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This month's Midwest Connection Picks



bookSouth Pole Station
Ashley Shelby

Do you have digestion problems due to stress? Do you have problems with authority? How many alcoholic drinks do you consume a week? Would you rather be a florist or a truck driver? 

These are the questions that decide who has what it takes to live at South Pole Station, a place with an average temperature of -54°F and no sunlight for six months a year. Cooper Gosling has just answered five hundred questions and her results indicate she is strange enough for Polar life. Cooper’s not sure if this is an achievement, but she knows she has nothing to lose. Unmoored by a recent family tragedy, she’s adrift at thirty and—despite her early promise as a painter—on the verge of sinking her career. So she accepts her place in the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Program and flees to Antarctica—where she encounters a group of misfits motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own.

A winning comedy of errors set in the world’s harshest place, South Pole Station is a wry and witty debut novel about the courage it takes to come together, even as everything around you falls apart.

​For readers of dysfunctional family dramas such as Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest (but in Antarctica, with beards)


book Tough Luck
Todd Boss

Todd Boss came to Sister Wolf Books a number of years ago with his first book of poetry, Yellowrocket, and wowed us. We’re expecting the same excitement around his latest book, Tough Luck. At the center of the book is a poem about the ill-fated I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis and its disastrous collapse, which killed 13 people and injured 145. The freighted, swiftly moving poems in Tough Luck crisscross the chasm between peril and safety as if between opposing riverbanks, revealing a frequently heart-stopping view of the muscled waters below. Marriage, family, home—all come crashing down, but Todd Boss rebuilds with his trademark musicality and “a reverent gusto for representing the tactile aspects of human life.”

Boss is also the founding artistic director of Motionpoems, a film company in Minneapolis. Visit motionpoems.org
to experience this unique combination of poetry and video.


book Dear Cyborgs
Eugene Lim

In a small Midwestern town, two Asian American boys bond over their outcast status and a mutual love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternative or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes ponders modern society during their time off. Between black-ops missions and rescuing hostages, they swap stories of artistic malaise and muse on the seemingly inescapable grip of market economics. Playfully blending comic-book villains with cultural critiques, Dear Cyborgs is a fleet-footed literary exploration of power, friendship, and creativity. Ambitious and knowing, it braids together hard-boiled detective pulps, subversive philosophy, and Hollywood chase scenes.


bookThe Marsh King’s Daughter
Karen Dionne

Helena has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. No electricity, no heat, no running water, not a single human beyond the three of them. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature—fishing, tracking, hunting. And despite her father’s odd temperament and sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too…until she learned precisely how savage he could be.

More than twenty years later, Helena has buried her past so completely that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marshland he knows better than anyone else. The police begin a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls The Marsh King—because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.




Some favorite past Midwest Picks



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