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1999 Read Michigan Selections

Read Michigan, a list of recommended books about Michigan or by Michigan authors, was established in 1991 in cooperation with the Great Lakes Booksellers Association and the Historical Society of Michigan. 

Committee members include Sam Spiegel, Partners Book Distributing, Inc., and George Weeks. Following is the 1999 Read Michigan list.

A Place for Summer: A Narrative History of Tiger Stadium by Richard Bak, Wayne State University Press. Starting out in 1896 as Bennett Park, a wooden facility with trees growing in the outfield, Tiger Stadium at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues in Detroit, has been common ground for generations of Michiganians. In this final season for the stadium, this book, replete with almost 200 rare photographs, is, in words of USA Today Baseball Weekly, a "copiously illustrated salute to one of baseball's unique show places."

Charlevoix, photography by Ken Scott, text by Dianne Foster, Petunia Press. This photo-essay is an example of many recent books on the timeless landscapes and intriguing history of beautiful places of Michigan that contribute to the splendor of Michigan. It also features Beaver Island, "America's Emerald Isle," and Horton Bay, a source of inspiration to frequent visitor Ernest Hemingway.

Discovering Great Lakes Dunes by Elizabeth Brockwell-Tillman and Earl Wolf, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, and Gillette Natural History Association. Sand dunes are found elsewhere in the world, but none compare to those of the Great Lakes and especially the Sleeping Bear Dunes and others in Michigan. This booklet presents their splendor, how they were formed, and the importance of preserving them.

Interlochen: A Home for the Arts by Dean Boal, University of Michigan Press. In 1928, University of Michigan professor Joseph Maddy founded a small summer camp near Traverse City as a place where the best young musicians could learn under the best artists. Today, Interlochen Center for the Arts is a world-renowned home for the arts including an arts camp, a high school for the arts, a public radio station and an arts festival. This book presents engaging stories of colorful leaders and gifted students.

The Legend of Mackinac Island by Kathy-Jo Wargin, illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, Sleeping Bear Press. Nowhere is the splendor of Michigan more evident than on Mackinac Island and its surrounding waters. There are many legends about the creation of Mackinac Island, each as unique and individual as the storyteller. In this one, drawn from many versions from the Native Americans who are such an important part of the heritage of Michigan, the back of the great turtle Makinauk becomes a place for his friends to rest upon.

Mackinac: An Island Famous in These Regions by Phil Porter and Tom Kachadurian, Mackinac Island State Historic Parks. Mackinac Island's distinctive character and allure is told through the experiences of worshipers, hunters, traders, soldiers, fishermen, and tourists who have come to the island in the 300 years since Jesuit missionary Father Claude Dablon called it "an island famous in these regions." It is a story of hard times and good times.

Magic Moments: A Century of Spartan Basketball by Jack Ebling and John Farina, Sleeping Bear Press. Timely after two highly successful seasons, this book is of special interest to fans of Michigan State University but also to all who follow the game in this sports-minded state. It was published in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson's championship season with MSU.

Michigan Wildflowers in Color by Harry C. Lund, Thunder Bay Press. The late Mr. Lund devoted most of his life to studying and photographing Michigan wildflowers. This recent revised edition, including eight of Michigan's most accessible wildflower trails, features 278 wildflowers found in the many diverse habitats of Michigan. Among them is the dwarf lake iris, designated in 1998 as Michigan's official wildflower and found almost exclusively on shores of lakes Michigan and Huron and in adjacent marshy or boggy areas.

Michigan's Heritage Barns, photographs by Mary Keithan, Michigan State University Press. An odyssey through the back roads of Michigan has produced a photographic and narrative history of the rural landscape's most endangered visual treasures. Whether taken for architectural quality or historical value, the barns in this book add up to, in words of photographer Keithan, "an artistic statement that captures the heritage of Michigan's rural spirit and preserves these barns, if only on film."

Michigan's Town & Country Inns by Susan Newhof, University of Michigan Press. A good way to experience the splendor and heritage of Michigan is by staying at the distinctive small inns and bread-and-breakfast homes across the state. This recently-published fourth edition is a guide to more than 80 historic and other lodgings, including lighthouses on the rugged shores of Lake Superior to the Victorian mansions built by lumber and mining barons.

The Pathless Woods: Ernest Hemingway's Sixteenth Summer in Northern Michigan by Gloria Whelan, Thunder Bay Press. An acclaimed northern Michigan author, drawing on her own youthful experiences and on Hemingway's writings about his childhood on Walloon Lake, imagines 16-year-old Ernie's passage from boyhood to manhood in this timeless novel about growing up. Children's Book Review Service calls it "a perceptive and convincing biographical novel about a boy's growing awareness of his own needs and of what it means to be an adult."

Ships of the Great Lakes by James Barry, Thunder Bay Press. Michigan, surpassing all states in miles of Great Lakes shoreline, has been part of the heritage of the three centuries of marine growth and adventure on the Great Lakes, from the Indian canoe to the largest ships. This once-out-of-print book is now available in a revised and expanded edition.

29 Missing: The True and Tragic Story of the Disappearance of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald by Andrew Kantar, Michigan State University Press. Designed primarily for young adults, this book tells the story of a giant freighter that sank in Lake Superior with its entire crew of 29 in 1975 under circumstances still debated by maritime experts. The book is a reminder of the maritime history that is displayed across Michigan. The ship's bell is at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, the refuge that the Fitzgerald had tried so desperately to reach.

Toast of the Town, The Life and Times of Sunnie Wilson by Sunnie Wilson with John Cohassey, Wayne State University Press. Sunnie Wilson started out as a song and dance performer, but found his niche as a local promoter of boxing and musical acts. His book provides a documented history of Detroit's black business and entertainment from the 1920s to the present. Mayor Dennis Archer said, "His business establishments have been a place for entertainers to display their talents, a meeting round for charitable and civil rights activities, recreation for families, and a place to gather for good friends with good food provided."

White Pine Whispers by Larry B. Massie, Priscilla Press. After more than a dozen other books on Michigan, author Massie presents tales to "bring you pleasure, instill pride and inspire you to explore more of Michigan's majestic heritage."


Updated 07/01/2010