Mysteries, folktales, history and adventure
Sep 02, 2019 05:58AM
● By Editor
By Mary Ann Grossman of twincities.com - September 2, 2019
Fall is the big season for new books, and Minnesota authors and publishers are offering enough good reading to keep us going well into spring. Here’s a clip-and-save list to whet your appetite. (Author appearances are in parenthesis.)
“Beverly, Right Here” by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press) — Two-time Newbery Medalist completes her trilogy abut three girlfriends she introduced in “Raymie Nightingale,” followed by “Louisiana’s Way Home.” Now she tells the story of brave, tough-as-nails Beverly, determined to find her own way at age 14 without depending on anyone. But she can’t help forming connections with the people around her and she learns to see herself through their eyes. (Sept. 24 publication date)
“The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjornsen and Moe,”translated by Tiina Nunnally; foreword by Neil Gaiman (University of Minnesota Press) — Folktales collected by Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe began appearing in Norway in 1841. Now, their names are synonymous with Norwegian storytelling traditions. This is the first new English translation in more than 150 years — and the first ever to include all 60 original tales.
“Hopeful Monsters” by Roger McKnight (Storgy Books) — Debut story collection depicts individuals hampered by hardship, self-doubt, and societal indifference, who find glimmers of hope in life’s more inauspicious moments. A fictional reflection on Minnesota’s people that explores the state’s transformation from a homogeneous northern European ethnic enclave to a multi-national American state.
“Ice Cold Heart” by P.J. Tracy (Crooked Lane Books) — In Tracy’s 10th thriller in her MonkeeWrench series, Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth find the body of a woman who seemed to be the victim of sadistic sex play gone wrong, while the Monkeewrench gang of techno-wizards takes on a job programming security for a big company dealing in cryptocurrency. And tall, skinny Roadrunner, one of the Monkeewrenchers, gets his turn in the spotlight and falls in love. P.J. Tracy is the pen name of Traci Lambrecht. (7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, Once Upon a Crime, 604 W. 26th St., Mpls.)
“Jack and the Ghost” by Chan Poling and Lucy Michell (University of Minnesota Press) — In this slim picture book for adults, two prominent musicians tell a Gothic, lyrical story of a shipwreck, ghosts, and lost and found love in a North Shore town. Jack Cooper lives alone, haunted by grief, when a ghostly woman appears to lure him to land’s end, to the beckoning waves that have broken his heart. Jack’s female childhood friend, Red, tries to counter the ghost’s allure.
“The Liar’s Daughter” by Megan Cooley Peterson (Holiday House Publishing) — Peterson, author of more than 80 nonfiction books for children, bases her debut young adult novel on her teen years when she was part of a repressive, cult-like doomsday church. Piper, who’s 17, knows that Father is a Prophet and head of a congregation that worships him. As she cares for her little sisters she longs to see more of her beautiful mother and her father, who tells them Outside is a dangerous place. One day, They come to take the children away, just as Father warned. Piper wakes up in a different house with a woman who she confuses with her cult mother. Has she been in this house before? Who is she?
“Cracking the Bell” by Geoff Herbach (Katherine Tegen Books) — Minnesota Book Award-winner’s middle grade novel focuses on Isaiah, whose life is given structure and discipline by football after his family is torn apart by his sister’s death. When Isaiah is concussed and can no longer deliver those big hits, he has to figure out what his life will be like without the sport that all his friends play. Who will keep his family together, and what will happen to the scholarship he was offered to Cornell?
“Ruby & Roland” by Faith Sullivan (Milkweed Editions) — At the turn of the 20th century, Ruby Drake finds work at a farm with a kind family and falls in love with her married neighbor. When she is asked to care for the man’s distraught wife, the two women forge an unlikely friendship. How will feisty, smart, headstrong and sometimes outspoken Ruby choose between duty and passion? Another in Sullivan’s series set in Harvester, Minn. (Sept 9, Literature Lovers’ Night out, Stillwater; Sept. 10, Literature Lovers’ Night out, Excelsior; 7 p.m. Sept. 16, launch party, Open Book, 1011 Washington Ave. S., Mpls.)
“If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now” by Christopher Ingraham (Harper) — Washington Post data reporter Christopher Ingraham’s story about Red Lake County Minnesota, being “The absolute worst place to live in America …” went viral and he received angry but polite comments from the people of Red Lake Falls. Accepting an invitation to visit the town, Ingraham realized it would be a great place for him and wife Briana to raise their twin boys. Subtitled “Why We Traded the Commuting Life For A Little House on the Prairie,” this light-hearted memoir tells of the couple’s happiness at lower housing prices in Minnesota, Ingraham’s ability to work at home and not have to commute, and his wife’s involvement in the community. A valentine to small-town living (except for bad pizza). (7 p.m. Sept, 12, Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., in conversation with former Minnesota Public Radio journalist Tom Weber.)
New from Minnesota Historical Society Press: “Minnesota’s Black Community in the 21st Century” by Minnesota Black Community Project and “From Seven Rivers to Ten Thousand Lakes: Minnesota’s Indian American Community,” by Preeti Mathur.
“Bloody Genius” by John Sandford (Putnam) — In his 12th crime novel featuring Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension officer Virgil Flowers, Sandford (pen name for former Minnesotan John Camp) has fun with two feuding departments at a local state university. When a renowned yet confrontational scholar winds up dead, Flowers is brought in to investigate and realizes these people are crazy, at least on one particular issue. Among the zealots lurks a killer, and Virgil has to solve the crime.
“The Devils Came in From the Country” by James Anderson O’Neal (Three Ocean Press) — A war refugee returns to Liberia and sees extreme poverty and scars from decades of bloodshed that unleash his memories. His world changes forever when a moral dilemma echoes his family’s corrupt history. Guided by a woman whose journey is the opposite of his, a village healer and a faithless former priest, he faces the warlords who shattered his psyche.
“Evidence of V: A Novel in Fragments, Facts, and Fictions” by Sheila O’Connor (Rose Metal Press) – Award-winning O’Connor blends fact and fiction in the story of V, a talented 15-year-old singer in 1930s Minneapolis. Drawing on the practice of incarcerating “wayward” adolescent girls for “immorality” in the first part of the 20th century, O’Connor follows V from her early work as a nightclub entertainer to her six-year state school sentence for a unplanned pregnancy. The book is a hybrid based on the author’s family history, photographs, social commentary on juvenile incarceration, feminism, adoption and generational trauma. (7 p.m. Oct. 26, Moon Palace, 3032 Minnehaha Ave., Mpls.; 2 p.m. Nov 3, Next Chapter Booksellers, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul.
“Mumbo Gumbo Murder” by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran (Berkley Prime Crime) — Gerry Schmitt, writing as Childs, sets this new scrapbooking mystery during Jazz Fest in New Orleans, where Carmela Bertrand owns a scrapbook shop. When antiques dealer Devon Dowling is murdered with an ice pick, Carmela and her fashionista friend Ava are determined to find their friend’s killer. (Noon Oct. 5, Once Upon a Crime, 604 W. 26th St., Mpls.)
“Suicide Woods” by Benjamin Percy (Graywolf Press) — From the author of “The Dark Net” the werewolf novel “Red Moon” and the James Bond comic book series comes a short story collection and a novella that include includes horror, crime and weird happenings. (7 p.m. Oct. 22, Next Chapter Booksellers, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul)
“Swede Hollow” by Ola Larsmo (University of Minnesota Press) — Gustaf and Anna Klar and their three children leave Sweden for New York in 1897, taking with them a terrible secret and a longing for a new life. They make their way to St. Paul’s Swede Hollow, a cluster of shacks in a deep, wooded ravine that is home to Irish, Italian and Swedish immigrants. Larsmo’s award-winning novel, published in Sweden in 2016, was a bestseller and the basis for a successful play. This is its first English translation. (6:30 p.m. Oct. 10, East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St., St. Paul; optional 4:30 p.m. walking tour; go to [email protected] or call 651-207-4926)
“Closing Time” by Bill Lindeke and Andy Sturdevant (Minnesota Historical Society Press) — History of bars, taverns, saloons and speakeasies that have been part of the cultural, social and physical landscape of St. Paul and Minneapolis since rum trader Pig’s Eye Parrant built a small shack in a Mississippi bluff in 1838 that became the first business in the city of St. Paul — a saloon.
“The Lost Brothers: A Family’s Decades-Long Search” by Jack el-Hai (University of Minnesota Press) — When the three young Klein brothers disappeared from a north Minneapolis park in 1951, investigators concluded the boys had drowned and closed the case. The boy’s parents eventually cast doubt on the drowning verdict and even suggested suspects in the boy’s abduction. Minnesota Book Award-winner El-Hai’s research into the boys’ disappearance for a 1998 article sparked renewed interest in the case. (7 p.m. Nov. 6, Next Chapter Booksellers, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul)
“What God Is Honored Here? Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color “ edited by Sharon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang (University of Minnesota Press) — One of the most-discussed books of the season, this anthology features writing by 23 women who have undergone miscarriage and infant loss, experiences that disproportionately affect women who have often been cast toward the margins in the United States. Both editors, Minnesota Book Award winners, have personal experience with infant loss and miscarriage and wanted to add to the few resources for women of color or Native American women dealing with this kind of grief. (7 p.m. Nov. 11, Next Chapter Booksellers, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul)
“Slavery’s Reach” by Christopher P. Lehman (Minnesota Historical Society Press) — From the 1840s through the end of the Civil War, leading Minnesotans invited slaveholders and their wealth into the free territory and free state of Minnesota, enriching the area’s communities and residents. The money generated by Minnesota investments flowed both ways, supporting some of the South’s largest plantations.
“Nothing More Dangerous” by Allen Eskens (Little, Brown) — Race and social class in a small town are linked in this story of high school freshman Boady Sanden, who lives in the Ozark hills with his widowed mother. His life changes when a black family, including Thomas Elgin, moves into the community, forcing Boady to rethink his understanding of the world. Hidden secrets come out, the biggest being the disappearance of Lida Poe, the African-American woman who keeps the books at the local plastics factory. Boady discovers a deep link between his life and hers.
“Panic River” by Elliott Foster (Calumet Editions) — Corey Fischer is a gay man who experiences long-standing rejection by a homophobic father, a lack of support from his distant mother, and betrayal by his partner, Nick, who after 20 years of marriage has grown tired of supporting Corey, a struggling painter. When Corey’s father dies and leaves him the family cabin in Wisconsin and a pair of hunting rifles, Corey and Nick embark on a fateful deer hunt.
“The Thirteenth Month” by Colin Hamilton (Black Lawrence Press) — Debut novel from a St. Paulite who helped develop the Minneapolis Central Library and the Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts, now a staffer for Public Radio International. The story is about a constant reader who experiences the world through books. (7 p.m. Nov. 21, Next Chapter Booksellers, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul.)
“Irreversible Things” by Lisa Van Orman Hadley (Howling Bird Press) — Winner of Augsburg University’s Howling Bird Press fiction prize, this book follows three decades in the life of author/narrator Lisa and her charismatic Mormon family, weaving together memoir and fiction, defying genre definitions by using fill-in-the-blank, choose-your-own-endings, and reverse chronology narratives.
“The Trial of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” edited by Michael Schumacher (University of Minnesota Press) — Eyewitness accounts from the U.S. Coast Guard hearings about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald ore boat in 1975, one of the most famous shipwreck stories in maritime history. The investigation resulted in a controversial final report, a fraction of which has been made available to the public. The author mined this resource to produce the first-ever documentary account of the shipwreck, including recreation of the boat’s final minutes. A companion to “Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”
“Professor Berman: The Last Lecture of Minnesota’s Greatest Public Historian” by Hy Berman with Jay Weiner (University of Minnesota Press) — Hy Berman was one of the most popular professors at the University of Minnesota, where he taught in the history department, and was the face of public history in Minnesota for decades. The wider population knew him for his appearances on Twin Cities Public Television’s “Almanac” show. This autobiography/memoir, based on interviews with Berman and his notes, features state politicians from Hubert Humphrey to Jesse Ventura, and Berman’s beginnings as a “red diaper baby” of left-wing, Yiddish-speaking Polish immigrants in New York. He died in 2015.
“The Twenty-Ninth Day: Surviving a Grizzly Attack in the Canadian Tundra” by Alex Messenger (Blackstone Publishing) — Messenger, a Duluth-based author and photographer, was on a dream adventure at 1, a 600-mile canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness. After he was mauled by a grizzly bear in a near-lethal encounter, he struggled to stay alive with help from his five companions. They needed resilience, ingenuity and perseverance to reach help at a remote village a thousand miles north of the border
“Home in the Woods” by Eliza Wheeler (Nancy Paulsen Books) — Six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings and their mom need to start over after their father has died. They find a tar paper shack deep in the Wisconsin woods and during their first year they explore the woodland paradise as they learn to survive in their remote home. The author, who grew up in northern Wisconsin, was influenced by the Midwest seasons. She wrote and illustrated the bestselling “Miss Maple’s Seeds” and illustrated several picture books. (October)
“Johnny’s Pheasant” by Cheryl Minnema, pictures by Julie Flett (University of Minnesota Press) — Johnny spots a motionless pheasant near a ditch and wants to take it home. Grandma tries to tell him that the bird might have been hit by a car, but maybe she could use its feathers for her craft work. To their surprise, the bird lives and leaves a feather for Johnny and Grandma. Cheryl Minnema is a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe; Julie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator and artist. (November)
“A Map Into the World” by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Seo Kim (Carolrhoda Books) — Yang’s debut picture book features a young Hmong-American girl who seeks out beauty in the world around her. Her family moves into a new house and her mother gives birth to twin boys. Much of the beauty the girl finds goes unnoticed to others until she finds a way to share all that she’s seen with a grieving elderly neighbor. (October)
“My Mighty Journey: A Waterfall’s Story” by John Coy, illustrations by Gaylord Schanilec (Minnesota Historical Society Press) — A waterfall on the Mississippi River tells the changes it has witnessed over 12,000 years, considering the people who lived nearby, the ways they lived, and how the area around the waterfall changed in two centuries. Internationally-known artist Gaylord Schanilec created visual images featuring material collected along the riverbank to show the progression of the waterfall — eventually known as St. Anthony Falls — as it moved 15 miles upriver from present-day St. Paul to its current location in downtown Minneapolis (October)
“Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle: How Animals Get Ready for Winter” by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Claudine Gevry (Lerner Books) — A variety of familiar, kid-friendly animals prepare for, and survive, winter in northern climates. (September)
“Summer Green to Autumn Gold: Uncovering Leaves’ Hidden Colors” by Mia Posada (Lerner Books) — Nonfiction picture book explaining why leaves change color in fall. (Available now)
“Thanku: Poems of Gratitude,” edited by Mirana Paul, illustrated by Marlena Myles (Lerner Books) — Anthology exploring ways to be grateful by a diverse group of contributors (September)
“A to Zaao: Playing with History at the American Swedish Institute” by Nate Christopherson and Tara Sweeney (University of Minnesota Press) — A playful tour of the Swedish alphabet, in which curious characters explore the American Swedish Institute. (December)