East Central Regional Library
Serving libraries in East Central Minnesota: Aitkin, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine Counties
Book Club Kits - Adult and
ECRL Book Club Kits contain 12 copies of each title, and specific
guides for of the book for use by book club members, as well as other
information of interest to both novice and seasoned book club
members. Each kit comes in a plastic tote box.
in Heaven: True Story of Life & Death
On the way home from a conference, Don Piper's car was crushed by a semi-truck that crossed into his lane. Medical personnel said he died instantly. While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, Piper experienced the glories of heaven, awed by its beauty and music.
||Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.|
|April 1865: The Month That Saved America||Jay Winik||
Jay Winik explores the end of the Civil War in a panoramic narrative that takes readers on a journey through the tumultuous month of April 1865, showing that America's future rested on a few crucial decisions and twists of fate.
|Baker Towers||Jennifer Haigh||
The decade following World War II becomes one of tragedy, excitement, and unexpected change for the five Novak children and the residents of their western Pennsylvania community of company houses, church festivals, and union squabbles.
Stanley Gordon West's latest novel is set in the early 1990s in the small eastern Montana town of Willow Creek. Residents in this small Montana town learn life lessons from its long-losing high school basketball team and coach.
Summers: Growing Up at the Lake
This memoir of wonderful summers growing up
||This is Toni Morrison's first
novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of
vision. Set in the author's girlhood hometown of Lorain Ohio, it tells
the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for
her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful as beloved as
all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941,
the year the marigold in the Breedloves' garden do not bloom. Pecola's
life does change -- in painful, devastating ways.
|Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's forgotten walk across Victorian America||Linda Hunt||
In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant and mother of eight children named Helga Estby was behind on taxes and the mortgage when she learned that a mysterious sponsor would pay $10,000 to a woman who walked across America . This book told nearly a century later is about her extraordinary journey.
|Bones of Plenty||Lois Phillips Hudson||
This is a powerful and absorbing novel about the struggles of a proud North Dakota wheat-farming family during the Great Depression. Hudson eloquently portrays George Custer, a determined and angry man who must battle both the land and the landlords; his hard-working wife, Rachel; and their young and vulnerable daughter, Lucy. Through their compelling story looms a sense of a whole nation’s tragedy.
||"The Minnesota State Public
School for Dependent and Neglected Children housed more than ten
thousand children during its sixty year history. Harvey Ronglien
shows readers a panoramic view of this institution, first through the
eyes of a child, then as an adult and finally as its most proactive and
respected historia." - Joan Claire Graham
Establishing a bookmobile in a destitute Kenyan village, well-intentioned Fiona Sweeney inadvertently renews a decades old tribal feud involving a camel-powered bookmobile and prior efforts to promote local education.
Louis Comfort Tiffany staffs his studio with female artisans--a decision that protects him from strikes by the all-male union--but refuses to employ women who are married. Lucky for him, Clara Driscoll's romantic misfortunes insure that she can continue to craft the jewel-toned glass windows and lamps that catch both her eye and her imagination.
Four young women haunted by unspeakable memories and losses, afraid to begin to hope, find salvation in the bonds of friendship and shared experience even as the confront the challenge of re-creating themselves in a strange new country.
M: The Murder of Carol Thompson
Through police records, court transcripts, family papers, and extensive interviews, William Swanson has recreated Middle America’s “crime of the century,” the deadly plot by a husband that made headlines around the world in March 1963.
the Homesick Restaurant
||Pearl Tull is nearing the end of
her life but not her memory. Ever since 1944 when her husband left her,
she has raised her three very different children on her own. Now grown,
they have gathered together—with anger, with hope, and with a
beautiful, harsh, and dazzling story to tell.
At the center of the tale is Silvio, who in his younger years fled the boredom of the village for of travel and adventure, returns to live in a farmer's hovel in the middle of the woods. Much to his family's dismay, Silvio is content with his solitude. But when he attends the wedding of his favorite young cousin, Silvio begins to be drawn back into the complicated life of this small town. As the narration unfolds, we are given an intimate picture of the loves and infidelities, the scandals, the youthful ardor and regrets of age that tie Silvio to the long-guarded secrets of the past.
Minnesota’s poet laureate, Joyce Sutphen, grew up on a working dairy farm, and her poems recover this lost world, with all its beauty and order. This collection traces a shift in the rural landscape from horses to tractors, from haystacks to hay bales---and watches as time ages and changes the people who make up the story.
Abandoned on a 1913 voyage to Australia, Nell is raised by a dock master and his wife who do not tell her until she is an adult that she is not their child, leading Nell to return to England and eventually hand down her quest for answers to her granddaughter.
|The Friday Night Knitting Club||
Once a week, an eclectic group of women
comes together at a
||O. E. Rolvaag
In the summer of 1873, Per Hansa, his wife
Beret, their children, and three other Norwegian immigrant
families—Tonseten and his wife Kjersti, Hans Olsa and his wife Sorine,
and the Solum brothers—settle in the
Pulitzer Prize winner
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowa preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine , saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition. Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father--an ardent pacifist--and his grandfather. He tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son.
Denounced by her 1950 Tennessee community as an old maid, 30-something Ivorie Walker hides her loneliness and grief over her mother's death behind good-humored independence before advocating on behalf of a feral boy who has been stealing vegetables from her garden.
Depicts the hardships and suffering endured
by the Joads as they journey from
McCullough mixes famous and obscure names and delivers capsule biographies of everyone to produce a colorful parade of educated, Victorian-era American travelers and their life-changing experiences in Paris.
Literary Potato Peel Society
||Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows||
January 1946: Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.
A true life novel about Lily Casey Smith (the author’s grandmother) who at age six helped her father break horses, at age fifteen left home to teach in a frontier town, and later as a wife and mother runs a huge ranch in Arizona.
Sweeping through one hundred years of Scandinavian history,
this luminous story follows three generations of Swedish women – a
grandmother, a mother, and a daughter – whose lives are linked through
a century of great love and great loss.
The Irish landscape holds secrets past and present as archaeologist Cormac O'Callaghan and pathologist Nora Gavin encounter a mystery when a decapitated woman is found in the bogs who may be related to a recent mother/child disappearance.
|The Heart Can be Filled Anywhere on Earth||Bill Holm
After living all over the United States and teaching in China, Holm reapplies himself with gusto and grandiloquence to life as lived in his hometown, the minute Minneota, Minnesota. "The Music of Failure," the book's centerpiece essay, showcases most of Holm's themes: the values of the local past, the particulars of family chronicles, the uses of memory, and, in contrast to these qualities, America's rootless lack of history and its obsession with individual success.
Limited and persecuted by racial divides in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, three women including an African-American maid, her sassy and chronically unemployed friend and a recently graduated white woman, team up for a clandestine project.
Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, this debut novel tells the heartwarming story of widower Henry Lee, his father, and his first love Keiko Okabe.
After she returns to her hometown to learn that her friend, Alex, was found in an ice-cold bath with her wrists slashed, biographer Erica Falck researches her friend's past in hopes of writing a book and joins forces with Detective Patrik Hedstrom, who has his own suspicions about the case.
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer and viruses; helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks is buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. The story of the Lacks family is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.
The author recounts the story of her life, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia and escape from a forced marriage to her efforts to promote women's rights while surviving numerous threats to her safety.
Part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian, Corcoran "Cork" O'Connor is the former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota (population 3,752). As a blizzard buries Aurora and an old medicine man warns of the arrival of a blood-thirsty mythic beast called the Windigo, Cork must dig for answers hard and fast before more people, among them those he loves, will die.
|Julie & Julia: my year of cooking Dangerously||Julie Powell||
On a visit to her childhood home in Texas, Julie Powell pulls her mother's battered copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking off the bookshelf. And the book calls out to her. Pushing thirty, living in a run-down apartment in Queens, and working at a dead-end secretarial job, Julie Powell is stuck. She invents a deranged assignment: in the space of one year, she will cook every recipe in the Julia Child classic, all 524 of them. No skips, no substitutions. And if it doesn't help her make sense of her life, at least she'll eat really, really well. How hard could it be?
|The Kitchen Boy||Robert Alexander||
A young kitchen boy, as the only surviving witness, tells his tale of the 1918 Bolshevik revolutionary murder of Czar Nicholas II and the rest of the Russian royal family.
|The Lace Reader||
Towner Whitney, the self-confessed
unreliable narrator, hails from a family of
A young narrator chronicles his coming-of-age in Minnesota's Lake Wobegon, a fictitious small town where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. Funded with money from Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society and the Statewide Initiative Fund.
Book 4 in the Emigrant series portrays the Nilsson family during the turmoil of living through the era of the Civil War and Dakota Conflict and their prospering in the midst of Minnesota's growing Swedish community of the 1860s-90s.
|Last of the
Shot down over Soviet airspace and taken captive, U.S. Air Force Major Joe Mack makes a daring escape into the Siberian wilderness. Accompanied by a fellow escapee, Mack must rely on his Native American ancestry and skills if he is to survive his long journey and elude his pursuer, the famous tracker known as Alekhin the Yakut.
on the Miracles at Little No Horse
||For more than a half century,
Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the
remote reservation of Little No Horse. Compelled to his task by a
direct mystical experience, Father Damien has made enormous sacrifices,
and experienced the joys of commitment as well as deep suffering. Now,
nearing the end of his life, Father Damien dreads the discovery of his
physical identity, for he is a woman who has lived as a man. He
imagines the undoing of all that he has accomplished -- sees unions
unsundered, baptisms nullified, those who confessed to him once again
Kao Kalia Yang
Presents the journey from a refugee camp in Thailand to Minnesota and the hardships and joys of Kao Kalia’s Hmong family’s struggle to adapt to a strange culture while holding onto traditions that are passed down from her beloved grandmother
|Lazy B: Growing up on a cattle ranch in the American Southwest||Sandra Day O’Connor|| On a cattle ranch in
the southeast corner of Arizona, without electricity or indoor
plumbing, a little girl grew up and went on to become the most powerful
women in America.
|Life of Pi||Yann Martel||
En route with his family from their home in India to Canada, their cargo ship sinks, and Pi finds himself adrift in a lifeboat -- alone, save for a few surviving animals, some of the very same animals Pi's zookeeper father warned him would tear him to pieces if they got a chance. Pi's seafaring journey becomes a test of survival, but of everything he's learned -- about man and beast, their creator, and the nature of truth itself.
||The Old Testament is brought to
vivid life through the eyes of Lilah, a woman whose choice between
loyalty to her brother and marriage to the man she loves will have a
lasting impact on the fate of her people.
||A haunting novel about the
tenuous friendship that blooms between two disperate strangers - one an
illegal Nigerian refugee and the other a recent widow from suburban
|Long March: True History of China’s Founding Myth||Sun Shuyun||
The Long March is Communist China's founding myth. Seventy years afterwards, Sun Shuyun set out to retrace its steps and discovered the true history behind the legend. The facts: in 1934, in the midst of civil war, the Communist party and its 200,000 soldiers were forced from their bases by the Nationalists. After that, truth and legend begin to blur: led by Mao Zedong, the Communists set off on a strategic retreat to the distant barren north of China, thousands of miles away. Only one in five reached their destination, where, the legend goes, they gathered strength and returned to launch the new China in the heat of revolution.
Lake Superior, the north country, the great fresh-water expanse. Frigid. Lethal. Wildly beautiful. The Long-Shining Waters gives us three stories whose characters are separated by centuries and circumstance, yet connected across time by a shared geography. In 1622, Grey Rabbit-an Ojibwe woman, a mother and wife-struggles to understand a dream-life that has taken on fearful dimensions. As she and her family confront the hardship of living near the "big water," her psyche and her world edge toward irreversible change. In 1902, Berit and Gunnar, a Norwegian fishing couple, also live on the lake. Berit is unable to conceive, and the lake anchors her isolated life, testing the limits of her endurance and spirit. And in 2000, when Nora, a seasoned bar owner, loses her job and is faced with an open-ended future, she is drawn reluctantly into a road trip around the great lake. Rich in historical detail, and universal in its exploration of the human desire for meaning when faced with uncertainty.
So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her
diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with
Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband,
Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for
them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction
developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married
with children, embarked on a course that would shock
Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother.
Features the story of a college graduate from St. Paul who leaves to marry a doctor in a small, middle-class town, only to find her efforts to bring culture and beauty to the town thwarted by its residents, testing her idealism. Funded with money from Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society and the Statewide Initiative Fund.
|Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand||Helen Simonson||
Forced to confront the realities of life in the twenty-first century when he falls in love with Pakistani widow Mrs. Ali, Major Pettigrew finds the relationship challenged by local prejudices that view Mrs. Ali, a Cambridge native, as a perpetual foreigner.
Offers the true story of the pioneers who crossed the Atlantic to establish a new world in Massachusetts, the challenges they faced upon their arrival, and their relationship with the local Native Americans.
|The Memory Keeper's Daughter||Kim Edwards||Edwards's novel hinges on the birth of fraternal twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down syndrome, resulting in the father's disavowal of his newborn daughter. A snowstorm immobilizes Lexington, Ky., in 1964, and when young Norah Henry goes into labor, her husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Henry, must deliver their babies himself, aided only by a nurse. Seeing his daughter's handicap, he instructs the nurse, Caroline Gill, to take her to a home and later tells Norah, who was drugged during labor, that their son Paul's twin died at birth. Instead of institutionalizing Phoebe, Caroline absconds with her to Pittsburgh. David's deception becomes the defining moment of the main characters' lives, and Phoebe's absence corrodes her birth family's core over the course of the next 25 years.|
talented midwife is arrested for murder when she saves a baby by
performing a Caesarean section once she believes the mother has
died--only to have her assistant insist later that the woman was still
very much alive. Told in the mesmerizing voice of the midwife's
daughter, Midwives depicts the aftermath of the tragedy.
|Moloka’i||Alan Brennert|| The story of Rachel
Kalama, a young native Hawaiian girl growing up in Honolulu at the end
of the 19th century, who at age seven is diagnosed with Hansen’s
disease, taken from her family, and exiled to the leprosy settlement on
a remote peninsula on the island of Moloka’i.
at Spirit Falls
Perched above Spirit Falls in the lush Wisconsin woodland, Robin Bentley's cabin is remote enough for her and her book club friends to shed the restraints of city living, hike in the woods, take moonlight walks and go skinny-dipping under the waterfall. But when a body washes up below the falls, the No Ordinary Women find themselves up to their bifocals in a real mystery. And one of them could be the next victim.
The unforgettable story of an immigrant
woman’s life on the
|My Last Days as Roy Rogers||Pat Cunningham||
A summer in a Southern town during the polio scare of the 1950s, the swimming pools closed, children are sent to the country to avoid contagion. The heroine is a white girl who stays behind, playing with the daughter of a black maid.
|Ny Name is
Traveling to Civil War-era Washington, D.C., to tend wounded soldiers and pursue her dream of becoming a surgeon, headstrong midwife Mary receives guidance from two smitten doctors and resists her mother's pleas for her to return home.
|My Sister's Keeper||Jodi Picoult||
Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Kate begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body.
Physiology and philosophy mesh in this poetic investigation of the five senses; essays explore synesthesia, food taboos, kissing and the power and diversity of music. "Rooted in science, enlivened by her own convincing sense of wonder, Ackerman's essays awaken us to a fresh awareness (Publisher’s Weekly).
|Nickel & Dimed||Barbara Ehrenreich||
In an attempt to understand the lives of Americans earning near-minimum wages, Ehrenreich works as a waitress in Florida , a cleaning woman in Maine , and a sales clerk in Minnesota .
about themselves and each other
will change both of them forever.
|O Pioneers!||Willa Cather||
In this saga of the American heartland at the turn of the century, a young woman fights to build her Nebraska homestead, as she remembers Carl Lindstrom, the dreamer who left the prairie.
At the edge of the continent, in the small town of Crosby, Maine, lives Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher who deplores the changes in her town and in the world at large but doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her.
| One Thousand White Women:
The Journals of Mary Dodd
An account of the controversial “Brides for Indians”
clandestine government program to assimilate Native Americans into
white culture is told here in fiction form.
|The Painted Drum||Louise Erdrich||
Discovering a cache of valuable Native American artifacts while appraising an estate in New Hampshire , Faye Travers investigates the history of a ceremonial drum, which possesses spiritual powers and changes the lives of people who encounter it.
|Peace Like a River||
11-year-old boy at the center of this Aitkin County (MN) author’s first
novel, Rube, recalls the events of his childhood, in small-town
Minnesota circa 1962, and captures the poetic, verbal stoicism of the
northern Great Plains. "Here's what I saw," Rube warns his readers.
"Here's how it went. Make of it what you will." And Rube sees plenty.
||When six-year-old Turtle Greer
witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam, her insistence on what
she has seen and her mother's belief in her lead to a man's dramatic
rescue. But Turtle's moment of celebrity draws her into a conflict of
historic proportions. The crisis quickly envelops not only Turtle and
her mother, but everyone else who touches their lives in a complex web
connecting their future and their past.
The discovery of a dead baby under a pile of old blankets in
Aaron Fisher’s barn sets off a scandal in Amish country and
investigation that could implicate fisher’s eighteen-year-old daughter.
|Plainsong||Kent Haruf||From the unsettled lives of a small-town teacher struggling to raise two boys alone in the face of their mother's retreat from life, a pregnant teenage girl with nowhere to go, and two elderly bachelor farmers emerges a new vision of life and family as their diverse destinies intertwine.|
Through interviews with O'Keeffe's friends and acquaintances, by delving into the published an unpublished sources and letters, Lisle has created a vivid and sensitive portrait of O'Keeffe as an artist and woman.
The stories of a small Cape Cod postmistress and an American radio reporter stationed in London collide on the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II, a meeting that is shaped by a broken promise to deliver a letter.
The wife and children of Noah, who has been directed by God to build an ark, witness the ark's construction and assist in gathering myriad animals before finding themselves trapped within the ark during a cataclysmic flood
|Reading Lolita in Tehran||Azar Nafisi||The author describes growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the group of young women who came together at her home in secret every Thursday to read and discuss great books of Western literature.|
|Red Tent (The)||Anita Diamant||In this fictional account,
Dinah, Jacob's only daughter in the Book of Genesis, recounts the
traditions of ancient womanhood, including those of the Red Tent, where
women gather for birthing, menses and illness.
|Rest of Her
Leigh is the mother of high-achieving, popular high school senior Kara. Their relationship is already strained for reasons Leigh does not fully understand when, in a moment of carelessness, Kara makes a mistake that ends in tragedy -- the effects of which not only divide Leigh’s family, but polarize the entire community.
Aaron Miller knows a thing or two about loss. He's lost love. Dignity. Second, and even third, chances. Once honored for his heroism, he now lives in near obscurity, working as a handyman in a humble trailer park. But God is a master at finding and redeeming the lost things of life. Unbeknownst to Aaron, someone is searching for him.
the Purple Sage
Story of hair-breadth escapes from Mormon vengeance in Southwestern Utah of 1871.
Struggling with single parenthood and a
scandal that cost him his political career, Bernard Doyle fights his
disappointment with his adopted sons' career choices before a violent
event forces the members of his family to reconsider their priorities. Set over a period of twenty-four hours, Run
takes us from the
a Comedy d'Art
Baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec vow to discover the truth behind the untimely death of their friend Vincent van Gogh, which leads them on a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late-nineteenth-century Paris.
Set against the powerful lakeshore landscape of northern Minnesota, Safe from the Sea is a heartfelt novel in which a son returns home to reconnect with his estranged and dying father thirty-five years after the tragic wreck of a Great Lakes ore boat that the father only partially survived and that has divided them emotionally ever since. When his father for the first time finally tells the story of the horrific disaster he has carried with him so long, it leads the two men to reconsider each other.
|Sarah||Marek Halter||Born into a world of luxury in the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, Sarah flees the arranged marriage planned by her father, a decision that leads to an encounter with Abram, a member of a nomadic tribe of outsiders.|
|Sarah’s Key||Tatiana de Rosnay||
Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with
her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting
Jewish families in
|The Secret Life of Bees||
Sue Monk Kidd
The richly drawn novel is Lily's coming-of-age story, shining with the power of women around her, all seeking forgiveness and healing, and all discovering what family is really about.
The Minnesota State Fair-the beloved home of 4-H exhibits, Midway rides, and everything on a stick. The festival fun is riding high until the newly crowned Milkfed Mary, Queen of the Dairy, a Battle Lake native, is brutally murdered while her regal likeness is carved in butter. Can Mira James, covering the fair for the Battle Lake Recall, expose a deadly State Fair secret and win a blue ribbon for caging a killer? You bet your last deep-fried Nut Goodie!
Mackenzie Allen Phillips' youngest daughter,
Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she
may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in