Search our database of millions of books.
We love poetry at Common Good Books, and to prove it our proprietor is putting his money where his mouth is. Garrison Keillor is offering five thousand dollars in prize money to the seven winners of “‘Dear You’: The Third Annual Common Good Books Poetry Contest.” Three poets will receive grand prizes of $1000 each, and four poets will receive $500 for poems of particular merit.
Last year we asked entrants for love letters. This year, we continue the epistolary theme--entries to “Dear You” should be in the form of a letter to a real person--but love is not required. Entries should be mailed to Common Good Books, post marked no later than April 4, 2015.
The rules at a glance
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that you can see what sort of poems touch our proprietor’s heart by checking out his collection of poetry O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound (get yours here) or by listening to The Writer’s Almanac (here).
Winners will be announced Sunday, April 19
Winners will be announced Sunday, April 19 at a celebration of poetry to be held at noon in the chapel at Macalester College.
03/18/2015 7:00 pm
This intimate biography of a Wisconsin farm family eloquently chronicles a past way of life, one which, though arguably simpler, was not necessarily easier.
When Margaret Williamson left her family’s rural Wisconsin farm to work in Minneapolis in 1923, her mother, Olava, wrote regularly with updates about daily activities: laundry, bread baking, plowing, planting, and harvesting the crops. Sometimes she enclosed a note from seven- year- old Helen, who reported on school and shenanigans and how she longed to see Margaret again.
So begins decades of stories recounting the personal joys and challenges of a family broadly representative of the countless small farms that dotted the midwestern landscape in the early twentieth century. As Margaret’s niece Sara DeLuca weaves together family tales gleaned from letters and conversations, we learn of births and deaths, of innovations like the automobile, radio, and telephone that drew rural communities together, and of national and international events that brought home stone-hard truths. Depression-era farmers struggled to keep their land and feed their livestock. During wartime, this family made do just like everyone else.
The tale that emerges is one of fierce devotion to family and work, of a changing landscape as smaller farms became part of conglomerates, and of the comforting daily rhythms of life shared with those who know us best.
Poet and writer Sara DeLuca grew up on a dairy and sheep farm near the Williamson “homeplace” in Polk County, Wisconsin. She is the author of the memoir Dancing the Cows Home and the poetry collection Shearing Time.
03/01/2015 4:00 pm
FitzFirst@Four is a monthly discussion group, focused on the short stories of F Scott Fitzgerald. It meets at 4:00pm on the first Sunday of every month at Common Good Books. Events are free and open to the public.
This month’s meeting will feature a discussion of the story, “Benediction,” in a program led by Stu Wilson. It will explore the Irish Catholic community of Saint Paul in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s era (1890-1930), and its significance in the companion short stories and Fitzgerald’s other works. A resident of Saint Paul, Wilson currently serves as the president of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul and is a principal with Library Strategies Consulting Group.
02/26/2015 7:00 pm
“Brothers by Paul Mohrbacher is truly a gem of a story.... I loved it.”--Mary Logue, author of Lake of Tears
Paul Mohrbacher’s novel, Brothers, delves into the relationship of two sixty-something siblings who have been estranged for several years. Once close, Ben and Nick’s different life choices drew them apart, with Nick moving to California and Ben staying in their Midwestern hometown in North Dakota. Nick’s choices--complicated by his drug and alcohol addiction--result in shattered health and ultimately homelessness.
Brothers opens at their first meeting in several years when Ben travels to visit his brother, now a resident of a California board-and-care home, driven mostly by his need to know if Nick was involved in his wife’s death six years earlier. Nick’s outrageous style and the brothers’ intellectual sparring make what could be a dark tale a captivating, entertaining lark.
Brothers is Mohrbacher’s second novel. His debut novel, The Magic Fault, is a tale of modern crusaders and the Shroud of Turin. For more than 30 years, Mohrbacher played key roles in public and community relations at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
There's no shortage of sequels in the summertime. In fact, a few of our staff's favorite novels are soon to pick up right where they left off...
Enon (Now in Paperback), Paul Harding's follow-up novel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers, explores the grief of protagonist Charlie Crosby (grandson of Tinkers character George Crosby) over the loss of his daughter. Peter Recommends
10:04 (Available 9/2), a meta-sequel to Ben Lerner's breakout debut (winner of the 2012 Believer Book Award) Leaving the Atocha Station, finds our unnamed author/narrator under contract with a major publisher, but no more certain how to face the future and the prospect of fatherhood in a city that might soon be underwater. Colin Recommends
Lila (Available 10/7), the last of three novels by Marilynne Robinson set in the fictional plains town of Gilead, Iowa, tells the hardscrabble story of Lila, wife of minister John Ames. Robinson's preceding novels Gilead (2004) and Home (2008) received the Pulitzer and Orange Prizes, respectively. Jean Recommends
"Writing did give me a means to grieve publicly, to make others aware of my loss, in a way that wouldn’t have gone over so well if I had just randomly stood up in the middle of a cafe once a month and proclaimed, 'hello, strangers, allow me to tell you about my dead father and how sad I am about it!'"
Sean Bishop talks about life, death, and Carson Daly. Bishop reads from The Night We’re Not Sleeping In on Friday, November 21, with poets Su Smallen and Kara Condito. Click here for more information. Click here for the complete interview.
Common Good Books is pleased to unveil the first in a series of limited edition t-shirts, not available wherever books are sold.
View your shopping cart.