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Book cover: "The Intersection: What Detroit has gained, and lost, 50 years after the uprisings of 1967."
Courtesy of Lester Graham

 

This year marks 50 years since the 1967 uprising in Detroit. A new book reflects on what's happened since those hot, angry four days in July. 

the cover of X: A Novel
Candlewick Press

"One title. One state. And thousands engaged in literary discussion."

That's the motto of the Great Michigan Read.
Every other year, the Michigan Humanities Council announces its choice for the Great Michigan Read. The goal is to give people across the state a chance to connect by reading and talking about the same book. 

This year, the 2017 Great Michigan Read is X : A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon.

Flickr user emdot / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Great Gatsby, an American classic, was published on this day in 1925.

The book sells half a million copies each year, totaling over 25 million copies sold since it was published. It’s been made into a movie five times. But author F. Scott Fitzgerald went to his grave thinking it was a flop.

picture of book cover and Jack Cheng side by side
Courtesy of Jack Cheng

His name is Alex Petroski. He’s eleven years old. His best friend is the stray dog he adopted and named after his hero, astronomer Carl Sagan.

Together, they set out on a road trip to attend SHARF – that’s the (fictional) Southwest High-Altitude Rocket Festival. Along the way, Alex adds recordings to an iPod that he hopes will one day find the ears of extraterrestrials.

Alex is the central character in a newly-released young adult novel, See You in the Cosmos. Its author, Jack Cheng, immigrated to Michigan at age 5 and today lives in Detroit.

If you have fished, or wanted to fish, or thought about fishing, or just stepped out of doors with some expectancy, Body of Water is the book for you.

Though Montana is his home now, Michigan poets know Chris Dombrowski from his elegant poetry collection, Earth Again, published by Wayne State University Press. Michigan anglers know Dombrowski as a stellar fly fishing guide. 

Omar Saif Ghobash was six years old when his father was murdered in the United Arab Emirates in 1977. His father had been part of a leadership group in the country’s early days.

Ghobash’s father was an Arab. His mother is Russian. Today Ghobash is the Emirates’ ambassador to Russia.

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His new book, Letters to a Young Muslim, is written to his young sons. The book examines the complexities of his ancestry, his Muslim faith, the violence associated with some factions of Islam, and the challenges facing Muslims coming of age today.

I was recently tempted to bludgeon one of my students into recognizing that interesting things had happened, even before he was born, back in the ancient early 1990s, say.

We were discussing the origins of the World Wide Web, the invention that actually made wide-ranging use of cyberspace possible. Having considered this, he said prior to that, I must have actually had to find things in books.

Germán Poo-Caamaño / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Just a few short years ago, the future of independent bookstores looked bleak. First, they were undercut by big box stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders, which could often offer both lower prices and a greater selection. Then, Amazon arrived on the scene, upending the book-selling business with all the grace of a gorilla reorganizing a library.  

Today, Borders is gone, Barnes & Noble is downsizing, and independent bookstores?

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

At first glance, there wasn’t anything particularly unusual about their group: a handful of seniors at a local café, gathered over their weekly coffee. The topics of conversation could be wide-ranging, often touching on politics or thorny social issues. And there was a bond that strengthened with each weekly get-together.

But when Bill Haney first joined this “gaggle of geezers,” he quickly realized there were lessons to be learned in the stories they told. Haney has written, edited or published more than 400 books about Michigan and its people. So he was the right person to see a book in the lives of the group, which meets every Monday at Brioni Cafe & Deli in Clarkson.

Wayne State University Press

Many women can relate to the witching hour. In the middle of the night, you wake up and have trouble falling back to sleep because your mind is racing. Concerns about the upcoming day, anxiety about the mounting to-do list while, oftentimes, your partner sleeps soundly next to you. The Witching Hour is the title of the first story in a collection of “flash fiction” – not short stories – by Detroit-based writer Desiree Cooper, titled Know The Mother.

In John Smolens’ riveting new novel, Wolf's Mouth, the action begins in 1944, in Camp Au Train, a lumber camp near Munising, Michigan. But it’s not a typical lumber camp. It’s a Prisoner Of War camp, one of the many in Michigan during World War II. 

The prisoners are mostly Germans, with a smattering of other nationalities.

But even in an American-run POW camp, the Nazis secretly hold the reins, meting out a cruel justice to anyone who disobeys Kommandant Vogel, a man known for vengeance and violence.  

Yet one Italian soldier, Francesco Verdi, dares to defy Vogel.  It’s a choice that will have repercussions for the rest of his life.  He also happens to be the narrator of Wolf's Mouth.

 

Michigan Bookmark is a series that features Michigan authors reviewing Michigan books.

flickr user DryHundredFear / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

How do we break down stereotypes about each other?

That question has driven a Michigan State University journalism class to create a series of guides to help disassemble the myths and stereotypes about different groups in our country.

Bias Busters: Guides to Cultural Competence have been created by students. They're a series of questions and answers about African-Americans, East Asian cultures, Native Americans and more.

Agate Publishing

Whether you're a 65-year-old senior VP whose job has been eliminated or a 22-year-old with a freshly minted degree, trying to land a job is scary stuff.

Michigan native Matt Durfee has recruited for some of the biggest companies in the nation, and he has lost his job and had to navigate his way to a new position – not once, but several times.

Larry and Priscilla Massie

Historians Larry and Priscilla Massie have opened Massie's Michigan Books (by appointment only) at their Allegan home.  

“For the last 35 years I’ve stuck away any book about Michigan that I came across with the intention of opening a book shop,” said author Larry Massie, who has written numerous books about Michigan. 

Massie built an addition on his home for the new store that houses about 5,000 books from fiction and poetry to railroading and shipwrecks.

Book Covers courtesy of Library of Michigan

The Library of Michigan announced the 2016 Michigan Notable Books over the weekend. These 20 books are recognized as stories that prove "that some of the greatest stories are found in the Great Lakes State."

Here's that full list, with descriptions from the Michigan Notable Books team, and links to interviews with many of the winners from Stateside with Cynthia Canty.

Rogerio Fernandes

Coloring books are more popular than ever. Adults are encouraged to use them as stress relievers and an easy outlet for creativity.

Kathryn Curtis, a University of Michigan School of Public Policy graduate, is hoping to use coloring books to raise awareness of the problem of water security in Brazil and the U.S.

After spending a year in Brazil and seeing firsthand how the drought has affected farmers there, she decided to create a "plantable" coloring book that she hopes will get people talking about the negative effects of drought.

By White House photo by Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

The legions of readers who love and cherish Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” were stunned and then excited at the prospect of reading her long-lost manuscript, “Go Set a Watchman.”

The story centers on Scout as a grown woman: Jean Louise Finch. Once eager readers clamped their eyes on the story, the shockwaves hit.

The beloved character of Atticus had become a bigot.

“Go Set a Watchman” was not an extension of “To Kill a Mockingbird” after all.

She Writes Press

When describing the previous ten years of her life, writer Kelley Clink explains, “Being a sister to him made me who I was. Losing him has made me who I am.”

Her brother's suicide in 2004 sent her on a journey of guilt, of mourning, of realizing that her brother is gone. And the feeling that she may be to blame.

Clink turned this emotional journey into a new memoir, A Different Kind of Same.

Susan Brewster

Eighty-nine years after being banned, John Herrmann’s first book What Happens is finally being published.

Arguably Lansing’s best forgotten writer, Herrmann was part of the famous expat American writers’ crowd in Paris in the 1920s and called Ernest Hemingway a friend.

All photos are from a collection from Susan Brewster, niece of John Herrmann, and have not been published until now.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

Michigan has a long and well-known history of car manufacturing, mining, logging, and agriculture.

But there's something else this state produces: writers. 

Anna Clark's new book explores the lives of ten of Michigan's most notable writers. Michigan Literary Luminaries: from Elmore Leonard to Robert Hayden is a collection of essays that are not just biographies.

Stephanie Baker (left photo)

Maureen Abood left her big-city job in Chicago to follow her heart to culinary school.

After training in San Francisco, Abood came back home to Michigan and has dedicated her life to cooking and writing about Lebanese food.

Broadside-Lotus Press

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Broadside Press. It was founded in 1965 by African-American poet and publisher Dudley Randall.

This groundbreaking company has published a long and distinguished list of African-American poets and writers.

Don Shikoshi

In her latest memoir, writer Anne-Marie Oomen takes us back to growing up in the turbulent 1960’s on a her family’s Michigan farm. From school dances and sewing lessons to the Detroit riots and the Cuban missile crisis it’s all in her new book Love, Sex and 4-H. 

Dr. Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko was a Nazi prisoner for 15 months. She endured a women's prison, three concentration camps, four slave labor camps and a death march.

She and her fellow prisoners were liberated by the U.S. 87th Infantry Division 70 years ago this week.

After the war, she came to Michigan with her husband and daughter, seeking a new life.

She found that new life, but her Polish medical credentials had been lost in the war and she was never able to practice medicine in America. Instead, she worked as a nurse's aide at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Stateside celebrates National Poetry Month with a special month-long series on poetry in Michigan.

We'll be talking with Michigan poets about their new work, about poetry in the 21st century and about why poetry continues to inspire.

www.wcccd.edu

Being a father is both rewarding and challenging.  

But, being a black father can have its own challenges. That's what Curtis Ivery believes. 

Ivery, chancellor of the Wayne County Community College District, discusses the father’s role in a book he co-authored with his son Marcus Ivery, called Black Fatherhood: Reclaiming Our Legacy.

The book discusses the disintegration of the African-American family and the alarm it generates.

Source booksellers

With competition from Amazon and e-readers, big box bookstores have been hit hard. Borders closed in 2011 and Barnes & Noble has been forced to close hundreds of stores.

But independent bookstores are proving to have staying power.

Bill Haney has spent many years in communications and book publishing in Michigan. 

His new memoir What They Were Thinking: Reflections of Michigan Difference-Makers tells the stories of the many special Michiganders he's come to know throughout the years.

The book includes profiles of 18 Michigan men and women, including the legendary sportscaster for the Detroit Tigers Ernie Harwell.

author reading from her book in studio
Michigan Radio

One title, one state and thousands of readers getting caught up in literary discussion. That's the Great Michigan Read, a biennial program of the Michigan Humanities Council.

The 2015-16 winning book is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

It was a 2014 National Book Award Finalist along with being named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by the Washington Post, Time Magazine and Amazon. Michigan Radio program director Tamar Charney reviewed it earlier this year.

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