Spring into these book selections from locally owned Schuler Books & Music

lovecraftcovThe staff of Schuler Books & Music offer a few book selections that are certain to add some color and fun to your spring.


Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Reviewed by Jim Tremlett, Schuler Books, Lansing


It’s the 1950s in America, and horror is everywhere — especially if you’re Black. But there are mystical threats afoot, too: the kind that pit family against family in a race for the hidden truths of existence. Winners take all, losers serve forever.


When Atticus Turner’s unpleasant father goes missing, he and his family must trek to a mysterious, New England town to find him. What they encounter there sets the entire Turner family down a weird path, indeed. For the magical clan that awaits there once owned their ancestor, and still has macabre plans for “their” family.


But these are the Turners, and this is Jim Crow America. They’ve handled worse threats in their everyday lives than sorcerers’ schemes and otherworldly beings. These modern-day magicians are in big trouble — they just don’t know it yet…


Spooky, heartfelt, and subtly sinister, Lovecraft Country deftly accomplishes Ruff’s primary mission of turning sci-fi tropes on their head. Some of the book’s vignettes are better than others, but they all succeed in maintaining a pulp noir feel — echoing H. P. Lovecraft’s brand of cosmic horror without stealing from him outright.


More importantly, it brings the real horrors of relatively-recent American history home to a generation that might otherwise believe recent attempts to whitewash that era. Given Lovecraft’s own considerable racism, and recent controversies concerning his place in the horror canon, this is a victory all in itself.



The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman

Reviewed by Aubrey Dolinski, Schuler Books, Lansing


The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman – the pen name of popular Michigan memoirist Wade Rouse, in honor of his grandmother — was inspired by the author’s grandmother and her charm bracelet. The novel’s grandmother is sassy, one-of-a-kind Lolly, whose daughter and granddaughter come for an unexpected stay at her cabin in a small northern Michigan resort town. They are all at turning points in their lives and find inspiration in the stories behind the charms on Lolly’s bracelet. They gain a new appreciation for each other and the simple things in life. With its vivid depictions of Lake Michigan, this is the perfect book for a weekend getaway and also great for Mother’s Day.



Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss

Reviewed by Pierre Camy, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids


It will be very difficult to find a book this year as vividly descriptive and deeply moving as Tuesday Nights in 1980. A successful art critic whose talent is due to a singular disability, a painter who selflessly left his sister in Argentina, and a young woman from Idaho eager to prove herself, meet, fall in love and clash in 1980 New York. Their worlds collide in an explosion of colors, smells, lies and betrayals. Molly Prentiss offers a breathtaking portrait of a city and of the freedom its artists enjoyed compared to the events that were unfolding in Argentina and all the people who were disappearing at that time. This is a superb novel that I will not soon forget.



Thirst by Benjamin Warner

Reviewed by Pierre Camy, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids


At the risk of sounding silly, reading Thirst is going to make you very thirsty. This is a compliment to author Benjamin Warner’s descriptive talents. Imagine a time in the near future when all means of communication, electricity and especially water are no longer available. How long will you survive and how long before the world erupts into total chaos? Although this is speculative fiction, the lack of water is a highly relevant topic — as exemplified in last year’s excellent novels The Water Knives by Paolo Bacigalupi and Gold, Fame, Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins — and this novel is as scary as scary can be.



Run by Kody Keplinger

Reviewed by Holly Frakes, Schuler Books, Okemos


Agnes and Bo are the most unlikely friends. Agnes is partially blind and lives with loving, yet overprotective parents. Bo is a wild child whose parents are either absentee or outside the law.


But these two girls form a strong friendship, filling in the gaps for each other in their respective lives.  Bo brings adventure and freedom to Agnes, and Agnes gives Bo a sense of belonging and trust. Set in a small town where both girls dream of nothing but escaping, they will test their loyalty to the limits.


This beautiful teen novel explores the depths of female relationships, and celebrates that special bond you have with that one person who gives you unquestionable acceptance.  I highly recommend it.