Larry Millett, author of the heartbreaking books of long-gone local architecture, "Lost Twin Cities" and "Twin Cities Then and Now" (as well as a lot of other books), has another heartbreaker on the horizon. "Once There Were Castles: Lost Mansions and Estates of the Twin Cities" will be published in September by the University of Minnesota Press.
Millett estimates that there were once 500 such houses in the Twin Cities, and his book introduces us to 90 of them.
Illustrated with more than 250 black-and-white photos, the large-format book shows us fabulous stone mansions, sprawling estates and other luxurious digs along St. Paul's Summit Avenue, in downtown Minneapolis, on the shores of Lake Minnetonka and elsewhere.
Yes, they were ridiculously gigantic, impractical monuments to wealth and excess and ego. But, oh my, they were spectacular. And now they are gone, all gone.
• "Emmy and the Rats in the Belfry," the latest in the Emmy series by Lynne Jonell of Plymouth, has been published by Henry Holt. Jonell is also the author of "The Secret of Zoom," which forever will be known as the book that President Obama bought for his daughters. Jonell will autograph her new book at 3 p.m. July 10 at the Bookcase of Wayzata, at 1 p.m. July 16 at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis, and at 2 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Red Balloon in St. Paul.
• Beth Mayer of Lakeville, National Book Award finalist Bonnie Jo Campbell, Graywolf Press author Benjamin Percy and Gregory Blake Smith of Northfield are among the authors represented in "New Stories From the Midwest," edited by Jason Lee Brown and Jay Prefontaine and published by Ohio University Press.
• "Down the Mysterly River" by Bill Willingham will be published in September by Starscape, a division of Doherty. Willingham, who lives in Minnesota, is a widely known author of graphic books, winner of 14 Eisner Awards and a Hugo Award. The new book is his young-adult debut.
• Diane Wilson, author of the Minnesota Book Award-winning "Spirit Car," has a book coming out with Borealis Books, an imprint of the Minnesota Historical Society Press. "Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life" will be published Sept. 1.