Celebrate MN Reads’ 1st Anniversary — Win one of our favorite books by Minnesotans

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.”

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  1. Karlyn 10.Aug.09 at 10:06 am

    I’d love to win Turtle Catcher after reading the short-story in Minnesota Monthly. A haunting tale. And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MINNESOTA READS. Jodi, you’ve created a great thing.

  2. Mindy Colucci 10.Aug.09 at 10:10 am

    I’d love to win The Song is You after reading your review Jodi. One year – how exciting.

  3. Jon Mierow 10.Aug.09 at 11:00 am

    What an awesome set of books. If I have to narrow it down to one, I’d pick German for Travelers. Sounds like a fun read, and my wife’s name is Elsa, so it’s got to be a great book, right? Keep up the great work, and thanks for getting other people interested in some MN authors.

  4. Kelly 10.Aug.09 at 11:09 am

    A whole year already?? Sheesh–how the time does fly! Happy Anniversary, Minnesota Reads! 🙂

  5. the tthm 10.Aug.09 at 12:28 pm

    Put me in the hopper for The Turtle Catcher, please. I’m 45th on the reserve list at my library which means I won’t see this books until 2011. Unless I win, of course. Congratulations, MN READS, and welcome to the terrible twos.

  6. Kristy 10.Aug.09 at 1:28 pm

    I’d love to win “The Turtle Catcher” because Jodi says its a great read! Congrats on your 1 year anniversary, this blog was a fantastic idea.

  7. Kim 10.Aug.09 at 1:53 pm

    I’d love to win The Song Is You, because I really dig Arthur Phillips (The Egyptologist in particular).

  8. Aine 10.Aug.09 at 2:30 pm

    I’d love to win German for Travelers. They all sound great, though.

  9. Amanda 10.Aug.09 at 2:32 pm

    I’ve been excited to win Tales of the Road so I can get her autograph when she is up here.

  10. Adam 10.Aug.09 at 2:42 pm

    I’m going to have to pull a tie-breaker here and (flips coin. heads.) it looks like I’ll be choosing The Turtle Catcher. Pretty darn excited.

  11. Michelle 10.Aug.09 at 2:43 pm

    “The Turtle Catcher” looks fascinating — I’d love to win it! It’s a tough pick – they all look/sound wonderful!

  12. Lisa Black 10.Aug.09 at 4:41 pm

    Happy One Year! I love to read too! Love to win “Mudville”. sounds like a fun summer read.

  13. Jodi Chromey 10.Aug.09 at 4:48 pm

    @Lisa Black
    Mudville is a great summer read — it’s approved by 10-year-old boys and 30-something lit snobs alike!

  14. Kassie 10.Aug.09 at 5:08 pm

    Put me in for German for Travelers please.

    And Mudville is a great read.

  15. Tori 10.Aug.09 at 5:50 pm

    Happy anniversary Minnesota Reads! I would like Tales from the Road, please.

  16. Heather on Ivy 10.Aug.09 at 8:06 pm

    Happy Anniversary MNReads! Thanks for 12 months of enjoyment. I especially like the, 6 Questions We always Ask, feature. If I were to win, I would love any one of the books you are offering, so, surprise me. Congrats and hugs.

  17. Angie M. 10.Aug.09 at 8:23 pm

    Happy anniversary! I just discovered your blog tonight on a referral from a friend. Even if I don’t win the giveaway, I’ll be adding it to my regular reads as I am an avid reader and I also love Minnesota Public Radio. On that note, I would love to win The Turtle Catcher.

  18. piranhtachew 10.Aug.09 at 11:16 pm

    Ooh, I wish to enter for either “Mudville” or “Tales Of the Road: Hwy 61”, please.

  19. Julia 11.Aug.09 at 1:10 am

    Happy Anniversary! Many of your recommendations make it to my reading list…thank you. Put me down for German for Travelers

  20. Eric 11.Aug.09 at 8:15 am

    Happy Anniversary, and thanks for recognizing so many great books and their authors. I’d love to win “Mudville.”

  21. Jon 11.Aug.09 at 10:12 am

    I’d love THIS SONG IS YOU by Arthur Phillips.

  22. Tom 11.Aug.09 at 6:13 pm

    I’d love to win Mudville, because baseball & books are my two favorite things. Congrats on the anniversary. Keep up the great work!

  23. Paul 14.Aug.09 at 6:47 am

    As a fan of Cathy Wurzer, I’d love to win!

  24. Karen 14.Aug.09 at 12:14 pm

    I would love to win German for Travelers.

  25. Jean 14.Aug.09 at 10:51 pm

    I would like to win “German for Travelers” although they all sound interesting! I have already read “Tales of the Road,” as my mother bought it while we were traveling the North Shore on Hwy 61, and I couldn’t not read it. It was great, and we just had to check out the places she mentioned. Even my 15 year-old was intrigued by Minnesota’s own ghost town, Taconite Harbor. I wish more kids these days were into reading, instead of just the constant stimulus of tv and video games! I guess Kate DiCamillo has at least gotten a few more kids reading!


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