Michigan’s McLean & Eakin Rolls with the Tide

Impressive is the independent bookstore that remains afloat today, but even more so for the shop that shows acceptance and determination in surviving the techno-shift. As any avid reader knows, the tremendous e-sway and conglomerate collapse within the book industry is rocking the boat of traditionalists on both sides of the cover. Those of us who relish the endangered hardcover and those who peddle them certainly need each other to right the ship and stay the course.

McLean and Eakin is one such indie that seems to be managing the tides. Located in Petoskey, Michigan, McLean & Eakin Booksellers has an extensive online presence that offers up worthy picks, Indie bestsellers, knowledgeable staff faves, and ebooks. Book clubs? Features? Site links? It’s all yours on the homepage. So, even if you’ve never stepped through the doors of this northern gem, you can still settle in with a little armchair travel.

Such online accessibility is no doubt one of the keys to independent success. The other is networking and brainstorming with other booksellers at such events like the ABA’s Winter Institute where McLean & Eakin was represented by owner Matt Norcross. Check out what Norcross and others had to say about keeping current in this New York Times piece, Small Bookstores Struggle for Niche in Shifting Times.

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

-Post by Megan Shaffer

Link of Interest

A nod to the north: As American as Cherry Pie by Ann Patchett

Birmingham Borders Offering Empowerment this Weekend

Cover ImageIt’s hard to motivate when it’s 14 degrees outside. New Year’s resolutions begin to fade and your down comforter is far more soothing than the idea of heading anywhere beyond the front door. However, if you’re in need of a little sunlight for your frigid bones, you might try catching author Sandra Chimenti at Borders in Birmingham this weekend.

Chimenti’s book is titled The Real Me:  Awakening Your True Self, and “offers a powerful quick read and useful combinations of tools to reach higher levels of self-esteem and spiritual empowerment.”* The author is also the owner of Creative Books and Music and currently hosts her own cable show. Chimenti will be offering a discussion and signing of her work at the Birmingham store this Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm. As always, call first as event dates and times sometimes change.

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

-Post by Megan Shaffer

*info from Birmingham Borders author event site

Friends Don’t Let Friends Read ‘Lolita’ Alone

It’s that time again! The Friends Don’t Let Friends Read Alone Book Club will be meeting at Zuma Coffee House in downtown Birmingham tomorrow, December 21st at 7:00 pm. Facilitated byKathryn Bergeron of the Baldwin Public Library, the Friends book club will be discussing Vladimir Nobokov’s Lolita this time around. The discussion group is open  to all who are interested and book copies can be procured at the BPL. In case you can’t catch this month’s discussion, the club will be taking a look at local author and undertaker Thomas Lynch’s, The Undertaking in January.

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

-Post by Megan Shaffer

More from Michigan With 2011 Notable Books

It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not speaking of the warm fuzzy holiday season, but rather that time of sensational selection when the Library of Michigan annually decides on 20 Michigan Notable Books that have been published during the year.

As stated on the Notable site, The Library of Michigan annually decides on 20 of the most notable books that “are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience.”  Such works feature “high-quality titles with wide public appeal” and are either penned by a Michigan resident or written about a subject related to our state.

The Michigan Notable Books for 2011*

1) “Apparition & Late Fiction: A Novella and Stories” by Thomas Lynch

NLR Comment:  If you have the chance to hear Mr. Lynch read in person – grab it!

2)“Blues in Black and White:  The Landmark Ann Arbor Blues Festivals” by Michael Erlewine and photographer Stanley Linvingston

NLR Comment: For anyone who loves black and white photography, these pictures are not to be missed.

3) “Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation” by Steve Lehto

4) “Detroit Disassembled” by Andrew Moore

5) “The Detroit Electric Scheme:  A Mystery” by D.E. Johnson

6) “Eden Springs: A Novella” by Laura Kasischke

NLR Comment:  I highly recommend this work by Kasischke. Though fictional, it is based on fascinating Michigan history. You can link here to NLR’s review, “Kasischke Shines in Eden Springs.”

7) “Freshwater Boys: Stories” by Adam Schuitema

!) “The Hanging Tree: A Starvation Lake Mystery” by Bryan Gruley

NLR Comment:  The Starvation Lake series is well-written and a ton of fun. Make sure you don’t forget to read Gruley’s “Starvation Lake” which is the first in the series as well. You can link to NLR’s reviews of both: ‘Starvation Lake’ is a Trip Worth Taking and Gruley Turns it Up in Starvation Sequel ‘The Hanging Tree’

9) “Lord of Misrule” by Jaimy Gordon

NLR Comment: As this year’s National Book Award winner for fiction, I am absolutely twitching as I try to patiently wait in the library queue for Gordon’s “Lord of Misrule.”  If anyone feels compelled to send it to me as a Christmas gift, feel free!

10) “A Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks: A War Memoir” by Godfrey J. Anderson

11) “Mine Towns: Buildings for Workers in Michigan’s Copper Country” by Alison K. Hoagland

12) “Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan” by Michael R. Federspiel

13) “Reimagining Detroit:  Opportunities for Redefining an American City” by John Gallagher

14) “Sawdusted: Notes From a Post-Boom Mill” by Raymond Goodwin

15) “Sixty to Zero: An INside Look at the Collapse of General Motors and the Detroit Auto Industry” by Alex Taylor III

16) “The Sweetness of Freedom: Stories of Immigrants” by Stephen Ostrander and Martha Bloomfield

17) “To Account for Murder” by William C. Whitbeck

18) “Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams” edited by M.L. Liebler

NLR Comment: This work is published by Coffee House Press which I recommend as a solid link. Do yourself a favor and check out their site www.coffeehousepress.org.

19) “Wounded Warrior: The Rise and Fall of Michigan Governor John Swainson” by Lawrence M. Glazer

20) “You Don’t Look LIke Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face-Blindness and Forgiveness” by Heather Sellers

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

-Post by Megan Shaffer

*List information taken from Free Press article 2011 Michigan Notable Books Winners Explore Regions Lively Diversity

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

August Titles Up for Release

There’s still a solid month left for lofty reading. Here’s a partial list of new titles releasing this month…

August 2

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

August 3

Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley

I Curse the River of Time: A Novel by Per Petterson

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

August 9

City of Veils: A Novel by Zoe Ferraris

Three Sisters by Bi Feiyu

August 10

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

Composed: A Memoir by Rosanne Cash

Blind Man’s Alley by Justin Peacock

The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo

Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell

August 11

A World Without Islam by Graham E. Fuller

August 17

The Life You’ve Imagined by Kristina Riggle

Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith

The Pindar Diamond by Katie Kickman

Crossfire by Felix & Dick Francis

The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale

Turbulence by Giles Foden

Keeper by Andrea Gillies

The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan

August 24

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett

The Sonderberg Case by Elie Wiesel

Juliet by Anne Fortier

August 31

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

Freedom: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen

The Insufferable Gaucho by Robert Bolano

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

-Post by Megan Shaffer

Wallace and ‘The Blind Contessa’ at Borders in Ann Arbor

Cover ImageIn case you missed NLR’s piece on Chelsea author Carey Wallace, I am again posting it below for your enjoyment. Ms. Wallace will appear at the Borders Lohr Road location in Ann Arbor for a reading and signing of her wonderful novel, The Blind Contessa’s New Machine. This event is scheduled to take place on Friday, July 30, 2010 at 7:00 PM. As always, call and confirm all event details before heading out the door.

Incredibly unique, wildly vivid, and so unlike anything I have read…

These were a mere few of my many thoughts upon finishing the book The Blind Contessa’s New Machine. Needing to know more about the genesis of this stunning slip of a book, I took to the site of author Carey Wallace.

As the title suggests, blindness sits at the core of this work. Yet as Wallace slowly syphons the reader’s vision, she delicately replaces it with a creative vision that manages to supersede that of any other. While Wallace’s site reveals that she hasn’t personally experienced blindness, she hopes that The Blind Contessa’s New Machine might give her readers “…permission to find the world just a little more beautiful, a little more strange, a little more wonderful than what we think we can see.”

When I realized that Carey Wallace had grown up in several small towns in Michigan, I managed a lovely exchange with the author and found out that she spent her elementary school years in Hillsdale where her dad was a professor before moving on to graduate from Chelsea High School. While Wallace currently resides in Brooklyn, she considers Chelsea her hometown and shares the sweet fact that “the more time I spend there as an adult, the more remarkable I find it.” Ms. Wallace credits the dedication of former teachers who were “fully supported by a community that deeply valued the arts” for her deft skills as a writer and creative.

With Ms. Wallace’s sincere responses to my queries, it was easy to hear the echo of Contessa’s fleshed and heartfelt characters. If she had any program in The Blind Contessa’s New Machine, she says, it may have been this: to challenge materialism, to complicate the seen world’s claim to be “reality”, and to encourage people that their sense that “there must be more than this” is not only accurate, but the foundation of all truth.

The Blind Contessa’s New Machine appears on the July 2010 Indie Next List. Check back with NLR for a full review later this week.

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

-Post by Megan Shaffer

Related Information

Carey Wallace also runs ‘The Hillbilly Underground.’ In its tenth year, the Underground is an arts retreat that welcomes a diverse group of artists to the Michigan lakeside for a precious ten day block of undisturbed creative freedom.