First Monday Book Post On A Tuesday – Minnesota Authors

It just so happens that I am finishing my third consecutive book by a Minnesota author. It wasn't intentional, and one of them doesn't even really count, but it gave me the idea for this topic. Still, discuss whatever you want for books... this is largely just a place holder for the content that comes in the LTEs.

Briefly, my MN Books:

The Girl Who Drank The Moon - Kelly Barnhill - Young Adult fantasy literature. Newberry medal winner. It was good. Very lyrical in its language, which was quite enjoyable. That said, Aquinas read it and put his finger squarely on the problem: there isn't really a climax. The book is all build and rising tension, and then it reaches the climax, and it just sort of happens, without taking any real time or space or challenge. That aside, I highly recommend this one, because the build and rising tension and world building and lyrical writing is all fantastic.

Sharks In The Time Of Saviors - By Kawai Strong Washburn - I found this book because Kawai and I used to be in a writer's group together back in D.C. Apparently he started working on this novel shortly after leaving that group, so I never got to see any of the first work for it, but I read a lot of his other stuff, and it was really good writing. His descriptions are excellent, and really bring a world alive. He moved to MN a few years ago, after having lived in CA, and before that D.C., and Hawaii before that. This book is really a Hawaii book, not a Minnesota book, but I'm calling him a MN author now, because I can. Anyway, check this one out. It's a bit of magical realism, heavy on the realism, and about halfway through the book switches in a way I did not see coming, and that I resented a bit at first, but, ultimately came to peace with. Which, I think, was kind of the point. A very very worthy read.

The Master Butcher's Singing Club - Louis Erdrich - I've read a few Erdrich novels over the years, though I rarely know much about them before I pick them up. The strength of her reputation is enough to convince me to give them a chance. This was one I picked up for 25 cents at a library sale or something like that, and it sat on my nightstand for maybe a year before I decided to give it a go. I'm so glad I did. It's historical fiction (naturally), set in North Dakota post-WWI, and follows the lives of a German immigrant and another woman who was from the town where this is set. What strikes me is how much reading this book has been like getting to know real people. The characters are so fully human, so well-rounded, that as I'm writing this it is just now occurring to me that they are fictitious, because they occupy a space in my brain where they seem so real. I don't know that I've had that experience in reading for a while... too many science fiction/fantasy settings that prevent that, or authors who maybe aren't quite at the level that Erdrich is? Either way... wow.

Alright, other MN authors? What are you reading? What are you looking forward to? So on and so forth. Books, go now:

11 thoughts on “First Monday Book Post On A Tuesday – Minnesota Authors”

  1. Sharks in the Time of Saviors is sitting on my bedside table right now! I have a pile of library books that I keep sorting through and trying to prioritize. This is one I'm excited to read (soon, I promise)

    I heard of it when it was on the First Novel Prize longlist from the Center for Fiction (usually a pretty solid and varied list).

  2. Recently read books:

    Lanny by Max Porter was really good. The unique voices of the characters, and the confusion as to what happened to the title character had me entranced (and worried) at the same time.

    The Broken Heart of America by Walter Johnson was a wonderful book. The book looks at the history of the country, particularly our sordid racial history, as being very centered in St. Louis. While the chapters about Lewis and Clark and Dred Scott were very good, the final chapters about restrictive covenants, payday lending, zoning, and the multitude of poor decisions in Ferguson leading to a police department needing to charge people with petty, stupid offenses simply because the fines kept the city in business at the time of the Michael Brown killing were stupendous. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

    Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom was very good, as well.

    The Sword and the Shield by Peniel Joseph compared the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, and demonstrated that they shared much similar positions and beliefs than is commonly understood. This was good, but not exactly earth-shattering to me (but I concede that I've read a lot more about the Civil Rights movement than the average reader).

  3. I reread Vonnegut's A man w/o a country and Armageddon in retrospect already this week (if you want to know where my mind is at). I've also been flipping through Jon Kabat-Zinn's series on meditation for like the 30th time. All highly recommended.

    I'm in the middle of Essentialism by Greg Mckeown, Dessa's first book, and Peter Geye's newist book, Northernmost. These are all okay, but essentialism is particularly weak imo.

  4. In September, the big book I read was The Goldfinch. Very similar thoughts to Philo's about the characters in Erdrich's books. They are just ... real.

    ...waits for New Guy and Pepper and AMR to appear so I can be in the club....

    ...goes back through book posts to find everyone's discussions of the book.

    1. Welcome to the club!

      Actual Spoiler SelectShow
      1. Ending SelectShow
  5. I hardly ever read anymore, but coincidentally, I did re-read Hatchet this week (Minnesota author!). Started it with my son but it scared him, so I finished it on my own. Still a good read, but man, what a weird ending.

  6. I'm working on "The Sinful Seven" from Spencer Hall, et al, late of SBNation/Banner Society.

    Also, next up is my cousin's self-published work, of which I got an edition straight from her with a very lovely inscription inside. I'll probably buy the Kindle version too to support her and also have an Ebook version.

    I find that with the two kids, especially with TLO being only 2 months, my reading time is restricted almost exclusively to rocking her back to sleep at 3AM, so I need a Kindle version of anything I'm wanting to read.

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