28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Presented

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards. In addition to winners in eight categories, The Friends presented the Minnesota Book Artist, Hognander Minnesota History, and Kay Sexton Awards to previously announced honorees—respectively, Wendy Fernstrum, William D. Green, and Jim Sitter.

Minnesota Book AwardsMore than 900 people attended an award ceremony at Saint Paul’s Union Depot on Saturday, April 16, emceed by Stephanie Curtis, producer of Minnesota Public Radio’s “The Thread”, and one of the Cube Critics on All Things Considered. Announced at the ceremony, the winners of the 2016 Minnesota Book Awards are:

Award for Children’s Literature, sponsored by Books for Africa:
Michael Hall – Red: A Crayon’s Story –
published by Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers
Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone! Hall is also the author and illustrator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo, winner of the 2011 Minnesota Book Award for Children’s Literature as well as four other critically-acclaimed books for children.

Award for General Nonfiction, sponsored by The Waterbury Group at Morgan Stanley:
Ryan BergNo House to Call My Home: Love, Family and Other Transgressions published by Nation Books/Perseus Books Group
In this lyrical debut, Ryan Berg immerses readers in the gritty, dangerous, and shockingly under-reported world of homeless LGBTQ teens in New York. Ryan Berg is a Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging Writers Fellow and received the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature.

Award for Genre Fiction, sponsored by Macalester College:
Ellen Hart – The Grave Soul – published by Minotaur Books
Restaurateur and private investigator Jane Lawless is pulled into a family mystery with long-reaching consequences in Hart’s 23rd book in the series. Hart is a multiple Minnesota Book Award winner and author of thirty crime novels in two different series. For the past sixteen years, she has also taught “An Introduction to Writing the Modern Mystery” through the The Loft Literary Center.

Award for Memoir & Creative Nonfiction, sponsored by Kevin and Greta Warren:
Karen Babine – Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life – published by University of Minnesota Press*
In essays that travel from the wildness of Lake Superior to the order of an apple orchard, Babine searches out the stories that water has written on human consciousness and traces an ethic of place, a way to understand the essence of inhabiting a place deeply rooted in personal stories. Her essays have been published in numerous literary magazines including North Dakota Quarterly, River Teeth, and Sycamore Review. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies.

Award for Minnesota, sponsored by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota:
Larry Millett – Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury – published by University of Minnesota Press*
Millett lends his expert eye to this guide through the life and architectural styles of Minnesota at midcentury. Richly illustrated, this book is an exploration of the post-World War II architectural style that swept the nation from 1945 through the mid-1960s. Millett is the author of many books, including Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes and Once There Were Castles: Lost Mansions and Estates of the Twin Cities. 

Award for Novel & Short Story, sponsored by Education Minnesota:
Charles Baxter – There’s Something I Want You to Do – published by Pantheon Books/Random House
“There’s something I want you to do.” This request—sometimes simple, sometimes not—forms the basis for the ten interrelated stories that comprise this latest penetrating and prophetic collection from an author who has been repeatedly praised as a master of the form. Baxter is the author of fifteen books of fiction, creative nonfiction, and essays. This is his second Minnesota Book Award.

Award for Poetry, sponsored by Wellington Management, Inc.:
Ray Gonzalez – Beautiful Wall – published by BOA Editions, Ltd.
In his newest collection, Gonzalez takes readers on a profound journey through the deserts of the Southwest where the ever-changing natural landscape and an aggressive border culture rewrite intolerance and ethnocentric thought into human history. He is the author of fifteen books of poetry and the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southwest Border Regional Library Association. This is his third Minnesota Book Award.

Award for Young People’s Literature, sponsored by The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University:
Shannon Gibney – See No Color
– published by Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group*
Alex Kirtridge has always been a star baseball player, just like her dad, and she’s always known she was adopted. But when, at 16, Alex discovers hidden letters from her biological father and Reggie, the first black guy to like her, starts hanging around, Alex is confronted with questions about who she really is. Gibney is a writer, teacher and activist in Minneapolis. This is her first book.


At the Book Awards gala on April 16, the ninth annual Book Artist Award was presented to Wendy Fernstrum, for a new piece entitled One is the Holiest Number (#2). The award, sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group and presented with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), recognizes book artists for excellence of a new artistic work and demonstrated proficiency and quality in the book arts, as well as an ongoing commitment and significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community. Her award-winning piece is a meditation on the paradox of one: how each of us as an individual is distinctly one, yet simultaneously part of a unified whole, as one. Fernstrum has investigated this theme for several years, creating work that explores the “in-between space” where identity is constantly shifting and certainties lose form.

The biennial Hognander Minnesota History Award was presented to William D. Green for his book Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1912. Sponsored by the Hognander Family Foundation, the award recognizes the author of the most outstanding scholarly work related to Minnesota history published during the preceding two years. Spanning the half-century after the Civil War, Degrees of Freedom draws a rare picture of black experience in a northern state and of the nature of black discontent and action within a predominantly white, ostensibly progressive society. Green reveals little-known historical characters among the black men and women who moved to Minnesota following the Fifteenth Amendment and delves into the delicate balance of power between black activists and our progressive white society.

Finally, Jim Sitter received the previously announced Kay Sexton Award. For more than thirty years, Sitter has been one of the most prolific and effective arts leaders in the state. He embodies the spirit of the Kay Sexton Award with an extraordinary array of accomplishments, helping to make the literary and book arts community in Minnesota what it is today. The Award is sponsored by St. Catherine University’s Master of Library and Information Science program.

Books written by a Minnesotan and first published in 2015 were eligible for the 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards. A total of 252 books were nominated for awards this year, and 32 books were selected as finalists. The winners were chosen by panels of judges from around the state. Nominations for next year’s Awards will open in August, 2016. Explore this website for more information about the Minnesota Book Awards and the Minnesota Center for the Book. Click here for more information on the Book Awards process, and here for a list of finalists and winners since 1988.

The Book Awards ceremony will be broadcast in the coming weeks on Saint Paul Neighborhood Network and TPT-MN Channel. Watch the website for updates on air dates.

The 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards is a project of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, with the Saint Paul Public Library and the City of Saint Paul. Major funding for the Book Awards was provided by Brainfuse, the Huss Foundation, the Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Pohlad Family Foundation and Saint Paul’s Cultural STAR program. Statewide outreach partners include the Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators (CRPLSA), the Loft Literary Center, Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), and Saint Paul Almanac. Media sponsors include Minnesota Public Radio, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), the Star Tribune and TPT.

*indicates a Minnesota-based publisher

 

 

 

Roots, Identity and Coming-of-Age in Transracial Adoption

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, and in collaboration with community editors from the award-winning Saint Paul Almanac, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2016 Young People’s Literature finalist:

See No Color by Shannon GibneySee No Color by Shannon Gibney
Published by Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Publishing Group
Category Sponsor: The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline

Shannon Gibney’s See No Color is receiving an unusual amount of attention, not just among those who read and comment on young people’s literature, but it is proving to be instructive in the ongoing conversations on identity, race, and the transracial adoption industry. Gibney’s protagonist, Alex, is a teenage baseball player, a girl, and a transracial adoptee. She is a great player, much of it due to her coach, who is her dad and a former Major League baseball player. He, along with the rest of her family, is white; she is black.

Or “half black” as her father insists. The invisibility of her unavoidably obvious identity adds to the questions about who she really is. Add to this the discovery of previously hidden letters from her biological father, life changes including an emerging love life, and living gender roles that are as complex as her racial identity. Through the story of Alex, Gibney brings context to broader questions: What does it mean to be biracial in a white family? Through this story and other transracial experiences, it helps us look at the question of what it means to grow up in/as a multiracial world. This work both touches America’s heart and aids much-needed formal and informal scholarship on what it means to be a part of this American family.

Author Bio:

Shannon GibneyWhen she was 15, Shannon Gibney’s father gave her James Baldwin’s Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, a book that changed her life and made her see the possibilities of the written word. After this, Shannon knew she needed to read everything Baldwin had ever written, and that she wanted to emulate his strategy of telling the most dangerous, and therefore liberating kind of truth, through writing. At Carnegie Mellon University, Shannon majored in Creative Writing and Spanish. She earned her M.A. and MFA at Indiana University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program. She has been the editor of the Indiana Review and managing editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the state’s oldest Black newspaper. She is a Bush Artist Fellow and, in summer 2007, joined the faculty in English at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. She lives with her husband, Ballah D. Corvah, their son Boisey, and daughter Marwein, in the Powderhorn neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

Read Shannon Gibney’s Blog

Shannon Gibney is on Twitter

Reviews:

“See No Color is about identity, about race, about family and adoption—transracial adoption more specifically—about communication and about secrets, about ingrained racism and sexism, about how withholding information from someone is making up their mind for them. It’s about the difference between protecting a loved one and protecting yourself, about how avoiding confrontation can make the confrontation far worse down the line. It’s about belonging to two worlds, but not feeling quite right in either… Gibney tackles a LOT of complex emotions and relationships in less than 200 pages, and she pulls all off beautifully.”—Leila Roy, “Take a Close Look at Difference,” Kirkus Reviews

In See No Color, author Shannon Gibney explores the myth of colorblindness in the context of transracial adoption in a story about Alex(andra), a biracial teen who was adopted by White parents as a very young child… no matter how much her parents wish it were otherwise, Alex’s experience in the world is different than the rest of her family’s. They love her, and they genuinely believe that is enough. Of course it isn’t enough.”—Megan Schliesman, Reading While White

“The language, the graduated awareness of the protagonist, the confusion, the longing, the realistic highs and lows of her emotional state — this character just jumps off of the page.”—Turning Pages

Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature has chosen See No Color as a “Best Children’s Book of the Year 2016.”

Author Interview:

Interview with author Shannon Gibney – The Pirate Tree

Listen: Black Market Reads

Book club podcast hosts Erin and Junauda are joined by Namir Fearce and Case Wilson, two youth readers who got to interview author Shannon Gibney about her debut young adult novel, See No Color. They discuss the novel’s themes, which include transracial adoption, sports, gender, parenting and mixed race identity. They also talk about Macklemore’s education on white privilege and Chelsea Handler’s exploration of racism.

Watch:

SELCO communications specialist Jennifer Harveland reviews See No Color by Shannon Gibney:


Minnesota Book AwardsAward winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Union Depot in Saint Paul.

The evening features a Preface Reception with complimentary passed wine and cash bar, author meet-and-greet, book sales and signing; the Awards Ceremony with live music, celebrity presenters, artisan cheese plates and breads, complimentary wine and lemonade, with emcee Stephanie Curtis of MPR; and the Epilogue After-Party with complimentary champagne, sumptuous desserts, and additional live music. Tickets now on sale, or click here for more information.


We're giving away a book a day

Today’s winner: Neal Thao. (We’ll be in touch via email, and arrange getting the book to you!)

Want your chance to win? Subscribe to our email to get news and program updates sent directly to your inbox, and be automatically entered to win.

 

 

Can Love Ever Be Recognized As Modern?

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, and in collaboration with community editors from the award-winning Saint Paul Almanac, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2016 Poetry finalist:

Modern Love & Other Myths by Joyce SutphenModern Love & Other Myths by Joyce Sutphen
Published by: Red Dragonfly Press
Category Sponsor: Wellington Management

Joyce Sutphen’s sixth collection of poetry explores love as a landscape that is public yet personal, real yet mythic, leaving us to question the meaning and nature of love, even as we understand it anew. Rich in observation, insight and imagination, Modern Love & Other Myths portrays love and its many facets in ways that are at turns wise, witty, funny, tender, intimate or full of longing and regret. Modern Love & Other Myths takes its readers to places that are familiar and unfamiliar, lived and dreamed, all the while reminding us what it is to love and be loved. In essence, what it is to be human.

The poems in this collection explore, as Elizabeth Bishop phrased it, “efforts of affection” in our contemporary world. The poet’s appraisals—both personal and general—resonate deeply with all who have mapped the story land between “hello” and “goodbye.” The title invites us to examine what we mean by myth, and whether, in fact, love can ever be regarded as modern. Wise and inquisitive, the poems in this collection travel across continents as easily as into the heart.

Author Bio:

Joyce SutphenPoet Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in rural Minnesota. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with, among other degrees, a Ph.D. in Renaissance Drama, Sutphen teaches literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College. She has published several books of poetry, of which Modern Love & Other Myths is her sixth. Her first poetry collection, Straight Out of View (1995), won the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. Her second poetry collection, Coming Back to the Body, (Holy Cow! Press, 2000), was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Naming the Stars, her third book, also published by Holy Cow! Press, won a Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. Her poetry has been published in Water~Stone Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Luna, Hayden’s Ferry, Shenandoah and The Gettysburg Review. She served as co-editor, along with Connie Wanek and Thom Tammaro, of To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present (2006). She has served as Minnesota’s Poet Laureate since 2011.

Joyce Sutphen is on Facebook

An excerpt from Modern Love & Other Myths:

A Kind of Wild Justice

Living well is the best revenge,
and revenge
is a kind of wild justice

I knew this when I stepped to
the edge, licking my fingers,
the delight of clouded

blackberries filling my mouth
the little needle of regret
stitching out an ending

Living well is the revenge
I will take I said
as I began

to walk on air, waving
an indifferent hand
at the stones

that wanted to nestle in my pockets
at the long shadow waiting
for me to fall

Read more at Small Press Distribution “Peek Inside“

Listen:

Garrison Keillor reads “Things to Watch While You Drive” from Modern Love & Other Myths:

Review:

“Joyce Sutphen opens her sixth poetry collection with a reference to the Greek myth of Leda, but this and her title are misdirections. The book immediately moves from the mythic to the personal with quiet and accessible poems about the end of a relationship. Although the book focuses on a breakup, it isn’t bogged down by regret. Instead, it is punctuated by vibrant images and realizations: ‘I won’t forget I once was loved like that.’ Overall the book is a satisfying read.”—Star Tribune

Watch:

SELCO librarian Jennifer Harveland reviews Modern Love & Other Myths by Joyce Sutphen.


Minnesota Book AwardsAward winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Union Depot in Saint Paul.

The evening features a Preface Reception with complimentary passed wine and cash bar, author meet-and-greet, book sales and signing; the Awards Ceremony with live music, celebrity presenters, artisan cheese plates and breads, complimentary wine and lemonade, with emcee Stephanie Curtis of MPR; and the Epilogue After-Party with complimentary champagne, sumptuous desserts, and additional live music. Tickets now on sale, or click here for more information.


We're giving away a book a day

Today’s winner: Renate Courtright. (We’ll be in touch via email, and arrange getting the book to you!)

Want your chance to win? Subscribe to our email to get news and program updates sent directly to your inbox, and be automatically entered to win.

 

Stories Use Characters’ Choice for Dramatic Interest, Continuity

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, and in collaboration with community editors from the award-winning Saint Paul Almanac, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2016 Novel & Short Story finalist:

There’s Something I Want You to Do by Charles BaxterThere’s Something I Want You to Do by Charles Baxter
Published by Pantheon Books/Random House
Category Sponsor: Education Minnesota

“There’s something I want you to do.” This request—sometimes simple, sometimes not—forms the basis for the ten interrelated stories that comprise this latest penetrating and prophetic collection from an author who has been repeatedly praised as a master of the form. As we follow a diverse group of Minnesota citizens, each grappling with their own heightened fears, responsibilities, and obsessions, Baxter unveils the remarkable in what might otherwise be the seemingly inconsequential moments of everyday life.

Author Bio:

On Craft: Charles Baxter on the Request Moment  (from Graywolf Press)

On Craft: Charles Baxter on the Request Moment (from Graywolf Press)

Charles Baxter earned his bachelors degree in Saint Paul at Macalester College, publishing his first book of poetry shortly after graduation. Baxter has been a heavy hitter ever since, with two of the short stories (“Bravery” and “Charity”) in this, his most recent collection, included in Best American Short Stories. He is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota in the MFA Program for Writers. His nonfiction book, The Art of Subtext (Graywolf), won the 2008 Minnesota Book Award.

An excerpt from There’s Something I Want You To Do:

Crossing the bridge on the pedestrian level, he counted the number of people on foot. He liked taking inventories; solid figures reassured him. About seven people were out tonight, including one guy with a backpack sprinting in Benny’s direction, two people strolling, and a young woman with a vaguely studenty appearance who stood motionless, leaning against the railing and staring down at the river. The sodium lights gave them all an orange-tan tint. The young woman tapped her fingers along the guardrail, took out a cell phone, and after taking a picture of herself, dropped the phone into the river below. She licked her lips and laughed softly as the phone disappeared into the dark.

Benny stopped. Something was about to happen. As he watched, she gathered herself up and with a quick athletic movement hoisted herself over so that she was standing on the railing’s other side with her arms braced on the metalwork behind her. If she released her arms and leaned forward, she would plunge down into the river. One jogger went past her without noticing what she was doing. What was she doing? Benny hurried toward her.

Seeing him out of the corner of her eye, she turned and smirked.

Read more >>

Reviews:

“Connected, intellectual, artful short stories. A very strong collection, interrelated and connected in Minneapolis through the characters. Baxter’s writing is intelligent and artful, with rich narrative; epic in telling a whole life in a short story.”—Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Round Judge

“There’s Something I Want You to Do takes life, the human condition—whatever you want to call it—and hands it to you in a charming form with rustic rough-cut pages. The theme of five virtues and five deadly sins make the stitching that binds the stories together. Whether wearing “Mr. Takemitsu’s Chastity” or trying on “Sloth” for the hell of it, this collection will leave you cloaked against its nakedness.”—Ismail Khadar, Saint Paul Almanac Community Editor

“Baxter said in a 2013 lecture about writing: ‘Request moments… expose the ethical obligations that we feel we owe toward others. What can we give to someone by fulfilling a request, and what is their claim on us? Thus they force choices on us, choices that reveal our character.’ Baxter’s secular saints and sinners, in There’s Something I Want You to Do, slide up and down the ­moral spectrum.”—New York Times Sunday Book Review

“To read these stories—hilarious, tragic, surprising, and indelibly human—is to receive revelation at the hands of a master.”—Julie Orringer, author of How to Breathe Underwater

“Baxter’s stories proceed with steady grace, nimble humor, quiet authority, and thrilling ingeniousness.”—Lorrie Moore, Author of Bark

Watch:

SELCO communications specialist Jennifer Harveland reviews There’s Something I Want You to Do by Charles Baxter:


Charles Baxter reads from and discusses his short story collection, There’s Something I Want You to Do, at the Center for Fiction:

Listen:

PRX’s First Draft highlights the voices of writers as they discuss their work, their craft and the literary arts. This episode features an interview with Charles Baxter, author of the short story collection There’s Something I Want You To Do. Listen >>


Minnesota Book AwardsAward winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Union Depot in Saint Paul.

The evening features a Preface Reception with complimentary passed wine and cash bar, author meet-and-greet, book sales and signing; the Awards Ceremony with live music, celebrity presenters, artisan cheese plates and breads, complimentary wine and lemonade, with emcee Stephanie Curtis of MPR; and the Epilogue After-Party with complimentary champagne, sumptuous desserts, and additional live music. Tickets now on sale, or click here for more information.


We're giving away a book a day

Today’s winner: Beth Bednar. (We’ll be in touch via email, and arrange getting the book to you!)

Want your chance to win? Subscribe to our email to get news and program updates sent directly to your inbox, and be automatically entered to win.

Four Centuries of Forceful Land Tenure

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, and in collaboration with community editors from the award-winning Saint Paul Almanac, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2016 Minnesota finalist:

Warrior Nation by Anton TreuerWarrior Nation by Anton Treuer
Published by Minnesota Historical Society Press
Category Sponsor: Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Synopsis by Lisa Yankton, Community Editor from Saint Paul Almanac:

Opening with the war between the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and traversing seven significant leaders of Red Lake, Warrior Nation chronicles the four hundred years of Red Lake’s unique history. Red Lake is one of only two reservations in the country that holds its land in common; its leaders never accepted the Dawes Allotment Act of 1887. They were in the forefront of developing an indigenous democratic governance, decades before other tribes. Collaborative efforts with Red Lake’s government, oral historians, and archives garner an exclusive view into its compelling political history.

Anton TreuerAuthor Bio:

Anton Treuer is a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University, the author of Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask, and twelve other books on Ojibwe history and language.

Author Interview:

“Imagine if there were a book about the Civil War — just one. ‘You can’t tell the story of a war in just one book. There is no one definitive book about the Civil War. You need hundreds of books, because there is no one perspective,’ says Anton Treuer, who wrote the history of the Red Lake Ojibwe — the one book. It’s a start.” Read the full interview on MinnPost

Reviews:

“This is history told with a distinct point of view. Treuer writes about duplicity and betrayal by white politicians and business interests in the land cessions; the noble agendas and worthy achievements of strong but controversial Red Lake leaders, and the historic dispute concerning control of the namesake lake.”—Star Tribune

“The list of acknowledgments plays as much of a role in the book as the history itself. Three oral history projects done through the Red Lake School proved invaluable. Treuer also benefited from work by his father, author Robert Treuer, who possessed the only known copy of an unpublished autobiography from Roger Jourdain, the controversial tribal chairman whose iron-fisted leadership ignited 1979 riots (which led to the burning of his house) but also forged powerful alliances.”—Indian Country Today

“Treuer’s Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe is the first major history book about the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Treuer said the book has multiple purposes. It can be used in curriculum, for research, to educate people of Red Lake and others on the band’s history, and as a historical guide.”—The Bemidji Pioneer

Listen:

Anton Treuer joined Tom Weber on MPR News to talk about the book. They began by talking about the uniqueness of Red Lake compared to all other Indian reservations in the state.

Anton Treuer discusses “Warrior Nation” on the Fireside Podcast.

Watch:

SELCO librarian Alex Ball reviews Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe.


Minnesota Book AwardsAward winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Union Depot in Saint Paul.

The evening features a Preface Reception with complimentary passed wine and cash bar, author meet-and-greet, book sales and signing; the Awards Ceremony with live music, celebrity presenters, artisan cheese plates and breads, complimentary wine and lemonade, with emcee Stephanie Curtis of MPR; and the Epilogue After-Party with complimentary champagne, sumptuous desserts, and additional live music. Tickets now on sale, or click here for more information.


We're giving away a book a day

Today’s winner: Word Mucker. (We’ll be in touch via email, and arrange getting the book to you!)

Want your chance to win? Subscribe to our email to get news and program updates sent directly to your inbox, and be automatically entered to win.

Embracing illness, loss, and death for a full and meaningful life

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, and in collaboration with community editors from the award-winning Saint Paul Almanac, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2016 Memoir & Creative Fiction Finalist:

We Know How This Ends- Living While Dying by Bruce Kramer, with Cathy WurzeWe Know How This Ends: Living While Dying by Bruce H. Kramer with Cathy Wurzer
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Category Sponsors: Kevin and Greta Warren

When educator and musician Bruce H. Kramer received a diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), he faced the harsh hand that life had dealt him as he had always faced life: he framed his experiences as a path toward learning and growth. Knowing ALS to be incurable and progressive, he recorded his reflections and life lessons, chronicling with warmth, wisdom, humanity and humor the changes his disease brought to him and to his family. Each day became an opportunity for growth and renewal as he sought to live well and write with his terminal illness. More than a memoir, this book takes its readers on a meaningful journey of learning, love, loss, and fulfillment. We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying draws on a blog Bruce created about his life with ASL called The Dis Ease Diary as well as conversations he’d had with Cathy Wurzer on Minnesota Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

Written with wisdom, genuine humor, and down-to-earth observations, We Know How This Ends is far more than a memoir. It is a dignified, courageous, and unflinching look at how acceptance of loss and inevitable death can lead us all to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Author Bios:

Bruce KramerLong-time educator Bruce H. Kramer held the position of Dean of the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from 2008 until the autumn of 2012. He was also a professor in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Administration at St. Thomas. Prior to leadership roles in higher education, Bruce was a high school principal in Bangkok, Thailand; Cairo, Egypt; and Stavanger, Norway. Dr. Kramer’s was also a musician. He held a Master’s in Vocal Performance from Ball State University in Indiana. In March 2014, Bruce died of complications related to ALS.

Cathy WurzerCathy Wurzer’s career spans both commercial and public radio and TV. She is a multiple Emmy Award winning journalist and also the co-host of the longest running public affairs television show of its kind in the country: “Almanac” on Twin Cities Public Television. Prior to this role, Cathy was a news anchor and reporter at the WCCO-TV and was also an announcer on WCCO Radio. She is a documentary filmmaker and author of an award winning book about the sites and secrets along U.S Highway 61.

Cathy Wurzer is on Facebook and Twitter.

An Excerpt from We Know How This Ends:

“There is disease and dis ease. Disease is loss by design, with whole industries devoted to cures as if such a thing were possible. Dis ease gives us a choice. We can awaken and pay attention to the entire narrative, or we can deny and pretend unawareness. We can be seduced by the siren song, or we can lash ourselves to the mast and hold on for dear life. No matter the choice we make, dis ease remains—my informant, my teacher, my mentor, my constant companion.

“And my awakening is a masthead from which I will live and die.”

Reviews:

“Security and immortality are both superstitions; the best we can do is make an adventure of our lives. In this exquisite book, Bruce H. Kramer finds adventure in the most unlikely of places: the death sentence that is ALS. We Know How This Ends is a moving tale that teaches us more about living well than any self-help book ever can.”—Dan Buettner, New York Times bestselling author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

“As Bruce’s yoga teacher, student, and friend, I have witnessed the story behind this magnificent tale of becoming. I have watched his strength, his grace, and his willingness to love. Bruce’s prose is courageous and penetrating, elegant and unprecedented. This book will change your life.”—Matthew Sanford, author of the Minnesota Book Award-winning Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence

“Bruce H. Kramer turns his diamond-hard diagnosis like a prism, reflecting light and joy in surprising places. We need to hear this story now. The honesty and clarity of Kramer and Cathy Wurzer invite us to consider how we live in the face of impending death or unwanted change.”—Susan Allen Toth, author of No Saints around Here: A Caregiver’s Days

“Poetic and practical in embracing the inevitable.”—MinnPost

“We Know How This Ends is a hopeful book. And a serious, joyful, literate, nuanced, bracing and funny book.”—The Huffington Post

“This is an important book about how the promise of death changes the dying and those who remain to live for awhile. Dual narratives of loss confront compassionately and matter-of-factly fraying relationships, insensitive doctors, spiritual belief while insisting that death, suffering, and dis-ease, as Kramer calls it, are part of the experience, and the gift, of living.”—Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Round Judge

Listen:

NPR Podcasts – Bruce Kramer and Cathy Wurzer’s series on MPR: Insights on life from a man facing death.

“On Being with Krista Tippett”: A conversation with Bruce Kramer - Forgiving the Body: Life with ALS

Watch:

SELCO librarian Jennifer Harveland reviews We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying.

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Minnesota Book AwardsAward winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Union Depot in Saint Paul.

The evening features a Preface Reception with complimentary passed wine and cash bar, author meet-and-greet, book sales and signing; the Awards Ceremony with live music, celebrity presenters, artisan cheese plates and breads, complimentary wine and lemonade, with emcee Stephanie Curtis of MPR; and the Epilogue After-Party with complimentary champagne, sumptuous desserts, and additional live music. Tickets now on sale, or click here for more information.


We're giving away a book a day

Today’s winner: Marisa Patrin. (We’ll be in touch via email, and arrange getting the book to you!)

Want your chance to win? Subscribe to our email to get news and program updates sent directly to your inbox, and be automatically entered to win.

 

As sultry and dangerous as a tropical storm

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, and in collaboration with community editors from the award-winning Saint Paul Almanac, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2016 Genre Fiction finalist:

Season of Fear by Brian FreemanSeason of Fear by Brian Freeman
Publisher: Quercus
Category Sponsor: Macalester College

Summary:

While the shelves at our local libraries and bookstores are packed with the works of Brian Freeman, this is just his second Cab Bolton novel, once again out to solve (hopefully) a mystery marked with the fashion of passion and a crime of crushed charismatic charm.

Attractive and popular politician Diane Fairmont is running for the Florida governorship, but a chill is cast over the campaign when she receives an anonymous note announcing the return of the assassin who killed her husband ten years earlier. Because of complicated ties between Fairmont and his mother, Detective Bolton is assigned to the case. As Bolton struggles to penetrate the veil of secrecy surrounding the Fairmont campaign, he begins to realize that the death threat is not the only danger faced by the campaign staff. A desperate race against the clock ensues as Bolton tries to unlock the secrets of a poisonous conspiracy before nature provides the perfect cover for a long-dormant killer to strike again.

Author Bio:

Brian Freemanfreeman is an internationally known author of psychological thrillers. His debut thriller, Immoral, won the Macavity Award and was a nominee for the Edgar®, Dagger, Anthony, and Barry awards for best first novel. His seventh novel Spilled Blood won the award for Best Hardcover Novel in the annual Thriller Awards presented by the International Thriller Writers organization, and his fifth novel The Burying Place was a finalist for the same award. His sixth novel The Bone House was a finalist for Best Audiobook of the Year in Thriller/Suspense. His books have been sold in 46 countries and 20 languages and have appeared as Main Selections in the Literary Guild and the Book of the Month Club. Freeman was born in Chicago in 1963 and lived in the Bay Area of California for several years before going to college in Minnesota and settling there with his wife, Marcia. Prior to breaking through in the writing world, he was a respected communication strategist and business writer in the Twin Cities and served as director of marketing and public relations for an international law firm.

Freeman offers suggestions for book club discussions on his website (Spoiler Alert)

Brian Freeman is on Facebook and Twitter

An Excerpt from Season of Fear:

“Cab Bolton watched from the second-floor balcony as Diane Fairmont put on her political face for the television interviewer. She looked at ease in the spotlight. Natural. Warm. Comfortable in her own skin. She sat in the ornate hari near the fringe of the pond in her Tampa mansion’s hilly gardens. Huge lily pads floated on the green water. A white swan lazily floated behind her and stirred ripples on the surface. Makeup people hovered around Diane like flies, making sure her skin didn’t sweat, making sure she had the right flush for the camera…

“…Cab was surprised at how easily Diane had adopted a public image, because the woman he knew from his past had been a lonely introvert, hiding her emotional wounds. He wondered if her new persona was an act, but he was willing to believe that people didn’t always stay the same as they aged.”

Read more >>

Reviews:

“International Thriller Writers award-winner and bestselling author Brian Freeman has established himself as a master of psychological thrillers. In his latest, Season of Fear, Freeman returns to the sun-drenched beaches of Naples, Florida, and the idiosyncratic world of Detective Cab Bolton.–”freshfiction.com

“I’m thrilled to have Cab back between the covers of a book, but he’s not the only one driving this story. Many of the plot’s revelations are in the hands of another character, Peach Piper, a twenty-something opposition researcher. Peach is not comfortable in her own skin. ‘Desperately shy,’ she ‘like[s] watching people, studying them … listening to them.’ She lurks in the shadows recording conversations to help the Common Way party and Diane’s political campaign. Peach is as intriguing as the girl with the dragon tattoo, but with less rage, fewer piercings and no lovers (she’s celibate).”—Carole E. Barrowman,  Star Tribune

Season of Fear has it all…It also contains what is the best epilogue I’ve read in years. Or maybe ever. It gave me enough gooseflesh on my back to last until Thanksgiving. Throw in a compelling and truly puzzling mystery…and you have an ambitious, complex and eminently readable novel that will keep you reading all night long.”—Bookreporter

Check this out: “Brian Freeman’s Detective Still Chasing Murderers in Duluth” from the Saint Paul Pioneer Press’ Mary Ann Grossmann

“Timely themes, great pacing and snappy dialogue—not to mention an impending hurricane—make this a satisfying thriller.”—Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Round Judge

“Freeman expertly juggles multiple plot-lines that weave and intersect as he follows the mystery of a ten-year-old political assassination and the recent death of a campaign worker. He makes the Florida setting come alive, and his characters are funny, flawed and fully-realized.”—Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Round Judge

Watch:

SELCO librarian Amy Nelson reviews Season of Fear.


Minnesota Book AwardsAward winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Union Depot in Saint Paul.

The evening features a Preface Reception with complimentary passed wine and cash bar, author meet-and-greet, book sales and signing; the Awards Ceremony with live music, celebrity presenters, artisan cheese plates and breads, complimentary wine and lemonade, with emcee Stephanie Curtis of MPR; and the Epilogue After-Party with complimentary champagne, sumptuous desserts, and additional live music. Tickets now on sale, or click here for more information.


We're giving away a book a day

Today’s winner: Pam Greiner. (We’ll be in touch via email, and arrange getting the book to you!)

Want your chance to win? Subscribe to our email to get news and program updates sent directly to your inbox, and be automatically entered to win.

 

Debunking the Many Diet Myths

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, and in collaboration with community editors from the award-winning Saint Paul Almanac, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2016 General Nonfiction finalist:

Secrets from the Eating Lab - The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet AgainSecrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again by Traci Mann
Published by HarperWave/HarperCollins Publishers
Category Sponsor: The Waterbury Group at Morgan Stanley

Summary:

Most of what we find in the world of diet and health is not really meant to help us: it is designed as a marketing tactic to sell product. It is all part of the package that fits well into the supposed-to-look, which is why diets have long been a favorite topic of fashion magazines and infomercials. In Secrets from the Eating Lab, Traci Mann leaps past the corporate and commercial wizard to bring us some information for health’s sake, rather than corporate profits. She has received a lot of pushback that includes drawing the ire of the diet industry by taking two decades of research that explain how diets work—and mostly how they don’t. By paying close attention to the science and psychology of eating and dieting, she explains the physical and social components of food, dieting and our relationship with how we eat. This is an especially timely read in the wake of America’s obesity epidemic.

An Excerpt from Secrets form the Eating Lab:

“Much to my surprise, I’ve learned that nearly everything I thought was true about eating was false, including the three pillars of the commercial diet industry: that diets work, that dieting is good for you, and that obesity is deadly. The truth is that diets do not work and may be bad for you, and obesity is not going to kill you. I also learned that despite what most people assume, a lack of self-control is not why people become fat, and “harnessing” willpower is not the way to become thin.”

Author Bio:

Traci MannTraci Mann, Ph.D. is a Professor of Social and Health Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Her research aims to identify and understand the behaviors associated with eating regulation and body image as well as the process of self-control during health behavior changes. Traci is principal investigator of the Health and Eating Laboratory, which uses diverse research methods to study interesting topics such as increasing food consumption in NASA astronauts, increasing vegetable intake in elementary school children, and the ability of foods to reduce social and physical pain.

Traci Mann is on Facebook

Reviews:

“Using gold standard research, Dr. Mann exposes many companies’ desire to keep dieters in the dark from their secrets: they only provide the facts of short term dieting and change that are usually successful in the first four to six months, refusing to reveal the truth that in the long term, dieters often fail, regaining what was lost and often more. Dr. Mann explains how dieting is an unsuccessful hamster wheel on which the public places themselves in an often vain attempt to change what biology and genetics have given us—our bodies, our predetermined weight range, muscle mass, etc.”—Michelle Martinez, New York Journal of Books

“Mann puts what she calls the dieting industry’s “sacred cows” on the menu in a book that’s equal parts science and self-help. Diets don’t work, she argues, and obesity is not deadly. After summing up decades of research on the physical and psychological factors behind eating, starving and yo-yo dieting, Mann suggests common sense strategies to achieve a healthy weight — which has more to do with your genes than your jean size — and accept your body for what it is.”— Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine

“Diets don’t work. Psychologist Traci Mann, who runs the Health and Eating Lab at the University of Minnesota, convincingly explains why obsessively thinking about food can even cause weight gain… Mann cites study after study to make her case; titles her last chapter, ‘Final Words: Diet Schmiet’; and declares that no single eating plan will ever make the pounds melt away forever. ‘The fragility of willpower’ and ‘a culture of ubiquitous temptations’ conspire against the best-laid plans. Her bottom-line recommendation: ‘reach your leanest livable weight.’ Sold.”—Karen Springen, Booklist Advance Reviews

“I was hesitant on this book at first, because I’ve read tons related to health and diet, and I wondered, “What new can possibly be written on this subject?” Mann does touch on a very old idea in a fresh way that isn’t trying to sell a trend or a product. She does a good job providing evidence, truly lab tested evidence, in a personal way. Her humor captivates readers, making the scientific material much more accessible to her audience. In her efforts, she debunks trends. Well-organized with balanced, fresh divisions of ideas.”—Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Round Judge

Watch:

SELCO librarian Amy Larson reviews Secrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again

authors-at-googleGeeky yet fascinating, and about five times longer than a TED Talk (but worth a watch), author and psychologist Traci Mann, PhD visits Google’s Mountain View, CA headquarters to speak about her book Secrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again. This event took place on August 3, 2015, as part of the Authors@Google series.


Minnesota Book AwardsAward winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Union Depot in Saint Paul.

The evening features a Preface Reception with complimentary passed wine and cash bar, author meet-and-greet, book sales and signing; the Awards Ceremony with live music, celebrity presenters, artisan cheese plates and breads, complimentary wine and lemonade, with emcee Stephanie Curtis of MPR; and the Epilogue After-Party with complimentary champagne, sumptuous desserts, and additional live music. Tickets now on sale, or click here for more information.


We're giving away a book a day

Today’s winner: Priscilla Swartz. (We’ll be in touch via email, and arrange getting the book to you!)

Want your chance to win? Subscribe to our email to get news and program updates sent directly to your inbox, and be automatically entered to win.

 

Countdown to Clean with “Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure”

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, and in collaboration with community editors from the award-winning Saint Paul Almanac, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2016 Children’s Literature finalist:

Ten Pigs by Derek Anderson

Ten Pigs by Derek Anderson
Published by Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.
Category Sponsor: Books for Africa

One very happy pig settles into a bubble bath in a bathtub that’s just the right size for him and his rubber duckie. To his dismay, a second pig with a big beach ball jumps in to join him. Number two is followed by pig number three, dressed for adventure in a snorkeling mask and flippers. The pigs keep coming. How many can possibly squeeze into one bathtub? How will pig number one ever get the others to leave? When a wolf enters the scene, everything changes in this tale with a clever, suspenseful twist… You’ll laugh out loud at this hysterical counting bath adventure with a squeaky clean twist.

Author Bio:

Derek AndersonDerek Anderson is the New York Times bestselling artist of more than twenty books for children, six of which he wrote. His published works include the Little Quack books, written by Lauren Thompson; the Hot Rod Hamster series, written by Cynthia Lord; and his own Gladys Goes Out to Lunch. Derek is especially proud of his book Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure. It wasn’t easy to corral ten wiggly pigs into a crowded bathtub with their snorkels, sandcastles and surfboards. Ten Pigs was selected by Once Upon a Reader, a literacy program in the state of Minnesota, to be their statewide title for 2016. His newest book, Ten Hungry Pigs, a sequel to Ten Pigs, will be published in May 2016. You can learn more about Derek and how he works in his online journal. Anderson was born and raised in Iowa. He now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Derek Anderson is on Twitter.

Once Upon a Reader Trunk Show

A Once Upon a Reader Trunk Show, coming soon to a library near you!

Reviews:

“…The rhythmic flow of the book paired with the adorable illustrations will give children a new favorite book for story time.”—Besty Dailo, Family! Magazine

“Just delightful! Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure is everything a children’s book should be. It’s entertaining, fun, charming, colorful, silly and bursting with heart!”—Pamela Thompson

“Anderson’s joyous, porcine counting rhyme is bathtime (and storytime) fun. His bright-eyed, cartoon porkers, rendered in ‘ink, Photoshop and soap suds,’ are expressive, goofy and engaging. Toddlers will enjoy this, the cleanest piggy count ever.”—Kirkus Reviews

Watch:

Book Trailer

SELCO librarian Jennifer Harveland reviews Ten Pigs; An Epic Bath Adventure.


Minnesota Book AwardsAward winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Union Depot in Saint Paul.

The evening features a Preface Reception with complimentary passed wine and cash bar, author meet-and-greet, book sales and signing; the Awards Ceremony with live music, celebrity presenters, artisan cheese plates and breads, complimentary wine and lemonade, with emcee Stephanie Curtis of MPR; and the Epilogue After-Party with complimentary champagne, sumptuous desserts, and additional live music. Tickets now on sale, or click here for more information.


We're giving away a book a day

Today’s winner: Cindy Weldon. (We’ll be in touch via email, and arrange getting the book to you!)

Want your chance to win? Subscribe to our email to get news and program updates sent directly to your inbox, and be automatically entered to win.

Dads just don’t die… like that

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, and in collaboration with community editors from the award-winning Saint Paul Almanac, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2016 Young People’s Literature finalist:

Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart by Jane St. AnthonyIsabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart by Jane St. Anthony
Published by University of Minnesota Press
Category Sponsor:The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline

It’s Milwaukee in the sixties and your father has died; you have lost a guardian, a home, a parent, a heart. Queue in The Smiths’ “Half a Person.”

And now, here you are in a new city. Few friends and even more challenges. From a spotty landlady to nuns straight from hell, the cards are stacked against you. Can you make it? Isabelle Day can.

With characteristic sensitivity and wit, Jane St. Anthony reveals how a girl’s life clouded with grief can also hold a world of promise.

Author Bio:

Jane St. AnthonyJane St. Anthony grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from the University of Minnesota. The author of three middle-grade books, Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken HeartGrace Above All and The Summer Sherman Loved Me, she lives in Minneapolis with her husband. She considers libraries holy places: “Through reading and writing, I’ve inhabited many worlds and imagined many lives. I never knew that a library card would take me so far.”

Jane St. Anthony is on Facebook.

Reviews:

“Not since Charlotte’s Web have I read a book that pays as much homage to the power of friendship. Isabelle is a survivor; you can’t help but cheer for her. Jane St. Anthony creates characters that captivate your heart and stay with you long after you reluctantly come to the end of the book.”—Loretta Ellsworth, author of Unforgettable

“Each character is finely delineated, contributing to the plausibility of Isabelle’s situation. Gently depicted incidents of everyday life believably provide a balm for Isabelle’s aching soul… Stories for the middle-grade audience that deal with the suicide of a parent are few, and this one, sensitive but never syrupy, stands out.”—Kirkus Reviews

Author Interview:

MN Reads: When author Jane St. Anthony was a girl, a man in her neighborhood killed himself. His wife and daughter moved away, but what St. Anthony remembers most is that no one talked about it; even her questions were met with silence. Listen to a candid conversation with Jane St. Anthony on KUMD-Duluth.

Watch:

SELCO librarian Rachel Gray reviews Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart.


Minnesota Book AwardsAward winners will be announced at the 28th Annual Minnesota Book Awards on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Union Depot in Saint Paul.

The evening features a Preface Reception with complimentary passed wine and cash bar, author meet-and-greet, book sales and signing; the Awards Ceremony with live music, celebrity presenters, artisan cheese plates and breads, complimentary wine and lemonade, with emcee Stephanie Curtis of MPR; and the Epilogue After-Party with complimentary champagne, sumptuous desserts, and additional live music. Tickets now on sale, or click here for more information.


We're giving away a book a day

Today’s winner: Katherine Davenport. (We’ll be in touch via email, and arrange getting the book to you!)

Want your chance to win? Subscribe to our email to get news and program updates sent directly to your inbox, and be automatically entered to win.