It’s that time of year—holiday music in the background, crackling fire in the corner, cinnamon and nutmeg wafting from the kitchen, slippered feet up on the ottoman, and a must-read best seller in hand. Are you there? If you are looking for some page-turning inspiration, we’ve got you covered. (And if you are one for balancing a book in one hand and a warm toddy in the other, we’ve got you covered too: amazing winter drink recipes here.)

We’ve asked your top picks for Red Hot Best Indie Bookstores for their must-read fiction and non-fiction book this season. Here they are:

From Horizon BooksCadillac, Traverse City, Petoskey

unknownNonfiction: Grass River Natural Area’s Field Guide to Northwest Michigan: It’s Flora, Fauna, Geology, and History 
by James Dake, (Only available in store)

With gorgeous photos of the flora and fauna of Northwest Michigan, as well as information on its geology and history, this is the perfect guide for any nature lover. Every house in the region should have this guide on its bookshelf!  It has been very popular with our customers.

Selected and Reviewed By: Horizon Books staff member, Margaret, chose this book, because she has a cottage on Torch Lake and often visits the Grass River Natural Area.

Fiction: Be Frank With Munknown-1e
by Julia Claiborne Johnson, $15.99

This is a great novel that most of our staff has read and loved!  A young woman who works in publishing is sent to help out a reclusive writer finish her long overdue novel.  However, it turns out that the help needed is with the writer’s 9 year old son who is the most wonderful character!  He has Aspergers and dresses like a 1930s movie star and is the wittiest person you’ve ever met!  You will fall in love with Frank.

Selected and Reviewed by: Horizon Books staff members, Marla and Jill, who chose this book because it was so charming and the author’s book signing at Horizon was remarkable.

From: Brilliant BooksTraverse City

Nonfiction: Grass River Natural Area’s Field Guide To Northwest Michigan: Its Flora, Fauna, Geology, and History (Yes, the top two Red Hot Best bookstores both suggest this as a must-read nonfiction; so read it, we must!) 
by James Dake,  $16

This 152-page book with color photography describes hundreds of species in the northwest Michigan region, from birds and mammals, insects, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, to trees and wildflowers, fungi, ferns and mosses. There are many field guides available for Michigan and the Midwest, but this is the only guide available that specifically highlights our region. It was meticulously researched and is beautifully compiled, making it a must for every Northwest Michigan home.

Selected and Reviewed by: Brilliant Books Staff
Each member of our staff has a distinctly unique area of interest, but we all agree that this field guide is exceptional.

Fiction: Mothers, Tell Your Daughters
by Bonnie Jo Campbell,  $14.95

Called one of the best writers of rural noir by the Guardian, Bonnie Jo Campbell is a quintessential Michigan author (and one of Brilliant Books’ favorites!) known for her bestselling Once Upon a River. Her latest short story collection Mothers, Tell Your Daughters features strong but flawed women negotiating a sexually charged atmosphere as they love, honor, and betray one another against the backdrop pf the men in their world. Perfect for Campbell fans, Michigan residents and admirers, and short story readers.

Selected by: Brilliant Books Staff
As a whole, our staff appreciates the gritty honesty of Bonnie Jo’s books, which compel us to look at the beauty, and sometimes ugliness, of Michigan.

From:  McLean and Eakin, Petoskey

Nonfiction: Terror in the City of Championsunknown-4
by Tom Stanton  $26

Think The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson meets 1930’s Depression-era Detroit in Tom Stanton’s latest tale of the Tigers. In the midst of celebrating the success of winning the pennant, Detroiter’s are slowly realizing the terror lurking behind the city scenes. A secretive, destructive Klan-like group known as the Black Legion. Vicious and vengeful, the Legion is terrorizing the victorious city with murder, floggings and fire bombs, led by baseball-loving Dayton Dean, a man determined to clean out the unwanted and unworthy.

Stanton recreates a true-tale full of Lions, Tigers and Red Wings, the state of Detroit’s citizens during the depression and political scandal, too. Get a first peek at the future voice of the Tigers, Ernie Harwell as well as historical figures, including Joe Louis, Ty Cobb, Ronald Reagan and J. Edgar Hoover. Stanton has hit a home ru n with his eighth book! I highly recommend to all non-fiction…and, fiction fans.

Selected and Reviewed by: Kristen Bates
Fiction: The Throwback Specialunknown-3
By Chris Bachelder  $25.95

The Throwback Special centers around a group of 22 men who get together once a year at a nondescript highway hotel in order to re-enact Lawrence Taylor breaking Joe Theisman’s leg on Monday Night Football in 1985. Now, if you haven’t seen the infamous play and are tempted to look it up, just be warned you can’t ever un-see it. His leg snaps like a twig. But that’s not at all what this book is about, it’s about men. How they see themselves, how they think, their relationships with each other, their families and the world. Despite all appearances that this is a “football book”, The Throwback Special completely surprised me in its warmth, insight, humor and lack of actual football content.

Selected and reviewed by: Charlotte Barbercheck

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