100 books like Weird Michigan

By Linda S. Godfrey,

Here are 100 books that Weird Michigan fans have personally recommended if you like Weird Michigan. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch

Catherine Richmond Author Of The Shelter of Each Other

From my list on communes and cults in the 19th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Loess Hills of Iowa provide a great place to hike, with leg-stretching hills and diverse species of plants and animals, and a park with the unusual name Preparation Canyon. In 1853 a small band of Mormons built a commune called Preparation. Leader Charles Blancher Thompson kept his printing press busy, publishing over a thousand pages. Few of those pages told about those who lived there. The Shelter of Each Other is the story of the people of Preparation, brought to you by a writer whose imagination fills in blanks and connects the dots.

Catherine's book list on communes and cults in the 19th century

Catherine Richmond Why did Catherine love this book?

The mid-1800s United States was full of scoundrels, get-rich-quick schemes, and religious fervor.

James Strang was born into this milieu, was baptized into the Latter Day Saints by Joseph Smith, and claimed to be the Smith’s successor.

He located brass plates, translated them, and published them in his newspaper. He and his followers moved to an isolated island in Lake Michigan, where he was crowned king. In 1856, he was murdered.

The leader of Preparation, Charles Blancher Thompson, also grew up in this environment and joined the Mormons. Thompson followed Strang for a while. Like Strang, Thompson published revelations in his own newspaper, moved his followers to a remote location, and became postmaster. In 1858, he came close to being murdered.

The King of Confidence provided cultural context for my book.

By Miles Harvey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The King of Confidence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The "unputdownable" (Dave Eggers, National Book award finalist) story of the most infamous American con man you've never heard of: James Strang, self-proclaimed divine king of earth, heaven, and an island in Lake Michigan, "perfect for fans of The Devil in the White City" (Kirkus)

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
Longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
Finalist for the Midland Authors Annual Literary Award
A Michigan Notable Book
A CrimeReads Best True Crime Book of the Year

"A masterpiece." —Nathaniel Philbrick 

In the summer of 1843, James Strang, a charismatic young lawyer…


Book cover of Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses

Amberrose Hammond Author Of Mysterious Michigan: The Lonely Ghost of Minnie Quay, the Marvelous Manifestations of Farmer Riley, the Devil in Detroit & More

From my list on the strange, unusual, and paranormal from Michigan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I got my start in paranormal investigation when it was a popular fad around 2000 and joined a ghost-hunting group. I became obsessed with the history behind hauntings and why ghost stories and legends persist over time. This love of the ghostly combined with my love of books and literature led me down the path of writing. I enjoy sharing strange and spooky history because it puts people in touch with their state's history in a fun and interesting way. So many people think history is boring facts and dates, but share a ghost story or a true crime mystery, and you have people’s attention. When that story happened close to home? Even better!

Amberrose's book list on the strange, unusual, and paranormal from Michigan

Amberrose Hammond Why did Amberrose love this book?

One of the most iconic paranormal things in Michigan is the haunted lighthouse…and we have plenty! A lighthouse isn’t complete without its resident ghostly lightkeeper. Dianna Higgs Stampfler collected the best stories about Michigan’s lighthouses in this must-have book for any Michigan paranormal enthusiast. The book doubles as a tour guide to take with you on the road as many of the lighthouses written about are historic locations open to the public. The perfect summer road trip! 

By Dianna Higgs Stampfler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Travel Michigan’s coast—and into the state’s history—with otherworldly tales of the spirits of those who sought to keep its waters safe. 
 
Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, with more than 120 dotting its expansive Great Lakes shoreline. Many of these lighthouses lay claim to haunted happenings. Former keepers like the cigar-smoking Captain Townshend at Seul Choix Point and prankster John Herman at Waugoshance Shoal near Mackinaw City maintain their watch long after death ended their duties. At White River Light Station in Whitehall, Sarah Robinson still keeps a clean and tidy house, and a mysterious young girl at…


Book cover of Haunted Lansing

Amberrose Hammond Author Of Mysterious Michigan: The Lonely Ghost of Minnie Quay, the Marvelous Manifestations of Farmer Riley, the Devil in Detroit & More

From my list on the strange, unusual, and paranormal from Michigan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I got my start in paranormal investigation when it was a popular fad around 2000 and joined a ghost-hunting group. I became obsessed with the history behind hauntings and why ghost stories and legends persist over time. This love of the ghostly combined with my love of books and literature led me down the path of writing. I enjoy sharing strange and spooky history because it puts people in touch with their state's history in a fun and interesting way. So many people think history is boring facts and dates, but share a ghost story or a true crime mystery, and you have people’s attention. When that story happened close to home? Even better!

Amberrose's book list on the strange, unusual, and paranormal from Michigan

Amberrose Hammond Why did Amberrose love this book?

A haunted capital building, spooky cemeteries, the infamous Legend of Seven Gables Road, true crime, and more are all featured in this excellent book on ghosts and haunted places around our state capital and surrounding cities and towns. Carpenter has a very entertaining style of writing that makes this book hard to put down.   

By Jenn Carpenter, Erica Cooper (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Haunted Lansing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A tour guide for Demented Mitten Tours shares chilling supernatural tales from the history of Michigan’s capital.
 
Hastily dubbed the new capital in 1847, Lansing overcame derision and setbacks to become a booming metropolis. Yet its rich history hides chilling legends…
 
Bertie Clippinger plays tricks on the unwary at the Capitol Building, where the teen accidentally fell to his death when a game went horribly wrong. One of Lansing's founding families keeps a spectral vigil over its homestead, the Turner Dodge House. Malevolent spirits stalk the derelict Michigan School for the Blind. A witch's vengeful curse follows those who trespass…


Book cover of Michigan Haunts and Hauntings

Amberrose Hammond Author Of Mysterious Michigan: The Lonely Ghost of Minnie Quay, the Marvelous Manifestations of Farmer Riley, the Devil in Detroit & More

From my list on the strange, unusual, and paranormal from Michigan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I got my start in paranormal investigation when it was a popular fad around 2000 and joined a ghost-hunting group. I became obsessed with the history behind hauntings and why ghost stories and legends persist over time. This love of the ghostly combined with my love of books and literature led me down the path of writing. I enjoy sharing strange and spooky history because it puts people in touch with their state's history in a fun and interesting way. So many people think history is boring facts and dates, but share a ghost story or a true crime mystery, and you have people’s attention. When that story happened close to home? Even better!

Amberrose's book list on the strange, unusual, and paranormal from Michigan

Amberrose Hammond Why did Amberrose love this book?

This is the very first book I ever purchased when I became interested in all things paranormal in Michigan. This 1992 classic was one of the first popular books published that focused on Michigan’s ghosts, legends, and hauntings. The author, Marian Kuclo was a well-known storyteller around southwest Michigan and her collection of chilling tales introduced me to Michigan's paranormal world and inspired me to look deeper into some of the stories she wrote about. 

By Marion Kuclo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Michigan Haunts and Hauntings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you believe in ghosts? You will after reading this compilation of tales of the supernatural from Michigan's rich oral history! Some stories, such as the North American Indian legends and a few of the older accounts are from the author's personal folklore collection. Each was carefully researched from interviews with witnesses whenever possible. This permits many obscure and fascinating details in these tales of haunts and hauntings which in turn illuminate our local cultural heritage. Also contains a map of the haunted sites for readers who want to do a little research into Michigan's enthralling past on their own!


Book cover of The Other Me

C.J. Washington Author Of The Intangible

From my list on the fluidity of reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

My background is in computer science, specifically artificial intelligence. As a student, I was most interested in how our knowledge of the human brain could inform AI and vice versa. As such, I read as much neuroscience and psychology as I could and spent a lot of time thinking about how our minds create reality out of our senses. I always appreciate a novel that explores the fluidity of reality.

C.J.'s book list on the fluidity of reality

C.J. Washington Why did C.J. love this book?

On her 29th birthday, Kelly Holter walks through a door and into a life that barely resembles her own. And yet it is her own.

Is her reality wrong? Or are her memories wrong? Or are they both somehow correct? Part sci-fi, part thriller, all-consuming, The Other Me explores how the decisions we make influence the person we become, or don’t. The novel raises many fascinating questions and provides plenty of unexpected answers.

By Sarah Zachrich Jeng,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Other Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Who hasn't wondered what alternate versions of their lives might look like?...As relatable as it is suspenseful cleverly exploring adulthood, identity, and shifting realities.”
—Margarita Montimore, USA Today bestselling author of Oona Out of Order

An inventive page-turner about the choices we make and the ones made for us.

One minute Kelly’s a free-spirited artist in Chicago going to her best friend’s art show. The next, she opens a door and mysteriously emerges in her Michigan hometown. Suddenly her life is unrecognizable: She's got twelve years of the wrong memories in her head and she's married to Eric, a man…


Book cover of A People's Atlas of Detroit

Krysta Ryzewski Author Of Detroit Remains: Archaeology and Community Histories of Six Legendary Places

From my list on Detroit’s hidden histories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Few things bother me more than the negative stereotypes that portray Detroit as a deserted city in ruins - a crime-infested, neglected place where residents don’t care about their connections to the city’s history or its future. Detroit is a proud, living city. As a historical archaeologist at Wayne State University, I’ve been on the front lines of leading community-based archaeology projects in Detroit for the past decade. These projects involve advocacy for more inclusive historic preservation efforts, youth training initiatives, collaborative exhibits, and lots of interactions with the media and public. I view historical archaeology as a tool for serving local community interests, unearthing underrepresented histories, and addressing the legacies of social justice issues.

Krysta's book list on Detroit’s hidden histories

Krysta Ryzewski Why did Krysta love this book?

Detroit is a city shaped by social movements. Even in the city’s darkest times of violent uprisings, outmigration, and bankruptcy, ordinary Detroiters remained committed to transformative change - banding together to challenge issues of racial injustice, housing access, food sovereignty, workers’ rights, and accountable governance. A People’s Atlas of Detroit is community-based scholar-activism at its best.

The brilliantly illustrated collection of maps, essays, photographs, poetry, and interviews is the outcome of a multi-year project involving over fifty residents from all walks of life who are at the forefront of local social justice initiatives. Through its combination of radical cartography, historical perspectives, and firsthand reflections, A People’s Atlas elevates the voices of the underrecognized people who are actively charting courses for a more equitable urban future. 

By Linda Campbell (editor), Andrew Newman (editor), Sara Safransky (editor) , Tim Stallmann (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A People's Atlas of Detroit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In recent years, Detroit has been touted as undergoing a renaissance, yet many people have been left behind. A People's Atlas of Detroit, edited by Linda Campbell, Andrew Newman, Sara Safransky, and Tim Stallmann comes from a community-based participatory project called Uniting Detroiters that sought to use collective research to strengthen the organizing infrastructure of the city's long-vibrant grassroots sector and reassert residents' roles as active participants in the development process. Drawing on action research and counter-cartography, this book aims to both chart and help build movements for social justice in the city.

A People's Atlas of Detroit is organized…


Book cover of All Fudged Up

Sarah Fox Author Of Six Sweets Under

From my list on culinary cozy mystery to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cozy mystery lover with a sweet tooth, I devour dozens of mystery novels every year (many featuring food) and I love to sample new series while also following my long-time favorites. I have also written and published more than 15 cozy mysteries of my own, many of which have a culinary theme. Although I grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, I now live in a small town and I have a particular fondness for cozy small-town mysteries set by the ocean, as well as those featuring scrumptious treats.

Sarah's book list on culinary cozy mystery to satisfy your sweet tooth

Sarah Fox Why did Sarah love this book?

All Fudged Up features one of the most charming real-life settings I’ve come across in cozy mysteries.

The series takes place on the delightful Mackinac Island, where there are horse-drawn carriages instead of cars and plenty of historic buildings like the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop.

The main character, Allie McMurphy, spends her days whipping up batches of fudge, keeping the hotel running, and solving murders whenever her sweet puppy finds a body.

By Nancy Coco,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Fudged Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop--where life is sweet, revenge is sweeter, and murder is here to to stay. . .

You Can't Fudge An Alibi

Allie McMurphy is up to her neck in renovations at the grand old hotel that's been in her family for generations. With its quaint Victorian charm--and world-famous fudge shop--the place is one of Mackinac Island's most beloved landmarks.

Sure, every family has a skeleton or two in the closet. But Allie didn't expect to find an actual corpse inside hers, especially one Joe Jessup, who had a long-running feud with her…


Book cover of The Women of the Copper Country

Margaret Pinard Author Of The Keening

From my list on to hear forgotten voices of resistance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve devoured historical fiction ever since that first Johnny Tremain paperback, but I started writing historical fiction after a Master’s in International Economics helped me to better understand world events. What gives those historical events relevance today are the stories we tell about the negotiation of power. I am all for revisiting the power dynamic to win better quality of life for those most marginalized. I’ve been digging into labor history for my latest work in progress and it is fascinating and inspiring. I may write about 19th-century Scottish peasants and Chicago printers, but I also want today’s marginalized populations to see their struggles similarly celebrated.

Margaret's book list on to hear forgotten voices of resistance

Margaret Pinard Why did Margaret love this book?

This book blasted a crater in my chest when I read it last year. A complete surprise, as who among us has heard of the Copper Country Strike of 1913-14? Yet it was the first unionized strike in the region, and had a complicated effect on Michigan, the mining industry, and the lives of those who stood up to the rich mine owners. This book gives us such intimate details of the cost of standing up for one’s dignity and safe working conditions that it felt as important as today’s news. From the woman at the heart of the novel to the network of labor unions she pulled together, to the tragedies experienced by this small town, I loved it and cherished the inspiration for today’s fights.

By Mary Doria Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Women of the Copper Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Sparrow comes “historical fiction that feels uncomfortably relevant today” (Kirkus Reviews) about “America’s Joan of Arc”—the courageous woman who started a rebellion by leading a strike against the largest copper mining company in the world.

In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements has seen enough of the world to know that it’s unfair. She’s spent her whole life in the mining town of Calumet, Michigan, where men risk their lives for meager salaries—and have barely enough to put food on the table for their families. The women labor in the houses of the…


Book cover of Jewel

Carolyn Jewel Author Of Scandal: A Regency Historical Romance

From my list on historical romances to warm your heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading historical romance since I was a teen and writing it since I published my first historical romance in 1987. Since then I’ve written over forty romance novels, short stories, and novellas, many of which are historical romances. I adore history and research is never a chore for me. Graduate school and a project on Eleanore Sleath, an English author of Horrid Novels from the early 19th century, honed the research skills that I bring to my historical novels. There are times when readers need the certainty of the happy ending that Romance promises, and I love delivering on that promise in all my books. I hope everyone finds a new author to love from this list!

Carolyn's book list on historical romances to warm your heart

Carolyn Jewel Why did Carolyn love this book?

This was my first Jenkins Historical Romance and it was by no means the last. I confess I picked up the book because I was tickled that the title was my last name, but the story. Wow. It gripped me hard from the start. The historical setting is the American West of the 1870s and involves a couple who pretend to be married, for just one evening. The pretense ends in scandal and a real marriage to save their reputations, and the hero’s journey to love is deeply emotional. Some of Jenkins’s contemporary-set romances have been made into movies and I keep my fingers crossed that one day they’ll choose some of her historicals.

By Beverly Jenkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jewel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eli Grayson needs a wife - or at least, a woman willing to pretend to be his wife. So, he convinces longtime friend Jewel Crowley to play the part. After all, it's only dinner, and if this is what it takes to save his newspaper, so be it. They'll part ways at the end of the night and that will be that. But, all their plans are turned upside down when Eli's new partner announces their marriage to the whole town. Now, the wild Jewel and the womanizing Eli have to try to make a go of it if he…


Book cover of The Virgin Suicides

Nash Jenkins Author Of Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos

From my list on teenage sentimentality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I do not remember a time when I wasn’t captivated by stories about adolescence. This was the case when I myself was a teenager—when I sought in these overwrought sagas the sort of sentimental melodrama that eluded the banality of my own life—but curiously it’s no less true at thirty, for reasons that are fundamentally the same but somehow more urgent. Becoming an adult is an exercise in hardening; to grow up is to forget what it’s like to be beholden to one’s own autobiographical romance. The following titles offer a respite from the cynicism that is adulthood; as a writer and a human, I'm forever in their debt.

Nash's book list on teenage sentimentality

Nash Jenkins Why did Nash love this book?

I’d normally abstain from the pompous sin of quoting one’s own fiction, but I’m doing it here only to contextualize this recommendation.

“Adolescence is an exercise in coveting what exists just beyond our grasp,” my book’s narrator tells us in his preamble to his telling of Foster’s story. “It is this inaccessibility that sustains its magic.” To be fifteen is to be a voyeur looking wistfully in on the poignancy of others’ lives: this is the idea I tried to operationalize through the narrator’s project, with full knowledge that I’d never do it as lyrically as The Virgin Suicides. 

Nominally, the main characters of Eugenides’ debut are the five titular Lisbon sisters, who successively take their own lives, but we encounter them chiefly as figments of a collective imagination: in the captivated minds of a faceless group of teenage boys who witness the tragedies from afar.

As a sort of…

By Jeffrey Eugenides,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Virgin Suicides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing the Collins Modern Classics, a series featuring some of the most significant books of recent times, books that shed light on the human experience - classics which will endure for generations to come.

That girl didn't want to die. She just wanted out of that house. She wanted out of that decorating scheme.

The five Lisbon sisters - beautiful, eccentric and, now, gone - had always been a point of obsession for the entire neighbourhood.

Although the boys that once loved them from afar have grown up, they remain determined to understand a tragedy that has defied explanation. The…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Michigan, curiosity, and the paranormal?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Michigan, curiosity, and the paranormal.

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