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Some visitors consider the Azores a warm Iceland, which is only partly true. But as I hiked a rocky beach path on Sao Miguel Island, I briefly thought I was back in that sub-Arctic country. All around me lay the kind of black and green landscape I had loved in Iceland: lunar fields of volcanic rock, covered in lichens. On one side, the azure Atlantic; on the other, a mossy cliff wall soared ...

"Girl Gone Missing" by Marcie R. Rendon; Cinco Puntos Press (224 pages, $15.95) ___ Renee Blackbear is a regular at the bars and pool halls that line the streets of Fargo-Moorhead as well as the farm towns along the Red River. She chain-smokes and downs beers while hustling pool and avoiding her unchallenging college classes at Moorhead State. For extra cash, she drives a beet truck late at ...

"Lost Without the River" by Barbara Hoffbeck Scoblic; She Writes Press (271 pages, $16.95) ___ I may never be able to sort out whether I enjoyed this memoir because I also grew up on a South Dakota dairy farm, or because author Barbara Hoffbeck Scoblic has captured something universal here. We'll go with the latter, because this is, in truth, a study of family ties and geographic ties that are ...

"Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose, and Pride," edited by Andrea Jenkins, John Medeiros and Lisa Marie Brimmer; Minnesota Historical Society Press (218 pages, $18.95) ___ For 26 years, the monthly Queer Voices reading series has given Minnesota's LGBTQIA+ writers a safe space to experiment. So it's appropriate that this collection from 44 of the series' writers, almost all of whom are as identified ...

"Pictures of Longing: Photography and the Norwegian-American Migration" by Sigrid Lien, translated by Barbara Sjoholm; University of Minnesota Press (304 pages, $29.95) ___ Descendants of Norwegian immigrants know of the albums stowed somewhere holding old family photos from those earliest days of settlement. The solemn and still faces reveal family resemblances. Their settings fill in a few ...

"The Farmer's Son: Calving Season on a Family Farm" by John Connell; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (241 pages, $25) ___ John Connell's memoir "The Farmer's Son" opens with Connell in a barn on the family farm in Ireland, both arms shoulder-deep inside of a cow. He's helped with births before, but this is the first time he's done it alone. "My father has been in charge of the calving for ...