Friday, February 15, 2013

Ray's Reviews: Ink Trails: Michigan's Famous and Forgotten Authors

Dave Dempsey and Jack Dempsey will be autographing books and talking about writing on Sat. from 2:00 - 4:00 PM at Schuler Books and Music, Meridian Mall, 1982 W. Grand River, Okemos.

     "Ink Trails", by brothers Dave Dempsey and Jack Dempsey, (M.S.U. Press, $19.95), is subtitled "Michigan's Famous and Forgotten Authors".

     It's a captivating look at 19 of our state's most interesting writers, including those who are well known and others who are relatively obscure.

     This well-researched book is long overdue; it's divided into five geographical sections, exploring the careers of diverse literary figures.

     As expected, it offers insights into famous writers as Robert Traver (John D. Voelker), Bruce Catton and Ring Lardner; it also offers background information about relatively obscure Michigan authors and poets such as George Matthew Adams, Carroll Watson Rankin and Eugene Ruggles.

     You won't find Jim Harrison or Elmore Leonard here - the brothers wisely decided not to provide profiles of living authors.

     One chapter is devoted to the influence of Michigan on the careers of playwright Arthur Miller and poets Robert Frost and Jane Kenyon.

     Another chapter explores the writings of poet and historian Carl Sandburg, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, who lived and wrote in Michigan for almost 20 years.

     Well-known poet Theodore Roethke and prolific botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey also had Michigan ties, as did Maritta Wolff and Marguerite Di Agneli.

     The Dempseys include a chapter on best-selling Owosso author James Oliver Curwood, as well as Gwen Frostic, Holling Clancy Holling, Dudley Randall and Will Carleton.

     This volume was selected as one of the year's top Michigan Notable Books. It's ideal for libraries or anyone interested in learning more about our state's great literary history.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by 
the Lansing State Journal on February 15, 2013.

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