Letters

Letters 07-28-14

Worry About Legals

I can’t figure out what perplexes me more, the misinformation everywhere in the media or those who believe it to be true. Take the Hobby Lobby case; as a company that is primarily owned by a religious family, they felt their First Amendment rights were infringed upon by the “Affordable” Care Act...

Stop Labeling and Enjoy

I have been struggling to find a simple way of understanding for myself the concepts of conservative, liberal, and moderation as it relates to our social interactions with each other...

Proposal One & The Public Good

Are you kidding me? Another corporate giveaway with loopholes for large corporations who rule us? Hasn’t our corrupt and worthless governor done enough to raise taxes, provide corporate welfare, unjustly tax pensions, and shut down elected officials with his emergency manager racket...

The Truth About Road Workers

Apparently Mr. Kachadurian did not catch on to the fact that the MDOT Employee Memorial in Clare is a tribute to highway workers who lost their lives building our transportation systems. It was paid for by current and former MDOT employees who likely knew some of these people personally...

Idiotic and Misguided

As a seasonal resident, I always look forward to reading your paper, if only because of the idiotic letters to the editor and off the wall columns...


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Elizabeth Buzzelli

 
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Customer-Driven

Brilliant Books a throwback to British bookstores

Features Elizabeth Buzzelli Waiting inside—usually there’s a bell—the owner takes great pleasure in finding the reader just the perfect book: “Ah yes, of course we have that splendid novel . . .”
 
Monday, August 22, 2011

Nothing More To Tell

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Nothing More to Tell
Stories by George Dila
Mayapple Press
$15.95

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Once in a while you come across a book of stories so true you convince
yourself you’re reading memoir and you get mad or sad for the writer until
you remember this is fiction and you’re only getting pieces of a life and
maybe a made-up life. Then you get upset that you’ve been had so easily.
Then you understand what a good writer this is and you’re happy to be in
the hands of this magician and go on to the next story, the next life, and
the next twisting of your emotions.
 
Monday, August 15, 2011

TC, I Love Thee

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli The Traverse City Chamber of Commerce should be handing out Henry
Morgenstein’s new book, “TC, I Love Thee,” to every tourist and
prospective resident. Real Estate agents should buy cases of the books to
give as gifts at closings. If you would like to join in a song to our
beautiful area, this is that song.
Henry Morgenstein came to the United States in 1948 when he was brought to
New York City from first Belgium, and then Havana, Cuba. In 1971 he moved
to Traverse City, teaching English at Northwestern Michigan College for
the next 30 years until his retirement in 2001.
 
Monday, September 20, 2010

Seeking Asylum

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Seeking Asylum: New book illuminates quest for mental health in Northern Michigan
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
REVIEW:
“Northern Michigan Asylum”
By William A. Decker, M.D.
Arbutus Press, $50

“Northern Michigan Asylum: A History of the Traverse City State Hospital” by William A. Decker, M.D., is a sad story despite Dr. Decker’s attempt to keep this history to facts and figures, and keep the human equation to a minimum. I don’t mean sad in the attempts made to upgrade the care of asylum patients, but sad that we’ve come full circle, back to the lack of mental health care that the people of Michigan found unacceptable in the mid-1800s.
Built in 1885, the present-day site of Building 50 and the Grand Traverse Commons was first called the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane. Later the name was sanitized to the Traverse City State Hospital, and then Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Hospital.
 
Monday, August 16, 2010

The Body in the Shoe Tree

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli The Body in the Shoe Tree
The Hanging Tree
By Bryan Gruley
Simon and Schuster - $15
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
I challenge you to read Bryan Gruley’s “The Hanging Tree” and then drive by the shoe tree on US 131 north of Kalkaska and not see a body hanging among the highest branches. As I drove passed the tree recently, there she was, Gruley’s Gracie McBride, swinging amid the sneakers and flip-flops. A truly sad and riveting image to begin a book.
In this second in Gruley’s Starvation Lake mystery series, Gus Carpenter, executive editor of the Starvation Lake Village newspaper, the Pine Country Pilot, is not only in trouble over negative stories that could cost the town a new hockey rink, but deeply involved in the mystery surrounding Gracie’s death. The verdict is suicide.
Gracie McBride used to live, over 20 years before, at Gus’ home. His mother, a sweet and caring woman, had taken the young girl in when her own mother was too involved with yet another man to look out for her own daughter. The thing is, Gus never really got along with Gracie and now there is, perhaps, a little guilt involved as Gus watches Gracie’s body swing high in the snow-covered branches. His married lover, a sheriff’s deputy, has to shut him out of the investigation or face losing her job. His newspaper has been pressuring him to tame his hockey rink stories down but Gus isn’t the kind of man who can turn his back on truth.
Quickly the people of Starvation Lake begin shouting “foul” over the verdict of suicide. Even Gus’ mom, who is growing older and having lapses of memory, still insists Gracie, a troubled girl to be sure, would never take her own life. Though she hadn’t seen her in the 18 years she’s been gone from town, his mother knows secrets that will eventually lead Gus to some hard places buried deep within the fabric of the town.
 
Monday, August 9, 2010

Admissions

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Admissions: Novel probes a mental hospital’s past
Admissions
by Jennifer Sowle
Arbutus Press, 19.95
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
There is something about the Old Traverse City State Hospital —
“mental hospital” it was called back when it functioned as a home for
the mentally ill, or home to the dysfunctional, or home to people
warehoused to make life more convenient for their relatives, more
convenient for abusive husbands, even business partners wanting a too
inquisitive partner quieted.
 
Monday, July 12, 2010

Double Bill

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Double Bill: Up in the Air with the Time Traveler’s Wife
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
In a true double header, the National Writers’ Series is bringing best
selling writers Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her
Fearful Symmetry) and Walter Kirn (Up in the Air) to the Traverse City
Opera House on July 15, 7 p.m., to talk about their books, writing,
life, art, and inspiration.
 
Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Roundup

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Book Roundup: Local authors bring out their best
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
It seems as though almost every cottage stuck back in the Northern woods harbors a writer, toiling away at a memoir, a novel, short stories, anything that can be written. I find this an exciting occurrence. I was once told it is due to the confluence, the commingling of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, with even a bit of Lake Superior thrown in, that has brought this burst of creativity to our area.
Since the lakes have been here for awhile, I don’t think that’s the real answer. Personally, I would opt for the laptop — which goes anywhere, works as long as there is electricity, and stores mountains of files. And then, of course, we have all these creative types fleeing to the woods where the biggest distraction might be a noisy woodpecker. Whatever the cause, there are lots of new ideas, new voices, writers’ groups, events and conferences. So, on to new books, writer appearances, and even one intriguing contest open to everyone.
 
Monday, April 26, 2010

Northern Muse

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Northern Muse ; Petoskey’s literary scene
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
Ernest Hemingway came to Walloon Lake from Chicago and fell under the
spell of the North Country. He married his first wife, Hadley, in a
tiny northern church. His Nick Adams short stories became
classics—explorations of fishing and hunting and discovery in the
Upper Peninsula. Hemingway’s novella, “The Torrents of Spring” began
at the railroad station in Mancelona, his two men dead drunk and not
sure where they were. Except they were in Northern Michigan, which
seemed to be enough.
 
Monday, April 12, 2010

Essayist sets life‘s questions to music

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Essayist sets life’s questions to music
By Elizabeth Buzzelli
DRIVING WITH DVORAK:
Essays on Memory and Identity
By Fleda Brown
University of Nebraska Press
$24.94

If the unexamined life, as Socrates said, isn’t worth living, then Fleda Brown’s is truly a valuable life. Her new book: Driving with Dvorak: Essays on Memory and Identity, could have been a memoir, except that it isn’t—exactly.
What it is are snapshots -- or maybe better -- X-rays from an ordinary life: father, mother, two sisters, three husbands, children, a retarded brother who dies young, a decaying summer cottage on Michigan’s Central Lake, other American places: east, west, Midwest. Scenes from a woman’s life, a poet’s life, that dive beneath the surface to return with reasons, discoveries, new understanding, new pain, new acceptance -- all the bits of life that make us human beings.
First there is the father, a prominent person in the book and in Brown’s life. In the title essay, he is old, he is angry, and she goads him as she did as a teen. Her sin? She used too much dish soap while washing dishes. She is 44, a grown woman, and doesn’t think she has to tolerate his fits of anger, his penuriousness, his inability to act in his own best interest, and even his self-loathing. She talks back only to have him yell, “By God, I’ll hit you.” Maybe this is where the book begins, with a need to know this man, this husband, this father. Then maybe to learn something valuable about herself.
What she can share with her father is music. Therefore Dvorak, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky. Not in an intellectual joust but in the silent ways music connects person to person, down in what Brown calls an ‘’inarticulate core.”
 
Monday, June 1, 2009

Annie‘s Ghosts

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli A Family Secret Reveals Mental Illness and Death in
Annie’s Ghosts
Elizabeth Buzzelli 6/1/09

ANNIE’S GHOSTS
By Steve Luxenberg
Hyperion, $24.99

As family secrets go, maybe Steve Luxenberg’s isn’t the biggest. As obsessions go, maybe it is. Annie’s Ghosts, his investigative memoir, covers a lot of bases, from family secret to family secret; from family tragedy to tragedy, while along the way he raises as many questions as he answers. The biggest of these questions being why he wrote the book at all?
Before his mother, Beth Cohen, died, her long guarded secret came to light. She wasn’t the only child she’d always claimed to be. There was a sister, Annie Cohen, who died in a mental hospital. Beth told her children she didn’t remember the sister. After all, she’d only been four years old when Annie entered Eloise, near Detroit, an asylum for the insane.
When that proved to be a lie too, Luxenberg, began to delve into the reasons behind his mother’s now obvious subterfuge. He took a leave of absence from his job at the Washington Post and began this very personal trek which would take him from Depression era Detroit to the Holocaust in the Ukraine, and even more disturbing, to the mental facilities of the time, to the forced incarcerations, to moves to other facilities without as much as an announcement, let alone agreement.
 
Monday, May 4, 2009

When Grandma worn nothing but a smile

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli When
Grandma
wore
Nothing
But a Smile


Nothing But a Smile
Steve Amick
Pantheon Books

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli 5/4/09

Nothing But a Smile isn’t about WWII, it isn’t about the porn industry, it isn’t even about your grandmother. Instead, this novel by Steve Amick, the Ann Arbor writer whose last book was the Michigan Notable Book: The Lake, the River & the Other Lake, is the intimate story of two young people during and just after the war, trying to make their way, suffering through tragedy, youth, impetuousness, and nobility as often as they suffer stupidity.
It’s about the kind of idealism that age crushes. It’s about America still reeling from loss. It’s about morality that deviates from the usual, proscribed morality of religion, springing instead from necessity, and then from joy. The war is over. They are the ones who lived. The future is theirs.
 
Monday, March 16, 2009

Wesley the Owl

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Wesley the Owl
Stacey O’Brien
Free Press Publishers
$23.00
By Elizabeth Buzzelli 3/23/09

Rene Descartes was wrong. The 17th century philosopher/mathematician/scientist declared absolutely that animals do not possess real feelings and with that pronouncement he wiped away centuries of experiential evidence. Then came B.F. Skinner in the 20th century likening animals to furry automatons. They care nothing for anything or anyone beyond their own survival, scientists proclaimed. A lab’s head in your lap when you’re crying means only that your lap is a convenient place to rest. A cat draping herself over your shoulders and purring in your ear signifies an automatic response. A bird needing to cuddle exhibits nesting instinct. They can’t love; can’t care about each other or anything else; don’t grieve; don’t worry...
Twaddle and hogwash, said Jane Goodall after her years of close observation of apes in their native habitat as they loved and mourned and interacted in complex ways, exploding the ‘furry automaton’ myth to pieces.
Now comes a charming little book about a girl and her owl, capturing the imagination of animal lovers everywhere and once again opening a world of possibility.
Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O’Brien, isn’t about anthropomorphizing her feathered friend, Wesley, but about finding true affection and continued understanding between two such disparate creatures as a biologist and a barn owl.
 
Monday, November 24, 2008

Bob Butz Explores

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli An Uncrowded Place: The Delights and dilemmas of life Up North and a young man’s search for home
by Bob Butz
$21.95 - Huron River Press

Review by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

So many who come to Northern Michigan have faced the challenges Bob Butz has faced. Sometimes it’s that dark night of the soul, when you look at yourself in the mirror one morning and ask “Is this who I want to be?” Sometimes it’s simply the journey to be true to oneself. Sometimes it’s about things not yet discovered.
In An Uncrowded Place: The delights and dilemmas of life Up North and a young man’s search for home (Huron River Press), Butz’s search has brought him north to become the writer he wants to be, the father and husband he hopes he is, and a man at one with the natural world. What he achieves, as the essays—originally published in Traverse Magazine —progress, is an uneasy acceptance of life as it really is. All of this while engrossed in fly fishing, bow hunting, hunting for writing assignments in New York City while looking like a rube, camping, and taking care of his new son. This is a book of contradictions and semi-answers. It’s a book about people like him—those who choose to live in the country or wished they lived in the country.
Some of the best writing here takes place in the dark. Night dark. Three a.m. dark. A time when the body seems to disappear and all that’s left is the mind hunting for something, unseen hands feeling along into the forest; along a stream. Somehow Butz knew to challenge himself, knew that the dark we all fear holds answers and he goes out there into the woods: hunting, fishing, in the snow, in November, on summer nights of the big hex fly invasion.
 
Monday, November 17, 2008

Dead Dancing Women

Books Elizabeth Buzzelli Some years ago I moved to Northern Michigan, to a small house on a small lake, to live a small life of eternal peace and quiet.
Yeah sure! That was before the crows got a hold of me, started directing my life and leading me from one dead body to another. Well, figuratively speaking, that is. But let me back up. It was a fall Monday, much like the days we’re having now. Monday is garbage day out where I live. so I was on my way up our drive to the road to collect the garbage can. The garbage guy had come and gone. Sometimes he would send my lid sailing like a Frisbee and other times he’d have it neatly returned to the can. I never knew what I was going to find and retrieving Frisbee shots in winter, with five feet of snow on the ground, could get treacherous.
This was a good week. The lid was in place but still the usual flock of carnivorous crows was there, squawking, bowing their awkward, aggressive crow bows, strutting up the road at me, jumping out of the burning maples. Any leftover treat could do it: a bloody meat wrapper, a wormy apple. They were brave and pugnacious souls. Sometimes I shooed them. I often threatened them. But it got to be a game. Then one day I picked up my garbage can and got hit with the big ‘What if?’ fiction writers ask themselves.
“What if there was something truly awful in there? What if the crows had reason for their hysteria? Hmm—what if there was a head in that garbage can?”
 
 
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