The Two Books Two Communities committee is pleased to announce its 2023 selections: Chevy in the Hole, a novel set in Flint, Mich., by Kelsey Ronan; and A Psalm for the Wild-Built, a “solar punk” sci fi novella set on a rewilding moon by Becky Chambers. The Two Books Two Communities program fosters a sense of community by bringing together Northern Michigan University and Marquette and Alger County readers. Community members can add these titles to their summer reading lists in order to join the conversation at related events this fall.
Chevy in the Hole is described as a gorgeous and unflinching love letter to Flint and the resilience of its people. The novel follows August “Gus” Molloy after he moved back to his hometown to battle his issues with substance use, as well as stories from his and his friend's families woven throughout the narrative.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built is the first book in the Monk and Robot book series. The story takes place centuries into the future, years after the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools, leaving them wandering en masse. Eventually, the robots became nothing more than urban legend, until a tea monk's life was upended by a robot seeking to answer a question: “What do people need?”
“We chose Chevy in the Hole because it addresses so many issues that concern people in Michigan—the demise of the auto industry, the Flint water crisis, addiction and recovery, urban gardening and food deserts,” said Lynn Domina, committee chair of Two Books Two Communities. “It's a character-driven literary novel that invites all kinds of readers in. A Psalm for the Wild-Built, on the other hand, is science fiction, a genre we haven't featured in several years. It's futuristic, but unlike many futuristic books, it's not dystopian. Instead, it envisions a hopeful future emerging from destruction that occurs after heavy industrialization. Hope is the link between the two books, and hope is our overriding theme this year.”
Ronan will talk about Chevy in the Hole at the Munising School Public Library on Sept. 27 and at NMU on Sept. 28. Other events planned so far include a general discussion of the books at Peter White Public Library on Oct. 3, and a virtual presentation from Chambers on A Psalm for the Wild-Built on Oct. 10.
The events are free and open to the public. Find updated information on Two Books Two Communities at nmu.edu/onebook/twobooks.