Book Title & Author:
Population 485 by Michael Perry
Why do you think the LSSU Campus should read this book? How will it build community? start conversations? encourage social engagement? empower critical thinking? Will it inspire an engaging TEDxLSSU theme?
The book is about finding community – both as an insider and an outsider. It is about a guy who grew up in a rural northern town where most people do not go to college. He went away to college and upon returning to his home town he felt both an outsider (due to his education) and also an insider (having grown up in the town). When is isn’t working as a writer, he serves as a volunteer EMT and describes what it is like to interact with people you know in crisis situations. The book makes you question – what is home? What makes a community? What drives people into service occupations?
Description from the publisher’s site:
“Welcome to New Auburn, Wisconsin (population: 485) where the local vigilante is a farmer’s wife armed with a pistol and a Bible, the most senior member of the volunteer fire department is a cross-eyed butcher with one kidney and two ex-wives (both of whom work at the only gas station in town), and the back roads are haunted by the ghosts of children and farmers. Michael Perry loves this place. He grew up here, and now-after a decade away-he has returned.
Unable to polka or repair his own pickup, his farm-boy hands gone soft after years of writing, Mike figures the best way to regain his credibility is to join the volunteer fire department. Against a backdrop of fires and tangled wrecks, bar fights and smelt feeds, he tells a frequently comic tale leavened with moments of heartbreaking delicacy and searing tragedy.
Tracing his calls on a map in the little firehouse, he sees “a dense, benevolent web, spun one frantic zigzag at a time” from which the story of a tiny town emerges.”
Additional Information: This title is available in both Kindle and Audiobook format. It has been used as a campus read at Nicolet College and Kirkland Community College.