“Thoughts on Thursdays: Views from the Shores of Lake Michigan,” is a collection of 65 columns Penning has written since he started as a community columnist for the Tribune in 2002.
The name reflects the fact that his column has appeared on the second Thursday of the month. The subtitle reflects the fact that some topics in the book are about West Michigan, but also that published views on national and global issues should not always come from the big cities on the east and west coasts.
Topics in the book range from humorous and lighthearted observations to more serious commentary about political or social issues. Topics include advocacy of public parks, the foibles of airline travel, the popularity of cooking shows, college education, local tourism or about having faith in government.
“People ask me what I write about and I say anything that’s going on currently or anything that comes to mind,” Penning said. “I often thought about quitting the column because it seems like the monthly deadline comes around fast. But then someone would tell me how much they liked my recent column and that gave me energy to write the next one.”
It was in early 2012 that Penning realized he had been writing the column for a decade. Several friends suggested he publish a collection in a book. He spent the past year reviewing and revising his favorite columns for the book.
Penning self-published the book under the name Penning Ink, his freelance business. The book is available from Schuler Books in stores and online at: