Northern Express - Books http://www.northernexpress.com/michigan/articles.sec-147-1-books.html <![CDATA[WHO’S READING? - ]]> According to Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist, bestselling author and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, America’s economic future will be rooted in the “Imagination Economy.]]> <![CDATA[Tastemakers: Mode?s Bum Steer Rack of Lamb/Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale - ]]> As I was reviewing my notes from my dining experiences over the past five years for an upcoming “State of the Northern Michigan Restaurant Industry” article, I constantly found Mode’s Bum Steer with positive reviews in my notes. In fact, in the 50-plus times I have dined at Mode’s over the past five years, I described each experience as exceptional.
Recently I met with Epicurean Classic founder Mark Dressler who is returning the event to Traverse City (September 8-11). Dressler pointed out that one deciding factor to return the event to the region was “the quality and commitment of the culinary scene in the area.”
With so many new offerings in the region, sometimes there might be a tendency to overlook the “classic” places like Mode’s, Hermann’s and the Rowe Inn.
Anita and her husband Bob opened Mode’s Bum Steer 36 years ago. Bob passed away four years ago this past July, but Anita and their daughter Skylar have kept the tradition going. In fact the whole team has kept that tradition of exceptional service and quality menu offerings going.
I stopped in last week to enjoy my favorite, their Rack of Lamb with a classic wedge and bleu cheese, and I overheard Anita talking about the fact that most of the staff has been with them for 20 to 30 years and the “newbies” take quickly to the Mode’s way of doing things.]]>
<![CDATA[Nothing More To Tell - ]]> Stories by George Dila
Mayapple Press
$15.95

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Once in a while you come across a book of stories so true you convince
yourself you’re reading memoir and you get mad or sad for the writer until
you remember this is fiction and you’re only getting pieces of a life and
maybe a made-up life. Then you get upset that you’ve been had so easily.
Then you understand what a good writer this is and you’re happy to be in
the hands of this magician and go on to the next story, the next life, and
the next twisting of your emotions.
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<![CDATA[TC, I Love Thee - ]]> Morgenstein’s new book, “TC, I Love Thee,” to every tourist and
prospective resident. Real Estate agents should buy cases of the books to
give as gifts at closings. If you would like to join in a song to our
beautiful area, this is that song.
Henry Morgenstein came to the United States in 1948 when he was brought to
New York City from first Belgium, and then Havana, Cuba. In 1971 he moved
to Traverse City, teaching English at Northwestern Michigan College for
the next 30 years until his retirement in 2001.
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<![CDATA[Suicide Sonnet - ]]> A sheriff’s past revealed in Medieval Murders
Review: Medieval Murders
By Aaron Stander
Writers & Editors, LLC
$15.95

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Since reading the first book in the Ray Elkins series by Interlochen mystery writer, Aaron Stander, I’ve wondered about Ray. More than a capable sheriff in Cedar County, Michigan, Ray is quiet and caring and tenacious—but self-protective and slightly reluctant to open himself to anyone.
Ray’s a good cop. He always gets his man. He has eclectic tastes in music, literature and food (especially Stilton cheese), has good relationships with women, and is a thoroughly likeable man. But there was something more.]]>
<![CDATA[Misery Bay Probes an Unlikely Suicide - ]]> more so than his creator, Michigan-born author Steve Hamilton.
Returning in his eighth novel, McKnight ventures west from his home base
in Paradise to ominously named Misery Bay, where he is asked to
investigate the suicide of a college student, a young man who appeared to
have it all, but who instead hangs himself from a large, lonely tree near
the shores of Lake Superior.
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<![CDATA[Echoes - ]]> Echoes
Echoes of Distant Thunder
By Frank P. Slaughter
Arbutus Press

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

You’re going to like Will Castor. This simple Civil War soldier is going to captivate you and show you a very different kind of war. “Echoes of Distant Thunder” by Frank P. Slaughter isn’t one of those big Civil War books we’re all used to, but something much smaller and more personal, a look into the depths and scope of one man’s soul.
The story begins in 1971 with an inheritance coming to Paul, Will Castor’s great great grandson: an antique wooden box containing some old letters, a pocket watch, and a Civil War-era revolver. The watch, inscribed “Love Always, Mollie,” is a mystery as is Will’s tombstone with the word “Peep” carved beneath the Civil War designation of Pvt Bat D 1st Mich Art (Private in Battery D, 1st Michigan Artillary).
With these two mysteries in place we’re sent back in time. Chickamauga, Georgia, September 20, 1863. Another sleepless night for Union private, Will Castor, and a day of relentless battle. The Union is losing ground. They are withdrawing. Since just before daylight the cold, heavy air had carried the deep rumble of artillery fire to them from somewhere over on the left, and it had steadily increased in volume and urgency as the morning wore on.
The battle continued: The guns of Battery D were taking a terrible toll on the Confederates as they crossed the old cornfield, but they could not fire fast enough to stem the tide, and all six guns were running out of ammunition.
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<![CDATA[A stoner goes sleuthing in Wire to Wire - ]]> Detroit. Hell. Traverse City. Charlevoix. Wolverine (not the real Wolverine, another Wolverine). So I get to review it. Here goes. Hold on to your seat.
Wire to Wire is called “a stunning homage to one of our most popular and enduring genres—the American Crime novel” by the publishers.
Oh yeah? Let’s just sink into this down and dirty mystery (?) with mean drug dealers and murdering creeps, with one stoned protagonist and his freight car jumping friend. Oh, and don’t forget the women—every single female character is dropped like mud on the page, for sex, for titillation, or to die. Their choice. Well, somebody’s choice.]]>
<![CDATA[Gateways offers a visionary trip to TC?s past - ]]> A former teacher, this is Fidler’s third book of history, primarily about the Grand Traverse region but in many ways roaming further afield. Here, for instance, are the scores of black hobos who traveled north on the rails in the 1940s, hoping to pick cherries in the region’s orchards, only to be succeeded by imported Jamaican labor and Mexican migrants. Here are tales of circuses which marched in a line of elephants down the muddy streets of Front Street in the 1890s. Fidler lifts history from its dusty grave and breathes life into the past through eloquent writing and intelligent observations full of perception and wonder.
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<![CDATA[Life in a Small, Superior Town - ]]> By Ellen Airgood
Riverhead Books/Penguin Group
$25.95

As small towns go, McAllaster, Michigan, isn’t much.  Typical UP town.  It’s got plain people, a lot of characters, a few newbies out to change a culture in place for a few hundred years, and some who just want to fit in.  This town’s got elderly sisters and down-at-the-heels oldsters who live off the land.  It’s got struggling businesses, and people with hope, and those without hope.  Everything small town’s have is here in McAllaster, the centerpiece of a first novel by Ellen Airgood, who runs a diner in Grand Marais, and captures people, places, life, and small stories writ large in “South of Superior.”
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<![CDATA[Twittering History Posts give insight into the life of a boy at Fort Mackinac - ]]> The Twitter account chronicles several seasons in the life of Harold Corbusier, who was the son of an American commandant at Fort Mackinac. Harold and his family lived in quarters on the west end of the fort, and he began writing his diary on his 10th birthday:
“I am 10 yrs old today. We had turkey and other good things for dinner. The ground has been covered with snow all winter.”
“Harold’s father served as an American Commandant while the Americans were at Fort Mackinac in the late 1800s, towards the end of the time that the fort was still operated by the Army,” explains Diane Dombroski, the membership and grants coordinator of Mackinac State Historic Parks.
“By 1875, the fort had become the country’s second national park after Yellowstone,” she continues, “but the federal government couldn’t maintain it so they turned it over to the state of Michigan in 1895. By that time, the soldiers were leaving the fort, as there was no longer a strategic reason to have a fort there.”
So why Twitter young Harold’s diary? Because Twitter has become a worldwide phenomenon. The online mini-diary messaging forum - via which people type messages  in a mere 140 characters or less - has exploded in its membership and “followers,” providing a new venue via which past can meet present.
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<![CDATA[Adoption: Guatemalan style - ]]> By Jacob Wheeler
University of Nebraska Press
$24.95
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Jacob Wheeler may be too honest. He may be too perplexed by a heartbreaking reality. He may be so torn by the state of Guatemalan adoption that he can’t morally bring himself to make a definitive statement. All of that and more is evident in his book, “Between Light and Shadow: A Guatemalan Girl’s Journey through Adoption.”
From wanting to applaud American couples saving children from poverty and early death to decrying the loss of a country’s babies, it is evident that Wheeler is torn.
On one hand there is the story of 14-year-old Ellie, a teenager from Traverse City, adopted at the age of seven from Guatemala. She was seemingly sought out by corrupt facilitators when an older child, rather than a baby, was sought after. Whether her birth mother gave her up knowingly with the expectation of being paid, or was tricked and tried to get her back—truth lies somewhere in a murky middle.
The story’s center swirls around Ellie at 14, after seven years still feeling ‘the hole in her heart’ where her other family lives. And there is her adoptive mother, Judy, who wants to help heal this child she’s come to love as her own through reuniting Ellie with her Guatemalan family—at least for a visit.]]>
<![CDATA[Sterling‘s stories 4/11/11 - ]]> In Which Brief Stories Are Told
By Phillip Sterling
Wayne State University Press
$18.95
By Glen Young
Phillip Sterling believes that although Northern Michigan is part of “the Midwest,” there is a sensibility in the Great Lakes state that separates us from our neighbors.

“It’s somewhere between Hell and Paradise. Not only is it geographically true, but I think it says something about the tendency toward exploring the extreme in celebrating American culture,” Sterling says about the competing tendencies of Northern Michigan.
“We’re called Midwestern but we’re not Midwestern in the sense of say Indiana or Illinois. We’re thought of as North, but we’re not North in the way of say Minnesota.”
Sterling is the author of the newly released “In Which Brief Stories Are Told.” He says our region’s connected separateness is a recurrent theme in the 15 stories that make up his new book, recently published as part of the “Made in Michigan Writers Series” from the Wayne State University Press.
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<![CDATA[1, 000 mile hike - ]]> By Robert Downes
Loreen Niewenhuis doesn’t have much of a background as an adventurer or a
long-distance hiker, but nonetheless, in 2009 she completed a walk around
the entire circumference of Lake Michigan.
Today, the 45-year-old author from Battle Creek is on a new adventure,
embarking on a tour in support of her new book, “A 1,000-Mile Walk on the
Beach,” published by Crickhollow Books, with stops at bookstores
throughout Northern Michigan.
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<![CDATA[Relatively speaking/It?s All Relative By Wade Rouse - ]]> By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
It’s All Relative
By Wade Rouse
Crown Publishers
$23.99
The thing about Wade Rouse’s new memoir “It’s All Relative,” is that you shouldn’t expect a clown show. Maybe his last memoir, “At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream,” began with a raccoon on his head but don’t expect this one to be all snickers and titters, though, of course, they’re in here too.
The ‘relatives’ of the title are his mother, father, extended Ozark family, friends, and his lover, Gary. The encounters with all of them are viewed not with a jaundiced eye, poking fun, but with loving honesty about the people of his life and about himself.
The book takes a look at a year of celebrations — not from any one year but celebrations from all the years of his life beginning with past New Year’s Eves, to Oscar Parties, Ash Wednesdays, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Easter, Secretary’s Day, Barbie’s Birthday, Halloween and, of course, Thanksgiving and Christmas. All those holidays we dread and look forward to and keep in our memories for the sweetness of them and for the disappointments (well, maybe not Barbie’s Birthday).
So, let’s jump into this swift-flowing river of memory, starting with some of my favorites, both funny and poignant. There is the Oscar party when Gary dressed up as Oscar himself, draped in gold lamé, only to find that gold lamé “Is highly chaffing.”
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<![CDATA[To Account for Murder BY William C. Whitbeck - ]]> 1/31/11
“To Account for Murder”
By William C. Whitbeck
The Permanent Press, $28
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Murder and politics made uneasy bedfellows back in the Michigan of 1945. It was a time, just after World War II, when governmental corruption ran wide and deep through the state; when contracts went to the one who most generously greased a palm or two; and when deals were hammered out in Lansing clubs and bars, and in backrooms where whiskey flowed and paid-for women freely entertained.
Then came crusaders like Judge Leland Carr and special prosecutor Kim Sigler, who later became governor of Michigan, with subpoenas and indictments flying in all directions, shaking up the Purple Gang -- which was behind a lot of the corruption -- and the politicians happily at home in the gangsters’ pockets. ]]>
<![CDATA[Cloud 9 - ]]> By Rick Coates
At 64, Larry Kuhnke has opened a new “chapter” in his life: that of an author. After a career in the airline and banking industries Kuhnke decided to impart his wisdom unto others. But instead of writing about his observations and knowledge from his professional world, he decided on sharing his insights on how to best pursue a life of happiness. Advice that he hopes the younger generation will grasp early in life and carry with them into adulthood.
This Saturday, January 29, the Traverse City author will sign copies of his book “Cloud 9” at Horizon Books in Traverse City from 2 to 4 pm.
Kuhnke believes that it is “easier to learn while you are young than when you grow older.” He wrote “Cloud 9” with the idea that it would serve as a conversation starter between parents or grandparents and children. The 80-page book has 43 chapters, each representing an important value to live by.]]>
<![CDATA[The eBook Revolution - ]]> By Harley L. Sachs
The electronic book has finally come into its own, and chances are you
may even have received one under the Christmas tree this year, with an
estimated 6.6 million ebook readers sold in 2010.
If you are one of the electronically challenged, an ebook is read on
a screen instead of being printed on paper. An ebook, digital magazine
or newspaper can be downloaded off the Internet to your PC, Mac,
Kindle, Nook, iPad, or any number of screen gadgets, even in some
instances to your digital phone. Not everyone wants to read a novel on
a tiny cell phone screen, but times are a-changing.
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<![CDATA[Dean Robb - ]]> New book covers the activist attorney’s career
By Rick Coates
Attorney Dean Robb leans back in his chair as he reviews documents at his
computer-less desk in his Suttons Bay law office. A portrait of Abe
Lincoln towers over him from behind, while on the wall next to him are
three photographs that are from pivotal moments in his life. One is from
1963 with Martin Luther King at the first ever conference of “white and
black” lawyers that Robb helped to convene, the second photograph is with
South African civil rights (anti-apartheid) leader Nelson Mandela, who
served as his country’s president from 1994-99. The third picture is of
Robb’s youngest son Matthew with President Obama.]]>
<![CDATA[The Science of Santa - ]]> By Erin Crowell
Santa Claus is real.
We knew it when we were five and if we’re lucky, we know it now.
Being a young believer, I thought I had the answer around age five, playing in the snowy yard of my parent’s farmhouse—a few days past Christmas—when I looked up and saw a mark on the side of the chimney: a wet spot only a fat man could make brushing his snow-covered belly against the brick.
“It’s not from Santa,” my sister had said, rolling her eyes.
Despite her having three years of life experience on me, I remained confident that the Man in Red had lapsed in caution, leaving evidence of his existence (other than a trail of cookie crumbs).
It was a moment that brought the stars a little closer to earth and the magic surrounding Christmas shine a bit brighter -- and it has stuck with me to this day.
Maybe you have had one of these aha! moments...maybe you’re a doubter – a left-brained logical since birth. After all, how could one man circle the globe and deliver gifts to all the world’s children in one night?
With flying reindeer, of course.
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