Archive for the ‘Speakers’ Category

Thompson-Shore printers gets kudos from author Dave Eggers

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

In today’s New York Times Book Review the TBR column highlights how Dave Eggers in his new book “A Hologram for a King” acknowledges Thompson-Shore printers of Dexter Michigan which printed the book.

The article relayed how Egger’s in a recent article in the New Yorker writes how he had a “come-to-Jesus” moment” when he visited the printer in Dexter. He wrote how they had done some pro-bono work for 826 Michigan and how on a visit there he realized that not only does the company do beautiful books but that it was an extended family.

He told the New Yorker that the prices are close enough to China’s especially when you take into account delays. Interestingly enough, “A Hologram for the King” follows an American businessman who hopes to land a deal in Saudi Arabia. A clear theme in the book is about how U.S. manufacturing has declined. Eggers in not only a great writer but it appears he is also a savvy businessman. Read his comments in the New Yorker here. And follow 826Michigan on their website.

This isn’t the first time that such praise has been sent Thompson-Shore’s way. Their recent almost ’round the clock printing of the

Dave Eggers

Autobiography of Mark Twain was a monumental accomplishment and the publisher University of California Press was impressed by the quality and the timeliness of the printer.

Not only does Thompson-Shore support the literacy group 826 it is in it second year of sponsorship of the Kerrytown BookFest which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Representatives from Thompson-Shore will participate in a workshop at the BookFest and follow the BookFest here. Who says corporate sponsorship isn’t worth it? Without Thompson-Shore’s work with 826 Michigan Eggers would have never known about this great Michigan company. He had visited the plant to thank them for doing such great work for his organization. Read more about the Twain printing accomplishment in a previous post on and checkout Thompson-Shore here.

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Author Benjamin Busch one of the highlights of the 10th annual Kerrytown BookFest

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Benjamin Busch

One of the highlights of the 10th annual Kerrytown BookFest is an appearance by author Benjamin Busch who will join a conversation with author Nicholas Delbanco and host Brian Short of Ann Arbor.

Busch whose memoir “Dust to Dust: A Memoir,” has created quite a stir across the country. The New York Journal of Books selected “Dust to Dust” as one of the books most representing America for July 4, 2012. Read the list here.  In a review of Busch’s book the Journal called it a “work of extraordinary merit.” Read the entire review here. In a review and interview with Busch this past spring here’s what  had to say about the book and the author:

Will the real Benjamin Busch please stand up? Busch’s memoir, “Dust to Dust: A Memoir,” is a modern version of the 1960s TV show, “What’s My Line?”

Busch — an artist, actor, soldier and now author — shows his poetic vision of life and death in this unusual memoir, which doesn’t follow the usual conventions. For example, the story isn’t linear, but is broken into the sub-categories of Arms, Water, Metal, Soil, Bone, Wood, Blood and Ash, things the author refers to as elemental. Typically, he alternates chapters on his war experience with those of growing up.

He describes the journey of writing the memoir as “seeking to disinter my childhood.”

“We all come from the memory of our childhood,” he said. “We go into ourselves, but we don’t go into them and they pass us by.” He says writing the memoir forced him into being “in his childhood,” actually being there to see his parents (both dead).

Nothing is conventional about Benjamin Busch. Although he is the son of the late novelist Frederick Busch and his mother, Judy, was a librarian, he admits to not reading much. “As a child I was physically restless and could not sit down,” he said. “Even in college, I had the same mentality.: Seeking to disinter my childhood.”

The young Busch always inhabited more of the physical world, and in his book he writes “what my father built with words, I built with pieces of the earth, stone and wood.”

Busch tells of a somewhat conventional childhood, of playing with sticks and stones and building tree houses and forts while pretending to be a warrior. He then goes off to study studio art at Vassar College, a predominately female school.

Breaking with tradition (his parents were both anti-war), he also begins to study war as he enters the Marine Corps Officers Training Program. After graduating, he serves in active duty from 1992 to 1996.

Then, beginning with a job as an extra in the film “Contact” (with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey), he commits himself to learn everything there is about acting. He lands roles in “Homicide” (he plays a corpse), “The West Wing” and, if ever life mirrored art, he plays a Marine in the Tommy Lee Jones/Samuel L. Jackson drama “Rules of Engagement.”

In 2003, when he is called up for the invasion of Iraq, Busch writes about how he inadvertently continued his acting career. Faced with leading battle-hardened veterans from the Gulf War, Busch describes how his acting skills came in handy and how he played the role of a hard-assed commander. He emerges from his first deployment relatively unscathed, both physically and emotionally.

Home safely, Busch takes up where he left off, playing Anthony Collicho, the ex-Marine cop in HBO’s “The Wire.” But his acting career is put on hold when he is sent back to Iraq in 2005, this time to Ramadi, where he confronts the randomness of war when a sniper’s bullet hits a member of the unit accompanying him.

“For the Marines, it was entirely random. I went over to talk to them. All that I knew was all that they knew. We would have to go back out tomorrow,” he writes.

The same year, he and several other Marines are injured when a cargo vehicle in which they are riding strikes an improvised explosive device. It was during this time that Busch describes how his life view changed from the invulnerability he felt during his first tour to expecting death in his second tour. “But the belief in immortality and the certainty of doom produced almost the same lack of anxiety in me,” he writes.

Toward the end of his second tour in Iraq, his father writes an essay titled “Don’t Watch the News” for Harper’s Magazine about his son’s second deployment and how a family back home copes while also confronting their long held anti-war beliefs. “Perhaps by slicing another day off our lives as we wish it away to bring him home we are spending our lives to buy his,” his father wrote.

In his typical existential style, Frederick Busch ponders the question he would like to ask his son: “How far do you burrow inside yourself before it’s difficult to work your way out?” Benjamin Busch reflects on his parents’ values: “I remembered them raising me not to carry a gun. My father had chosen words over war.”

The younger Busch has embraced both words and war, and in 2008 — in a surreal example of method acting — he was back in combat gear as one of the stars of “Generation Kill,” an HBO miniseries about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In a few short years, Busch had gone from being an actor playing a warrior to a warrior being an actor playing a warrior.

Since his tours in Iraq, Busch has moved to Reed City and thrown himself into raising his family while creating and directing two short movies, “Sympathetic Details” and “Bright,” both with assistance from actors from “The Wire.”

Although Busch has been a soldier for more than half of his adult life, “Dust to Dust” does not glorify or glamorize warfare (only one-third of the 300-page book covers his days as a Marine). Instead, Busch has created an unusually poetic memoir (he says he tries not to use the same word twice) and one that he hopes will inspire introspection in others. No matter what career Busch finally decides on — if he ever does pick just one — you can expect him to bring to it a deep sensibility of life, death and the importance of memories.

In a July 4th point of view for the Daily Beast he writes passionately about what Independence Day stands for and says:

Today is our Independence Day. No other event in these United States so celebrates disloyalty and allegiance, sovereignty and the disobedience of a sovereign, severance and unification. We are a country born of protest, but we have settled into an apathetic dependency, expecting benefits for ourselves and disinterested in contributing toward collective equity. Our political debates have little hope of true conversation in them. On average, less than half of Americans even vote.


Read the entire essay here.


Kerrytown BookFest celebrates its 10th year with an outstanding lineup of authors, illustrators and exhibitors

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

The Kerrytown BookFest has always attracted an eclectic gathering of authors and book artists and the 10th annual BookFest set for Sunday September 9, 11 am-5 p.m. is no different.

Authors representing children’s picture books, mystery, memoir, poetry and women’s fiction will make appearances at the BookFest along with book artists discussing digital arts and illuminated manuscripts.

“The 10th Annual Kerrytown BookFest” is quite a milestone for us, said Robin Agnew, president of the BookFest and owner of Aunt Agatha’s mystery bookstore in Ann Arbor.

“Each year we strive to present something new and something unusual along with debut and award­-winning authors and illustrators,” she said. Click here for a complete list of authors, illustrators and presenters.

This year’s program includes sessions on Tigermania featuring baseball writers; Poetry as It Lives and Breathes; Mentoring ; Awesome Mystery Babes; New Voices in Women’s Fiction and several sessions on the book arts.

Agnew said this year the BookFest has expanded its children’s offering by adding an additional tent for activities and book events. She said children and parents will now have more opportunities to craft their own books. A drawing workshop with author and children’s book illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw and opportunities for children to make flutter and accordion books will engage children and adults in the book arts.

In more adult sessions, book artists Chad Pastonik and Randy Asplund will delve into the world of book arts.  Pastonik of Deepwood Press recently completed a limited edition book featuring an essay “The Intruder” an excerpt from Voelker’s “Trout Madness”. Voelker using the pen name Robert Traver wrote “The Anatomy of a Murder.”

In addition, two sessions on getting a book published will guide fledgling authors on the path to publication. Editors and published authors will discuss manuscript acquisition and how the first book gets published.

The BookFest President said, “We thought it prudent to focus on the future in our 10th year so there are several session featuring first-time authors such as Natalie Bakopolous..” Her debut book “The Green Shore” was recently released.

There will also be some veteran writers such as mystery and Western writer Loren Estleman talking with two authors he has worked closely with about the importance of mentorship. First-time author Benjamin Busch (“Dust to Dust”) will join author Nicholas Delbanco in a conversation led by Brian Short.

Tiger fans will be in baseball heaven as award-winning baseball historian Peter Morris talks with writers William Anderson, Dan Ewald, Kerrie Ferrell and Tim Wendel about their books on the Detroit Tigers. And not so far removed from Tiger Town will be an interview with the authors of “Coney Detroit” a new book extolling the unique virtues of Detroit’s venerable coney dog.

Five Michigan poets led by poet and U-M professor Keith Taylor will discuss how poetry lives and breathes.

Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winning journalists will also join the BookFest to discuss their new books. Included are Bryan Gruley, Julia Keller, and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Each year the BookFest also shines the spotlight on numerous Michigan authors with the generous support of the Michigan Humanities Council. Authors featured this year include Bonnie Jo Campbell, Deborah Diesen, Ann Pearlman, Keith Taylor, Patricia Clark, James Daniels, William Anderson, Peter Morris, Doug Allyn, Jack Driscoll, Sarh Zettell, Benjamin Busch, Natalie Bakopolous, Bryan Gruley, Loren Estleman, Ellen Pollack, Joe Grimm and Katherine Yung.

“The BookFest is a wonderful testament to the creativity of Michigan authors,” said Wengas. Click here for a look at the entire program list.

The BookFest will also continue the tradition of presenting the Community Book Award to individuals who have contributed to the publishing and book arts. This year’s award fittingly goes to Tom and Cindy Hollander (Hollander’s book and paper store) who were among the organizers of the first BookFest.

“There would not be a BookFest without the Hollanders,” Agnew said.

And for the fifth year winners of the Book Cover Contest will be named. Each year students from area high schools submit original alternative book jacket art for a book. This year the book was “Frame” by Loren Estleman.

The BookFest which is a free event is held at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market and the Kerrytown Concert House. In addition to the literary events more than 75 vendors selling books and book and paper -related items will be at the BookFest.

A complete program and a listing of authors is available at


Michigan Daily says BookFest showcases local entrepreneurs

Saturday, September 10th, 2011
The Michigan Daily in the Friday, September 9 issue gave some kudos to the annual Kerrytown BookFest event which is in its 9th year. Read more here.