7 Best Books About Michigan Update 05/2022

The stay-at-home orders are likely to have made many Michiganders want to move. But the sudden change in routine may leave some people with more time on their hands, and others with a desire to get away from the real world.

I think it might be a good idea to start reading a book about Michigan right now. Here are 13 books to read while you stay at home, from stories about pandemics to a book for kids about Lake Michigan and memoirs about healing. Most can be bought from the publisher, or they can be downloaded from a Michigan library system to an e-reader or smartphone through Overdrive or Libby, and then read on the go. Many can also be bought from a local bookstore, which may be able to deliver them to your home.


“Grief’s Country: A Memoir in Pieces,” by Gail Griffin

Her husband’s body was found in the Manistee River outside of their home in 2008, just four months and eight days after they married. Fife Lake from their home. An old Kalamazoo College professor named Griffin died of a heart attack. Griffin and her boyfriend Bob had been together for 18 years before they were finally able to get married.

After Bob died in the river, Griffin thought about writing about her grief, maybe to make sense of it all. It took eight years for her different essays to turn into this memoir, which was just released. The first few essays in the book are about how they were together and how things went after he died. She’s very open about her grief, which may make some people cry. The last few essays are a little more lighthearted, and there’s even a little humor in them, especially when she goes to Graceland. The book will touch someone who is grieving or knows someone who has lost a friend or family member. There are 144 pages in this book by Wayne State University Press.

Teacher/Pizza Guy,” by Jeff Kass

At an Ann Arbor public high school, Jeff Kass taught English and creative writing full time. He also worked as a part-time teacher.

time director for a literary arts group and delivered pizza a few nights a week, all to make ends meet. This is what happened. In a book of poems, he talks about some of the things that happened to him when he was 50. They are honest and sometimes funny. Kass is also political, but he doesn’t let that get in the way of the poems. Even though the middle class and teachers are two groups he wants to help, he adds layers and nuances when he talks about them.

There are many people who try to start over when their lives are half over, even if they don’t like poetry very much. This is because Kass’s prose will touch them. Some of my favorite parts are when he talks about how he feels when he has to do a lot of different things at the same time, or when he talks about people who order pizza at 2 or 3 a.m. There are 81 pages in this book by Wayne State University Press:

“Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Culture and Craft Distillers,” by Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham

You can use “Cheers to Michigan” for your first post-pandemic dinner or cocktail party, or for a night in quarantine. In the book, which is a collection of drinks, there is a toast to cocktail culture in Michigan and to the state’s growing craft-cocktail scene. The authors pick 45 drinks, both old and new, that celebrate the state’s culture, people, history, important dates, and seasonal weather. They even have a list of Michigan distillers and their products.

The North American International Auto Show, Groundhog Day, Oberon Day, and International Women’s Day all have recipes for drinks that can be made for these events and many more. The Lovers’ Quarrel, made by Rob Hanks at Reserve Wine & Food in downtown Grand Rapids, or an apple-based drink because it’s Michigan. A book by the University of Michigan Press has 101 pages.

“In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth,” by Jack Goldsmith

A labor leader in the United States named Jimmy Hoffa was the best-known and most powerful in America. He was the head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1957 to 1971. He was also a member of the mob, which may have led to his disappearance on July 30, 1975, in Bloomfield Township, New York.

It was the author’s stepfather, Charles “Chuckie” O’Brien, who was Hoffa’s right-hand man. O’Brien was arrested for his alleged role in Hoffa’s disappearance, and he was not charged. This book, which came out at the same time as the movie “The Irishman,” brilliantly disproves the widely held belief that Chuckie O’Brien drove Hoffa to his death. As an assistant attorney general for George W. Bush, Jack Goldsmith wrote a lot in 354 pages. With great care, Goldsmith interviews four FBI agents who were involved in the case and looks through a lot of wiretap transcripts, FBI files, and grand jury evidence to try to figure out what happened in one of the most important unsolved mysteries in American history. The book isn’t just a book about O’Brien’s relationship with both Hoffa and Goldsmith. It also tries to clear his stepfather. It also looks at the labor movement in the United States, American surveillance history, the mob, and the blue-collar Midwest in the United States, as well. There are 354 pages in this book.

“Detroit’s Birwood Wall: Hatred and Healing in the West Eight Mile Community” by Gerald Van Dusen

Black people lived in a red-lined neighborhood near Eight Mile in Detroit for almost 10 years until the early 1940s, when developers wanted to build a new neighborhood for white people nearby. To get money and approval from the U.S. government, the developers built a half-mile-long wall that spanned three blocks and kept black people on the other side. There is a 6-foot-tall Birwood Wall, also called the Wailing Wall or Detroit’s Berlin Wall by locals. It stands as a sign of segregation and as a reminder of the 20 years of racial division that happened in the city.

The wall has been getting more attention recently. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled a campaign proposal in front of it. The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office is now trying to get on the National Register of Historic Places because it thinks it’s important. They use interviews with people who lived near the wall as well as land records and other archival sources to tell the story of it and the people who lived near it. The author is an English professor at Wayne County Community College. (History Press, 194 pages)

“Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises” by Jodie Adams Kirshner

“Broke,” which came out last fall, tells the story of a Michigan city that ran out of money and the effects of that on the lives of seven people. Some people have lived in Detroit their whole lives, and others are newcomers who are drawn to the city’s spirit and hope for the future. One Detroit resident has to fight prostitution and dumping on her street. Then, another person has to drive two hours each day to work in the city. As a result, Kirshner’s subjects also buy their own homes and fix them up. They also get the back taxes and water bills that come with them. There is a $6,000-a-year insurance bill for them to drive to work. In the meantime, the city’s center is doing well thanks to tax breaks for businesses.

This is a link to an opinion piece by Jodie Adams Kirshner: Detroit’s future depends on training Detroiters for today’s jobs. Kirshner, a Columbia Law professor who has taught bankruptcy, shows how decisions made by the federal, state, and local governments have an effect on people who live in Detroit. She makes a very good case that says that not investing in cities hurts the economy, the neighborhoods, and the people who live there. It is from St. Martin’s Press, and it has 355 pages.

“The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers” by Bridgett M. Davis

People in Detroit loved Fannie Davis because she was a stay-at-home mother of five. She was also a favorite of her family, friends, and neighbors. The woman who moved from Nashville also had a good sense of numbers, which she used to start and run a profitable, but illegal, numbers business after her husband couldn’t find a job in the auto plants. That Mama gave her kids a good life by taking other people’s bets on three-digit numbers and collecting their money when they didn’t win, paying them when they did win, and profiting from the difference is the secret I’ve kept with me all these years. Davis, a screenwriter and creative writing professor, says this in her book. Davis tells the story of how she grew up in the 1960s as the daughter of a female numbers runner who worked in a male-dominated, crime-filled underground industry from her kitchen table. It’s also interesting how the author compares her family’s life of designer clothes and toys from FAO Schwarz to the decline of Detroit, its factory jobs, the white population, and its stability. When you read the book, you’ll find out about the three-digit weekly operation and how it came to be in the first place. In those days, Michigan Lottery’s three-digit drawing took place every week. People from the lottery commission would soon come up with a new way to compete with underground operations: the daily lottery.

When Fannie died, she left enough money for her daughter to go to private universities and buy a co-op in New York. This book is a tribute to her in some way. Until now, her story was kept a secret. It’s part of the American Dream, but in a different way. (320 pages): (Little, Brown & Co.)

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