Now back to the original post....
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I tend to prattle on in my blog entries (word count of each blog entry generally exceeding the word count of my three books combined), so let me give you the executive summary first:
As a small show of support for Michigan literature, I’m doing a “Michigan Notable Books Reading Challenge.” If you’re willing to commit to reading at least two of the books on the 2011 Michigan Notable Books list, you’ll have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to a Michigan independent bookstore. Details later in this blog post. Note: You do not have to live in Michigan to participate.
Now, for the Prattling On part...
I always look forward to the release of the Michigan Notable Books list. The Michigan Notable Books list is the Library of Michigan’s annual selection of up to 20 Michigan-related books, each written by a Michigan author or about a Michigan topic.
Followers of this blog know that I believe we have more writing talent per capita than any other state of the union. Though my weekly “Michigander Monday” blog feature (profiling a different Michigan children’s book author or illustrator each Monday) went for a while on an unintentional hiatus (ah, Life, you do get in the way of blogging), I’m a firm believer in all things mittenliterary, for children and for adults.
This year’s Michigan Notable Books list is strong and diverse. I’ve read or gotten started on about half of the books on it already, and I’m looking forward to delving into most of the rest. The list has a wide array of writing genres, styles and topics; and taken as a whole it's a wonderful celebration of Michigan.
But the Notable Books program is more than just a list of books. Many of the Notable authors participate in the Michigan Notables spring tour, so if you live in Michigan there’s a good chance one or more of the authors will be coming to a town near you. If that’s the case, please take advantage of the opportunity! You can show support for your local library (which, coincidentally, is a great place to find these books!!), and for the writing talent of Michigan, by attending one or more of the tour events.
In addition, there’s usually a public reception for the Notable authors in the spring. I assume this will be the case again in 2011. I’ve attended this event in the past, and it's a very nice gathering. Many of the Notable authors are present for the reception, so if you attend, you can mingle with wonderful writers and get your books signed. Usually one of the authors delivers a talk. I heard Christopher Paul Curtis speak at the Night for Notables a couple years back, and more recently I heard David Small and Bonnie Jo Campbell. If you live in the Lansing area, I highly recommend attending this function – it’s definitely worth the ticket price.
Given what a great program Michigan Notable Books is, and given that I like to do what I can to encourage folks to read books by Michigan authors, I’d like to offer up a Michigan Notable Books Reading Challenge.
If you’re willing to commit to reading at least two of the Michigan Notable Books, I will enter you in a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to the Michigan independent bookstore of your choice. (Winner names the bookstore.)
To be entered in the drawing:
- Sign up by no later than January 31, 2011. You sign up by commenting on this blog post; or, if you’re blog-shy, by emailing me: deborah [at] deborahdiesen [dot] com
- You do NOT have to read the books by January 31. You just need to indicate your intent by then.
- Double Your Chances: If you’re willing to spread the word about this challenge, I’ll enter your name in the hat twice. Just indicate so in your comment below (e.g. “I’m in, and I’ll link to this; tweet about this; Facebook this; make a 'Read Michigan' sign for the snowman in my front yard; and/or get a 'Michigan Notable Books' tattoo."). Note: it's a maximum of two entries in the hat, even if you get the tattoo. (Note 2: No, I don't want to know WHERE the tattoo is.)
- You do NOT have to tell me which books you plan to read. Just pick two that you haven’t read yet. You can change your mind about which ones at any time.
- You do NOT have to live in Michigan to participate – in fact, I think it would be wonderful for more non-Michiganders to become aware of Michigan’s contribution to the national literary scene.
- You do NOT have to tell me if you do not finish and/or if you don't love one or both of the books that you choose to read.
- You DO have to thank me profusely if you do love one or both of the books that you read. I get all the credit. Not the talented author who wrote it, but ME. Thanks.
- As of Feb. 1, I’ll enter all names of challenge participants in a drawing, and I’ll announce the winner by no later than February 15, 2011. (OK, so it’ll probably be Feb. 2 when I announce; but I’m building in a time cushion in case I get carried away with Groundhog’s Day festivities. One never knows…)
- One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to a Michigan independent bookstore.
- Winner chooses the bookstore, but it needs to be here in Michigan and independently owned. (Those of you out of state, remember, most bookstores have online purchasing options and can mail order to you.)
Regardless, though, of how many of you choose to participate, I hope that all of you will take a look at the Michigan Notables list and read several or even all of the books. In the words of the Guindon comic strip, “Michigan: Cold nose, Warm heart.” It may be the season of cold noses, but you can show your warmth by Reading Michigan!
Without further ado, the 2011 Michigan Notable books (click here for the official, annotated list, with descriptions of each book; and head over to Bill Castanier's wonderful mittenlit blog for more about many of these books and authors):
- Apparition & Late Fiction: A Novella and Stories by Thomas Lynch (W. W. Norton)
- Blues in Black and White: The Landmark Ann Arbor Blues Festivals by Michael Erlewine, photographer Stanley Livingston and designer Tom Erlewine (University of Michigan Press)
- Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation by Steve Lehto (Chicago Review Press)
- Detroit Disassembled by Andrew Moore (Damiani/Akron Art Museum)
- The Detroit Electric Scheme: A Mystery by D.E. Johnson (Minotaur Books)
- Eden Springs: A Novella by Laura Kasischke (Wayne State University Press)
- Freshwater Boys: Stories by Adam Schuitema (Delphinium Books)
- The Hanging Tree: A Starvation Lake Mystery by Bryan Gruley (Simon & Schuster)
- Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (McPherson)
- A Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks: A War Memoir by Godfrey J. Anderson, Gordon Olson (editor) (William B. Eerdmans)
- Mine Towns: Buildings for Workers in Michigan's Copper Country by Alison K. Hoagland (University of Minnesota Press)
- Picturing Hemingway's Michigan by Michael R. Federspiel (Wayne State University Press)
- Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City by John Gallagher (Wayne State University Press)
- Sawdusted: Notes from a Post-boom Mill by Raymond Goodwin (University of Wisconsin Press)
- Sixty to Zero: An Inside Look at the Collapse of General Motors and the Detroit Auto Industry by Alex Taylor III (Yale University Press)
- The Sweetness of Freedom: Stories of Immigrants by Stephen Ostrander and Martha Bloomfield (Michigan State University Press)
- To Account for Murder by William C. Whitbeck (Permanent Press)
- Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams edited by M.L. Liebler (Coffee House Press)
- Wounded Warrior: The Rise and Fall of Michigan Governor John Swainson by Lawrence M. Glazer (Michigan State University Press)
- You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face-Blindness and Forgiveness by Heather Sellers (Riverhead)