Michigan Notable 2012

Every year, the Library of Michigan selects up to twenty of the most notable books, either written by a Michigan resident or about Michigan or the Great Lakes. The selected books are honored in the year after their publication or copyright date. Each selected title speaks to our state’s rich cultural, historical, and literary heritage and proves without a doubt that some of the greatest stories are found in the Great Lakes State.

Michigan is rich in good writers and the Library of Michigan is proud to honor and celebrate this wonderful literary heritage each year with the Night for Notables and with the annual grant-funded authors’ tour to libraries throughout the state.

Michigan Notable Books is an annual program with roots stretching back to Michigan Week 1991. In 2004, the name changed from Read Michigan to Michigan Notable Books. In 2002, The Michigan Department of History, Arts, and Libraries took over Read Michigan and Michigan Week. In October 2009, The Library of Michigan went to The Michigan Department of Education, bringing the Michigan Notable Books program with it.

-The Library of Michigan

Here are some of the 2012 winners from our catalog! Take a look at the 2012 page to see more titles.

Elly Peterson: "Mother" of the Moderates
Fitzgerald, Sara
Michigan native Sara Fitzgerald writes about a different era of the Republican Party in Michigan. Elly Peterson's story is a missing chapter in the political history of Michigan, as well as the United States. This new biography gives full credit to one of the first female political leaders in this country. A biography of a woman who helped throw open the doors to broader participation and power for women in the Republican Party and American politics.
Our Catalog
Everyday Klansfolk: White Protestant Life and the KKK in 1920s Michigan Protestant Life and the KKK in 1920s Michigan
Fox, Craig
Shedding light on this unsettling chapter in Michigan's history, Fox explores the origins of the organization's strong influence and popularity throughout the state during the 1920s, and demonstrates that their membership was bolstered by ordinary citizens. This important book is based largely on Newaygo County Klan records housed at the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.
Our Catalog
Fever: Little Willie John, A Fast Life, Mysterious Death and the Birth of Soul
Whitall, Susan
Detroit's Little Willie John lived for a fleeting 30 years, but his dynamic and daring sound left an indelible mark on the history of music. His deep blues, rollicking rock ‘n' roll and swinging ballads inspired a generation of musicians, forming the basis for what we now know as soul music.
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Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn't Want to Be One
Kurlansky, Mark
No baseball player has ever had a swing quite like the Detroit Tigers' Hank Greenberg. His unique athletic ability made hitting a baseball look smooth and effortless. Though Hank Greenberg was one of the first players to challenge Babe Ruth's single-season home run record, he may be more remembered for a game he did not play. In 1934 in a game with the New York Yankees Greenberg chose not to play because the game fell on Yom Kippur. Almost instantly he became a hero to Jews throughout America. Kurlansky's concise book describes Greenberg as the quintessential secular Jew, and argues to celebrate him for his loyalty to religious observance is to ignore the true man.
Our Catalog
Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life
Moore, Michael
Oscar-winning filmmaker, bestselling author, and vocal critic of the right, Michael Moore, tells his story of growing up outside of Flint, Michigan. In a series of far ranging vignettes Moore highlights stories from his early life that helped to shape one of today's most controversial public figures. This deeply personal and honest account introduces readers to the Michael Moore they have never known.
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In Stitches: A Memoir
Youn, Anthony (M.D.)
Dr. Youn's memoir describes his transformation from a geeky outcast in Greenville, Michigan to celebrated plastic surgery expert on popular talk shows like "Good Morning America," "The Rachael Ray Show" and MSNBC. With humor and heartfelt honesty Dr. Youn describes how his own surgery to correct a protruding jaw led him to his calling and the realization of how changing your appearance can so profoundly change your life.
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Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art
Shapiro, J. H. & Brantley-Newton, Vanessa (illustrator)
Dedicated to the children of Detroit, J.H. Shapiro tells the story of the Heidelberg Project and Tyree Guyton. Tyree Guyton loved his childhood home where his grandpa Sam taught him to "paint the world." Guyton wanted to wake people up through his art and make them see Detroit's crumbling communities in a new light. This is the true story of an artist and his art and how it saved his community. Tyree Guyton was recognized with a Michigan Notable book award in 2008 for Connecting the Dots: Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project.
Our Catalog
Michigan and the Civil War: A Great and Bloody Sacrifice
Dempsey, Jack
Offering a fresh and readable glimpse into Michigan's role in the preservation of the Union, Dempsey leads us through the leading characters, battles, and events during the Civil War, including Governor Austin Blair, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the 102nd U.S. Colored Troops.
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Misery Bay
Hamilton, Steve
In this 8th novel featuring Alex McKnight, Hamilton, the 2006 Michigan Author Award winner, leads us on a suspenseful adventure in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. McKnight teams up with former adversary Chief Roy Maven in investigating a string of mysterious suicides in a remote stretch of the Upper Peninsula known as Misery Bay.
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Miss Martin Is a Martian
Fisher, Colleen Murray & Chapman, Jared (illustrator)
Second grader Melvin Eugene Baxter knows his new teacher is from Mars. Armed with an apropos hockey stick, head protected by a pot he is determined not to let Miss Martin the Martian take over the planet or make his head explode with too much information. Armed with a full litany of seemingly extraterrestrial powers, Miss Martin the school teacher, reveals her true mission.
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Motor City Shakedown
Johnson, D. E.
Johnson's follow-up to The Detroit Electric Scheme is a thrilling ride set in 1911 Detroit. Will Anderson looks to find justice for the death of his best friend, while battling the Detroit criminal underworld, a corrupt police department, and his own personal demons. This is Johnson's second time on the Michigan Notable Books list (The Detroit Electric Scheme).
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A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis
Pẽna, Matt De La & Nelson, Kadir (illustrator)
On the eve of World War II, boxer Joe Louis fought German Max Schmeling in a historic bout that was much more significant than determining who would be the next heavyweight champion of the world. Most Americans viewed the fight as a symbol of the nation's battle against Hitler's Germany and his "master race". This beautifully illustrated and powerful picture book focuses on the life of Detroit's Joe Louis and his role in helping White and African American communities set aside prejudice and come together to celebrate our nation's ideals.
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Once Upon a Car: The Fall and Resurrection of America's Big Three Automakers-GM, Ford, and Chrysler
Vlasic, Bill
Once Upon a Car is a fascinating story of the "Big Three's" fight for survival in Detroit. In a tale that reads like a corporate thriller, Vlasic, takes readers into the executive offices, assembly plants, and union halls to introduce a cast of memorable characters including the executives who struggled to save their companies but in the end had to seek a controversial, last-gasp rescue from the U.S. government. Vlasic has covered the auto industry for the New York Times and Detroit News for over fifteen years.
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Once Upon a River: A Novel
Campbell, Bonnie Jo
National Book Award finalist and past Michigan Notable Book award author for American Salvage (2010), Bonnie Jo Campbell, creates an unforgettable heroine to rival Huck Finn in sixteen-year-old Margo Crane. After the violent death of her father Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother. Her river odyssey through rural Michigan becomes a defining journey, one that leads her beyond self-preservation and to the decision of what price she is willing to pay for her choices.
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