and evil, but also transcendent moments of grace and joy, humanity between enemies. Baiev treated anyone who needed help, so we see souls, not sides.

What steals the breath from you, what made me rather emotional, is how war is revealed here as so useless, so tragic, so profoundly evil because we are all people, and war destroys and perverts this sacred life that we all share in.

Here is a winter slog for all those readers who hammer their thumbs because it feels so good when they stop.

The Education of Henry Adams By Henry Adams.

This an American Classic which comes with great recommendations. Published 100 years ago in a small issue in which Adams wanted his selected readers to comment in the margins. He got three back. After his death it was published for the general public. I am working through it with the aid of CliffNotes which keeps me posted on what I read. It's a hard read and I hope that in the end I will be rewarded.
Mack Kelly

And then on 10 Feb., Mack says:
I have finally finished Henry Adams. It was a struggle and in the end I think it was worth it. To fully appreciate "The Education" one should have good grasp of the stretch of history from 1860 to 1905. Most of the major players came within his circle and the events have a feeling of the times untouched by future judgments. Whether or not it would be a good candidate for the summer, I leave others to decide (as Henry would say).
Mack Kelly

March by Geraldine Books

Mary Strohl writes: Geraldine Books is a fine writer. I have read Year of Wonder and suggest that the book club consider March, which is in paperback. It is a novel about the Civil War experience of Mr. March, the absent father in Louse Mary Akcott's Little Women. Read more by clicking

Elaine writes: Red Azalea by Anchee Min is a gripping autobiography by a woman who grew up in China under Mao's Cultural Revolution. The responsibilities she carried as a small child, her school experiences, the oppressive conditions in the farm labor camp'' 'all these make me wonder how the human spirit survives with cheerfulness and optimism.

Clint adds: I'm reading Red Azalea and having a little trouble staying with it. So far it leaves me with a vague feeling that it's not quite real. Anyway, Yan's erhu is a real instrument, see below:

Erhu - Bowed String Instrument

The Erhu has a small body and a long neck. There are two strings, with the bow inserted between them. With a range of about three octaves, it's sound is rather like a violin, but with a thinner tone due to the smaller resonating chamber. In the 2nd orchestra they are usually divided into 1st and 2nd parts. The Erhu first appears about 1104 AD during the Song Dynasty. We bought ours in Zhengzhou in 1999. It hangs on the wall in our Great Room. You often see blind men playing this instrument in some of the big cities. I always enjoyed listening and gave them money for their efforts. Er is two in Chinese.

The Chinese 2-stringed, vertical fiddle has a history of more than 500 years. It started to be popular in Southern China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 AD), which gave it another name "Nan-hu" (the word "south" pronounced in Chinese as "Nan"). Erhu is still the most popular bowed instrument in today's Chinese music. An erhu is quite different from a western fiddle. There is a vertical post with a fingerboard, which goes through the sides of a resonator at its base. This resonator is covered with a piece of stretched snakeskin (python), which results in a unique "whining" tone color of the instrument. The bow for the erhu is placed between its two strings. Traditionally the two strings are made of silk, although metallic strings are used as well. The player of an erhu usually sits, and the erhu is placed on his left upper thigh in front of his left hip. The instrument is played by moving the bow horizontally through the two vertical strings. Erhu's range spans about three octaves. It has some of the qualities of a violin, but having a more nasal tone. Erhu is capable of producing a gentle but firm tone.

Erhu is a kind of violin (fiddle) with two strings, which, together with zhonghu, gaohu, sihu, etc, belongs to the "huqin" family. It is said that its origin would be dated up to the Tang dynasty (618-907) and related to the instrument, called xiqin originated from a Mongolian tribe Xi. During Song dynasty (960-1279), the second generation of the huqin was among the instruments played at the imperial banquets.