Big picture books are the kind of thing an old English-literature major is sheepish about buying; thank goodness people give them for Christmas. Any books of historic photographs, especially on Minnesota, will do: Minnesota barns, schoolhouses, stately homes, radio towers, women's basketball teams, aerial views of farms, Civil War pictures, lesbian lumberjacks in the north woods, centennial histories of small towns so long as there is a big picture on each page and not too much text. I bought one, American Writers at Home, with beautiful photographs of Ralph Waldo Emerson's house, William Faulkner's, Robert Frost's, Mark Twain's, Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West, Fla., Herman Melville's little house in the Berkshires. I haven't been able to finish Moby Dick yet, but I've seen the desk he wrote it on and the room he and Mrs. Melville slept in.
Keillor's next book is Liberty: A Lake Wobegon Novel, out in September
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