From the Midwest Booksellers Association: six recent Midwest Connections picks. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal:
The Chain Letter of the Soul: New and Selected Poems by Bill Holm (Milkweed Editions, $18, 9781571314444/157131444X). Hans Weyandt of Micawber's Books in St, Paul, Minn., said, "Bill Holm, one of Minnesota's greatest champions of the arts, passed away not too long ago. The Chain Letter of the Soul is his last book--a new and selected poems (heavy on the new) that is not at all one of those thrown-together collections. It is a great testament to his life and his writing."
Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 9780151013890/0151013896). According to Nancy Simpson of Book Vault in Oskaloosa, Iowa, "Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers is one of those books that really grabs your attention in the first three pages and never lets go! It is actually the story of a human domino chain: the interrelated stories of what happens after one young girl in a very small town is killed. Meyers's character development is superb.... each character speaks by turns in the first person. Highly recommended."
Stray Affections by Charlene Baumbich (WaterBrook Press, $13.99, 9780307444714/0307444716). Nancy Simpson of Book Vault in Oskaloosa, Iowa, said, "What a bundle this book is! A combination of mystery, magic, joy, second chances, quirky characters and the blessings of God... all brought to light by the purchase of a snow globe at a flea market. This is an ideal book to read on a snowy winter day, snuggled up in a blanket, with a cup of hot chocolate beside you."
The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer and Ted Lewin (Holiday House, $17.95, 9780823420544/082342054X). Angie Grafstrom of Inspiration Hollow in Roseau, Minn., said, "The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer is a charming story about the winter solstice and the return of longer days. Its lyrical style and beautiful illustrations will make this an instant family classic to be shared with generations to come. Children will ask for this one over and over again!!"
Pioneer Girl: A True Story of Growing Up on the Prairie by Andrea Warren (Bison Books, $14.95, 9780803225268/0803225261). Carla Ketner of Chapters Books & Gifts in Seward, Neb., said, "This summer my 11-year-old niece and I visited Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, Nebraska, where we saw first-hand what Grace McCance Snyder, the 'pioneer girl' of Warren's book, would have encountered as a homesteader to this area in 1885. Pioneer Girl is an engaging, well-researched extension of our visit, and I just had to buy it for her for her birthday!"
Moose on the Loose by Kathy-Jo Wargin and John Bendall-Brunello (Sleeping Bear Press, $15.95, 9781585364275/1585364274). According to Bev Denor of LaDeDa Books & Beans in Manitowoc, Wis., "Home invasions are not funny--that is unless the invader is a moose who tries on your socks, scrubs up in your tub, and needs a kiss before snuggling into your bed for the night. Kathy-Jo Wargin's silly story told in rhyme, enhanced by John Bendall-Brunello's whimsical drawings, won't settle on your bookshelf for long... it is sure to be read again and again."