The web Browser you are currently using is unsupported, and some features of this site may not work as intended. Please update to a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge to experience all features Michigan.gov has to offer.
Library of Michigan Announces 2024 Michigan Notable Books
Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Bill Disessa, Spokesperson, 517-335-6649
Library of Michigan Announces 2024 Michigan Notable Books
January 8, 2024
LANSING – The Library of Michigan is pleased to announce the 2024 Michigan Notable Book list. This year’s list of 20 titles reflects the rich stories and culture of our state.
The celebrated books encompass the entire Great Lakes basin, to take readers from Sugar Island near the Soo to the cherry orchards of Traverse City, and across the vibrant communities of Metro Detroit.
Each year, the Michigan Notable Books (MNB) list features 20 books, published during the previous calendar year, which are about the Great Lakes, or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes, or written by a Michigan author. Selections include a variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction, that appeal to many audiences and explore topics and issues close to the hearts of Michigan residents. This latest list continues that tradition with exploring the fascinating lives of historic women leaders on Mackinac Island; examining the struggle for self-identity and acceptance; celebrating the creativity of Michigan artists across diverse mediums; and more.
MNB began as part of the 1991 Michigan Week celebration, designed to pay tribute and draw attention to the many people, places, and things that identify Michigan life as unique and vibrant.
"Michigan truly is a mosaic of inspiration for writers," said State Librarian Randy Riley. "Each MNB selection offers a unique touchpoint into the rich stories and beautiful landscape of our great state. Everyone will find something of interest that speaks to the voices and experiences of what it means to be a Michigander."
Michigan’s State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said: “We grow in our lives when we open our eyes and minds to the rich experiences of others through fiction and nonfiction. This year’s Michigan Notable Books provide opportunity for young and old alike to bring knowledge and perspective into their lives about what others have seen and lived. Books should be mirrors that reflect our own lives, as well as windows for us to see others.”
This year’s MNB selection committee includes representatives from the Library of Michigan; Bath Township Public Library; Clinton-Macomb District Library; Capital Area District Libraries; Detroit Public Library; Lansing City Pulse newspaper; Library of Michigan Foundation; Michigan Center for the Book; Michigan Department of Education; Michigan Humanities; University of Michigan Library; and Wayne State University.
The 2024 MNB books and authors will be honored at the annual Night for Notables reception on Saturday, April 20, 2024 at the Library of Michigan, with two-time Michigan Notable Books honoree Stephen Mack Jones presenting as the keynote speaker. Participating authors will travel to libraries across the state on the Michigan Notable Books authors tour, to share their experiences and engage with local communities. Many also engage in the Authors Conversations video series, in which viewers can explore the backgrounds of the authors, uncover authors’ creative processes, and hear readings from book selections.
For more information or questions about the Michigan Notable Books program, contact the Library of Michigan at 517-335-1477, visit www.Michigan.gov/NotableBooks, or email Michigan-Notable-Books@michigan.gov.
2024 Michigan Notable Books
The All-American by Susie Finkbeiner - Revell
In this 1950s coming-of-age story, two sisters are left reeling when their father is accused of being a member of the Communist Party. Bertha finds a haven with the All-American Girls Baseball League. Flossie finds herself in an unexpected friendship. Both are about to discover how much good there is in the world—even in the hardest of circumstances.
Cinema Ann Arbor: How Campus Rebels Forged a Singular Film Culture by Frank Uhle – University of Michigan Press/Fifth Avenue Press
Delving into almost 100 years of rarely glimpsed history, Frank Uhle melds interviews with 80 key people, deep archival research, and over 400 mostly unseen images into a vivid account of just how the history of motion pictures and the history of Ann Arbor—and the University of Michigan—are intertwined. Told with the urgency and exquisite detail only available to an active, decades-long participant in Ann Arbor’s film culture, Cinema Ann Arbor uncovers unexpected and essential stories of the university’s film societies and the campus rebels who ran them.
A Cold, Hard Prayer by John Smolens – MSU Press
In 1924, an orphan train passes through the Midwest, and Mercy, a teenage girl of mixed race, and a boy nicknamed Rope, who lost fingers in a factory accident, become virtual prisoners of Harlan and Estelle Nau. After facing abuse, Mercy and Rope flee, making an arduous journey into sparsely populated northern Michigan, where Mercy believes she will find her aunt. Resolute and intrepid, Mercy and Rope develop a bond of mutual trust that helps them navigate a stark American landscape shaped by prejudice, hypocrisy, and fear.
Dearborn: Stories by Ghassan Zeineddine – Tin House Books
Spanning several decades, Ghassan Zeineddine's debut collection examines the diverse range and complexities of the Arab American community in Dearborn. In 10 tragicomic stories, Zeineddine explores themes of identity, generational conflicts, war trauma, migration, sexuality, queerness, home and belonging, and more. By turns wildly funny, incisive, and deeply moving, Dearborn introduces readers to an arresting new voice in contemporary fiction and invites us all to consider what it means to be part of a place and community, and how it is that we help one another survive.
Enough to Lose by R.S. Deeren – Wayne State University Press
In nine captivating short stories, R.S. Deeren presents a vivid portrait of life in the rural Thumb region of Michigan. With unflinching empathy, Deeren weaves together the colorful lives of landscapers, hunters, artists, parolees, retirees, and entrepreneurs, characters who reckon with their relationship to this unique slice of Michigan. Deeren artfully illustrates the brutal realities of working-class rural life that are punctuated by moments of beauty, humor, and resilience.
Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant: A Memoir by Curtis Chin – Little, Brown and Company
1980s Detroit was a volatile place to live, but above the fray stood a safe haven: Chung’s Cantonese Cuisine, where anyone could sit down for a warm, home-cooked meal. Here was where, surrounded by his multigenerational family, filmmaker and activist Curtis Chin came of age; where he learned to embrace his identity as a gay ABC, or American-born Chinese; where he navigated the divided city’s spiraling misfortunes; and where—between helpings of almond boneless chicken, sweet-and-sour pork, and some of his own, less-savory culinary concoctions—he realized just how much he had to offer to the world, to his beloved family, and to himself.
Everything is Just Beginning: A Novel by Erin Bartels - Revell
Michael Sullivan is a talented lyricist and a decent guitarist, but since he was kicked out of his band (and his apartment), he's not sure he'll ever get a record deal. Living with his loser uncle in a beat-up trailer and working a dead-end job, Michael has little reason to hope for a better future. On the effervescent night of December 31, 1989—as the Berlin Wall is coming down, the Soviet Union is inching toward democracy, and anything seems possible—Michael will cross paths with the accomplished and enigmatic young heir to a fading musical dynasty, forever altering both of their futures.
Girls and Their Monsters: The Genain Quadruplets and the Making of Madness in America by Audrey Clare Farley – Grand Central Publishing
This intimate and compassionate portrait chronicles the extraordinary lives of the pseudonymous Genain quadruplets from Lansing as well as the lead psychologist who studied them to understand the cause of their schizophrenia. Exposing the harrowing violence they experienced, and its psychological and political consequences to them and our society at large.
Great Women of Mackinac, 1800-1950 by Melissa Croghan – MSU Press
Great Women of Mackinac, 1800–1950 tells the dramatic history of 13 women leaders on Mackinac Island in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Their linked visions of family and community define this beautiful island in the western Great Lakes. In this collective biography, author and Mackinac Island resident Melissa Croghan reveals how central they were to the history and literature of Mackinac.
In the Upper Country: A Novel by Kai Thomas – Viking
The fates of two unforgettable women—one just beginning a journey of reckoning and self-discovery and the other completing her life's last vital act—intertwine at the terminus of the Underground Railroad. Traveling along the path of the Underground Railroad from Virginia to Michigan, from the Indigenous nations around the Great Lakes, to the Black refugee communities of Canada, In the Upper Country weaves together unlikely stories of love, survival, and familial upheaval that map the interconnected history of the peoples of North America in an entirely new and resonant way.
Making Art in Prison: Survival and Resistance by Janie Paul – Hat & Beard Press
In Making Art in Prison: Survival and Resistance, Janie Paul introduces readers to the culture and aesthetics of prison art communities, and shares heart-wrenching, poignant, and often surprisingly humorous artists’ narratives. These powerful stories and images upend the manufactured stereotypes of those living in prison, imparting a real human dimension—a critical step in the movement to end mass incarceration.
Michigan Rocks!: A Guide to Geologic Sites in the Great Lakes State by Paul Brandes – Mountain Press
Nearly the entire history of Earth is on display in Michigan, from 3.6-billion-year-old gneisses to potholes drilled by modern rivers. Michigan Rocks! guides you to 56 world-class geologic sites scattered from Isle Royale and the Upper Peninsula to Lower Michigan, including Michigan's Thumb, where carvings in sandstone are preserved at Sanilac Petroglyph State Historic Park. The author's explanations of the geologic processes at work, along with photographs, illustrations, and informative figures and maps, make this the perfect field guide for amateur and expert geologists alike—and everyone in between!
My Murder: A Novel by Katie Williams – Riverhead Books
Having been murdered by a serial killer, Lou is brought back to life and returned to her grieving family by a government project. But as the new Lou re-adapts to her old routines, and as she bonds with other female victims, she realizes that disturbing questions remain about what exactly preceded her death and how much she can really trust those around her. Darkly comic, tautly paced, and full of surprises, My Murder is a devour-in-one-sitting, clever twist on the classic thriller.
An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford by Richard Norton Smith - Harper
For many Americans, President Gerald Ford was the genial accident of history who controversially pardoned his Watergate-tarnished predecessor, presided over the fall of Saigon, and became a punching bag on Saturday Night Live. Yet as Richard Norton Smith reveals in a book full of surprises, Ford was an underrated leader whose tough decisions and personal decency look better with the passage of time.
Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit by Abra Berens - Chronicle
Pulp is the beautiful follow-up to Abra Berens’s Ruffage and Grist, with more than 215 recipes and variations for using fruit grown in the Midwest in sweet and savory recipes to highlight seasonality and flavor. Pulp is a hardworking book of recipes that focuses on all the ways fruit can enhance simple, delicious mains—for example, by elevating roasted vegetables, garnishing soup, or adding perfume to a roasted pork or brisket.
The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History by Ned Blackhawk – Yale University Press
A sweeping and overdue retelling of U.S. history that recognizes that Native Americans are essential to understanding the evolution of modern America. The Rediscovery of America interweaves five centuries of Native and non‑Native histories, from Spanish colonial exploration to the rise of Native American self-determination in the late 20th century. Its retelling of U.S. history acknowledges the enduring power, agency, and survival of Indigenous peoples, yielding a truer account of the United States and revealing anew the varied meanings of America.
Strikers: A Graphic Novel by Kiel Phegley – Graphic Universe
Hockey―and life―keep handing both Evan and Bobby losses. Their team, the Strikers, has a roster of rejects in hand-me-down coats and lacks good equipment, a deep bench, and a coach who shows up on time. Their town of Flint, Michigan, has been down on its luck their whole lives. The boys may not understand each other, but together, they’ll find their reasons to keep taking the ice.
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett - Harper
In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley – Henry Holt and Co.
With the rising number of missing Indigenous women, her family's involvement in a murder investigation and grave robbers profiting off her Anishinaabe tribe, Perry Firekeeper-Birch takes matters into her own hands to solve the mystery and reclaim her people's inheritance.
The White Stripes: Complete Lyrics, 1997-2007 by Jack White – Third Man Books
The White Stripes Complete Lyrics documents Jack White’s words written for the duo he and Meg White formed in 1997 through the release of their final album in 2007. The multiple Grammy-winning group from Detroit helped define a generation and continues to shape and influence both musicians and music lovers. It is the first time The White Stripes lyrics have been collected and also features never-before-seen and rare rough drafts, alternate lyrics, and photographs. Included are essays by Hanif Abdurraqib, Ben Blackwell, and Caroline Randall Williams.