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Inglenook Book Club September News

Posted 9/21/21

The Inglenook Book Club met in September at Lakeside Senior Living Center with Linda Edge and Donna Ward as hostesses.

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Inglenook Book Club September News

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The Inglenook Book Club met in September at Lakeside Senior Living Center with Linda Edge and Donna Ward as hostesses.

President Carolyn Moore called the meeting to order and thanked the hostesses. Members recited the Pledge of Allegiance, the club aim and motto.

President Moore noted the passing of our member Juanita Finley this past Monday evening. The club had celebrated her 92nd birthday at our August meeting and the club extends sympathy to Juanita’s family. Motion was made and passed to send a donation to the library in her memory.

President Moore announced that she delivered 67 notebooks for the schoolteachers last month. This month the item was earbuds, of which quite a few were collected. Next month we will bring plastic folders with brads.

Our program was presented by Mary Newman whose subject was William Kent Kreuger, American novelist and crime writer, best known for his series of novels featuring Cork O’Connor, and set mainly in Minnesota. In 2005 and 2006 he won back-to-back Anthony Awards for best novel. In 2014 his stand-along book Ordinary Grace won the Edgar Award for best novel of 2013. Another stand-alone novel, This Tender Land, is currently being read in the club this year.

Kent, as he prefers to be called, was born in 1950 in Torrington, Wyoming. He said that he wanted to be a writer from the third grade when his story “The Walking Dictionary” was praised by his teacher and parents.

Upon entering Stanford University in 1969, he became involved in radical on-campus protests against the Viet Nam War, resulting in a loss of his academic scholarship, forcing him to leave after his freshman year. Afterward, he logged timber, worked in construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He has been married nearly 50 years to his first love, Diane, a girl from Nebraska. Kreuger says when their first child was on the way, they had to get serious about life.

In 1980 they moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, so that Diane could attend law school. She gave birth to their second child in the first semester of her final year and still made the Dean’s List. It was during that time he began writing in earnest. He rose early each morning and wrote for an hour or so before going to work. He wrote in longhand in cheap wire-bound notebooks sitting in a booth at the St. Clair Broiler café just a few blocks from their home.

He wrote many short stories, but it was not until the age of 40 that he finished the manuscript of his first novel, Iron Lake, the first of the Cork O’Connor series. It won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the Barry First Novel, the Minnesota Book Award, and the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award.

The Cork O’Connor series consists of 18 books so far and are set in Northern Minnesota which has a large percentage of population of mixed ancestry. In college he had researched the Ojibwe Indian culture which he has woven into his books, set in and around Native American reservations. The main character, Cork O’Connor is part Ojibwe and part Irish.

The latest, Lightning Strike, published this year, he says is one of his favorites and most ambitious yet. Set in the summer of 1963, it centers on the tension between the Ojibwe of the Iron Lake Reservation and the white populace of Tamarack County as a result of two murders. This is the story of Cork as an adolescent standing in the doorway to his manhood. It’s the year before his father, Liam O’Connor, Sheriff of Tamarack County, is killed in the line of duty. It explores the complex relationship between father and son, so important in shaping Cork into the man who occupies center stage in the series.

Krueger says when asked by readers where to start reading the series, he now gives the advice to read Lightning Strike first, a great introduction to all the people and elements that are central to the stories. Then, if you like that novel, he hopes people will give the rest of the series a try. He states that he still gets up early every morning and spends a couple of hours at a local coffee shop, hunched over his notebook while the sun rises.

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