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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Compassion – Not Just for Christmas

Karen Anderson, called “one of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world,” observed that while all faiths stress compassion, it seems to be sorely lacking in today’s societies. Even religious leaders seem to have other more urgent axes to grind.

Yet it is hard to think of a time when the compassionate voice of religion has been so sorely needed. Our world is dangerously polarized. ... And yet at the same time we are bound together more closely than ever before through the electronic media. 
 -      Karen Anderson, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
What can we do to bring more compassion to our world? 

Anderson decided that not practicing compassion was a habit that could be changed, and she realized that 12-step programs are familiar to Americans wanting to change from bad habits to good. Becoming compassionate, she warns, is not something we can accomplish overnight, but we can work toward compassion, taking one step, making one change, at a time. This book is a gift to give oneself.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
by Karen Armstrong
Paper, 222pp with suggestions for further reading

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Have You Met Roger Duvoisin?

One of the pleasures of having children is that the parents have the best possible excuse to revisit favorite books from their own childhoods. Another is discovering new children’s books. When my son was little, he and I fell in love with Roger Duvoisin’s Petunia books. All the Petunia books are delightful, but in this first one the silly goose’s discovery of a book and her adventures and misadventures with the strange object are guaranteed to warm hearts and bring smiles to booklovers young and old.

Favorite Stories of Roger Duvoisin presents three different stories new to me, while White Snow, Bright Snow is illustrated by DuVoisin but written by Alvin Tresselt. White Snow, Bright Snow was awarded the Caldecott Medal (“most distinguished American picture book for children) in 1948.

If you have children or grandchildren and have not yet been introduced to Roger Duvoisin, this holiday season could be your perfect opportunity.

Petunia, written and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
Hardcover with dust jacket
50th anniversary edition

Favorite Stories of Roger Duvoisin
Paper, 122pp

White Snow, Bright Snow
By Alvin Tresselt
Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
Hardcover with dust jacket

Friday, December 9, 2016

Old Favorites Make a Return

Rumer Godden’s charming book Mouse House, with illustrations by Adrienne Adams, was originally published in 1957, but a good mouse story is never out of date, so it’s delightful to see this lovely tale back in print. The publisher, New York Review of Books, has also re-issued Donkey Donkey, by Roger DuVoisin, one of my all-time favorite children’s author-illustrators. Both of these books, by the way, are excellent choices for reading aloud at bedtime.

Mouse House
by Rumer Godden,
& illustrated by Adrienne Adams
Hardcover, illustrated

Donkey Donkey
By Roger DuVoisin &
illustrated by the author
Hardcover, illustrated

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Modern Guides for the Currently Perplexed

That is to say, books for our time, eh? Here are a few suggestions from your Northport bookseller.

The first is a handy little paperback by Kathryn & Ross Petras, taking its title from the words of Nelson Mandela. If anyone had a right to be discouraged, wouldn’t it have been a man imprisoned for 27 years? This book really is packed with pithy, inspiring, kick-in-the-butt quotations. No wallowing in discouragement or despair! “Screw it, let’s do it!”

“It always to be impossible until it’s done”
by Kathryn & Ross Petras
Paper, 390pp

Next, who loves the lessons of The Little Prince? How many other titles by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry have you read? His books on flying are as full as wisdom as that one little children’s story, as you will discover in this book of inspiring quotations from his collected works.

A Guide for Grown-ups: Essential Wisdom from the Collected Works of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Hardcover, 83pp

Is it fair of me to think these times particularly perplexing for girls and women? Whether or not they are, I do have three titles aimed at right at us (or, men, at the girls and women in your lives).

First suggestion is a book of “empowering, inspirational quotes from over 400 fabulous females” from every walk of life and every age, appropriate for any age but put together with girls in mind. What do we tell our daughters and granddaughters? This stuff.

The Girls’ Book of Wisdom,
Edited by Catherine Dee
Paper, 192pp with index

And finally, departing from quotations to visit mini-biographies, we have the last of today’s suggestions for inspirations. Life has always been challenging, but women in all times have risen to the challenges.

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History
by Sam Maggs & illustrated by Sophia Foster-Dimino
Hardcover, 238pp with index

Scratch that “finally” above. I thought I was done, but looking at the table again it occurred to me that Shantyboat, one of the all-time favorite books in our household (along with Wind in the Willows) also qualifies as an inspirational book. Come on in, and I’ll explain why.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gift-Worthy Ideas

Edward Curtis photographs are well known and widely reproduced, but this beautiful new hardcover edition with explanatory and historical text by Don Gubrandsen has the virtue of combining excellent reproductions with an extremely affordable price.

Edward S. Curtis: Visions of the First Americans
by Don Gulbrandsen
Hardcover, 256 pp/illustrated/index

Another beautiful book capturing the life of the planet we love from outer space is Earth: Spirit of Place, featuring photographs from space by astronaut Chris Hadfield. This is earth, our beloved, threatened home planet, as you and I have never seen it. A book for artists and scientists, mom and pop and all the kids.

Earth: Spirit of Place
Softcover, 192pp

There’s a two-year wait, I hear, for tickets to the see the musical version, but you can read the book now, and history buffs on your shopping list will be pleased to find it under the tree.

Alexander Hamilton,
by Ron Chernow
Paper, 817pp

And last but hardly least, you may know Porter Abbott from his talks on narrative or his letters to the editor of the Enterprise, Record-Eagle, and Northern Express, but a new side of the scholarly academic is revealed in his new book of poetry and short fiction.

Falling Slowly Dreaming of Flight:
Poems and Stories
by H. Porter Abbott
Paper, 103pp
(60% of price to be donated to Leelanau Township Library)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Poet on a Wobbly Bicycle

You already know Fleda Brown’s poetry, I hope. Maybe you attended one of her readings at Dog Ears Books. Now we all have an opportunity to know the former Poet Laureate of Delaware* (now a Traverse City resident) as a thoughtful memoir essayist. The pieces in this book, originally published in Brown’s blog, face her diagnosis and life with cancer directly, from the only possible standpoint for the experience: personal and subjective. Many also address what it means to live as a writer, with or without a life-threatening illness. In all of them, an honest, gifted woman looks for just the right language to convey her experience to others. Others with cancer. With aging parents. Other women. Other writers.

But you don’t have to have cancer or be a writer to get a lot out of this book. Or to want to read it more than once. Or to share it with a friend. 

Or all of the above.

My Wobbly Bicycle: Meditations
on Cancer and the Creative Life
by Fleda Brown
Mission Point Press
Paper, 197pp, $14.95

*Before correcting this post, I had given Vermont the honor of Fleda's poet laureateship. Apologies to both states. If I ever have the privilege of visiting, I'm sure I'll no longer mix them up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

New Book From Tom Hooker

You’ll remember Tom Hooker from his two previous books, The Last Ice Age and the Leelanau Peninsula: Pleistocene and Lake Michigan and his first book of poetry, Silent Woods: Beyond the Blue Door.

Tom’s new book of poetry, The Catcher: Shadows to Light, once again offers reflections on the natural world and our life in it.

The Catcher: Shadows to Light
by Thomas H. Hooker
Indianapolis: Dog Ear Publishing (no connection to Dog Ears Books)
Paper, 143pp, $14.95

Friday, October 14, 2016

Retirement? What a Concept!

I just received copies of Bill Peace’s new book, and I love the subtitle. Just looking at the back cover, I see too that he offers advice I could easily live with, such as “Never eat what you don’t want to eat.” I’m not retired, but that’s my new vacation meal philosophy, and it worked out fine in September. I also like “Strive for excellence vs. perfection,” and I like that because, as my old friend Marcy once said in an office staff meeting, “Perfection is a moving target.”

Yes, I think this will be an inspiring book and a great gift to give at retirement parties. Not a tome that will take your entire retirement life to read – more something you’ll pick up and read in here and there, and then find yourself re-reading here and there as time goes by.

Retirement: The Surreal Life Adventure
by William D. Peace, Jr.
Traverse City: Mission Point Press, 2016
Paperback, 178pp, $14.95

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Trilogy Now Available as Gift Package

The third and final volume of Kathleen Stocking’s nonfiction trilogy came out this year, and now the author has packaged the three books together, for giving as a hostess gift, birthday or holiday present, or just a way of saying “I love you!” with books. At $19.95, $19.95, and $23.97, the three books purchased individually – Letters from the Leelanau; Lake Country; and The Long Arc of the Universe -- would total $63.87 plus tax, while in the gift ribbon they are priced together at only $50 plus tax, for a savings of $13.87.

Come buy the trilogy today or phone in your order for December.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Looking Ahead to Holidays

A new book from Bill O. Smith is available this season, certain to be one of this year's must-have Christmas books. What is happening at 4 a.m. on December 25? Bill’s gentle rhymes lead readers -- and children being read to -- around the world, through page after page of beautifully illustrations by artist Glenn Wolff.

Bill Smith of Traverse City is already well known in northern Michigan as the author of two earlier children’s books, Chickadees at Night and Chickadee Spirit (both of those books illustrated by Charles Murphy). Smith is donating all profits from sales of Four a.m. December 25 to veterans’ groups, specifically: Air Force Enlisted Village; Air Warriors Courage Foundation; Our Military Kids, Inc.; and Cherryland VFS Post 2780 Relief Fund.

Four a.m. December 25
by Bill O. Smith,
illustrated by Glenn Wolff
Sleepytime Press, hardcover, $19.95

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Inspiring Original Music -- Live!

Pianist and composer Tristan Eckerson, whose CDs I’ve been selling at Dog Ears Books since Aprilwill give a performance of contemporary classical music on November 3 at 7 p.m. at the Suttons Bay Congregational Church in Suttons Bay. Seating is limited, so get your tickets in advance.

Tickets are $15 each and available at the Business Helper, Leelanau Books, Dog Ears Books, and the Pennington Collection. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Leelanau Early Childhood Development Commission to benefit their Parenting Communities Program. A reception will follow the performance. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

For Future Snowy Days

We don’t want to think about snow yet! Fall color is late this year, giving us the happy illusion that winter will never arrive; we know it will, but we don’t want to go there yet! When winter does come, though, and holiday season comes around, here is a fun new book for little ones and those who read to them.

Samson loves dandelions. He loves the color yellow. What will he find to love when his world turns white? Story and captivating pictures answer that question.

Samson in the Snow
by Philip Stead
Hardcover, $17.99

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Michigan ROCKS!

I’m thrilled to announce that I now have, back in stock and even autographed by one of the co-authors, the popular, much-desired, and for a time elusive Michigan Rock Picker’s Guide. Since Partners Book Distributing went out of business, the former publisher of this book dropped it, and the copyright went back to the authors, who have now had it reprinted in color better than the original.

Lake Michigan Rock Picker’s Guide
by Bruce Mueller & Kevin Gauthier
Paperback, 80pp, $15.95

And that’s not all. For intrepid adventurers whose Michigan experiences extend as far as the “Sunrise Side” and the Upper Peninsula, I also have a couple copies each of Lake Huron Rock Picker’s Guide and Lake Superior Rock Picker’s Guide – same amateur-friendly information, same beautiful color, and same great price. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Trees, Mushrooms, and Books (Again)

Today's post features items found in but hardly unique to Michigan.

First, do trees communicate with each other? Peter Wohllenben thinks they do, and he explains their diverse methods in this fascinating book, an investigation in the spirit of French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre, one of my all-time nature heroes.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World
by Peter Wohllenben
Greystone Books, 2015
Hardcover, 272pp w/ index, $29.95

Next, moving from spores to seeds --

It’s fall mushroom time again, time to get out the field guide. What one friend calls “dead man’s fingers,” Audubon calls “elegant stinkhorn,” but there’s no mistaking it, thanks to the color photograph. Audubon! Don't leave home without it!

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms, North America
Flexible cover, fully illustrated, over 900pp, cross-referenced and indexed, $22.95

Finally, on to one of my all-time favorite subjects, do your children have any idea what goes into making a book? “Based on a true story,” Mac Barnett and Adam Rex undertake to explain the entire process to young people, from start to finish, clearly and engagingly. (Older people will be equally engaged.) How could I not love this book?

How This Book Was Made
by Mac Barnett & Adam Rex
Hardcover, $17.99

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Leelanau Nature Real CLOSE UP!

Here's a new book that exemplifies, magnificently, what you can find in your own back yard, given patience, interest, and talent. My nature-loving book friends are going to be beside themselves over these photographs! Come in and see it -- you may not believe it even then! Amazing!

Nature's Unseen World: Leelanau County's Backyard
photographs by Bob Jones
Traverse City: Mission Point Press
Hardcover, $29.95

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

More Historic Leelanau, Hot Off the Presses

Logging, shipping, early homes and roads and more – it’s all here in the new book from Leelanau Press, Edward Beebe’s Historic Leelanau Photographs: Leland, Suttons Bay, and North Manitou, 1909 – 1915, with text is by Jack Hobey. The story begins with “North Manitou Arrival” and ends with “North Manitou Departure.” My beloved little Lake Leelanau, then Provemont, is part of the story, as is Empire.

For those always curious about Rock, the famous hermit, yes, he makes the book, too. 

Edward Beebe’s Historic Leelanau Photographs: Leland, Suttons Bay, and North Manitou, 1909 – 1915
by Jack Hobey
Glen Arbor: Leelanau Press, 2016
Hardcover, fully illustrated, 154pp with index

Friday, September 16, 2016

Noteworthy Survivals

As well as new books, Dog Ears Books stocks many volumes that have stood the test of time. That, after all, is what books do. Given proper treatment, a physical library is near-forever. Here, then, are some recent additions to our eclectic collection of old and rare titles:


HOW TO GET OUT OF THE RAT RACE AND LIVE ON $10 A MONTH, by George Leonard Herter & Berthe E. Herter. Revised 7th edition, 1975. Hardcover, silver covered boards, front board illustrated. Many illustrations within. 656pp. Excellent copy. $80

(Hint: Porcupines make good eating.)


DOCTOR DOGBODY'S LEG, by James Norman Hall. Boston: Little, Brown, 1940, 2nd printing. This is a very rare edition of an uncommon title by the co-author of the famous MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY. There is mild bumping to spine ends and one small nick to top of front board, with some code numbers ffep; otherwise, a very clean, tight copy. $400

PORGY, by Du Bose Heyward. Grosset & Dunlap reprint by arrangement with George H. Doran Co., in same year as original printing: 1925. Illustrated with woodcuts by Theodore Nadejen. This is the novel that became the stage play that became the musical.  Black cloth/no dj. Near VG. $50

WOODWARD'S COUNTRY HOMES, by Geo. E. Woodward, architect and civil engineer. NY: Geo. E. Woodward, 1865. Dark green cloth, gilt title on spine. 188pp, generously illustrated with floor plans, details, and views of finished homes. Light wear. Nice copy. $45