EVERYBODYâ€™S HEARD ABOUT THE BIRD
By Rick Shefchik. (University of Minnesota Press, 352 pages, $29.95.)
Sure, Minneapolis was the birthplace of the Replacements and Trip Shakespeare. But MidwesternÂ rock â€™nâ€™ roll dates back much further than that. Former St. Paul Pioneer Press writer Rick Shefchik explores the pioneer bands of the 1960s â€” the Trashmen, Bobby Vee, the Castaways, the Fendermen â€” as well as groups that never quite hit the big time. Illustrated with tons of old photos, many of smiling young men in matching suits.
Shefchik will be at Chapter 2 Books in Hudson, Wis., at 2 p.m. Dec. 12.
AMETHYST AND AGATE:â€‰â€‰POEMS OF LAKE SUPERIOR
Edited by Jim Perlman, et al. (Holy Cow! Press, 163 pages, $18.95.)
These 70 poems tell stories of storms and ice, nostalgia and longing for home. Together, they paint a picture of the power of Lake Superior, the way it dominates the landscape. â€œIn winter/it is another world,â€ writes Linda Glaser. â€œThink of it as a kingdom of ice,â€ writes Norita Dittberner-Jax. But Susan Hawkinson thinks of it in summer: â€œBig Lake and sky /waves and light/let the world wait â€¦ /while we refuse/all calls from shore.â€ Color plates of 15 paintings by local artists are a nice complement to these fine poems.
PORTAGE:â€‰â€‰A FAMILY, A CANOE AND THE SEARCH FOR THE GOOD LIFE
By Sue Leaf. (University of Minnesota Press, 249 pages, $16.95.)
Drawn to boats from way back (despite her parentsâ€™ worries), Sue Leaf, in her fourth book of memoir, takes to the waterways, exploring nature from a watery point of view. Beginning with her first canoeing experiences as a child, these essays span 35 years and range from the Boundary Waters and the Mississippi River to Canada, Montana and elsewhere. Leaf is a thoughtful, observant writer, and these 28 essays, while steeped in nature, are also about much more â€” family, and fear, and adventure.
DOWNTOWN:â€‰â€‰MINNEAPOLIS IN THE 1970s
Photographs by Mike Evangelist; text by Andy Sturdevant. (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 144 pages, 150 photographs, $29.95.)
The street photography of Mike Evangelist, writes Andy Sturdevant, has an â€œunfamiliar-but-not-alien qualityâ€ that makes his images resonate. This collection of 150 color and black and white photos is not beautiful â€” the 1970s were not a beautiful time â€” but it is evocative: Daytonâ€™s, Donaldsons, Powers, lumpy city buses, the Nicollet Mall strung with holiday lights. Things didnâ€™t look better then, but they did look busier, more vibrant and far more interesting.
The authors will sign books at Magers & Quinn at 2 p.m. Dec. 20.
MINNESOTA STATE OF WONDERS
By Brian Peterson and Kerri Westenberg. (Mark Hirsch Publishing, 152 pages, $39.95.)
Over the course of one year, Star Tribune photographer Brian Peterson visited the four corners of his home state. He crouched in bogs to get close-ups of flowers, hiked the prairie to watch bison roll in the dust. These 110 photographs focus on the natural: prairies and bogs, forest and rivers, moose and owls. Peterson can take a picture of a rock and make it beautiful. (Itâ€™s true: See page 32.) Graceful stories by Star Tribune travel editor Kerri Westenberg add perspective and context.
Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribuneâ€™s senior editor for books. facebook.com/startribunebooks.