MN Reads

Join us Thursday mornings at 8:20 for Minnesota Reads on Northland Morning,  featuring Minnesota authors talking about their work.

Minnesota Reads is supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Despite a gardening career that spans decades, author John Whitman says he thought he knew more than he did when he sat down to produce Fresh From The Garden: An Organic Guide to Growing Vegetables, Berries and Herbs in Cold Climates.

A friend's collection of mystery stories by Minnesota authors sparked this collection of short stories for young readers.  Editors Jay Peterson and Collette Morgan discovered, too, that just because a reader is young doesn't mean they're not thinking about what they read.

Sky Blue Water includes a Q&A between kids and the contributing authors, as well as discussion and writing prompts for classrooms or book groups.

The fun and funny Lorna Landvik joins us to talk about why she never reads her books again once she writes them, the characters who yammer in her head and why she believes "quirkiness will prevail."

Minnesota Historical Society

Orders given, orders recieved, courts-martial ...

An almost 200 year old order book, compiled by Colonel Josiah Snelling's adjutant between 1826 and 1827, recorded details of the U.S. Army's 5th Infantry Regiment beginning a year after the frontier outpost Fort St. Anthony was renamed after its commander.

When canoe enthusiasts Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims set out to write the first book on the history of canoes in the entire North American continent, their goal was to find the best illustrations they could.

To that end, they commissioned two oil paintings and a series of maps from a Minnesota cartographer to create a book that, more than anything, seems to be about memories.

Bea Ojakangas has written a lot of cookbooks over the years ... and delivered a lot of talks about it.

In fact, one of those talks, called "Cooking Up A Book," prompted the University of Minnesota Press to ask for this new book: a memoir (with recipes).

The wave of grassroots feminist organizing that built beginning in the late '70s had its origin in some unlikely places.

Women who immigrated to America from Finland - some of whom came alone - had had the right to vote since 1906, and they got right to work organizing and publishing a feminist newspaper.

The Anishinaabe had a long woman-centric tradition until the advent of the boarding schools, where women were honored in the society.

And then there's the lake and the wilderness. "It draws certain kinds of people," says author Beth Bartlett.  "It's restorative."

Emily Bestler Books

Our guest on this episode of MN Reads is Mindy Mejia, the author the novel Everything You Want Me to Be, published by Emily Bestler Books in 2017.  

Writing a counting book for kids - how hard could it be?

Phyllis Root, though, had other ideas.  By the time she was done, she'd completed a down-counting book with each different habitat in Minnesota represented ... and with each verb used only once.

Phyllis Root's new book, One North Star, is illustrated by Betsy Bowen and artist/biologist Beckie Prange.

Author (and UMD professor) Tom Isbell wraps up his young adult Prey trilogy with The Release.  He talks about his inspirations (The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss, the Holocaust) and about the question: how big is our circle of concern?

Maybe "prophet" is too strong a word to describe Larry Stillday.

Maybe "prescient" is a better one.

When Larry Stillday died in May of 2014, he left behind a legacy as a spiritual teacher.  Michael Meuers, a non-Native who worked for the Red Lake Band for over 20 years, found Stillday so poetic he just started writing down the things he said.

And at this time in history, Meuers says, Stillday's teachings, especially about the need to assimilate more with the "culture of the land," are even more important.

Twin Citian Daniel Lancaster and his family fell under the spell of John Beargrease over ten years ago when they began traveling north on vacations.

Anxious to learn more about the man behind the legend, Lancaster says he ended up writing the book he wanted to find, but couldn't.

Essayist and artist Andy Sturdevant joins us in the studio to weigh in on hotdish like a Rothko,  Ralph's Corner Bar and the poignance of the Minnesotan's long memory for the way things were.

Author Mary Casanova has spent 35 years looking at Rainy Lake and its iconic lift bridge to Canada out of her living room windows.

So it's not surprising that weather plays a central role in her novel Frozen, and it's new companion book, Ice-Out, nor is it surprising that ice-out itself is a metaphor for her central character.

Former St. Paul Pioneer Press outdoors reporter Chris Niskanen provides a playful, insightful, surprising guide to all things Minnesotan, the perfect read for newcomers and life-long residents alike.

(pg 114-155 have great ideas for Fun With 30 Below Wind Chills: everything from pounding a nail with a frozen banana to the ever-popular tossing-a-cup-of-boiling-water-in-the-air-to-watch-it-freeze)

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