Thursday, December 7, 2017

From My Carefully Curated Collection

No bookstore in the world has everything, and a one-woman operation in northern Michigan, of necessity, must practice careful inventory control. As Dog Ears Books comes into the holiday season, however, after which we will, this winter, close until spring, there have been a few books so exciting and wonderful that I could not help ordering them, hoping for a tiny little burst of holiday shoppers to make my investment pay off.

Becky Allender’s brave telling of her own life stories and a lovely little debut book of poetry from the other side of Grand Traverse Bay are my featured titles for today. Please stop in at 106 Waukazoo in Northport for other recommendations. The dog still can’t read, but the bookseller will be more than happy to assist you.

Hidden in Plain Sight: One Woman’s Search for Identity, Intimacy and Calling, by Becky Allender
Blue Wing Press, paper, 226pp.

The Salt Before It Shakes: Poems, by Yvonne Stephens
Hidden Timber Books, paper, 47pp

Welcoming Kids to Planet Earth

Children's book author Oliver Jeffers has a new picture book out this season. Inspired by the birth of his son, Here We Are: Notes For Living on Planet Earth introduces youngsters to the earth and its inhabitants as well as the sky above us. Some stuff is complicated, but the lessons are simple, and kids can ask questions when they don't understand.

The book is written for ages 3 to 7, but grownups will love it, too.

Here We Are: Notes For Living on Planet Earth
by Oliver Jeffers
Philomel, 48 pp, hardcover w/ dust jacket

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