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Notable reads: Books with U.P. connection to be honored

This is local author Tyler Tichelaar with his book, “Kawbawgam: The Chief, The Legend, the Man.” The book has been chosen as a U.P. Notable Book. (Photo courtesy of Snowbound Books)

MARQUETTE — Local book lovers: Make note of this.

The Upper Peninsula Publishers & Authors Association has announced the Second Annual U.P. Notable Books List.

UPPAA Publications Chairman Mikel Classen of Sault Ste. Marie initiated the list as a response to the lack of representation of U.P. writers in other Michigan state literary circles.

“Traditionally, recognition of Michigan books has been dominated by the university presses downstate, and we would like to take this opportunity to highlight literature that focuses closer to home for us,” Classen said in a news release.

Evelyn Gathu, director of the Crystal Falls District Community Library, has just teamed up with UPPAA to co-sponsor the U.P. Notable Book Club. The club is available to any U.P. resident and features monthly Zoom meetups with national bestselling authors, including Karen Dionne (“The Marsh King’s Daughter”).

Members borrow the books from their local libraries or purchase at local stores prior to discussions. The next meeting is Feb. 11 when “Three Fires Unity: the Anishnaabeg of the Lake Huron Borderlands” will be discussed with author Phil Bellfy.

To build this second annual list, UPPAA consulted with Upper Michigan book sellers, book reviewers, writers and publishers to winnow down the notable books to 10 titles. The public can find reviews of many of these books on the U.P. Book Review.

The UPPAA emphasized that the list is unranked, with each title deserving equal merit as a U.P. Notable Book.

These 10 books have been deemed essential reading:

“Kawbawgam: The Chief, The Legend, The Man” by Tyler Tichelaar (Marquette Fiction, 2020);

“World War II Conscientious Objectors: Germfask, Michigan the Alcatraz Camp” by Jane Kopecky (2020);

“Eden Waits: A Novel Based on the True Story of Michigan’s Utopian Community, Hiawatha Colony” by Maryka Biaggio (Milford House, 2019);

“In the Night of Memory” by Linda LeGarde (University of Minnesota Press, 2020);

“Houghton: Birthplace of Professional Hockey” by William J. Sproule (2019);

“Michigan Flora: Upper Peninsula, 2nd Edition” by Steve W. Chadde (Orchard Innovations, 2019);

“Dead of November: A Novel of Lake Superior” by Craig Brockman (Curve of the Earth, 2020);

“I Spy… Isle Royale” by Susanna Ausema (Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association, 2019);

“Points North” by Mikel B. Classen (Modern History Press, 2018); and

“Women of the Copper Country: A Novel” by Mary Doria Russel (Atria Books, 2020).

Tyler Tichelaar, who has authored many books on Marquette history, said in a social media message, “I am delighted to have my book ‘Kawbawgam’ recognized by the U.P. Notable Books List because it raises awareness of a part of our history that has been too often neglected — the important role of Native Americans in building the U.P., as well as how they have been ignored for their role.”

Tichelaar also noted he is pleased to have a U.P. Notable Books List separate from the Michigan Notable Books List because the U.P. “remains in many ways its own culture.”

The U.P. Notable Books List will appear in the upcoming fifth volume of the U.P. Reader, UPPAA’s annual literary anthology featuring short stories, poetry and essays by its members. This publication helps spread the word about the organization, raises money for educational programming and encourages people in the Upper Peninsula and beyond to read U.P. writers.

Complimentary copies of the U.P. Reader are available to all educators in the Upper Peninsula and media for the asking. The on-sale date is scheduled for April 15. Consult your local bookseller for availability or purchase at Amazon. For more information, visit www.UPReader.org.

Established in 1998 to support authors and publishers who live in or write about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, UPPAA is a Michigan nonprofit association with more than 100 members, many of whose books are featured on the organization’s website at www.uppaa.org. UPPAA welcomes membership and participation from anyone with a U.P. connection who is interested in writing and publishing books.

Its mailing address is: Upper Peninsula Publishers & Authors Association, 126 Ridgewood Drive, Marquette, MI 49855.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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