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By: Karen Dybis | March 9, 2020
March is Reading Month little library

Photo Courtesy of Free Little Library.

Perhaps Metro Detroit residents love books so much because they are hungry for knowledge. Perhaps the adoration of reading comes from living near some of the finest cultural and collegiate institutions in the Midwest. Or it could be that living inside the house for six months of the year makes you want to pick up a book and read to help pass the time until spring.

Whatever the reason, Metro Detroiters are book people. That is why March is the ideal month to get into an independent bookstore, check out the local library, and see an author speak. These are moments when you can find out something new, see the wide array of books out there and support the writers who put together these stories for our communal enjoyment. 

There are many places to read, be read to or find people writing across the city. If you want to celebrate Reading Month, you will find lots of people willing to join you as well. There are plenty of coffeehouses with special reading activities as well as libraries eager to have patrons stick around for a special event.

Having a venue where people can host fun reading events was important to Betsy Murdock, co-founder of The Congregation Detroit. That’s why they embraced the Silent Reading Club for events at its Boston-Edison coffeehouse and hope other events, like book clubs, will consider joining them as well. 

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“Whether it’s your first time or your 100th time, we want you to always feel like you have a space here,” Murdock said. 

Even if you simply pick up a book from a Free Little Library to take home or bring over a book you enjoyed for someone else to explore, you’ll find a supportive environment that will honor your love of words and the people who string them together. 

Here are some special Metro Detroit events that take advantage of March’s Reading Month for you to explore. 

Silent Reading Club

Nationally, there are several groups that have created special events that bring introverted readers together. Well, extroverts are welcome as well, but the Silent Reading Club seems like the ideal activity for people who like to keep their nose in a book. Join a like-minded group of quiet readers for an hour of contemplation and quiet during the Silent Reading Club meeting March 25 at the newly opened Congregation, a new coffeehouse and late-night bar near Boston-Edison. 

Visit an independent bookstore

Metro Detroit has a rich collection of community-minded bookstores that really look out for their patrons and readers. These specialty shops include Source, Pure Detroit, John King and Pages Bookshop. In March, Pages is bringing three terrific writers and speakers together for a special event. Tommye Blount will present his latest book of poetry, “Fantasia of the Man in Blue” in conversation with poets Nandi Comer and Scheherazade Washington-Parrish for a joint reading.

Go to a lecture or book reading

Authors often toil in their offices or libraries alone. So when they finish a project and see it published, they want to talk about it with as many people as possible. One opportunity to meet an author in person is when Detroit native Matthew Pettway, PhD, and an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of South Alabama, comes to Detroit to talk about his book, “Cuban Literature in the Age of Black Insurrection: Manzano, Plácido and Afro-Latino Religion,” with a special lecture in the General Motors Theater at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. It is sure to be inspiring and fascinating as Dr. Pettway introduces his research on both black Cuban literature and its Afro-Latino religious powers, organizer say.

Head to your local library

Many Metro Detroit libraries are hosting special events in March to celebrate Reading month. This includes book clubs, author talks and family-friendly activities that focus on the written word. One suggestion is to head over to the visually stunning Detroit Public Library or one of its branches to check out the latest work of many local authors. For example, Esperanza Cintron will be speaking March 21 at the library’s Duffield branch, highlighting the work she did for her book, “Shades: Detroit Love Stories.” 

Visit a free little library

The Free Little Library concept has grown into an international movement to “take a book, share a book” with neighbors and friends. Typically, people will put a book-collection spot, perhaps shaped like an old grandfather clock or even Dr. Who’s TARDIS, out in their home’s yard or lawn around their business. Then, people are welcome to take a book home to read or deposit books they’ve already enjoyed into the bookcase. It’s a great way to take a chance on a book you might not otherwise have tried or discover a new author.