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It's fashionable these days to write "sequels" to literary characters whose original authors are long dead. One example is St. Paul author Larry Millett, who has brought Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes to Minnesota to solve the mystery of the Hinckley fire, to help railroad magnate James J. Hill crack a murder case in St. Paul. Another example is Californian Laurie King, who also writes about Holmes and his wife (!) Mary Russell. Her latest is "The Language of Bees" (Bantam, $25) which is told in a most humorous way by Holmes's bride.
The initial 2009 Apple River Country Splash line up was announced in November, but now more acts have been added. Apple River Country Splash has announced that Travis Tritt and Darius Rucker were added to the line-up, which includes Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Jason Michael Carroll, Little Big Town and Shedaisy. Travis Tritt is a country music superstar. His name evokes a deep sense of history and place in country music.
A new book sheds new light on a well-known historical educator. "Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington," by Robert J. Norell (Harvard University Press, $35) is a fine new look at a historical figure who has suffered a bad rap for too long. Booker T. Washington has taken some hard knocks from the rest of black community in the past century. Never mind that he almost single-handedly built a black college, Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, bigger than any other college in the state.
There's a little something for everyone this week. It's stocking-stuffer time on the prairie and local publishers are stepping up to the presses with a slew of fun books for teenagers of all ages. Remember the movie "Slap Shot," starring Paul Newman?
The St. Croix Valley Community Foundation announced Sept. 2 that $30,000 in grants will be available to enhance music education in the region's public and private schools. Each year the Foundation awards grants to enhance the music education experience for K-12 students in the St. Croix Valley -- Washington and Chisago counties in Minnesota and Pierce, Polk and St.
I keep getting bombarded with books that bring back memories of growing up in a small Wisconsin town. Last week it was Larry Tobin's novel about small town journalism. This week it's "In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story," by Jerry Apps (Terrace Books, $16.95). I've reviewed several of books by Apps, a former University of Wisconsin professor, who grew up in Central Wisconsin on a hardscrabble farm. Apps has written more than 20 books, most of them non-fiction about life in Wisconsin.
Heading for the lake?
Lorna Dorothea Krueger, age 102, of Hammond, originally of Woodbury Township, Minn., passed away June 1, 2008 at the American Heritage Care Center. Private burial at Union Cemetery in St. Paul, Minn. A memorial service for Lorna will be held on Saturday, June 21 at 11 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church, 1975 St. John's Dr., Woodbury. Services have been entrusted to the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson, 715-386-3725. www.oconnellfuneralhomes.com
Minnesota is busting out all over in the book world. Let's start with one newcomer and one oldtimer. Minnesotan M.E. Smith has worked in the field of clinical research for pharmaceutical companies for nine years. He has also worked as an FBI investigator. His background is a perfect fit in the new world of crime fiction, which I write about all the time. In the old days we had Agatha Christie. To do an Agatha Christie type book, all you needed to know that old English ladies wore tweeds and were very nosy. These days the trend is toward specialty.