Tag Archives: literature

Minnesota Books

The Minnesota Book Awards took place last weekend, and I'm pleased to say that in 2016 I read two of the winning books. Hey, so what if one of them is a 32-page picture book with rather sparse text? It's also a delightfully transgressive tale of annelid love.

Laurie Hertzel summed up the awards better than I could--her article in the Star Tribune begins:

The finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards this year included a National Book Award winning-novelist, a New York Times bestselling writer, and a Newbery Medal-winning writer of children’s books. But this year’s Minnesota Book Awards bypassed these venerable writers and bestowed honors on a mostly new crop of authors.

The rest of the article--including a full list of winners--is here.

While the event is largely a celebration of Minnesota's literary culture, the speech that will stay with me the longest came from poet Sun Yung Shin, who spoke about the importance of listening to the voices of those who have long been marginalized. If I find her speech posted online (and I really hope it will be posted), I'll share a link here. In addition to being a poet, Shin also edited the anthology A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, which I read last summer and highly recommend.

Along with recognizing writers (and occasionally illustrators), there's also a special award for a Minnesota book artist. This year the award went to Steven McCarthy for his project Wee Go Library. The project involved "harvesting" books from Little Free Libraries and modifying them in various ways. (Not to worry--he left a replacement book for every book he took from a LFL.) You can read more and see some photos of the finished projects here.

So what have you been reading?

The Best of [everything] … or at least most mentioned

Fun aggregation: essentially, "The Best of [everything] - 2015" ranked according to number of mentions on critic's year-end best-of lists. You could probably go further with it, ranking according to average placement on lists, but for CoC purposes, this is more than enough info:

Top Threes

Carol - 82% of lists
Spotlight - 77%
Inside Out - 73%
Mad Max: Fury Road - 73%

Television Shows:
Master of None - 83% of lists
Fargo - 83%
Mr. Robot - 75%
Mad Men - 75%

Between the World and Me - 80% of lists
A Little Life - 60%
The Story of the Lost Child - 60%

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly - 100% of lists
Vince Staples, Summertime ’06 - 63%
Carly Rae Jepsen, Emotion - 63%

And just for fun, because we at the WGOM are so hip, tied for fourth place are few the Citizenry crowed about this year:

Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit - 58%
Joanna Newsom, Divers - 58%

First Monday Book Day: MN Book Awards Edition

The Minnesota Book Awards took place last Saturday evening. It was amazing to be part of a gathering of nearly one thousand writers and other book people—I was struck by what a strong literary community our state has. I thought it might be fun to highlight a few of the winning books. For the full list, see hereContinue reading First Monday Book Day: MN Book Awards Edition

Iced Earth – Dante’s Inferno


I started college right about when Napster hit the scene. Combined with a T1 connection, it was a great time to find music, and as much money as I spent on cds over the next few years, I feel I was a pretty good counter-point to ol' Lars's crap about music downloading. One of the first bands I found that stood out and sparked an interest in metal for me was Iced Earth. It was something of a revelation for me and set me off on a journey of discovery that has only recently slowed down due to lack of funds for things like cds, mostly because of kids and beer (and grown up life cost way too much money).

I know the video is kind of long, but its both one of my favorite songs of all time and a great live performance. Well worth the time investment.

Continue reading Iced Earth – Dante’s Inferno

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