Ripe for reading: Not too late for summertime reading with local, regional authors
BEMIDJI -- July is almost gone, but there still time left to settle down with a good book on
the pontoon or the deck and enjoy some summertime reading.
Speaking of pontoons, have you seen the book "Goodnight Loon" by Abe Sauer, which is soon to be sold at Big River Scoop in downtown Bemidji? For parents and children alike, the book is a welcome change, and where else could you find three walleyes eating rhubarb pie.
There are lots of other surprises between the covers, along with the colorful illustrations. Sauer, the father of three youngsters, wrote the book and his brother, Nathaniel Davauer, a professional photographer and illustrator, as well as a father of three, conceived the artwork. The book is part of the University of Minnesota Press catalog, which is working on fulfilling all the backorders with the second printing. It is also available at Beagle Books in Park Rapids and online at goodnightloon.com. If the author's name is familiar to you, it might be from reading his humorous book, "How to be: NORTH DAKOTA. A Guide to the Plains."
Another summer book for readers of all ages is Blackduck author Don Houseman's last book in his series about Harvey the horse: Harvey and his friends saved the barn and then they all went on a great fishing adventure; and now in the last book, they saved the smalltown nativity scene just in time for Christmas. Houseman started writing and illustrating his books for his grandchildren; giving them stories from family history. All of the books are illustrated by Houseman with pen and ink drawings and one color object on each page.
Houseman, who devoted 34 years of teaching art at Blackduck High School, has his book
"Christmas Comes to Harvey and His Friends" at Book World and the Northwoods Gallery and
Framing in Bemidji and the Northlander Gift Shop in Blackduck. The first two books are part of the children's selections at the Bemidji Public Library.
But what about those of us who love a good mystery with Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson set in "steampunk" Victorian England? If you do, then check out "Sherlock Holmes And the Case of the Man-Made Vacuum." The book is co-written by prolific Bemidji author Roy C. Booth and former Bemidjian Nicholas J. Johnson. But just what is steampunk? Well, here's one definition: "A subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that features advanced machines and other technology based on the steam power of the 19th century set in a recognizable historical period or a fantasy world." The book reads quickly and yet challenges the imagination with some comical instances. The writing is sometimes poetic in nature and falls easily on the mind and tongue. It is available in Bemidji at Book World.
Pioneer columnist John R. Eggers' latest book, "Bullhead Days," is a charming reflection of growing up in "a not too small town" in the 1950s. Along with the narrative there are lyrics of rock and roll songs popular to the time. The book is set in Waterville, Minn.,, the Bullhead Capital of the World and fishing on Lake Tetonka. The stories can be shared with family and then the game begins with sharing memories of your own growing-up years.
"For kids it was still a time of adventure and exploration but, most of all for me, it was a time for imagining and the music of Buddy Holly and Dion and the Big Bopper helped it along" wrote Eggers in the introduction.
Park Rapids author Jerry Mevissen has penned the best and most tender short stories of the real people in "Good Shepherd," published by the Jackpine Writers Bloc, Inc. Mevissen's vivid imagination gives us an invitation for dinner and conversation with the staff and residents
of Good Shepherd Assisted Living in Browns Ferry, Minn. The stories are about the people who
live in Good Shepherd. The book is worthwhile reading because it gives us a peek into the whys and wherefores of the residents and their families and how they relate to each other. The short
stories interrelate well, so when the final chapter happens, we are left feeling happy about our new friends, the residents of Good Shepherd. Available at Gallery North in Bemidji.
Another collection of short stories is "Zenith City -- Stories from Duluth" by Michael Fedo, a native son from the famous city on Lake Superior. The stories "capture the character of the city through happy-go-melancholy lens nurtured by the people and landscape of his youth." For many Bemidjians, Duluth is a must-go, mini-vacation city that has the charm of its own because of its rich history and "big city" activities. Author Sinclair Lewis denied that Duluth was the city "Zenith" in his Nobel Prize-winning novel "Babbitt" probably because he resided there. Fedo's book is filled with similar stories about famous visitors like Joe DiMaggio and Bob Dylan, and "the mob." Fedo is the author of several books, including "The Lynchings in Duluth" and novel "Indians in the
Arborvitae." The book is available through University of Minnesota Press.
And although not a local author, Pam Nelson was keynote speaker for the recent Northwoods Writers Conference at BSU in June. This author did read some of her books in preparation and couldn't put them down. Her books include "Waltzing the Cat" and "Cowboys Are My Weakness" and the newest one "A Little More About Me." The short stories tell of professional photographer Lucy O'Rourke and her adventures whitewater rafting on the Colorado River or taking pictures with her tour guide in the Amazon. The stories are independent of each other but with recurring friends and boyfriends adding spice to her life. The last book remains unread, but we are anxious to read if Lucy comes to grips with her life for she "is the voice of an entire generation of adventurous young women whose intrepid hearts lead them into deep water," according to "Elle Magazine."
So, make sure to have some fun with fiction and non-fiction these waning days of summer.