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There's something comforting about reading novels set in places where you're fairly well acquainted. I loved Thomas Gifford's "The Windchill Factor" years ago. That was the espionage novel that begins in Taylors Falls, Minn., when the little white frame library blows up. When I read the book I had recently visited that little library, which had the weirdest classification system I had ever seen. Gifford followed with "The Cavanaugh Quest," a novel set in Prospect Park, which is within eyeshot of the college where I used to teach.
On Tuesday, Oct. 7, River Falls Journal columnist Dave Wood will appear in dialogue with author Samuel Hynes at 7 p.m. on the University of Minnesota campus at the Elmer L. Anderson Library.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea. Thus begins Samuel Taylor Coleridge's haunting fragment, "Kubla Khan." There are all manner of theories about why Coleridge never finished the poem, one of which avers that Coleridge wrote it while in an opium-induced haze. Just when he was writing For he on honeydew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise. a bill collector knocked on his door.
I opened "A Remarkable Mother," by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster, $22.95) with some trepidation. Ex-presidents don't usually make great writers, unless you count U.S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt. Nixon made too many excuses, Bill Clinton was way too windy.
There are so many wonderful poems in "This Brightness," by William Richard (Mid-List Press, $13) it's difficult to select a suitable work by one of St. Paul's talented writers, who was already named a finalist in the James Laughlin Award for his 2003 book, "How To," also published by Mid-List. So I'm going to indulge myself, fat as I am, with "The Luminous Body." Listen up before you worry about going to workout.
Bruce "Fuzzy" Liddle, age 57 of Roberts, originally of Hastings, Minn., died Friday, Dec. 7 at his home. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday, December 13 at St. Bridget's Catholic Church in River Falls. Burial will be in the Warren Cemetery in Roberts. Visitation will be held at the church on Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 4-8 p.m. and for one hour before the service on Thursday. Cashman - Hill Funeral Home & Cremation Services, River Falls, is assisting the family. Please go to www.cashmanhillfuneralservice.com to extend an online condolence.
Coaches ready for Saturday's Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Packer Head Coach Mike McCarthy says the squad is ready for the upcoming intra-squad scrimmage Saturday night. "There are a number of things that we're able to accomplish with the Family Night scrimmage. No. 1 is to play in that type of environment, especially for the younger players that haven't played in front of that type of crowd," said McCarthy. He added that the fans create a great environment which is better than some of the preseason game environments they play in. The No.
In May, my wife and I joined friends Jane and Larry Harred and Kermit and Sharon Paulson of River Falls, and Ralph and Grace Sulerud of St. Paul, for a trip to southern Italy and Sicily. Ruth and I spent a few days some years ago in southern Italy and Sicily, but lack of time and money precluded our doing the neighborhood justice.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sitting in for Dave Wood today is his wife, Dr. Ruth Wood, an English teacher at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. I'm a teacher of international and multicultural literature, so when Coffee House Press sent three intriguing new books by Asian-American writers, I asked to be a guest columnist. This is a great array: A novel by Japanese-born Yuko Taniguchi, a short story collection by Chinese-born Wang Ping, and a poetry collection by Sun Yung Shin, a Korean adoptee. My favorite of the three is Wang Ping's story collection, "The Last Communist Virgin" ($14.95).
If you're fascinated by post-Edwardian society of the Roaring '20s, if you like Evelyn Waugh, if you enjoy the high jinks of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. If P.G. Wodehouse is your cup of tea laced with gin, of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey is your idea of a gentleman detective, then you'll probably like "The Bee's Kiss," by Barbara Cleverly (Delta, $13 paper). Cleverly, a recipient of the Golden Dagger Award for fiction, sets her sights on Great Britain eight years after World War I. It was time for the Beautiful People to kick up their heels.