Michigan has many homegrown authors, and their writing is often influenced by the state’s unique landscape and economic makeup. These books take you from the urban streets of Detroit to the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula. Grab a blanket, snuggle up and enjoy one of these good reads this winter.
1. Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Home by Amy Haimerl
Priced out of their Brooklyn neighborhood, journalist Amy Haimerl and her husband sink $35,000 of their life savings into an abandoned house in Detroit. When they move in, the 1914 Georgian Revival has no plumbing, heat or electricity. Amy finds community with a cast of Detroiters who aren’t put off by hard work and an uncertain future. The book is as much a study of what it takes to make a house a home as it is a love letter to Detroit.
2. Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations by Ron Fournier
Ron Fournier, who writes for the National Journal, tells the very personal story of learning to love and accept his son Tyler, who has Asperger’s syndrome. Fournier grew up in Detroit and bonded with his father over sports. That approach doesn’t work with his own son whose special needs present daily parenting challenges, so Fournier finds another way.
3. Bob Seger’s House and Other Stories, Edited by Michael Delp and M. L. Liebler
This collection of short stories brings together some of Michigan’s most well-known authors. Stories are far-ranging, from the streets of Detroit and the iconic presence of the auto industry to the wild tracts of the Upper Peninsula. In the foreword, Charles Baxter writes, “Does a region give rise to a particular kind of literature? Michigan is so fiercely diverse in its landscapes, its economy, and its demographics that it presents anybody who wants to write about it with a kind of blank slate. You can’t summarize the state easily.”
4. Seasonal Roads: Stories by L.E. Kimball
This book, set in a cabin on a seasonal road in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, uses a collection of non-linear stories to tell the tale of a mother, daughter, and granddaughter. It explores their relationships and reveals their darkest secrets.
5. Haymaker by Adam Schuitema
A libertarian organization selects the small Upper Peninsula town of Haymaker as its new base, and hundreds of its members move in and take over. This results in a clash between the locals and the libertarians. It’s a timely look at politics, the role of government, personal liberties and the definition of freedom.