Bite-sized memories and adventures written on a weekly basis come together in “Meander North,” a blog-memoir by Minnesota author Marie Zhuikov. Collected over nine years on Zhuikov’s “Marie’s Meanderings” blog, the 51 quirky essays are arranged by season, and cover a wide range of outdoorsy and community-based reflections: from an insider’s view of Duluth’s Christmas City of the North Parade, to a spring cleaning trip to the local dump, and a description of a lawn-mower race. One piece depicts a gleeful summer morning paddleboard on a quiet lake. Another takes readers on a meditative fall walk on a woodland trail. The book finishes with specific topics including, “Brushes with Fame,” where Zhuikov describes close calls and meetings with famous (and not so famous) people, and “Bookish Adventures,” which detail her literary leanings and incidents that have added spice to book signings for her previous works.
The book also contains new material that began as blog posts but then morphed into writing contest submissions or magazine articles. Although the topics are diverse, all display Zhuikov’s love for her home state.
“Meander North” is a celebration of Minnesota, its seasons and traditions.
“Meander North” is published by Nodin Press. It is available for $19.95 through Itasca Books.
Naturalist Marie Zhuikov’s sense of home bubbles up at the confluence of absurdity, loss, and transcendent beauty. Drawn from the annals of her long-standing blog “Marie’s Meanderings,” the short essays in “Meander North” shimmer like the northern lights in their illumination of the joy, folly, and hard-earned grit one develops living at the crossroads of Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s north shores. From encounters with boat-towing loons to organizing a sea-lamprey tasting event, the stories within the collection are sometimes zany and always delightful, revealing a Midwestern outdoorswoman’s celebration of family, community, and the mysterious forces of the natural world.
– Meg Muthupandiyan, author of “Forty Days in the Wilderness Wandering”
A walk with Marie through the seasons and terrains of her northland writer’s life, this interweaving of environmental science with a reverent appreciation for the Earth and its inhabitants is lovely and moving. In essays that evoke the fragility and toughness of this northern world of icy lake waters and rocky shores, rugged pines and graceful birches, this collection is timeless, a treasure to be read and reread.
– Linda LeGarde Grover, author of “Gichigami Hearts”
With wit, reverence and unabashed honesty, Zhuikov offers us delightful insight into what it means to live with purpose in the North.
– Sam Cook, “Duluth News Tribune” outdoors writer