Join your neighbors in reading our 2024 community read:

Population 485 - Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time by Michael Perry book cover

Here 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.

January 27 @ 4-8pm (Golf Course) – Book distribution begins at Winterfest’s Chili Feed

Starting January 29, books will be available at the Van Horn Public Library, Pine Island City Hall, and Pine Island License Bureau.

February 5 @ 6:30pm (High School Forum Room) – Jude Brogan, Catherine Eayrs, Cheryl Finnegan, Ginny Graham & Kate Laack talk about what inspired them to become authors while sharing a bit about what being an author is like.

Facebook Event page with author bios.

February 7 @ 6:30pm (South x SouthEast Brewing Co.)

February 12 @ 6:30pm (Pine Island Fire Hall) – In Population: 485, Michael Perry gives a few snapshots of what his life was like as a volunteer Firefighter in New Auburn, WI. Come to this event to hear about our own local firefighters. What kinds of calls do they make and how do they cooperate with neighboring departments? Learn all this and more!

February 13 @ 10:30am (Library)

February 24 @ 11am (Pine Island Fire Hall)

March 1 @ 7pm (United Methodist Church)

Meet author Michael Perry, who will read selections from his book, answer audience questions and sign books.

Michael Perry is a humorist, radio host, songwriter, and the New York Times bestselling author of several nonfiction books, including Visiting Tom and Population: 485, as well as a novel, The Jesus Cow. He lives in northern Wisconsin with his family and can be found online at

All events are free and open to the public.

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