Essential Minnesota Books to Read from 2022

Until the Wheels Fall Off by Brad Zellar

Local author Brad Zellar’s debut novel, published in July 2022, is the open story of Matthew, a child in a 1980s small town in southern Minnesota who often suffers from insomnia, and finds solace in music. When Matthew returns to his town, years later, his life and family completely different, he looks back at the changes—and what’s not.

Breasts on the Moon by Dessa

It’s no secret that Dessa is much more than a rapper and singer—she’s a podcaster, teacher, memoirist, and poet, among other popular titles. And if you’ve ever been to a Dessa live show, you might have heard his poetry, which he often interjects between songs. Breasts on the Moon, his latest book of poetry, explores ideas like stage immersion, science, and, of course, imagining what a body part might look like in space.

Everything’s Never Said and Done: Practical Advice for Living and Dying Well by Pat Miles

When Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Famer Pat Miles died, he lost more than the love of his life – suddenly, his sense of security disappeared too. He didn’t know what came next: legally or emotionally. But other brave widows and supporters helped her along the way, and her latest book is a testament to the lives we live after loss—and how to move forward when it seems impossible.

His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Fight for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa

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George Floyd is a name that changed the world. After his brutal murder by Minneapolis Police Department Chief Derek Chauvin, protests around the world against the broken and racist police system took place today. But what was there for Floyd before he became the modern martyr of democracy? Award-winning Washington Post reporters, Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, reveal how America’s roots of racism shaped Floyd’s life and tragic experience.

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

After the Dragoning Mass of 1955, the day ordinary women sprouted wings, scales, and thorns, and were transformed into dragons that left behind the fiery destruction that once stood an ordinary mother or wife, life was never the same. For Alex Green, this change only opened the door to the questions he longed to be answered: Why did his aunt Marla change but his mother did not? Will any of the women ever return? Was it their choice? The only solution is to wait and deal with life after the dragon’s transformation – a protective mother, a distant father, being told that the aunt never existed, and a new “sister” who is treated by dragons far more than usual.

Farewell Transmission by Will McGrath

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Minnesota journalist and journalist Will McGrath has another book out this year — Farewell Transmission: Notes from hidden places. This book is a series of articles that follow his travels around the world. He travels to Yemen, the Bronx, Spain, and more in a whirlwind of storytelling. He even lives in Minneapolis and occasionally explores the indie wrestling scene in the Twin Cities. This book is different from his previous works, as it is a collection of different articles. Reading it is a great opportunity to travel and learn without leaving the comfort of your home this winter.

The True North Cabin Cookbook by Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen is probably a woman of innovation when it comes to life, but especially when it comes to food. This year, she published her first cookbook True North Cabin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the North Woods Table, where he explores old Minnesota cabin food, and the food that makes Minnesota summers so delicious.

Prince: All Songs by Benoît Clerc

For anyone who calls themselves a Prince fan, this tome explores the stories behind every song Prince has ever released. That’s 50 years of albums, EPs, and rarities, revealing everything from Prince’s recording choices to what he really meant between his lyrics. Author Benoît Clerc is a forensic scientist here, carefully examining everything we know about the eternal purple enigma.

Acceptance and Emi Nietfeld

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In her first memoir, Emi Nietfeld describes her traumatic upbringing in Minnesota and her troubled relationship with her mother, living through periods of self-harm and time in a mental hospital, and what it took to overcome her pain and make her way—all the way to the halls of Harvard and New York City. As he told us this year, “How can I tell a story without showing gratitude, while telling the truth about stories like mine that are expensive?” For fans of Prozac Country and Girl, Interposed.

Kind of Hurts and Ada Limón

Minnesota-based poet Ada Limón has had an eventful year. Last spring, she published her sixth collection of poetry, her fourth since she began working with Minneapolis’s Milkweed Editions in 2010. Kind of Hurts a symbol of the power of feeling and hearing. Through his poems he weaves the relationship between human life and the natural world, between life and death, and between the intellectual and the spiritual. In September, he received the congressional honor of being named the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States.


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