Posted by: Kath Usitalo | March 11, 2010

Bookshelf: Michigan Almanacs

Two tomes in my toolbox

The internet is dandy and invaluable for research, but I still like to thumb through the pages of a book. Next to my desk have two-plus shelves full of non-fiction volumes about Michigan—and a shelf-load at Blue Skies.

For anyone interested in facts and figures about the state I recommend Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Almanac (2009) and the Northern Michigan Almanac (2005). I still have to get my hands on the West Michigan Almanac (2006). All are published by the University of Michigan Press. (No sign yet of a similar reference book about the east side of the state.)

Though there are pictures scattered throughout they’re not pretty, coffee table books; just lots of pages packed with tidbits of information and trivia. Sure, you can find this stuff on the World Wide Web—if you know what you’re looking for. I wouldn’t think to Google a connection between Elvis Presley and a Michigan songwriter, but on page 513 of the Northern Michigan Almanac I learned that Thomas Durden of Prudenville wrote the King’s first #1 hit, Heartbreak Hotel. Can’t wait to see what I’ll find the next time I flip open one of these books.

Besides, you know your internet is going to go down just when you need the number of inland lakes in Gogebic County.



  1. I’m getting my dad that new “UP Almanac” for his birthday – the authors were just over doing a book signing in the L’Anse Library last Saturday but I didn’t make it! Drat! And I agree, there’s something about holding a book and flipping the pages….not sure if I could do a Kindle!?!?!

  2. Good gift.
    Got mine at the Brownstone Inn; it is autographed by Karl but not Ron.

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