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Sunday, December 1, 2019


Yes, Dog Ears Books is closed for the winter, so that your aging bookseller in Northport can avail herself of "seasonal retirement," but we will be back in the spring. Meanwhile, we urge friends in Leelanau to buy and order books from Leelanau Books in Leland, Bay Books in Suttons Bay, and the Cottage Bookshop in Glen Arbor. And wherever you travel during the winter, please shop independent bookstores! Your purchases keep alive these places you love to visit!

And now, we wish all of our friends and customers and visitors and browsers happy holidays and a safe and healthy winter!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

And the late November News Is ...

Little time remains in the 2019 Dog Ears Books season! Saturday, November 30, will be our last day of business until spring. With that in mind, you'll want to get yourselves through the bookstore door soon, because even if you don't exchange gifts with grownup friends and family, and even if you think you don't deserve much yourself but a lump of coal, surely you'll want to treat the little ones to colorful, page-turning joys of the season. But hey! As for that lump of coal? You do deserve something more than that, and we have treasures for big people, too!

I don't call the day after Thanksgiving "Black Friday" (yuck! hate that phrase!), but we will be open all day on Friday, and if you want to avoid crowds, that may be the day for you to come to Northport, because on Saturday, November 30 (remember: the last day of the bookstore season!), the entire village will be in festival mode, including an arts and crafts sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Santa at the village hall from 4 to 5:30, and the lighting of the village tree at 6 p.m. Pending weather and confirmation, there may also be -- fingers crossed! -- horse-drawn carriage rides, 3-7 p.m., and strolling carolers in Victorian costume 4-5:30 p.m.

So you see, maintaining a Scrooge- or Grinch-like attitude is going to be mighty difficult. I myself could not have fought against holiday joy this morning even if I'd wanted to. My heartfelt pleasure came from watching a little one-year-old booklover almost take her first independent steps in my bookstore! 

I've read about marriage proposals and weddings in bookstores, but wouldn't a baby's first steps be the most special event possible? Lure that child with a colorful board book or story book, I say! It will make the whole family happy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Two New Novels I Highly Recommend

I have reviewed these two fine, important, and compellingly written novels on Books in Northport, Moon of the Crusted Snow here, Still Come Home here, so please take a look at those posts if you haven't already. 

Whether you look to fiction for the pleasure of beautiful written language, engaging and memorable characters, armchair travel, a greater knowledge of the world, or deeper understanding of other cultures, both these books fit all those requirements. And both, while new, are available in paper, making them budget- and space-friendly. Easy to mail, too. Think of that as December holidays come closer. 

Dog Ears will be open through Saturday, Nov. 30, and then closed for the winter.

Still Come Home
by Katey Schultz
Paper, 250pp

Moon of the Crusted Snow
by Waubgeshig Rice
Paper, 218pp

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Author Is Coming! The Author Is Coming (Again)!

Actually, Lynne Rae Perkins made a special trip up to Northport on Saturday, November 2, to sign a few copies of her new book for me, but she will come back for an official signing on Saturday, Nov. 16. Our official starting time for that event is 2 p.m., and we’ll see how long we can keep her here. I guarantee it will be until 3 p.m., at least.

Since she was here today (as I post this), I do have a few signed copies on hand already, for customers who can’t wait two weeks to get their new Perkins book. While here, Lynne also signed copies of her other books I had in stock, and I’ll restock those for the official mid-November signing. 

Lynne Rae Perkins is such a charming, delightful guest that she brightens the bookstore any day she walks in the door, so please join us if you can on November 16. You’ll have a good time, I promise! And we will probably have cookies, too.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Always a Treat -- Cake? In a New Book from Lynne Rae Perkins!

It’s a lot of work to bake a cake from scratch, but even more effort is involved in making amends for having misjudged someone. When Lucy realizes she has jumped to a wrong conclusion, though, she overcomes her natural feelings of foolishness by creating a beautiful gift. And, as generally happens in a story by Newbery winner Lynne Rae Perkins, adventure takes shape along the way. 

A perfect book to go under the Christmas tree — or to be read by the whole family after Thanksgiving dinner.

by Lynne Rae Perkins
Hardcover with dust jacket

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Some Change Is for the Better

Motorized things on wheels
This change has been begging to be made for a while, and yesterday a batch of consignment items brought it on at last. The automotive section -- motorcycles and cars -- has now been moved over one aisle. It's below planes and boats, where it belongs! 

Transportation: a concept!

Another advantage to the new arrangement is that books on home improvement and decoration, woodworking, furniture, as well as sewing, knitting, quilt books, and books on antiques now have room to breathe. I think this is going to work out well.

Home crafts

Friday, October 18, 2019

Michigan and the Civil War

Between the years 1961 and 1966 the Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission issued a number of reports on Michigan’s involvement, a century earlier, in the Civil War and the effects of that war on Michigan. Report copies listed below are stapled pamphlets de-acquisitioned from the holdings of the Mark & Helen Osterlin Library at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Michigan. Other than library stamps on top edges, light pencil on a couple of front covers, and Commission stamps on some of the lower front covers, these pamphlets are in nearly pristine condition. Most, in fact, appear unread. Crisp and clean!

I am offering a reduced price of $150 for all eleven items purchased together as a collection. Otherwise, prices below (totaling $195) are for undiscounted individual items.

1. Materials on the Civil War Recommended for Schools - $10

2. Michigan Civil War Monuments - $30

3. Effects of the Civil War on Farming in Michigan - $20

4. Effects of the Civil War on Manufacturing in Michigan - $10 

5. Civil War Tri-State Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Encampments 1889-1918 - $10

6. A Wartime Chronicle - $15

7. Michigan Women in the Civil War - $20

8. Baptists of Michigan in the Civil War - $20

9. Congregationalism, Slavery and the Civil War - $20

10. Michigan Labor & The Civil War - $30

11. Effects of the Civil War on Music in Michigan - $10

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Michigan Historian to Visit This Saturday

I met Larry Massie a few decades ago, when he was Assistant Director of the Michigan Regional Archives, housed in the library of Western Michigan University, and I was a lowly, aging undergraduate research assistant. The professor for whom I worked was studying farm ownership and rental patterns in the lower tier of townships (four altogether) in Kalamazoo County. The U.S. population census and agriculture census, county tax rolls, and plat maps were the tools I learned to use, becoming familiar enough that I was able to do a little personal sleuthing relative to the Barry County farmhouse where I lived at the time. (Often my son would be with me, sitting under my desk and reading Greek tragedy. Precocious little fellow, he was!) None of that has anything to do with this weekend's book signing, but looking forward to having Larry Massie at Dog Ears Books brings back a lot of memories for me.

Back to my visiting author:

In the intervening years since those old Kalamazoo days, Larry Massie launched himself as an independent historian, making his home in Allegan County. He is the author of 20 books of Michigan history and the first-ever recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Historical Society of Michigan. His personal collection of Michigan books grew so large that he is now a bookseller -- by appointment only.

So I'm looking forward to this Saturday! An author, a bookseller, a book collector, and someone from the "old days" in Kalamazoo. I hope you will be able to join us on Saturday. Larry will be happy to sign his books when you buy them here, too.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Civil War Again, for Young and Old

Sally M. Walker's new book on Michigan's Anishinaabe Sharpshooters, the legendary Company K, is written for a young audience, especially ages 10 to 14, but like so many well-done treatments of history for young people (right away I think of The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik Van Loon, the very first Newbery winner, so popular with adults that a mass market paperback edition was issued), this one can serve as an introduction to the subject for anyone of any age, joining other new Civil War titles with Michigan themes that have come out this year. 

Deadly Aim: The Civil War Story of Michigan's Anishinaabe Sharpshooters is a narrative account of Company K, while Warriors in Mr. Lincoln's Army, by Quita V. Shier (see here), gives documentary detail on individual soldiers. A couple of more general parallel Civil War books are John Mitchell's Grand Traverse: the Civil War Era (narrative) and Michigan's War: The Civil War in Documents (archival detail) edited by John W. Quist. 

The author, who makes her home in Illinois, is a winner of the Sibert Medal for a previous book, Secrets of a Civil War SubmarineShe makes clear to young readers that this particular group of Civil War soldiers joined the fight to end slavery and preserve the union even though they themselves were not citizens and despite years of broken treaties and harsh treatment (to put it mildly) of their people by the American government. 

Deadly Aim: The Civil War Story of Michigan's Anishinaabe Sharpshooters
by Sally M. Walker
Hardcover, 288pp w/ index

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Dragons in the Sleeping Bear Dunes!

There’s a new legend in Sleeping Bear country, and the characters are not bears but dragons! According to one story-telling grandfather, dragons came to northern Michigan long before human beings were here. In fact, the dragons came to get away from human beings.

Suggested reading level for Dune Dragons is 7 years old and up to 12, but I’d say a 7-year-old reader would be rather precocious to take on this illustrated chapter book. There are always precocious readers, however, and children will often reach past what they can read easily, given an engaging story.

Dune Dragons seems to be taking the North by storm this season. Maybe adults are reading it, too?

Dune Dragons
by Gretchen Rose
With illustrations by Dianita Ceron
Indigo River Publishing, hardcover, 73pp


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

What's sweeter than a small town in Michigan?

How about 99 more small Michigan towns?

Northport is small, but the author may be saving us for a future volume, because only Empire represents Leelanau County in the new book, Little Michigan: A Nostalgic Look at Michigan’s Smallest Towns, a book featuring 100 towns with population of 600 or fewer full-time residents, from Ahmeek in the Upper Peninsula to Zeba, also in the U.P. But never fear — lower Michigan holds 84 of the book’s little Michigan towns.

An introductory map of the state shows all 100 alphabetically and geographically. Each book is then given a double-page spread, opening with a rectangle of color photographs, history of the town, additional noteworthy information, and a paragraph on the town as you will find it today. 

Little Michigan is an invitation to venture off the main roads and into Michigan’s past. How many of these small towns were born in the lumbering era? 

Following the Lake Michigan shoreline south from Empire, a reader quickly finds Bear Lake and Beulah. Perhaps a sequel will include Cedar and Maple City? We can hope! 

Little Michigan: A Nostalgic Look at 
Michigan’s Smallest Towns
by Kathryn Houghton
Paper, 239pp with information source notes


Saturday, August 3, 2019

“Not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom…”

This morning in my bookshop, when I picked up a softcover copy of The First 100 Days of the Kennedy Administration, for some reason I opened the back cover first and found printed there the entire inaugural address. John Kennedy was not a man without flaws, and his administration was not perfect, either, but it does seem that we were then a country of ideals and that we could recognize ideals in one another, even across our differences. 

I was in eighth grade in 1961, a high school sophomore two years later, and it would be a while before my political consciousness was fully raised and engaged. All I would have recognized immediately from John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s inaugural address was the oft-quoted line near the end: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” The line I used for today’s heading is not one I would have remembered at all. And, back near the end of the speech again, does anyone ever quote the imperatives that followed the first “Ask not”? 
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.  
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.

Ponder that last one for a moment.

My parents had not voted for Kennedy, but we wept as a family when he was assassinated and watched the funeral together on television. And now as I read his inaugural address, I keep thinking how different our country is today. When JFK addressed “those nations who would make themselves our adversary,” he ws still, also, speaking to Americans, asking that all of us —
…begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. 
He recognized the “common enemies of man” as “tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.” 

You can read Kennedy’s entire inaugural address here. It’s worth reading, either for the first time or as a reminder of where we've been.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A New Civil War Book Comes to Town

Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army, by Quita V. Shier, to quote from the book’s dust jacket, “offers a comprehensive profile study of each officer and enlisted American Indian soldier in Company K, First Michigan Sharpshooters, who served in the Civil War from 1863 to 1865.” Many Native Americans served in the military during the Civil War, on both sides and in various companies, but Company K from Michigan was the only company with all and only indigenous enlisted men on its roster. 

The author of this book has gathered together information from military service records, medical files, pension files, and personal interviews with descendants of some of the men profiled. A scrupulous researcher, she offers a detailed index, as well. 

Sample pages from index
Since several of the men in Company K came from Leelanau County, Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army is an important addition to local Leelanau history, as well as to Native American history, Anishnabe history, and the history of the State of Michigan. A large format, with generous typeface, line spacing, and margins also make for very readable text in the physical sense.

Detail from cover: Payson Wolf from Northport
Sample text pages

Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army: 
Native American Soldiers Who
Fought in the Civil War
by Quita V. Shier
Hardcover with dust jacket
555pp w/ index

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A New Children’s Book For Your Cottage

Twenty years ago A. K. (Kirk) Johnston told his own kids a story. They kept telling him it should be a book. Now it is.

Onslo is a goose who likes to read. He also has friends among the ducks. For both of these reasons, he is often teased by other young geese. But Onslo’s learning and friendships may come in handy someday. How might that happen?

This book will be all the more attractive to my customer friends in Leelanau Township in that the story is set right in our own backyard. You will recognize familiar places on the maps, although the name of a key lake may surprise you — remember, lakes and towns and islands in Michigan have had different names at different points in history.

Illustrations complement the text beautifully. I particularly love Onslo’s little pilot cap (see book cover at top of post). There are a lot of words on each page, so adults or older children will probably want to help younger ones or maybe read the story to them. All will enjoy it.

by A. K. Johnston
Illustrated by Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell
Paper, 46pp


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Recent Inventory Additions on Related Themes

I’m happy to announce that Dog Ears Books is now carrying An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (see my review here), winner of the 2015 American Book Award, and I look forward to stocking a new version of the book for young people that should be available before the end of July. There are over 500 federally recognized Indigenous nations in the U.S. today, and Dunbar-Ortiz gives us American history from their perspective.

Books about immigration, the frontier, and our southern border are one of my bookstore features this summer, beginning with a novel I’ve written about on my “Books in Northport” blog, Lost Children Archive, by Valerie Luiselli. Besides the plight of Latin American refugees, another focus of the novel is Apache history, so it connects with the history book referenced above. Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, also by Luiselli, also tells of child asylum seekers. 

Two Michigan anthologies deal with immigration poetically. They are Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice, edited by, and. The latter collection presents prose memoir pieces, along with poems. 

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States 
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Paper, 296pp

Lost Children Archive 
by Valerie Luiselli
Hardcover, 383pp

Tell Me How It Ends:
An Essay in Forty Questions
by Valerie Luiselli
Paper, 119pp

Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate 
on Social Justice
ed. Ron Riekki & Andrea Scarpino
Paper, 297pp

Immigration & Justice For Our Neighbors
ed. Jennifer Clark & Miriam Downey
Paper, 115pp

Thursday, June 20, 2019

All Aboard for Greilickville!

A new book out this season from Kathleen Firestone is only the first in what will be a new series of harbor histories from this dedicated Northport historian. Printed on high-quality paper and beautifully hardbound, the book’s illustrated front board gives a good idea of what to expect inside, and the pages within fulfill the cover’s promise. Photographs from the earliest history of this sheltered Lake Michigan harbor to boats of the present day are accompanied by Firestone’s always well-researched text, sure to fascinate every northern Michigan boater and amateur historian, as well as the rest of us who have simply seen the area change in recent years and wonder what it was like in bygone times. A must for your regional library.

Meet Me at the Dock 
in Greilickville, Grand Traverse Bay
by Kathleen Firestone

Hardcover, $40

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

We Are Back!

We have some wonderful new books for our 2019 season, with more to come soon. One I don't want you to miss -- whether you're a parent yourself or just somebody's child (and aren't we all?) is Hillary Danaher's hilarious Curse of the Purse. Not only is it full of therapeutic laughs for the stressed-out parent, but it also a relaxing coloring book. Really!

See the right-hand column for this season's Thursday Evening Author guests, one every other week beginning in late June.

And don't forget, we always have a tempting selection of previously owned volumes to suit every pocket, with a special sale at present on mystery novels.