Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery Newletter
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pansypansiespansies May 2021 pansiespansypansies

Page One | Staff Picks | Youth Yak | Book Groups News

Independent Bookstore Day: Saturday, April 24, 2021


Thank you!

Thanks to all who made Independent Bookstore Day a great day at Beagle and Wolf! To those who couldn't be here and placed orders by phone or online; to those who were in the store; to those who gifted the store generously—all of you made our hearts sing! We love being your independent bookstore!

book coverMary Casanova
Thursday, May 13 at 7:00

Mary CasanovaJoin Jen in conversation with author Mary Casanova to discuss her new book, Waterfall!

In her third Rainy Lake historical drama, Mary Casanova takes us back to pristine and rugged northern Minnesota. It's 1922, women have won the right to vote, and Trinity Baird is of age. But at 21, after nearly two years at Oak Hills Asylum, she returns to her family's island summer home with her self-confidence in tatters and her mind seared by haunting memories. Her parents are oblivious to what they have put her through and instead watch their daughter for the least sign of defiance. Trinity struggles to be the "respectable" young woman her parents (especially her mother) demand, so that she can return to her independent life studying art and painting in Paris. She never wants to go back to Oak Hills, where they "treat" hysterical, i.e., unconventional, young women.

With enough talent and ambition to be accepted into the Sorbonne, Trinity had hoped she would be well on her way as an artist by now. On the island, she returns to what sustains her: painting. While her love for this beautiful place is deep and abiding, the few months ahead present a near-impossible task: recover the strong sense of self she's nearly lost during her time away, while holding off her powerful family's efforts to coerce her into submission. When her parents arrive on Baird Island, her father brings along a promising young architect to help with plans to build new guest cabins. Trinity suspects her parents are trying to introduce yet another marriage prospect. Or might she have found an ally?

Informed by historical figures, by the burgeoning growth of women's rights in the early twentieth century, and the complicated issue of mental illness and how "difficult" women were silenced, Waterfall offers a compelling story of an inspired, ambitious, and soulful young woman's fight to find her way.

Get the zoom link here.

Sister Wolf Women's Group to Resume Summer Schedule

Our summer group met during the winter, via Zoom. In May, we’ll return to our normal schedule and will meet every other week, May through September. All meetings will be at 10:00 in the morning, for now via ZOOM.

May 19 We’ll meet to select books. Have some suggestions to offer! Our criteria are that books be recently out in paperback and about 300 pages in length. We read both fiction and nonfiction. Let Sally know if you’d like a ZOOM link to the meeting (

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May 26
Writers & Lovers

Lily King
June 9
The Falcon Thief

Dara McAnulty

Fall Reading Retreat Plans
October 8 to 10

Our Reading Retreats are a gift you give yourself. We invite you to spend a long week-end with a group of interesting women, discussing three books which we’ll all have read ahead of time, relaxing, and eating meals which someone else has prepared.

Our theme is “Who Am I? Why Am I Here?” and our books are:

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Seed Keeper
Diane Wilson
Things I Learned from Falling, Clare Nelson
(available May 25)
Diary of a Young Naturalist Dara McAnulty
(available June 8)

Reading Retreat Update  

The Reading Retreat scheduled for October 8 to 10 is full. Still want to attend? We will offer a second retreat (same books, same venue) October 15 to 17.
If you are interested, send a check for $50 made out to Beagle and Wolf Books with “Oct. 15 to 17 retreat deposit” in the memo line. Send to Beagle and Wolf Books, Attn: Sally, 112-3rd St. W., Park Rapids MN 56470.

Please put “retreat deposit” on the memo line. The deposit will be refundable if you can’t come and we’re able to fill your place. Cost of the retreat is $295. This includes the cost of everything but books and travel.

Participation will be limited to people who are fully vaccinated against COVID.

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Willian Kent Krueger In-Person Event

September 4, 1:00 to 2:00

Because of COVID, it’s been over a year since we’ve had an in-person event, but we’re planning to welcome William Kent Krueger Labor Day Week-end, COVID restrictions permitting! His newest book, Lightning Strike, will be released August 24, and may be pre-ordered now. It's a prequel to the popular Cork O'Connor series. Krueger will only be signing books purchased at Beagle and Wolf.

Jen, William Kent Krueger, and Sally holding his books



Our Book Groups Are Still on Zoom.

All of our book groups (Beagle Men, Beagle Women, Current Events, and Sister Wolf) are currently meeting via ZOOM. This will continue for the immediate future. We will continue to monitor COVID restrictions and will let you know when we feel in-person meetings are safe.


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bag of books

Celebrating 20 Years!

It’s been 20 years since the founding of Beagle Books, and we’re celebrating all year long! The 20th of each month we’ll give away a bag stuffed with books and bookish swag. Enter every time you’re in the store, no purchase necessary. If you can’t get in, email to enter. These are the only two ways to enter the drawing. (Note: prize bags must be picked up as we are unable to mail them. We will hold them, however.)


book coverNew in Paperback

Late Migrations
Margaret Renkl

Sally’s favorite book of 2019 is finally out in paperback!

Margaret Renkl is a careful observer of the natural world around her. She not only notices the chokecherry root which pushed up the concrete of her parents' driveway, the dead robin in the street, and the blazing red of a cardinal illuminated in the autumn sunset; her description of each is beautifully written. Renkl is also an observer of her family, and chapters about incidents in their lives are braided with the essays about the natural world. The ordinary becomes filled with wonderment and loss, and the shadow side of love is part of the life we all share. Illustrations by the author's brother, Billy Renkl, sensitively complement the text.


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All Adults Here
Emma Straub

I listened to this on and it's such a great read/listen! This novel follows the lives of the Strick family—Astrid, the mother/grandmother/widow, her two very different sons Elliot (eldest) and Nicky (youngest), daughter Porter (middle child), granddaughter Cecelia, and her friend August. The book opens with Astrid witnessing the car accident that kills a woman she has known for years but doesn't particularly like. Straub rotates through the Strick family members and we learn of each member's struggles. Porter has a bad habit of sleeping with her high school sweetheart, even though he is now married and has a family; Elliot struggles with business decisions; Cecelia is a middle schooler navigating the struggles of being among other middle schoolers and friendships. Themes of the book include family, friendship, gender roles, and more. By the end of the novel, Straub has created a complex, rich story, but she rotates through the family members so skillfully, revealing bits at a time, that the reader will have no trouble keeping straight a number of characters. This would make such a great book for a book group discussion!


April Bestsellers

Book covers are linked to our online store, where you’ll find a description of each book.
Titles with asterisks link to our reviews.


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*The Seed Keeper
Diane Wilson


*Twenty-Ninth Day
Alex Messenger


*The Vanishing Half
Brit Bennett


The Hill We Climb
Amanda Gorman


Other Words for Home
Jasmine Warga

  *The Night Watchman
Louise Erdrich
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Isabel Wilderson

The Little Springtime Book of Gnomes
Kirsten Sevig


*One Night Two Souls Went Walking
Ellen Cooney


Mary Casanova

  The Body
Bill Bryson
  *The Book of Longings
Sue Monk Kidd
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        *The Dutch House
Ann Patchett
  *Saint Patrick’s Day Hero
Doug Mayfield

Paws for Poetry


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Aether: An Out-of-Body Lyric by Catherine Graham

This book of poetry (or is it essay? or mystery? or grief work?) is pitch perfect. Catherine Graham tells the story of her family—her mother's too-young death from breast cancer, her father's subsequent (and suspicious) death in a car crash, the author's own battle with cancer, and the villain—AKA Nana. The poet has a way of writing that I would call spiraling - and with each revisit of a fact or feeling, a little more is revealed. The writing is tremendous, the metaphors spot on, and even the presentation of the work on the page is done just right. When I read poetry, I have the habit of checking to see where the end of the poem is before I start reading it. I don’t read the last line…...I just like to know where the poem is going to stop. When I started reading Aether, I forgot to do that. I was a couple pages in before I thought, “Hey….” and then realized two things: 1) This may well be one long poem; 2) I don’t care where “the end” is. Aether is in fact one long, almost essay-like poem. Catherine was an only child and so, aside from her villainous grandmother, was left quite alone on Earth as a Graham. In addition to being poetry/essay and memoir, there is mystery and grief work here. The lines that most caught my attention were:

Many lies have a spine of truth
It’s how they stand up
Parents die in the world
But they never die in their children

There is a bird connection between the author and her mother and at one point she uses the phrase “feathered bridge” <3

The most poignant word in the poem, used repeatedly, is “Don.” Read Aether to find out why.

zoom of event
A Virstual Poetry Event

Recently, Sally and I attended a celebration of poetry, a virtual event put on by  publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Here’s a link to the event. Note: the poets start speaking and reading several minutes in. I enjoyed the event a great deal and you’ll be seeing reviews of works by some of the poets who were part of the event in the future. I was particularly taken with a poet named francine j. harris. In preparing the book review below, I took note of this author blurb, written by harris: “The journey we take in The Renunciations is nothing short of rescue mission….The poems are startling, disturbing, and relentlessly bold. I can’t imagine a time before having The Renunciations as a part of my emotional ecosystem and poetic landscape.”


book coverWell! Must read! And I’m so glad I did!
The Renunciations
by Donika Kelly

I often feel that my favorite poetry has allowed room for the reader’s eyes/mind to rest and contemplate the physical spaces, the intentional blanknesses, left on the page. In The Renunciations, poet Donika Kelly presses the issue on this. Some poems are mostly blacked out lines with only a few words readable - and yet the reader’s eye scans over the blacked out lines and of course that pause, that mystery of text hidden from the reader, is part of the poem as much as the words. At other times, the poet doesn’t even black out text, just leaves us with lines like:

He asks,
[            ]?

I don’t know that I’ve read a collection of poetry in which the spaces speak as loudly as they do in The Renunications. I am also a fan of the poetic advice Let the title do some work. Many of the poems in this collection have allowed the titles to work hard. Some of the titles are practical - ie: “In the Chapel of St. Mary’s”, some helpful, ie:“Donika Questions the Oracle”, and some ethereal, ie: “Portrait of My Father as a Winged Boar.”

If you’re not inclined to take my word for it that this is a collection worth reading, please see poet francine j. harris’ blurb above.

For those of you who know young (student) poets, check out Poetry Speaks!

Youth ages 12+ are invited to participate in this summer oratorical contest. The events are FREE to join and attend. Students will select a published poem from a provided listing and perform that piece at one or more of our events around the state. Each Poetry Speaks event will feature student performances, speaker awards, performances by professional Minnesota poets and an informal reception where students, guests and members of the poetry community can engage in poetry and performance mentoring.
Poetry Out Loud logo

Poetry Speaks, brought to you by Minnesota Poetry Out Loud, engages students age 12+ in poetry recitation and performance. Please share this information with interested students!

To participate students should:

  • Choose a piece to perform
  • Register for one or more July events
  • Practice the piece (memorization encouraged but not required)
  • Invite friends and family to attend!

Additional details will be provided after registration and closer to the events. Please contact with questions or for more information. We look forward to hearing Poetry Speaks performances this summer!

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. This FREE program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board and South Central Service Cooperative. Visit or poetryoutloud.orgfor more information.

Poetry Out Loud logo
This activity is made possible by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature and a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.



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