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Library of Michigan Announces The 2023 Michigan Notable Books

LANSING – The rich stories and culture of our state continue to be shared with this year’s list of Michigan Notable Books, the Library of Michigan shared today.

Stories this year explore the beautiful historic architecture throughout Michigan’s towns and cities; celebrate the rich, vibrant Arab American communities in Detroit and Dearborn; examine the universal struggles found within self-identity and family; commemorate the fascinating careers of influential Michigan musicians; and more.

The Library of Michigan announced the titles of the 20 books on the 2023 Michigan Notable Book list that celebrate the entire Great Lakes basin from the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula to stories about Detroit, and all along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Each year the Michigan Notable Book (MNB) list features 20 books, published during the previous calendar year, which are about or set in Michigan, 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.

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.

“The MNB selections clearly demonstrate the diverse tapestry of subject matter that Michigan offers to inspire writers,” said State Librarian Randy Riley. “Everyone will find something of interest that speaks to their lives or experiences in our great state.”

Michigan’s State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said: “The diversity of these books reflects much of the diversity of our state. People, especially children, need to experience through reading the lives and contributions of people like themselves in addition to others about whom they are not familiar. 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; Detroit Public Library; Clinton-Macomb District Library; Capital Area District Libraries; University of Michigan Library; Lansing City Pulse newspaper; Michigan Department of Education; Michigan Center for the Book; Michigan Humanities; and Wayne State University.

The 2023 MNB books and authors will be honored at the annual Night for Notables reception on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at the Library of Michigan, with two-time Michigan Notable Book recipient Karen Dionne presenting as the keynote speaker. Participating authors will travel to libraries across the state on the Michigan Notable Book authors tour and will share their experiences and engage with local communities. Many also engage in the Authors Conversations video series, where viewers can explore the backgrounds of the authors, as well as uncover the creative processes of the authors and hear readings from book selections.

The Michigan Notable Book program is sponsored in part by the Library of Michigan Foundation, Michigan Center for the Book, and Michigan Humanities.

For more information or questions about the Michigan Notable Book program, contact the Library of Michigan at 517-335-1477, visit www.Michigan.gov/NotableBooks , or email Librarian@Michigan.gov.

2023 Michigan Notable Books

(Title of book—Author—Publisher)

As Long as I Know You: The Mom Book by Anne-Marie Oomen - University of Georgia Press

Follow Anne-Marie Oomen’s journey to finally knowing her mother as well as the heartbreaking loss of her mother’s immense capacities. This book explores how humor and compassion grow belatedly between a mother and daughter who don’t much like each other, as well as the stress and family decisions brought about by a parent with dementia. As Long as I Know You is a personal map to find a mother who may have been there all along—only to lose her again in the time of COVID.

Blood and Fire: The Unbelievable Real-Life Story of Wrestling’s Original Sheik by Brian R. Solomon - ECW Press

For a half-century, the Sheik terrorized fans and foes and became professional wrestling's most feared villain. Yet away from the ring, Ed Farhat was a military veteran, family man and businessman whose real life was shrouded in mystery. For the first time, Blood and Fire tells the whole story.

Chevy in the Hole: A Novel by Kelsey Ronan - Henry Holt and Co.

Shortly after overdosing, August “Gus” Molloy packs it in and returns home to his family in Flint. This latest slip and recommitment to sobriety doesn’t feel too terribly different from the others, until Gus meets Monae, an urban farmer trying to coax a tenuous rebirth from the city’s damaged land. Through her eyes, he sees what might be possible in a city everyone else seems to have forgotten or, worse, given up on. But as they begin dreaming up an oasis together, even the most essential resources can’t be taken for granted.

Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm by Dan Charnas – MCD Books

Equal parts musicology, biography, and cultural history, Dilla Time chronicles the invention of a new kind of beat by the most underappreciated musical genius of our time, Detroit’s own J Dilla.

Ferne: a Detroit Story by Barbara Henning - Spuyten Duyvil

Ferne: a Detroit Story is a stunning recreation of a mother's life. Ferne Hostetter died when the author was 11 years old. The weaving together of family photos, newspaper clippings and extracts from historical sources about the 1920s through the 1950s gives Henning's book a tremendous power—the magnetic power of lost chances.

Guardians of Michigan: Architectural Sculpture of the Pleasant Peninsulas by Jeff Morrison - University of Michigan Press

Guardians of Michigan profiles the extraordinary architectural sculpture found in both the pleasant peninsulas of the Great Lakes state. Author Jeff Morrison spent years exploring Michigan’s largest cities and smallest towns, using telephoto photography to capture the sculptural details hidden from the naked eye, and researching the beautiful historic architecture that he encountered.

Hadha Baladuna: Arab American Narratives of Boundary and Belonging edited by Ghassan Zeineddine, Nabeel Abraham, and Sally Howell - Wayne State University Press

Hadha Baladuna (translated: "this is our country") is the first work of creative nonfiction in the field of Arab American literature that focuses entirely on the Arab diaspora in Metro Detroit, an area with the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States. Narratives move from a young Lebanese man in the early 1920s peddling his wares along country roads to an aspiring Iraqi-Lebanese poet who finds inspiration in the music of Tupac Shakur. The anthology pivots to the experiences of growing up Arab American in Detroit and Dearborn; facing identity struggles in an unaccepting community; exploring political activism dating back to the 1960s; and Dearborn’s shifting demographic landscape.

I'll Be There: My Life with the Four Tops by Duke Fakir with Kathleen McGhee-Anderson - Omnibus Press

Spanning decades, this book is the remarkable, heartfelt memoir from Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, the last surviving member of The Four Tops. Amidst a backdrop of Detroit, I’ll Be There features revealing anecdotes from the group’s formation; their early days as backup singers for the likes of Jackie Wilson; and their years working with Berry Gordy at the legendary Motown Records.

It’s Hard Being You: A Primer on Being Happy Anyway by Sharon Emery - Mission Point Press

Sharon Emery struggled with the losses and limits she faced but couldn't change – no matter how hard she tried. And she did try: with her incurable severe stutter that made her career in communications a regular battle; with the death of her daughter, Jessica; and with the too-early deaths of her own younger siblings. This memoir is a guide for her children on their own life journeys, which stresses the amazing resilience of human beings.

Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle - Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

In this young adult romantic comedy, 17-year-old self-professed teen love doctor Prince Jones has his own segment on Detroit's popular hip-hop show. After meeting Dani, an ambitious writer who hates all things romance, Jones has only three dates to prove to her that he's worth falling for.

Magic Season: A Son’s Story by Wade Rouse - Hanover Square Press

Before his success in public relations, his loving marriage and his storied writing career, Wade Rouse was simply Ted Rouse's son. A queer kid in a conservative Ozarks community, Wade struggled at a young age to garner his father's approval and find his voice. For his part, Ted was a hard-lined engineer who offered little emotional support or encouragement. But Wade and Ted had one thing in common: an undying love of the St. Louis Cardinals. For decades, baseball offered Wade and his father a shared vocabulary—a way to stay in touch, to connect and to express their emotions. But when his father's health takes a turn for the worst, Wade returns to southwest Missouri to share one final season with his father.

The Peacekeeper: A Novel by B.L. Blanchard - 47North

Against the backdrop of a never colonized North America, a broken Ojibwe detective embarks on an emotional and twisting journey toward solving two murders, rediscovering family, and finding himself.

Satisfaction Guaranteed: How Zingerman's Built a Corner Deli into a Global Food Community by Micheline Maynard - Scribner

In this roadmap for manifesting joy and purpose in business, a noted national journalist looks at the inception, growth, future and unique management style of Zingerman's—a beloved $70 million Michigan-based specialty food store with global reach.

Scarlet in Blue: A Novel by Jennifer Murphy - Dutton

A psychological novel about a mother and daughter who, after a lifetime on the run from a dark and dangerous past, land in a small Michigan town that may hold the key to ending their fugitive lifestyle.

Shapes, Lines, and Light: My Grandfather’s American Journey by Katie Yamasaki - Norton Young Readers

This striking picture book, told through the art and words of his granddaughter, celebrates the life of acclaimed Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki. Despite the anti-Asian racism in post-World War II America, Yamasaki left his mark on Michigan and the world.

The Star That Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson - Holiday House

Norvia grew up on Beaver Island, picking berries, listening to her grand-père’s stories of their Ojibwe ancestors, and finding comfort in the stars up above. Now, at 14, in Boyne City, Michigan, Norvia’s mother is remarrying and forces her to pretend she's not Native American. When faced with numerous changes and the looming threat of a world war in 1914, Norvia must find the courage to reveal who she truly is.

The Turtle of Michigan: A Novel by Naomi Shihab Nye - Greenwillow Books

Eight-year-old Aref is excited to reunite with his father in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he will start a new school, and while Aref misses his grandfather, his Sidi, he knows that his home in Oman will always be waiting for him.

Uphill: A Memoir by Jemele Hill - Henry Holt and Co.

The Emmy Award-winning former cohost of ESPN's SportsCenter shares the whole story of her work, the women of her family, and her complicated relationship with God. In this eloquent memoir, she reveals how she is forging a new path beyond her family’s cycle of intergenerational trauma, no matter life’s uphill battles.

We Kept Our Towns Going: The Gossard Girls of Michigan's Upper Peninsula by Phyllis Michael Wong - Michigan State University Press

Discover the stories of the Gossard Girls, the women who sewed corsets and bras at factories in Ishpeming and Gwinn from the early 20th century to the 1970s. As the Upper Peninsula’s mining and timber industries became increasingly exhausted, the Gossard Girls’ income sustained both their families and the local economy. Their political and economic strength led a successful four-month strike in the 1940s that capped an eight-year struggle to unionize. Follow the daily challenges and joys of these mostly first- and second-generation immigrant women who also navigated shifting ideas of what single and married women could and should do as workers and citizens.

What the Fireflies Knew: A Novel by Kai Harris - Tiny Reparations Books

Told from the perspective of almost 11-year-old Kenyatta Bernice (KB), this coming-of-age novel follows KB as she is sent to live with her estranged grandfather in Lansing. As everything and everyone changes around her, she is forced to carve out a different identity for herself and find her own voice.