Letters

Letters 10-03-2016

Truths And Minorities While I appreciate Stephen Tuttle’s mention of the Colin Kaepernick situation, I was disappointed he wrote only of his right not to stand for the national anthem but not his reason for doing so. Personally, I commend Mr. Kaepernick for his courageous attempt to bring issues of concern to the forefront. As a white male baby boomer, I sadly realize I am in a minority among my peers...

“Yes” Means Your Rights It has been brought to my attention that some people in Traverse City are being asked to put “no” on Proposal 3 signs in their yards, and are falsely being told this means they do not want tall buildings downtown. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you vote no, you will be giving up your right to vote on future projects involving buildings over 60 feet in height...

Shame On NMC, Nelson The Northwestern Michigan College board and President Tim Nelson should be ashamed of their bad faith negotiations with the faculty. The faculty have received no raise this year, even though all other college staff have received raises. Mr. Nelson is set to receive a $20,000 raise...

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Thursday, October 10, 2002

King‘s X: The Master of Horror Bows out with From a Buick 8

Books Nancy Sundstrom Each new book from Stephen King tends to become something of an event, especially for his considerable legion of fans. His latest, “From a Buick 8“ seems to be generating even more buzz the usual, much of it centered around the fact that King has announced that this will be his swan song - the last novel he will ever write.
While the prolific horror meister himself says this decision is irrevocable, most of the rest of the world remains skeptical, including peers like Peter Straub, a favorite King collaborator. “It might well be his last book,“ he stated recently, “until the end of the year.“ Still, others close to King suggest that we take his pronouncement seriously.
 
Thursday, September 26, 2002

Blessings Explores the Workings of Faith

Books Nancy Sundstrom As an avid reader, it has been a pleasure to follow the evolution of Anna Quindlen’s writing career. She’s become successively more graceful, sharp-witted, and confident with each new effort in her versatile oeuvre, and many have come to look forward to seeing what she does next.
As expected, her hot-off-the-presses “Blessings“ is now shooting to the top of the bestseller lists.
It follows the novels “Object Lessons,“ “One True Thing“ and “Black and Blue“; the nonfiction books “A Short Guide to a Happy Life,“ “Living Out Loud,“ “Thinking Out Loud,“ and “How Reading Changed My Life“; and two children’s books, “The Tree That Came to Stay“ and “Happily Ever After.“ Her New York Times column “Public & Private“ won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, and she now appears every other week in Newsweek.
 
Thursday, September 19, 2002

The Lovely Bones Offers a Fatal Remembrance

Books Nancy Sundstrom It’s one of those stories whose topicality is a hot button because it feels coaxed out of, or a jarring reflection of the disturbingly more frequent headlines in today’s papers about the abduction of young women.
Alice Sebold, who authored the memoir “Lucky,“ has crafted a remarkable and haunting debut novel in “The Lovely Bones,“ an artistic high-wire act that succeeds triumphantly, in spite of the considerable risks it takes.
This is a coming-of-age tale, but with none of the trademarks one might anticipate. For starters, it is about the murder of a 14-year-old girl named Susie, and as we meet her, her death and transition into heaven have already taken place. From above, in a place where “life is a perpetual yesterday,“ Susie narrates the story of her life and demise, and keeps watch over her grieving family friends, as well as the ruthless serial killer and the world weary detective trying to solve the case.
 
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Among the Heroes Recounts a Fight in the Sky on 9/11

Books Nancy Sundstrom For most Americans, the horrific, unbelievable events of September 11, 3001 are simply unthinkable, unimaginable. Most of us were not there. How could we possibly comprehend the heartbreak, horror, and heinousness of what took place at the World Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, and a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania on that day, one that will forever be unlike any other?
 
Thursday, September 5, 2002

Bittersweet Bitter End Takes a Trip through the Early ‘60s

Books Nancy Sundstrom As we close in on the first anniversary of the terrorists attacks on our country on September 11, it brings to mind that in the not too distant past, there was another horrific event that galvanized our nation, changing it forever.
That, of course, was the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, an event of such monumental proportions that many Americans still recall, with crystalline clarity, what they were doing and where they were when they heard the shocking news. And just like 9-11, the impact will be felt for generations to come, marking the end of an era of security and comfort.
 
Thursday, August 29, 2002

Home Grown Authors - Part II

Books Nancy Sundstrom In the last installment of Express, we showcased four fine new works of non-fiction by Michigan authors. Here, we give equal time to some specialists in the fiction genre, each of whom has a growing following of fans that should increase with these latest works in their oeuvre.

More Than Enough by John Fulton
I’m still hungover from the intoxifying effects of “The Corrections“ by Jonathan Franzen, so I was just a little squeamish about settling into another tome bout a dysfunctional family at various degrees of breaking point, but I had thoroughly enjoyed Fulton’s first work, a short story collection entitled “Retribution,“ and was rather curious to see how he fared tackling the subject.
 
Thursday, August 15, 2002

Homegrown Authors - Part I: Four Works of Michigan Non-fiction

Books Nancy Sundstrom A bumper crop of interesting new books from Michigan writers has just hit book stores and library shelves, so as we do regularly in Express, we’d like to showcase them in a two-part installment beginning with this issue.
The first four to be featured are works of non-fiction, one of which is autobiographical. The other three have several common bonds, the primary one being that they focus on some unique charms of life in Northern Michigan. Next week, we’ll introduce you to four quite diverse fictional works from writers John Fulton, Christopher Knight, Constance Cappel, and Express’s own Harley Sachs.
 
Thursday, August 1, 2002

Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley Tops a List of Folk Lore

Books Nancy Sundstrom “My grandfather had a beautiful voice. Irish tenor. Beautiful. Too much of a military hardass to deal with his own and his son‘s talents. I wish it were otherwise. I love you, you poor b-------.... With a father like this man, it is no wonder that Tim Buckley was afraid to come back to me. So afraid to be my father. Because his only paradigm for fatherhood was a deranged lunatic with a steel plate in his head.... I know that he must have been scared s------- to think he might possibly become like his father. Scared s------- of treating me the way his father treated him and his family. Can you imagine the heartbreak? The useless, s----- torture day in, day out?“

-- Jeff Buckley, Journal Entry, August 9, 1995

A recent rediscovery of Tim Buckley’s blisteringly erotic 1972 album, “Greetings From L.A.“ reminded me that I was long overdue to read David Browne’s acclaimed biography from earlier this year of Buckley and his son, Jeff, whose 1997 death by drowning eerily mirrored Tim’s own demise of a drug overdose in 1975.
 
Thursday, July 25, 2002

The Emperor of Ocean Park Probes Affluent Black America

Books Nancy Sundstrom Stephen Carter’s “The Emperor of Ocean Park“ is one book you won’t want to miss this summer. Smart, engrossing, tense, and loaded with provocative ideas on a range of subjects from justice to father-son relationships, it’s the sort of work that’s both satisfying and challenging.
“Emperor“ is the fictional debut of Carter, a Yale law professor and distinguished conservative African-American intellectual who has authored seven acclaimed nonfiction books, including “The Culture of Disbelief“ and “Civility.“
 
Thursday, July 11, 2002

A Cherry Home Companion

Books Nancy Sundstrom Patty LaNoue Stearns loves food and writing about it, and after tackling her latest creative project, it’s safe to say that she also loves cherries.
Longtime food critic and writer Stearns has a hot-off-the-presses book out in time for the 76th Annual National Cherry Festival entitled “Cherry Home Companion.“ With 130 tested cherry recipes - many from renowned chefs like Pete Peterson of Tapawingo fame and Keith Famie, a celebrity chef who has his own show on the Food Network who was also a “Survivor“ contestant - along with vintage cherry festival posters and postcards, cherry poems, songs and trivia, it is a unique, and even high-end guide to the wonderful world of cherries.
 
Thursday, July 4, 2002

The Scar Offers a Pirate Kingdom and State-of-the-art Sci-fi

Books Nancy Sundstrom Though I’m open to books of (nearly) any genre out there, truth be told, I’m a reluctant reader of science fiction.
It’s not that I haven’t appreciated the works of Clarke, Dick, Azimov, and even early predecessors like Wells, Verne, and Orwell, I tend to be a bit overwhelmed by the hyper-real worlds they present. I dote on reality-based fiction, and perhaps that’s my problem - when what’s outside your front door is already terrifically beautiful, going one step into the altered states of beyond can feel like - and I quote songwriter Greg Brown - one cool remove.
But I was intrigued when someone insisted I read “The Scar,“ the third book in a well-respected trilogy by an English author with the unlikely moniker of China Miééééville. I was sufficiently challenged when told that “this isn’t your father’s science fiction,“ even as I winced, thinking that the parental unit’s and my version of that genre probably weren’t so far apart anymore.
 
Thursday, June 27, 2002

The Nanny Diaries Offers an Underdog‘s Glimpse of Park Avenue

Books Nancy Sundstrom “Wanted: One young woman to take care of four-year-old boy. Must be cheerful, enthusiastic and selfless-bordering on masochistic Must relish sixteen-hour shifts with a deliberately nap-deprived pre-schooler. Must love getting thrown up on, literally and figuratively, by everyone in his family Must enjoy the delicious anticipation of ridiculously erratic pay. Mostly, must love being treated like fungus found growing out of employer‘s Hermes bag. Those who take it personally need not apply.“

Who wouldn‘t want that job, you might ask, the above being from the jacket of “The Nanny Diaries,“ a glitzy train wreck of a novel that defies you constantly to put it down.
It holds many points of fascination, with its detailed, insider’s look into the Park Avenue apartments where women wouldn’t be seen without being draped in Prada, children attend Mommy and Me groups with their sitters and peers named Brandford and Darwin, and fathers, when they deign to make their presences known at all, are stunningly oblivious to the needs of their families.
 
Thursday, June 13, 2002

Great Beach Reads -- Part I

Books Nancy Sundstrom This avid reader loves to plan summer “beach reads“ the way oddsmakers handicap sports events, and as I plan ahead for this year’s picks, it looks like a clear case of so many books, so little time.
Beaches, a venue of escape themselves, provide a singularly unique backdrop for escapist reading, which is no doubt why many opt for that locale to enjoy thrillers, steamy romances, and other fare that transport us to other worlds, the way the best books do. In the hotter months, when we do take the time to soak up sun and bask a bit, be it in the hammock in the back yard, or with a cold one near the water somewhere, it’s perfectly acceptable - and even encouraged - to indulge yourself in a “beach read.“
How you define that is your choice, but here’s a few new releases that I plan to lose myself in over the next few months.
 
Thursday, June 6, 2002

Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography

Books Nancy Sundstrom If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. --‘‘Book the First: The Bad Beginning‘‘


Move over, Harry Potter, and get ready for Lemony Snicket to kick some serious booty.
The first and most logical question is, of course, who is Lemony Snicket? Some say that he’s the alter ego of writer Daniel Handler, but he says otherwise, leading millions of readers of the best-selling “A Series of Unfortunate Events“ to become even more intrigued about the identity of its humorous, cynical, and seriously elusive author.
What’s even more compelling, if not frightening, is the notion that together, the collective “we“ make up Lemony Snicket, but who cares? Parents and kids are fighting over who will get their hands on the next installment first, and anytime that happens is cause for celebration, says I.
 
Thursday, May 30, 2002

Great Book Stores in the Big Easy

Books Nancy Sundstrom New Orleans is my favorite city in the world, partially because like others (the list including London, Paris, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco), it has a remarkable literary heritage - one rich as a dessert of Grand Marnier bread pudding at Commander’s Palace, as spicy as the great gumbo found everywhere, and as varied as the human drama that plays itself out every five feet on the endlessly fascinating streets of the French Quarter.
Somewhat to the consternation of my family, I really indulged myself by spending more time than usual in the bookstores of the Quarter on a recent vacation to the Big Easy. The stores themselves truly reflect the marvelous tapestry of life in one of America’s oldest and most unique cities. It just doesn’t cut it to wander in to a national chain store (you know the names), when you can browse in the likes of the Garden District Book Shop where Anne Rice does all of her book signings, or lose yourself dreaming about taking home one of the rare collectibles at Faulkner House Books, a store that is, hands down, and like the city, my favorite in the world.
 
 
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