Laurel M. Hall
We are so fortunate here at the library to have such an active and supportive group of friends С by which I mean the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library, of course. In August, they held the second annual Wine and Words event at Arrowwood Lodge, with a wine tasting, silent auction, great food and six authors who are not only talented writers, but also engaging speakers. I'll share three of their books with you this month. Be sure to check next month's column for three more. Our emcee was once again Minnesota author and comedian Lorna Landvik, who was hilarious.
Food, water, shelter: These are things we need to remain alive. But then there are the things that really make life worth living: Love in all its forms, beauty and inspiration. Art falls in this latter category, it does not keep our heart beating, but can make it race with excitement or ache with longing. The following books about artists, their muses and art lovers alike show us how art can change lives, for better or worse.
By LAUREL M. HALL How much of a writer’s life and personality is contained in their work? A work that is classified as fiction can hold many truths about a person’s life, while a memoir can be true in spirit but not in fact. Minnesota is rich with writers, both past and present, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Erin Hart. If you’d like to learn more about the lives of other Minnesota writers, check out the following books:
By LAUREL M. HALL It’s always good to try something new. In fact, it was three years ago this month that I began to write this column, and though I wasn’t sure at the time how I would fit it into my schedule or come up with interesting things to write about every month it has proven to be a great exercise in thinking about books and reading and has connected me to our community of readers in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
By LAUREL M. HALL The holidays are a busy time for everyone, filled with shopping, eating, volunteering and social events of all sorts. It’s enough to make anyone want to settle down for a long winter’s nap.
Virginia Woolf’s most famous character, Mrs. Dalloway (in the book of the same name) said that “she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.” Dangerous or not, a lot can happen in a mere 24 hours, as it did for Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Heap in Woolf’s novel.
We have lost two great thriller writers this year: Minnesota native Vince Flynn, who died in June from prostate cancer; and the great Tom Clancy, who passed away at the beginning of October.
September is National Wilderness Month, celebrating the vast areas of forest, desert, mountain and wetland that stretch across our country. Early fall is a great time to get out and see the changing leaves, the last of the prairie flowers and the migrating birds. The adventures undertaken in the books featured below, however, were rather more extreme than a walk in the woods.
Summer is road trip season and I have a few great recommendations for audiobooks to make the miles fly by. I introduced my significant other to the joy of David Sedaris in audio earlier this summer with “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” In print, the book is funny, but actually hearing Sedaris singing old-school advertising jingles in his imitation of Billie Holiday’s voice is priceless. If you’ve already read it, try his newest book, “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls,” which has some very funny moments, as well.
Although there is no particular season when publishers release what they think are the best books (unlike Hollywood does for films), early summer tends to bring us a great crop of intriguing new titles from talented authors. The following books have been praised by critics and readers alike and I can’t wait to sit back with an iced tea and escape to the worlds inside of them.