Rademacher launches second book of stories

Long-time columnist for The Grand Rapids Press lauded for reminding readers of ‘the love, hope and humor in our own lives’ 

Nationally acclaimed newspaper columnist Tom Rademacher of Rockford has launched a second book of stories culled from the thousands he authored during his 30-plus years for The Grand Rapids Press.

Entitled “Knocking At Your Door,” area bookstores are bracing for brisk sales this holiday season in the wake of his debut book “Splitting Wood,” which at one point was outselling Sarah Palin’s memoir at area Schuler Books & Music outlets.

“We’re proud to partner with Tom as he continues to share his storytelling skills with readers who embrace his unique ability to connect with everyday people,” said Grand Rapids Press Publisher Dan Gaydou. “He has a gift, and it deserves to be shared not only in the Sunday Press, where he continues to be published, but in another anthology of collected works.”

“Knocking At Your Door” includes more than 80 columns, including stories of:

• a youngster whose discovery of a motherless fawn helped heal his own pain;

• the Air Force vet who agonized for 52 years over what happened after bombs from his plane took out another U.S. aircraft directly below him;

• Jackie, the woman who endured a coma for more than half a century;

• an area man whose life was changed when his dog chewed off his toe;

• and memories of The Glass Hut… an ArtPrize artist who ekes it out from a 12-by-12-foot log cabin… a gentleman who worked 18 years for his community college degree… “Hattem’s Cocktail Room”… and many more.

“I’ve rubbed shoulders with billionaires and movie stars and sports icons, but I’m convinced that my best stuff has always been in the telling of stories about people who live next door, around the corner, both gently and demonstratively in our midst,” said Rademacher. “Give me a woman who still hangs laundry on a line, kids who volunteer, the dad who coaches a t-ball team after working a 10-hour day. Those people are real.”

Rademacher came up with the title “Knocking At Your Door” while reliving a day early in his Press career, when he was assigned to return to the newsroom with an interview of a Belding mother whose young daughter had been murdered. Explaining that he wanted to capture Danielle’s life as well as her death, the mother acquiesced, sharing how her daughter “was happiest doing art, making angels in the snow.”

“I knock on doors for a living,” said Rademacher. “And with rare exception, people open up, revealing a sense of grace that nearly transcends human bounds. Under the right circumstances, they’re willing to share their joys, their sorrows, how they’re both struggling and soaring.”

Rademacher set a new standard in being honored two consecutive years by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists with first-place awards for best general interest columns among the nation’s largest newspapers. Jeffrey Zaslow, co-author of the international bestseller “The Last Lecture,” lauds Rademacher as a writer who, “in each of his deftly crafted stories, reminds us of the love, hope and humor in our own lives.”

Rademacher will sell and sign copies of “Knocking At Your Door” at the following locations and dates:

• Schuler Books & Music, 28th St. SE, just east of Breton: Thursday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m.

• Schuler Books & Music, Alpine Ave., just north of I-96 interchange: Saturday, Dec. 17, 1–2 p.m.

• Barnes & Noble, Rivertown Crossings Mall, Grandville: Saturday, Dec. 17, 4 p.m.

• Herman’s Boy, 220 Northland Dr. NE, Rockford: Saturday, Dec. 17, 10 a.m. to noon

• Kimberly’s Boutique, downtown Rockford: Friday, Dec. 23, 4–6 p.m.

• Great Northern Trading Company, downtown Rockford: Friday, Dec. 23, 6–8 p.m.

Rockford signings help fund North Kent Community Services and Rockford Area Museum.

“Knocking At Your Door” is published by Lake Michigan Books in conjunction with The Grand Rapids Press, and is for sale in major bookstores in Kent and Ottawa counties for $14.99. Partial proceeds go to help the Santa Claus Girls, a long-time nonprofit organization sponsored by The Press. The book is also available by mail. Send a check for $20 to “Lake Michigan Books” at PO Box 226, Rockford, MI 49341. Be sure to include your return address with ZIP.

For more information, including how to arrange a signing or presentation, e-mail the author at rademachertom@gmail.com.

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