Strand Mag Honors Two of Our Own

Cover ImageThe latest quarterly issue of The Strand Magazine boasts a few familiar faces; some easily recognizable and some quickly becoming so. In his article The Winners’ Circle, Bruce DeSilva covers Strand Magazine’s annual Critics Awards which took place in Manhattan and honored two of Michigan’s own.

It takes but a mere second to register Elmore Leonard’s subtle smile staring back from one of several glossy black and whites taken at The Strand event back in July. Leonard, a longtime Michigan resident, was presented with The Strand Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award; his third such award this year. Though Leonard is lightheartedly quoted as saying he doesn’t “know if that’s too good a sign,” he continued to encourage those writers in attendance to have fun in the process; sound advice coming from a literary icon who has sold “well over 20” of his books to Hollywood.

Also on the scene was native Detroiter Bryan Gruley, who tied for best first novel with his hockey-based sensation Starvation Lake (Josh Bazell also won for Beat the Reaper). Fairly new to the genre, Gruley is making plenty of noise with his Starvation Lake series which is based on a fictional town in northern Michigan. His second book, The Hanging Tree, was released last year and snagged a spot on the 2011 Michigan Notable Book List. Gruley must at least be having a little bit of fun – he’s already hard at work on his next Starvation Lake installment titled The Skeleton Box.

For Bruce DeSilva’s full article and the latest in Strand Magazine, check out Issue XXXII 2010, or link to This issue includes Alexander McCall Smith, Dennis Lehane, and Peter James to name a few. And did you know that Strand resides right here in Birmingham, Michigan? Just one more reason to support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer


NLR Starvation Lake Review

NLR The Hanging Tree Review

Elmore Leonard Receives Strand Award

Michigan Authors Pen ‘Killer Thrillers’

Cover ImageNPR asked audiences last month to submit nominations for a list of the 100 most suspenseful novels ever. After receiving some 600 titles, NPR’s panel of thriller writers and critics has narrowed the list down to a still hefty, but manageable 182 novels.

The station is basing their contest on an answer once given by James Patterson, which defines a thriller by the “intensity of emotions they create…of apprehension and exhilaration, of excitement and breathlessness…By definition, if a thriller doesn’t thrill, it’s not doing its job.”

I’m so happy to say that author Harry Dolan made the list for his clever Ann Arbor mystery, Bad Things Happen. I read Mr. Dolan’s book late last year and absolutely loved it. You can read NLR’s review without any fear of plot spoilers and catch the book’s trailer here.

For the full NPR article and a chance to weigh in, link to ‘Killer Thrillers’:  Vote For The 10 Best Ever. You can cast your vote and submit as you please, however, don’t overlook Michigan’s beloved Elmore Leonard; he hits the list with Killshot and Road Dogs. You can check out more on these two titles with the following links to the Killshot movie trailer as well as the book trailer contest for Road Dogs.

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

-Post by Megan Shaffer

Lit Legend Leonard and More

There are plenty of reading events going on in the Detroit area this week so be sure to see my last post for information. In addition, a few extra points of interest have come to my attention that are definitely worth sharing.

Tune in to this NPR interview Elmore Leonard, At Home In Detroit by Noah Adams to hear from our very own local literary legend.

The Book Beat has scheduled a signing by R & B legend Andre Williams on March 20, 2010 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Williams’ Sweets and Other Stories is a “tough and gritty collection of tales of tragedy and perseverance from the mean streets of Chicago and beyond.” This is the first fiction effort from Andre Williams who performed on some singles for Detroit’s Fortune Records in the 50’s and 60’s.*

Check out this week’s update on  NPR’s What We’re Reading which features The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, the second book in Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce detective series. It won’t appeal to all, but this eleven-year-old girl who made her character debut in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie completely won me over. You can find NLR’s brief review by clicking here.

The Orange Prize for Fiction longlist was announced for 2010 and you’ll never believe who was on it? Yes, Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall – what a shocker! Kidding. I actually bought this book back in December and now feel officially compelled to read it. There has been so much noise surrounding this title, I was waiting for it to die down a bit before I cracked the spine. Is it hype or is it just that good?

*Information courtesy of Book Beat site.

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

-Post by Megan Shaffer