Between The Lines

WMUK's weekly show on the literary community in Southwest Michigan. Between The Lines airs on Tuesdays at 7:50 a.m., 11:50 a.m., and 4:20 p.m.

Kym Reinstadler

Sue Merrell chose journalism in part because she thought it would be great training to become a mystery writer. But what she thought would only be a couple years as a reporter turned into 40, working at the Joliet Herald News in Illinois and the Grand Rapids Press. It was the news stories she covered, some of them quite gruesome, that drove her back to writing mysteries.

Zinta Aistars

Most Michigan residents do the same thing when someone asks where in the state we live: we hold up a hand and point to a spot on the "mitten." But how many of us hold up two hands, the second one sideways to show where Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is? Not many. That’s just one thing that irritates U.P. native Ron Riekki. The other is the lack of attention that Upper Peninsula writers receive – so much so that he is compiling four anthologies of U.P. writing. And Here (Michigan State University Press, 2017) is the third in the series.

Dave Martin / AP Photo

For twelve years, retired University of Michigan–Dearborn professor of sociology Lora Bex Lempert co-sponsored a National Lifers of America chapter at a women’s prison. She coordinated college-level courses for the women there, taking a special interest in women doing life sentences. That led to a 20-year research project as she interviewed and befriended 72 women and heard their stories. Lempert put that research into a new book, Women Doing Life: Gender, Punishment, and the Struggle for Identity (NYU Press, 2016).

Thisbe Nissen

Jay Baron Nicorvo admits that his debut novel, The Standard Grand (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), is not an easy read. The characters are messy and complex. But that’s the reality of an honest war story and the people who inhabit it. And people have noticed. The book has been picked for IndieBound's Indie Next List, Library Journal's Spring 2017 Debut Novels Great First Acts, and was named "New and Noteworthy" by Poets & Writers.

Jon Towne

We see the "Certified Organic" label everywhere these days. It's in little food co-ops and big supermarkets. But what does it mean? And how did it all begin? Maynard Kaufman and Julia Christianson supply some answers in the book they edited, The Organic Movement in Michigan. It's a collection of 19 essays by different Michigan authors that's published by Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance, or MOFFA. The essays tell the story of the organic movement from its first days and consider its future.