People who work at the Ann Arbor District Library love to give recommendations.
Whether in person at one of the five branches, in the News and Reviews section of AADL's website, or right here at Pulp, highlighting our favorite books, films, TV shows, video games, websites, adventures, and more is just part of the gig.
Like you, we are passionate enjoyers of media and experiences.
This is our seventh year compiling Ann Arbor District Library staff picks—and with more than 40,000 words spread out over four posts, it is the longest edition yet.
To reiterate: We. Love. To. Give. Recommendations.
Here are the creative works and experiences we discovered in 2023 that moved us enough to share them with you. (Not that you needed to twist our arms.)
Jason Guenzel has a passion for exploring the cosmos with his camera.
The Michigan-based astrophotographer will appear at the Ann Arbor District Library's Downtown location at 7 pm on June 29 to discuss his love of astrophotography. Guenzel will talk about his journey to the stars, the equipment he uses, and how you can get started in this discipline, which mixes science and art. He'll also present many of his fascinating photos of the cosmos, explaining the specialized techniques he used to capture these breathtaking images.
I spoke with Guenzel ahead of his AADL appearance.
Going Platinum: Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library Reflects on 70 Years of Supporting AADL Patrons and Programs
In May 1953, the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library (FAADL) shared a historical moment alongside Ernest Hemingway.
The library’s volunteer organization officially became a nonprofit the same month Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for The Old Man and the Sea.
Seven decades later, Hemingway’s novella still graces the library’s shelves as FAADL celebrates its 70th anniversary of supporting Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) patrons and programs through used book sales. From library locations to summer bookmobiles to online bookstores, the group has played a pivotal role in AADL’s evolution.
“[FAADL] was really instrumental in the location of where the downtown library sits, and it was instrumental in the branches,” said Rachel Pastiva, FAADL’s director, while reflecting on the group’s platinum anniversary.
That same year, FAADL advocated for a separate and central location for the library since it was attached to an old high school at State and Huron streets. By 1957, the new location ended up being the current downtown site at Fifth Avenue and William Street.
Each year, I look forward to the summer solstice. There’s something magical about the longest day of the year and the maximum amount of daylight that it brings.
But by June 20, 2020, at the age of 44, my outlook on the summer solstice changed unexpectedly. I awoke early that morning to sunlight streaming through my windows and felt excited about the day ahead.
My husband Brian and I were getting ready to visit my in-laws and celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with the rest of the family. We were just about the leave the house when we heard an expected knock on our door at 8 am.
I opened the door and saw my father on the front porch looking ragged and exhausted. There was an unrecognizable sadness on his face when he said, “L, Your mother passed away last night.”
Those words punched me right in the gut, and it took me a moment to process what he had just said. My father explained that my mother had a heart attack the night before; she had collapsed instantly and then died.
He tried to revive her before the paramedics came, but it was too late. I was surprised that a heart attack had taken my mother’s life at 75 instead of Alzheimer’s. She had been battling that disease for nearly a decade, and I had prepared myself for that outcome gradually.
Chasing Lights: Ann Arbor's Melissa Kaelin knows the secrets to seeing the aurora borealis right here in Michigan
You don't need to go to Tromsø, Norway to see the aurora borealis—even though the town, more than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, is considered one of the best spots to view the natural phenomenon.
You don't even need to drive your car to the upper parts of Canada to see the northern lights, which occur when energized sun particles smash into the Earth's outer atmosphere and are redirected by the magnetic field toward the planet's poles. (Southern lights exist, too.)
Melissa Kaelin—founder of the Facebook group Michigan Aurora Chasers, co-founder of the International Aurora Summit, and author of Below the 45th Parallel: The Beginner's Guide to Chasing the Aurora in the Great Lakes Region—will tell you how to witness this beautiful sight here in Michigan when she appears at the Ann Arbor District Library's Westgate Branch on Thursday, May 11, 6:30-7:30 pm, for a chat.
'Til Tuesday: Terry McClymonds' idiosyncratic trivia nights have built an enthusiastic community over the past 12 years
Trivia nights in Ann Arbor are not uncommon, but Terry McClymonds' event might have the longest legacy. He started Trivia Night With Terry! in 2011 and has garnered a devoted following for his twice-a-month game, now at Argus Farm Stop’s Packard Cafe.
“It’s like a community,” McClymonds says. “There are students and graduate students, people from that neighborhood and my neighborhood, lots of ages. They’re all so enthusiastic.”