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A deer hunter in northwestern Minnesota shot what turned out to be an axis deer Sunday. An exotic species, axis deer are native to India. Stuart Bensen, conservation officer for the Department of Natural Resources in Erskine said he received a call Sunday afternoon from a hunter who'd shot the deer. The animal was a spike buck, Bensen said, and was about 60 percent white with areas of brown down the middle and spots along its sides. "The buck had 6- to 7-inch spikes but they didn't go straight up," Bensen said. "They kind of went out at a 40-degree angle.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - Minnesota is smack dab in the middle of the 2009 deer hunting season. For many hunters, that means perching precariously on a small, cold seat high in the trees waiting for a big buck to stroll by. But that won't be Dave Boman of Twin Valley this year: He will be deer hunting, but he won't be cold. More than likely, he'll sit on a couch or La-Z-Boy while drinking a cup of coffee on his deer stand. Boman, a welder and farmer by trade, built the ultimate deer stand this summer near Flom, Minn.
One of the most touching films I've seen in years is "Remains of the Day," a story set against the backdrop of pre-World War II, which tells of the unrequited love of the housekeeper (Emma Thompson) of a baronial manor and the butler (Anthony Hopkins). The movie drips with Britishness, manor houses, Rolls-Royce, Nazi sympathizers. The novel is based on was written by Japanese-English author Kazuo Ishiguro and won the Booker Prize.
School days are upon us and what better way to welcome in the first semester than to read "That Old Cape Magic," by Richard Russo (Knopf, $25.95)? Russo's new novel is about three generations of a family intersecting at a wedding in old Cape Cod. Now Cape Cod is not my favorite place. After spending a week there a few years back and putting up with the endless traffic and the crowded streets, I vowed never to go there again. So why Russo's book? Because this is a book not about Cape Cod but about the family, three of them academics.
Two novels merit your attention for your trip Up North, when rain is pounding down on the tin roof of your cottage and the fish haven't been biting for days. "Cutting for Stone," by Abraham Verghese (Knopf, $26.95). Recognize the author? He wrote a fine non-fiction book years ago that described his experiences as a medical doctor in Tennessee. "My Own Country" was nominated by the National Book Critics Circle for best non-fiction of 1994. Now the M.D. who teaches in the med school at Stanford, has made the difficult transition from non-fiction to fiction.
Sports, restaurants and graphic novels make a variety of good reads. Baseball is getting underway, so for a behind-the-scenes look could I suggest "Under the March Sun: The Story of Spring Training," by Charles Fountain (Oxford University Press, $24.95)? Northeastern University journalism professor Fountain has finally told us the story of how spring training got started about 100 years ago. It was definitely a shoestring operation, designed to work the winter fat off overindulgent Sultans of Swat from both leagues.
Merry Christmas! James Merrill (1926-95) grew up in the lap of luxury, the son of Charles Merrill, the founder of Merrill, Lynch. He went to all the right schools and taught at others, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison. And he grew to become one of the most respected poets of the last half of the 20th century, complex, sometimes formalist, sometimes not, a seer and a realist. He died of AIDS in 1995 and now Knopf is out with a hefty and handsome paperback edition of his greatest work. "James Merrill: Selected Poems," edited by J.D.
Every once in awhile, you read a book that makes you hopping mad. When I was in college, my grandfather gave me an old book by Upton Sinclair, entitled "The Jungle." "The Jungle" was a diatribe on the evils of capitalism set in the packing houses of Chicago, circa 1900. It told the story of a Lithuanian immigrant, Jurgis Rudkin, who worked at a packing plant that seemed very much like Armour.'' Jurgis has all kinds of adventures. His colleagues fall into meat grinders and come out as breakfast sausages, employers cheat him out of his salary, saloons take what's left.
On a recent trip to Great Britain my wife and I were pointedly reminded that the United States is running out of independent bookstores. Everywhere we went on that tight little island, we found charming little bookstores. Our first stop was a small village in the Cotswalds, called Stowe-on-Wold. Sure enough, two independent bookstores. On a trip to the West Country, we stopped for lunch at Jamaica Inn, which takes its name from Daphne DuMaurier's famous novel which was also made into a movie.
After making international news with its book "The Artist's Brush," Mid-List Press, the not-for-profit publisher in Minneapolis, is out with a new book, the winner of its annual First Series Award for Poetry. The poet is Norman Minnick, coordinator of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series at Butler University in Indianapolis. "To Taste the Water" ($13) is a well-crafted book that, among other things, explores the relationship of the poet to the people and places around him. Most impressive to me was his touching relationship with his little daughter.