Read Local: Summer Reading 2014

Michigan Fiction

Red jacket : a Lute Bapcat mystery  by Joseph HeywoodRed jacket : a Lute Bapcat mystery  
Heywood, Joseph
Meet Lute Bapcat, orphan, loner, former cowboy, Rough Rider, beaver trapper, a man who in 1913, with the enthusiastic recommendation by Theodore Roosevelt, himself, becomes one of the Michigan's first civil service game wardens. His territory: The Keweenaw Peninsula, the state's industrial center. Red Jacket asks Lute to confront an explosive, bloody labor strike; a siege-like sabotage, including a sudden rash of decapitated, spoiled deer; poisoned trout streams and well water; and unusual deforestation--all apparently designed by mine owners to deny nature's bounty to the strikers, and thereby to break the union.
Until she comes home by Lori RoyUntil she comes home  
Roy, Lori
  Show moreShow less "In 1958 Detroit, on Alder Avenue, neighbors struggle to care for neighbors amid a city ripe with conflicts that threaten their peaceful street. Grace, Alder's only expectant mother, eagerly awaits her first born. Best friend Julia prepares to welcome twin nieces. And Malina sets the tone with her stylish dresses, tasteful home, and ironfisted stewardship of St. Alban's bake sale. Life erupts when childlike Elizabeth disappears while in the care of Grace and Julia. All the ladies fear the recent murder of a black woman at the factory on Willingham Avenue where their husbands work may warn of what has become of Elizabeth, and they worry what is yet to become of Julia-- the last to see Elizabeth alive. The men mount an around-the-clock search, leaving their families vulnerable to sinister elements hidden in plain sight. Only Grace knows what happened, but her mother warns her not to tell. 'No man wants to know this about his wife.' Ashamed that her silence puts loved ones in harm's way, Grace gravitates toward the women of Willingham Avenue, who recognize her suffering as their own. Through their acceptance, Grace conquers her fear and dares to act. On Alder Avenue, vicious secrets bind friends, neighbors, and spouses. For the wicked among them, the walk home will be long"--From author's web site.
Brown Dog : novellas by Jim  HarrisonBrown Dog : novellas  
Harrison, Jim
Brown Dog -- The seven-ounce man -- Westward ho -- The summer he didn't die -- Brown Dog redux -- He Dog.Summary: Brown Dog is a bawdy, reckless, down-on-his-luck Michigan Indian. Work is something to do when he needs money, taking time away from the pleasures of fishing. Of course, this means that Brown Dog is never far from catastrophe, searching for an answer to the riddle of family-- and perhaps, a chance at redemption.
Sleepwalker by Karen RobardsSleepwalker  
Robards, Karen
While housesitting for her Uncle Nicco, policewoman Micayla Lange catches Jason Davis in the act of stealing money from her uncle's locked safe. But when they both find incriminating photos that that implicate Nicco in the murder of a city councilman, Mick and Jason hurtle into a race for their lives.
Asylum Lake  by R.A. EvansAsylum Lake  
Evans, R.A.
After the sudden death of his wife, Brady Tanner moves to the small Michigan town where he spent summers as a youth. But he soon learns that small towns can be stained by memories...and secrets too. As Brady is drawn into unearthing the secrets of the town and of the abandoned psychiatric hospital on the shores of Asylum Lake, he discovers a new love in an old friend. But there is an evil presence lurking beneath the waters of the lake. What is the source of this evil--and what does it want with Brady Tanner?
The Art of Fielding by Chad HarbachThe Art of Fielding  
Harbach, Chad
At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended. Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry's gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners' team captain and Henry's best friend, realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert's daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life. As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment--to oneself and to others.
Crime Partners  by Donald GoinesCrime Partners  
Goines, Donald
Prison buddies Billy Good and Jackie Walker made time pulling small jobs here and there. Not a bad living if you liked scraping by. The thing to worry about was the next fix. Nothing else mattered. When Billy and Jackie fell in with Kenyatta, a ghetto lord ready to take back the streets, they thought they'd hit the big time. Dealing with drug pushers and crooked cops in the name of justice sure felt good, but in a world where "kindness was the sweetest con of all," every bullet fired echoed with the sound of payback.
When Captain Flint was still a good man by Nick DybekWhen Captain Flint was still a good man  
Dybek, Nick
Every fall, the men of Loyalty Island sail from the Olympic Peninsula up to the Bering Sea to spend the winter catching king crab. Their dangerous occupation keeps food on the table but constantly threatens to leave empty seats around it. To Cal, Alaska remains as mythical and mysterious as Treasure Island, and the stories his father returns with are as mesmerizing as those he once invented about Captain Flint before he turned pirate. But while Cal is too young to accompany his father, he is old enough to know that everything depends on the fate of those few boats thousands of miles to the north. He is also old enough to feel the tension between his parents over whether he will follow in his father's footsteps. And old enough to wonder about his mother's relationship with John Gaunt, owner of the fleet. Then Gaunt dies suddenly, leaving the business in the hands of his son, who seems intent on selling away the fishermen's livelihood. Soon Cal stumbles on evidence that his father may have taken extreme measures to salvage their way of life. As winter comes on, his suspicions deepening and his moral compass shattered, he is forced to make a terrible choice.
Paper Lantern : love stories  by Stuart DybekPaper Lantern : love stories  
Dybek, Stuart
A new collection of short stories by a master of the form with a common focus on the turmoils of romantic love Ready! Aim! On command the firing squad aims at the man backed against a full-length mirror. The mirror once hung in a bedroom, but now it's cracked and propped against a dumpster in an alley. The condemned man has refused the customary last cigarette but accepted as a hood the black slip that was carelessly tossed over a corner of the mirror's frame. The slip still smells faintly of a familiar fragrance. So begins "Tosca," the first in this vivid collection of Stuart Dybek's love stories. Operatically dramatic and intimately lyrical, grittily urban and impressionistically natural, the varied fictions in Paper Lantern all focus on the turmoil of love as only Dybek can portray it. An execution triggers the recollection of a theatrical romance; then a social worker falls for his own client; and lovers part as giddily, perhaps as hopelessly, as a kid trying to hang on to a boisterous kite. A flaming laboratory evokes a steamy midnight drive across terrain both familiar and strange, and an eerily ringing phone becomes the telltale signature of a dark betrayal. Each story is marked with contagious desire, spontaneous revelation, and, ultimately, resigned courage. As one woman whispers when she sets a notebook filled with her sketches drifting out to sea, "Someone will find you." nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Some of Dybek's characters recur in these stories, while others appear only briefly. Throughout, they--and we--are confronted with vaguely familiar scents and images, reminiscent of love but strangely disconcerting, so that we might wonder whether we are looking in a mirror or down the barrel of a gun. "After the ragged discharge," Dybek writes, "when the smoke has cleared, who will be left standing and who will be shattered into shards?" Paper Lantern brims with the intoxicating elixirs known to every love-struck, lovelorn heart, and it marks the magnificent return of one of America's most important fiction writers at the height of his powers.
Quality Snacks : stories  by Andrew MozinaQuality Snacks : stories  
Mozina, Andrew
In a wide range of forms and tones, the fifteen stories in Andy Mozina's new collection, Quality Snacks, center on high-stakes performances by characters trying to gratify both deep and superficial needs, often with unexpected consequences. Driven by strange ambitions, bungled love, and a taste for-or abject fear of-physical danger, the collection's characters enact the paradox in the concept of a quality snack: the dream of transmuting the mundane into something extraordinary. Two teenage boys play chicken on a Milwaukee freeway. A man experiencing a career crisis watches a seventy-four-year-old great grandmother perform an aerial acrobatics routine at the top of a swaying 110-foot pole. Desperate to find a full-time job, a pizza delivery man is fooled into a humiliating sexual demonstration by a couple at a Midway Motor Lodge. A troubled young man tries to end his father's verbal harassment by successfully hunting a polar bear. After an elf civil war destroys his Christmas operation, Santa Claus reinvents himself as a one-man baseball team and ends up desperate to win a single game. And in the title story, a flavor engineer at Frito-Lay tries to win his boss's heart with a new strategy for Doritos that aims to reposition the brand from snack food to main course. While some stories embrace pathos and some are humorous and some are realistic and some contain surreal elements, all of the stories in Quality Snacks share striking insight and a cast of compelling, well-conceived characters. This collection, in an earlier form, has been a finalist for the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award, the Dzanc Short Story Collection Contest, the Elixir Press Fiction Award, and the Autumn House Fiction Contest, and a semi-finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize. Readers of fiction will be satisfied by the variety of fare offered by Quality Snacks .
A Mind Like This by Susan RamseyA Mind Like This  
Ramsey, Susan
Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Susan Blackwell Ramsey's A Mind Like This is a work of humor and wit, unexpectedly delightful and full of surprises as it reflects on the oddness of everyday life, the natural world, literary history, popular culture, and more. Everything is fair game for Ramsey, who finds poetry in love and sickness and life, of course, but also in knitting and unreliable bladders and the peculiar name of Kalamazoo. Neruda makes an appearance, as do Eric Clapton and Brahms, Leonard and Virginia Woolf, and Jimmy Stewart. Whether observing the pickled heads of Peter the Great's offenders, wondering "How to Seduce Henry David Thoreau," becoming the insecure voice of Kalamazoo, or puzzling over the intricacies of the mind that blocks a dear friend's birthday while preserving the name of Emily Dickinson's dog in perpetuity, Ramsey's collection is wise and funny, allusive and deeply felt.
Holding True by Emily DietrichHolding True  
Dietrich, Emily
Holding True starts with the sexual energy buzzing amid civil rights activists in early 60s Detroit, and ends twenty years later at a commune in remotest northern Michigan devoted to living out the values of the civil rights movement. The novel follows Martina Vanbeck, conceived by out of wedlock activists, who comes into the world destined to be an outcast by her dying mothers stipulation that Martina, white granddaughter of wealth, be raised on the black side of town. After a series of heartbreaking attempts at friendship, Martie becomes a founder of Copper Hill Commune and offers to house it in the Vanbeck ancestral home, where Martie spent her childhood summers playing with Davey, a local boy. Davey has become a gentle but unstable man whose almost obsessive adoration of Martie is obvious to everyone but her. Davey watches the commune closely, convinced that Martie is participating against her will. Within the commune, deadly schisms develop, leading one staunch member to stockpile firepower to protect them. When Daveys "rescue" of Martie collides with the discovery of Copper Hill Communes weapons cache, the communes explosive demise is inevitable.

Michigan Nonfiction

Michigan legends : folktales and lore from the Great Lakes state by Sheryl JamesMichigan legends : folktales and lore from the Great Lakes state  
James, Sheryl
Over the course of its history, the state of Michigan has produced its share of folktales and lore. Many are familiar with the Ojibwa legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes, and most have heard a yarn or two told of Michigan’s herculean lumberjack, Paul Bunyan. But what about Detroit’s Nain Rouge, the red-eyed imp they say bedeviled the city’s earliest residents? Or Le Griffon, the Great Lakes’ original ghost ship that some believe haunts the waters to this day? Or the Bloodstoppers, Upper Peninsula folk who’ve been known to halt a wound’s bleeding with a simple touch thanks to their magic healing powers? In Michigan Legends, Sheryl James collects these and more stories of the legendary people, events, and places from Michigan’s real and imaginary past. Set in a range of historical time periods and locales as well as featuring a collage of ethnic traditions—including Native American, French, English, African American, and Finnish—these tales are a vivid sample of the state’s rich cultural heritage. This book will appeal to all Michiganders and anyone else interested in good folktales, myths, legends, or lore.
Poetry in Michigan, Michigan in poetry  by William  OlsenPoetry in Michigan, Michigan in poetry  
Olsen, William
Poetry. This anthology gathers an intriguing range of poets and artists, their visions and voices, exploring the variances in Michigan landscape; shoreline; lives lived in the city, town, and countryside; our uncommon diversity of cultures, points of view, concerns, celebrations, losses, and histories.
Michigan day trips by theme  by Michael LinkMichigan day trips by theme  
Link, Michael
Discover unique attractions around the Great Lake State! Take a simple day trip, or string together a longer vacation of activities that catch your interest. No more information overload! Destinations in the book are based on such themes as waterfalls, garden tours, lighthouses, fun getaways and outdoor adventures. Useful for singles, couples and families - visitors and residents alike - this guide encompasses a wide range of interests.
Detroit rock city : the uncensored history of rock 'n' roll in America's loudest city by Steve MillerDetroit rock city : the uncensored history of rock 'n' roll in America's loudest city  
Miller, Steve
Black sheep (1965-1972). Respect ; Playground of noise ; "You can't be a leader on LSD" ; "Mitch Ryder, eat shit" ; "I'm no statesman, I'm no general" ; "They didn't call them the Stooges for nothing" ; Riots in the Motor City ; Here's new pretties for you ; America's only rock 'n roll magazine ; "What happens in Detroit, stays in Detroit" ; In Detroit, Woodstock was the weak shit ; "We weren't musicians, we were like an outlaw bike club" ; Drugs hate you -- Gimmie some action (1973-1981). New York : "none of these people have seen shit" ; Stranglehold ; Mongrel ; Creem : 'they're no good since Lester Bangs left" ; You're gonna die ; Sweet nothin' ; Nothin' to do in Detroit ; The voice box and first in line ; No hands clapping ; "You're not punk rock" -- The big three killed my baby (1981-2000). Vengeance ; Face forward ; Punk rock sucks ; Don Kirshner of Detroit ; Mutiny in hardcore ; You just can't win ; MC5: Are they from Detroit? Fresh blood and garage innocence ; Cool American ; "Warm beer and bestiality go together" ; I'm hell ; On the corner ; The same boy you've always known ; "It was raining faggots on me" ; Devil with a cause ; Aspiring and achieving lowly dreams.
Fatal crossing : the mysterious disappearance of NWA flight 2501 and the quest for answers : a true story by Valerie van HeestFatal crossing : the mysterious disappearance of NWA flight 2501 and the quest for answers : a true story  
van Heest, Valerie
As a furious squall swept down Lake Michigan on June 23, 1950, a DC-4 with 58 souls on board flew from New York toward Minnesota. Minutes after midnight Captain Robert Lind requested a lower altitude as he began crossing the lake, but Air Traffic Control did not comply. That was the last communication with Northwest Airlines Flight 2501. Shredded human remains washing up on the beaches of West Michigan served as evidence of the country's worst commercial aviation disaster. The Navy and Coast Guard were unable to locate the wreck, rendering it impossible to determine a cause for this tragic accident. Over a half century later, nationally acclaimed author and explorer Clive Cussler of the National Underwater Marine Agency teamed up with the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association to pick up the search where the government left off and attempt to solve the mystery of the plane's disappearance. This gripping and suspenseful narrative begins as the team sets out upon its quest, an expedition fraught with disappointments and surprising discoveries as the explorers plow through archives and scour the lake bottom. An unexpected meeting with a victim's son prompts a search of a different kind, one that would be more illuminating than submerged sections of twisted aluminum. Weaving past and present together through meticulous research and heart-rending interviews, V. O. van Heest paints a captivating portrait of the victims, vividly recreates the last few hours of Flight 2501, and reveals that the answers are sometimes found in unexpected places.
Tasting & touring Michigan's homegrown food : a culinary roadtrip by Jaye BeelerTasting & touring Michigan's homegrown food : a culinary roadtrip  
Beeler, Jaye
This book explores Michigan's astonishingly vast peninsulas both with varied landscapes. With stunning photography of Dianne Carroll Burdick Michigan's flavor frontier became a photo essay. The culinary search for Michigan's homegrown connects us to this place we call Michigan.
True crime: Michigan : the state's most notorious criminal cases  by Tobin BuhkTrue crime: Michigan : the state's most notorious criminal cases  
Buhk, Tobin
A brief history of crime in Michigan -- Strang circumstances : the murder of Michigan's Beaver Island king -- Wild, wild West : the lawless frontier of Michigan's upper peninsula -- The subtle and daring poison plot of Arthur Waite -- Dynamite farmer : Andrew Kehoe and history's deadliest school day -- Motor city massacre and the end of the purple reign -- Lonely hearts : the Michigan victims of Beck and Fernandez -- The Ypsi coed killer -- Riddle is my middle name : James Riddle Hoffa's disappearance -- In (and out of) hot water : the criminal career of Coral Watts.
At least in the city someone would hear me scream : (misadventures in search of the simple life) by Wade RouseAt least in the city someone would hear me scream : (misadventures in search of the simple life)  
Rouse, Wade
We all dream it. Wade Rouse actually did it. Finally fed up with the frenzy of city life and a job he hates, Wade Rouse decided to make either the bravest decision of his life or the worst mistake since his botched Ogilvie home perm: to uproot his life and try, as Thoreau did some 160 years earlier, to live a plain, simple life in radically reduced conditions. In this rollicking and hilarious memoir, Wade and his partner, Gary, leave culture, cable, and consumerism behind and strike out for rural Michigan-a place with fewer people than in their former spinning class. There, Wade discovers the simple life isn't so simple. Battling blizzards, bloodthirsty critters, and nosy neighbors equipped with night-vision goggles, Wade and his spirit, sanity, relationship, and Kenneth Cole pointy-toed boots are sorely tested with humorous and humiliating frequency. And though he never does learn where his well water actually comes from or how to survive without Kashi cereal, he does discover some things in the woods outside his knotty-pine cottage in Saugatuck, Michigan, that he always dreamed of but never imagined he'd find-happiness and a home. At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream is a sidesplitting and heartwarming look at taking a risk, fulfilling a dream, and finding a home-with very thick and very dark curtains. From the Hardcover edition.
Haunted history of Kalamazoo  by Nicole BrayHaunted history of Kalamazoo  
Bray, Nicole
A brief history lesson -- Kalamazoo's forgotten -- East Hall (Western University campus) -- Civic auditorium -- Kalamazoo asylums -- Kalamazoo's haunted homes -- The ghostly bicyclist -- Tortured souls of the diseased -- Bronson Park -- The Radisson -- Gibson Guitar Factory -- Kalamazoo's cemeteries -- The Park Club -- Kalamazoo Public Library -- The State Theater -- The Whistle Stop Depot -- Henderson Castle -- The ghosts that got away -- Strange Kalamazoo.
Detroit : an American Autopsy  by Charlie LeDuffDetroit : an American Autopsy  
LeDuff, Charlie
Back in his broken hometown, LeDuff searches through the ruins for clues to its fate, his family's, and his own. Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation's poorest. It is an eerie and angry place of deserted factories and abandoned homes and forgotten people. LeDuff sets out to uncover what destroyed his city, and shares an unbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with some of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer.