Thursday, November 16, 2017

Stories from a True Leelanau Local

Keewaydinoquay Peschel lived from 1918 to 1999. Born in Leelanau County, she learned traditional herbal healing practices from an early age, lived and taught in the public school in Leland, Michigan, received her doctorate in ethnobotany from the University of Michigan, and conducted plant research for many years on Garden Island. She was also, all her life, a storyteller, and her stories connect generations and communities – of all kinds -- throughout the universe.

Keewaydinoquay: Stories From My Youth tells of her childhood and growing up, her family and early teachers. The story of her life is continued in the volume entitled Cedar Songs.

Keewaydinoquay: Stories From My Youth, by Keewaydinoquay Peschel, edited by Lee Boisvert. University of Michigan Press, paper, 168pp. $22.95

Cedar Songs, by Keewaydinoquay Peschel, edited by WeTahn Lee Boisvert. Trafford Publishing, paper, 275pp. $18.95

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Jim's Only Children's Book

Jim Harrison wrote only one book for children, and he wrote it for his grandson, but anyone who wants to understand this outstanding Michigan poet’s background and inspiration will learn a lot from The Boy Who Ran to the Woods.

At the age of seven, a fight with a little girl put Jimmy in the hospital for a month. He was tied to the bed at night. Both eyes were bandaged for a full week, but the sight in his injured eye could not be saved.
It took months for the blind eye to heal and by the time he entered second grade he was sure that all the other boys and girls were staring at him. His father bought him a young dog and Jimmy would hide in the thickets with his dog for days at a time. He became a wild and unruly boy....

He does not want to learn to read – does not want to be in school at all -- but finally, thanks to a father's understanding, a love for the birds and other wildlife he encounters in nature begin to cure the boy’s unhappiness and give him a hunger for learning.

The Boy Who Ran to the Woods,
by Jim Harrison; illustrated by Jim Pohrt
Harcover with dust jacket, $18.95

Thursday, November 2, 2017

How Brave Are You?

It takes courage to face old age and death, but growing old and nearing the end can also be times of reflection and gratitude, even joy. Consider these two books:

Accenting the rewards of maturity, Joan Chittister in The Gift of Years: Growing Old Gracefully might help you find the courage you wish you had. Sooner or later, after all, we will need it. Paper, $13.95

And then there are the even more difficult end-of-life decisions. To help prepare or to find answers you need right now, Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End offers a thoughtful physician’s perspective. Paper, $16

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Here's what the publisher has to say about this new children's book:

A never-before-published, previously unfinished Mark Twain children’s story is brought to life by Philip and Erin Stead, creators of the Caldecott Medal-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee.
In a hotel in Paris one evening in 1879, Mark Twain sat with his young daughters, who begged their father for a story. Twain began telling them the tale of Johnny, a poor boy in possession of some magical seeds. Later, Twain would jot down some rough notes about the story, but the tale was left unfinished . . . until now.

Sound like a book you need to read? It's big, it's beautiful, and it's a perfect gift!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

'Mountain Girl' Writes Novel

I reviewed If the Creek Don’t Rise, by Leah Weiss, in February and have been impatient ever since for the book’s official release. Today is the day! And I’m happy to say the book has been released in paper, so it won’t break anyone’s pocketbook.

If the Creek Don’t Rise is a debut novel, set in remote Appalachia. It will be good reading for book clubs, perhaps in concert with the memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, and/or with White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. (I also reviewed the latter in February, with mention of the former.) 

Besides my reviews, you can read more about the author’s background by following this link.

If the Creek Don’t Rise
by Leah Weiss
Sourcebooks Landmark
Paper, 305pp

Monday, August 21, 2017

All Kinds of Mothers

Know the Mother is another book in Wayne State University’s excellent “Made in Michigan” series. This book of short stories by Desiree Cooper, as the title indicates, explores motherhood from a variety of perspectives, both black and white and from different generations as well. Cooper, a former attorney, is also a Pulitzer nominee, a Detroit community activist, and a 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow.  
Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Callaloo, Detroit Noir, Best African American Fiction 2010, and Tidal Basin Review, among other online and print publications. Her first collection of flash fiction, Know the Mother, was published by Wayne State University Press in March 2016. Cooper was a founding board member of Cave Canem, a national residency for emerging black poets. She is currently a Kimbilio fellow, a national residency for African American fiction writers. (from online biography 
Know the Mother
Desiree Cooper
Wayne State University Press, 2016
Paper, 112pp, $15.99

Thursday, August 17, 2017

WINDIGO MOON from Robert Downes

You know Robert Downes as one of the original co-creators of Traverse City’s Northern Express and, since then, as a traveler, blogger, and writer of travel books. Downes has now published his first novel, set in the Upper Great Lakes and spanning 31 years, from 1588  into the onset of the Little Ice Age. Native American culture is blended with love story and the real dangers brought by explorers from Europe.

Windigo Moon: A Novel of Native America
by Robert Downes
Blank Slate Press, paper, 304pp