MN Reads

Lucie Amundsen's account of the little-egg-farm-that-could is just like her:  funny, vivacious and witty.  You can picture her at a dinner table,  laughingly recounting these stories while her audience laughs along in the presence of a master storyteller.

University of Minnesota Press

  MN Reads talks with Sue Leaf, author of Portage: A Family, a Canoe, and the Search for the Good Life, published in 2015 by the University of Minnesota Press.  Reflecting on many years of travel by canoe with friends and family in this collection of essays organized by trip, Sue writes of a larger journey of resiliency and awareness of the natural beauty that has surrounded her.

  Booklist says, "For sheer wintry relentlessness and icebound desolation, the various Scandinavian settings now fashionable in thrillers cannot compete with the decaying shipping and mining city of Duluth, Minnesota."

Author Brian Freeman talks about the challenges of trying to set noir mystery novels in a city that's rapidly becoming known for it's forward thinking and natural beauty ... and why Duluth is just the right size: "you always seem to be bumping into your past."

David Backes was a college student on the verge of dropping out until he found the books of Sigurd Olson.

34 years after his death, Backes talks about meeting Olson and their enduring friendship, compiling a book of his writings, and how Olson warned our  distractedness, decades before the advent of cell phones, is cutting us off from our essential humanness.

Mary Casanova on collaboration, breaking the rules, and the power of blueberry pancakes.

Social media is all abuzz with the story of  J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, taking actor Alan Rickman aside and confiding to him a secret.  No one else knew what was going to happen in the series, of course, but Rowling knew Rickman needed this piece of information to play his character in the movie adaptation.

So how do the writers of books in a series do it?  Plot it all out in advance like Rowling did? Or, as many authors maintain, do the characters take over and surprise their authors?


Michael McConnell and his husband of 44 years, Jack Baker, were gay-married when gay-married wasn't cool - or even legal.  But was it?  How it's possible that gay marriage was legal all along ... and an inspiring story where, not surprisingly, love wins.

Writing, like many other creative pursuits, isn't likely to make you rich.  In fact, you'd be lucky if you could buy the odd sack of groceries now and then.

So what happened when Lake Superior Writers, a loosely-knit group of 200 or so ranging from professional to wanna-be writers, offered as the prize for the 2016 Fiction Writing Contest something they thought writers wanted more than money - or even groceries?  Turned out they were right.

University of Minnesota Press

  KUMD talks with journalist, columnist, and author Rick Shefchik about his newest book, Everybody's Heard About the Bird: The True Story of 1960s Rock 'n' Roll in Minnesota, published in 2015 by the University of Minnesota Press.  Recordings by The Trashmen ("Surfin' Bird"), The Castaways ("Liar, Liar") and The Gestures ("Run, Run, Run") helped place Minnesota on the rock and roll map in that decade.

A very special Christmas Eve episode of MN Reads with Kevin Kling: how to survive the holidays with family and why the mitten is always big enough.

Anyone can come up with a quick menu for winter or summer ... but what's the right meal for "scorch," "dusk," "frost" or "thaw"?

Tracey Singleton knows.  She's teamed up with Chef Marshall Paulsen and, with Beth Dooley and photographer Mette Nielsen, has the lowdown in "The Birchwood Cafe Cookbook."

The back-of-the-jacket blurb says "Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing ... his life ... is revealed in series of hilarious letters of recommendation ... each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits and passive-aggressive strategies."

But all you really need to know is that, amidst the tragedy and angst of the last week or so, this is just exactly the book you need to read.

Through dark December solstice nights
We learn to love and seek the light
Where Christmas light abounds
And all around is found ...

In a perfect world,  "The Reindeer Wish" would be sold with a few sets of earplugs.

The latest collaboration by Evert; her husband, award-winning photographer Per Breiehagen and their daughter Anja continues the whimsical adventures of a little girl in her rather magical world.

The earplugs aren't for the reader but for the other people in the room, because it's almost impossible to get through this tale of a child and her baby reindeer pal without delighted squeals.

 Tracks in the Wild, a Minnesota Book Award winner in 1994, has been reissued by the University of Minnesota Press.

Turns out, it's a perfect companion to Larry Weber's Backyard Almanac, and its author/illustrator, Northland gem Betsy Bowen, shares his passion for getting outdoors to see what's what.