by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
The Minnesota Book Awards Gala is coming up on April 14th. You might have heard that Litchfield’s own Nancy Paddock is a finalist in the category of memoir and creative nonfiction. You might not know that Minnesotans are invited to vote for the Readers’ Choice Award, which can be given to any finalist for the awards. During the month of March, you can go to http://www.thefriends.org/ to see the titles that are up for all of the awards and cast your vote for your favorite. If you’d like to read some of them while there’s still a little time, you can find many at our library.
Nancy’s book A Song at Twilight of Alzheimer’s and Love: A Memoir has been praised by local readers and by national and regional reviewers for the beautiful writing and for the meaningful look at memories, the changing roles of parent and child, and the struggle to accept the heartbreak of losing parents.
Three books are up against Nancy’s in the memoir and creative nonfiction category: For Love of Lakes by Darby Nelson, The Last Deployment by Bronson Lemer, and Sheepish by Catherine Friend. We have two of them in our library, the titles by Nelson and Friend.
For Love of Lakes is a book of natural history, environmental science, human history, and appreciation of American lakes. Nelson is a retired professor and aquatic ecologist who has a message about our stewardship of this natural resource.
Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet is by the author of Hit by a Farm. It’s a collection of stories about the author’s farm in southeastern Minnesota, her thoughts of giving up sheep farming, and the so-called fiber freaks who are the buyers of her product.
If you’re interested in reading some of the books nominated in the general nonfiction category, ones that are not in competition with Nancy’s book, you can check all of those out from our library.
In Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America, author Shawn Lawrence Otto examines the devaluation of science at a time when knowledge of science is key to understanding many political issues.
In Punishing Race: A Continuing American Dilemma, University of Minnesota law professor Michael Tonry takes a critical look at the racial disparities in the criminal justice system. He proposes policy changes to bring about a more just society.
The book Trout Caviar: Recipes from a Northern Forager, by Brett Laidlaw, is a cookbook for eating locally and seasonally in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Laidlaw adds foraged foods to other sources of local foods he features: farmers’ markets, artisan producers, gardening, hunting, and fishing.
Vikings in the Attic: In Search of Nordic America, by Eric Dregni, is an exploration of Scandinavian culture and heritage in the Midwest. Dregni touches on everything from odd foods and traditions to serious political and social issues throughout the history of Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, and Finns in our region.
In addition to the two nonfiction categories, Minnesota Book Awards are given for genre fiction, novel and short story, poetry, young people’s literature, children’s literature, and books about Minnesota. I encourage you to go to thefriends.org to look through the entire list and find something that interests you.