Tag Archives: Read Across MN

CMLE Reads Across MN: We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and it also has many interesting books. In this series, we are sharing some of the books we like from Minnesota, or Minnesota authors.

We are mapping our literary journey around Minnesota, so you can see all the interesting places where our books are set. Follow our progress on our Google Map, accessible by clicking that link or searching for the title CMLE Reads Across Minnesota!

This week’s book was suggested by CMLE member Violet Fox. Do you have a good Minnesota book to suggest? Tell us about it! We love Minnesota books.

We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter, by Rachael Hanel “Rachael Hanel’s name was inscribed on a gravestone when she was eleven years old. Yet this wasn’t at all unusual in her world: her father was a gravedigger in the small Minnesota town of Waseca, and death was her family’s business. Her parents were forty-two years old and in good health when they erected their gravestone—Rachael’s name was simply a branch on the sprawling family tree etched on the back of the stone. As she puts it: I grew up in cemeteries.

And you don’t grow up in cemeteries—surrounded by headstones and stories, questions, curiosity—without becoming an adept and sensitive observer of death and loss as experienced by the people in this small town. For Rachael Hanel, wandering among tombstones, reading the names, and wondering about the townsfolk and their lives, death was, in many ways, beautiful and mysterious. Death and mourning: these she understood. But when Rachael’s father—Digger O’Dell—passes away suddenly when she is fifteen, she and her family are abruptly and harshly transformed from bystanders to participants. And for the first time, Rachael realizes that death and grief are very different.”

CMLE Reads Across MN: Locally Laid

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and it also has many interesting books. In this series, we are sharing some of the books we like from Minnesota, or Minnesota authors.

We are mapping our literary journey around Minnesota, so you can see all the interesting places where our books are set. Follow our progress on our Google Map, accessible by clicking that link or searching for the title CMLE Reads Across Minnesota!

I am an egg fan. This is probably not a controversial stand – eggs are pretty popular foods, filled with all kinds of happy nutrition, especially when you get nice pasture-raised eggs. This past summer I was part of the Common Ground CSA at St. Ben’s (Community Supported Agriculture). We got all kinds of great veggies, local meat, and some of the most beautiful eggs I’ve ever seen! Every morning, when I made scrambled eggs they were so pretty – bright orange and yellow – that they enhanced anything else I added to them and started my day off really well!

Reading about eggs is nearly as fun as eating them – especially when it is all about the fun and foibles of some Minnesotans who decide to go all in on creating an chicken farm!

If you want to learn more about the farm, you can check out their website here! And if you see the brand Locally Laid eggs in your store – you can remember they are not only Minnesotan eggs and a family -owned business, but also have a fun book to go with them! (Yes, it’s perfectly fine to read this book while you are eating your breakfast/lunch/dinner eggs!)

Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm – from Scratch, by Lucie B. AmundsenHow a Midwestern family with no agriculture experience went from a few backyard chickens to a full-fledged farm—and discovered why local chicks are better.

When Lucie Amundsen had a rare night out with her husband, she never imagined what he’d tell her over dinner—that his dream was to quit his office job (with benefits!) and start a commercial-scale pasture-raised egg farm. His entire agricultural experience consisted of raising five backyard hens, none of whom had yet laid a single egg.

To create this pastured poultry ranch, the couple scrambles to acquire nearly two thousand chickens—all named Lola. These hens, purchased commercially, arrive bereft of basic chicken-y instincts, such as the evening urge to roost. The newbie farmers also deal with their own shortcomings, making for a failed inspection and intense struggles to keep livestock alive (much less laying) during a brutal winter. But with a heavy dose of humor, they learn to negotiate the highly stressed no-man’s-land known as Middle Agriculture. Amundsen sees firsthand how these midsized farms, situated between small-scale operations and mammoth factory farms, are vital to rebuilding America’s local food system.

With an unexpected passion for this dubious enterprise, Amundsen shares a messy, wry, and entirely educational story of the unforeseen payoffs (and frequent pitfalls) of one couple’s ag adventure—and many, many hours spent wrangling chickens.”

(Quick note: We include links here for your ease in finding more info, but receive no eggs or other benefit from the Locally Laid company, or Common Ground, in compensation. If you click on the book link to Amazon, and happen to buy something while you are there, we do get a small percentage of Amazon’s profits in return.)

CMLE Reads Across MN: War for the Oaks

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, but it also has many interesting books. In this series, we are sharing some of the books we like from Minnesota, or Minnesota authors.

We are mapping our literary journey around Minnesota, so you can see all the interesting places where our books are set. Follow our progress on our Google Map, accessible by clicking that link or searching for the title CMLE Reads Across Minnesota!

There are all kinds of fun stories happening across Minnesota. If you have had any dreams of an exciting rock and roll life – one that involves fairies and other exciting aspects – this could be the book for you!

“Eddi McCandry sings rock and roll. But her boyfriend just dumped her, her band just broke up, and life could hardly be worse. Then, walking home through downtown Minneapolis on a dark night, she finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk. Now, more than her own survival is at risk—and her own preferences, musical and personal, are very much beside the point. By turns tough and lyrical, fabulous and down-to-earth, War for the Oaks is a fantasy novel that’s as much about this world as about the other one. It’s about real love and loyalty, about real music and musicians, about false glamour and true art. It will change the way you hear and see your own daily life.”

CMLE Reads Across MN: Curiosity Thrilled the Cat

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, but it also has many interesting books. In this series, we are sharing some of the books we like from Minnesota, or Minnesota authors.

We are mapping our literary journey around Minnesota, so you can see all the interesting places where our books are set. Follow our progress on our Google Map, accessible by clicking that link or searching for the title CMLE Reads Across Minnesota! (This book is set in fictional Mayville Heights, Minnesota, a small town on the Mississippi River. I have arbitrarily decided to set our pin in the town of Little Falls, MN as a placeholder.)

This is a fun series, if you like cozy mysteries about librarians! (And really – can you imagine a more fun topic??) Throwing in the magic cats is just a bonus. I read this when I moved to St. Cloud – and I am still waiting for my magic cats. In the meantime, I can keep reading through this entire

“When librarian Kathleen Paulson moved to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, she had no idea that two strays would nuzzle their way into her life. Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction and Hercules is a stocky tuxedo cat who shares Kathleen’s fondness for Barry Manilow. But beyond all the fur and purrs, there’s something more to these kitties.

When murder interrupts Mayville’s Wild Rose Summer Music Festival, Kathleen finds herself the prime suspect. More stunning is her realization that Owen and Hercules are truly special—perhaps even magical. Now, with a little legwork from her four-legged friends, Kathleen may be able to solve this purr-fect murder..”

CMLE Reads Across MN: Undead and Unwed

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, but it also has many interesting books. In this series, we are sharing some of the books we like from Minnesota, or Minnesota authors.

We are mapping our literary journey around Minnesota, so you can see all the interesting places where our books are set. Follow our progress on our Google Map, accessible by clicking that link or searching for the title CMLE Reads Across Minnesota!

Undead and Unwed (Queen Betsy, Book 1), by MaryJanice Davidson “It’s been a helluva week for Betsy Taylor. First, she loses her job. Then, to top things off, she’s killed in a car accident. But what really bites (besides waking up in the morgue dressed in a pink suit and cheap shoes courtesy of her stepmother) is that she can’t seem to stay dead. Every night she rises with a horrible craving for blood. She’s not taking too well to a liquid diet.

Worst of all, her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious, power-hungry vampire in five centuries – a badly dressed Bela Lugosi wannabe, natch. Frankly, Betsy couldn’t care less about vamp politics, but they have a powerful weapon of persuasion: designer shoes. How can any self-respecting girl say no? But a collection of Ferragamos isn’t the only temptation for Betsy. It’s just a lot safer than the scrumptious Sinclair – a seductive bloodsucker whose sexy gaze seems as dangerous as a stake through the heart…”

I really like MaryJanice Davidson’s books! This series is fluffy fun, in the best way. Betsy is a reluctant, but incredibly powerful, vampire. She surrounds herself with really fun characters – all of whom are smarter and more talented than she is. And despite her ditzy actions, and obsession with expensive shoes, she is ready to defeat bad guys and save the day when the situation arises! And yes: it arises pretty often in these books. Thank goodness Betsy is on the scene and ready to kick butt!

This series takes place in Minneapolis and St. Paul. She has another series, starring Fred the Mermaid, set in Boston; and yet another one with werewolves that is set in Cape Cod. All the series are fun, and they intersect with each other – which is always fun to read!

If you need a happy, funny book – with vampires – to help you through the week, I suggest you check out any of these books. You may not experience much intellectual stimulation, but you will laugh and have a good time with your new vampire friends!