New at the library

I’m Your Man: The life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons

The legend behind such songs as “Suzanne,” “Bird on the Wire” and “Hallelujah” is one of the most important and influential artists of our era. He is also a poet and novelist whose works include such groundbreaking literary works as “Beautiful Losers” and “Book of Mercy.” This man, Leonard Cohen, is a man of powerful emotion and intelligence whose work has explored the definitive issues of human life-sex, religion, power, meaning and love. Cohen is also a man of complexities and seeming contradictions: a devout Jew, who is also a sophisticate and ladies’ man, as well as an ordained Buddhist monk whose name Jikan or “Ordinary Silence” is quite the appellation for a writer and singer whose life has been anything but ordinary.

“I’m Your Man” is the definitive account of that extraordinary life. Sylvie Simmons crafts a portrait of Cohen as nuanced as the man himself, drawing on a wealth of research that includes Cohen’s personal archives and more than a hundred exclusive interviews with those closest to Cohn-from his lovers, friends, monks, professors, rabbis and fellow musicians to his muses including Rebecca DeMornay, Marianne Ihlen, Suzanne Elrod and Suzanne Verdal and, most importantly, Cohen himself, whose presence infuses these pages.

Starting in Montreal, Cohen’s birthplace and where he first found fame as a poet in the fifties, Simmons follows his trail, via London and the Greek island of Hydra to New York in the sixties, where he launched his music career. From there she traces the arc of his prodigious achievements to his remarkable retreat in the mid-nineties. On the cusp of marriage to a beautiful actress and enjoying the success of his best-selling album to date, he entered a monastery on a rocky mountaintop above Los Angeles, where he remained until his reemergence for a sold-out world tour fifteen years later. Whether navigating Cohen’s journeys through the back streets of Mubai or the countless hotel rooms where he has stayed along the way, Simmons explores with equal focus every complex, contradictory strand of Cohen’s life-from the halls of academia to the arenas of rock ‘n’ roll-and presents a deeply insightful portrait of the vision, depth, and talent of the artist and the man who continues to move people like no one else.

All Standing: The remarkable story of Jeanie Johnston, the legendary Irish famine ship by Kathryn Miles

The legendary Irish Famine Ship recounts the journeys of the famous ship, her heroic crew and the immigrants who were ferried between Ireland and North America. Spurred by a complex web of motivation-shame, familial obligation and sometimes even greed-more than a million people attempted to flee the Irish famine. More than one hundred thousand of them would die aboard one of the five thousand aptly named “Coffin Ships.” But in the face of horrific losses, a small ship named the Jeanie Johnston never lost a passenger. Shipwright John Munn, community leader Nicholas Donovan, Captain James Attridge, Dr. Richard Blennerhassett and the efforts of a remarkable crew allowed thousands of people to find safety and fortune throughout the United States and Canada.

Why did these individuals succeed when so many others failed? What prompted them to act, when so many people preferred to do nothing-or worse? Using newspaper accounts, archival documents and her own experience sailing as an apprentice aboard the recently re-created Jeanie Johnston, Kathryn Miles tells the story of these extraordinary people and the revolutionary milieu in which they set sail. The tale of each individual is remarkable in and of itself: read collectively, their stories paint a unique portrait of bravery in the face of a new world order. Theirs is a story of ingenuity and even defiance, one that recounts a struggle to succeed, to shake the mantle of oppression and guilt, to endure in the face of unimaginable hardship. On more than one occasion, stewards of the ship would be accused of acting out of self-interest or greed. Nevertheless, what these men-and their ship-accomplished over the course of eleven voyages to North America was the stuff of legend.

Interwoven in their tale is the story of Nicholas Reilly, a baby boy born on the ship’s maiden voyage. The Reilly family climbed aboard the Jeanie Johnston in search of the American Dream. While they would find some version of that dream, it would not be without struggle-one that would deposit Nicholas into a deeply controversial moment in American history. Against this backdrop, Miles weaves a thrilling, intimate narrative chronicling the birth of a remarkable Irish-American family in the face of one of the planet’s greatest human rights atrocities.

Red Jacket: A Lute Bapcat mystery by Joseph Heywood

Meet Lute Bapcat, former cowboy, Rough Rider, beaver trapper, a man who, in 1913, is handpicked by Theodore Roosevelt himself to become one of Michigan’s first civil service game wardens. His territory: the Keweenaw Peninsula. With a stunning array of characters, fascinating historical detail and Joseph Heywood’s trademark writing about Michigan’s wilderness, “Red Jacket” chronicles a bloody labor strike marked by sabotage, tactics such as slaughtered deer, flooded animal dens, poisoned trout streams and well water, and deforestation-all designed by mine owners to deny nature’s bounty to the strikers.

The violence culminates in a scene of sheer horror forever known as the Italian Hall Disaster. In the midst of a Christmas celebration mostly by children and wives of the striking miners, a man allegedly yells “fire.” In the ensuing panic, seventy-three are killed.

Even with good people dying, the Michigan governor refuses to take sides. Should Lute Bapcat?

Saving What Remains : a Holocaust survivor’s journey home to reclaim her ancestry by Livia Bitton-Jackson

When Livia Bitton-Jackson returned in 1980 to her childhood town of Samorin, Czechoslovakia located on the Danube River, she was no ordinary tourist: thirty-six years earlier as a thirteen year-old girl in what was then the Hungarian town of Somorja, she and her family had been deported to Auschwitz. In “Saving What Remains,” a best-selling memoirist tells a moving and beautifully-written story about disinterring the past so that it will never be forgotten. Bitton-Jackson’s grippingly present-tense account traces her return to the land she and her Jewish community loved when she was a child.