Episode 115: Minnesota books!

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Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This episode is the end of Season One for us – but never fear, we are not leaving you. Season Three of our library training podcast, Linking Our Libraries, starts next Thursday: Feb, 2.  Season Two of Books and Beverages will be back Thursday May 17. (Our first episode will be Pets, with some returning special guest hosts!)

This week we are discussing Minnesota books! We will look at book set in Minnesota, and books by Minnesota authors.

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and we support all types of libraries. This is our book group podcast, where we discuss different genres of books each week, while we all sit in our comfy chairs and drink our beverages. And you are, of course, an important part of this book group. So if you do not already have a nice beverage please go get one, so you can join the experience.

There are no “right” or “wrong” books to read and chat about for our book group – we are just here to explore all kinds of books. We love books, and want to talk about them – and we want you to share what you are reading. All of us will take away at least a title or two that we want to read at the end of our time together!

Who is joining us this week? Our regular hosts Angie and Mary are here!


We have guests, we have our genre. We just need our beverages. Fortunately, we all came prepared with something to sip while we talk about our books. Each week we like to connect the theme of our books with our beverages. Each beverage will have a recipe or a link on our episode page, so you can try them yourself!  Obviously, feel free to sip along with us with any beverage that is right for you. Just join us in celebrating books, and discussing books!

As Minnesotans, of course we have a wide variety of different beverages from all the cultures that make up our great state! But this week we are focused on sharing some local beers. It’s cold and dark outside, and a lot of us sip on local beers to celebrate the snow. When it’s hot and summery outside, a lot of us are outside camping, fishing, hiking, or engaging in other outdoor activities – and sipping on local beers is part of that tradition as well! We will have links to all these on our website, to encourage you to try out some new beverages for yourself!

  • Beaver Island Brewery, located here in St. Cloud: “We make beers that people don’t just drink – they tell stories about. We’re obsessed with the art of brewing, and aren’t afraid to work harder than the other guys. At the end of the day, this is about respect – for the ingredients, for the tradition, and for the vision and experience needed to turn it all into the perfect beer.”
    • Collective Unconscious – Pale Ale
      This Pale Ale is an ode to our friends and MN musical group Collective Unconscious. Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Biscuit, and Crystal Malts from across the pond form a beautiful backdrop for a band of stateside hops. Warrior hops produce a balanced bitterness while Cascade and Ahtanum unveil a burst of citrus flavor. We then dry hop this beer with a bountiful dose of Citra hops to round out the aromatic encore. Above all else, be kind to yourself!
  • Castle Danger Brewing, located near Two Harbors, on the way to Duluth   “The North Shore of Lake Superior is a special place. It’s the crash of the waves on the rocky shores, an outdoor adventure in the woods, seeing the stars, sitting by a campfire, being at the cabin, casting a line, a scenic drive with the family, or visiting your favorite taproom overlooking Lake Superior. The nostalgia runs deep and the origins are endless.
    The experience is unique to you, yet for all to enjoy. Our beers are clean, balanced and approachable. They are brewed with Lake Superior water by hearty souls that embody the North Shore. Wherever or whenever you enjoy a Castle Danger beer, you can taste a little bit of the North Shore in every sip.”

    • Danger Ale: Our flagship and first original recipe, Danger Ale is a true North Shore style beer. It was made with a specific profile in mind. According to style guidelines, it falls within the American Strong Ale category, which is not a well-defined style of beer. Solid caramel-bready malt backbone balanced by German Noble hops, fruity/cedar- like esters from the yeast and smooth finish rounds this beer out nicely.
  • Bent Paddle Brewing Co., located in Duluth “Bent Paddle Brewing Co.® is a 30-barrel production craft brewery and taproom located in the beautiful Great Lakes port town of Duluth, Minnesota. The brewers of Bent Paddle Brewing Co.® use the amazing water of Lake Superior to brew the freshest and most dependable craft beer possible. Lake Superior is 10% of the worlds fresh water and 100% of our beer is made with that water. It is incredibly soft and mimics the water of Pilsen, Czech Republic, the birthplace of Pilseners. Our flagship beers, as well as specialty seasonal offerings, are available in varied keg sizes as well as 12 oz. cans at bars, liquor stores, restaurants and event facilities throughout Minnesota and beyond, as well as by the glass or 64oz. growler to go in our on-site taproom.”


Here are a few other Minnesota beer recommendations:


Genre Suggestions

We have a huge diversity of cultures and languages in Minnesota. There are a lot of Scandinavian descendants, as well as German descendants. And we have several Indian tribes across the state including Chippewa, Ojibwe, Lower Sioux, and Ojibwa or Anishinaabe. We have many groups of cultures who have moved here in the last fifty years, including strong populations of Vietnamese, Hmong, and Somali people.

We live in big cities, and small rural areas. We have deciduous trees and forests filled with pine trees. We root for the Vikings and the Wild. We have a pretty impressive great lake: Lake Superior; and to back that up we are known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes – but that doesn’t cover our whole range of lakes. We have waterfalls and historic sites. In short, we are a land filled with a diverse set of people and natural settings – and the literature of Minnesota is likewise exciting and diverse, and is filled with different kinds of settings, people, and genres!

We love Minnesota books, and are collecting them on our website. Each week we publish a review of a book set in Minnesota in our series: CMLE Reads Across MN. We also have a google map where we locate each of these books, so you can see how geographically diverse our state – and our books – are to read! We link to this series  so you can check it out yourself.


Books Discussed

  • The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang
  • The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
  • It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman
  • Rewrite Your Life: Discover Your Truth Through the Healing Power of Fiction by Jessica Lourey
  • John Sandford Prey series (with Lucas Davenport)
  • Spinoff series with Virgil Flowers
  • P.J. Tracy Monkeewrench series
  • From Somalia to Snow: How Central Minnesota Became Home to Somalis Hudda Ibrahim
  • Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life David Treuer
  • Triple Play (Jake Hines, #1) Elizabeth Gunn
  • Crossing the Driftless: A Canoe Trip through a Midwestern Landscape Lynne Diebel
  • May Day (Murder-by-Month Mystery, #1) Jess Lourey,
  • Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (A Magical Cats Mystery, #1) Sofie Kelly
  • Resort to Murder Carl Brookins
  • Iron Lake (Cork O’Connor, #1), William Kent Krueger
  • A Superior Death (Anna Pigeon, #2) Nevada Barr



Thank you so much for joining us for this discussion! This is our final show of Season One – but stay tuned for Season Two coming soon. We want to talk about more genres and more books, and to talk with more members of our CMLE podcast book group. If you have genre suggestions, or if you want to be a guest to talk about some fun books – send us an email at admin@cmle.org. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a single episode! And if you want to hear more about the work we do in libraries – which is surprisingly fun! – subscribe to our podcast Linking Our Libraries.

We support libraries!