What's New at OLLI

This page provides information about additions and changes to OLLI's program offerings.

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Resources for the first Thursday Morning Lecture Series: Canada and the United States: "Unidentical Twins"

OLLI's First Fall 2021 Brochure is available

The Futurescape of Medicine 

OLLI is Always Looking for Volunteers for Committees

There are a multitude of volunteer opportunities at OLLI - We need you! Please contact OLLI Director on more ways to get involved:  Lisa Barton libarton@umich.edu  or call 734-998-9356.

Special Projects Committee

Looking for a fun and stimulating volunteer opportunity and a way to contribute? Join the Special Projects Committee, the OLLI "New Program Incubator". This is the committee that developed the Climate Change series, the COVID seriesTorn from the HeadlinesOLLI @ Home and OLLI Reads. Join us if you like generating new program ideas and making them happen. 

Contact Jane Spinner at jspinner@umich.edu or Laurie Barnett at lcbarn@comcast.net if interested or to get additional information.


Join the Lectures Committee to help create the Thursday Morning Lectures

Join a Lectures Sub-Committee to meet new people while creating Thursday morning lectures.  There are still opportunities for planning the lectures for the 2021-22 academic year.

OLLI is looking for new members to join the following sub-committees:

  • Music in Detroit and Michigan

For more information contact Frances Schultz by sending e-mail to: fschultz@umich.edu.


What's New in the OLLI Commons

The Commons is OLLI's free meetup place, offering a variety of interesting, fun, and creative activities.

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All of the programs in the OLLI Commons are free and open to the public. You must be registered to receive the Zoom links for each Commons event.

Coffee with Marta — A new name for Coffee + Show or Tell starting in September 2021

Starting in September 2021 Coffee + Show or Tell will have a new name, Coffee with Marta. Marta is Marta Skiba, the host of Coffee ....

Summer 2021 in the OLLI Commons

  • The Schmoozery and Poetry Reading with Ginny Bentz, will continue meeting through the summer and into the 2021-22 program year.
  • Coffee + Show or Tell will meet through June 15th.  It will take a break during July and August and be back on September 7th with a new title – Coffee with Marta.
  • The Lunch Bunch will return on September 23.
  • The First Friday Happy Hour will take a break during July and August, but will be back starting Friday, September 3.
  • The Book Beat will take a break during June, July and August. It will be back starting September 28th.

Waiting Rooms

For added security waiting rooms have been added to all OLLI Zoom meetings. When you join a meeting, a waiting room screen will appear until the host lets you in. You don't need to do anything differently when joining a meeting, but we wanted to make you aware of this additional security measure. This change affects the Commons, Study Groups, and Shared Interest Groups, but not lectures or other webinars.

Changes to the Zoom links used for OLLI Commons events

Starting Monday, April 19th, the current single open Zoom link for the Commons were discontinued. Each Commons event now has its own separate Zoom link and participants will need to register for Commons events. The events are still free and do not require the OLLI annual membership fee to be paid.

For more information see: https://www.olli-umich.org/olli-commons.

Check the online Course Catalog for the Zoom link to use to join the event. The Commons events remain free, but you need to be signed in and registered for the event to see the Zoom information.

Private meetings in the OLLI Commons are no longer being offered

All Commons events now require registration via the OLLI website, and the ability to book a “private” meeting in the Commons is no longer offered.

Time change for the Book Beat: New time is 4:00 to 5:00 pm on the 4th Tuesday of the month

The new time for the Book Beat is 4:00 to 5:00 pm on the 4th Tuesday of each month.

New Member Exchange discontinued

The New Member Exchange held on the 4th Monday of the month has been discontinued. The last meeting was held in February. There is a possibility the Exchange will begin again in September at the start of the Fall term.

Poetry Reading with Ginny Bentz every third Friday, Free

New! Coming to the Commons 7 to 8 pm every third Friday.
You're invited to a Poetry Reading. Please bring a poem of your own or a favorite one written by someone else. You will have about five minutes to read aloud and to give some context, so one longer poem or two short ones work well. If you'd rather just listen, that's okay too. Sip on a glass of wine or a cup of tea as e sit back, relax and applaud each unique offering.
Contact Ginny Bentzat by e-mail to ginny.bentz@gmail.com for details.
Check the online Course Catalog for the Zoom link to use to join this event. It is free, but you need to be signed in and registered for the event to see the Zoom information.


Resources from OLLI Programs

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New! — Summer Reading Suggestion from the May 25th Book Beat in the OLLI Commons

OLLI Book Beat—Summer Reading Suggestions

Sheila Konen, of the Ypsilanti District Library, recommended these books, among others, at her May 25th guest visit to Book Beat.

  • Mary Jane, by Jessica Anya Blau, Genre: Coming-of-age stories
  • One Night, Two Souls Went Walking, by Ellen Cooney, Genre: Literary fiction
  • How to Order the Universe, by Maria Jose Ferrada, Genre: Coming-of-age stories
  • The Kindest Lie, by Johnson, Nancy, Genre: African American fiction
  • The Plot, by Jean Hanff Korelitz, Genre: Psychological suspense
  • The Arctic Fury, by Greer Macallister,
Genre: Historical fiction
  • Aquarium, Shehori, Ya’ara, Genre: Literary fiction
  • Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead, Genre: Historical fiction;
  • Light Perpetual, by Francis Spufford, Genre: Literary fiction
  • Hummingbird Salamander, by Jeff Vandermeer, Genre: Dystopian fiction
  • The Elephant of Belfast, by S. Kirk Walsh, Genre: Historical fiction

New! — Resources for the Summer Lecture Series on Food Insecurity, June 10-24

Syd Kaufman’s Recommended Mysteries shared from his guest visit to Book Beat, April 27th

Crime Novels

  • Legal - Scott Turow’s The Last Trial
  • Police – Josephine Teys’ The Daughter of Time
  • Private Detective – Robert Crais’ The Monkey’s Raincoat
  • Amateur - Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night

Thriller Novels

  • Preventing an event from happening – Courtney Summers’ Sadie
  • Finding a missing Person or Object – Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl
  • Delving into the past – Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code

Spy Novels

  • Identifying and eliminating a threat to a country – Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October
  • Locating a mole or double agent – John LeCarre´s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Cozy Novels

  • Minimal violence – Rhys Bowens The Venice Sketchbook
  • Solving a mystery by analyzing all the clues – Agatha Christie’s Murder at the VicarageResources from The Struggle to Survive in Central America: A Portrait of Life from a Grassroots, Human Rights Perspective, May 20, 2021


The Long Honduran Night (Resistance, Terror and the United States in the Aftermath of the Coup) by Dana Frank, published by Haymarket Books, 2018. Dana Frank also is a frequent op-ed writer for various national newspapers and in The Guardian.

The Facebook page for WICIR (Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights) https://www.facebook.com/WICIR

The Facebook page for WCS (Washtenaw Congregational Sanctuary) https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=washtenaw%20congregational%20sanctuary

Latin America Caucus of Interfatih Council for Peace & Justice www.icpj.org

Delegations are organized by SHARE Foundation: http://www.share-elsalvador.org/

Please see http://www.vamosalamilpausa.org to learn about a new effort of the people of Honduras, organized by Radio Progreso and COPINH (Berta Cáceres' organization), among others, toward food security for the population. It is a "back to growing our own food sustainably" effort well worth your support. It is the focus of our next delegation in July 2021.

A BBC Newshour short (16 minute) interview with Padre Melo:
Sacred Steps: A Jesuit Priest Risks His Life To Challenge Honduras’ Repressive Government

Resource List for Central America : Coffee to Caravans series, April 15th to May 20, 2021

Background material for Central America : Coffee to Caravans lecture series (pdf).

Cristina Awadalla (2020) “Ortega’s Cynical Crisis Control, NACLA Report on the Americas”, 52:4, 391-396, DOI:10.1080/10714839.2020.1840166
Ortega’s Cynical Crisis Control: The Nicaraguan state’s flippant pandemic response further exposes the government’s contradictions ahead of the 2021 presidential elections.: NACLA Report on the Americas: Vol 52, No 4 (tandfonline.com)
“Beyond Left and Right: Grassroots Social Movements and Nicaragua’s Civic Insurrection” by Jennifer Goett:

Jennifer Goett (2019) “Nicaragua: Sanctions in Three Acts, NACLA Report on the Americas”, 51:1, 4-8, DOI: 10.1080/10714839.2019.1593680
Nicaragua: Sanctions in Three Acts: Recent sanctions against Nicaragua emphasize the need to understand the country's crisis on its own political and economic terms, while continuing to question the aims of U.S. intervention.: NACLA Report on the Americas: Vol 51, No 1 (tandfonline.com)
Chris Jillson (2020) “Costa Rica’s Neighbor, Intruder, and Essential Worker, NACLA Report on the Americas”, 52:4, 385-390, DOI: 10.1080/10714839.2020.1840163
Full article: Costa Rica’s Neighbor, Intruder, and Essential Worker (tandfonline.com)
William I. Robinson (2020) “Central America’s Second Implosion, NACLA Report on the Americas”, 52:4, 448-455, DOI: 10.1080/10714839.2021.1840178
Central America’s Second Implosion: NACLA Report on the Americas: Vol 52, No 4 (tandfonline.com)
Henri Gooren, Religious Conversion and Disaffiliation: Tracing Patterns of Change in Faith Practices (New York: Palgrave, 2010). 

Henri Gooren (ed.), Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions (Cham: Springer, 2019). 

Daren Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty, Currency (a division of Penguin Random House), New York, 2012. 

Frank, Dana, The Long Honduran Night: Resistance, Terror and the United States in the Aftermath of the Coup, Haymarket Books

Background reading for Torn from the Headlines talk, Presidential Executive Powers: Promise, Perils, and Parameters

Book List from Book Beat, Women’s History Month:  Important Books Written by Women

Book List from Sharon Quiroz’s March 23rd Book Beat Topic Women’s History Month: Important Books Written by Women:

Experimental Novels

  • Asymmetry, HallidayFlamethrower, Kushner
  • Outline, Cusk
  • Goon Squad, Egan
  • My Brilliant Friend, Ferrante
  • American Innovations, Galchin
  • Department of Speculation, Offill
  • How Should A Woman Be? Heti
  • Homesick for Another World, Moshfegh

New Voices from the Margins

  • The Vegetarian, Han Kang
  • Salvage the Bones, Ward
  • Americanah, Adichie
  • Mislaid, Zink
  • Her Body and Other Parties, Machado
  • NW, Smith
  • Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, Bechdal

Since 2018:

  • Machado, The Dream House: gay, experimental
  • Tokarczuk, Drive Your Plow over the Dead Bones.  Polish. Environmental murder mystery? Flight.
  • Smith, Ali; Autumn: (Seasons Quartette, Have it Both Ways).  Decidedly experimental. (Opening sentences)
  • Bennet, The Vanishing Half: race
  • Makkai, The Great Believers: gay, traditional style.
  • Stevens, The Exhibition of Persephone: experimental, feminist
  • O’Farrell, Hamnet.  I don’t know.
  • Ditlevsen, Copenhagen Trilogy: New voice? The Faces.
  • Edna O’Brien, Girls. (The Little Red Chairs)


  • Writers and lovers, Lily King: Writers & Lovers is a funny novel about grief, and, worse, it’s dangerously romantic, bold enough and fearless enough to imagine the possibility of unbounded  happiness” ―Washington Post 
  • Transcendent Kingdom, Yaa Gyasi (Homegoing): Transcendent Kingdom trades the blazing  brilliance of Homegoing for another type of glory, more granular and difficult to name." Nell Freudenberger, The New York Times Book Review
  • How a one-armed sister sweeps her house, Lala Primus: the story of a fateful encounter between the haves and the have-nots in a Barbados resort town.
  • If I had your Face, Frances Cha: At heart, A novel about female strength, spirit, resilience —and the solace that friendship can sometimes provide.” — The Washington Post “Magnificent . . .
  • White Book, Han Kang (The Vegetarian): the author employs the color white to meditate on the experience and what it meant for her parents and herself, the child that probably wouldn't have been born had her older sister survived.
  • Mournable Body, Tsitsi Dangarembga (Nervous Condition): n this tense and psychologically charged novel, Tsitsi Dangarembga channels the hope and potential of one young girl and a fledgling nation to lead us on a journey to discover where lives go after hope has departed.
  • A Burning,  Megha Majumdar: In her captivating debut novel A Burning, Megha Majumdar presents a powerful corrective to the political narratives that have dominated in contemporary India.”
  • Winter. Spring.  Summer. Ali Smith. Her “seasonal” quartet. a series of four stand-alone novels, separate but interconnected (as the seasons are), wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories, which, when taken together, give us something more—all four united by the passing of time, the timing of narrative, and the endless familiarity yet renewal that the cycle of the seasons is.
  • Girl. Edna O’Brien; The Little Red Chairs. a masterpiece of violence and tenderness. I was a girl once, but not anymore. So begins Girl , Edna O’Brien’s harrowing portrayal of the young women abducted by Boko Haram.

Resources for Faces and Places: Exploring Identity Through Art in the OLLI Commons

Coffee Experience Notebook, OLLI @ Home, March 15th

Resources for Graphic Books & Memes

"Paesano OLLI Oxtail Ragu" Recipe

Resource list for the Advances in Science lecture series

Book Beat Holiday Book Suggestions from our community partner, Nicolas Books, December 1, 2020

Many thanks to Jack Gillard and Meagen Kucaj for this special OLLI Holiday Edition of Book Beat on Tuesday, December 1st. The following are some of the titles that were mentioned. Remember you can order books from Nicolas for mail order, for curbside pickup, or grab your mask and stroll around the store. They also have gift cards, Christmas cards, toys and games. If you wish to thank Nicolas for the Book Beat presentation, you could add that in the Special Instructions box at the end of your order.

Books for Adults
  • Bacon, John U. The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism.
  • Behee, John. Coach Yost: Michigan's Tradition Maker.
  • Fisher, Dale. Washtenaw County: Visions of the Eagle.
  • Garten, Ina. Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Book.
  • Lopez, William D. Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid
  • Harvey, Miles. The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch.
  • Headley Maria Dahvana. Beowulf: A New Translation.
  • Jemisin, N.K. The City We Became.
  • Moreno-Garcia, Sylvia.  Mexican Gothic.
  • Jimenez, Simon. The Vanished Birds: A Novel.
  • Larson, Katherine. Ann Arbor Observed: The Stories Behind the Ann Arbor Observer.
  • le Carré, John. Agent Running in the Field.
  • Lopez, William D. Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid.
  • Meacham, John. His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope.
  • Obama, Barack. A Promised Land; Speeches.
  • Perry, Anne. A Christmas Resolution: Christmas Novella.
  • Rather, Dan. What Unites Us.
  • Sedaris, David. Holidays on Ice.
  • St. John Mandel, Emily. The Glass Hotel.
  • Willis, Connie. The Doomsday Book: A Novel; A Lot Like Christmas--Stories.
  • Zinn, David. Temporary Preserves; Underfoot Menagerie; Street Art Calendar 2021.
Books for Children
  • Bearn, Emily. Tumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall.
  • Becker, Bonny. A Christmas for Bear.
  • Brett, Jan. Cozy.
  • Brallier, Max. Galactic Hot Dogs Series; Last Kids on Earth Series.
  • Cameron, Bruce. A Dog's Perfect Christmas.
  • D’Aulaires.Ingri. D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.
  • Favilli, Elena. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World.
  • Highlight Magazine: The Highlights Book of Things to Do: Discover, Explore, Create, and Do Great Things.
  • Hinds, Gareth. The Illiad: The Odyssey: A Graphic Novel.
  • Jansson, Tove. The Moomins.
  • Kraegel, Kenneth. Wild Honey from the Moon.
  • Milford, Kate. The Greenglass House.
  • Paulson, Gary. Hatchet.
  • Rey, H.A.  Curious George Book of Sight Words.
  • Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: MinaLima Edition.
  • Timberlake, Amy.  Skunk and Badger.
  • Todd Parr. The Joyful Book.

Pandemic Update: Vaccines, Testing, and Treatments, November 17, 2020

Information shared in conjunction with the Urgent and Critical Lecture Series lecture, Pandemic Update: Vaccines, Testing, and Treatments, November 17, 2020.

Shared by Raymond Yung, Chief, Division of Geriatrics and Director of the Geriatrics Center and Institute of Gerontology.

Vaccine Development

I hope this message finds you safe and well. You may have heard a lot recently about the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. There are actually several different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines that are being developed. The University of Michigan is now involved in testing two of these candidate vaccines and we wanted to give you some general information about how these vaccines are developed and tested. We have also included two links below that explain the trials and the different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines and how they work.

From Ensuring the Safety of Vaccines in the United States, January 2018:

Vaccine development begins in the laboratory before any tests in animals or humans are done. If laboratory tests show that a vaccine has potential, it is usually tested in animals. If a vaccine is safe in animals, and studies suggest that it will be safe in people, clinical trials with volunteers are next.

Clinical Trials

Typically, there are three phases of clinical trials. Vaccines that are being developed for children are first tested in adults. FDA sets guidelines for the three phases of clinical trials to ensure the safety of the volunteers.

Phase 1 clinical trials focus on safety and include 20–100 healthy volunteers. In Phase 1, scientists begin to learn how the size of the dose may be related to side effects. If possible at this early stage, scientists also try to learn how effective the vaccine may be.

If no serious side effects are found in Phase 1, next is Phase 2, which involves several hundred volunteers. This phase includes studies that may provide additional information on common short-term side effects and how the size of the dose relates to immune response.

In Phase 3 studies, hundreds or thousands of volunteers participate. Vaccinated people are compared with people who have received a placebo or another vaccine so researchers can learn more about the test vaccine’s safety and effectiveness and identify common side effects.

Clinical trials are conducted according to plans that FDA reviews to ensure the highest scientific and ethical standards. The results of the clinical trials are a part of FDA’s evaluation to assess the safety and effectiveness of each vaccine. In addition to evaluating the results of the clinical trials, FDA scientists and medical professionals carefully evaluate a wide range of information including results of studies on the vaccine’s physical, chemical, and biological properties, as well as how it is manufactured, to ensure that it can be made consistently safe, pure, and potent.

Learn More

To learn more about COVID vaccine trials at Michigan Medicine, see:

To learn more details about the different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines in development, see:

If you would like to learn more about the participation of older adults in the vaccine trials at the University of Michigan, please send an email to agingresearch@umich.edu.


Community Online Learning Opportunities

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Climate Emergency . . . Feedback Loops, five videos

The climate crisis continues to advance. These five videos, Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops, which were recently released clearly demonstrate the ongoing dangers that we are facing.

See https://feedbackloopsclimate.com

A Monumental and Rapturous New Anthology of Black American Poetry

New York Times article by Parul Sehgal

The new Library of America anthology “African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song,” edited by Kevin Young, is a monumental tribute to that persistence, from the colonial period to the present. It features poems on injustice, harassment, hunger — protests on the page — but also rapturous odes to music and food, to gawking at beautiful strangers, to boredom and birth pains and menopause, and, yes, to moon, elms and lilacs, too.

Yo-Yo Ma and the Meaning of Life

A New York Times Magazine article by David Marchese

The immensity of Yo-Yo Ma’s talent is such that he would be globally admired if all he ever did was appear onstage or in a recording studio and then vanish after the last notes faded from his cello. That Ma has instead used his gifts in the service of spreading humanistic values — via cross-cultural musical collaboration, civic engagement and huge amounts of heart — means that his connection with the public goes far deeper than mere admiration.

On Dec. 11, Ma will release “Songs of Comfort and Hope,” an album recorded with the pianist Kathryn Stott. “People need each other for support beyond the immediate staples of life,” Ma says. “They need music.”

Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything

Vic Strecher (MPH ’80, PhD ’83 ) is a professor of health behavior and health education at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. For the last decade, he has been teaching and researching the significance of purpose and how people can find it in their lives.