Kevin Kling's first book, The Dog Says How, brought readers into his wonderful world of the skewed and significant mundane. Kling does it again in Kevin Kling's Holiday Inn, a romp through a yearful of holidays and a lifetime of gathering material.
A wiener dog with an amazing capacity for destruction impresses the whole family and contributes to their collection of favorite disastrous Christmas stories. A Choctaw and a nun go trick-or-treating on Halloween. A boy makes a frightening decision every year when he chooses which classmate gets the "Be Mine" Valentine. Kevin takes his mom to a Fourth of July demolition derby-and then he takes an epic trip around the bases at a ball game on Memorial Day.
From tomfoolery with his brother in the backseat of their dad's car through his carefully considered instructions for ice fishing, Kling never loses the spirit of his story or holds back on its humor.
More than 300 black-and-white illustrations vividly portray the fair and its many faces. Historic photographs show long-gone amusements-the wooden Cannon Ball roller coaster, an organ grinder and his monkey, reenactments of famous battles at the Grandstand-as well as early versions of fair scenes that know no era: crowds, traffic jams, trinket sellers, prize winners. Reproductions of advertisements, posters, ribbons, lapel pins, and newspaper cartoons give a glimpse of the cheerful hype of promoters and the tongue-in-cheek commentary that accompanied their efforts. And contemporary photographs capture the fair's varied moods and scenes, from the early-morning preparations in a church dining hall through the stresses and joys of showing animals, the thrill of the Midway, the lure of deep-fried foods, and the excitement of being crowned a queen, to the clean-up of tons of garbage in the night's wee hours.
Along with the glitter and the fun, the Minnesota State Fair has always been a microcosm of midwestern life. Almost 150 years of cultural, social, aesthetic, economic, and technological change have left their mark on the venerable institution. And, at the same time, the fair has made its mark on society-urban as well as rural. Displays of women's work or farm machinery, the fine arts or the prize bull-all have been part of the fair's dual mission of education and entertainment. Each of Blue Ribbon's chapters focuses on one such topic, showing how the state fair grew and responded to prevailing tastes and conditions-and how it sometimes acted as a powerful agent of change.
Art and architecture, politics, social movements, and agricultural history are all part of this story-along with the dimensions of giant radishes, the memories of early fairgoers, and a listing of the calories in favorite state fair foods. Like the fair itself, this book offers something for everyone. Here are the sights, if not the smells and sounds, of "The World's Greatest State Fair."
Drawing upon his collection of quirky antique postcards, Lawrence Sutin has penned A Postcard Memoir--a series of brief but intense reminiscences of his "ordinary" life. In the process, he creates an unrepentant, wholly unique account about learning to live with a consciousness all his own. Ranging from remembered events to inner states to full-blown fantasies, Sutin is at turns playful and somber, rhapsodic and mundane, funny and full of pathos. Here you'll find tales about science teachers and other horrors of adolescence, life in a comedy troupe, stepfathering--each illustrated with the postcard that triggered Sutin's muse--and presented in a mix so enticingly wayward as to prove that at least some of it really happened.
The world turned upside down for city-bred Marjorie Douglas when, in 1943, her young husband moved her and their baby, Anne, from suburban St. Paul to a western Minnesota stock ranch to help his parents stave off financial disaster. With wit and wisdom Douglas's memoir describes a Midwestern way of life of 50 years ago.
Are Minneapolis and St. Paul Twin Cities in proximity only? How can two cities, spoken of so often in one breath, differ so greatly in their histories and characteristics? Claiming the City traces the contours of St. Paul's civic identity to show how personal identities and political structures of power are fundamentally informed by the social geography of place. St. Paul proves a particularly fruitful site for such analysis because it has developed along a divergent path from that of Minneapolis, its sister city just across the Mississippi river.
While Minneapolis in the last part of the nineteenth century bore the stamp of Scandinavians, Protestants, and Republican Yankee progressives, St. Paul emerged as an Irish, Catholic, Democratic stronghold. Increasingly overshadowed by the economic might of Minneapolis, out of necessity St. Paul evolved complex alliances among business, labor, and the Catholic Church that cut across class and ethnic lines--a culture of compromise that sharply contrasted with Minneapolis' more strident labor politics.
Mary Lethert Wingerd brings together the voices of citizens and workers and the power dynamics of civic leaders including James J. Hill and Archbishop John Ireland. She crafts a portrait of St. Paul remarkable for its specificity as well as its relevance to broader interpretations of place-based culture and politics.
Wingerd's rich and lively history of St. Paul is a clear demonstration that place--the lived experience and memory located in a specific spatial context--is a constitutive element of all other aspects of identity.
In St. Paul, where they were outnumbered by Germans immigrants, they nonetheless left a lasting legacy, so that today most Minnesotans think of St. Paul as an Irish town. As farmers and laborers, policemen and politicians, maids and seamstresses, their hard work helped to build the state. Wherever they settled, the Irish founded churches and community organizations, became active in politics, and held St. Patrick's Day parades, inviting all Minnesotans to become a little bit Irish. Author Ann Regan examines the history of these surprising contradictions, telling the diverse stories of the Irish in Minnesota.
Did you know that lefse is an antidote for lutefisk? Or that the Boys of Starbuck made the World's Largest Lefse? Gary Legwold combines stories and history in this handbook on lefse. Find out how to prepare it from some of the best lefse makers.
Land of the world's largest prairie chicken, birthplace of Spam, and home of the world's oldest rock, this is Minnesota, where summers are short, winters are long, and back-road wonders abound. This entertaining guide wastes no time with descriptions of scenic lakes, pristine bike trails, or quaint caf s. Instead it directs travelers (and residents) to the spot where Tiny Tim strummed his last notes on the ukulele; to the Cold Spring chapel where two grasshoppers bow down to the Virgin Mary; and to the McLeod County Museum, where the mummy on display could be from Peru or outer space. While ordinary tourists are fighting off mosquitoes in the Boundary Waters, oddball travelers can size up the world's largest ear of corn and admire the fourth Zamboni ever built. And one last thing: there aren't 10,000 lakes in Minnesota; there are 14,215. For travelers who are in search of the unusual, there is no better reason to park the bike and hiking boots in the garage, fill up the gas tank, and hit the road to Minnesota, where weirdness awaits.
Bill Holm, often called the bard of the Midwest, takes readers on an excursion to islands both real and symbolic. He journeys to five physical islands: Iceland, Madagascar, Molokai, Isla Mujeres, and Mallard Island. And he travels to conceptual islands, including the Necessary Island of the Imagination, the whimsical Piano Island (located in a man-made lake under the atrium of an upscale hotel in the far interior of China), and the acute isolation of the Island of Pain. Writing with the mind-set of a 19th-century traveler for whom the journey is as important as the destination, Holm appeals to the traveler and the philosopher in everyone."