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Reading between the lines at UMBA

Sarah T. Williams,
Star Tribune,
Oct. 19, 2003
Entertainment - Page 15F

Seen and heard at the 23rd annual Upper Midwest Booksellers Association Trade Show last weekend at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown St. Paul:

- Pardon his hubris, but Brett Waldman, formerly of the folded Bookmen Inc. and now publisher of Tristan Publishing Inc. in Golden Valley, says he thinks he has ``the next `Jonathan Livingston Seagull.' '' Richard Bach's allegorical tale of a gull who goes his own way, which has sold millions of copies, exhorts readers to reach for a higher purpose in life. ``The Station,'' by Robert Hastings with copper-on-vellum illustrations by Marilyn Brown, uses a train as its metaphor, coaching readers to quit worrying about the destination and savor the journey. Like its purported predecessor, this is not for Alfred North Whitehead readers. ``It's simple, it's pure, and it touches anyone who reads it,'' said Waldman, who appears to have taken his own inspiration from JLS. ``Last year, I was here with one book, and now I'm here with 20,'' he said.

- Allan Kornblum, publisher for 20 years at Coffee House Press in Minneapolis, will impart his know-how to graduate students this winter at Hamline University in St. Paul in a course on Ethics, Conflicts, Censorship, and other Pressures on Publishers. Among the provocative topics on the table: Should you be able to sue the publisher of a travel book if you take its advice and then have a terrible vacation? What if someone dies? Should a publisher drop ``Little Black Sambo'' from the backlist in the interest of eliminating racism? Should American Internet booksellers sell copies of ``Mein Kampf'' in Germany, if Germany is trying to eliminate all vestiges of its Nazi past? What role has publishing played in killing languages, including Latin? ``I've always been fascinated by all of the complex issues around publishing,'' Kornblum said. ``If in fact the book is the foundation of our civilization, it's certainly a worthwhile endeavor to find out how that foundation got put together.''

- Terry Gydesen, photojournalist and author of the just published ``Twelve Years and Thirteen Days: Remembering Paul and Sheila Wellstone'' (University of Minnesota Press), has received a $25,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation, and plans to ``document people who are carrying on the Wellstone legacy.'' On her list of photographic subjects so far are DFL state Sens. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis and Mee Moua of St. Paul.

Sarah T. Williams is at swilliams@startribune.com.


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