Books: 'Dust to Dust' & 'Coney Detroit'



Published:

Dust to Dust

Michigan-based writer and actor Benjamin Busch (Homicide and The Wire are among his television credits) has always been drawn to the elements. From his childhood spent exploring the fields and rivers of upstate New York to his military service in Iraq, Busch has been attracted to the transient nature of landscape and life. In his new memoir Dust to Dust (Ecco $26.99), Busch contemplates how water, metal, bone, and blood shape his experience and frame his existence.

His boyish attraction to guns, forts, adventure, and the wilderness was avid, which often required his father to seek and retrieve him from one side of town or the other. Busch’s parents, fresh from Vietnam War protests, forbade toy weapons. But their son couldn’t resist, and the interest led to enlisting and serving two tours of combat duty in Iraq as a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer.

The Vassar-educated son of novelist Frederick Busch, Benjamin adored his father yet opted for a life centered on the physical rather than the cerebral. He wrote “I gained comprehension of my environment by throwing myself against it. Digging, cutting, climbing, stacking. What my father built with words, I built with pieces of the earth, stones, and wood.”

His memoir, a meditation on the literal and figurative borders of life — country to country, river to lake, soil to dust, wood to ash, life to death, blood to bones, child to man — explores the wonders of the natural world and our solitary lives within it. — Megan Shaffer

 

Coney Detroit

For Detroiters, the coney dog needs no introduction. Among locals, the question, American or Lafayette, requires no further explanation.

But as chili-, mustard-, and onion-topped wieners gain popularity in glitzier locales (a Detroit-style coney diner opened in West Hollywood, Calif., last year), the uninitiated might require a primer in dog culture.

Enter Coney Detroit (Wayne State University Press, $24.95), by Katherine Yung and Joe Grimm. With the help of a dozen photographers, Yung, a Detroit Free Press reporter, and Grimm, an ex-staffer at the newspaper, have compiled a coney compendium documenting Michigan’s dog loyalty, from downtown’s bean-less chili dogs to Koegel wieners topped with a beef heart-based meat sauce in Flint. The book combines lore and history as it introduces readers to famous coneys around the state, along with images of the people and places that keep the tradition alive.

With the book’s dog tales stretching well beyond the Motor City, the Coney Detroit title is something of a misnomer. Even the House of Doggs in Traverse City receives four pages of coverage.

The writers and photographers, having consumed more than 500 coneys for their “research,” are donating revenue from book sales to Gleaners Community Food Bank. For that alone, Coney Detroit cuts the mustard. — Mark Kurlyandchik


If you enjoy the monthly content in Hour Detroit, "Like" us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Ferndale Music Festival Aims for TV Show

One-day event to feature more than two dozen acts

Weaving Detroit History Together

A beaded belt among goods used to seal the deal for Detroit’s Belle Isle

Good Reads: New and Notable Books

New photo-focused books tell a tale of ‘Two Detroits.’ Plus, See You in the Cosmos and The Detroit Public Library: An American Classic

The Way It Was

Berkley’s shopping district, 1959

Who to Watch at the Tony Awards

U-M composers already have a Golden Globe and an Oscar. And perhaps this Sunday, a Tony, too
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best of Detroit 2017
    Our reader's picks for the Best of Detroit winners in food, drink, leisure, people, and services
  2. How Soil Shapes the Flavor of Michigan Wines
    A northern Michigan winemaker has begun unraveling the mysteries of his vineyard's 'terroir.'
  3. Real Estate All Stars 2017
  4. Michigan’s fledgling Bay View Wine Trail makes its own way
    Every winery has a distinct personality in the Petoskey area
  5. Hour Detroit’s Top Dentist Party 2017
    On May 8, Hour Media held its Top Dentists party at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. The private dinner...