Books Posts

My Favorite Writers: #3 of 5 (a weekly essay mini-series)

J.G. Ballard.

Ballard was born in 1930 to English parents living in Shanghai. He died in London in 2009.

Little Free Library Movement Still Growing

Eight years ago the concept of neighborhood book exchanges made its way to Duluth. The original Little Free Library was built in Hudson, Wis., in 2009. Duluth had its first in 2012, and by 2013 there were about 20 in the city. Today there are roughly 40.

It’s a global movement. The nonprofit Little Free Library organization estimates there are now more than 100,000 registered book exchanges in more than 100 countries worldwide.

If you’re unfamiliar with these little libraries, their appearance consists of a bird-house looking box, around 20 inches by 15 inches by 18 inches, typically with a Plexiglas door. Inside is an array of books assembled for the purpose of sharing. Anyone is welcome to take a book or leave a book.

There are 38 book exchanges in Duluth cataloged on littlefreelibrary.org, and several more are in surrounding communities. If you’re interested in where to find them, visit the Little Free Library website and search “Duluth,” “Superior” or the area of your choice. The locations will pop up and you can find the one closest to you.

Ghosts of the French River: the book

 

My friend Erin Tope and I collaborated on these pictures in the French River a few years ago. From the first they suggested characters and supernatural narratives, which I initially put to a series of four wordless video shorts set to music.  That sparked years of subsequent imagining about who these ghosts are. Words have now been joined to pictures to form the final iteration of the project. In the absence of an actual physical publisher, I have posted them at their own site where I consider it a free 16-page e-book. I post them here as well for your enjoyment — although you may want to leave the light on.

Duluth Book Releases in 2020

Village of Scoundrels
Margi Preus
Feb. 25
Harry N. Abrams
Available at IndieBound

The Littlest Voyageur
Written by Margi Preus
Illustrated by Cheryl Pilgrim
March 24
Margaret Ferguson Books
Available at IndieBound

Holding Ground
Melanie Hallstein
April 9
Available at Amazon

My Favorite Writers: #1 in a 5-part essay series

(This is a limited essay series; I will publish its installments on Fridays.)

What do I do when I’m not being Aquaman? I read, and re-read, the same few authors. Here are their histories, and why I find them impossible to put down.

#1. Jorge Luis Borges

Borges was born in Argentina in 1899.

Duluth Chapbooks: Poetry, Fiction, Comics, etc.

From laureates to total hacks, writers and other artists have compiled their works into inexpensive little booklets for hundreds of years. The history of street literature in Duluth has perhaps not yet been explored in depth.

Gathered in this post is by no means a comprehensive collection of chapbooks produced in Duluth, but rather just a smattering of publications that happened to be gathering dust in the Perfect Duluth Day library.

Got one to add? Mention it in the comments and/or email the cover art if you have it to: paul @ perfectduluthday.com.

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.

New York Times: Preus’ new novel for youth “charming”

Duluth author Margi Preus gets positive ink in the New York Times Book Review for her new novel for young people, The Littlest Voyageur.

Duluth You & Me: A Souvenir Activity/Coloring Book

Right in the middle of a shelter-in-place order, when a Duluth coloring and activity book is most needed, Perfect Duluth Day pulls this 1993 relic out of the basement library.

Duluth’s story told by one of its greatest chroniclers

Tony Dierckins is among Duluth’s greatest resources. Few have given so much of their time and energy to telling the story of the city. As a small publisher, perhaps few have taken as many personal risks hoping the stories of Duluth will find their audiences.

OMC Smokehouse Cookbook raising funds for Lincoln Park

Tom Hanson of Duluth Grill / OMC Smokehouse / Corktown Deli and Brews / Noble Pour had to lay off 200 people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a big blow to the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

So Hanson is teaming up again with Robert Lillegard of Duluth’s Best Bread to publish the OMC Smokehouse Cookbook.

The Richardson brothers in the book “Haunted Minnesota”

This post could also be called “Bigfoot and Us.”

Starting in 1998, my brother Allen and I wrote a “weird science” column called “Gonzo Science” for the alternative Duluth newsweekly Ripsaw.

Another rare find at the CSS Book Sale

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.

St. Lutgarde of Aywières at the CSS Book Sale

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.

Sorry Alworth Building, you’re not special

The website of Rotary International published a story in August about reading, with “suggestions for making each book count.” Around the middle of the story is this nugget:

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.