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.