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Regional Book ROUNDUP

Nancy Sundstrom - August 5th, 2004
Local authors offer everything from poetry to postcards
In our fast-paced world, sometimes the majority of us can forget about how great it really is to crack open a book. In Northern Michigan there are a number of gifted authors who have works encompassing subjects from cooking to farming to photography. This summer offers a number of new texts from area authors that deserve attention:

Dining In Dining Out in Northern Michigan - By Sherri & Graydon DeCamp - Bayshore Books - 240 pages - soft cover - $17.95

For many in Northern Michigan, food is not simply something to be consumed. Food and wine are a passion. “Dining In Dining Out in Northern Michigan” is the perfect addition to your library if you feel strongly about the region’s food and wine.
“Dining In Dining Out” is written by veteran food writers, the DeCamps,
who follow up their 1996 release, “Connoisseur Up North,” with a similar book that profiles local restaurants, bistros, delis, wineries and markets.
The “Chef’s Cookbook” section in the back of the text offers 150 brand new recipes for your culinary enjoyment, including everything from peanut butter pie to Salmon Shao Mai.
Old favorite restaurants in the area like Poppycock’s and the Freshwater Lodge are highlights to the book while some of the newest and trendiest bistros are discussed. There is even a page devoted to explaining what exactly comprises the definition local food.
A fitting touch to the book is a chapter about the farm markets in the area and the important role they play. And no culinary work would be complete without a fine section on wine, which highlights Black Star Farms and Chateau Leelanau among others.
The DeCamps once again prove why they are well-respected with this wonderfully diverse book that showcases an integral aspect to life.

Words to the Wise: A Lighthearted Look at the English Language -
By Michael J. Sheehan - Arbutus Press 240 pages - soft cover - $15

For those who have not had a chance to listen to Michael Sheehan’s weekly radio program on WTCM, also called “Words to the Wise,” this local personality has transcribed a number of his shows and compiled them into this book on the particulars of the English language.
Sheehan shows off his 26 years of experience as an English teacher, and his love for language, while addressing topics such as word origin, punctuation and grammar. He also takes a fun look at headline mishaps, clever slogans and bumper stickers. Noteworthy sections include Sheehan explaining where phrases such as “party pooper” came from. He also explains the process dictionary makers go through to define a word.
Sheehan’s wit and sense of humor have never ceased to make an impression on his listeners, and on his colleagues. WTCM Morning Show Host Ron Jolly says, “After working on the radio with Mike Sheehan for over three years the thing that impresses me most is his passion for, and knowledge of, the English language.” Fans of Sheehan’s show will not want to pass up this book.

Traverse City in Vintage Postcards -
By C.S. Wright - Arcadia Publishing -
128 pages - soft cover - $19.99

The latest installment in the “Postcard History” series by Arcadia Publishing features none other than Traverse City. An abundance of images from Traverse City’s past, including rare and never-before published photos comprise this visual tour of the city’s history.
Local author Charles Wright utilizes his background in journalism to unveil many of the area’s untold stories of the people, places and culture of Traverse City. Images in this work include the area’s natural resources, such as orchards, lakes and lumber as well as favorites like Grand Traverse Bay, the Bluffs and Sleeping Bear Dunes. The images document how the town has transformed from a logging and farming community in its earlier days to what has come to be.

Seasons of Sleeping Bear -
By Terry W. Phipps - University of Michigan Press & Petoskey Publishing Company - 124 pages - hard cover - $35.00

Award-winning photographer Terry Phipps brings another installment of his “Seasons” series that chronicles the area surrounding Sleeping Bear Dunes. Phipps is known all over the world for his photos, which have appeared in periodicals such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, the Chicago Tribune and USA Today. Among these he has also published work in “Traverse” the Magazine and “Michigan Living.” He has spent the last 25 years photographing Northern Michigan.
Numerous photos of Lake Michigan and the dunes are sure to take the viewer’s breath away, while there are also pictures of surrounding bodies of water like Crystal River and Bass Lake. A number of views from the Empire Bluffs have to be the highlights of the book.
Other pleasant surprises are from the Ghost Forest near Sleeping Bear and the photos of Pyramid Point, taken from the air. This book is full of amazing photos from one of the most beautiful areas in the entire state.

Sweet and Snappy Cherry Drinks -
By Lori Hall Steele - Eighth Sea Books -126 pages - soft cover - $9.95

Tourists and locals alike will be interested in seeing the vast number of different cherry drinks Lori Hall Steele has come up with in this book.
Most don’t think of the cherry as a fruit that provides such a plethora of opportunities, but it seems we have all been proven wrong.
No matter if it is the middle of a brutal Northern Michigan winter or a hot summer, there is a beverage in here for all times and occasions. Cherry Wassail and Hot Cherry-Chocolate both sound delicious and if you are into some potent beverages, Steele has you covered there as well. With over 204 cherry recipes, everyone is sure to be pleased.
The most interesting part of this title has to be a couple of sections devoted to the health benefits of cherries. Whoever knew that cherries contain 17 pain relieving antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals that fight off free radicals and disease, and repair damaged cells?

Got 2 Go: Feeding Families Fast -
By Kathleen Cannata Hanna - Gotago Books 327 pages - soft cover $18.95
Kathleen Cannata Hanna has made quite an impact with this cookbook that teaches readers how to cook with quality and speed. Newspapers like the Detroit Free Press, Lansing State Journal and Traverse City Record-Eagle have all featured her as her book has now surpassed the 3,000 mark in sales.
The diversity and sheer amount of recipes are proof of why this book has sold so well and has become a hit with families throughout the Midwest.
Hanna divided three sections into the amount of time spent on preparing the meal ,as there are a grab and go, 15-minute and 30-minute sections as far as preparation time is concerned. Wraps and burritos comprise the grab-and-go section while everything from meatloaf and grilled pork to chili makes for a delicious thirty minute meal.
Dessert and snacks are also tackled, with all sorts of cookies and cakes offered and there is also an entire section just devoted to pasta. Got 2 Go is organized very well and is easy to use. Anyone who has ever needed to make a meal in a hurry, but still has the desire for the family to eat healthy would do well to add this cookbook to their collection.

Pulling Down the Barn: Memories of a Rural Childhood - By Anne-Marie Oomen Wayne State University Press 138 pages - soft cover - $18.95

Residents of the Traverse City area should be excited to get their hands on this memoir from Anne-Marie Oomen, chair of the Creative Writing department at the Interlochen Arts Academy, which will be released in September.
The book highlights what it was like for her to grow up on a farm in Oceana County. She discusses everything from her grandmother’s death to baling hay and picking asparagus, but at the center of the text is the strength of her family’s bond and the farmer’s struggle for identity in the contemporary landscape. She has written a captivating book about growing up on a Michigan farm that writer Michael Steinberg calls an “honest and powerful coming-of-age family story . . .”
Anyone who appreciates the beauty of the Michigan wilderness will want to read this. Each page is full of rich imagery that paints the family and natural landscape clearly in a way that is entertaining and at times, heart-wrenching. Oomen’s book is the latest in the Great Lakes Series by Wayne State University Press.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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