Michigan Authors


Who knew that some of our favorite authors all shared a connection to the Wolverine State? Fiction and nonfiction titles abound!


Blood in the Water

Heather Ann Thompson

Historian Heather Ann Thompson offers the first definitive telling of the Attica prison uprising, the state's violent response, and the victims' decades-long quest for justice--in time for the forty-fifth anniversary of the events.

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Here Comes Trouble

Michael Moore

Here Comes Trouble is Michael Moore's anti-memoir. Breaking the autobiographical mould, he hilariously presents twenty far-ranging, irreverent vignettes from his own life. Moore is his own meta-Forrest Gump, as one moment he's an eleven-year old boy stuck on a Senate elevator with Bobby Kennedy, and the next moment he's inside the Bitburg cemetery with a dazed and confused Ronald Reagan. Changing planes in Vienna, he escapes death at the hands of the terrorist Abu Nidal (others weren't so lucky). He founded his first underground newspaper in fourth grade. He refused to be on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite at sixteen ('There's not enough Clearasil in the world for that to happen'). And he became the youngest elected official in the country at age eighteen by enlisting an 'army of local stoners' who had no idea what they were doing as his campaign staff. Before Michael Moore became the Oscar-winning filmmaker and all-round rabble rouser and thorn-in-the-side of corporate and right-wing America, there was the guy who had an uncanny knack of just showing up where history was being made. This book is a wild, revealing, take-no-prisoners ride through his early life. Alternately funny, eye-opening, and moving, this is a book Michael Moore has been writing - and living - for a very long time.

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The River Swimmer

Jim Harrison

Two outstanding late novellas from one of America’s most beloved and critically acclaimed authors. A brilliant rendering of two men striving to find their way in the world, written with freshness, abundant wit, and profound humanity, The River Swimmer is Jim Harrison at his most memorable. In The Land of Unlikeness, sixty-year-old art history academic Clive a failed artist, divorced and grappling with the vagaries of his declining years reluctantly returns to his family’s Michigan farmhouse to visit his aging mother. The return to familiar territory triggers a jolt of renewal—of ardor for his high school love, of his relationship with his estranged daughter, and of his own lost love of painting. In Water Baby, Harrison ventures into the magical as an Upper Peninsula farm boy is irresistibly drawn to the water as an escape, and sees otherworldly creatures there. Faced with the injustice and pressure of coming of age, he takes to the river and follows its siren song all the way across Lake Michigan.

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What Is a Girl Worth?

Rachael Denhollander

Rachael Denhollander’s voice was heard around the world when she spoke out to end the most shocking US gymnastics scandal in history. The first victim to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who sexually abused hundreds of young athletes, Rachael now reveals her full story for the first time. How did Nassar get away with it for so long? How did Rachael and the other survivors finally stop him and bring him to justice? And how can we protect the vulnerable in our own families, churches, and communities? What Is a Girl Worth? is the inspiring true story of Rachael’s journey from an idealistic young gymnast to a strong and determined woman who found the courage to raise her voice against evil, even when she thought the world might not listen. This deeply personal and compelling narrative shines a spotlight on the physical and emotional impact of abuse, why so many survivors are reluctant to speak out, what it means to be believed, the extraordinary power of faith and forgiveness, and how we can learn to do what’s right in the moments that matter most. This inspirational, empowering book is written by attorney, advocate, educator, and author Rachael Denhollander.

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The Detroit Electric Scheme

D. E. Johnson

Will Anderson is a drunk, heartbroken over the breakup with his fiancée, Elizabeth. He's barely kept his job at his father's company---Detroit Electric, 1910's leading electric automobile manufacturer. Late one night, Elizabeth's new fiancé and Will's one-time friend, John Cooper, asks Will to meet him at the car factory. He finds Cooper dead, crushed in a huge hydraulic roof press. Surprised by the police, Will panics and runs, leaving behind his cap and automobile, and buries his blood-spattered clothing in a garbage can. What follows is a fast-paced, detail-filled ride through early-1900s Detroit, involving murder, blackmail, organized crime, the development of a wonderful friendship, and the inside story on early electric automobiles. Through it all, Will learns that clearing himself of the crime he was framed for is only the beginning. To survive, and for his loved ones to survive, he must also become a man. The Detroit Electric Scheme is populated with fascinating characters, both real and fictional, from a then-flourishing Detroit: The Dodge brothers and Edsel Ford come to life, interacting with denizens of the sordid underbelly of the Motor City, such as Vito Adamo, Detroit's first Mob boss, and Big Boy, the bouncer at a saloon so notorious the newspapers called it "The Bucket of Blood." This expertly plotted debut delivers with great research, wonderfully flawed yet likable characters, and a shattering climax.

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Black Bottom Saints

Alice Randall

An enthralling literary tour-de-force that pays tribute to Detroit's legendary neighborhood, a mecca for jazz, sports, and politics, Black Bottom Saints is a powerful blend of fact and imagination reminiscent of E.L. Doctorow's classic novel Ragtime and Marlon James' Man Booker Award-winning masterpiece, A Brief History of Seven Killings. From the Great Depression through the post-World War II years, Joseph “Ziggy” Johnson, has been the pulse of Detroit’s famous Black Bottom. A celebrated gossip columnist for the city’s African-American newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle, he is also the emcee of one of the hottest night clubs, where he’s rubbed elbows with the legendary black artists of the era, including Ethel Waters, Billy Eckstein, and Count Basie. Ziggy is also the founder and dean of the Ziggy Johnson School of Theater. But now the doyen of Black Bottom is ready to hang up his many dapper hats. As he lays dying in the black-owned-and-operated Kirkwood Hospital, Ziggy reflects on his life, the community that was the center of his world, and the remarkable people who helped shape it. Inspired by the Catholic Saints Day Books, Ziggy curates his own list of Black Bottom’s venerable "52 Saints." Among them are a vulnerable Dinah Washington, a defiant Joe Louis, and a raucous Bricktop. Randall balances the stories of these larger-than-life "Saints" with local heroes who became household names, enthralling men and women whose unstoppable ambition, love of style, and faith in community made this black Midwestern neighborhood the rival of New York City’s Harlem. Accompanying these “tributes” are thoughtfully paired cocktails—special drinks that capture the essence of each of Ziggy’s saints—libations as strong and satisfying as Alice Randall’s wholly original view of a place and time unlike any other.

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Fresh Complaint

Jeffrey Eugenides

The stories in Fresh Complaint explore equally rich—and intriguing—territory. Ranging from the bitingly reproductive antics of “Baster” to the dreamy, moving account of a young traveler’s search for enlightenment in “Air Mail” (selected by Annie Proulx for Best American Short Stories), this collection presents characters in the midst of personal and national emergencies. We meet a failed poet who, envious of other people’s wealth during the real-estate bubble, becomes an embezzler; a clavichordist whose dreams of art founder under the obligations of marriage and fatherhood; and, in “Fresh Complaint,” a high school student whose wish to escape the strictures of her immigrant family lead her to a drastic decision that upends the life of a middle-aged British physicist. Narratively compelling, beautifully written, and packed with a density of ideas despite their fluid grace, these stories chart the development and maturation of a major American writer.

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The Soul Thief

Charles Baxter

Nathaniel Mason, a graduate student in upstate New York, is drawn into a tangle of relationships with the people around him--alluring but elusive Theresa, fickle Jamie, and Jerome Coolberg, an enigmatic figure who seems to have appropriated parts of Nathaniel's own life.

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Once Upon a River: A Novel

Bonnie Jo Campbell

After the violent death of her father, Margo takes to the river in search of her mother with only a biography of Annie Oakley to her name. Her river odyssey through rural Michigan becomes a defining journey, one that leads her beyond self-preservation and to deciding what price she is willing to pay for her choices.

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A House at the Bottom of a Lake

Josh Malerman

The story begins: young lovers, anxious to connect, agree to a first date, thinking outside of the box. At seventeen years old, James and Amelia can feel the rest of their lives beginning. They have got this summer and this summer alone to experience the extraordinary. But they didn’t expect to find it in a house at the bottom of a lake. The house is cold and dark, but it’s also their own. Caution be damned, until being carefree becomes dangerous. For the teens must decide: swim deeper into the house—all the while falling deeper in love? Whatever they do, they will never be able to turn their backs on what they discovered together. And what they learned: Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.

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The Depositions: New and Selected Essays on Being and Ceasing to Be

Thomas Lynch

A wry and compassionate selection of essays reflecting on mortals and mortality, from the acclaimed author of The Undertaking. For nearly four decades, poet, essayist, and small-town funeral director Thomas Lynch has probed relations between the literary and mortuary arts. His life’s work with the dead and the bereaved has informed four previous collections of nonfiction, each exploring identity and humanity with Lynch’s signature blend of memoir, meditation, gallows humor, and poetic precision. The Depositions provides an essential selection from these masterful collections—essays on fatherhood, Irish heritage, funeral rites, and the perils of bodiless obsequies—as well as new essays in which the space between Lynch’s hyphenated identities—as an Irish American, undertaker-poet—is narrowed by the deaths of poets, the funerals of friends, the loss of neighbors, intimate estrangements, and the slow demise of a beloved dog. In “Gladstone,” from The Undertaking, Lynch reflects on his then twenty-five years as an undertaker at the Midwinter Conference for Michigan funeral directors, which incongruously takes place on an island in the Caribbean. With brutal, generous honesty, “The Way We Are,” from Bodies in Motion and at Rest, grapples with Lynch’s time as a single parent coming to terms with generations of his family inheritance of alcoholism and recovery. The press of the author’s own mortality animates the new essays, sharpening a curiosity about where we come from, where we go, and what it means. As Alan Ball writes in a penetrating foreword, Lynch’s work allows us “to see both the absurdity and the beauty of death, sometimes simultaneously.” With this landmark collection, he continues to illuminate not only how we die, but also how we live.

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Buttered Side Down

Edna Ferber

"And so," the story writers used to say, "they lived happily ever after." Um-m-m—maybe. After the glamour had worn off, and the glass slippers were worn out, did the Prince never find Cinderella's manner redolent of the kitchen hearth; and was it never necessary that he remind her to be more careful of her finger-nails and grammar? After Puss in Boots had won wealth and a wife for his young master did not that gentleman often fume with chagrin because the neighbors, perhaps, refused to call on the lady of the former poor miller's son? It is a great risk to take with one's book-children. These stories make no such promises. They stop just short of the phrase of the old story writers, and end truthfully, thus: And so they lived.

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The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

Mitch Albom

At nine years old, Frankie Presto is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. But Frankie's talent is unique, and his amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the twentieth century, from classical to jazz to rock and roll, with his stunning talent affecting numerous stars along the way, including Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Carole King and even KISS. Frankie becomes a pop star himself. He makes records. He is adored. But his gift is also his burden, as he realises, through his music, he can actually affect people's futures -- with one string turning blue whenever a life is altered. At the height of his popularity, Frankie Presto vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later does he reappear, to change one last life . . .

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Banewreaker

Jacqueline Carey

Hated by humans who believe him to be responsible for a war between the gods, the proud Satoris orders former mortal soldier Tanaros Blacksword to prevent an unfavorable prophecy from being fulfilled by capturing the Lady of the Ellylon and thwarting her alliance with the High King of Men.

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I Almost Forgot About You

Terry McMillan

In I Almost Forgot About You, Dr. Georgia Young's wonderful life—great friends, family, and successful career—aren't enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, including quitting her job as an optometrist and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. Georgia’s bravery reminds us that it’s never too late to become the person you want to be, and that taking chances, with your life and your heart, are always worthwhile. Big-hearted, genuine, and universal, I Almost Forgot About You shows what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction.

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When the Women Come Out to Dance

Elmore Leonard

In this collection of new and recently published short fiction, Leonard demonstrates the superb characterizations, dead-on dialogue, vivid atmosphere, and driving plotting that have made him a household name. And once more this master of crime illustrates that the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think. Federal marshal Karen Sisco, from the bestselling novel Out of Sight, returns in "Karen Makes Out," once again inadvertently mixing pleasure with business. In "Fire in the Hole," Raylan Givens, last seen in Riding the Rap and Pronto, meets up with an old friend, but they're now on different sides of the law. In the title story, "When the Women Come Out to Dance," Mrs. Mahmood gets more than she bargains for when she conspires with her maid to end her unhappy marriage. In all nine stories -- each unique in their own right -- reluctant heroes and laid-back lowlifes struggle for power, survival, and their fifteen minutes of fame. Vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human, these stories ring true with Elmore Leonard's signature deadpan social observations and diabolical eye for the foibles of the good guys and the bad.

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The Summer Cottage

Viola Shipman

Adie Lou Kruger’s ex never understood her affection for what her parents called their Cozy Cottage, the charming, ramshackle summer home—complete with its own set of rules for relaxing—that she’s inherited on Lake Michigan. But despite the fact she’s facing a broken marriage and empty nest, and middle age is looming in the distance, memories of happy childhoods on the beach give her reason for hope. She’s determined not to let her husband’s affair with a grad student reduce her to a cliché, or to waste one more minute in a career she doesn’t love, so it becomes clear what Adie Lou must do: rebuild her life and restore her cottage shingle by shingle, on her terms. But converting the beloved, weather-beaten structure into a bed-and-breakfast isn’t quite the efficient home-reno experience she’s seen on TV. Pushback from Saugatuck’s contentious preservation society, costly surprises and demanding guests were not part of the plan. But as the cottage comes back to life, Adie Lou does, too, finding support in unexpected places and a new love story on the horizon. One cottage rule at a time, Adie Lou reclaims her own strength, history and joy by rediscovering the magic in every sunset and sandcastle.

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When Old Midnight Comes Along

Loren D. Estleman

Amos Walker is hired by one Francis X. Lawes, a private-sector mover and shaker in Detroit politics, to prove that his wife, Paula, who disappeared under sinister circumstances shortly more than six years ago, is dead, so he can remarry without having to wait for the seven-year-declaration-of-death rule to kick in. Walker’s investigation is complicated by two facts: the police still consider Lawes the prime suspect, and the first-responding officer in that old case was killed in the line of duty shortly afterwards and his notebook has never been found. The question for Walker is, if Lawes is guilty, why would he put himself in jeopardy of arrest and prosecution by giving the forensics team a body to work on?

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Michigan Lakeside Getaways, Scenic Drives, Outdoor Recreation

Paul Vachon

Moon Michigan reveals the best of the Great Lakes State's charming small towns, vibrant cities, and vast, untouched wilderness. Inside you'll find: Strategic, flexible itineraries for beach-goers, hikers, foodies, road-trippers, and more Unique experiences and can't-miss sights: Get your fill of vintage vehicles at Detroit's industrial museums, from the GM Showroom to the historic Ford House, or immerse yourself in the sounds of the Motown Museum. Watch hundreds of technicolor butterflies in the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House, nibble on rich fudge, and unwind on a romantic carriage ride around the island. Browse the art galleries of Ann Arbor after a leisurely stroll through one of the city's breathtaking gardens, sip Chardonnay on a scenic tour of wine country, or explore Michigan's booming craft beer scene along an ale trail The best outdoor activities: Embark on Michigan's best hikes, from family-friendly day treks to rugged dune-scaling adventures. Hit the links at the top golf resorts, cruise along the Pictured Rocks, or relax on a serene, sunny beach. Spend a day fishing and boating or watching moose, elk, and black bears in their natural habitats. Swim in pristine lakes and set up camp under a crystal-clear summer sky or snowmobile and cross-country ski through freshly fallen winter snow Expert advice from Detroit local Paul Vachon on when to go, how to get around, and where to stay, from campsites and motels to golf resorts and lakeside lodges Full-color photos and detailed maps throughout Thorough information on the landscape, climate, wildlife, and history With Moon's local insight and practical tips, you can experience Michigan your way. Exploring more of the Midwest? Try Moon Minneapolis & St. Paul or Moon Wisconsin.

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What the Eyes Don’t See

Mona Hanna-Attisha

Here is the inspiring story of how Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, alongside a team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders, discovered that the children of Flint, Michigan, were being exposed to lead in their tap water—and then battled her own government and a brutal backlash to expose that truth to the world. Paced like a scientific thriller, What the Eyes Don’t See reveals how misguided austerity policies, broken democracy, and callous bureaucratic indifference placed an entire city at risk. And at the center of the story is Dr. Mona herself—an immigrant, doctor, scientist, and mother whose family’s activist roots inspired her pursuit of justice. What the Eyes Don’t See is a riveting account of a shameful disaster that became a tale of hope, the story of a city on the ropes that came together to fight for justice, self-determination, and the right to build a better world for their—and all of our—children.

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