Book notes // This Is Not Florida

Veteran journalist Jay Weiner is out with a new book, “This Is Not Florida,” that dives deeply into the seemingly never-ending saga of the historic Franken-Coleman Senate Recount.

The recount was the longest and most expensive in the country’s history. Sen. Al Franken was sworn in as the state’s junior senator eight months after Election Day in November 2008. Initially, Franken trailed Norm Coleman by 215 votes — a margin that triggered a recount of nearly 3 million ballots.

Weiner covered the recount for and earned the state’s coveted Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism award for his efforts. The book tracks the story from Election Night 2008, through the State Canvassing Board and eight-week trial, appeal to the state’s Supreme Court and Al Franken’s swearing in.

The book focuses on many 
of the key players in the 
political drama.

When asked what politicians and political operatives can take away from the book in promotional materials, Weiner said: “If you’re ahead, don’t assume you will stay ahead. Vote counts change. If you are behind, look under rock, read every legal loophole, chase after every rejected ballot. Victory could be at hand.”

Ultimately, Franken’s team made sure no votes were “left on the table,” he said. They learned from the Florida recount and made sure the same thing didn’t happen in Minnesota.

For more information about the book, visit or You can follow Weiner on Twitter @ThisIsNotFla.


‘Wishing for a 
Snow Day’

The Minnesota Historical Society has released a new book by local history writer Peg Meier reflecting on childhood in Minnesota called “Wishing for a Snow Day.”

Meier, a retired Star Tribune reporter who lives in Southwest, got the idea for her new book on the urging of a friend at the Minnesota Historical Society who suggested she explore the society’s collections on children.

“I think kids are a kick,” Meier said during a recent interview.

She spent a couple of years digging around at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, county historical societies and private collections around the state to gather information about what life has been like for children in the state over the years. The book includes lots of diary entries and adorable photos of children — some dating back to the early 1900s.

“It has been so interesting to see what is the same in childhood today and what is so different,” she said.

As for similarities between Minnesota children who grew up in the early 20th century compared to today, many common themes emerged while Meier did her research. Teenage angst about romance has always been a big deal for Minnesota youth, as has frustrations with parents and siblings and love of family pets.

As for differences, more children kept diaries and wrote letters years ago. Meier was struck by the high quality of writing and sense of humor of the children.

For more information about “Wishing for a Snow Day,” visit



Local chef Stewart Woodman has tips on preparing fabulous meals for the family in his new book “Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home.”

After his celebrated restaurant Heidi’s went up in flames earlier this year at 50th & Bryant, Woodman focused his energies on cooking at home for his friends and family. Soon, Heidi’s will reopen in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood.

The book features 150 recipes for ambitious home chefs. Highlights include dishes like Roasted Beet Salad with Soy Sauce and Napa Cabbage, Wild Rice and Cremini Hot Dish and Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream.


‘Friendship: The Art 
of the Practice’

Laurie Ellis-Young will lead a mini-workshop on partner yoga at Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., on Oct. 24 at 4 p.m.

Ellis-Young has collaborated with Nancy Chakrin on a new book, “Friendship: The Art of the Practice.”  It features photographs of women of all ages practicing yoga in stunning settings around the globe. The photos are paired with inspirational quotes about the meaning of friendship.

The two become friends in Guatemala in 2008. Ellis-Young has been teaching yoga and breath work for more than three decades and Chakrin is a photographer, artist and breast cancer survivor.