Ben Franklin wrote many wise maxims in his Poor Richard’s Almanack that are still familiar to people today such as “a penny saved is a penny earned” and “early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” The Farmer’s Almanac has been around for about a hundred years and contains predictions about the weather. Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac, which celebrates birthdays of various authors both modern and from the past, can be heard every day on Minnesota Public Radio. Now, for the second year in a row, the city of St. Paul has its very own almanac.
2008 Saint Paul Almanac, edited by Kimberly Nightingale (Arcata Press, September 2007) 352 pages
The dictionary explanation of an almanac is a “calendar of days, weeks and months to which astronomical and other information is added.” The almanac is not a new invention, but it certainly seems to lend itself to re-invention.
The idea is catching on. According to Editor Kimberly Nightingale of the 2008 St. Paul Almanac, they’ve “already started the 2009 Minneapolis Almanac” and a 2010 San Francisco version and a 2011 Beijing version, are in the works.
If someone lives or works in St. Paul, this book serves a wonderful dual purpose. It lists the city’s upcoming events of the year on calendar pages so personal schedules can be planned around the annual Twin Cities Marathon or the Cinco de Mayo Festival. Special to the year 2008 is the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center. The calendar blocks are big enough to pencil in appointments and reminders. This almanac is a good Blackberry replacement for those weary of life’s hyper-technology.
The St. Paul Almanac is a great way to learn more about Minnesota’s capitol city and can be a source of cocktail-party conversation. Poetry and stories by and about St. Paulites, past and present, are plentiful and make passing time in a waiting room or at the bus stop informative and pleasant. In the back are listings of St. Paul restaurants, historical sites, music venues, art galleries, museums and websites for monthly events with more information.
The book’s size is about the same as an average paperback, fitting easily in backpacks, brief-cases and stash-it-all purses. Now is a good time to stock up on the 2008 St. Paul Almanac for all your St. Paul friends and family. It would make a unique Christmas or hostess gift.