Rochester author is 2014 citywide read authorPublished 4:45pm Saturday, January 11, 2014
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.
“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.
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