XENIA — As a little kid, Ryan Ireland used to take the old dot matrix, accordion-style printer paper and make books for his parents.
“As long as I can remember I’ve wanted to make books,” the marketing and publicity coordinator of the Greene County Public Library system said.
After releasing “Beyond the Horizon” last year, Ireland is set to release his second novel, “Ghosts of the Desert” and will give a brief talk about and sign copies of the book during an event 7 p.m. Thursday at the Books & Company at the Greene. The book is a study about a Norman, a young anthropologist who heads to the Utah desert in 1973 to lose himself in work. Having just received a research grant, Norman plans to study the ghost towns and now-obsolete mines littering the inhospitable landscape.
Abducted by a cult-like family of hermits, Norman develops Stockholm syndrome — a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors.
“The deeper he gets in, the worse his life is,” Ireland said. “He can’t compel himself to leave.”
The reader eventually discovers Norman may not be the nicest guy in the world.
“It’s a very dark and gritty book,” Ireland said.
While it is fiction, Ireland’s inspiration came from a trip he and his sister and brother-in-law Tara and Steve Polling took to the real ghost town of Frisco, Utah about a decade ago. Approximately 300 pages, “Ghosts of the Desert” is available at Books & Company, most online booksellers and at the county libraries.
A 2003 graduate of Carroll High School, Ireland is already thinking about his next book, based on his Ph.D. dissertation examining the library’s part in how society remembers things. He’s in the process of re-writing the 90,000 word piece into something that would appeal to readers outside of academia.
“It’s a book about the history of history,” Ireland said. “For 2,500 years a major component is the library.”
For Ireland, a major component of his life is creative writing, which was his major at Wright State.
“It’s the only thing I’ve ever been any good at,” he said. “I got older and just kept plugging away and got lucky.”
At Thursday’s Books & Company event, Ireland will also read an excerpt from “Ghosts of the Desert” and answer questions.