Here are 10 notable Michigan books to read in 2019 | Michigan Radio
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Here are 10 notable Michigan books to read in 2019

Jan 9, 2019

A new year calls for a new reading list, and the Library of Michigan is here to help.

Every year, the Library releases the Michigan Notable Book list, made up of books published the previous year which are about or take place in Michigan, or are by Michigan authors.

You can learn more about some of the books below, or see the full list here.

Abbott by Saladin Ahmed

Abbott is Saladin Ahmed’s — a Dearborn native and Hugo nominated writer — first creator-owned project. He built the comic book series “from the ground up,” using his own original hero and setting. The series chronicles Elena Abbott, a black female journalist working in 1970s Detroit, as she encounters “a world of dark sorcery."

Beautiful Music by Michael Zadoorian

Michael Zadoorian's third novel Beautiful Music tells a coming of age story centered around the music of 1970s Detroit. The story begins in 1969, just two years after the '67 uprising, and still an uneasy time in Detroit. It tells the story of Danny Yzemski, an insecure teenager who uses radio to get him through Redford High School and trouble at home. 

Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer by Lisa McCubbin

New York Times bestselling author Lisa McCubbin joined Stateside in October to discuss her biography of Betty Ford, including Ford's early life in Grand Rapids, contributions to public health, and the former First Lady's lifelong recovery from drug addiction. 

"Many historians have said that Betty Ford's legacy is one of few first ladies who outshines her husband's," says Ford biographer Lisa McCubbin.
Credit Gerald R. Ford Library

Building the Modern World: Albert Kahn in Detroit by Michael H. Hodges

The Detroit skyline and the University of Michigan would not be the same if it weren’t for the work of one of Detroit’s most famous architects, Albert Kahn. Michael Hodges' book, Building the Modern World, explores Kahn's Michigan legacy and his role in the development of the Soviet Union in the early twentieth century.

Faygo Book by Joe Grimm

"Remember when you were a kid? Well, part of you still is. And that’s why we make Faygo," goes an old jingle for Faygo, one of Detroit's most iconic companies. Michigan State University journalism professor Joe Grimm explores Faygo's legacy in his new book, including how the brand expanded alongside Detroit’s growing population, and the long-term outlook for the company as more and more people abandon pop for other beverages.

Lake Michigan Mermaid: A Tale in Poems by Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen

When you think of a mermaid story, maybe an ocean comes to mind. But couldn’t a mermaid live in the Great Lakes? Lake Michigan maybe? Writers Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen posed that question to each other ten years ago. The result? Their book of poetry: The Lake Michigan Mermaid: A Tale in Poems.

Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan by Barbara J. Barton

There is a rich tradition of wild rice in our state, especially for Michigan's first people. The plant plays a big role in the culture of Anishinaabe tribes, who call it manoomin. Vast rice beds used to sit at the mouths of Michigan’s rivers. When European settlers arrived, they nearly destroyed the resource. Now, only one large bed remains in Michigan, but there is work afoot to restore and protect wild rice. Author Barbara Barton is an endangered species biologist, and she joined Stateside in August with Roger LaBine, a member of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Notes from a Public Typewriter by Michael Gustafson

On the first day that Michael Gustafson and his wife Hilary opened Literati Bookstore in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, something possessed him to place a typewriter on a table for anyone to use. That was in the spring of 2013. Since then, Gustafson’s “public typewriter experiment” has yielded a treasure trove of notes: some droll, some heartbreaking, some witty, some poignant. With Oliver Uberti, Gustafson compiled many of the notes over the past few years into a book, titled Notes from a Public Typewriter.

The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark

Detroit journalist Anna Clark has extensive experience reporting on cities, infrastructure, and urban policy. She says she brought all of that knowledge together to provide a comprehensive look at the Flint water crisis in The Poisoned City.

What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha

Following a tip from a friend in 2015, Flint pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was able to prove there had been an increase in children's blood lead levels after the city changed its water supply to the Flint River. Now, nearly three years later, she has published a memoir on her efforts to hold the state accountable.