Bonnie Jo Campbell not only writes great Michigan books, she knows a lot about great Michigan books, too.
Campbell's most recent book, the novel Once Upon a River, earned a profile in Poets and Writers Magazine and was listed on Newsweek's 10 Must-Read Summer Books.
It has received critical acclaim from the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Parade, NPR, and Booklist.
Her previous book, American Salvage, was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Before coming into the studio, we had spoken about Michigan books, and to my surprise Campbell came into the studio with a big box full of books - books either about the state or by Michigan writers.
We couldn't talk about all of them in the interview, so here's the list of books that Bonnie Jo Campbell brought:
- How to Fly by Rachael Perry
- Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open by Diane Seuss
- Autopsy of an Engine by Lolita Hernandez
- The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway
- Within the Lighted City by Lisa Lenzo
- The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter
- Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
- Road to Wellville by T.C. Boyle
- Freshwater Boys by Adam Schuitema
- The Legend of Sleeping Bear by Kathy-Jo Wargin
- Eden Springs by Laura Kasischke
- Laughing Whitefish by Robert Traver
- Stitches by David Small
- Of Woods and Other Things by Emma Pticher
- Michigan's Eastern Massasauga--An Historic Distribution by Tom Beauvais
- "Brown Dog" by Jim Harrison
- "Wanting Only to be Heard" by Jack Driscoll
- "The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit" by Michael Zadoorian
Campbell had a couple of other recommendations, though she didn't bring the books with her:
- The Lake, the River, and the Other Lake by Steve Amick
- The Women Were Leaving the Men by Andy Mozina
We spoke in Michigan Radio's studios about why people are drawn to dark books and what the difference is between why Hemingway's characters hunt and why Campbell's characters hunt. And despite her protest, we think she sounded awfully sophisticated throughout the entire discussion.