Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NEWS TO ME by Laurie Hertzel (book trailer)

Don't miss Laurie Hertzel in Grand Rapids tonight! She'll be at the Grand Rapids Area Library at 7pm....it's also a great event to get ideas on books to read for you and your bookclub!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Accidents: A Conversation with Laurie Hertzel

For some reason I absolutely love that Laurie Hertzel used the words "accidental journalist" in the subtitle of her new memoir. It's called "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist" published by the University of Minnesota Press.

I've always liked the idea that you end up doing exactly what you should be doing - that it's a happy accident of sorts. This is not to say that Laurie Hertzel hasn't worked hard over years to get to where she is.... but as she explores in her memoir, she didn't exactly seek out a career in journalism. It just sort of happened.

Laurie's memoir is not the kind of memoir we hear about a lot. It's really a memoir of her profession of journalism. But its appeal is far reaching - it gives us a glimpse into the history of northeastern Minnesota during Laurie's career at the Duluth News Tribune. As she told me, she was writing (during the 70s and 80s) "end of era" stories about the changes of the region.

It's NOT a happy accident that Laurie is coming to Grand Rapids next week to speak at the Grand Rapids Area Library. This was planned. She'll be coming for an event on September 28th at 7pm that is a celebration of 10 years of the library's Mississippi River location. I'll be there as part of the program to interview Laurie about her book and about reading and her day job as books editor of the Start Tribune. Readers and members of book clubs are especially encouraged to attend this event - it's in collaboration with the Village Bookstore, KAXE and the Grand Rapids Area Libary with drawings for book-ish gift baskets and favorite books of area book clubs on display and for sale.

Laurie is my guest this week on Realgoodwords... hope you get a chance to hear our conversation and I hope to see you next Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are you anxious? Is that okay?

This week on Realgoodwords I talk with Dr. Henry Emmons. He's a psychiatrist based in Minneapolis who has written a new book called "The Chemistry of Calm".

The Grand Rapids chapter of NAMI - the National Alliance of Mental Illness - is bringing him to Itasca Community College on Thursday October 7th. See here for more information on that.

Dr. Emmons and I spoke about how having stress and anxiety in your life is not necessarily a BAD thing. For instance, you SHOULD be worried about your children when you drive a vehicle - and that should push you to make sure they are always in car seats and wearing seat belts. This is GOOD anxiety. But worrying day in and day out that your child could be harmed in a car accident at any time is not so good. Dr. Emmons had this to say:

"The problem for so many people is not that they have too much stress in their lives - it's that it never lets up. And that's the big difference between what we experience nowadays and the way that I think that things used to be. People have always experienced huge stresses in their lives in some ways probably WORSE stress than we live with now. The difference is that it used to come and go - people would have a chance to completely recover from it... their bodies would reset. Their brains would have the chance to get completely back to baseline and now that doesn't happen as often. For so many reasons our brains and our bodies and our stress hormones are activated all the time and we never really have a chance to get back to our healthy baseline."

Tune in Wednesday from 6-7pm or Sunday from 9-10am. If you miss that, check the archive here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What is your quest?

This week on Realgoodwords it's all about the quests. Whether it's traveling the world, paddling every lake in Itasca County or joining a women's roller derby team, we all have a passion for something that can lead to a quest of some sort.

My guests this week are authors Mary Shideler and John Shors.

John is back on Realgoodwords; this time to talk about his new novel called "The Wishing Trees". It's the story of a father and daughter and their quest to travel the world to honor their late wife and mother. Their first stop is Japan where Maddi, the 10 year old, finds out about wishing trees. Wishing Trees are where you write down your wish in life and hang it on a tree. They are thought to be spiritual and mystical places. Maddi and her father Ian not only put their wishes in wishing trees, they follow the plan and itinerary that was left for them. Ian and Maddi's quest is at times heartbreaking but is filled with transformation and redemption. Writer Wally Lamb called it "Poignant and life-affirming".

John's novels have been bestsellers and translated into many different languages. This is due in part I think, to his dedication to his readers. John has visited with over 2400 different book clubs across the country (mostly through speakerphone) - sometimes speaking to up to 3 of them in an evening. Check his website for more information.

Itasca County resident Mary Shideler is also on this week - talking about the completion of her quest to kayak ALL the lakes of Itasca County. She's published a book about this quest called "Mary the Kayak Lady - One Woman, One Kayak, 1007 Lakes." Mary talks about where she got her sense of adventure and how she put together her beautiful new book. Duluth News Tribune writer Sam Cook wrote, "Mary Shideler possesses both a sense of wonder and a sense of purpose. Her kayaking quest should be an inspiration to all of us who dare to follow our dreams."

Mary is at the Grand Rapids Area Library talking about her quest on Thursday September 15th at 7pm.

What's your quest? What drives you? Are you like me and feel the pull of the 8 wheels and knee pads of roller derby?

You can hear Realgoodwords every Wednesday on KAXE from 6-7pm and Sunday mornings from 9-10am. Archived interviews can be found here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

barefoot running and Christopher McDougall on Realgoodwords


Christopher McDougall is on Realgoodwords this week - talking about how the industry of running shoes has it all wrong. He happened upon a tribe of people in Mexico that take great joy in running all the time and at great lengths, with either flat homemade sandals or barefoot. His book has been wildly successful and more and more people are picking up the ideas of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's Copper Canyons. Check out Chris' video from the New York Times here. If you missed my conversation with him, you can hear it on the Realgoodwords archive here.

Chris will be in Wayzata, MN next week at the Bookcase talking about his book on Sept. 15th at 6:30pm.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Billy Collins is coming to northern Minnesota!!!

I'm not someone who complains that there isn't enough to do up here in northern Minnesota, but I do miss opportunities. But this one I WILL NOT MISS! Coming up Saturday September 25th Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will be in Bemidji. A poetry reading? Sounds stuffy! But here's the thing: it's Billy Collins. The farthest thing from stuffy. He's real and funny and smart and has this way of making you forget that what he's doing is reading poetry. The New Yorker wrote "What Collins does best is turn an apparently simple phrase into a numinous moment.... a poet of plenitude,irony and Augustan grace."

You can hear Billy Collins on Saturday September 25th at the Bemidji High School Auditorium at 7:30pm. Tickets are available at the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts 218-444-5606 or at KAXE 218-326-1234.

You can also hear Billy Collins this week on Realgoodwords - Wed. September 8th(6pm) with a rebroadcast on Sunday September 12th (9am). Also on the show this week is Christopher McDougall author of "Born to Run - A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen". McDougall's book has become an international movement - with an idea at the center that the answer to pain free running and endurance is to run barefoot. YES, run barefoot. Stay tuned!

Christopher McDougall will be in Minnesota - in Wayzata at The Bookcase on Wednesday September 15th.