"The idea is that the city that opens the same book closes it in greater harmony" Mary McGrory
In an effort to create a shared experience of reading among a wide spectrum of people, we have developed ONE BOOK, ONE NORTH DAKOTA. We will host one author a month online to read from his or her book then take questions and comments from attendees. Although the unprecedented COVID-19 restrictions have required us to currently only offer this program online, we will continue it online even after restrictions are lifted in order to reach as many North Dakotans as possible.
For our Humanities ND members and new friends alike, here is everything you need to know to be part of ONE BOOK, ONE NORTH DAKOTA:
Access to the program is free.
Each book discussion is meant for us to gather, have fun, and learn.
We will offer a variety of genres and are always open to suggestions. Complete this quick survey to share your ideas.
The best way to stay informed about what books are coming up, sign up here to receive information about upcoming events.
You may share the Eventbrite event, but please do not share the Zoom link after it is emailed to you 24 hours prior to the event. We need each attendee to register by name, address, and email.
LEIF ENGER was raised in Osakis, Minnesota, and worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio before writing his bestselling debut novel Peace Like a River, which won the Independent Publisher Book Award and was one of Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine’s Best Books of the Year. His second novel, So Brave, Young, and Handsome, was also a national bestseller, No. 8 on Amazon's Top 100 Editors' Picks and a Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award Honor Book for Fiction. He and his wife Robin live in Minnesota. Now in paperback, VIRGIL WANDER follows the inhabitants of a Midwestern town in their quest to revive its flagging heart. Movie house owner Virgil Wander is “cruising along at medium altitude” when his car flies off the road into icy Lake Superior. Virgil survives but his language and memory are altered and he emerges into a world no longer familiar to him. Awakening in this new life, Virgil begins to piece together his personal history and the lore of his broken town, with the help of a cast of affable and curious locals—from Rune, a twinkling, pipe-smoking, kite-flying stranger investigating the mystery of his disappeared son; to Nadine, the reserved, enchanting wife of the vanished man, to Tom, a journalist and Virgil’s oldest friend; and various members of the Pea family who must confront tragedies of their own. Into this community returns a shimmering prodigal son who may hold the key to reviving their town.
With intelligent humor and captivating whimsy, Leif Enger conjures a remarkable portrait of a region and its residents, who, for reasons of choice or circumstance, never made it out of their defunct industrial district. Carried aloft by quotidian pleasures including movies, fishing, necking in parked cars, playing baseball and falling in love, VIRGIL WANDER is a swift, full journey into the heart and heartache of an often overlooked American Upper Midwest by a “formidably gifted” (Chicago Tribune) master storyteller.
July 26, 2020
Raised in Captivity by Chuck Klosterman
CHUCK KLOSTERMAN is the best-selling author of eight nonfiction books, two novels, and a collection of short stories. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, GQ, Esquire, SPIN, The Believer, ESPN, and The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He was a founding member of Grantland with Bill Simmons and served as The Ethicist for the New York Times Magazine from 2012 to 2015. Originally from Wyndmere, ND, he graduated from UND in 1994 and currently lives in Portland, OR. RAISED IN CAPTIVITY, released in 2019, is a collection of 36 short stories spanning the spectrum of terrestrial science fiction, alternative reality, absurdist humor, and cultural criticism. It is Klosterman's 11th book.
August 30, 2020
Where Am I Giving? by Kelsey Timmerman
Kelsey Timmerman is the New York Times Bestselling author of WHERE AM I WEARING? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes and WHERE AM I EATING? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy. His writing has appeared in places such as the Christian Science Monitor and has aired on NPR. Kelsey is also the cofounder of the Facing Project, which seeks to connect people through stories to strengthen community. He has spent the night in Castle Dracula in Romania, played PlayStation in Kosovo, farmed on four continents, taught an island village to play baseball in Honduras, and in another life, worked as a SCUBA instructor in Key West, Florida. Whether in print or in person he seeks to connect people around the world.
InWhere Am I Giving?, the New York Times bestselling author, embarks on an adventure that challenges himself and readers to move beyond awareness to action and to take advantage of the opportunities each of us have to make a difference. Kelsey travels to Myanmar, Kenya, India, Nepal, Zambia, and beyond to explore different ways of giving—as a worker, consumer, volunteer, philanthropist, local and global citizen—and also the benefits and effectiveness of these methods. He learns from folks such as Tibetan monks, Gandhi’s great grandson, a refugee, gang members turned peace activists, and a former Hollywood executive. Kelsey discovers how they give, and meets the people on the receiving end of their giving. Giving isn’t just about writing a check—it’s about the way you travel, what you consume, how you spend your free time, and how you live. Featuring highlighted Giving Rules throughout the book along with Kelsey’s attempt at formulating a Good Person Equation, Where Am I Giving? will help you:
Understand the sociology, philosophy, anthropology, and neuroscience of giving
Examine types of giving, including microlending, volunteering, donating, ethical consumption, mission trips, voluntourism, child sponsorship
Dive into a nuanced view of the effectiveness of international aid and its intersection with development, politics, and culture
Identify ways you can do the most good you can with the talents, time, and resources you have
Giving isn’t about the least we can do, but about the most we can give to others with the gifts we have.
September 27, 2020
The Lives of Edie Pritchard by Larry Watson
Larry Watson grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota. He holds BA and MA degrees from the University of North Dakota and a PhD from the University of Utah. Watson is the author of eleven novels, among them Montana 1948, Let Him Go, and, most recently, The Lives of Edie Pritchard. Late Assignments, his collection of poems, was published in 2019. He taught in colleges and universities for over 40 years before retiring from Marquette University.
The Lives of Edie Pritchard From acclaimed novelist Larry Watson, a multigenerational story of the West told through the history of one woman trying to navigate life on her own terms. Edie—smart, self‑assured, beautiful—always worked hard. She worked as a teller at a bank, she worked to save her first marriage, and later, she worked to raise her daughter even as her second marriage came apart. Really, Edie just wanted a good life, but everywhere she turned, her looks defined her. Two brothers fought over her. Her second husband became unreasonably possessive and jealous. Her daughter resented her. And now, as a grandmother, Edie finds herself harassed by a younger man. It’s been a lifetime of proving that she is allowed to exist in her own sphere. The Lives of Edie Pritchard tells the story of one woman just trying to be herself, even as multiple men attempt to categorize and own her.
Triumphant, engaging, and perceptive, Watson’s novel examines a woman both aware of her physical power and constrained by it, and how perceptions of someone in a small town can shape her life through the decades.
October 25, 2020
Becoming Ginger Rogers by Patrice Tanaka
Patrice Tanaka is a best-selling author, public speaker on business and life purpose, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of three award-winning, PR & Marketing agencies and the consultancy, Joyful Planet, focused on helping individuals and organizations discover and actively live their purpose to unleash greater success, fulfillment and joy in their personal lives, workplaces and communities. She is the co-author of Beat the Curve and Performance360, where she writes about life and organizational purpose. Patrice is also the author of Becoming Ginger Rogers…How Ballroom Dancing Made Me a Happier Woman, Better Partner and Smarter CEO, a book about her late-life passion for ballroom dancing and the lessons she learned.
Becoming Ginger Rogers is the story of one woman’s inspiring and uplifting journey to reclaim her life during the dispiriting days of New York City in the aftermath of 9/11, the unraveling of a successful business she co-founded with a dozen colleagues, and the death of her beloved husband after a long illness. Patrice Tanaka shares her very personal story of how at age 50 she took up ballroom dance lessons to satisfy a lifelong dream of dancing like Ginger Rogers and, in so doing, found her way to unimaginable joy.
This book is, in part, a memoir of a young Japanese-American girl born and raised in Hawaii who fulfilled her childhood dream of living in the Big Apple; a voyeuristic glimpse into the world of competitive ballroom dancing; and a business book about the lessons learned from ballroom, including how to close partner with others to co-found two, successively larger companies.
November 29, 2020
Little Big Bully by Heid E. Erdrich
Heid E. Erdrich is the author of seven collections of poetry. Her writing has won fellowships and awards from the National Poetry Series, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Bush Foundation, Loft Literary Center, First People’s Fund, and other honors. She has twice won a Minnesota Book Award for poetry. Heid edited the 2018 anthology New Poets of Native Nations from Graywolf Press. Her new poetry collection is Little Big Bully, published by Penguin. Heid grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain. She lives in Minnesota, but calls North Dakota home.
Little Big Bully begins with a question asked of a collective and troubled we - how did we come to this? In answer, this book offers personal myth, American and Native American contexts, and allegories driven by women's resistance to narcissists, stalkers, and harassers. These poems are immediate, personal, political, cultural, even futuristic object lessons. What is truth now? Who are we now? How do we find answers through the smoke of human destructiveness? The past for Indigenous people, ecosystem collapse from near-extinction of bison, and the present epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women underlie these poems. Here, survivors shout back at useless cautionary tales with their own courage and visions of future worlds made well.
December 13, 2020
Sons of the Wild Jackass by Terry Shoptaugh
Terry Shoptaugh is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He has written and published six books on the history of Minnesota and North Dakota, including You Have Been Kind Enough to Assist Me; They Were Ready: The 164th Infantry in the Pacific War; and Red River Floods. His newest book, Sons of the Wild Jackass, relates the rise and decline of the Nonpartisan League in North Dakota.
Sons of the Wild Jackass: The Nonpartisan League in North Dakota Terry Shoptaugh discusses how the Nonpartisan League (NPL) came into existence, became a force in politics and government on the Great Plains, and influenced the nation’s agricultural policies throughout the 20th century. The role of leadership in the League, a major part of the organization’s success -- and its subsequent decline – is a major part of the story.
January 31, 2021
The Grass Dancer by Mona Susan Power
Mona Susan Power is a Standing Rock Sioux author from Chicago. She earned her bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a JD from Harvard Law School. After a short career in law, she decided to become a writer, starting her career by earning an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fellowships include an Iowa Arts Fellowship, James Michener Fellowship, Radcliffe Bunting Institute Fellowship, Princeton Hodder Fellowship, and USA Artists Fellowship. She lives and teaches in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Inspired by the lore of her Native American heritage, this critically-acclaimed novel from Susan Power—an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe—weaves the stories of the old and the young, of broken families, romantic rivals, men and women in love and at war... Set on a North Dakota reservation, The Grass Dancer reveals the harsh price of unfulfilled longings and the healing power of mystery and hope. Rich with drama and infused with the magic of the everyday, it takes readers on a journey through both past and present—in a tale as resonant and haunting as an ancestor's memory, and as promising as a child's dream. WINNER OF THE ERNEST HEMINGWAY FOUNDATION AWARD FOR FIRST FICTION
February 28, 2021
The Horizontal Wold: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere by Debra Marquart
Debra Marquart is the author of six books including The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere and a collection of poems, Small Buried Things: Poems. Marquart’s short story collection, The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories drew on her experiences as a former road musician. Marquart’s work has been featured on NPR and the BBC and has received over 50 grants and awards including an NEA Fellowship, a PEN USA Award, a New York Times Editors’ Choice commendation, and Elle Magazine’s Elle Lettres Award. The Senior Editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, Marquart teaches in ISU’s interdisciplinary MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment and in the Stonecoast Low-Residency MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine.
The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere is a wry memoir about a family farm, a father, and a daughter, and why it's so hard to go home again. Debra Marquart grew up on a family farm in rural North Dakota--on land her family had worked for generations. From the earliest age she knew she wanted out; surely life had more to offer than this unyielding daily grind, she thought. But she was never able to abandon it completely. In this distinctive memoir, she chronicles this process of flight and return--not only from and to a particular landscape, but to respect and admiration for her father. Poet Marquart offers a deeply intelligent rumination on the meaning of native ground, on freedom and security, and on the forging of identity.
March 28, 2021
Dakota, Or What's a Heaven For by Brenda K. Marshall
Brenda K. Marshall received her undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University and her Ph.D. from The University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of Mavis (a novel, 1996) and Teaching the Postmodern (scholarship, 1992). For more information about Brenda and Dakota, Or What’s a Heaven For, please visit www.brendamarshallauthor.com.
Dakota, Or What’s a Heaven For A brave and moving epic set in late-nineteenth-century Dakota Territory, the lives and schemes of frontier politicians, Northern Pacific Railroad executives, bonanza farmers and homesteaders converge in the story of Frances Houghton Bingham. Emotionally complex, willful and resourceful, Frances is seduced by the myths of opportunity driving the settlement of Dakota Territory and dares to dream of a new world in which to realize her unconventional desires. Providing a counterpoint to the dramatic risks taken by Frances is the generous voice of Kirsten Knudson, the daughter of Norwegian homesteaders. As Kirsten grows from a voluble girl to a formidable woman, her observations (equal parts absurdity and insight) reveal the heart of the novel.
April 25, 2021
Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch
Sierra Crane Murdoch is a journalist whose work concerns communities in the American West. She has contributed to This American Life, Harper's, The New Yorker online, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Atlantic, Orion, and High Country News, where she was a staff writer and contributing editor. Her first book, Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country, was published by Random House in 2020. She is a MacDowell Fellow. Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country The true story of a murder on an Indian reservation, and the unforgettable Arikara woman who becomes obsessed with solving it—an urgent, gripping work of literary journalism.
When Lissa Yellow Bird was released from prison in 2009, she found her home, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, transformed by the Bakken oil boom. In her absence, the landscape had been altered beyond recognition, her tribal government swayed by corporate interests, and her community burdened by a surge in violence and addiction. Three years later, when Lissa learned that a young white oil worker, Kristopher “KC” Clarke, had disappeared from his reservation worksite, she became particularly concerned. No one knew where Clarke had gone, and few people were actively looking for him. Yellow Bird traces Lissa’s steps as she obsessively hunts for clues to Clarke’s disappearance. She navigates two worlds—that of her own tribe, changed by its newfound wealth, and that of the non-Native oilmen, down on their luck, who have come to find work on the heels of the economic recession. Her pursuit of Clarke is also a pursuit of redemption, as Lissa atones for her own crimes and reckons with generations of trauma. Yellow Bird is an exquisitely written, masterfully reported story about a search for justice and a remarkable portrait of a complex woman who is smart, funny, eloquent, compassionate, and often vexingly shrewd. Drawing on eight years of immersive investigation, Sierra Crane Murdoch has produced a profound examination of the legacy of systematic violence inflicted on a tribal nation and a tale of extraordinary healing.
May 30, 2021
Pacing Dakota by Thomas D. Isern
Thomas D. (Tom) Isern is Professor of History & University Distinguished Professor, North Dakota State University. His academic specialty is the history and folklore of the Great Plains of North America, his research and teaching comprising both the American plains and the Canadian prairies. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including Dakota Circle: Excursions on the True Plains, published by the Institute for Regional Studies (forerunner of North Dakota State University Press), and Pacing Dakota, Published by NDSU Press. Isern is best known across the northern plains as the author of Plains Folk, the radio feature he reads weekly to a statewide audience on Prairie Public. A native of western Kansas, he holds a BA degree from Bethany College as well as MA and PhD degrees from Oklahoma State University. Prior to coming to NDSU in 1992, he served eleven years on the faculty of Emporia State University, Kansas. Isern is married to historian and editor in chief Suzzanne Kelley. They happily boast of four adult children and eight grandchildren and shamelessly dote upon a beagle and a Labrador retriever. Together, too, they share offshore research interests in New Zealand and Australia.
It might have been called My Life on the Plains, but that title was taken. Pacing Dakotacame together as a collection of sketches, drawing on radio scripts written and read weekly on statewide public radio (Prairie Public) under the title, Plains Folk. Somewhere in the process, as the author graduated from writing transitions to adding reflections, looking back on forty years as a working historian and regional author, the work crossed the line into the domain of memoir. The narrative transitions from the close confines of historical archives into the prairie landscapes of the northern plains. It speaks with the mingled voices of scholarly historian, outdoor sportsman, culinary enthusiast, lifelong Lutheran, and prairie farmboy. The author prowls prairie churches, finds forgotten artifacts, and gathers cherished stories from Williston to Wahpeton and points beyond. He situates his encounters along the way into the canon of literary and historical writing on the prairies. In the end, he speaks for a generation born and raised on the Great Plains of North America and committed to making a good life in this place.
Follow Us on Social Media
Get the latest updates on what we're doing around the state!