Books

Middle Reader Reads

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
-Recommended by Mary Severson

Shortly after Steven’s new baby brother, born with multiple birth defects, arrives, Steven starts having dreams about angels—or maybe they’re wasps? At any rate, they tell him, “We’ve come about the baby. We’ve come to help.” Step by step, the wasps work on a perfect new baby, but need Steven’s cooperation for the final replacement. Is he helping or betraying his family? If you liked Coraline, you might like this spooky middle-grade story.

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Grape Staycation

Sampling new wines surrounded by beautiful scenery is definitely part of the charm of visiting Minnesota wineries, but local wine connoisseurs also savor learning about the stories behind the wine. Authors Diane Lynch and Dick Osgood collected many of those stories in their book, Minnesota Winery Stories. The book lists almost every winery in the state, with in-depth stories on 15 Minnesota wineries, including Parley Lake Winery in Waconia.

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Scientific Thought

On Immunity: an Inoculation
by Eula Biss
Recommended by Laura Carlson

For anyone interested in getting behind the headlines of the vaccination debate, this book is worth picking up. The author does a great job of discussing the basics of vaccines so that a layperson can understand the science behind it, while also making thought-provoking connections between vaccines as a metaphor in certain literary works.

All the Birds in the Sky
by Charlie Jane Anders
Recommended by Lee Burkhalter

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Inside Jokes

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Recommended by Laura Carlson

Not everyone will get Jenny Lawson’s humor, but if you are one of her many fans, this is a must read. Lawson does an excellent job of writing about mental illness by being both heartfelt and funny.

Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff
Recommended by Laura Carlson

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Women’s Stories

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West
by Dorothy Wickenden

Recommended by Mary Severson
Upon graduation from Smith College, the author’s grandmother and her grandmother’s best friend left their comfortable lives in the East and spent nine months teaching in a remote Colorado school in 1916. This was an adventure that shaped their entire lives, as they experienced frontier life and tried to make a difference in the lives of their students.

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Short Stories

If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home: Stories -by John Jodzio
Recommended by Lee Burkhalter:
Things are swallowed that should not be swallowed, barnacles cling where they do not belong and experiments conclude in unexpected results. Jodzio tells his stories with a refreshing lightness, even in his characters’ desperate situations.

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Binge Reading

Even before we could binge on a season of Orange is the New Black in one weekend (thank you, Netflix), there was the time-honored tradition of binge reading. Two different mystery book series from local authors are perfect candidates to keep you busy for the rest of the winter.

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Food for Thought

Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens
-by Andrew Beahrs

Recommended by Laura Carlson:
This story does a great job of blurring genre lines—it’s an interesting food memoir, along with covering American history and touching on literary notes having to do with Mark Twain’s life and career.

Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop
-by Jeff Miller

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Waconia Author Mike Tibbetts Publishes Second Book

Mike Tibbetts grew up in the English countryside, on the edge of a forest, with his older brother, woodland creatures and a steady diet of Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter books to keep him company. His early love of nature, wildlife and literature would not only follow him through life, but shape his career.

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Books: Criminal Intentions

Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
by Erik Larson

Recommended by Laura Carlson

This book tells two parallel stories in one: how the architect Daniel Hudson Burnham made the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 happen and how Henry H. Holmes prowled the streets of Chicago at that time looking for victims to bring to his “World’s Fair Hotel,” which held a hidden house of horrors.

House of Echoes
by Brendan Duffy

Recommended by Marni Blomquist

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