Reading Together Survey

Reading Together

When we read together, we grow together. Read and discuss Jerry Dennis's The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas with people from all walks of life.

A Note of Thanks from Jerry Dennis

Thank you, Kalamazoo! It was an unforgettable experience for me to be hosted in your fine city. I’ll always be grateful that you selected The Living Great Lakes as your Reading Together book for 2015. And that more than 600 of you came to hear me talk on a night of freezing rain and sleet. And that you organized so many events celebrating the Great Lakes and their importance to the cultures and economies of two nations. And that you introduced me to so many fine people of every age who are passionate about books and reading. Thank you!

The outpouring of questions and comments at every Reading Together event has convinced me to move ahead with a project that I’ve long contemplated: a handbook of things we can all do to protect and restore the Great Lakes. I’ll be posting items from that work as well as updates on the state of the Great Lakes and other information on my website and in occasional newsletters. I’d like to invite anyone who wants to receive those updates to write to me at

With Warmest Regards,
Jerry Dennis



Some Final Thoughts

As we wrap up another year of Reading Together, we find ourselves once again gratified that so many residents participated in this effort, whether it was by reading The Living Great Lakes, discussing it in a book group, attending author Jerry Dennis’s presentation in March (along with 600+ other audience members), and/or participating in one or more of the other 14 programs that took place throughout the last six weeks.

Reading Together program

One thing is certain: We love our Great Lakes! Reading Together is meant to bring our community together and we saw that happen over and over again this year. We heard readers share their own stories and we witnessed a rededication to helping protect our waters. We saw young and old alike learn about the abundance provided by the Great Lakes, and we saw how the lakes influence us in all walks of life, from art and photography to volunteer opportunities and recreation.

We’d like to believe that, because of Reading Together, our community is a little bit stronger, perhaps a little more united in our commitment to each other and to these remarkable natural resources that are such an integral part of our existence in southwest Michigan.

Until next year,
Karen Trout, Reading Together Coordinator


Final Event a Reading Together First

As a Reading Together Steering Committee member, when I thought about the passion and knowledge our community has for our state and surrounding waters, I suggested hosting a team trivia night based on topics inspired by The Living Great Lakes. Our friends at Shakespeare’s Pub welcomed our idea and I’m excited to see the mix of people who will show up (those who saw Jerry Dennis speak, book clubs, librarians and Geeks Who Drink, I’m talking to you).

The evening will feature two rounds of trivia, starting at 6 pm then about 7 pm. Bring a team (6 member maximum, no minimum) to play (one or both rounds) or just show up and we’ll pair you with others to form a team. (Patrons under 21 are welcome at the Pub before 9 pm.)

The format is simple: The host reads a question, teams write their answers on a sheet, drinks are poured, food shared and at the end of the round, winners are announced, drinks are poured, food shared and the next round begins. (See sample question below.) No Internet look-ups or phone calls to friends or reference librarians allowed. Participants will not need to have read The Living Great Lakes. No advanced registration needed.

The management at Shakespeare’s arranged Great Lakes Brewing Company to have their beers on tap and the restaurant’s full dinner menu (including organic and vegetarian dishes) will be available. Prizes will include Great Lakes Brewing gifts, KPL swag and gift certificates to Shakespeare’s Pub.

Sample question: Name the object of Jerry Dennis' search in the subtitle of The Living Great Lakes

~Jim Ratliff, Reading Together Steering Committee
Librarian, Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Reading Together Steering Committee

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2015 Photos

Jerry Dennis in Kalamazoo

EFA Student Artwork

On Video

Jerry Dennis in Kalamazoo

KCHS Auditorium, 3/3/2015
Courtesy, Public Media Network (PMN)


Davenport University, 3/4/2015


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In the News

May 2015
Great Lakes OpenGreat Lakes Open
EFA student art is highlighted
Apr 5, 2015
Public LibraryPublic Library
is hosting a Great Lakes Trivia Night
Feb 27, 2015
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Karen Trout on The Lori Moore Show
Feb 27, 2015
Between the LinesBetween the Lines
Michigan nature writer Jerry Dennis
Feb 26, 2015
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explores 'The Living Great Lakes'
Jan 16, 2015
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Wayne Powers talks with Karen
Jan 9, 2015
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Karen Trout on The Lori Moore Show
Sep 29, 2014
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Book All About Great Lakes
Sep 4, 2014
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chooses "The Living Great Lakes"