Games by Gamewright

November 30, 2010

We’ve replenished our selection of games by Gamewright. Some of their classics are back in stock as well as a few of their new ones. We’ve test driven a lot of Gamewright’s offerings and these are our favorites.

Absolutely Wild-Staff Pick

November 27, 2010

Another fine book from David R. Godine.

Absolutely Wild
poems by Dennis Webster
woodcuts by Kim Webster Cunningham

The publisher first saw Kim Cunningham’s artwork – and her father’s clever and witty poetry – at an exhibition of New Hampshire artists near the company’s warehouse in Peterborough. With two young children and bookcases brimming over with alphabet, animal, nonsense, and every other kind of children’s book, it takes a lot to impress him. This work did; even an amateur could see at a glance that here was the Real Thing – both the rhymes and the images.

The verses by her father, a New York copywriter, are original, catchy, and sophisticated (or as sophisticated as you can get writing about vultures, gibbons, giraffes, and gnus). Here’s just a sample of Webster’s ode to the yak:

“A shaggy species is the yak
With hairy front and hairy back.
It isn’t very hard to spot him
With hairy top and hairy bottom
He doesn’t mind that he’s so shaggy
If he wore pants, he’d like them baggy
His coat’s a frightful mess, and yet
You’d dress as he does, in Tibet.”

Below and beside here are some of Cunningham’s prime specimens along with one verbal sidekick. If you are intrigued by the exotic, the colorful, the sublimely ridiculous, or the reductively sublime, this is a book to tickle your tailfeathers.

The Lonely Phone Booth

November 26, 2010

I like this book.

Christmas with Tucker-Midwest Connections

November 26, 2010

The heart-warming new book
from the bestselling author of

Greg Kincaid

Doubleday Religion
Random House

“This simple but strong story celebrates the beauty of everyday things, the power of love and humility, the singular grace that is a good dog, and the mysterious ability of that grace to transform the human heart. A perfect Christmas read.” – Dean Koontz

“I don’t own a dog – but after reading this book, I have an irresistible urge to go out and get one. Christmas with Tucker is simply that poignant and lovely.” – A. J. Jacobs

“It was the bleakest of Christmas seasons that year: blizzards followed by ice paralyzed the entire county. No one would have blamed the thirteen-year-old boy for taking the easy way out, or expected the aged grandfather to single-handedly pull off a miracle. Stirred into author Greg Kincaid’s wondrous crucible are an empathetic grandmother, a sorrowing mother, a shy earliteen girl, a sodden alcoholic neighbor–oh yes, and an Irish setter named Tucker, with a heart filled with love for all of them. Taken all together: a Christmas story for the ages!” – Joseph Wheeler, Editor/Compiler of the bestselling Christmas in My Heart story anthologies

CHRISTMAS WITH TUCKER is the prequel to the adored A DOG NAMED CHRISTMAS novel by Greg Kincaid that spent four weeks on the Heartland Indie Bestseller list.

A Dog Named Christmas touched the hearts of many when it was published in the fall of 2008. In 2009, the beloved novel was made into a successful Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie seen by more than 14 million viewers. Now, author Greg Kincaid brings us the prequel in CHRISTMAS WITH TUCKER. Set 35 years earlier than the first book, CHRISTMAS WITH TUCKER follows the story of George McCray, a young boy dealing with the loss of his father, and the dog that comes into his life to offer him a ray of hope and courage.

It’s 1962 and as Christmas approaches so does one of the worst snow and ice storms in Kansas history. Without utilities or emergency services, it is a dangerous time for the residents of Cherokee County, especially for the McCray family. Big Bo McCray is the County Road Maintainer and it is his duty to keep the roads clear of ice and snow—but all tasks seem more difficult for Bo and wife Cora due to the tragic death of their only son, John. Losses begin to pile up for the family like the snow on their rural roads. John’s wife and two daughters, unable to bear being on the farm without him, move to Minnesota, leaving the youngest member of the McCray family, twelve-year old George, behind with his grandparents.

Young George has been hit hard by his father’s death, and is not yet ready to leave the farm where he holds so many memories. As George retreats into his grief, Big Bo and Cora’s focus shifts to their struggling grandson. When an alcoholic neighbor does a stint in the county jail, Big Bo offers to care for his dog, Tucker, a lowly, starving Irish setter in need of companionship. Tucker comes to the family with his own pain yet learns to trust George as boy and dog form an unbreakable bond. As their love and loyalty for one another grow, George learns that it is possible for a dog to heal you, even to save your life.

Just in time for the holiday season, Greg Kincaid delivers a beautiful tale of redemption, hope and forgiveness. Please consider a review of this poignant novel. I will be in touch shortly to discuss media opportunities. Please feel free to contact me in the meantime.


GREG KINCAID, when not writing, is a practicing lawyer, specializing in divorce and family law mediation. He lives on a farm in eastern Kansas with his wife, three horses, two dogs, and two cats.

The Lonely Phone Booth

November 17, 2010

It’s a book, a very fine book, from David R. Godine Publisher.

It’s a Book

November 17, 2010

no kindle required.

Dakota, or What’s a Heaven for-Midwest Connections

November 16, 2010


This novel opens a window onto the history of a place little known and often misunderstood — Dakota Territory

Brenda K. Marshall

North Dakota Institute for
Regional Studies
Historical fiction set in Dakota Territory in the late 19th century

This is a novel you have not read before.  These are people you have not met. This is a story you do not know…….

“Reading Brenda Marshall’s wonderful Dakota is a bit like walking into an exhibition hall where all the displays are quite alive and look right back at you. From the smallest details–a cat asleep in a cold frying pan–to the largest ones of geo-political development, this novel is brilliantly inclusive in its understanding of how a region develops, and the breath of life flows all the way through it.” — Charles Baxter , author of Gryphon: New and Selected Stories

“This is a great story, set against the historic events of Dakota Territory’s early political and economic turmoil. Marshall conveys a strong sense of the hope and anguish that land hunger delivered to both the rich and poor who sought to dredge the full potential from the reluctant soil. At the center of the story are two determined women whose lives depart from the expectations of their day and intersect in surprising ways.”   Barbara Handy-Marchello, author of Women of the Northern Plains: Gender & Settlement on the Homestead Frontier, 1870-1930

“A nineteenth-century epic. Imagine a Midwestern Middlemarch, if you will, that conjures the Gilded Age in a succession of sweeping panoramas and intimate portraits.  Brenda K. Marshall puts me in mind of an American Sarah Waters — a writer in persuasive command of  history and simultaneously able to slip beneath its skin to the storey beneath. This is a vibrant, teeming work, filled with feeling, intelligence, and  ultimately, grace.” — Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl


This is a novel you have not read before.  These are people you have not met. This is a story you do not know.

In this brave and moving epic, set in late nineteenth-century Dakota Territory, Brenda K. Marshall  opens a window onto the  history of a place little known and often misunderstood, to tell an original tale of desire and ambition.  The lives and schemes of frontier politicians, Northern Pacific Railroad executives, bonanza farmers and homesteaders converge in the story of Frances Houghton Bingham.  Emotionally complex, willful and resourceful, Frances is seduced by the myths of opportunity driving the settlement of Dakota Territory, and dares to dream of a new world in which to realize her unconventional desires.

Providing a counterpoint to the dramatic risks taken by Frances is the generous voice of Kirsten Knudson, the daughter of Norwegian homesteaders.  As Kirsten grows (from a voluble girl to a formidable woman, her observations (equal parts absurdity and insight) reveal the heart of the novel.


Brenda K. Marshall grew up on a farm in the Red River Valley of  North Dakota.  She is the author of Mavis, a novel, and  of  Teaching the Postmodern: Fiction and Theory.  She teaches in the English Department at the University of Michigan.


Wicked River-Midwest Connections

November 14, 2010

Take a wild ride down the Mighty Mississippi!WickedRiver

Lee Sandlin

Pantheon Books / Random House

“Sumptuous writing and fascinating tales of the days when life on the Mississippi was rough and wild. . . . Sandlin transports readers back to a renegade time on the Mississippi, a rollicking ride full of marauders, floating brothels and rough characters spit straight from the pen of Twain himself. Sandlin’s own prose style is a fluvial joy.”–Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Sandlin pulls no punches . . . it’s almost as if he decided Twain was wrong and we need to find out the truth. He tells of pirates, drownings and slavery even uglier than most history books will tell us, of people who fell off boats and had no way of being rescued in a wilderness. . . . if you love the river and its history, read it. It’s fun.”–Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin

“What a wickedly wild ride of a read!  I loved this book!  It may be nonfiction, but Sandlin tells his stories with a narrative drive that any novelist would envy.  The events and characters from the early days along the Mississippi, which he so evocatively recreates, are among the most fascinating you’ll ever encounter anywhere.  Honest to god, reading history has never been more fun!”. –William Kent Krueger, author ofHeaven’s Keep

“A gripping book that plunges you into a rich dark stretch of visceral history. I read it in two sittings and got up shaken.”–Garrison Keillor




WICKED RIVER: The Mississippi River When It Last Ran Wild(Pantheon Books/October 19, 2010/$26.95) is a riveting look at one of the most colorful, dangerous, and peculiar places in America’s historical landscape: the strange, wonderful, and mysterious Mississippi River of the nineteenth century.

Beginning in the early 1800s and climaxing with the siege of Vicksburg in 1863, WICKED RIVER takes us back to a time before the Mississippi was dredged into a shipping channel, and before Mark Twain romanticized it into myth. Drawing on an array of suspenseful and bizarre firsthand accounts, Sandlin brings to life a place where river pirates brushed elbows with future presidents and religious visionaries shared passage with thieves—a world unto itself where, every night, near the levees of the big river towns, hundreds of boats gathered to form dusk-to-dawn cities dedicated to music, drinking, and gambling. Here is a minute-by-minute account of Natchez being flattened by a tornado; the St. Louis harbor being crushed by a massive ice floe; hidden, nefarious celebrations of Mardi Gras; and the sinking of the Sultana, the worst naval disaster in American history. Here, too, is the Mississippi itself: gorgeous, perilous, and unpredictable, lifeblood to the communities that rose and fell along its banks.

An exuberant work of Americana—at once history, culture, and geography—WICKED RIVER is an epic that portrays a forgotten society on the edge of revolutionary change.DSC_5971-Edit


Lee Sandlin has been a regular contributor to the Chicago Reader. His essay “Losing the War” was included in the anthology The New Kings of Nonfiction. He lives in Chicago.



Swallowing the Soap-Midwest Connections

November 12, 2010

William Kloefkorn
Edited and with an introduction
by Ted Genoways

Bison Books
University of Nebraska Press
Poetry by Nebraska State Poet Kloefkorn

“Kloefkorn is a perfect blend of poet, raconteur, and scholar. . . . Kloefkorn’s poetry—perhaps like all poetry—is about the price of wonder. Wonder at nature, wonder at fate, and wonder—finally, luminously—at the miraculous depths and tributaries of the human soul.”—Brent Spencer, Nebraska Life

“Kloefkorn’s style comes not only from long attention to the world, but from sustained immersion in the art and craft of language, and from granting himself the freedom to write at length and in depth about the people and places he cares about most. Such work can rise toward sublime visions of the interconnections of people and place.”—Jeff Gundy, Georgia Review

This volume, the first to span the forty-year career of Nebraska state poet William Kloefkorn, brings together the best-known and most beloved poems by one of the most important Midwestern poets of the last half century. Collecting work from limited editions and hard-to-find books, along with Kloefkorn’s most anthologized poems, Swallowing the Soap is an indispensable one-volume compendium of the work of a major American poet.

“These poems aim for nothing less than the impossible: to understand what it means to be alive and human on this moveable earth,” writes the editor, Ted Genoways. Swallowing the Soap is filled with the panoramic landscapes of Kansas and Nebraska, the stories of the rough and tender people who live there, and the moments of heartache, brutality, loss, and redeeming joy that shape their lives. It offers a vision, at once intimate and expansive, of the world of the Great Plains as seen by one of its most eloquent poets.


William Kloefkorn is an emeritus professor of English at Nebraska Wesleyan University. He is the author of many volumes of poetry and a four-volume memoir: This Death by Drowning, Restoring the Burnt Child, At Home on This Moveable Earth, and Breathing in the Fullness of Time, all published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Kloefkorn was named the Nebraska State Poet by proclamation of the Unicameral in 1982. A retired professor of English at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, he is the author of many collections of poetry and other books, including Alvin Turner as Farmer (Logan House, 2004), Sunrise, Dayglow, Sunset, Moon (Talking River Publications, 2004), and Walking the Campus (Lone Willow Press, 2004). He has also published four memoirs, This Death by Drowning (U of Nebraska P, 2001), Restoring the Burnt Child (U of Nebraska Press, 2003), At Home n This Moveable Earth (U of Nebraska Press, 2006), and Breathing in the Fullness of Time (U of Nebraska P, 2009). He is the author of two collections of short fiction, A Time to Sink Her Pretty Little Ship (Logan House Press, 1999) and Shadow Boxer (Logan House Press, 2003). Other books include Sergeant Patrick Gass, Chief Carpenter: On the Trail with Lewis and Clark (Spoon River), Uncertain the Final Run to Winter (Windflower Press), Loup River Psalter (Spoon River), Welcome to Carlos (Spoon River), and Drinking the Tin Cup Dry (White Pine Press, 1989). His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Georgia Review, Poet & Critic, and elsewhere. In addition to his many publications and honors, he won first-place in the 1978 Nebraska Hog-Calling Championship.

Ted Genoways is the editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and the author of Bullroarer: A Sequence. He has edited numerous books, including The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández.


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