To celebrate our first anniversary, we’re giving you the chance to win one of our favorite books by Minnesota authors. Below, you’ll see five of our favorites, and a little bit about why we liked them so much.
To win, all you need to do is leave a comment and tell us which book you want. We’ll draw a winner next week (8/17) and send the book to you. You don’t even have to be a Minnesotan to win, we’re more than happy to let our coolness leak across the border.
German for Travelers by Norah Labiner: “This might be stating the obvious, but I love reading. It's my favorite pastime and something I do every single day. That being said, not many books are fun to read. It's not like reading is a buzzkill or painful, it's just not, you know, fun. It's kind of hard to explain. Norah Labiner's German for Traveler's was a lot of fun to read. The way Labiner plays with language and storytelling, made me smile in the middle of a page. It's as though I could tell she had fun writing that sentence or paragraph. Her book is smart and clever in the way that makes you feel like you're in on a joke.
I have loved many books so far this year, but none have been as fun to read as this one. It sounds weak and sort of cliche, but this novel is absolutely delightful. Labiner tells a story (or stories in this case) unlike anyone I've ever read before. Her writing is prose that verges on poetry filled with wordplay and mystery and wonder. ”
Tales of the Road: Highway 61 by Cathy Wurzer: “Wurzer took readers on about a 425-mile journey on Highway 61 (thanks Google Maps) from Grand Portage-near the Minnesota/Ontario boarder-all the way down to La Crescent, a town just across the border from La Crosse, Wisconsin. Along the way, we pulled off this oft-realigned road sixty times to survey various points of interest in three regions: the North Shore, the stretch from Duluth to St. Paul, and the scenic Bluff Country next to the Mississippi River. Sometimes these points were nothing more than a concrete footing from the long-gone Outlaw Bridge near Grand Portage or a locked iron gate to Bramble Haw, a wooded area south of Old Frontenac. Other times we are treated to beautifully restored buildings, such as the Soo Line depot in Moose Lake and the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing.”
The Turtle Catcher by Nicole Helget: “What I loved so much about this book is that even though it takes place in turn of the century Minnesota, the issues the Richters struggle with are timeless. There's a father trying to do what is best for his family despite what the neighbors think; a headstrong boy trying to find his own voice and rebelling; a handsome young man looking for a good time no matter what grief it brings; and a young girl ashamed of her body and unsure of how to make her way in the world where she doesn't quite fit.”
The Song is You by Arthur Phillips: “And there I was, minding my own business on a Sunday afternoon, when suddenly I could not put down The Song Is You by Arthur Phillips. It was like I got hit over the head with a love mallet. It had to be, because for the first third of the book I was trudging through Phillips' metaphor mud, wondering why a character couldn't just wave his hands. He had to be “waving at the air as if bees were approaching his ragged beard with colonial intent.” Etc., etc., etc.
(As a metaphor abuser myself, I'm especially keen to this infraction in others. Just like I notice other women who have the same bald spot that I'm growing.)”
Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta “This is one of the most charming books I've read in a long time. It's sweet and innocent and has an air of mysticism about it that keeps it from feeling like over-sugared kidlit.
Roy's passion for baseball so encompasses him and the reader that we never even question some of the more hinky things going on in the story. Like Roy, we're just too involved in the importance of baseball and teaching the team to the game that we take at face value any information we learn about Sturgis and never give it a second thought.”