Tom Powers / Michigan in Books Review of U.P. Reader #4

Review by Tom Powers, Michigan in Books

U. P. Reader, 4th Volume
Mikel B.Classen, editor

U.P. Reader Volume #4 released April 2020

This fourth annual showcase of the best short works by U. P. writers once again entertains, enlightens, and most importantly raises the awareness of the literary talent to be found north of Big Mac. The 45 pieces included here include U.P. history, poetry, short stories, reportage, humor, biographical essays, a U.P. notable booklist, and section of award-winning essays by young people.

I was delighted to see Larry Buege has once again climbed aboard his literary hobby horse and describes a homeowner’s confrontation with an infestation of the Amorous Spotted Slug (A.S.S.). Larry has been writing about A.S.S. in earlier U. P. Readers in a noble but fruitless effort to make these gastropod mollusks Michigan’s state slug. I would also like to encourage Buege to write about the whale sightings in Lake Superior and take up the equally important cause of naming a Michigan state whale.

There is a transcript of a talk by Karen Dionne, author of the “Marsh King’s Daughter,” in which she recounts her journey from being a moderately successful author of two environmental thrillers to the wildly popular author of the above book. Her talk also gives tips to would-be novelists and what she learned about writing that led to being a bestselling author. The Whiteout by Rich Hill tells the dramatic story of his friend Allen who went ice fishing on the great lake and couldn’t find his way to shore when a whiteout struck and died.

A most unexpected and fascinating piece by Deborah K. Frontiera tells the story of the formation of U. P. sandstone, most of which is told from the stone’s point of view. Over the course of a million years and tons of pressure, the deposited sand became sandstone. In the 1800s it was mined and shipped to Calumet where the stone was used to build St. Anne’s church. The sandstone has seen the church sold and turned into an antique shop. A few years later the building was bought with donations and with a state grant was beautifully restored and became the Keweenaw Heritage Center. Other works describe shipwrecks and heroic rescues, a tribute to a father, the descent of a mother into dementia, and the story of a U.P. deer camp.

There is a lot to enjoy in this fine collection of short works by a surprising abundance of very good writers found north of the Straits of Mackinac.

U.P. Reader: Bringing Upper Michigan Literature to the World, 4th Volume, Mikel B Classen editor. Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association, 2020, $16.95 pb.

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Lake Superior Tales, 2nd Edition

SKU 978-1-61599-404-5
$14.95
In stock
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Join us for epic adventures in the U.P. on land and lakes!

Pirates, thieves, shipwrecks, sexy women, lost gold, and adventures on the Lake Superior frontier await you! In this book, you’ll sail on a ship full of gold, outwit deadly shapeshifters, battle frontier outlaws and even meet the mysterious agent that Andrew Jackson called "the meanest man" he ever knew. Packed with action, adventure, humor, and suspense, this book has something for every reader. Journey to the wilds of the Lake Superior shoreline through ten stories that span the 19th century through present day including "The Wreck of the Marie Jenny," "The Bigg Man," "Wolf Killer," and "Bullets Shine Silver in the Moonlight."

Mikel B. Classen is a longtime resident of Sault Sainte Marie in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. His intimacy of the region, the history and its culture gives this book a feel of authenticity that is rarely seen. As a writer, journalist, columnist, photographer, and editor with more than 30 years experience, his breadth of knowledge is unparalleled.

"It's clear that Mikel B. Classen knows and loves the Lake Superior area of Michigan and brings it to life in a delightful way. If you want frequent laughs, unusual characters who jump off the page, and the fruit of a highly creative mind, you’ve got to read this little book."
-- Bob Rich, author, Looking Through Water

From Modern History Press

Learn more at www.MikelClassen.com

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