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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

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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

AND HERE is Here!

A new collection of writing from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, edited by Ron Riekki, with foreword by Thomas Lynch, has been published by Michigan State University Press. Writings collected go back as far as 1918 and include a wide diversity of works. You’ll find Ernest Hemingway and Jim Harrison here, and you’ll also find Janet Lewis, Iola Fuller, Steve Hamilton, Michael Delp, and many more. This is a book for everyone’s Michigan collection, one you will be re-reading for years to come.

And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017, ed. Ronald Riekki
East Lansing: Michigan State University Press
Paper, 347pp, $29.95

Friday, July 28, 2017

Author to Speak on Fascinating New View of Audubon



Gregory Nobles on John James Audubon

Thursday, Aug. 3
7 p.m.

Free, fun, informative!
Please join us!

(You may learn a few new things
about our America's foremost bird artist.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Take Home the Beauty of Leelanau County--or Send It to a Friend

coloring book
Artist Kristin Hurlin of Glen Arbor is my bookstore feature today. Whether you like to spend your nonreading vacation hours doing puzzles, relaxing with a beautiful adult coloring book, or writing notes to friends, Kristin Hurlin has you covered. Her card assortments come in packs of 8 cards for $20. The coloring book, “A Beautiful Place,” retails for $18. And the two 500-piece puzzles, one of North Bar Lake, the other showing species diversity, measure 16” x 20” when completed and are priced at $15. I’m delighted to be able to offer Kristin’s work at Dog Ears Books.


jigsaw puzzle

jigsaw puzzle

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Two Famous American Naturalists

Henry David Thoreau lived from 1817 to 1862. The Boatman: Henry David Thoreau’s River Years covers the period of his life following the publication of Walden, when Thoreau found himself more and more drawn to Concord’s three rivers (Sudbury, Assabet, & Concord), “the only wild and unfenced part of the world hereabouts,” as he wrote, explaining his preference for river scenery.

John James Audubon: The Nature of the American Woodsman follows Audubon (1785 -1851) throughout his life--down rivers American rivers, into the woods, and to cities in the United States and Europe—as he pursued his art and science along with woodsman survival skills. Note: The author of this book, Gregory Nobles, will make a presentation at Dog Ears Books on Thursday, August 3, at 7 p.m.

The Boatman: Henry David Thoreau’s River Years
by Robert M. Thorson
Hardcover, 315pp w/ notes, references, index

John James Audubon: The Nature of the American Woodsman
by Gregory Nobles
Hardcover, 330pp w/ notes & index

Friday, July 7, 2017

It’s Worth Saying, So Say It Twice

Today’s good news: more notecards from Minnie Wabanimkee! The new cards say Thank You; Happy Birthday; and You Are In My Thoughts – in both English and Anishnaabemowin.

Cards are available as singles ($4 each) or as assortments, 2 each of the 3 different designs ($18).

Also still available at the same prices are Minnie’s traditional photo cards.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Humans and Trees

How closely are we related? A new collection of original nonfiction edited by Josh MacIvor-Andersen of Marquette, Michigan, presents a variety of perspectives answering the question, but the answers are only the beginning. As the editor writes in his foreword,
Although trees show up in each essay, they are often merely the portals for deeper human dramas, the shadowy branches framing tales of love and life, death and discovery, longing, and learning.
Now, in Michigan summer, our trees are green with leaves, their shade welcome on sunny days. Now is the time to take half an hour in a hammock or chaise longue to lose yourself in beautiful writing from our beautiful sister peninsula to the north.

Rooted: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction
Introduction by Bill McKibben
Edited by Josh MacIvor-Andersen
San Francisco: Outpost19, paper, 290pp

Thursday, June 29, 2017

New Series from Up North’s Own Elizabeth Buzzelli

You loved her DEAD series (set in northern Michigan), and you laughed your way through the NUT HOUSE murders (set in Riverville, Texas, and published under her pen name, Elizabeth Lee). Now Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli has a new series bound to prove irresistible to booklovers. With the LITTLE LIBRARY mysteries, we are back on home (Michigan) ground again.

A Most Curious Murder introduces us to Jenny Weston, Zoe Zola, Adam Crane, and a whole cast of intriguing characters in Bear Falls, Michigan, and in the second novel, She Stopped for Death, we come back to Bear Falls for another quirky tale. Summer vacation is the perfect time for mysteries, and now is the perfect time to begin collecting this new series by Elizabeth Buzzelli and anticipating Book Number Three. What will she think up next?!

A Most Curious Murder &
She Stopped for Death
by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Hardcover, $25.99 

The first book is also available in paperback, but I need to restock!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

When You Cross That Bridge

When Leelanau County residents “go Up North” in their home state, they're usually headed for the Upper Peninsula. If you’ve never crossed the Mackinac Bridge, that alone is worth a trip, but it’s only the beginning. I love the title 100 Things to Do in the Upper Peninsula Before You Die, because I always think that’s the best time to do things, don’t you? I’m also very happy to report that Snowbound Books in Marquette made the shopping section of Kath Usitalo’s new book.

100 Things to Do in the Upper Peninsula Before You Die
by Kath Usitalo
Paperback, 146pp, illus., index

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It Isn't Even a Book!

"Farmageddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms" is a documentary film, the story of small family farms practicing organic, sustainable agriculture who were forced to "cease and desist" by government agents -- yes, in the United States -- sometimes at gunpoint. The beginning of "Get Big or Get Out" began with Earl Butz in the 1970s, but "Farmageddon" highlights much more than the economic pressure of markets and government policies. You don't need to be a farmer to find this film compelling and riveting. You're an American, and you buy and eat food. You should hear and see this story.

"Farmageddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms"
2011/90 minutes, $24.95

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Don't Miss Anything Up North

This is the perfect book to have on hand for your visitors who want to know what to do and where to go when they’re in the Grand Traverse area. From Lake Ann to Northport and over to Elk Rapids, with Traverse City as its center, Inside UpNorth is full of ideas for every season of the year. There are also maps, photographs, and other wonderful illustrations (some by Glenn Wolff). In fact, I can’t even begin to cover everything you’ll find in this indispensable guide.

Inside UpNorth: The Complete Tour, Sport and Country Living Guide to Traverse City, Traverse City Area, Leelanau County [and more, says your bookseller]
by Heather Shaw, Jodee Taylor, Tom Carr, and many more
Mission Point Press, paper, 250pp

Monday, June 19, 2017

Back by Popular Demand

That would be the Back Pages of Leelanau County, a decade's worth of beautiful color photographs by Ken Scott, originally featured on the back page of Section One of the Leelanau Enterprise -- because not everyone has a copy yet!

Hardcover, $40

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bees and Butterflies and Some Surprising Others

A new children’s book from Charlevoix is here just in time to celebrate summer crops and gardens. Sip, Pick, and Pack..., by Polly W. Cheney and beautifully illustrated by Kim Overton, presents the role of pollinators in clear, readable, and exciting prose for all ages. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and babysitters can learn right along with the little ones who focus on the pictures while taking in the facts. I love this book!

Sip, Pick, and Pack... How Pollinators Help Plants Make Seeds
by Polly W. Cheney & illustrated by Kim Overton
Wilmington, OH: Orange Frazer Press
Hardcover, $16.99

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Waterfalls, Anyone? Head North!

Waterfalls of Michigan: The Definitive Guide to the Waterfalls of Michigan, by Phil Stagg, comes in four volumes. Book 1 covers the Eastern Upper Peninsula, Book 2 the Central U.P., Book 3 West Central, and Book 4 the West, including Porcupine Mountain State Park. Phil has also put together a “best of” collection, Waterfalls of Michigan: The Essential Guidebook to Michigan’s Best & Easiest Waterfalls. All books are illustrated in full color, with large, helpful maps and access details. All are paper, very attractively and sturdily bound.

Waterfalls of Michigan, Book 1East (Alger, Chippewa, Delta, Luce, Manistee & Presque Isle Counties) $19.95

Book 2 – Central (Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee Counties) $24.95

Book 3 – West Central (Baraga, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw Counties) $29.95

Book 4 – West (Gogebic, Ontonagon Counties & Porcupine Mountain State Park) $24.95

Waterfalls of Michigan: The Essential Guidebook to Michigan’s Best & Easiest Waterfalls – The Collection

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Spring Travel to Japan

Cherry blossoms have fallen to the ground like confetti, and the orchards are now turning full and green with leaves, but our hearts are still full of the annual festival feeling the flowering orchards bring to the Leelanau countryside. In Japan, of course, cherry blossoms are the occasion for many festivals and pilgrimages, so it’s natural my thoughts should take an eastern turn in springtime, especially when I also have these beautiful books to feature. Please forgive the lamplight's glare. 

How to Wrap 5 More Eggs: Traditional Japanese Packaging, by Hideyuki Oka, is a sequel to his How to Wrap Five Eggs, a surprising and delightful journey in words and images. Whether or not you’ll be using any of the traditional Japanese methods for wrapping eggs, you’ll be charmed by this book, with its lesson that “our inner, spiritual satisfaction cannot be found merely in material abundance.”

How to Wrap 5 More Eggs: Traditional Japanese Packaging, by Hideyuki Oka

With photographs by Michikazu Sakai
NY & Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1975; 4th printing, 1978
(now out of print)
Hardcover with protected dust jacket, VG/VG

*  *  *

Autumn Grasses and Water: Motifs in Japanese Art, from the Suntory Museum of Art (founded in 1961) is a journey into traditional Japanese aesthetics, featuring objects from teapots to clothing, as well as paintings. Four important essays (by Shuji Takashina, Masakazu Yamazaki, Shigenobu Kimura, and Toyomune Minamoto) introduce the subject, and full-color illustrations include breathtaking detail.

Autumn Grasses and Water: Motifs in Japanese Art
NY: Japan Society, 1983
Paper with dust jacket, VG/G+

*  *  *

Katsura: A Princely Retreat I have described elsewhere on my blog “Books in Northport.” My photographs there are better than the ones here, so follow this link for a fuller introduction to this gem.

Katsura: A Princely Retreat
Text by Akira Naito
Photographs by Takeshi Nishikawa
Tokyo, NY & San Francisco: Kodansha International, 1977, 1st ed.
Hardcover/dust jacket/ slipcase, VG/VG

*  *  *

And finally, here is a lovely budget item that can be put to practical home use. A Japanese Touch for Your Garden describes various traditional Japanese garden elements, illustrates them with lovely color photographs, and includes invaluable lists of garden plans and plant names.

A Japanese Touch for Your Garden
by Kiyoshi Seike, Masanobu Kudo, and David H. Engel
with photographs by Haruzo Ohashi
Tokyo, NY & San Francisco: Kodansha International, 1980; 10th printing, 1987
Hardcover with dust jacket (lightly sunned), VG/VG-

Thursday, May 18, 2017

About Undocumented Child Immigrants

This is a very small, very important book. The author works as a translator for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and her title comes from her young daughter’s question when hearing some of the stories of undocumented child immigrants.

Do you know what “voluntary return” means to children crossing into the U.S. from Mexico? Do you know about the Juvenile Priority Docket? Whatever you think about immigration in general, this book will give you food for thought.

Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty  Questions
by Valeria Luiselli
Coffee House Press, paper, 199pp

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tuesday is the BIG DAY!

Northport author Sarah Shoemaker’s debut novel, Mr. Rochester, inspired by Charlotte Bronte's classic Jane Eyre, will be officially released, simultaneously in the U.S., England, and Australia, by Grand Central Publishing in New York on May 9, 2017, and offered for sale by Dog Ears Books beginning at 7 p.m. that Tuesday at a world premiere book launch. The launch will take place Spice World Cafe in Northport, across Waukazoo Street from the bookstore, and Shoemaker will be on hand for the celebration and to sign books for purchasers. Dessert and punch will be served.

(Book price is $27 + sales tax, for a total of $28.62. Payment by cash or check only, please. For your convenience, I am accepting prepaid orders now.)

To whet your appetite for the book, read this review/interview by Mary Sharratt of the Historical Novel Society. Sharratt calls the novel a "tour de force." That's what I've been saying all along!

Author Sarah Shoemaker