Craig Nagel

 

For the past thirty years readers of the Lake Country Echo in north-central Minnesota have enjoyed the bi-weekly column by Craig Nagel called “The Cracker Barrel.”

His essays have been photocopied and sent to friends, cut out and taped to the wall or stuck on the refrigerator door, read aloud at various meetings, reprinted in area newsletters and, on occasion, praised or damned in letters to the editor.

INTRODUCING FRED’S WAY

Fred’s Way is a coming-of-age novel about a young man torn between going off to college to become an ordained Lutheran pastor or staying home in Chicago to marry his high school sweetheart. It resonates with the agony of someone trying desperately—and often comically—to find his role in a society that refuses to fit his innocent expectations.

The central character, Fred Hansen, is at root a mystic, alive to the wonder and glory of life. Like a latter-day Don Quixote, he’s never quite in synch with what others call reality…

Fred’s Way
by Craig Nagel

Musings

Night Thoughts

Night Thoughts

The other day a friend called to tell us of the death of a mutual acquaintance, and that night I had difficulty sleeping. Over the past year a number of close friends have passed away, and each time my mind rebels at accepting the fact of their disappearance. This...

A Pretty Good Life

A Pretty Good Life

At a recent family get-together, talk turned to memories of Dad. As usual, the memories proved refreshing, and made us measure our own lives against the long arc of his. Pops made it to the age of 91 and died in the spring of 2002. Had he lived until August of that...

Unbroken Circle

Unbroken Circle

For the past couple of months my wife and I were in Florida, soaking up sunshine and orange juice and good cheer. We walked a mile or two each day, swam around in the pool every afternoon, and worked at trying to learn the names of various trees and flowers and birds....

Craig’s Books

Your writing is marvelous

Looking Back - A 1950's Boyhood Cover"Your writing is marvelous, like chickadee song in a world full of osprey screeching."

Julie Guth

2019-05-24T12:14:47-06:00

Julie Guth

"Your writing is marvelous, like chickadee song in a world full of osprey screeching."

Will unlock many people’s memories and give much pleasure

"Your book will unlock many people's memories and give much pleasure. Thank you for sending it and providing many nostalgic hours in its company!"

Lydia Smith

2019-05-24T12:15:58-06:00

Lydia Smith

"Your book will unlock many people's memories and give much pleasure. Thank you for sending it and providing many nostalgic hours in its company!"

Thanks for A Place Called Home!

 

A Place Called Home Cover"Thanks for A Place Called Home! Your timing was perfect - just finished two great books about place and time Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams and Robert Treuer's Tree Farm when your delightful and insightful volume arrived - a perfect finale to a change of seasons trilogy."

Tom T.
Port Wing, WI

2014-01-07T22:05:15-06:00

Tom T.
Port Wing, WI

  "Thanks for A Place Called Home! Your timing was perfect - just finished two great books about place and time Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams and Robert Treuer's Tree Farm when your delightful and insightful volume arrived - a perfect finale to a change of seasons trilogy."

Your long-awaited book has arrived and what a joy it is!

 


A Sense of Wonder Cover"Your long-awaited book has arrived and what a joy it is! Each evening l read three or four chapters and then probably start again. Thank you so much for writing it and especially thank you for sending Al and me an autographed copy. I've ordered several more for family and friends."

Mary Agnes M. - Edina, MN

2014-01-07T22:08:51-06:00

Mary Agnes M. - Edina, MN

  "Your long-awaited book has arrived and what a joy it is! Each evening l read three or four chapters and then probably start again. Thank you so much for writing it and especially thank you for sending Al and me an autographed copy. I've ordered several more for family and friends."

Thank you!

 

A Sense of Wonder Cover"I began reading your book the day it arrived. Not only do I enjoy and appreciate your writing but I so admire your appreciation for nature and ability to truly see the tiniest essence of our world. One of my very favorite books of all time that had the same meaning for me was Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. There were times when her words would ground me, and now I have A Sense of Wonder. Thank you!"


 

Carrie H.
Bloomington, MN

2014-01-07T22:12:12-06:00

Carrie H.
Bloomington, MN

  "I began reading your book the day it arrived. Not only do I enjoy and appreciate your writing but I so admire your appreciation for nature and ability to truly see the tiniest essence of our world. One of my very favorite books of all time that had the same meaning for me was Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. There were times when her words would ground me, and now I have A Sense of Wonder. Thank you!"  

I found it to be a truly wonderful book

 

A Place Called Home Cover"I just finished reading A Place Called Home and wanted you to know that I found it to be a truly wonderful book. Never again will I take Mother Nature for granted, or worse, ignore it. Never again will I complain about Minnesota winters or sultry summers. When I take Riley (our dog) out for a walk, it will be a joy instead of a chore. Thank you for your book. Thank you for opening my old eyes."

Pat W. - Pequot Lakes, MN

2014-01-07T22:15:10-06:00

Pat W. - Pequot Lakes, MN

  "I just finished reading A Place Called Home and wanted you to know that I found it to be a truly wonderful book. Never again will I take Mother Nature for granted, or worse, ignore it. Never again will I complain about Minnesota winters or sultry summers. When I take Riley (our dog) out for a walk, it will be a joy instead of a chore. Thank you for your book. Thank you for opening my old eyes."

It is a wonderful book, and a treasure that I will keep

 


A Place Called Home Cover"Just a quick note to say 'hi' and to tell you how much I enjoyed your book. Once I started to read it, I couldn't put it down! There was something so peaceful and comforting that came over me as I read it, perhaps it stirs up my Midwestern roots! It is a wonderful book, and a treasure that I will keep."

Priscilla W.
Kalama, WA

2014-01-07T22:17:27-06:00

Priscilla W.
Kalama, WA

  "Just a quick note to say 'hi' and to tell you how much I enjoyed your book. Once I started to read it, I couldn't put it down! There was something so peaceful and comforting that came over me as I read it, perhaps it stirs up my Midwestern roots! It is a wonderful book, and a treasure that I will keep."

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your wonderful little book

 


A <div class='three_fourth et_column_last'>
					
				</div><div class='clear'></div>Place Called Home Cover"Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your wonderful little book. Your love of the land and family and mastery of the language come shining through delightfully. It's been said that when love and skill combine, expect a masterpiece. A Place Called Home comes pretty close."


 

Ralph W.
Beaver Dam, WI

2014-01-07T22:19:31-06:00

Ralph W.
Beaver Dam, WI

  "Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your wonderful little book. Your love of the land and family and mastery of the language come shining through delightfully. It's been said that when love and skill combine, expect a masterpiece. A Place Called Home comes pretty close."  

The essays are delightful and profound

 


A Place Called Home Cover"It was so kind of you to send us a copy of your book, A Place Called Home. We are both enjoying it immensely. Christopher reads me chapters while I cook. The essays are delightful and profound, an inspiration to me as I struggle with my own book project. Many thanks and best wishes."

Mandy B.
Kaslo, Bristish Columbia

2014-01-07T22:24:12-06:00

Mandy B.
Kaslo, Bristish Columbia

  "It was so kind of you to send us a copy of your book, A Place Called Home. We are both enjoying it immensely. Christopher reads me chapters while I cook. The essays are delightful and profound, an inspiration to me as I struggle with my own book project. Many thanks and best wishes."

Thank you for reminding me of the simple joys

 


A Place Called Home Cover“This past weekend I partook in a piece of the journey of your life by reading A Place Called Home. Thank you for reminding me of the simple joys. I was particularly excited when I read the chapter “The Humility Bead.” I have made it a point to pick up bits and pieces of obscure knowledge about the Native Americans of our region, and along the way I learned this tradition. I wish I could have showed you the humility bead in the beadwork of my wedding dress. It was put there deliberately as a way of saying Kurt is marrying me for who I am, in all my glories, and all my imperfections.”

Stephanie W.
Milwaukee, WI

2018-11-26T19:13:21-06:00

Stephanie W.
Milwaukee, WI

  “This past weekend I partook in a piece of the journey of your life by reading A Place Called Home. Thank you for reminding me of the simple joys. I was particularly excited when I read the chapter “The Humility Bead.” I have made it a point to pick up bits and pieces of obscure knowledge about the Native Americans of our region, and along the way I learned this tradition. I wish I could have showed you the humility bead in the beadwork of my wedding dress. It was put there deliberately as a way of saying Kurt is marrying me for who I am, in all my glories, and all my imperfections.”

Enjoyable

Fred's Way CoverI had fun reading "Fred's Way", I wish there were some way to end the book less abruptly, maybe there's a sequel to follow ?

Rice County Refugee

via Amazon

5.0
2018-11-26T20:10:08-06:00
Rice County Refugee

via Amazon

I had fun reading "Fred's Way", I wish there were some way to end the book less abruptly, maybe there's a sequel to follow ?

That is learning how to be you own person — a good person — and how to relate to the people …

 

Fred's Way CoverNagel has a firm grip on living a naive life in the early 60’s, while taking the world he has been given by his parents and church, and finding that he doesn’t exactly accept everything he has been taught to believe. And so he begins the journey of a lifetime — one that is endlessly challenging. That is learning how to be your own person — a good person — and how to relate to the people around you. His writing seemed to me fairly simple and elementary at first and it grows in complexity and sophistication along with Fred’s growing persona. That is a very neat trick. Nagel’s descriptions of his characters are sometimes laugh out loud funny and at other times silky smooth and knowing.

I’m of an age to feel deeply the authenticity with which Nagel explores Fred’s world and I recommend it — it is just a good story, but if you lived in that era, it can be truly powerful to find yourself back in it.

John Hess

via Amazon

5.0
2018-11-26T20:11:39-06:00
John Hess

via Amazon

  Nagel has a firm grip on living a naive life in the early 60’s, while taking the world he has been given by his parents and church, and finding that he doesn’t exactly accept everything he has been taught to believe. And so he begins the journey of a lifetime — one that is endlessly challenging. That is learning how to be your own person — a good person — and how to relate to the people around you. His writing seemed to me fairly simple and elementary at first and it grows in complexity and sophistication along with Fred’s growing persona. That is a very neat trick. Nagel’s descriptions of his characters are sometimes laugh out loud funny and at other times silky smooth and knowing. I’m of an age to feel deeply the authenticity with which Nagel explores Fred’s world and I recommend it — it is just a good story, but if you lived in that era, it can be truly powerful to find yourself back in it.

Fred’s Way is a kind of Odyssey

 

Fred's Way CoverFred’s Way is a kind of Odyssey. But unlike Odysseus whose goal was always the same Fred spends the whole story stepping goal to goal like pilgrim crossing a river on stones. As far as my decades have revealed, life is like this. It’s not what you thought it might be. But life itself... living is good. Finding that out is enough for anyone. Nagel helps us see the simple truth and makes us laugh out loud in the process. No book can hope for more than this.

Nancy S. Ball

via Amazon

5.0
2018-11-26T20:13:32-06:00
Nancy S. Ball

via Amazon

  Fred’s Way is a kind of Odyssey. But unlike Odysseus whose goal was always the same Fred spends the whole story stepping goal to goal like pilgrim crossing a river on stones. As far as my decades have revealed, life is like this. It’s not what you thought it might be. But life itself... living is good. Finding that out is enough for anyone. Nagel helps us see the simple truth and makes us laugh out loud in the process. No book can hope for more than this.

Lovely book

 

A Place Called Home CoverIf you want to get a good feel for life in the north woods, this is the book for you. Craig's insights and descriptions of everyday , year round, life in the woods is spot on. I read it next to my fireplace, in Ohio, this winter and it certainly made me homesick for the lakes, woods and loons (flying and footed) of northern Minnesota!

Laurie

via Amazon

5.0
2018-11-26T20:43:51-06:00
Laurie

via Amazon

  If you want to get a good feel for life in the north woods, this is the book for you. Craig's insights and descriptions of everyday , year round, life in the woods is spot on. I read it next to my fireplace, in Ohio, this winter and it certainly made me homesick for the lakes, woods and loons (flying and footed) of northern Minnesota!

A beautiful book

 

A Place Called Home CoverCraig Nagel is an essayist in the tradition of some great naturalist writers: Sigurd Olson, Aldo Leopold, Terry Tempest Williams. His essays span a life--"a life of quiet joy", as he puts it--and in exploring themes of family, work, and the magic of the Minnesota woods, he illuminates the lessons that can be learned by really seeing the world around you. Visual, affirming, and funny, hopeful and grateful even in the face of great tragedy, Nagel tells tales of his "ordinary life", and in the process knits this world together with his words. Anyone who finds peace, beauty, and the sacred in nature will find a kindred spirit in Craig Nagel, and a satisfying read in A Place Called Home.

Jenny Robertson

via Amazon

5.0
2018-11-26T20:45:35-06:00
Jenny Robertson

via Amazon

  Craig Nagel is an essayist in the tradition of some great naturalist writers: Sigurd Olson, Aldo Leopold, Terry Tempest Williams. His essays span a life--"a life of quiet joy", as he puts it--and in exploring themes of family, work, and the magic of the Minnesota woods, he illuminates the lessons that can be learned by really seeing the world around you. Visual, affirming, and funny, hopeful and grateful even in the face of great tragedy, Nagel tells tales of his "ordinary life", and in the process knits this world together with his words. Anyone who finds peace, beauty, and the sacred in nature will find a kindred spirit in Craig Nagel, and a satisfying read in A Place Called Home.

Enlightenment

 

A Place Called Home CoverThere are few books that, even as you read, you know you will reread again and again. This is one of them! I'm still experiencing the afterglow. Some stories brought back memories while others made me smile, some vividly painted places I have never seen, and fulfilled dreams I had yet to have. When you have finished reading the book from cover to cover, you will be amazed by the enlightenment you feel, and appreciate this author for his talent and gift of insight with you. This book is a keeper. You will want to buy more than one copy to share this down-to-earth magical experience with your family and friends!

Sharon Doering - Sarasota, Florida
via Amazon

5.0
2018-11-26T20:47:07-06:00

Sharon Doering - Sarasota, Florida
via Amazon

  There are few books that, even as you read, you know you will reread again and again. This is one of them! I'm still experiencing the afterglow. Some stories brought back memories while others made me smile, some vividly painted places I have never seen, and fulfilled dreams I had yet to have. When you have finished reading the book from cover to cover, you will be amazed by the enlightenment you feel, and appreciate this author for his talent and gift of insight with you. This book is a keeper. You will want to buy more than one copy to share this down-to-earth magical experience with your family and friends!

Minnesota bliss

 

A Sense of Wonder CoverI lived in Craig's neck of the woods for 20 years. It's very comforting to read his stories about northern MN country life. His musings about the North woods and lakes and the adventures and discoveries to be found there, are wonderful. His love of life, and nature, nurture my currently "citified" spirit. They are a gift, even if they make me homesick. Keep shoveling, planting, hiking, enjoying and WRITING Craig!

Laurie

via Amazon

5.0
2018-11-26T20:49:37-06:00
Laurie

via Amazon

  I lived in Craig's neck of the woods for 20 years. It's very comforting to read his stories about northern MN country life. His musings about the North woods and lakes and the adventures and discoveries to be found there, are wonderful. His love of life, and nature, nurture my currently "citified" spirit. They are a gift, even if they make me homesick. Keep shoveling, planting, hiking, enjoying and WRITING Craig!

And contemplation of love and loss

 

A Sense of Wonder CoverCraig Nagel has selected a most pleasurable collection of his columns depicting the natural pleasures of life in rural Minnesota, of days gone by and wonders of the seasons, and contemplation of love and loss. I especially enjoyed his explorations of the connectedness and inter-dependencies of life with fellow humans and other critters. "A Sense of Wonder" is an apt name for this fine group of essays.

Bill Friesema

via Amazon

5.0
2018-11-26T20:52:21-06:00
Bill Friesema

via Amazon

  Craig Nagel has selected a most pleasurable collection of his columns depicting the natural pleasures of life in rural Minnesota, of days gone by and wonders of the seasons, and contemplation of love and loss. I especially enjoyed his explorations of the connectedness and inter-dependencies of life with fellow humans and other critters. "A Sense of Wonder" is an apt name for this fine group of essays.

Superb and heart warming!

 

A Sense of Wonder CoverThis was a wonderful book! I always read before going to sleep, and this was the perfect book. Loved all the short stories about wildlife, nature, and memories... This is a great read if you want to relax and laugh here and there-a great feel good book! Craig Nagel has a great sense of humor, I loved all of his stories. This is my second order for a friend. I would definitely read another book from this author.

Diane F.

via Amazon

5.0
2018-11-26T20:53:41-06:00
Diane F.

via Amazon

  This was a wonderful book! I always read before going to sleep, and this was the perfect book. Loved all the short stories about wildlife, nature, and memories... This is a great read if you want to relax and laugh here and there-a great feel good book! Craig Nagel has a great sense of humor, I loved all of his stories. This is my second order for a friend. I would definitely read another book from this author.

Loved It

Looking Back - A 1950's Boyhood Cover"Just finished reading 'Looking Back' and just loved it!"

Renate Wirth

2019-05-24T12:11:55-06:00

Renate Wirth

"Just finished reading 'Looking Back' and just loved it!"

‘Looking Back’ was a great read

Looking Back - A 1950's Boyhood Cover"Finished the book yesterday. 'Looking Back' was a great read. Your chapter on your trip to the World Series in Brooklyn was awesome."

Steve Block

2019-05-24T12:13:55-06:00

Steve Block

"Finished the book yesterday. 'Looking Back' was a great read. Your chapter on your trip to the World Series in Brooklyn was awesome."
5
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