Waconia Author Kim Kimball—aka Tori Madison—Writes a Book Series on a Dare

It all started with a dare. Kim Kimball had a story to tell and an author friend who encouraged her to write it down through the eyes of a fictional character. The encouraging push turned into a book series. “On September 21, 2014, she dared me to write 2,500 words to send to her,” Kimball says of her friend, Sawyer Bennett. “A year later, I’m self-published.” Read more about Waconia Author Kim Kimball—aka Tori Madison—Writes a Book Series on a Dare


Story of Their Lives

Margarita Wednesdays
- by Deborah Rodriguez

Recommended by Mary Severson

We first met Debbie Rodriguez in Kabul Beauty School, where she trained Afghan women as owners of their own independent beauty salons. Now, forced to flee from the life she had made in Afghanistan, Rodriguez meets a whole new cast of colorful characters as she seeks refuge and a new life in a small Mexican seaside town. Read more about Story of Their Lives


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. Read more about Middle Reader Reads


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. Read more about Grape Staycation


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 Read more about Scientific Thought


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 Read more about Inside Jokes


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. Read more about Women’s Stories


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. Read more about Short Stories


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. Read more about Binge Reading


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 Read more about Food for Thought



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