I have invited Michael Fedo to talk to my classes several times. He is in some ways an old-fashioned freelancer, following the story where the market will take him. He is, in some ways, an old fashioned humorist.
Annually, the College of St. Scholastica sells books, records, and other media — in part, it looks like, to clear shelves of material that does not circulate, and in part, I think, to offload donations.
I managed to snag a few items worth thinking about. The first was a biography of St. Lutgarde by Thomas Merton.
Recognize that not all reading pleasures can be shared. I have friends who will swear up and down that Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes is the greatest sports book ever written. This, for the record, is like being the tallest office building in Duluth. Which in and of itself doesn’t make the building special.
Well, don’t worry, Alworth Building, Perfect Duluth Day thinks you’re special. All 247 feet of you.
I have self-published a small book containing 15 essays. They comprise the lion’s share of the 17 essays which Perfect Duluth Day so kindly ran as part of the Saturday Essay series. It is available at Zenith Bookstore on Central Avenue in West Duluth next to Beaner’s Central.
Former Duluthian Michael Fedo’s new book is reviewed on the arts and literature website Open Letters Review:
For all readers interested in the workaday writing life, it’s fascinating to follow Fedo through his many adventures, from writing an authorized biography of Garrison Keillor vehemently opposed by its subject to interviewing Cloris Leachman about starring in a play about Grandma Moses (which flopped).
I enjoy this book well enough, it inspired my Spring syllabus for Writing Studies majors.
Thought you should know about this. We published a novella on Kindle a while back and this review just appeared. The novella is Menno Zwonk: AmishOutlaw, which we excerpted in the Transistor over the course of several years:
This hyperfantastic shitstorm of a story will make about as much sense as anything in 2018 without the frightening public policy implications. Filled like an overflowing park garbage can on Memorial Day weekend with biologic catastrophes, double and triple crossing henchmen, some forgivable juvenalia, ungodly sea mutants, Duluth references, and hope in the form of ecoterrorist lesbians, the Meatco minions can’t possibly know who really works for who as experiments become kill triggers plowing through law enforcement and launching giant lamprey. Can’t wait for Book Two.
If you live or vacation in Ashland or Marquette you know Book World. Or, perhaps the proper phrasing is that you will have known it. The whole chain of stores is closing in a few weeks.
The Book World chain was always amazing to me — a hybrid of gift shop, humidor, and book/magazine store, in small towns, creating access to book culture where it might not otherwise be available. Literary magazines unavailable on the shelf in Duluth could be found in Ashland, Bemidji and other places.
I understand this website is Perfect Duluth Day, not “Perfect Lake Superior Region Day,” but if nothing else, think about this. Book World owned 45 storefronts and was the third-largest book chain in the country. Book culture is precarious, and we should do all we can to support it in Duluth.