The Michigan Books Project has been something difficult for me to synthesize, a pestering centipede that has wiggled around my brain for a month or so now. I want to begin by saying I assure you it will be honest and imperfect. What we are ideally going to enter here (and I am speaking to you, of course, the readers) is not contractual, or binding, or intellectual, or even necessarily literary. However, to say we are only entering some vague sewing-circle-style book club is also an understatement. I am both in love with the state of Michigan and the world of books, and I’d like to create an amalgamation of the two. Thereby, the Michigan Books Project is going to be a column that focuses on literature relevant to Michigan, whether it is that the author resides (or has resided) there, or if it is the subject matter. This column will attempt to seek out the gorgeous, beatific poetry and prose that bursts forth from our state with brisance.
Michigan’s literary canon ranges from the candid Nick Adams Stories written by Ernest Hemingway, the more contemporary sagas of Jeffrey Eugenides, encompasses a gallimaufry of poets, the endless contributions by our brilliant universities, a hodgepodge of musicians, a litany of triumphant sporting franchises, a history of industry, and, importantly, the fierce and vigorous writers helping to revitalize and remind everyone why our state is so great. (I apologize if that last bit sounds like egotistical self-indulgence, rest assured, that is directed not at myself)
The format of this project has transformed several times as it has gone from a mere daydream to a concrete idea, but I have decided that perhaps the best way to genuinely discover as many Michigan books as possible is by genre. Hence, every month I will write about somewhere between three and five books in a chosen category, i.e.: biographies, athletics, ghost stories, literature, poetry, etc. As I said before this may change or vary; if I begin to think I’m trying to tackle too many books and by doing so diluting myself as a writer I might push it to simply highlighting one book a month, because as I said, when I write about these books, I want to be honest. I want to create a discussion and provide ideas about the literature that our state has inspired.
What I Need:
I need your help. I need your ideas. I want this to be a two-way street. Please, send me thoughts about books you love, send me books you’ve written, send me links to your sister’s friend’s literary publication, tell me about the work your professor got published in poetry magazine before you were born, and provide me with insight on how I can improve. I am obligated, obliged, excited, and delighted to make this idea flourish and burgeon any way I can.
Rather than start with specific books this month, I wanted to focus on a beautiful resource provided by the Library of Michigan. Every year the Library of Michigan creates a list of twenty notable Michigan books. This list engulfs a diverse, inclusive selection of Michigan literature that is significant to the state. The list for 2012 is no exception; the list can be found at the attached link.
I imagine by now this rambling introduction has worn most people out, so to keep this concise: This is something I would love to do together, please email me through Awesome Mitten, Facebook me, and give me your ideas. I am excited to conquer some splendid Michigan reads together.