FARGO – Figuring out the perfect gift this holiday season can be a breeze - especially if the loved one in question is an avid reader.
Just in time for another busy holiday season, here are 10 recent book releases with a local hook.
• "Christmas Crossroads," by Elizabeth Raum, follows three kids trying to visit Jesus on the first Christmas. But choose carefully: The reader's decisions will affect what happens in this unique story. Raum is a former Concordia College library director and teacher. The prolific author has written more than 100 books ranging from biographies and science books to picture books and interactive adventures.
She'll sign books from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 12 at Zandbroz Variety, 420 Broadway, Fargo, and noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 19 at Melberg Christian Book & Gift, 16 4th St. N., Moorhead; available at Amazon.com and Zandbroz Variety.
• "Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics," by Michael J. Lansing, follows the rise and collapse of the Nonpartisan League. At one point, the league counted more than 250,000 paying members in 13 states and two Canadian provinces, and the party controlled North Dakota's government before its fall. Lansing, an associate professor of history at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, aims to offer a new look at the often-forgotten popular movement.
Zandbroz Variety will host Lansing at 7 p.m. Thursday for an author event; available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Zandbroz Variety.
• "Joy Notes: 90 Days of Delight," by Dawn Kaiser, aims to help readers restore bliss in their lives by finding peace and learning how to maintain a joyful spirit. With upbeat messages and lessons, the book encourages everyone to reflect on how to make each day a little brighter.
The Lake Park, Minn., native is a former Village Business Institute trainer and speaker who now is a full-time inspirational speaker; available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and www.dawnkaiser.com.
• "Kitchens of the Great Midwest," by Hastings, Minn., native J. Ryan Stradal, isn't a standard cookbook. Each chapter follows the perspective of a different character, with the novel evolving to tell the story of a dinner party and a St. Paul-born chef. While there are some recipes, the book is packed with Midwestern references and everything from a county fair bar bake-off to lutefisk and deer hunting; available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Zandbroz Variety.
• "Luce Women," by Liz Kisacky Severn, is the Minnesota State University Moorhead English professor's debut novel. The book is told from the perspective of Trudy Pluth, a person of interest in the death of Lyle Staybler, a wealthy recluse. But it's more than a mystery, and the book explores the friendship of women in the small town of Luce, Minn.
Severn will be at Zandbroz Variety for a book signing and reading event starting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8; available at Amazon.com and Zandbroz Variety.
• "Natives of a Dry Place: Stories of Dakota Before the Oil Boom," by Richard Edwards, examines small-town life before the Bakken oil boom in western North Dakota. Former Stanley, N.D., resident Edwards' book tells the stories of the regular people who built Stanley. In the process, the professor of economics at the University of Nebraska also explores what makes a community and what happens during the hard times; available at Amazon.com and Zandbroz Variety.
• "Peter the Slug and the Great Forest Race," written by Peter Schultz and illustrated by Ann Solyst, follows a slug with the dream of running in the Great Forest Race. Along the way, Peter learns about courage and tenacity in this children's book produced and published by Fargo independent publisher Silver Goat Media; available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
• "Red Combines 1915-2015: The Authoritative Guide to International Harvester and Case IH Combines and Harvesting Equipment," by Lee Klancher, chronicles a century of the red combine's impact. With plenty of photographs and details about a large number of these machines, a team of contributing experts have come up with a thorough and entertaining choice for fans of agricultural equipment; available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
• "The Snowflake: Winter's Frozen Artistry," by Kenneth Libbrecht and Rachel Wing, combines photography, science and writing to explore the forgotten beauty of the snowflake. Libbrecht, a Caltech physicist and native of West Fargo, lends his scientific expertise to explain the process along with mesmerizing microphotography images, while his wife, Wing, wrote the book; available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
• "A Treasury of Old Souls," by Eric Bergeson, brings to life the stories this Fertile, Minn., native has heard - and the important things he's learned - from the small town's aging population. There are humorous moments, as well as more poignant stories, in this entertaining book.
Bergeson, a frequent speaker on elder care topics, has written six books; available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Zandbroz Variety.