Top 15 books set in Minnesota
Setting: St. Joseph, MN
Minnesota's second poet laureate undoubtedly deserves a spot on this list. A humble, unassuming collection of poems, First Words relives the author's childhood memories growing up in St. Joseph on a farm. Her poetry takes on a mindful simplicity and reverence describing the common occurrences of life on the farm, motherhood, cooking, and more.
North Star Country by Meridel Le Sueur (1945)
This history of Minnesota is told through the politically charged lens of feminism, working-class challenges, and Native American rights. Pulling threads from newspaper clippings, letters, and song lyrics, Le Sueur's work depicts the lives of the everyday people who made Minnesota what it is today.
The Florist's Daughter by Patricia Hampl (2007)
Setting: St. Paul, MN
In this memoir, Hampl casts her magnifying glass on the experience of losing ailing parents, her Czech ancestry, and, of course, her beloved St. Paul, where she was raised and eventually cared for her parents in their old age. Her patient pen unravels the emotional baggage strapped to these experiences, inviting the reader into her introspection and reflection.
Lorna Landvik brings her biting humor and side-splitting sass to the fictional women's book club living in Freesia Court. The club dub themselves AHEB, or Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. The novel catalogs 40 years of their lives, which includes sex, children, abuse, and strength in challenging times.
Lake Street USA by Wing Young Huie (2007)
Setting: Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN
This project began as an art installation of photographs by Wing Young Huie down the length of Lake Street in Minneapolis, and was later published as a collection. Images featured in the book are accompanied by essays and commentary from experts and members of the community. It's a beautiful look at the everyday human experience of the people inhabiting the vibrant spaces in Minneapolis.
Boarded Windows by Dylan Hicks (2012)
Setting: Uptown Minneapolis, MN
While this novel is not entirely set in Minnesota, the majority of the tale features Minneapolis's colorful Uptown neighborhood through spot-on flashbacks to the 1970s and '90s. The book follows a dry-humored narrator as he works through his hesitant relationship with his quirky father-figure: a wayward, strung-out country musician. With plenty of musical references teeming throughout its pages, and with the accompanying CD of original music written and performed by author Dylan Hicks, this is a book that will entertain any music geek.
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (1987)
Setting: Minneapolis, MN
Emma Bull arguably set the standard for the urban fantasy sub-genre with this book and others. The main character, Eddi McCandry, is a rock musician who is simultaneously trying to pull together a new band and battling good and evil in a world of faeries. The fantastical elements of Eddi's story are grounded by the realistic setting of Minneapolis.
This list just skims the top of the countless fantastic books set in Minnesota. Let's hear from you: Which books do YOU think are missing from this list? Share your thoughts in the comments.