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Books Posts

Local bookshop, national attention

Zenith Bookstore DuluthIn addition to stories on Perfect Duluth Day in September and the Duluth News Tribune this morning, Zenith Bookstore was mentioned today in the book industry newsletter Shelf-Awareness.

Book store will replace Wild West Liquor; other slow-moving changes in the works on Central Avenue in West Duluth

The former Wild West Liquor building on Central Avenue is being remodeled and new owners plan to open a used book store in the space next summer.

The former Wild West Liquor building, at left, is being remodeled and new owners plan to open a used book store there next summer.

A Carleton College professor and his wife have purchased a former West Duluth liquor store and plan to open a used book shop in a business district targeted by city officials for redevelopment.

Bob and Angel Dobrow of Northfield bought the Wild West Liquor building, 318 N. Central Ave., in July for $214,000 and plan to open Zenith Bookstore in the space next summer. The couple, along with friends and family, have gutted the 1890s building and exposed its original floors, tin ceilings and brick walls. They will eventually fill the store with thousands of books from their collection, recent purchases and new finds.

Changes in Bookstores in the Duluth Region and Nationally

Village BookstoreLocal and national media are reflecting on the fate of the bookstore in Grand Rapids, Minn., about 70 miles from Duluth.

It’s small, smaller even than the Bookstore at Fitger’s, although it was crammed to the gills with books.

Selective Focus: Tim White

SF-TeaserTimWhite
This week in Selective Focus, we feature Tim White, who curated the previous iteration of Selective Focus – photo submissions based on a weekly theme. Tim is a photographer, writer, and proponent of the arts, and has worked on several collaborative projects in his short time in Duluth.

TW: I’ve been making photographs for about the past seven years, having lost my previous practice as a painter to solvent exposure. There were a few dormant years during this time that followed a series of personal crises, and I recently returned to photography after moving to Duluth almost two years ago. I appreciate filmic images (both moving and still), but work mostly — due to the chemistry — with digital capture, then mediate these until they better reflect what I felt when taking the initial shot. I don’t believe in pursuing a personal “style,” though I’m glad when viewers note a poetic quality to my pictures. I admire poetry’s ability to employ elements with conventional meanings (words) toward more ephemeral ends, and hope in a similar way that my work isn’t limited by the literality of the objects I depict.

Duluth-based trilogy on Kindle

zwonk book cover littleMy brother Allen and I are releasing three interrelated novellas set in Duluth, on Kindle. The first one is available now, Menno Zwonk: Amish Outlaw. Here’s the blurb we wrote for it: “A savage dystopian satire featuring Menno Zwonk, a larger-than-life Amish outlaw and big game hunter. Zwonk is locked in perpetual struggle with a closet-zoophiliac vegan animal rights activist, and an underground lesbian separatist organic farm. Meanwhile biotech has run amok and the fate of the world might be decided in Zwonk’s roadhouse restaurant outside Duluth, Minnesota. Ultraviolent, dirty, and hilarious, this book is as much a diabolical foodie novel as it is outrageous action tale.” Not for the faint of heart. Yes this work has been excerpted in the Transistor over many years. Stay tuned for pt 2 “Novelty Theater,” and pt 3 “The Guys Who Never Stop Fighting.” These books are action/adventure-science/fantasy with literary pretensions. But more than anything they may be seen as love letters to Duluth MN, where these ideas and characters gestated. Social Media: Menno Zwonk Facebook page, The Richardson Bros Facebook page.

Duluth Book Releases in 2016

In and Out of Context by Tim WhiteIn and Out of Context
Photography by Tim White
With excerpts from 21 northland writers
inandoutofcontextbook.blogspot.com
(Jan. 21)

The Duluth Grill Cookbook IIThe Duluth Grill Cookbook II
Written by Robert Lillegard
Photography by Rolf Hagberg
duluthgrill.com/cookbooks
(Feb. 29)

Not your typical cookbook review

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Once upon a time we stopped caring about where our food came from, and had no knowledge of the people who grew it. We stopped cooking, ate out of boxes, and tore cellophane wrappers off microwaved “TV dinners.” We even ate fast food meals in our cars without stepping foot outside. Sounds crazy, but it’s actually true! Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum came to rely solely upon international corporations to feed us, even though they’ve proven time and again that their only care is for profits.

Slowly, surely, relentlessly, we are waking up. There is another way. The Duluth Grill Cook Book II is the latest contribution toward our community’s drive to create a sustainable local food system. I lingered over a scratch-made pie and perused the book for a couple hours while taking in the atmosphere. Read my thoughts on Ed’s Big Adventure.

Book Culture in the Twin Ports

Poster of MN Bookstores

So today, I stopped by the Amazing Alonzo used bookshop. It was my second used bookstore adventure in two weeks, and it makes me think about book culture in the Twin Ports.

Fall Reading List: A Hillsider and a Buried Man

Hillsider by Don Ness The Emancipation of a Buried May by Eddy Gilmore

Two books lead the list of recommended local reads this fall: One is a new book by Duluth’s outgoing mayor, which will no doubt generate tons of attention before anyone fully reads it. The other is an impressive memoir published back in March by a humble Lakesider, which deserves to be held up next to Duluth’s highest ranking literary office.

Duluth Grill book in Barnes & Noble

duluth_grill_cookbookHey! A little late here with the news, but The Duluth Grill Cookbook has been picked up by Barnes & Noble in all Minnesota and Wisconsin stores. This is fun. My favorite news appearance was in Madison, not the least because they told me right at the last minute they’d love to see a cooking demo. I was not prepared for a cooking demo.

Duluth’s Preus, Allen win 2015 Minnesota Book Awards

Duluth-based writer Margi Preus and illustrator Rick Allen were among the winners of the 27th annual Minnesota Book Awards, announced at a ceremony in St. Paul on Saturday.

Margi Preus - Minnesota Book Award 2015

One Book, One Community … One Local Author

Visit Duluth Public Library’s One Book, One Community page and cast your vote for a book to be selected for this reading program. My suggestion: Support, Linda Grover’s The Dance Boots. Grover is the only local author on the shortlist, and this award-winning set of stories is perfect for this honor. (You might also check out Grover’s hot-of-the-press novel The Road Back to Sweetgrass.)

Nominations close Feb. 1 for Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards

Celebrating books about northeastern Minnesota published in 2013. Send one book plus $25 nomination fee to UMD Kathryn A. Martin Library. Winners will be announced May 22. 

26th annual NEMBA call for nominations

Duluth Little Free Library Guide

It’s been over a year since the first post about Little Free Libraries in Duluth, and the trend seems to be growing. So now it’s time to update the list and include some photos to show what’s out there.

Little Free Libraries, of course, are boxes full of books where anyone may stop by and pick some up or drop some off.

(As usual, click on these photos to see them larger.)


997 84th Ave. W. (Morgan Park neighborhood)
Steve & Janelle Schoenbauer, Stewards #2336

Seventh1 Seventh2 Seventh3
16 E. Seventh St. (Central Hillside neighborhood)
Colin Engstrom, Steward #8416


1612 E. Skyline Parkway (East Hillside neighborhood)
John Pastor, Steward #2278

Little Free Library in the Twin Ports?

Someone asked on Twitter today if there are any Little Free Libraries in the Twin Ports. So, are there any around?

(While reading the blog, I noticed that Claire wrote an article for Publishers Weekly on the movement … maybe you might know?)