Inside the Daily Planet, 8/24/08

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Readers, Writers and Books

Book note: A Country just as well left undiscovered by Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet
Lin Enger’s new novel Undiscovered Country sets Hamlet in the north woods of Minnesota. Enger, who teaches creative writing at MSU Moorhead, renders the setting with creditable subtlety—no windy passages about the pines lining the hills like uneven teeth or the lakes that keep their secrets well—but fails to populate it with empathetic characters.

150 best Minnesota books #8, #9, and #10: Three nature books by Patrick Coleman, Minnesota Historical Society
Natural history is destiny—in Minnesota anyway. Hell, if it weren’t for the beaver, the only language you could hear around here would be Dakota.

Book note: Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire educates without preaching by Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet
In Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, David Mura explores the tension between forgetting and remembering. Mura, who has gained fame as a poet and spoken-word performer, now tries his hand at narrative prose with this complex novel about a man unearthing his past, the past of his family, and the truth of the history of his own community.

NEW IN BLOGS

Not quite ready for my close-up by Daniel Cubias, Hispanic Fanatic
The email was unexpected, even alarming.

It read, “I book guests for an Hispanic television show. We’re taping a program on Latino bloggers, and we’d love to have the Fanatic appear. Please let me know if you’d consider being a part of this show.”

Sucking in ’77 by Steve McPherson, Arts Orbit
1977 was a terrible year for American popular music—but was it the worst year for music ever?

The joke is on us by Michael Rodning Bash, Cabbages and Kings
Here in Minnesota it has been difficult to ignore the pettiness of politics lately; I imagine it is pretty much the same around the country. I’m bombarded with ads, slogans, diatribe and mud-slinging on a routine basis now. Al Franken’s a pornographer, Norm Coleman’s on the take, Barack Obama thinks tire gauges constitute an energy policy and John McCain is a doddering old fool (well, some of it might be true).