A Few Northern Minnesota Books for Your Pandemic Pleasure

Spring in Duluth is a perfect time for reading. It’s that awkward period between ice fishing and regular fishing when outdoor options are limited because trails are too muddy. Add into the mix the lack of events during the COVID-19 pandemic and it seems like books should have a real moment right now.

Bob Dobrow, owner of Zenith Bookstore, explained that reading is a great quarantine activity because at “a time of so much stress and anxiety, reading is a great way to get ‘out of yourself’ and into alternate worlds.”

The store’s physical location is temporarily shut down, but is maintaining a skeleton staff to continue offering book sales online.

Dobrow said closing the doors has resulted in an overall decrease in sales, but online sales have “skyrocketed by more than tenfold.”

Below are a few of Dobrow’s recommendations — all semi-recent releases with ties to northeast Minnesota.

Onigamiising: Seasons of an Ojibwe Year 
By Linda LeGarde Grover
2017, University of Minnesota Press

In this collection of essays, Duluth native Linda LeGarde Grover explores Ojibwe traditions practiced at the Head of the Lakes.

Walking The Old Road
By Staci Lola Drouillard
2019, University of Minnesota Press

This collection of stories written by a Grand Marais native tells the history of Chippewa City, located near Grand Marais, and the Ojibwe people who lived there.

My Mighty Journey: A Waterfall’s Story
By John Coy
2019, Minnesota Historical Society Press

This children’s picture book tells a story of the past 12,000 years of Minnesota history, from the perspective of St. Anthony Falls, the only major waterfall on the Mississippi River.

Laurentian Divide
By Sarah Stonich
2018, University of Minnesota Press

This novel follows the residents of a fictional town in northern Minnesota border country as they try to recover as a community after a tragedy.

Hush, Hush Forest
By Mary Casanova
2018, University of Minnesota Press

Duluth artist Nick Wroblewski illustrated this children’s book that depicts a northwoods forest as it transitions from day to night, and autumn into winter.

By Peter Geye
2017, Vintage

This adventurous, fictional novel follows Harry Eide, who is considered both elderly and demented. One day, he steps out of his sickbed and disappears into the Minnesota wilderness surrounding Gunflint, revealing 60 years of feuds and secrets along the way.

Virgil Wander
By Leif Enger
2018, Grove Press

In this mystery novel, Virgil Wander suffers a terrible accident when his car flies off the road and into Lake Superior one night. When he wakes up, his memory and language are altered, leaving him to piece together his own history and that of a broken town.

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