Tag Archives: Jerry Bilek

Benjamin Percy book release party, May 20

redmoon_finalAuthor Ben Percy will read from his new novel, Red Moon, Monday, May 20, 7:30 pm at the Rueb ‘N’ Stein.
The Counterfactuals will play a set prior to the reading. Refreshments will be served.

This is certain to be one of the coolest events in which I’ve been involved.

In addition to the Red Moon, Ben is the author of two short story collections, The Language of Elk and Refresh, Refresh, a graphic novel based on the short story Refresh, Refresh, as well as the novel, The Wilding.

httpv://youtu.be/Gxw1U9lJpwQ

httpv://youtu.be/oIoE-WNz82k

Featured books at Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore: Ordinary Grace; Orphan Train

Ordinary Grace

From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.

Ordinary Grace“It’s been a while since a story forced me to abandon my plans for the day. This book has all the elements of a great mystery.  The careful plot, skillful placement of evidence, and trajectory of suspense are all immensely satisfying. What sets this story apart is the unsettling detail of family love and the experience of grief.” –Ann Woodbeck, Excelsior Bay Books

“ Set in the early 60’s, it’s a story told from the perspective of 13-year-old Frank Drum when tragedy comes to call on his family. The author has really captured the era, the small town atmosphere, the Drum family and all the other memorable characters that make up this brilliant novel.Ordinary Grace will stay with me for a long time. ” Kathleen Eddy, Manager, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN

All the dying that summer began with the death of a child . . .

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.

Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.

WKKTold from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer,Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

William Kent Krueger is the award-winning author of twelve previous Cork O’Connor novels, including Northwest Angle and Trickster’s Point, as well as the novel Ordinary Grace. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family.


Orphan Train

Orphan Train“I was so moved by this book. I loved Molly and Vivian, two brave, difficult, true-hearted women who disrupt one another’s lives in beautiful ways, and loved journeying with them, through heartbreak and stretches of history I’d never known existed, out of loneliness toward family and home.” –Marisa de los Santos, New York Times-bestselling author ofBelong to Me and Falling Together

“I loved this book: its absorbing back-and-forth story, its vivid history, its eminently loveable characters. ORPHAN TRAIN wrecked my heart and made me glad to be literate.” –Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys

“Christina Baker Kline writes exquisitely about two unlikely friends . . . each struggling to transcend a past of isolation and hardship. ORPHAN TRAIN will hold you in its grip as their fascinating tales unfold.” –Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Painted Girls

Detailed and beautifully drawn, Orphan Train illuminates a little-known part of America’s history:  Between 1854 and 1929, so-called “orphan trains” transported more than 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children between the ages of 2 and 14 from the East Coast to the Midwest for foster care and adoption. But their treatment often amounted to indentured servitude. Chosen first were infants, for more traditional adoptions, and older boys, for their manual labor; adolescent girls were typically selected last. While some children quickly found love and acceptance, many walked a harder road.

Christina Baker KlineOrphan Train is set in modern-day Maine and early twentieth-century Minnesota.  Kline spends every summer on the coast of Maine and has built a large fan base in the area.  She has also spent 25 years traveling to Minnesota where her husband’s family lives, and has strong ties to the orphan-train riders’ community in the state.

Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels, including Bird in Handand The Way Life Should Be. Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2007-2011, Kline is a recent recipient of a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowship and several research fellowships (to Ireland and Minnesota), and has been a Writer-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives with husband and three sons in Montclair, New Jersey, and spends as much time as possible in northern Minnesota and on the coast of Maine, where she grew up.


The books are available at Monkey See Monkey Read in downtown Northfield.

Featured books at Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore: The Fate of Mercy Alban; The Truth About Love and Lightning

The Fate of Mercy Alban

The-Fate-of-Mercy-Alban-150x231From award-winning novelist Wendy Webb (The Tale of Halcyon Crane, winner of the 2011 Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction) comes a spine-tingling, modern-day haunted house story set on Lake Superior.

Grace Alban has spent twenty years away from her childhood home, the stately Alban House on the shores of Lake Superior — for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother’s unexpected death brings Grace and her teenage daughter home, she finds more than just her own personal demons haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House.

Wendy-WebbLong-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters, and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House during which a world-famous author took his own life and Grace’s aunt disappeared without a trace. That night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years, and Grace realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the hidden passages of Alban House. Her mother was intending to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died. Could it have been murder, or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? With the help of the disarmingly kind — and attractive — Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.

Wendy Webb is editor-in-chief of Duluth-Superior, an upscale lifestyle magazine. A journalist with two decades of experience, she lives in Minnesota.


The Truth About Love and Lightning

From the author of Little Black Dress comes a new novel about family, lies, and getting what you wish for…

MC.March_.McBride“Seamlessly toggling between decades, McBride delivers a poignant page-turner with flawed but lovable characters.” —Publisher’s Weekly

McBride’s novel is a gentle reminder of the unexpected and inevitable nature of change.” —Booklist

“A tender story of a mother and daughter in search of the man they love. Part mystery, part romance, it’s an emotional tale of the power of forgiveness. A truly notable book highlighting the importance of family, this novel is a must-read pick.” –MomTrends.com

Susan McBride weaves a tapestry of words, and balances wry humor with a deeply touching narrative in the story of one family, and the history of the lies that built it up. Pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s child, Abby Brink returns home to the family farm on the day of a twister, only to discover a mysterious man, struck by lightning—who ight be the father she’s wished would reappear in her life for years. In the midst of this chaos, Gretchen Brink, Abby’s mother and a compulsive teller of white-lies, becomes the caretaker for Abby and the mysterious stranger—all while nursing a fib that could shatter her family.

Susan’s own life is the stuff stories are made of. After being named one of St. Louis Magazines top 20 singles, McBride met and married her personal prince-charming, Ed, only to have this highpoint of personal happiness marred by the trauma of her battle with breast cancer. Now, McBride is stronger than ever, a survivor—and a new mother! Ed and Susan welcomed daughter Emily Alice into their family on June 28th. In the midst of all this familial bliss, it makes sense then that McBride’s latest novel revolves around the bond between a mother and a daughter. In the midst of all this familial bliss, it makes sense then that McBride’s latest novel revolves around the bond between a mother and a daughter.


MC.March.McBride.portraitSusan McBride is the author of women’s fiction, including The Truth About Love and Lightning, Little Black Dress, and The Cougar Club, as well as the award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries. She calls herself an “accidental cougar” after meeting a man nine years younger in 2005 when she was a St. Louis Magazine “top single.” They were married in February 2008 and live happily ever after in a suburb of St. Louis. She is a six-year breast cancer survivor and often speaks to women’s groups about her experience. In January 2012, she was named one of St. Louis’ “Most Dynamic People of the Year” by the Ladue News. In April 2012, she was given the “Survivor of the Year” Award by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. In late June of 2012, Susan and her husband, Ed, had their first child, Emily. As Susan likes to say, “Life is never boring!”


The books are available at Monkey See Monkey Read in downtown Northfield.

Scott Carpenter reading at Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore on Friday

Scott Dominic Carpenter will read from This Jealous Earth this Friday, March 8th, 7:30 pm. at Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore in downtown Northfield.

ibg.common.titledetail.imageloaderA man puts his beloved pets to the knife; a family prepares for the Rapture; a woman in a department store slips a necklace into her purse. Whatever the situation, the characters in This Jealous Earth find themselves faced with moments of decision that will forever alter the course of their lives.

Always moving and often touched with humor, Carpenter’s stories examine the tension between the everyday and the transcendent—our struggle to grasp what lies beyond our reach. Whether hawking body parts in a Midwestern city, orbiting through the galleries of a Paris museum or plotting sibling tortures in an Arizona desert, his characters lead us through a series of dilemmas of universal appeal.

Mike Perry book reading Feb. 22 – Clodhopper Monologues Part II

When: February 22, 2013, 7:30 pm ? 10:00 pm

Where: Grand Event Center

Address: 316 Washington Street, Northfield, MN 55057

Screen-Shot-2012-09-04-at-11.20.49-AM-426x480“Armed with a truckload of new stories Mike Perry returns with an updated version of his popular Clodhopper Monologues. Mike takes to the stage with a microphone and a passel of stories that range well beyond the pages of this books. Whether discussing vicious chickens, homeless guinea pigs, long underwear for ladies, or getting your feelings hurt by the New York Times, Perry moves easily from the heartfelt to hilarious in an easygoing performance come have called “country stand-up.”

Tickets can be purchased locally at Monkey See Monkey Read, 425 Division Street South, Northfield, MN. Or you can buy tickets online with a credit card.

Jerry Bilek is gearing up for the Arrowhead 135: a mind- and toe-numbing experience

Jerry Bilek and his Mukluk. Photo by Bill Nelson.Jerry Bilek and his Mukluk. Photo by Eric Johnson.Jerry Bilek and his Mukluk. Photo by Eric Johnson.
Northfielder and Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore owner Jerry Bilek is competing in the Arrowhead 135 this weekend.  As you can see from the photos sent to me by Eric Johnson and Bill Nelson, Jerry is going to use his Salsa Mukluk fat bike for the race. Other winter ultra-athlete racers compete on foot and skis.

Here’s a peek on what’s he’s in for:

MPR, January 27, 2012:  ‘Carnage’ a draw for some Arrowhead 135 ultra-marathoners

Frostbite. Sleep deprivation. Harrowing descents in pitch blackness. It’s all part of the strange allure of the Arrowhead 135: an extreme ski, bike or foot race in far northern Minnesota that begins before dawn on Monday morning.  It’s one of the nation’s craziest endurance races, and a huge challenge for participants.

Strib, February 9, 2011: 135 miles: Do or die

For the next three days, they will haul themselves and their survival gear 135 miles through Minnesota’s North Woods — from International Falls to Tower — in the most mind- and toe-numbing endurance race in the lower 48 states.

Trekking the equivalent of St. Paul to Iowa while dragging a sled behind you on 30-below nights might seem a sadistic death sentence to most. Relocate the quest to Minnesota’s most remote wilderness in the midst of a bitter winter — with rescue an iffy proposition — and you’ve got a race that’s irresistible to some

Featured book at Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore: The History of Us

The History of Us

history-of-us-678x1024A novel by Leah Stewart.

“With a playwright’s precise, sometimes excoriating dialogue and an insightful novelist’s judicious use of interior monologue, Stewart crafts a tearful yet unsentimental family coming-of-age story.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A poignant exploration of the meaning of family…the life they’ve lived was as much a gift as the life they lost.” –Booklist

“Domestic fiction fans favoring strong, intelligent characters will be intrigued by Stewart’s introspective examination of a family.” –Library Journal

Sometimes home is the hardest place to go.

In the newest novel by the celebrated author of The Myth of You and Me, three grown siblings return to their childhood home and face a family secret that forces them to reexamine their relationships.

Eloise Hempel is on her way to teach a class at Harvard when she receives a devastating phone call. Her sister and her husband have been killed in a tragic accident, and Eloise must return home to Cincinnati to take their three children out of the hands of her own incapable mother. She and her children move back into her mother’s century-old house and, after her mother leaves, pours her own money into its upkeep.

Nearly two decades later, Eloise is still in that house with now-grown children, still thinking about the career and life she left behind, even as she pushes the kids to get a move on. With a child leaving for New York City for a promising ballet career, Eloise has plans to finally sell the house and start a life that’s hers alone. But when her mother creates a competition for which of them gets the house and Claire turns out to have a life-changing secret, their makeshift family begins to fall apart.

leah-stewart-author-photo-150x225The History of Us is a heartrending story of loss, sibling relationships, and the life you make in the path not taken.

Leah Stewart is the author of the novels Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, and Body of a Girl. The recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship, she teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Cincinnati and lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two children.


The book is available at Monkey See Monkey Read in downtown Northfield.

Poetry reading at Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore: Joyce Sutphen and Basma Kavanaugh

Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen and Canadian poet and graphic artist Basma Kavanagh will read from their work at Monkey See, Monkey Read on Saturday, January 19th, at 7 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

basmaBasma Kavanagh, a visual artist, printer, and poet, will read from her recent books Distillo (Gaspereau Press, 2012) and A Rattle of Leaves (Red Dragonfly Press, 2012). Kavanagh is in Minnesota during the month of January as an artist-in-residence at the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts.

Her poetry displays a profound commitment to the natural world, so much so that her descriptions of both flora and fauna often feel like potent elixirs or ritual charms, rather than words on a page. Her artwork can be viewed at http://www.basmakavanagh.ca/

joyce_sutphenJoyce Sutphen, the current Poet Laureate of Minnesota and English professor at Gustavus Adolphus College, will be reading from her forthcoming collection After Words (Red Dragonfly Press, 2013), her fifth full-length collection and an obvious companion to her last collection First Words (Red Dragonfly Press, 2010).

These two books center around the poet’s family and life on a rural Minnesota farmstead. From these down-to-earth, Minnesotan themes, Sutphen crafts poems that are approachable yet deeply steeped in the tradition of English literature.

Last-minute gift ideas from Monkey See Monkey Read

It’s down to the wire to get your Christmas shopping done and we can help. We’ve got a lot of great ideas to choose from. Of course we always have a great selection of books, both new and used. We also have a number of games, toys, coffee mugs, book lights and now t-shirts.

We offer free gift wrapping and Saturday we’ll have homemade cookies.

Our hours now through Christmas are Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-4 and Monday, Christmas Eve, 10-4.

Here a just a few of the best ideas we have in stock at Monkey See Monkey Read in downtown Northfield.

read_or_die_rectangle_decal 28659151

Above left: Read or Die T-shirts just arrived. These have our logo on them as well.

Above right: Games by Morphology, Gamewright, Set, Banagrams, and Anomia.

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Above, left to right:

  • The Minnesota Book of Skills: Your Guide to Smoking Whitefish, Sauna Etiquette, Tick Extraction, and More.
  • Penguin coffee Mugs.
  • Sock Monkey Ornaments.
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Winner of this year’s National Book Award.