While we applaud the desire to bestow the best of Minnesota on friends and relatives, there are only so many times you can give wild rice and Nut Goodies. This year, consider the latest works from area authors and illustrators for...
NONFICTION<< Potluckers: Longtime Star Tribune Taste editor Ann Buckhardt’s Hot Dish Heaven (Minnesota Historical Society, $16.95) caters to casserole connoisseurs.
>> Duluthians, past and present: Tony Dierckins’ Zenith: a Postcard Perspective of Historic Duluth (Xcomm, $19.95) includes nearly 500 vintage postcards and paintings of the western Lake Superior region. For a whole-state historical perspective, check out Minnesota Yesterday and Today, with photographs by Layne Kennedy and text by Greg
Breining (Voyageur, $24.95).
<< One-day-at-a-timers: Kent Nerburn has found The Hidden Beauty of Everyday Life (New World Library, $16) in Bemidji.
>> The college grad in your basement: Rachel Hutton’s Before the Mortgage (Simon & Schuster, $14.95) examines the perplexing pursuit of adulthood.
<< Medallion hunters: The 2007 Saint Paul Almanac (Arcata Press, $11.95) features the Winter Carnival and other annual events.
>> Spiritual seekers: Beryl Singleton Bissel’s spiritual journey takes her from a New Jersey convent to Grand Marais in The Scent of God: A Memoir (Counterpoint, $24).
<< Early adopters: Twin Citians Eric and Jonathan Dregni recount unrealized scientific prognostications in The Follies of Science: 20th Century Visions of Our Fantastic Future (Speck, $19).
>> The Canterbury crowd: MNMO contributor Tim Brady’s well-paced The Great Dan Patch and the Remarkable Mr. Savage (Nodin Press, $25.00) includes a DVD with rare racing footage.
<< The socially conscious: Kevin Winge, director of Open Arms of Minnesota, shares powerful personal stories in Never Give Up: Vignettes from Sub-Saharan Africa in the Age of AIDS (Syren, $15.95).
>> The in-laws who deserted your Thanksgiving table to watch (more) football: Sid Hartman’s Great Minnesota Sports Moments (Voyageur Press, $29.95) features photographs and anecdotes of close personal friends from six decades of reporting for the Star Tribune.
<< Procrastinators: Those who have yet to read St. Louis Park native Thomas L. Friedman’s The World Is Flat now can claim to have been awaiting version 2.0 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30).
>> Building buffs: Jeffrey A. Hess and Paul Clifford Larson examine St. Paul’s Architecture (University of Minnesota, $34.95) from Summit Avenue to the state capitol, starting in the 1840s, with hundreds of photographs and illustrations.
FICTION<< Poets and patients: “Rising star” Alex Lemon of Macalester College wrote Mosquito: Poems (Tin House, $10.95) after undergoing brain surgery.
>> Conspiracy theorists: Vince Flynn of Edina imagines a terrorist attack in the final weeks of a presidential campaign in his eighth bestseller, Act of Treason (Atria, $25.95).
<< Book clubbers: Minneapolis writer Maureen Millea Smith’s poignant When Charlotte Comes Home: A Novel (Alyson, $24.95), will inspire impassioned discussions of love and loss.
>> The landlocked: The 2001 Tamarack Award-winner Pamela Carter Joern of Minneapolis expands her prairie pathos in a first novel, The Floor of the Sky (Bison Books, $16.95).
<< Fantasy fans: The domains depicted in Minneapolis author Alicia L. Conroy’s short-story collection Lives of Mapmakers (Carnegie Mellon, $16.95) won’t be found in a Rand McNally atlas.
CHILDREN>> Floridians who only visit during the summer: Lauren Stringer’s Winter is the Warmest Season (Harcourt, $16), a fine piece of propaganda, is the first book the acclaimed Minneapolis illustrator has written.
<< 21st-century schoolkids: The Minnesota Humanities Commission’s series of Somali-English picture books includes Lion’s Share by Minneapolis educator Said Salah Ahmed and Grand Marais illustrator Kelly Dupre ($15.95 hardcover, $7.95 softcover).
>> Aspiring astronauts: Those inspired by Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper will want Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon (Houghton Mifflin, $19.95) by Catherine Thimmesh of Plymouth.
<< Birthday celebrants: Debra Frasier, Minneapolis-based author of the bestselling picture book On the Day You Were Born, expands her (and our) colorful whole-world perspective in A Birthday Cake is No Ordinary Cake (Harcourt, $16).
>> Shortfellows: All who line the shores of the shining Big-Sea-Water will enjoy Gitchi Gumee by Anne Margaret Lewis (Mackinac Island Press, $18.95), with painterly illustrations by Kathleen Chaney Fritz.
<< The girl-power gang: Prolific Minneapolitan Phyllis Root teams with former St. Paulite Mary GrandPré of Harry Potter fame to illuminate the Nordic folktale of Lucia and the Light (Candlewick, $16.99).
>> Those who prefer their fairy tales straight up: New Ulm’s Wanda Gág first published her unblinking translations of Tales from Grimm and More Tales from Grimm (University of Minnesota Press, $16.95 each) in a time of apparent parental unconcern.
<< Reluctant readers: Gary Paulsen, oft of northern Minnesota, recounts the thrilling tale of a hero born into slavery in The Legend of Bass Reeves: Being the True and Fictional Account of the Most Valiant Marshal in the West (Knopf, $15.95).
>> Anyone looking for a great read-aloud: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Candlewick, $18.99) is the latest award-winner by Kate DiCamillo. The Minneapolis author also adds Mercy Watson Fights Crime (Candlewick, $12.99) to her charming series for young readers.
<< The middle-schooler with a dog-eared copy of Alice in Wonderland: Excelsior native Frank Bedor updates the classic tale in The Looking Glass Wars (Dial, $17.99), a raucous riff not suitable for those still in pinafores.