So Long for Now…

I currently have the pleasure of taking on an assignment that will render Night Light Revue sporadic over the next few months. However, I will continue to tweet and post to the best of my ability. You can also catch my past and upcoming reviews on BookBrowse.

For any inquiries or comments, feel free to reach me through my contact page.

Happy Reading!

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

Lake Effect

My PhotoSi quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” Such is the Latin translation of Michigan’s state motto in The Great Lakes Reader, a snappy little book of essays written by independent booksellers and librarians who reside in the five states that live and breathe the waters of the Great Lakes.

Having just returned from an extended trip to Pierport, I’m hard-pressed to properly articulate the beauty of this area in northern Michigan. Anyone who has shared the joy of waking to the majestic music of Lake Michigan knows her siren’s song. From cool calm to unending fury, those of us raised near the Great Lakes are repeatedly drawn back to these ubiquitous waters.

If you are a Michigander and feel like you just don’t qualify to weigh in on the matter, consider this tidbit from the The Great Lakes Reader – No point in Michigan is farther than eighty-five miles from one of the Great Lakes. That means that wherever you live the fickle temperaments of the lakes permeate your very existence, ultimately shaping our personalities, quirks, and behaviors alongside the ever-shifting tides.

The Great Lakes Reader: Essays on the States that Make the Great Lakes Great offers two essays from Michigan’s own. Bill Cusumano, the head buyer at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, offers up his thoughts in Tough Enough Michigan while librarian Justin Wadland keeps “coming home” in his humorous essay Michigan Left. More essays appear from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio – but for those you’ll just have to read the book. Link to Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association for more information.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

Power of the University Press

Cover ImageWhile this article repeats my sentiments on University Presses, note the shout out to Wayne State University Press in this HuffPo piece, The 17 Most Innovative University Presses And the Books You Will Want From Them.


University of Michigan Press

Michigan State University Press

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

Gruley Turns it Up in Starvation Sequel ‘The Hanging Tree’

Cover ImageBryan Gruley is back and, dare I say, better than ever with his Starvation Lake sequel, The Hanging Tree. Admittedly I had prepared myself for the potential let down that tends to trail a bang-up debut, but was instead gifted with an agile follow-up that will likely establish Gruley as a steady player in the genre.

Hockeyman Gus Carpenter is back on the rink and back on the job as the editor of the struggling Pine County Pilot. When he finds his second cousin hanging from the town’s famed tree in an apparent suicide, his reporter’s instincts tell him things are not quite as they appear. As Gus pieces together his cousin’s past he becomes, once again, the man Starvation Lake just loves to hate.

The Hanging Tree is ramped up in every way and the dialogue is at full tilt. Gruley seems more comfortable with his voice this time around and the result brings a hard core credibility to his characters both on and off the ice. Serving up social commentary with grit and righteous humor, Gruley gets his punches in while keeping up his mystery’s momentum.

No worries for those of you who didn’t catch Starvation Lake; The Hanging Tree stands firmly on its own. If you have read Gruley’s first in the series, the familiarity is an added bonus. A fast-paced read, The Hanging Tree moves from the still waters of Starvation Lake to the tougher tides of Detroit, leaving pure pleasure in it’s wake. Keep your eyes open for Gruley’s next book in the series, tentatively titled The Skeleton Box, which is expected to release next fall.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

Related Info

NLR’s review of Starvation Lake

Return of the ‘The Big Burn’

DetailsI reviewed Timothy Egan’s book The Big Burn back in November, so it was pretty cool to visit the Bitterroot Mountains yet again in today’s Free Press article How a Devastating Fire Helped Rebuild a Nation. Link over to visit the three million acres in Montana and Idaho that were decimated in the biggest fire recorded in American history one hundred years ago. You can catch my Big Burn review from last year by clicking on NLR.

For those of you who love armchair travel, try following the authors of this article as they travel across America. You can find father and son team David and Benjamin Crumm at their site Read The Spirit as well as their American Journey posts on

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer