Thorp tests readers’ Michigan trivia knowledge in first book, plans another


Davison-native Michael J. Thorp is the author of The Great, Great     Lakes Trivia Test.     Davison-native Michael J. Thorp is the author of The Great, Great Lakes Trivia Test. FLINT — While he’s spent the past year writing The Great, Great Lakes Trivia Test, Michael J. Thorp will tell you that the idea for his first book was concocted years ago — about 15 years ago, at a diner in Escanaba.

At the time, Thorp was a broadcaster, working in both television and radio. As he sat at the diner in northern Michigan, about a dozen different Escanaba fun facts on the placemat caught his eye.

“I looked at that and I thought that’s kind of interesting,” said Thorp, a 55-yearold Flint resident. “I folded it up and put it in my pocket. … I started collecting stuff like that, if it caught my interest. I collected it and tossed it in my box.”

Over the years, Thorp would return to that box and use different tidbits of information on his TV or radio shows, it helped provide background information for stories he worked on as a reporter, and even would be used in trivia contests. Then, about a year and a half ago Thorp looked at the box, recently laid off and freelancing, and decided it was time to do something with all the trivia he had.

A self-described “historian at heart” and by profession, a story teller and interviewer, Thorp based his book on the six most important questions — who, what, where, when, why and how?

“If you can answer all those questions you’ve got a story,” Thorp said, adding that those are the six chapters in the book.

In addition to just providing questions and answers in the multiple-choice book, Thorp said he tried to tell a story about each bit of trivia.

“I don’t just answer the question, I try to explain why that happened,” he said. “I also try to make all the answers that you see there seem reasonable, and sometimes the possible answers are almost as much fun as the real answer.”

Thorp, who graduated from Davison High School in 1973 and served on the Goodrich Board of Education for 17 years, said he is excited to add author to his extensive resume. In fact, he already has plans for his second book — a children’s book that tells the almost true story of how the Huckleberry Railroad at Crossroads Village got its name.

Ultimately, Thorp’s goal in writing The Great, Great Lakes Trivia Test was to show people just how interesting and unique Michigan is.

“We have everything here – we have a great maritime tradition, which people don’t even think of, we’re the automobile capitol of the world still,” Thorp said. “… When you start looking at what Michigan is all about, we’ve got it all and I want people to see that and just how interesting our history is and how it connects with us today.”

For more information and to order the book, visit