Category Archives: Lovely Sunday

Sunday Lovely Sunday

A Weekly Post By Megan Shaffer

November 22-29, 2009

Of Note

Travelin’ Man: On the Road and Behind the Scenes With Bob Seger is a photo-driven look at the career of Bob Seger. Making appearances throughout Michigan are authors Tom Weschler and Gary Graff. They will be at the Birmingham Borders this coming Friday at 7:00pm. Books are available for purchase at the store.

Of National Interest

– “I think I was drawn to medicine with a strong sense of medicine being a romantic pursuit, a calling. I still really am very much in love with medicine, and I love what I do. And I often think the writing emanates from that stance of being a physician. And I worry that I would become mute if I ever left medicine and tried to write.” This quote from Abraham Verghese is from Story Specialists: Doctors Who Write and not that surprising given his eloquence in Cutting For Stone, his beautiful first novel which was published this year.

-I am interested in Zadie Smith but not so much in reading essays. In her new book Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, Smith reportedly flexes her considerable literary muscle perhaps offering me a new look at the art of the essay. For NPR’s take, try the piece and excerpt Brave, Brainy, Changeable – Zadie Smith Revealed. (loved her book On Beauty but couldn’t do White Teeth)

-Can’t get that publisher to put your book out? Try this article from UTNE Reader to do it on your own: How to Make Your Own Book in 3,000 Simple Steps.

-More coverage of Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book appears in The New York Time’s Book Review today. Check out this essay Mau-Mauing the Flesh Eaters as the book world tackles the vegetarian dilemma.

Local Voice

-Though our National Book Award nominees didn’t take top prize, both authors continue to enhance the literary vibe of Michigan with their talent and continual contributions. For more on Bonnie Jo Campbell and David Small check out this article by the Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial Board.

-I happened across this book by Luke Bergman titled Getting Ghost:  Two Young Lives and the Struggle for the Soul of an American City. That city, of course, is our beloved Detroit and I am quite interested in the book. For more try this article Drugs and the City by Jennifer Guerra for Michigan Radio.

– Book Beat will present National Book Award winning author Gloria Whelan today, Sunday the 22nd from 2-3:30. Whelan has written over forty children’s chapter and picture books since her first title in 1978, according to Book Beat’s site.

-On Friday at 7:00, Borders in Birmingham will present “Travelin’ Man: On the Road and Behind the Scenes with Bob Seger” by Tom Weschler and Gary Graff. This book offers a photo-driven insider’s look at Bob Seger’s career from the beginning.

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Go Bonnie Jo!


Go Bonnie Jo! Check out this Detroit Free Press article on Kalamazoo resident Bonnie Jo Campbell who is up for the prestigious National Book Award. If Ms. Campbell wins the award on Wednesday for American Salvage, she will also be carrying the prize for Wayne State University Press as the only small-press publication to be named a National Book Award finalist this year. For more information on the National Book Awards and the Michigan connection, please read my post Michigan Represents at National Book Awards.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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Sunday, Lovely Sunday

A Weekly Post By Megan Shaffer

November 8, 2009

Of Note

-I’m not all that excited about Sarah Palin’s new book, however, it is noteworthy in that she is beginning her tour for “Going Rogue” here in Michigan. In fairness to Ms. Palin, I haven’t done much research on her upcoming release but must give her kudos for kicking it off in our lovely state. Available on November 17th, Ms. Palin will make her first appearance (after the Oprah show) at Barnes and Noble in Grand Rapids. For more on the book tour, try this post at CBS News.com.

-Try this latest Free Press Review of Stephen King’s Under the Dome. I don’t read King, but two out of four stars isn’t a real motivator. His new book releases this Tuesday.

Of National Interest

-Borders has announced they will close about 200 Waldenbooks stores in January, cutting their work force by about 6%. I hate to say it, but with the “Price Wars” of the discount  Big 3 (Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target), I fear this is the beginning of the end. Check out this news wire from The Wall Street Journal. (Check out my post The Shame of Literary Price Wars)

-On November 1st, my post Newbies for November listed all new releases for the upcoming month. There are a few titles that I was very excited about. As usual, NPR has covered most of these titles in their post What We’re Reading if you wish to check them out in more detail.

-Jonathan Safran Foer has shed fiction for non in his new book “Eating Animals”. Try this New Yorker piece Flesh of Your Flesh by Elizabeth Kolbert for a closer examination of the author’s push for vegetarianism and his take on the inconsistencies of our love of animals both on and off of the plate.

-Stephen King shares his concern on the latest price wars and his new release Under the Dome (which hits stores Tuesday) in this brief EW interview. For more information, see my post The Shame of Literary Price Wars (11-3-09).

Local Voice

*The 58th annual Detroit Jewish Book Fair will continue through Nov. 15. The Jewish Community Center has two locations in Oak Park and West Bloomfield. For more information go to www.jccdet.org.

-Sunday marks the 11th Annual Writers on the River Book Fair sponsored by the Monroe County Library System.

-On Sunday, November 8th, Howard Blum will present his book “American Lightning” at the JCC of Metro Detroit in West Bloomfield at 7:30p.m.

-On November 10th, Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor will present local writer Micheline Maynard and her book “The Selling of the American Economy”. Her presentation will be at 7:00.

-On November 11th, Steve Luxenberg will present at the Jewish Community Center in Oak Park at 7:00 pm. Mr. Luxenberg is the author of “Annie’s Ghosts” which you can find in my book review section.

-On November 12th, Tom Weschler will present “Travelin’ Man – On the Road and Behind the Scenes with Bob Seger” as his tour manager and photographer. Weschler will appear at Barnes & Noble in Allen Park.

-Sarah Palin will begin her ‘Going Rogue’ book tour in Grand Rapids. On November 18th, Mrs. Palin’s first stop will be at the Woodland Mall Barnes & Noble where she will  kick off her tour that will last through December 6th. (see Of Note above)

-Ms. Palin is not the only game in town; appearing a day earlier is one-time Republican candidate Mike Huckabee promoting his book “A Simple Christmas” at Schuler Books.

*If you have an event you wish to post, please send me a comment and I would be happy to include it in my Local Voice section.

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Sunday, Lovely Sunday

– A Weekly Post By Megan Shaffer

October 25, 2009

Of Note

-The New York Times Magazine’s cover story The Audacity of ‘Precious’ discusses if America is ready for this tough movie by director Lee Daniels. Based on the 1996 novel “Push” by poet and writer Sapphire, this graphic movie takes on abuse, incest, and obesity. Sound appealing? Apparently the book is rougher. Sapphire recently appeared in the Michigan area promoting this difficult novel and the shocking realities it brings to light. For more, check out this story on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Of National Interest

-When the Game Was Ours, the new book by Larry Bird, Earvin Johnson and Jackie MacMullan, is already making quite a stir in the sports world. Forget the literary reviews, the book has been sucked into the media spotlight for slander railed against Isiah Thomas. Thomas told SI.com, “I’m totally blindsided by this.” The book is to be released Nov. 4th.

-If you missed either the book by Douglas Preston, or my review of The Monster of Florence on the site, you’ll be able to catch this grisly true-life thriller at the theater. The movie adaptation of The Monster of Florence is slated for release sometime in 2010 and will star Tom Cruise. The screenplay was written by award winning Christopher McQuarrie (Usual Suspects).

-Other film adaptations coming soon include The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series), The Road (Cormac McCarthy), and The Lovely Bones which is based on the novel by Alice Sebold.

-The documentary One Fast Move or I’m Gone:  Kerouac’s Big Sur by Curt Worden will bring Jack Keouac’s words to the big screen. Hoping to “allow the audience to connect with the author’s words”, Worden will bring in big guns Tom Waits, John Ventimiglia, and Patti Smith to voice Kerouac’s work. For a full interview with Worden, try this NPR interview on Morning Edition.

Local Voice

-Today October 25th, Susan Messer will be at Book Beat from 2-3:30 to discuss her book Grand River and Joy. Her first novel tackles racial tensions in Detroit circa 1967. The photographer Bill Rauhauser, whose photograph of the intersection covers the book, will display a small selection of Detroit images. The cover is a beauty!

-Continuing with the Great Michigan Read, the Michigan Humanities Council will sponsor  an on-line discussion with Bich Min Nguyen from October 26-30th. Providing “virtual dialogue on Stealing Buddha’s Dinner with individuals from other Michigan communities…will be posed to stimulate dialogue on immigration stories, cultural understanding, and contemporary history.”

-Laura Kasischke, author of In a Perfect World, will appear at the Baldwin Public Library on October 26th as part of the Celebrate National Reading Group Month. Sponsored by the WNBA as an “…opportunity for reading groups to reflect on their accomplishments and plan for the future-”,  Ms. Kasischke will appear at 7:00. See my post on Ms. Kasischke’s Borders appearance under Authors.

-On October 28th, Michael Zadoorian will talk at the Rochester Hills Public Library at 7:00. Zadoorian is the Detroit author of The Leisure Seeker and The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit. (links to Book Beat)

-On October 29th, Patricia Gussin will be signing her thriller The Test at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor.

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Sunday, Lovely Sunday

American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell

American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell - A Weekly Post By Megan Shaffer

– A Weekly Post By Megan Shaffer

October 18, 2009

Of Note

-I’m just so excited for National Book Award rookie Bonnie Jo Campbell. Check out the article Words Without Borders in the New York Times where they mention our Kalamazoo resident and her WSU Press contender American Salvage.

Of National Interest

-The National Book Award Finalists were announced on Wednesday (see Local Voice below). In 2009, 193 publishers submitted 1,129 books for consideration. The final titles for fiction are posted on the site under their respective categories. The winner will be announced on November 18th in New York, and will walk away with both prestige and $10,000 to their name.

-Ouch!  The DaVinci Code was entertaining, but it didn’t leave me clamoring for more. I haven’t surfed or scoped out reviews of Dan Brown’s latest, highly publicized book The Lost Symbol, but this painfully enjoyable roast by Maureen Dowd is not to be missed! Check out her review Capital Secrets from the New York Times book review.

-I don’t usually post about kids books, however I would be remiss not to mention the craze over the clever Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days release last Monday. Special events took place across the country to celebrate the fourth book from Jeff Kinney and his Middle School musings.

Local Voice

-Wayne State University is having a bang-up week.  Author Bonnie Jo Campbell’s book “American Salvage” was announced as a nominee for the National Book Award on Wednesday. The book is part of the Made in Michigan Writers Series from the Wayne State University Press. This is the first time a the WSU Press has had a finalist for the award. Campbell resides in Kalamazoo.

-The Michigan Hemingway Society will sponsor their 2009 conference October 16-18, at the Odawa Hotel in Petosky. Artist and author Colette Hemingway will be the keynote speaker. This year’s theme is Hemingway and art.

-Today, Sunday October 18th, the Book Beat is presenting a panel discussion and celebration of the Detroit Artists Workshop with founder and poet John Sinclair at 2:00. Others on hand for the panel discussion and celebration will be historian Mike Jernigan and poet James Semark.

-Fan of Bob Seger? Book Beat will offer a rock n’ roll presentation of Gary Graff and Tom Weschler’s new book Travelin’ Man:  On the Road with Bob Seger this Thursday, October  22nd at 7:00.

-Detroit poet ML Liebler, who was recently honored a Barnes & Noble award himself,  will curate an event at  the Book Beat on Friday, October 23rd at 7:00, with poets Mark Nowak and John Jeffire.

-Paul Vachon, author of “Forgotten Detroit” will discuss his book on October 23rd at 7:00 at Borders in Birmingham.  Mr. Vachon’s book “goes behind the headlines of history to explore some lesser-known stories about Detroit’s rise from fur-trading center to 20th-Century industiral powerhouse.”

-The Detroit Free Press offers a fine article on Bich Minh Nguyen and her book Stealing Buddha’s Dinner in honor of her upcoming appearances for the Great Michigan Read. A full review of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner can also be found on my Feature Review page.

-Wayne State poet M.L. Liebler has won a Barnes & Noble Award for 2010. “The honor is given to writers who’ve helped other writers and given back to the writing community,” according to the full article in the Detroit Free Press.

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Sunday, Lovely Sunday

– A Weekly Post By Megan Shaffer

Update

-I wrote a small post on the recent return of two German books taken by Robert E. Thomas, a young soldier serving in WWII.  I found more information and a short video clip at this Washington Post link.

-I received an email from Steve Luxenberg informing me that The American Booksellers Association has chosen Annie’s Ghosts for the Independent Booksellers Fall/Winter List of Recommendations for Reading Groups in the “A-List for Nonfiction” category. Please see my Annie’s Ghosts review for more on this wonderful Detroit-based story.

Of National Interest

-On Tuesday October 6th, Hilary Mantel was announced as the Man Booker Prize winner. The Washington Post reports that the author of Wolf Hall, a “tale of political intrigue set during the reign of King Henry VIII”, will take home the 50,000-pound ($80,000) prize.

-On Thursday, the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Herta Muller. For a more detailed account, read my Life is Literature for Herta Muller posting under Whimsy.

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood was released on Monday. The New York Times reports this as “the first authorized sequel to the A.A. Milne classic Winnie-the-Pooh books in more than 80 years.” An interview with David Benedictus, the writer who undertook this daunting task was heard on NPR’s Morning Edition.

-Remember the crazed sniper in D.C. back in 2002? His wife Mildred Muhammad says it was a ploy to commit and obscure her own murder.  She has written a book titled Scared Silent, in hopes of helping other victims of domestic violence.

-Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer has released a memoir titled We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives:  A Swingin’ Showbiz Saga. Detailing his colorful career, Shaffer reveals in an NPR interview that he started his career “playing piano in a Canadian topless bar.”  You don’t hear that every day.

-Arianna Huffington has announced a new HuffPost Book Club for the Huffington Post site.  The Club will be working in tandem with the New York Review of Books. The HuffPost Club’s first pick is titled In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore.

Local Voice

-The Detroit Free Press offers a fine article on Bich Minh Nguyen and her book Stealing Buddha’s Dinner in honor of her upcoming appearances for the Great Michigan Read. Nguyen will appear at the Penn Theatre on Saturday, October 17th at 1:00p.m., hosted by the Plymouth District Library. Stealing Buddha’s Dinner can also be found on my Feature Review page.

-Wayne State poet M.L. Liebler has won a Barnes & Noble Award for 2010. “The honor is given to writers who’ve helped other writers and given back to the writing community,” according to the full article in the Detroit Free Press.

-In addition to the update, I found this Michigan Radio interview with Steve Luxenberg, author of Annie’s Ghosts, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. The segment provides personal insights by Mr. Luxenburg as he revisits the sights that provide the backbone of his book.

-Paul Vachon, author of “Forgotten Detroit” will discuss his book on Wednesday, October 14th at the Detroit Historical Museum. The Free Press reports that Mr. Vachon’s book “goes behind the headlines of history to explore some lesser-known stories about Detroit’s rise from fur-trading center to 20th-Century industiral powerhouse.”

-The new novel “In a Perfect World” by Chelsea resident Laura Kasischke made its appearance in bookstores last Tuesday. She will discuss her new novel at Borders in Birmingham on Wednesday, October 14th, at 6:00.  Ms. Kasischke, a teacher of creative writing at University of Michigan, is also the author of novels “Suspicious River” and “The Life Before her Eyes”.

-Wayne State University Press will celebrate the launch of Travelin Man: On the Road and Behind the Scenes with Bob Seger by Tom Weschler and Gary Graff at Memphis Smoke in Royal Oak.  Doors open at 7:00 for author signings and a Seger tribute band will perform.

-On Thursday, David Small will be presenting his adult graphic memoir “Stitches” at 7:00. All event information can be found at the Book Beat.

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Sunday, Lovely Sunday

A Weekly Post By Megan Shaffer

October 4, 2009

Of National Interest

-The Detroit Free Press reports that, “Borders Group signed an agreement with Verizon to provide free Wi-Fi service in virtually all of its more than 500 Borders stores nationwide.”  CEO Ron Marshall explains that it is a way of “Re-engaging with customers as a serious bookseller…and furthering the sense of community we have always fostered at Borders.”

-Novelist Sarah E. Wright died at 80 from complications of her cancer. The author’s only published novel was titled “This Child’s Gonna Live”. Comparing her work with that of Zora Neale Hurston, the New York Times states,  “…the novel was unusual in its exploration of the black experience from a woman’s perspective, anticipating fiction by writers like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.”

-Nick Hornby has turned a “snippet of a memoir “ which appeared in Granta magazine into a full-blown screenplay. “An Education”, a story of adolescent angst, won the audience award at Sundance and will be released October 9th. Of course, NPR covered this topic back in September in this Fresh Air interview with Nick Hornby.

-I mentioned last week an NPR interview with Francine Prose regarding her new project Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife. As interest continues to grow, this additional PBS conversation with Ms. Prose aired on October 2nd, offering more information on this new book.

-Thank you again, Mr. Ken Burns, for your staggering National Parks documentary. Knopf now offers a companion volume to the PBS series which contains more pictures and a full-color map of all the parks covered in this spectacular program.

Talking Head’s David Byrne has released a book titled Bicycle Diaries. A collection of   Mr. Byrne’s travel entries continues to get extensive coverage in this week’s Chicago Tribune and the L.A. Times. You can see NYT’s review of Bicycle Diaries here.

-Coming Soon at the theater is Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, based on the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.

Local Voice

-Sunday’s Free Press has a spread by columnist Mitch Albom expanding on his new book “Have a Little Faith”.  The excerpts move back and forth between “…two very different men, in two very different places, who are similar only in that they have faith in something bigger than theselves.” Information on Mr. Albom’s charity can be found at S.A.Y. Detroit.

-The new novel “In a Perfect World” by Chelsea resident Laura Kasischke makes its appearance in bookstores this Tuesday. Quoted in the Free Press as “…what is surely one of modern literature’s harshest explorations of married life with kids…” leaves us with some seriously high expectations. Ms. Kasischke, a teacher of creative writing at U of M, is also the author of novels “Suspicious River” and “The Life Before her Eyes”.

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