Tuesday, December 5, 2017

An interview with Richard Retyi on the occasion of the publication of the publication of his first book

Damn Arbor alum Rich Retyi has just published his first book, The Book of Ann Arbor: An Extremely Serious History Book. He will be discussing the book tomorrow night at Literati Bookstore at 7 pm. The Book of Ann Arbor compiles many of the historical stories you may have heard on Rich's podcast, Ann Arbor Stories.

This afternoon, Rich and I sat down at our respective computers to discuss his book over email.

Ben Connor Barrie: What is your favorite story in the book?

Rich Retyi: he saddest is It's Lovely to Die Together. The most messed up are Ann Arbor Cages Public Animal #1 or The Torch Murders. The grossest is A Brief History of Poop. The historicaliest is Dirty Rotten Founders. But Ben, my favorite is obviously the Dam Arbor chapter!

BCB: What was the best part about writing the book?

RR: Nothing. It fucking sucks to write a book. That's not exactly true. Going down 41 rabbit holes to write these stories—reading all these old newspaper articles and looking through old photos from the Ann Arbor District Library's archives—that's a lot of fun. But deadlines and editors who hit me and did I mention deadlines? I also feel really weird signing my book because that feels super pretentious. Wait, your question was what did you hate about writing this book, right?

BCB: Is your book the best local holiday gift for the 2017 season?

RR: No. It's the third best holiday gift for the 2017 season. The first best would be John Bacon's book about when the town of Halifax blew up. The second would be a t-shirt from The Bar at Braun Court. THEN Book of Ann Arbor.

The Book of Ann Arbor: An Extremely Serious History Book, published by Fifth Avenue Press, is available at Nicola's Books, Literati, Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Amazon.

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