Bookstore / Roundup

Amy Thielen’s Book Bundle

Amy Thielen — 10/09/2018

Welcome to our Book Bundle series! Authors we love choose three of their favorite titles, we bundle them up nicely, your to-be-read pile flourishes. This week’s recommended reading comes from Minnesotan extraordinaire Amy Thielen, author of memoir Give a Girl a Knife and James Beard Award-winning cookbook The New Midwestern Table. See what Amy has to say about these three books she loves!

Amy Thielen’s Recommended Reading

Stray City
by Chelsey Johnson

Custom House | March 2018 | $25.99

Full disclosure, Chelsey and I grew up in the same town in northern MN and have been best buds since kindergarten. That has no bearing on the fact that she’s written an explosively good book. (If you need a second on this, see her New York Times review.) I’ve read this book three times, in various states of doneness, so I have some thoughts. 1. The dialogue is so vivid and perfectly-crafted you’ll want the audiobook too. 2. When was the last time you entered a world in which gay was the norm—when heteronormative was hetero-abnormative? That is the subtle power of this story. 3. On a sentence level, for sheer joy of words strung together, this book tops my 2018 reading list. 4. If you are from Park Rapids and are reading this, I want to tell you, the mother in the book is not the author’s mother. Buy now»​

The Boys of My Youth
by Jo Ann Beard

Back Bay Books | January 1999 | $15.00

This book is a cult classic. The voice is so internal—a taproot straight down into the body; the writing is so good you’ll want to keep a #2 pencil bit in your mouth. The breakout hit story here is “The Fourth State of Matter,” a burning essay that demolishes the line between fiction and non-fiction with a grace that makes you wonder why such arbitrary borders were ever drawn. She’s not prolific—this is the first of her two books, so far anyway—but she’s such a tremendous writer and storyteller that I grant her that. Every time I read this book I find a new passage to adore and circle and love to a worn state. Buy now»​

Up Up, Down Down
by Cheston Knapp

Scribner | February 2018 | $25.00

This is a volcano of a book: deep, hot, emotional, and slow-burning. My current reading list is stocked with female authors because I feel the need in this crazy cultural moment to keep their voices in my head, but this book by Cheston Knapp is a necessary companion. These essays about growing up in the south, in a masculinity-testing frat house, in a Southern Christian church are thought-provoking, vulnerable, woke, and incredibly rich. The writing here is a marvel. It’s rare to find the essay that turns so effortlessly from story into thought-piece, but these do, one after another. Buy now»​

Take Amy’s advice on what to read next and ★ ORDER ONLINE ★ to get these three books shipped directly to you! You’ll receive these three books and a card with Amy’s comments on each title, and even save money on the list price. Makes a great gift!


Amy Thielen

Amy Thielen

AMY THIELEN is the author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook The New Midwestern Table and the host of Heartland Table on Food Network. A former New York City line cook, she now speaks and writes about home cooking for radio, television, and magazines, including Saveur, where she’s a contributing editor. She lives with her husband, visual artist Aaron Spangler, their son, his dog, and a bunch of chickens, in rural Park Rapids, Minnesota.