MN Reads

Last week, it was fascinating to discover how well Duluth and the Northland fit into the moody-atmospheric-stark-Scandinavian-crime-fiction genre.

This week?  Guess what fits neatly into the moody-atmospheric-gothic-horror genre?

You'll never look at the historic Old Central High School the same way again.

For Brian Laidlaw,  Bob Dylan wasn't just a role model, he was the role model for the aspiring poet/musician.

In this, his first book of poetry, Laidlaw envisions Bob Dylan as a stunt man, taking the risks that, perhaps, Robert Zimmerman would have been unable to take. The result is, according to the author, "A loud book by a quiet person."

Just in time for our month-long celebration of 30 years of Laura Erickson's For The Birds -- a long-awaited field guide to the birds she's been telling us about since 1986.

Ann Treacy's new book for "middle grades" sheds light on a perhaps unexpected chapter of Minnesota history: the Romani people in the state around the turn of the last century.

If you were a little bewildered trying to follow the action the first time you read Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland ... you're not alone.

But for one reader, it was like coming home.

Erika Adams has Auditory Processing Disorder, a kind of breakdown between what the ear hears and what the brain processes.  People with APD can have trouble making sense of what other people say - rather like Alice in Wonderland. 

Erika recognized the similarities right away ... and channelled them into her novella.

Entrepreneur, speaker and author Scott Schwefel talks about how your voyage of self-discovery ends, not with success or wealth necessarily, but with offering a hand to the people coming up behind you.

James Shiffer's The King of Skid Row: John Bachich and the Twilight Years of Old Minneapolis is a photo-packed expose of a place, a time, and a population city leaders would just as soon forget.

Back in 1935, Cheri Register's great-grandfather wrote a scathing article headlined Connivings of Dishonest Men Cheat Nature as Well As Fellow Beings, Writer Avers

Over 80 years after Elbert Ostrander wrote that essay in protest of the commercial interests that had drained 18,000 acres of wetland in southeastern Minnesota's Freeborn County,  Minnesotans are still coming to grips with preservation v. development, locals v. "outsiders," and jobs and economic development v. environmental concerns.

For much of history, its accounts have been written by men - white men - for men.

So only one voice was heard and only part of the story was told.

In this history of the Red Lake Nation, commissioned by Red Lake band itself, author/historian/Ojibwe linguist Anton Treuer draws on material from the Red Lake archives, made available for the first time.

It's not only history from another voice, telling another part of the story - "We are much more than  the sum of our tragedies" says Treuer -  it's an entirely new way to think about the research and writing of history.

Taiyon Coleman contributed one of the essays in this engrossing, eye-opening view of the state by sixteen  non-white writers.

Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous voices share their Minnesota; what it's like to be a person of color in "one of the whitest states in the nation."

"The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.  They make one story become the only story."  ~ Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The 8th grade writing club at Duluth Edison Charter School has more than a writing teacher to guide it; it has an author.

 And Elissa Janine Hoole, whose third Young Adult novel, The Memory Jar has just been published, has more than students; she has  inspiration, critics and readers.

"Maybe some day you will prove us wrong."

Those words from the managing editor of a local paper,  a dreadlocked best friend's deep-seated desire to road trip with no money, and stories  of  "the  culture of cruelty" in the southern US became a pilgrimage, of sorts, and a documentary called Roots of Rescue four years ago.

We don't think a lot about the people who founded the Mayo Clinic in Rochester; if we think about it at all, it's in a context of - perhaps literally - life and death.