Memories, Mysteries and Museum Stories – Post Bulletin
“We’re Meant to Rise” Carolyn Holbrook and David Mura (editors); published November 2021 by University of Minnesota Press
As we observe the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, this time in history is still something that shocks me. The protests that followed and the police response in Minneapolis look like a nightmare. As the sun shines and time passes, I wonder if the collective anger, grief, and call to embrace real change has really happened. The feeling that we are moving towards positive social change and people wanting that change seem to fade like a scent that disappears from a room.
Reading “We are Meant to Rise” cements me in the spirit: yes, these events really happened. Yes, people have been struggling for years with a reality that I have never known. Yes, for a while Minneapolis was truly on fire for a collective cause and the world watched and caught fire with those in Minneapolis and Minnesota. Many of us watched from what appeared to be a not so distant window. Some things happened here in our own backyards. Many of us have been through something in Minnesota, in our country, and around the world.
“We are Meant to Rise” is a collection of stories from minority authors, poets, and writers who grew up and/or live in Minneapolis. Much of this work was written during this time when neighborhoods and our hearts were burning.
These words are sacred parts of each author, shared with the world as a generous gift to those who are willing to accept it. These stories, poetry and prose are pieces of writers given freely. The reward for the reader is a deeper connection and understanding of our neighbors and friends. When we just take the words shared without judgment and without opinion on this experience, it is something beautiful and amazing to live.
These words contain sadness and injustice, but they contain a truth more powerful than this sadness because this truth contains hope. Hopefully one day when we point out injustices and wrongs, when we recognize them, we can fix them. We can heal wounds, prevent them from happening again, and move on.
This collection has at times moved me to tears and a deeper understanding that we all have different experiences and that those experiences are no less valid than anyone else’s.
By sharing these stories, these writers have helped me breathe a sigh of relief that I hope collectively with all readers of this book. A sigh that says, “Okay, this is what we’re up against. It is the root that we must dig up. It is the wound that we can bandage and heal. We can solve this problem.
Carolyn Holbrook is the founder and director of More than a Single Story. Her collection of essays “Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify” won the Minnesota Book Award. She teaches creative writing at Hamline University, the Loft Literary Center, and many community venues.
David Mura has written several books, including the memoir “Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei,” which won the Oakland PEN Josephine Miles Book Award and was honored by The New York Times.
“We are Meant to Rise” is available online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and University of Minnesota Press (upress.umn.edu). It is also available at the Rochester Public Library.
“The Last Case of Rafferty” by Larry Millett; published April 2022 by University of Minnesota Press
“Rafferty’s Last Case” is Millett’s ninth mystery novel starring Sherlock Holmes and St. Paul detective Shadwell Rafferty. Holmes is a fun character who has been written about by many authors and reimagined by storytellers in many media. Millett’s Holmes is pure and worthy of the true fashion of the genre. Rafferty, Millett’s creation, is a clever detective and a complete character in his own right.
“The Last Case of Rafferty” can be read on its own without the reader having previously read Millett’s other Rafferty mysteries, as it includes enough information about all the characters to paint a clear picture of them. Even without having read the previous novels, I was drawn to the beginning of the prologue with Rafferty’s death. Millett’s descriptions of him immediately prompted me to follow the plot and seek justice for his disappearance.
With his background in historic architecture, Millett not only draws the excitement and entertainment of the Sherlock Holmes/murder mystery genre, but integrates it seamlessly into the setting of 1920s St. Paul.
It’s a fun read for history buffs, murder mystery connoisseurs, or Holmes fans.
Larry Millett worked for many years as a journalist and architectural critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He has written nine novels featuring Sherlock Holmes and Shadwell Rafferty and nearly a dozen books on architecture. He is a Minnesota Book Award winner.
“Rafferty’s Last Case” is available online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and University of Minnesota Press (upress.umn.edu). It is also available at the Rochester Public Library.
“A Natural Curiosity: The Story of the Bell Museum” by Lansing Shepard, Don Luce, Barbara Coffin and Gwen Schagrin, published April 2022 by University of Minnesota Press
The Bell Museum now sits on the University of Minnesota campus, but this building is only the newest home to what began more than a century ago.
From the state’s mandate to establish a natural history museum in 1872, just 14 years after Minnesota’s statehood, to the fifth building, “A Natural Curiosity” spans nearly 150 years of history. Broken down into decades and eras, this book is filled with photos and details about those who have influenced the evolution of the museum and carried its mission over the years. The breadth of knowledge and dedication that so many people have brought to the museum is very evident in this book.
An in-depth look at Minnesota’s natural history, “A Natural Curiosity” is packed with so much for the natural historian or Minnesota enthusiast.
Lansing Shepard is a writer specializing in conservation, environmental policy and natural history. He is the author and co-author of several published works and written for the Bell Museum’s IMPRINT publication. He also co-wrote the television documentary “Minnesota: A History of the Land.”
Don Luce is the curator of exhibits at the Bell Museum and for over 40 years has curated most of the temporary exhibits. He initiated many programs and played a key role in the museum’s many program expansions and exhibitions.
Barbara Coffin has played many roles in promoting conservation and understanding of Minnesota’s natural world, as the former head of media productions and adult programs at the museum. She is the executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning television documentary “Minnesota: A History of the Land.”
Gwen Schagrin has worked in research, design, and production of exhibitions at the museum since 1992. She was assistant curator of special exhibitions for Audubon and the Art of Birds and co-author of its exhibition guide.
“A Natural Curiosity” is available online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and University of Minnesota Press (upress.umn.edu). It is also available at the Rochester Public Library.
Book Nook is a feature that showcases books by Minnesota authors. Do you have a recommendation? Email us at [email protected] with the subject line “Book Nook”.