Fraser out with new edition of ‘She’s No Lady’

Arvonne Fraser, a pioneer in the international women’s rights movement, is out with a new special 90th birthday edition of her book, “She’s No Lady: Politics, Family, and International Feminism.”  

In a forward to the book, Garrison Keillor reflects on his first encounter with Arvonne while volunteering for her husband Don Fraser’s campaign for Congress.

“Arvonne was an original then and now,” he wrote. “She was warm-hearted, enjoyed company, could be wickedly funny, had a big laugh, was gracious about Please and Thank you and Excuse me, but she was clearly in charge and always looking around and nothing, absolutely nothing, escaped her eye.”

Fraser lives with her husband of 65 years in a condo in the Nicollet Island-East Bank neighborhood. Don Fraser served in the Minnesota Legislature, went onto represent the state’s Fifth District in Congress for several years and then was mayor of Minneapolis from 1980 to 1993.

Arvonne Fraser, meanwhile, has focused on women’s rights throughout her life. She was the national president of the Women’s Equity Action League from 1972–1974, a senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs for more than a decade and named the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women from 1993-1994.

In her memoir, she marvels about her journey from a farm girl in southwestern Minnesota to a leader on women’s rights who has traveled all over the world.

“Defying expectations, taking risks, and seeing what I could do beyond near horizons became my sport,” she wrote. “… This is my story. I wrote it to encourage other women to live fully and write theirs.”

In a recent interview, Fraser said that while the women’s movement has made enormous progress in her lifetime, there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure that women have economic security at all stages of life and are respected by employers when they become parents.

She said women need to be assertive about sharing their challenges and advocating for their rights.

“It’s ordinary women that make change — just women talking to each other, complaining and suggesting solutions,” she said.


‘Portage’ shares insights from the canoeing life 

Minnesota author Sue Leaf has written a new book, “Portage: A Family, a Canoe, and the Search for the Good Life,” reflecting on 35 years of paddling adventures with her family.

She’s paddled waterways with her husband and children all over the country and Canada.

One chapter recounts a trip paddling the Minnehaha Creek from Edina to Minneapolis. “Minnehaha Creek is astonishingly verdant for so urban an existence,” she wrote. “Overhanging trees create a leafy passage with every shade of green in a shifting collage of sunlight and shade. The water is surprisingly clear.”

She writes about the wildlife and plants along the waterways and also dives into life’s big questions.

Tin Whiskers Brewing Co. in St. Paul is hosting a book launch event for Leaf’s book on Thursday, Oct. 8, 7–9 p.m.


Millett releases ‘Minnesota Modern’ 

Architectural historian Larry Millett takes stock of the state’s many midcentury modern buildings in his new book, “Minnesota Modern.”

The style dominated architecture and design from 1945 to the mid-1960s.

The book showcases a range of homes and buildings — from Christ Church Lutheran in South Minneapolis to Porky’s Drive-in in St. Paul.

The style has been experiencing a renewed interest.

“Distance lends enchantment,” Millett said. “The period is becoming more interesting to people right now. Certainly midcentury houses are quite hot right now.”

The style allowed for buildings and homes to be built quickly and inexpensively. It came as the suburbs were experiencing rapid growth.

“After World War II, people wanted to get away from the old fashioned way of doing things,” he said.

Christ Church Lutheran, 3244 34th Ave. S., will be hosting a book launch event on Nov. 22 at 3 p.m. Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Ave., will also be hosting an event with Millett on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.