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The Book I Love

This year at the Kerrytown BookFest we’ll have a special booth — #113 – devoted to The Book I Love where visitors can let us know about their favorite book. Earlier we asked the 2016 BookFest speakers to let us know about their favorites, and this time we’ve asked the BookFest Board members and some of our 2016 exhibitors to tell us about the book they love.

Raintree CountyJamie Agnew (exhibitor as co-owner of Aunt Agatha’s): Raintree County by Ross Lockridge: “It’s the great American novel, but nobody knows it.”

DeathofaPeerRobin Agnew (President of the Kerrytown BookFest Board and exhibitor as co-owner of Aunt Agatha’s): Death of a Peer, by Ngaio Marsh. “I love this book because every time I read it, the characters come back off the page, into my head, and back to life.  The story is ingenious, of course, but I also love this portrait of a family, of wartime London, and I love Marsh’s great ability to humorously and swiftly set a scene and describe a character.  It still makes me tear up to read about the young New Zealand woman finding herself in the hurly burly of London for the first time.  It’s a murder story, but also an awakening story.  A perfect book, as far as I’m concerned.  I’ve read it 10 times at a minimum.”

Constellation Vital PhenomMegan Blackshear (exhibitor as co-owner of BookBound): A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. “This unforgettable novel takes place around the turn of the 21st century in Chechnya. It has verything – well-developed, sympathetic characters, an intricate and satisfying plot, and stunning prose that begs to be read over and over.”

Phantom TollBothPeter Blackshear (Kerrytown BookFest Board member and exhibitor as co-owner of BookBound): The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. “I was already a bibliophile when one of my elementary school teachers read this to the class.   However, that was when I first consciously realized that words can be playground and started reading not only for plot and characters (or information), but also for the language itself.”

WhereTheRedFernGrowsShannon Campbell (Kerrytown BookFest Board member): Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. “I read this as a child and can still recall how this story impacted my young psyche with it’s lessons in responsibility, independence, empathy and grief. It is likely the first book that affected me emotionally, so it stands out!”

Into The ForestE.A. Comiskey (exhibitor): “There are dozens of books I love, but the one that stands out above the rest is Into the Forest, by Jean Hegland. It is beautifully written and engaging, but what gives it a special place in my heart is that it is the first book that opened my eyes to the reality of how fragile our modern society is, and how powerfully resilient and resourceful humans are. It changed the way I see the world and my place in it. The experience of having my worldview shifted by a book kindled a fire in my heart to be a writer.”

Medicine WalkSharon Gambin (Vice President of the Kerrytown BookFest Board): Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese. “I discovered Medicine Walk earlier this year and I was captivated immediately by the powerful storylines rendered in some of the most beautifully descriptive language I’ve read in years. I am now working my way through this gifted wordsmith’s earlier works.”


TooLoudSolitudeHilary Gustafson (exhibitor as co-owner of Literati):  Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal:  “…the message and memory of the book lives on in the mind and in the thoughts and ideas they produce.  A must-read for any bibliophile.”

Rocanan's WorldJohn Hilton (Secretary of the Kerrytown BookFest Board): Rocannon’s World, by Ursula K. LeGuin. “It humbly shared a fifty-cent “Ace Double” bought more or less at random from a small-town newsstand when I was fourteen. Setting generously imagined characters in worlds crafted with an anthropologist’s intelligence, it made me a lifelong LeGuin fan.”

griffin-and-sabineKate Kehoe (Treasurer of the Kerrytown BookFest Board and exhibitor as ChicalooKate): Griffin and Sabine Trilogy by Nick Bantock. “I can’t begin to say how much I love these books. The artwork is as beautiful and bizarre as the story. I just wanted to fall in to the pages. I loved the interactive nature of the correspondence, physically taking out the letters to read made me ridiculously happy.   It helped me to see you didn’t have to follow the normal pattern with art or writing. This series has survived many many book purges and have a place front and center in my library.”

Check back here next week for even more favorite books by exhibitors and Board members. When you’re at BookFest please stop by booth 113 to tell us about the book that you love. We’ll also be collecting your favorite books online and will be using them throughout the year. If you’d like to tell us about the book you love now you can use the online form found here. Thanks, and see you at the Kerrytown BookFest on September 11!


A Mysterious Sense of Place

1:30 in the Main Tent is the source of all things mysterious, as four mystery authors gather to discuss their craft. Moderating the panel is U of M alum and Hopwood Award winner Carrie Smith, the author of the New York City set police novel, Silent City, about a female detective recovering from cancer and now back on the job.


Carrie will be asking questions of New York Times Bestselling author William Kent Krueger, the author of the beloved Cork O’Connor series set in Northern Minnesota. The latest in the series, Manitou Canyon, comes out the week before the bookfest. Mr. Krueger is also the author of the Edgar winning modern classic, Ordinary Grace.


He’ll be joined by the multiple Agatha and Anthony Award winning Hank Phillippi Ryan, who writes a Boston set series featuring reporter Jane Ryland, who has complicated her life by becoming involved with a cop. Hank is also a multiple Emmy winner, as she’s an on air reporter in Boston. Her latest Jane Ryland book What You See, is just available in paperback.


And last but not least the lovely Patricia Abbott will join the panel. Patricia is from the Detroit area and the author of two noir novels, Concrete Angel and Shot in Detroit.


If you love mysteries or just plain good writing this is not a panel you’ll want to miss.

The Quest for Identity

Join Michigan authors Desiree Cooper, Kelly Fordon and Andrew Mozina in our Main Tent at 12:15 as they discuss the various ways the characters in their books search for identity. The discussion will be moderated by author Don Lystra.


In Know the Mother, author Desiree Cooper explores the complex archetype of the mother in all of her incarnations. In a collage of meditative stories, women—both black and white—find themselves wedged between their own yearnings and their roles as daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and wives.

Kelly Fordon‘s Garden for the Blind is set between 1974 and 2012.  The intricately woven stories follow Alice and Mike through high school, college, and into middle age, but also skillfully incorporate stories of their friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers who are touched by the same themes of privilege, folly, neglect, and resilience. A WWII veteran sleepwalks out of his home at night, led by vivid flashbacks. A Buddhist monk is assaulted by a robber while seated in meditation. A teenaged girl is shot walking home from the corner store with a friend. A lifelong teacher of blind children is targeted by vandals at the school she founded.  This book is a 2016 Michigan Notable Book.

blind garden

Andy Mozina’s sardonic novel, Contrary Motion, tells the story of a dysfunctional, divorced, family man who is trying to make a go of playing the harp professionally while battling the circumstances surrounding him.The story was prompted by Mozina’s mother, a long-time hospice nurse, who sent him a picture from a newspaper that showed a harpist playing a bed side vigil for somebody who was dying.”She thought that was an interesting subject and I thought it was too,” he says. “And I thought it was kind of a cool sort of beautiful, sort of charged thing and it got my imagination going.”

contrary motion

This promises to be a wonderful discussion – don’t miss it.

The Lineup of Great Exhibitors Continues

We hope you’re as excited as we are that in just over two weeks the 14th Annual Kerrytown BookFest will finally be here! In addition to reviewing the fantastic lineup of panels before you attend, we’d like to introduce you to still more of the fantastic array of exhibitors who will be in attendance on September 11 from 10:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The exhibitors at BookFest represent the full range of the book world, from book-related artists to authors to publishers to book sellers to non-profit organizations. Following are just a few of the more than 120 exhibitors you can see at BookFest.

a2iba Logo

Ann Arbor Independent Booksellers Association

Ann Arbor Independent Booksellers Association (new exhibitor): The mission of the Ann Arbor Independent Booksellers Association (A2IBA) is to celebrate the diversity of Ann Arbor’s independent bookstores and to make Ann Arbor a destination for book lovers to visit. We work to connect readers with books through our website ( and maps distributed at the independent bookstores. We are dedicated to becoming the go-to place for book lovers to participate in the dynamic book culture of Ann Arbor. What to look for: A2IBA will be distributing maps of Ann Arbor’s independent bookstores and will have a display featuring the independent bookstores.

Earthenwood Studio

Earthenwood Studio

Earthenwood Studio (returning exhibitor): I make ceramic jewelry, ornaments, and tiles with  earthenware and porcelain clays, using a variety of clay forming techniques such as slab forming and plaster molding, and decoration techniques including custom rubber stamps and iron transfer decals. What to look for: This year, I am excited to bring more of my ceramic quote tiles and magnets, which I debuted at BookFest last year! I have added more new quotes to the series for this year. And I am excited to be working on some new tiles and pottery, also with famous quotes, which feature detailed sepia-toned portraits and vintage illustrations using a new iron transfer printing technique.

Prankster Press1

Prankster Press

Prankster Press (new exhibitor): My printmaking process focuses mainly on carving linoleum or woodblock reliefs, which I print on a variety of archival Western and Japanese papers using a large etching press. My bookbinding practice uses a lot of old books that I collect from thrift stores that are in disrepair, and use the pages to decorate the covers of the journals that I make. I also print with magnesium die cuts, wood engravings on the letterpress. My relief prints are made by using a U-gouge or V-gouge carving knife to carve out an image on a flat piece of linoleum or wood. That block is then covered in ink with a rubber brayer, and the paper that I print on is laid on top of that inked relief block. I put that block and paper through the press, where it is pressed between a rotating cylinder and the press bed which it sits on, and the ink transfers onto the paper, creating the print. Most of the prints that I make have faces hidden in them somewhere, as people and human interaction are where I draw much of my artistic inspiration. My letterpressed work is printed mainly with my platen presses. I have two tabletop platen presses, one larger 8×12 Chandler & Price letterpress for printing smaller compositions, and a Potter Proofing press, which I am restoring to use more often for poster printing. Currently, I print mainly with old wood engravings and magnesium die cuts from old advertisements, which I used to decorate the handbound journals that I make. Sometimes I create posters, or combine my letterpress printed work into a larger, fine art relief print. My bookbinding practice consists mainly of perfect bound, Japanese stab bound, and coptic stitch journals, which I decorate using my own prints or pages from books in disrepair that I purchase second hand. Perfect bound books use glue to hold the text block (the blank pages) together, while the Japanese Stab Binding and Coptic Stitch journals are sewn. Bookbinding had taken a backseat to my printmaking practice, and I got back into it this year, so I’m excited to show off all the books I’ve made! What to look for: This is my first year at the Kerrytown BookFest as a vendor, so I’m excited to show how my own relief prints have been used to accent and decorate the journals that I’ve made, and the interaction between my personal relief carving style and the old engravings that I enjoy working with so much.


Prankster Press



826Michigan (returning exhibitor): 826michigan inspires school-aged students to write confidently and skillfully with the help of adult volunteers in their communities. Our writing and tutoring programs uphold a culture of creativity and imagination and support students in establishing strong habits of mind. Through publication and community engagement, we provide students with an authentic and enthusiastic audience for their writing. Our programs provide an energizing creative outlet for students and meaningful volunteer opportunities for community members. We believe that with one-on-one attention from caring adults, students improve their academic performance, develop a sense of belonging, and discover the unique value of their voices. 826michigan’s publishing program is designed to help students experience, appreciate, practice, and recognize great writing. Our  publications are written by students and professionally designed and bound, resulting in a polished product that honors students’ writing. To keep up with the incredible stories being produced constantly in each  of our programs, we maintain a robust publishing schedule that includes two major professionally-bound publications, dozens of informal chapbooks, and quarterly issues of two digital journals each year. The culmination of this program is OMNIBUS, an annual compilation of the best writing produced in 826michigan’s numerous free, volunteer-driven creative writing programs.  What to look for: This BookFest, we are proud to present a variety of titles from our publishing program. From our Young Author’s Book Project series, we have two main offerings:

  • A Lantern of Fireflies: An Illustrated Treasury of Tales of Adventure, Discovery, and Magic written by ninth-grade students from Ann Arbor’s Huron High and accompanied by the artistry of twenty-five of the most talented illustrators around, including Dan Santat, Erin and Phil Stead, Jon Klassen and more.
  • Rare Air/Aire raro is our latest YABP release from thirty fourth-grade students at Roberto Clemente Learning Academy in Detroit, and the first bilingual 826michigan publication ever. Renowned poet Richard Blanco penned the foreword and kept in touch with our thirty newest published authors as they wrote their collection of poems throughout the year.

In addition, we have earlier releases from our YABP series, copies of our annual best-of anthology, OMNIBUS, which features the work of students in each of our programs across Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Detroit; chapbooks that highlight the fantastic work our students produce in individual programs; and a fun series of postcards that enable book lovers everywhere to send a snapshot of 826michigan’s students’ imaginations anywhere in the world.

MSU Press (2)

Michigan State University Press

Michigan State University Press (returning exhibitor): We do regional histories, ethnic studies, environmental studies, Native American studies, African studies, literary studies and more. What to look for:  We will be bringing our Discovering the Peoples of Michigan series that contains over 30 different ethnic groups in Michigan, some of our best-selling literary titles including Wolf’s Mouth by John Smolens one of your presenters, and our environmental books that focus on the Great Lakes state.

Out of Hand Press2

Out of Hand Papermaking Studio

Out of Hand Papermaking Studio (returning exhibitor): I produce paper handmade from plants. The fibers I use are ones I can easily gather, such as cattail, milkweed, pampas grass, corn husks, as well as cotton rag. Paper can be made from any plant materials by chopping the fiber, cooking to get rid of the non-cellulose material, and beating the fiber to a pulp. The pulp is then forced into sheets, pressed, and dried. What to look for: Picture frames, journals, memo pads, photo albums made with handmade paper will be for sale. Individual sheets of paper made from various plant fibers, including some invasive species, will be available. If you are interested you can sign up for instructions and make your own handmade paper.

Wayne State

Wayne State University Press

Wayne State University Press (returning exhibitor): Wayne State University Press is a leading publisher of regional interest titles as well as Judaicafilm and media studiesfairy-tale studies, and a wide range of other scholarly and general interest titles. What to look for: This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Press and we are beyond excited to showcase at Kerrytown two of the series that helped get us here: our Great Lakes Books Series (celebrating its own 35-year anniversary!) specializes in books of regional interest that are of importance to Michigan and the entire Great Lakes region, and our Made in Michigan Writers Series (10 years!), which is devoted to highlighting the works of distinguished statewide writers and celebrating Michigan’s diverse voices. Come visit us to see this year’s newest books!

You can find a full list of all of the 2016 Kerrytown BookFest exhibitors in the exhibitors tab on our website. And check back here and on our Facebook page in the weeks ahead for more information about this year’s Kerrytown BookFest.




Under the Radar Michigan & Tom Daldin

under the radar

When the auto industry crashed in 2010, filmmaker Tom Daldin – who produced automotive videos – was out of a job. So he and his buddy Jim Edelman came up with “Under the Radar Michigan,”  which finds them on the road, discovering Michigan’s hidden gems. “We talk to real people and tell real Michigan success stories,” Daldin has said.

tom daldin

Tom Daldin

Under the Radar Michigan is now an Emmy award winning PBS television series that features the cool people, places and things that make Michigan an awesome place to live, work and play. If you’re looking for great Michigan places to explore, vacation, eat, live, start a business or just relax, this book is for you. Chapter by chapter, we take you along on our first fifty episodes and discover great Michigan cities, interesting people, incredible restaurants, romantic spaces and great places to vacation with the whole family. You’ll speed through Michigan’s Everglades; go to santa school; eat awesome food; hike giant dunes; meet inspired people; explore great wilderness; fly through the air on skis; sail the Great Lakes; tour great museums and even swim at a secret beach. You won’t believe what’s right in your own back yard.

Meet Tom in our Main Tent at 11 a.m.