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2004 Michigan Notable Books

Following is the 2004 Michigan Notable Books list. Michigan Notable Books was formerly known as Read Michigan. The list features The Library of Michigan's annual selection of up to 20 recommended books reflecting Michigan's rich cultural heritage, featuring high-quality titles with wide public appeal that are either written by a Michigan resident or about a Michigan-related topic. 

Committee members from the Michigan Department of History, Arts, and Libraries, included Kate Nicholoff, Kris Rzepczynski, Randy Riley, and Kim Laird, all from the Library of Michigan and Jim Schultz of the Communications Office, HAL, and George Weeks, Detroit News.

The National Library Service and the Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will record eight selections from this list and make them available via audiobook. They are marked below with a "+".

Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan+, by Peter Morris. University of Michigan Press.

Incorporating newspaper accounts, personal reminiscences, and photographs from the era, this book explores the early beginnings and development of baseball in Michigan and how the game evolved into the national pastime.

The Edmund Fitzgerald: The Song of the Bell+, by Kathy-jo Wargin. Illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. Sleeping Bear Press.

With vivid illustrations, this children's book tells the story of the famous 1975 Great Lakes maritime disaster and the recent recovery of the ship's bell.

The Forests of Michigan, by Donald I. Dickmann and Larry A. Leefers. University of Michigan Press.

Complete with full color photographs and maps, this book details the natural history of forests in Michigan from the time of the receding glaciers, through the lumbering era and great fire disasters, to the 20th century renewal and future prospects.

Going Back to Central: On the Road in Search of the Past in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, by Lon L. Emerick. North Country Publishing. With the area's unique culture and heritage evident throughout the story, follow along with the author in his journey of discovery across the state's Upper Peninsula, with tales of copper mining and local folklore.

A Hanging in Detroit: Stephen Gifford Simmons and the Last Execution Under Michigan Law, by David G. Chardavoyne. Wayne State University Press.

A thought-provoking study of the 1830 trial and execution of Stephen Simmons, its impact on early Detroit society, and how the controversial event fits into the context of early Michigan history.

Heart & Soul: The Story of Grand Rapids Neighborhoods, by Linda Samuelson, Andrew Schrier, et al. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Historic photographs and postcards color this local history of the Furniture City, as told through its neighborhoods.

The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas+, by Jerry Dennis. Thomas Dunne Books.

As a crewmember aboard a schooner, the author explores the region's natural history, shares personal anecdotes, and experiences the adventure and true wonder of the Great Lakes.

Michigan's Early Military Forces: A Roster and History of Troops Activated Prior to the American Civil War, by Le Roy Barnett and Roger Rosentreter. Wayne State University Press.

Detailed histories of Michigan's pre-Civil War conflicts, and the state's role and contributions in them, complement the complete rosters of the soldiers who served.

Off The Record+, by Tim Skubick. University of Michigan Press.

As a member of the state capitol press corps, the author provides an insider's glimpse into the Michigan political scene, weaving colorful stories about the various personalities he has covered as a journalist, including Governors Milliken, Blanchard, Engler, and Granholm.

Recovering Ruth: A Biographer's Tale, by Robert Root. University of Nebraska Press.

The mid-nineteenth century diary of Ruth Douglass leads the author on a Michigan research adventure as he ultimately gains insight into his own life.

Riding the Roller Coaster: A History of the Chrysler Corporation, by Charles K. Hyde. Wayne State University Press.

This book traces the Detroit automaker's roller coaster journey of success, failure, and recovery from its founding in 1925 to its merger in 1998.

Saul and Patsy+, by Charles Baxter. Pantheon Books.

A high school teacher and his wife raise a family in a fictional Michigan community, face the tragedy of a student's death, and the small town's hostile reaction to it.

Shipwrecks of Lake Michigan, by Benjamin J. Shelak. Trails Books.

Charts, maps, and illustrations complement these stories of Lake Michigan maritime disasters, dating back to 1800.

Still With Me: A Daughter's Journey of Love and Loss+, by Andrea King Collier. Simon & Schuster.

The touching story of a woman's care for her mother during a battle with cancer, and her personal struggles and triumphs.

Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile, by Chris Lear. Rodale.

The story of the high school track phenom who joined the University of Michigan track team amidst enormous expectations, and his struggles to meet them.

Sweets: A Collection of Soul Food Desserts and Memories+, by Patty Pinner. Ten Speed Press.

A mixture of stories, memories, and anecdotes from an African American family in Saginaw, and the delightful recipes that accompany them.

The Vernor's Story: From Gnomes to Now, by Lawrence L. Rouch. University of Michigan Press.

A colorful history of the "deliciously different" Detroit institution, complete with glimpses into the evolving designs of the company logo, advertisements, and the ginger ale bottles themselves.

Voelker's Pond: A Robert Traver Legacy, by Ed Wargin and James McCullough. Huron River Press.

An illuminating photographic glimpse into the famous Michigan author's Upper Peninsula retreat, the natural beauty surrounding it, and the legacy he leaves behind.

Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress, 1903-2003+, by Douglas Brinkley. Viking.

A sweeping history of Henry Ford and his company that explores the many achievements and struggles of the past one hundred years, including the Model T, the $5 day, the Willow Run bomber plant, anti-union activities, and the Edsel.

Wonders Among Us: Celebrating 75 Years of the Detroit Zoo, by the Detroit Zoological Institute. Detroit Zoological Society.

The history of the Detroit Zoo comes alive with this look into the animals, their exhibits, and the men and women that have made the zoo both a great Michigan tourist attraction and an innovative scientific and educational center.



Updated 07/01/2010