For twenty-five years readers of the Lake Country Echo in north-central Minnesota have enjoyed the biweekly column by Craig Nagel called “The Cracker Barrel.” His essays have been photocopied and sent to friends, cut out and taped to the wall, read aloud at group meetings, reprinted in area newsletters and, on occasion, praised or damned in letters to the editor. Nagel’s observations of the world around him-sometimes witty, sometimes philosophical, always fresh and unique-have earned him a loyal following. Now, from the hundreds of essays that have appeared through those years in the Echo, he’s chosen the best and put them in book form.
Join him as he contemplates the mystery of the night sky on a midnight walk at 30 below zero, stares eyeball to eyeball in the chicken coop with an intruding Great Horned Owl, paddles his way through an autumn marsh as he and his wife harvest wild rice, and reflects upon the mystical resurrection of early-spring frogs, who days before were entombed in frozen mud.
A beautiful book
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.
Thank you for reminding me of the simple joys
“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.”
Thanks for A Place Called Home!
"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."
Port Wing, WI
The essays are delightful and profound
"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."
Kaslo, Bristish Columbia
I found it to be a truly wonderful book
"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
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your wonderful little book
"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."
Beaver Dam, WI
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!
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!
Sharon Doering - Sarasota, Florida
It is a wonderful book, and a treasure that I will keep
"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."