I need some book recommendations, folks! I'm going to be vacationing for a week at Mark's parents' place in Minnesota, and I am hoping for lots of reading in front of the fire time. My preferred genres are biography/memoir, well-written history, and quality fiction. Suggestions?


"Crusaders," by feminist and communist Meridel LeSueur, is a great memoir/biography of her parents. Very inspiring.

"Letters from the Country" is a collection of essays by Carol Bly about rural living in the modern midwest. Sharp and witty without condescension.

The two of these are Minnesota authors. Wait, did you say you're coming to Minnesota?

the slash autobio is not bad. I have been reading a lot of Matt Ruff. One of his books is based on people with multiple personalities, which is an interesting take on fiction.

The new Sedaris book is good too of course.

Crescent, by Diana Abu-Jaber. Quality fiction. APL has it.

Have you read Anna Karenina? It's a lot of pages, but so worth it!


The best books I've read recently were Life of Pi and Fox Girl.

Into the Forest by Jean Hegland was a really good fiction book, my favorite this year actually.

I also just picked up Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein. I haven't read it yet but it's on my holiday reading list.

I think you'd maybe love:

Veronica (Mary Gaitskill)
The Giant O'Brien (Hilary Mantel)

Veronica is maybe the only book I've ever kept reading only for the killer turns of phrase. The story is a bit grown up for me, but I think you'd dig on it.

The Giant O'Brien is maybe the best novel ever, and not very long.

I may have recommended these before, but I think you would really like some of Chris Bohjalian's books. I would start with Midwives or Trans-Sister Radio. His new one, The Double Bind, was also really good.

I just finished and unexpectedly loved The Professor's House by Willa Cather. It's a short read.

Coming to Minnesota?! If you're coming very soon you definitely will be spending time by the fire with all the snow we're expecting.

I second Krup's suggestion of Carol Bly if you want something Minnesota-y.

Or. A local author, Bill Holms, has a book called "Coming Home Crazy" about the cultural differences he experienced between Minnesota and China. I haven't read it, but my cousin, who knows Holms, always talks about it. Holms' poetry is excellent, I think, if poetry is at all your thing.

Not related to Minnesota: Have you read anything by Sarah Vowell? She's very funny and her latest, "The Wordy Shipmates" is about the historical details of the pilgrims. I listened to the audio version of "The partly Cloudy Patriot" and laughed out loud frequently.

Ha ha, I definitely won't recommend the Clan of the Cave Bear series to you, but I *do* recommend the book I just finished (and commented on when last you asked what we were reading): T. R. Pearson's Gospel Hour. That'd be in the "quality fiction" category.

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