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I'll begin this review with the admission that I am a friend and former colleague of the author and once co-wrote a book with her. Normally, I wouldn't review a friend's book, but this one's too good to miss, too valuable for all manner of reasons. My friend is Peg Meier, longtime feature writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and author of many best-selling books, including a blockbuster of years back, "Bring Warm Clothes." Peg specializes in Minnesota history, recalled in photographs, diaries, news items of the past.
Anglophiles, Attention! "I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that happened to me in my entire life." Thus spake 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, when she sees a man dying in the cucumber patch of Buckshaw, the decaying deLuce estate in England.
Our region, nay, our nation lost a treasure last month with the death of Bill Holm, writer, conversationalist, pianist extraordinaire. Bill died too young at age 65. The newspapers called him a giant in more ways than one. At 6'6" the big Icelander from Minneota, Minn., had big appetites all around, for reading, for writing, for big roast beef dinners, for good bourbon. I just talked to a mutual friend about how sad it was that Bill should die so young. "Oh, well," said my friend, he lived "two lives for our one." That's so.
"The Vagina Monologues," based on studies and interviews by Eve Ensler, will be staged by local actors at 7 p.m. March 6 and 7 at the Sheldon Theatre. Julie Martin is directing the V-Day production. "Women's sexuality and strength are explored with humor and grace in this adult-focused presentation," Sheldon officials said. The program is a benefit for the Goodhue-Wabasha Sexual Assault Services; it is sponsored by that agency and Phoenix Theatre. "The Vagina Monologues" explores the mystery, humor, pain, power, wisdom, outrage and excitement buried in women's experiences.
A pair of teenage sisters from Wabasha who have been gaining attention on the Irish music scene will present a concert at 7 p.m. March 6 at the Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview, Minn. Rebecca Garrigan, 16, and Rowan Garrigan, 12, are producing the performance as their latest home-school project. The two sisters have been playing traditional Irish tunes together since Rebecca was 11 and Rowan was 8. They originally learned by ear from CDs, and then studied for several years at The Center For Irish Music in St.
ZUMBROTA -- What do Garth Brooks, Bette Midler, Kathy Mattea, and the trio Peter, Paul and Mary have in common? They've all recorded songs by folk singer Cheryl Wheeler, who will appear at 7:30 p.m. March 7 at Crossings at Carnegie. New York-based singer and songwriter Kenny White will open for her and join her on stage. Wheeler's career started in the Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C., area. She released a few independent albums before being signed in 1990 by Capitol's Nashville division. After a short stint in country music, Wheeler settled at Philo Records.
ZUMBROTA -- Auditions will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 5 for the annual Thornton Wilder One-Act Play Festival at Crossings at Carnegie. Words Players Theatre spokesmen said actors do not need to prepare readings. "We have become so accustomed to 'realistic' theater that the power of actors alone surprises most of us," spokesmen said.
Two talented upper Midwestern writers with ethnic interests headline today's book report. The first is by University of Wiscosnin-Superior poet and fiction writer Anthony Bukoski. It's a collection of short stories, Bukoski's fifth book, entitled "North of the Port" (Southern Methodist University Press, $22.50). Bukoski, who grew up in Superior, sets most of his stories on the port city's east end, a Polish ghetto in the throes of change.
One of the first novels ever written in English, in 1740, was a humdinger named "Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded," by a London businessman Samuel Richardson. Richardson was in the stationery business, selling fancy paper to rich women, who needed to send out thank you notes.
With breeding duck numbers at their lowest in 20-years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is taking a conservative approach to duck bag limits. The DNR announced this week that it will maintain last year's 60-day duck hunting bag limit that is more conservative than the regulatory structure allowed by the U.S.