The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Friday, February 28, 2014

WHERE You Buy Your Books is Important

I've blogged about the importance of independent bookstores, most recently here. And I've blogged about the indie bookstores visited while on my Great Lakes Adventures. I've even mentioned bookstores encountered when I'm not hiking, like my recent visit to Chicago's awesome Sandmeyer's Bookstore on Printer's Row. 

For a time, there were predictions that most bookstores would close due to the rise of the eBook (the sales of which have now gone flat) and the ease of purchasing books online. 

These predictions were wrong.

Shelf Awareness reports:

"Some 43 independent bookstores opened in 20 states during 2013, including a dozen established stores purchased by new owners and six branches of existing businesses."

(full report here)

Many established authors recognize the role indie bookstores have played in getting their books into the hands of readers. Some of those authors are now giving back. 

James Patterson, the wildly successful author of thrillers and, more recently, children's books, has pledged to give $1 million to indie bookstores. 

James Patterson

These grants are now being distributed. Read all about it here

And Sherman Alexie proposed that authors work at indie bookstores on Small Business Saturday. 

Sherman Alexie, the man with the plan

His plan:

"We book nerds will become booksellers. We will make recommendations. We will practice nepotism and urge readers to buy multiple copies of our friends' books. Maybe you'll sign and sell books of your own in the process. I think the collective results could be mind-boggling (maybe even world-changing)."

Many authors partnered with indie bookstores that day.

I consider my relationship 
with indie bookstores to be a 
lifetime partnership

As an avid reader, I cannot imagine a world without bookstores. They are places of wonder for me, places to discover new works by favorite authors, or discover a new author who will become a favorite. I value the expertise of indie booksellers and trust that when they put a book in my hands, it will be a wonderful read. 

As a writer, I partner with many indie bookstores to purchase the books I need to illuminate the history, geology, and other aspects of our Great Lakes. I absorb this information and then weave it into my books about my Great Lakes Adventures.

As a published author, I am honored that so many indie bookstores have placed my books on their shelves and into the hands of readers. As a thank you to the indies, I pre-released my second book to a dozen stores so they would have it before (Details here.)

Author and Indie Bookstore Partner, me, Loreen Niewenhuis

Remember:  Where you buy your books is important. Support your local indie bookstore, or find one in your region here.

And if you are a customer of, consider this article before you order from them in the future.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ice on Lake Michigan

There have been many reports about the remarkable amount of ice coverage on the Great Lakes during this frigid winter. The highest recorded total ice coverage on the Great Lakes is 94.7% from 1979 (the most modern data set only goes back to 1973). 

On February 12, the Great Lakes were 87% sealed with ice. 

Ice builds around Chicago's water intake

A witness to the freeze on Chicago's Navy Pier

Check out the remarkable growth of ice on Lake Michigan over a 4-day period this month here

Prevailing winds from the west tend to break up Lake Michigan's ice and push it across the lake to the shores of Indiana and Michigan. Large stacks of ice form along the shoreline.

Ice builds around Navy Pier

Ice floe meanders up the Chicago River

The ice coverage will reduce the amount of water that the lakes lose to evaporation this spring. Heavy precipitation this winter will flow to the lakes and raise them up to 11" this year.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chicago's Indie Bookstore


I am having a great winter in CHICAGO!

Recently, I stopped in at Sandmeyer's Bookstore in Chicago's historic Printer's Row. 

The owner, Ellen Sandmeyer, was there and we had a lovely chat. I met Ellen just before my first book came out and she was enthusiastic about my adventure. Both of my books are now on the shelves there!

Sandmeyer's Bookstore in Chicago's Printer's Row

 Chicago's annual Printer's Row Literary Festival takes place here on Dearborn street where this lovely indie bookstore is located. 

Inside the store with Ellen Sandmeyer!

 Remember: it's important WHERE you buy your books! Support your local indie bookstore, or any wonderful indie when you're traveling!

I picked up a copy of Donna Tartt's new novel!

To find indie bookstores wherever you may go, use the store finder on