August Midwest Connections Picks!


Bookseller selected, Midwest approved! Indie booksellers throughout the Midwest have hand-selected these titles based on their discoverability and regional value. From small towns to bustling cities, many of the most celebrated writers have roots in the middle of the country and explore this distinctly American landscape and experience. Discover your next great read and explore a whole region of amazing literature.


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The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399563058
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - July 23rd, 2019

» Don't miss our event with J. Ryan Stradal at Pulpit Rock Brewing Co. on Sept. 17th! «

"[The Lager Queen of Minnesota has] complex female characters, sudden tragedies, culinary descriptions that awaken all your senses." --Entertainment Weekly

Two sisters, one farm. A family is split when their father leaves their shared inheritance entirely to Helen, his younger daughter. Despite baking award-winning pies at the local nursing home, her older sister, Edith, struggles to make what most people would call a living. So she can’t help wondering what her life would have been like with even a portion of the farm money her sister kept for herself.With the proceeds from the farm, Helen builds one of the most successful light breweries in the country, and makes their company motto ubiquitous: “Drink lots. It’s Blotz.” Where Edith has a heart as big as Minnesota, Helen’s is as rigid as a steel keg. Yet one day, Helen will find she needs some help herself, and she could find a potential savior close to home…if it’s not too late. Meanwhile, Edith’s granddaughter, Diana, grows up knowing that the real world requires a tougher constitution than her grandmother possesses. She earns a shot at learning the IPA business from the ground up—will that change their fortunes forever, and perhaps reunite her splintered family?

Midwest Connection: It's all in the name! Set in Minnesota and featuring quintessentially Midwestern characters, J. Ryan Stradal lets his Midwestern roots show. Stradal was born and raised in Hastings, MN.

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We Will Tell You Otherwise Cover Image
ISBN: 9781625570024
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 2-6 business days
Published: Black Lawrence Press - August 20th, 2019

“The stories in Beth Mayer's We Will Tell You Otherwise are indelible treasures, full of poignancy and pathos. Mayer is the best kind of writer—one who doles out her wisdom with humor, who mines the intricacies of love, friendship, and family effortlessly.” -- John Jodzio, Author of Knockout

Winner of the Hudson Prize in Fiction, We Will Tell You Otherwise is a commanding and powerful debut short story collection. Keenly observed, funny, and occasionally heartbreaking, we meet odd, engaging characters who ask us to listen and to take them seriously. With a compelling range of voice and form, Mayer’s stories offer startling encounters with human nature, compassion, and hope.

Midwest Connection: Beth Mayer lives in Minnesota with her family, teaches with Minnesota State Colleges & Universities, and was raised in the Chicago area. Additionally, many of the stories in Mayer's debut collection are set in the Midwest.

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State: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781572842663
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 2-6 business days
Published: Agate Midway - August 13th, 2019

“In State, Melissa Isaacson perfectly captures the birth of Title IX and a time when high school girls were starting to gain equality in sports and in the classroom, showing us how opportunities on the court can light a path for girls to become their authentic selves in all aspects of their lives.” —Billie Jean King, founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative

State is the story of the Niles West high school girls' basketball team, who would go on to defeat eventual Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee's East St. Louis team in the 1979 Illinois state final. In telling their story. Isaacson shows readers how a group of "tomboys" found themselves and each other, how basketball rescued them from their collective frustrations and troubled homes, and how the experience forever altered the course of their lives.

Midwest Connection: Melissa Isaacson grew up in and currently lives in Illinois. State revolves around the high school girls' basketball team at Niles West High School in suburban Chicago.

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The Curse of the Werepenguin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451480446
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 2-6 business days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - August 13th, 2019

"Young Frankenstein meets The Princess Bride in the most hysterically hilarious book I’ve read in years." —Chris Grabenstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author

When a mysterious baron sends for orphan Bolt Wattle, the boy hopes to find his parents, but instead gets turned into a werepenguin and has three days to reverse the curse, return to human form, and stop the Baron from taking over the country of Brugaria with his army of mind-controlled penguins.

Midwest Connection: Allan Woodrow lives in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

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