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

Advocacy on the Agenda

Former community organizer set to assume office as Michigan’s first Asian-American female state representative

Spreading the Wealth

South Central survivor Louis Green launches a $100 million annual fund to give minority-owned businesses a shot at grabbing a piece of Detroit’s redevelopment pie

A Spry 100

Iconic Detroit Athletic Club building marks its centennial

The Way It Was

Glowing Reviews

Journey through holiday nights at Greenfield Village
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Pure Ludington Brrrew Fest Weekend
    Bundle up and head out to Ludington on January 31
  2. Ours and Theirs: Old Mission Peninsula
    OMP winemakers, winery owners weigh in on ‘must-try’ wines
  3. M-Brew’s Brews & Bites with Short’s Brewing Company
    The Michigan-only brewery pairs up with the Michigan-only café to host an informal beer tasting