Wayzata’s Bette Hammel is a highly respected Twin Cities author, with a career that spans topics and decades—and it all started in a St. Paul newsroom. Bette’s dad, Whitey Jones, was a likeable guy. Working in the St. Paul Pioneer Press mailroom, he occasionally brought along his young daughter when he visited the reporters in the newsroom. The rhythmic clicks and clacks, dings and zzzzzips of the typewriters left a lasting impression on young Bette. After studying journalism at the University of Minnesota and graduating in 1947, she entered the world of advertising as a copywriter. Read more about Mad About Bette
At 22 years old, Julie Barton had recently graduated from school and was struggling with severe depression. She was at a loss where to turn next. In the throes of darkness, she decided to adopt a golden retriever, and this decision had a profound effect on her well-being. After Barton brought Bunker, her adorable dog, into her life, everything seemed to get better. It was as though caring for that lovable drool machine allowed her to see that caring and lavishing love for another was what brought her into the light. Read more about Books: Dog Medicine
Minnetrista author Quentin Brent (a pen name inspired by the first names of his two sons) released his first book, The Reason, last October.
A University of Minnesota graduate with a degree in economics, Brent has 15 years of experience working in banks, including as a bank president for the past five. He explains that he’s “seen the role debt plays and how it affects economic structure and society.” Read more about Finances Get Zany
City on Fire is the debut novel from Garth Risk Hallberg (Knopf, $30). The story takes place in the 1970s in New York City and focuses on the mayhem leading up to the city’s 1977 blackout. An intermixing of a variety of characters creates a tapestry of cultures and diversity, with perspectives from artists, brokers, bankers, cops and anarchists, resulting in a startlingly ambitious read. Turn on your lamp, mix yourself a drink and dive in to this fantastic novel that is perfect for cold nights. Read more about Books: City on Fire
In the 2005 novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, 9-year-old protagonist Liesel Meminger turns to literature to cope with living in Nazi-occupied Germany during World War II. Liesel steals books from a local library, teaching herself to read amid the chaos and despair surrounding her. The Book Thief emphasizes the importance of reading, not just as a distraction from the trials of life, but also as a measure of our own growth and development. Read more about Orono High School’s Maria Keller Founds Literacy Nonprofit Read Indeed
How many film viewers have wanted to reach through the screen and touch the curiously enticing Le Ballon Rouge as it moved through the post-war streets of Paris during Albert Lamorisse’s French short-film classic, The Red Balloon? Read more about Red Balloon Bookshop Enchants Readers on Grand Avenue
Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain is one of those books that a bookseller never quite knows where to shelve. Written by James Lenfestey and published by Milkweed Editions, it’s part memoir, part travelogue, and part history. In addition, it is filled with some of the most touching and beautiful poetry you’ll discover. The author travels to China to find the very cave in which Han Shan wrote his Cold Mountains poems, and throughout the book, Lenfestey shares with the reader powerful personal stories, gripping adventures and the intensely spiritual journey that he was seeking. Read more about Books: A Beautiful Journey
In The Price of Victory and the Fear of Innovation, author Linda Tedford tells the story of longtime Deephaven resident Brad Robinson, who passed away in October at age 78. “The book is about Brad’s innovation in the world of competitive sailing and how his creative genius was rejected to protect the interest of one boat builder,” Tedford says. Read more about Not-So-Smooth Sailing
While there are endless electronic options when it comes to planning your schedule, there is something to be said for a beautiful wall calendar of real paper. Ellie Temple of Excelsior Bay Books shares some of her recommendations for 2016.
For the lake enthusiast, Temple recommends the 2016 Calendar of Wooden Boats. “It features pictures of classic sailboats and workboats—very relevant to the Lake Minnetonka area.” Read more about A Year on Paper