Today: Minnesota author Cary J. Griffith, who has a new book on the Ham Lake fire in 2007 in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. “Gunflint Burning” is out in May from University of Minnesota Press. Griffith wrote a serialized novel for the Star Tribune, “Savage Minnesota,” that appeared in the newspaper in 2014.
We are blessed with phenomenal Minnesota writers and I try to read as many as I can. Over February/March/April, I read three of the four finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards in fiction, including Kent Krueger’s “Sulfur Springs,” Benjamin Percy’s “The Dark Net,” and Wendy Webb’s “The End of Temperance Dare” (which ultimately won). I still need to read P.J. Tracy’s “Nothing Stays Buried.” I also finished Mindy Mejia’s “Everything You Want Me to Be” (surprised to learn this fine novel was not a finalist); Emily Fridlund’s “History of Wolves” (another incredible debut and read); Peter Geye’s “Safe From the Sea” (beautiful writer); and Brian Duren’s “Whiteout” (also a wonderful writer). For the third time, I read “The Falcon: A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner,” which I find bizarre, practically unreadable, and strangely compelling. Finally, I’ll be picking up John Sandford’s “Twisted Prey” just for fun.
For obvious reasons, mostly writers (e.g., John Krakauer, Krueger, Geye, Sandford); local publishers (e.g., University of Minnesota Press, Milkweed Editions, Coffee House Press); local independent bookstores (Birchbark Books, Once Upon a Crime, Magers & Quinn, Excelsior Bay Books, etc.); and a variety of outdoors/environmental people, websites and venues.
The PBS NewsHour and lots of other news programs, and for sheer entertainment, series: “Peaky Blinders,” “Westworld,” “Stranger Things.” My brother, the series connoisseur, swears by “Mr. Robot.”
Always NPR/MPR, and a variety of commercial news outlets. I recently learned how to checkout audible books from my local Dakota County Library branch. In mid-April, I took a cross-country trip from my home in Rosemount to Tucson, Ariz., with my dog Macey. We listened to Dennis Lehane’s “Mystic River.” Krueger described Lehane as the writer’s writer, and I couldn’t agree more.
After 34 years I stepped back from the corporate cube and began writing full time — a true blessing. I also try to travel (recently Hawaii and Tucson). My oldest son lives in Honolulu. In Oahu, we e-biked and hiked the Ka’a’awa Valley, an incredibly lush valley where Jurassic Park and many other movies were filmed.
While Hawaii and Arizona provide hikers with plenty of amazing vistas and experiences, I have to add that the Superior Hiking Trail — most of which I’ve hiked — definitely measures up. I also am occasionally sidetracked. For example, there’s the Minnesota Press: phenomenal partners who have kept me very busy with book marketing and numerous upcoming appearances. It’s an embarrassment of riches.