Rochester author is 2014 citywide read author

Published 4:45pm Saturday, January 11, 2014
Bonnie Rietz, center, along with Courtney Wyant, from left, Sue Grove, Peggy Benzkofer and Jeannie Kearney reveal Rochester author P.S. Duffy as this year’s Page Turner’s city-wide read author Friday at the Austin Public Library. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
Bonnie Rietz, center, along with Courtney Wyant, from left, Sue Grove, Peggy Benzkofer and Jeannie Kearney reveal Rochester author P.S. Duffy as this year’s Page Turner’s city-wide read author Friday at the Austin Public Library. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Ready, set, read.

The Austin Page Turners Committee selected “The Cartographer of No Man’s Land” by Rochester author P.S. Duffy as the book for the 13th annual citywide reading event.

“It’s a page turner,” Page Turners Planning Committee co-chairwoman Bonnie Rietz said of the book — no pun intended.

The citywide read will again cap off with Duffy coming to Austin April 3 to speak with Austin High School Students in the morning before speaking and holding a book-signing at the Austin Public Library at 7 p.m.

Rochester author P.S. Duffy. Photo by Karl Beighley
Rochester author P.S. Duffy. Photo by Karl Beighley

“The event is promising to be a very good event,” Riverland Community College librarian Jeannie Kearney said.

The Page Turners are excited to continue the tradition.

“There’s something very exciting about reading a book and being able to ask the author questions,” Rietz said.

“The Cartographer of No Man’s Land” tells the story of Angus, a cartographer from Nova Scotia who goes to Europe searching for his brother-in-law during World War I. Instead of getting a job as a cartographer, he finds himself on the front lines of the war. Peggy Benzkofer said the book also touches on the relationships between father and son, and husband and wife.

“It’s really, really well written,” Rietz said.

The Page Turners will hold events leading up to April 3. A few groups will meet at Austin coffee shops to discuss the book and the 100th anniversary of World War I. For the second year in a row, area book clubs will again meet for an in-depth discussion of the book.

Book clubs have been heavily involved in the process, as most read the annual Page Turners book in March.

“We really get great support from the book groups in the community and other communities,” Rietz said, noting they contacted about 30 book clubs last year.

Duffy lives in Rochester and works at the Mayo Clinic as science writer in the neural engineering lab.

She grew up in Baltimore and spent several summers in Nova Scotia, where part of the book takes place. She studied at Concordia University in Montreal, and then earned her doctorate at the University of Minnesota.

Adult services librarian Courtney Wyant set up a display at the Austin Public Library, where 31 copies of Duffy’s books are available.

“They tend to fly off the shelves pretty fast,” she said.

If all copies are checked out, librarians at the information desk will be able to order a copy from another library or put people on a reserve list.

Copies of P.S. Duffy's debut novel, "The Cartographer of No Man's Land" are lined and ready for check-out at the Austin Public Library. Duffy is this year's pick for the City-wide Read by the Austin PageTurners. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
Copies of P.S. Duffy’s debut novel, “The Cartographer of No Man’s Land” are lined and ready for check-out at the Austin Public Library. Duffy is this year’s pick for the City-wide Read by the Austin PageTurners. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Four copies are available at Riverland Community College, and copies will soon be for sale at Philomathian Religious Books, as well as through online sources.

The Page Turners started in 2002 by reading Sandra Benitez’s “A Place Where the Sea Remembers.”

That first year, the Page Turners met at a local church, but Rietz admitted there weren’t many people at the initial event.

“It’s really grown, as many things do, from the first year,” Rietz said.

Kearney said adding events, like the book club meetings, has helped reach more readers.

The Page Turners start seeking books over the summer before meeting in September. This year, the choice was difficult, as several good books were considered, according to Sue Grove.

The Page Turners almost always select a Minnesota author.

 Past Page Turners’ reads

2002: “A Place Where the Sea Remembers” by Sandra Benítez

2003: “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien

2004: “Haunted Ground” by Erin Hart

2005: “The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald” edited by Patricia Hampl

2006: “Daughter of China” by Larry Engelmann and Meihong Xu

2007: “The novels of Lorna Landvik”

2008: “Sweet Land: New and Selected Stories” by Will Weaver

2009: “The novels of Leif Enger”

2010: “Thunder Bay” by William Kent Krueger

2011: “The Latehomecomer: a Hmong Family Memoir” by Kao Kalia Yang

2012: “Deadly Reunion” by Ron Handberg

2013: “Safe From the Sea” by Peter Geye


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