Monthly Archives: January 2018

Episode 115: Minnesota books!



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Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This episode is the end of Season One for us – but never fear, we are not leaving you. Season Three of our library training podcast, Linking Our Libraries, starts next Thursday: Feb, 2. Season Two of Books and Beverages will be back Thursday May 17. (Our first episode will be Pets, with some returning special guest hosts!)

This week we are discussing Minnesota books! We will look at books set in Minnesota, and books by Minnesota authors.

Beverages

We have guests, we have our genre. We just need our beverages. Fortunately, we all came prepared with something to sip while we talk about our books. Each week we like to connect the theme of our books with our beverages. Each beverage will have a recipe or a link on our episode page, so you can try them yourself! Obviously, feel free to sip along with us with any beverage that is right for you. Just join us in celebrating books, and discussing books!

As Minnesotans, of course we have a wide variety of different beverages from all the cultures that make up our great state! But this week we are focused on sharing some local beers. It’s cold and dark outside, and a lot of us sip on local beers to celebrate the snow. When it’s hot and summery outside, a lot of us are outside camping, fishing, hiking, or engaging in other outdoor activities – and sipping on local beers is part of that tradition as well! We will have links to all these on our website, to encourage you to try out some new beverages for yourself!

Genre Suggestions

We have a huge diversity of cultures and languages in Minnesota. There are a lot of Scandinavian descendants, as well as German descendants. And we have several Indian tribes across the state including Chippewa, Ojibwe, Lower Sioux, and Ojibwa or Anishinaabe. We have many groups of cultures who have moved here in the last fifty years, including strong populations of Vietnamese, Hmong, and Somali people.

We live in big cities, and small rural areas. We have deciduous trees and forests filled with pine trees. We root for the Vikings and the Wild. We have a pretty impressive great lake: Lake Superior; and to back that up we are known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes – but that doesn’t cover our whole range of lakes. We have waterfalls and historic sites. In short, we are a land filled with a diverse set of people and natural settings – and the literature of Minnesota is likewise exciting and diverse, and is filled with different kinds of settings, people, and genres!

We love Minnesota books, and are collecting them on our website. Each week we publish a review of a book set in Minnesota in our series: CMLE Reads Across MN. We also have a google map where we locate each of these books, so you can see how geographically diverse our state – and our books – are to read! We link to this series so you can check it out yourself.


Episode 114: Historical Fiction



The Strand Magazine (cover), vol. 65, no. 321, September 1917

Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This week we are discussing Historical Fiction books!

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and we support all types of libraries. This is our book group podcast, where we discuss different genres of books each week, while we all sit in our comfy chairs and drink our beverages. And you are, of course, an important part of this book group. So if you do not already have a nice beverage please go get one, so you can join the experience.

Who is joining our reading group this week? This week we welcome back book group guest Lydia, from the Great River Library System!

The Historical Fiction genre is such a fun one! You have license to go anywhere in history, to become anyone, and to explore all sorts of exciting new places. It’s like magic – and sometimes it is – but good historical fiction transports you to a place in history and helps you to feel the experience of being there.

This is a great genre for book groups to read, as the books can be discussed in so many ways: pure history, character development, any anachronisms, whether it’s all back in time or your main character is living in our time and traveling back with you. This genre can, like so many broad categories, cover all sorts of other genres: science, mystery, literary fiction, YA, and so much more. We have a lot of suggestions for historical fiction you might enjoy, or that you might want to share with patrons or friends, all on our podcast website – so check it out!


Episode 113: Outdoor



Me and my dad, having breakfast at a campground somewhere in Alaska!

Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This week we are discussing one our favorite genres: Outdoors!

Check out our full information page!

Introduction

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and we support all types of libraries. This is our book group podcast, where we discuss different genres of books each week, while we all sit in our comfy chairs and drink our beverages. And you are, of course, an important part of this book group. So if you do not already have a nice beverage please go get one, so you can join the experience.

Who is joining our reading group this week? This week we have two special guests joining us: Jean and Joe Wilkins. Joe has been backpacking around remote areas of Alaska for several years, volunteering for the National Park Service, and photographing the amazing beauty of the state. Now he has written a book about his experiences and photographs, and Jean edited the work. The title is Gates of the Arctic National Park: Twelve Years of Wilderness Exploration You can go to Amazon now to pre-order this book; it comes out January 23, 2018.

This week’s episode will be a little different than most. First: this is our first author interview! The chance to talk with an author and editor about the process of assembling a book was very cool; and it was interesting to hear about it.

Our campground at Lake Marion. Coldfoot, Alaska: Population 13 people; and a great truck-stop! Last place to buy gas until you reach the Arctic Ocean.

Second: these are my (Mary’s) parents! And I’m really excited about this book, and the chance to hear more about such a great area of the country.  I’m sharing a few photos I took when my dad and I drove and camped all along the Dalton Highway in Alaska, then down to Valdez, through the Yukon Territory and British Columbia. (You will like the photos he took for the book better!) Check out this article from Smithsonian.com about the book.

Alaska is an amazing place; and this book is really the first time someone has taken such a detailed photographic look at the unbelievably remote Gates of the Arctic park. You cannot drive there, there are no roads, no campgrounds, and no trails. So when he was there, over several summers, with the NPS, some of these photographs are probably showing things that literally no other humans have ever seen.

This was north of the Atigun Pass – the highest point on the Dalton Highway. It’s impossible to convey how very big and very open it all is up there!

Episode 112: Fantasy



Ariel, Mary, Angie

Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This week we are discussing Fantasy books! Many of you who like this genre will also be SciFi fans; so check out Episode 102 if you have not already heard it.

Check out our full information page here, and get all the great drink recipes along with links to all kinds of useful resources!

This is our book group podcast, where we discuss different genres of books each week, while we all sit in our comfy chairs and drink our beverages. And you are, of course, an important part of this book group. So if you do not already have a nice beverage please go get one, so you can join the experience.

Who is joining our reading group this week? This week we welcome back frequent book group guest Ariel Krist, from St. Cloud Public Library!

Fantasy is one of those great genres that cross all kinds of boundaries in terms of other genres it can intersect with. Scifi can be defined as having a story that focuses on science; things in the story are possible (in theory at least) now or in the future. Items can be built, diseases can be unleashed or vanquished, robots walk among us. Fantasy books, in contrast, rely on magic or paranormal creatures or powers to advance the story.

These books easily lend themselves to big, sprawling world-building series. And those lend themselves to big-budget sprawling TV series and movies. So you see Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings being not only very successful book series, but also very successful visually. Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is so epic Brandon Sanderson had to wrap it up – along with all of his Mistborne books! (Love his novellas in the Legion series!) Is Dune Fantasy? Sure…also some Scifi – but it’s undoubtedly epic! Think about the Marvel and DC comic universe – those Avengers can be thought of as scifi (sometimes), but could also fit pretty neatly into the Fantasy world. It’s a pretty fantastic time to be a Fantasy fan!!

We have a lot of suggestions for Fantasy books and series you might want to check out, if you don’t already know them. Because, as we said – this is a very diverse genre, and filled with all sorts of potentially great things to discover!