The Library of Michigan's annual selection (annotations are from the Library of Michigan list):
Burning Rainbow Farm: How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke by Dean Kuipers. Bloomsbury.
This detailed and readable account describes the 2001 tragedy on Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm's farm in Vandalia, a rural Cass County town. Crosslin founded Rainbow Farm in 1993 as a shelter for marijuana smokers, libertarians, disconnected gays and lovers of live music. Local authorities charged Crosslin and Rohm with growing marijuana, used social services to remove Rohm's son from the farm, and began taking the necessary steps to confiscate the property. Kuipers provides an account of the incident and argues that maximum force is not always morally justified when dealing with the emotional issues surrounding the War on Drugs.
Death's Door: The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder by Steve Lehto. Momentum Books.
This book explores the enduring mystery and drama surrounding the 1913 Christmas Eve tragedy at Italian Hall in Calumet. After a still-unidentified man falsely cried, "Fire," more than 70 people, many of them children, were crushed to death in the stairwell amidst the panicked crush to flee the building. The author expertly analyzes the objectivity of the local newspaper coverage, the coroner's inquest, and the mystery surrounding the doors (did they open inward or outward?), and reaches several thought-provoking, startling, and controversial conclusions.
Donutheart by Sue Stauffacher. Alfred A. Knopf.
In this young adult sequel to Donuthead set in fictional central and west Michigan, Franklin is still obsessive but begins to gain a heart for others. His good friend Sarah needs help, but will not tell Franklin what is going on. Will Franklin take action and help Sarah? An enthralling tale of two youngsters who each learn to make their own decisions and deal in very individual ways with a puzzling grownup world. The story is a beautiful mixture of funny and original characters, intermingled with the frustrating issues of growing up.