Gems in our Backyard
Updated: Mar 22, 2021
I AM FORTUNATE BECAUSE MY FRIENDS and family often recommend books to me. They frequently offer gems that aren’t even on the New York Times Best Seller list. Imagine that? I like this because a bevy of regional authors are increasingly being discovered and sponsored by a group of influencers that help nurture our writers in NW Michigan.
I first and foremost thank the amazing library network we have in our greater Traverse City region. For a guy that frequented libraries to check out pretty girls and was “hushed” by staff members more times than not, I am finally maturing and revere the people that run our local libraries. They are so helpful, and if I win it big in the lottery they will become the next winners of my good fortune. My libraries feature many of these great books and have the perfect cubbies where one can read, or write, or observe. It’s your pick. I have learned to be as quiet as a church mouse to everyone’s delight.
From afar, I am impressed with the National Writer’s Series that was birthed by the Stanton’s and Grant Parsons over a decade ago conceived at their kitchen tables. The writer's platform has become a real force in northern Michigan thanks to them. They recently passed the baton to Jill Manning as their new Executive Director. Her diverse background is most appealing, and I am eager to learn about her leadership directions and goals for NWS in 2021. https://nationalwritersseries.org/about-national-writers-series/
Mission Point Press is a key purveyor in our publishing world also located in Traverse City. https://www.missionpointpress.com/. One of their lieutenants, Heather Shaw, helped me almost a decade ago to publish my memoir, From the Hip & Heart. https://goo.gl/Uecvh6. I am thankful for her skills that have earned her the moniker, “The Book Doctor.” I also thank Aaron Stander, local author of the Ray Elkins series, for introducing me to her. He was perceptive enough to sense that I needed help after I jumped into the fray of writing stories for the fun of it, and showed up at his doorstep. He thought he had shaken me thirty years earlier in the suburbs of Detroit. Sorry. https://aaronstander.com/
Finally, I praise the small independent bookstores that are in our towns and villages that run up and down our lakeshore along our 116 miles of the iconic M-22 highway from Traverse City to Manistee. There appears to be a nice resurgence in their viability due to many converging forces. https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/02/18/indie-bookstores-comeback. They are fun to stop at and simply browse and you may find a gem of a book as a gift that forever changes someone’s life, it might just be yours.