What’s the deal with Dead Man’s Curve? | Book Talk

Why do people love the Browns despite their lackluster record, and why do Browns fans really hate the Steelers? Why are Cleveland’s hippies concentrated in Coventry Village? How did all those Cleveland jokes originate?

Jim Sweeney has researched these important questions and more than 60 others to write “What’s the Deal with Dead Man’s Curve? And Other Really Good Questions About Cleveland.”


Well, Dead Man’s Curve is, according to Sweeney, “probably the only 90-degree turn in the U.S. interstate system” and, despite a reduced speed limit and flashing signs, accounts for many accidents. The reason it’s there is related to Burke Lakefront Airport, which is the subject of another question: “Why is Burke Lakefront Airport Still There, Taking Up All That Prime Lakefront Property?”

Some questions are matter-of-fact, like “Who is That Building Named After?” Others are on the brighter side: “Where Do Those ‘CHOC’ Stickers Come From?” There are weighty topics like racism, poverty and population loss. Sweeney might think about writing a sequel.

“What’s the Deal with Dead Man’s Curve” (182 pages, softcover) costs $16.95 from Gray & Co. Sweeney has been a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the News-Herald in Willoughby.

Sweeney will sign “What’s the Deal with Dead Man’s Curve?” at 1 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 7900 Mentor Avenue, Mentor.

‘Sean and the Book Cures’

Reading, science and generosity are themes in “Sean and the Book Cures: The Great Sacrifice … Can You Spare a Kidney?” by Shaker Heights teacher Chante Thomas.

Middle schooler Sean is a pretty happy guy, especially because his cousin Blake is in his class. Sean is an avid reader and one day Blake asks him to research books about kidney failure. Sean has his ideas why but decides to ask no questions.


The boys form a list of questions about kidneys and their function, and about what happens when they malfunction. They visit a nephrologist who tells them of the importance of donation, especially among people of color.

Adults likely will realize the reason for Blake’s interest before children. The book is a follow-up to 2021’s pandemic-themed “Sean and the Book Cures.”

“Sean and the Book Cures: The Great Sacrifice” (41 pages, hardcover) costs $15 and is recommended for readers 6-12. The illustrations are by Samiullah Sahito.

‘The Swing on the Star’

A little girl has vivid dreams in “The Swing on the Star in the Royal Purple Sky: Adventures of the Little Girl Seeking Her Lost Inner Light” by Cleveland native Laura Elizabeth Gray. The unnamed red-haired girl rummages in her storage trunk for her gloves before she rushes outside to catch snowflakes and make a snow angel.


After coming back inside, the girl falls asleep, dreaming of flowers and butterflies and a majestic oak tree. Awakened and put in the tub by her mother, the girl imagines underwater adventure, riding a seahorse and a turtle. At the end, she realizes that real nature is as beautiful as her dreams.

“The Swing on the Silver Star in the Royal Purple Sky” (43 pages, softcover) costs $13.99 from online retailers. The bright illustrations are by Canadian artist Bonnie Lemaire. Gray lives in Mentor.

‘Beauty Is Me’

Tallmadge teenager Sarah Madison Gordon took time during the pandemic to write “Beauty Is Me,” about a girl named Sizzy who is uncertain about a classroom assignment.

Sizzy’s teacher gives everyone in the fourth-grade class a word to define but runs out of words before she gets to Sizzy. Improvising, she tells Sizzy to define “beauty.” The students will give their definitions the following day.


Sizzy’s classmates provide their own definitions of beauty, but none seems right. After a talk with her mother and a walk in the park, Sizzy comes to the realization that “I am Beauty and you are Beauty.”

“Beauty is Me” (30 pages, softcover) costs $16 from online retailers. Sarah Gordon illustrated the book.


Fireside Books (29 N. Franklin St., Chagrin Falls): Baltimore author J. Wynn Rousuck signs “Please Write,” a novel about a Cleveland widow and a Baltimore dog named Zippy, 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Mentor Public Library (8215 Mentor Ave.): Photographer and author Ian Adams signs “Ohio’s Cemeteries and Burial Grounds,” 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday. Register at mentorpl.org.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Beachwood branch, 25501 Shaker Blvd.): J. Wynn Rousuck signs “Please Write,” 7 to 8 p.m. Monday. Register at cuyahogalibrary.org.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (North Royalton branch, 5071 Wallings Road): Nick Baumgardner and Mark Snyder discuss “Mountaintop: The Inside Story of Michigan’s 1997 National Title Climb,” 7 to 8 p.m. Monday. Register at cuyahogalibrary.org.

Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library: Stephanie Land, author of “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” joins the Online Author Talk Series with “Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education,” 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesday. Register at smfpl.org.

Reed Memorial Library (167 E. Main St., Ravenna): David Giffels talks about “The Beginning Was the End: Devo in Ohio,” 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Barnes & Noble (198 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake): Terry Pluto signs “The Guy with the Sign: And Other Thoughts on Faith in Everyday Life,” 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

North Water Street Gallery (257 N. Water St., Kent): David Giffels talks about “The Beginning Was the End: Devo in Ohio,” 7 p.m. Friday.

Barnes & Noble (4015 Medina Road, Bath): Terry Pluto signs “The Guy with the Sign,” 2 p.m. Saturday.

Walls of Books (7783 Ridgewood Drive, Parma): “Mistletoe and Murder” features mystery authors from the Northeast Ohio chapter of Sisters in Crime, including Jane Turzillo (“Wicked Women of Ohio”), Cari Dubeil (“How to Remember”), Barbara Phipps and Wendy Koile (“Lake Erie Murder & Mayhem”), from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Email information about books of local interest, and event notices at least two weeks in advance to BeaconBookTalk@gmail.com and bjnews@thebeaconjournal.com. Barbara McIntyre tweets at @BarbaraMcI.

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This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: What’s the deal with Dead Man’s Curve? | Book Talk