Picture books, memoirs and poetry fill these niches – Twin Cities
Today we’re rounding up books that don’t fit into either category or are niche publications that will appeal to a specific group, but who knows when a silent book can spark a change in someone’s life?
“Duluth’s Great Ancient Architecture: 1870-1940“: by Tony Dierckins and Maryanne C. Norton (Zenith City Press, $60)
The buildings, houses, bridges and monuments of the Port City have a long and interesting past, and this oversized, lavishly illustrated coffee table book tells all about them with the use of photos and sketches by some of the oldest buildings that have been demolished. as well as contemporaries.
It begins with an exploration of the city’s historic architecture, including the 1856 Jefferson House Hotel, Duluth’s first commercial building, and the 1858 Post Office, the first municipal building constructed in the city. A section on educational buildings – schools, colleges and universities – will bring back fond memories for anyone in Duluth who moved to the cities. The Resplendent Residences chapter features photos of the gabled, turreted, and ornate 19th-century mansions in the style of some along St. Paul’s Summit Avenue.
Dierckins, a St. Paul native, has authored or co-authored more than two dozen books, including “Lost Duluth” and “Glensheen: The Official Guide.” It received the Duluth Depot Foundation’s Historic Preservation and Interpretation Award in 2012. Maryanne Norton, who died in 2018, left behind research papers she was working on for another book, and Dierckins vowed to complete that project. . Norton served as assistant director of the St. Louis County Historical Society and spent her retirement volunteering at the Duluth Public Library.
“What Makes Saint Anthony Village”: by S. A. Scott (Whispering Bluff Booksno price indicated).
You don’t need to know where the village of St. Anthony is to enjoy this oversized, photo-filled paperback, filled with tidbits about the place locals call the village, including its beginnings, businesses , its festivals, its places of life and its community activities. The book was released in 2020 as a limited edition celebrating the city’s 75th anniversary. St. Anthony is unusual because its 2.35 square miles spans Ramsey and Hennepin counties. There are over 9,000 residents and they seem to love their community.
“Swing on the garden gate“: by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew (Skinner House Books, $18)
Subtitled “A Memoir of Bisexuality and Spirit”, it is a reissue of a book published in 2021. Andrew, who teaches creative writing at the Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality in St. Paul, shares his long and sometimes difficult journey towards the knowledge of bisexuality as an embodied manifestation of divinity. After reconciling her United Methodist faith with her sexuality, she realizes that her body and her sexuality are sacred. Its publisher, an imprint of the Unitarian Universalist Association, says, “Andrew brings a distinctly queer feminist lens to Christian teachings and answers the question countless young people have asked him over the years: ‘Is it possible to to be both queer and spiritual? ”
“Crétin ’61: a class memory“: by Joe Delmont (Delmont Books, $9.99)
For those unfamiliar with St. Paul-based Cretin High School, the author defines it on the cover as “A Military School for Christian Boys and Brothers” which has now merged with Derham Hall Girls’ High School.
Delmont’s book began at the 60th class reunion when the conversation often turned to “do you remember…?” The author writes that his book “is a history of Cretin’s important milestones, and at the same time, it is a snapshot of a unique era in American education and American society – an era that no longer exists. … It was a time in Cretin of compulsory military training and man-to-man physical discipline directed by Christian Brothers where the consequences of an unacceptable act were immediate and stinging.
Delmont memorabilia includes the culture of Cretin, founded in 1871, as well as the traditions, crack drill team, sports and personalities of some of the most interesting Christian brethren, as well as mixers and formal dances with girls from other schools. Anyone who was in a Minnesota high school in the late 1950s will recognize the teenage world Delmont portrays.
The author is an award-winning journalist who has written for several national trade publications and was a reporter and finance editor for the St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press (when there were morning and l afternoon of the newspaper). For more information, email [email protected] or visit delmontbooks.com.
“dumb dumb dumb: My Mother’s Book Reviews“: by Mary Jo Pehl (Redhawk Publications, $18)
Pehl is a writer and actor on the TV show “Mystery Science Theater 3000”, and a comedian and storyteller who lives in the Twin Cities. In this fun memoir, the star is his mother, Dorothy McNamara Pehl. When Dorothy died in 2014, Mary Jo found a box of cards her mother wrote book reviews on for 15 years of reading. Besides being a voracious reader, she was a collector of clothes, kitchen utensils, snow globes, and other items from Goodwill and garage sales.
Dorothy’s short, to-the-point book reviews are eye-opening for endless professional reviewers. Here’s his take on John Irving’s “The Fourth Hand”: “I usually like his stuff, but I thought it was a little dumb.” And Steve Martin’s “Shop Girl”: “Only 130 pages, started out better + aged slowly.” But she also enjoyed certain books, such as “Postcards” by E. Annie Proulx: “Very well. Loyal Blood murders his lover by accident + disappears.
These criticisms are lodged in Mary Jo’s recollections of life with her parents, who lived in the Twin Cities. She wrote a wonderful blend of her mother’s view of contemporary literature and her childhood in Minnesota. Order at tinyurl.com/MaryJoPehl.
“Mariachi! Escape to Mexico“: by Faye Berger (Kirk House Publishing, $17.95)
You are ready to retire and you are interested in buying beach property in Mexico. this is what you want? Faye Berger offers an 11-point quiz to help you decide in “Mariachi” based on her experiences and subtitled “Beckoning Advice on Beach Property, Retirement, and Crossing Borders.”
Part memoir, part travelogue, and part philosophy on living well in your later years, this thoughtful and engaging book from an author who lives nine months a year in Minneapolis and three months in Manzanillo, Mexico, explores aspects of moving to Mexico, from making the decision by getting used to the different rhythms of life, the specifics of condominium living such as etiquette and how to find a handyman, the sociology of Mexico and the light and dark sides of life south of the border. Berger has been traveling to Mexico for over 30 years and is a proponent of “positive aging,” his book “Find Fox Holeswas selected for Renville County’s One Book/One County Reading Program.
JUST FOR FUN
“Brave grandmothers and other funny characters“: by Ken Mogren, illustrated by Joella Goyette (MSI Press, $16.95)
Don’t be put off by the unpleasant grandmother on the cover of this collection of over 100 comical mini-stories of human behavior, written in sonnet form, by a Winona first-time author, just like the illustrator. Inside, it’s fun.
“I hesitate to use the S-word (sonnet), lest it bring back painful memories of my difficulties at school in understanding what famous and dead poets were about,” writes Mogren. “These are not like those. If you’re not confused by the poetry of Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose, you’ll be fine.
Mogren’s topics in 22 chapters range from Kid Stuff to Geezers, Quirky women, Animals Who Drink, Rednecks, Creepy Guys, As Seen on TV and Misfits. Here is an example from GroundHog Day:
“Two marmot guys, half snocked in a bar,
Had discussed Punxsutawney Phil.
They didn’t like the biggest star of their kind
And questioned his ability to predict…”