MICHIGAN NEWS AGENCY
308 W. Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Open Sun - Thurs 7AM - 6PM
Open Fri - Sat 7AM - 7PM
Kalamazoo quietly emerging as a literary hot spot
and the Michigan News is becoming
one of the
largest book and magazine stores in the United States.
The Michigan News Agency, an independent bookstore in downtown Kalamazoo, has been around since 1947 and helps promote books
from local authors.
Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press
By Anna Clark
Detroit Free Press Special Writer
Kalamazoo is a midsize city, but in literary terms, it’s gigantic. The southwest
Michigan hub, home to Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College, has quietly become a thriving literary town that cultivates extraordinary readers and writers whose accomplishments are attracting national attention.
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You're going where?
Kalamazoo is tired of your Creedence Clearwater jokes
Every spring, serious scholars and amateur historians flock from all over the
country to attend the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies, the
largest event of its kind, held at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.
Some of these people arrive in full costume and carrying lutes. I know this
because my long-distance boyfriend, David, who’s getting his PhD at Western,
dragged me to the conference last year, and my upcoming visit once again
coincides with it. This time, however, I’ve learned my lesson. While he’s busy
attending roundtable discussions of Middle Low German medical literature, I’ll
be exploring the city’s cooler side.
When David told me he lived in Kalamazoo, I didn’t believe it was a real place.
I thought maybe Creedence Clearwater Revival just made it up so they’d have a
rhyme with “kazoo.” And I’m not the only one, apparently: Once upon a time, the
town’s official marketing slogan was “Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo.” Now
that I’ve had time to get to know the place, I can confirm that not only does
Kalamazoo exist, it’s actually much more interesting than it gets credit for,
with vibrant art, food and beer scenes fueled by a young, college-educated
population, according to City-Data.com, and reasonable cost of living.
On my last swing through town, I stopped in at the Michigan News Agency, downtown’s
only remaining independent bookstore, where I discovered that Kalamazoo also has a
surprisingly robust literary scene that includes a number of National Book Award
finalists — writers like Bonnie Jo Campbell, whose short stories have been recognized
with the Pushcart Prize.
“Long winters mean many of us are great readers,” says Dean Hauck, whose family-run
bookshop has been in business since 1947. It has one of the largest magazine newsstands
in the country, with 7,000 titles ranging from the Bourbon Review to the Paris Review.
After browsing the stacks — “cruising the News,” as Hauck encourages passersby to do —
I walked a few blocks farther down Michigan Avenue and stumbled upon Sydney, a boutique
in the lobby of the Radisson Hotel. That’s where I found my perfect souvenir: a super-soft,
made-in-Michigan T-shirt with green lettering that reads, “Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo.”
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In this third and final book of the trilogy, author and adventurer Loreen
Niewenhuis explores the islands of our magnificent Great Lakes. This odyssey
ranged from Isle Royale all the way to Montreal Island. In this book, she'll take you on this fascinating journey exploring the diverse and wonderful islands of the Great Lakes basin.
The News also has Loreen's first and second books for you on our Michigan Reads local rack.
In the nearly 30 years that Jerry Dennis has earned his living as a freelance
writer, he has emerged as one of America's most celebrated writers about nature
and the outdoors.
Among Jerry's awards are the Michigan Author of the Year Award, the Sigurd Olson
Nature Writing Award, Michigan State University's Great Lakes Culture Award, and
four Best Book of the Year awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of
Jerry lives with his wife, Gail, near Traverse City.
See all of these local books and more on the News'
MICHIGAN READS display.
Cruise the News!
Please read --
The Michigan News stands with you and shares your love of books.
Thank you Kalamazoo for your support of the Michigan News,
your downtown independent bookstore.
New York Times, Sunday, April 21, 2013
Your choice -
downtown independent bookstore
The mission of the Michigan News is to bring the world to Kalamazoo. We have
been doing that 365 days a year since 1947. The world has changed drastically
during these 68 years -- the popularity of e-readers is one of my many
challenges. As the owner of a brick and mortar bookstore, my job is to educate
my diverse populations on the value of coming into my store and becoming a part
of an enlightened community.
So, you ask -- why downtown Kalamazoo? My answer is that we are within walking
distance of many neighborhoods filled with friends who cannot afford to own a
car, or even take a bus to one of our several malls, or read their books and
magazines on tablets. However, they can walk to their downtown bookstore --
Michigan News. What e-books, digital magazines, and newspapers-on-line do for
us is force us to face the hard truth that we are losing more and more of our
Therefore, thanks to e-books and your encouragement, I am doing an even better
job of connecting with the customers that come in the News' door. I am not
interested in being a part of the e-phenomenon. I am one of those who still
loves the printed copy to mark up, to rip out and paste on my mirror or attach
to my refrigerator, or to carry in my pocket and share with a friend.
Hours of Operation:
7AM - 6PM Sunday - Thursday
7AM - 7PM Friday and Saturday
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