Thursday, October 23, 2014

GARRISON KEILLOR: A READER’S HOME COMPANION



Prolific, poetic and slyly silly, humorist Garrison Keillor is best known for his radio show The Prairie Home Companion. Telling tales of farmers, Midwest winters and off kilter families, the Minnesota native punctuates his shows with musical interludes and sound-effects. Keillor’s career extends beyond the airwaves and includes articles for the New Yorker and National Geographic, as well as many books that can be found on the shelves of the Monrovia Public Library.

Inspired by the hometown Keillor created for Prairie Home Companion is a series of books including Lake Wobegon Days, Wobegon Boy and Lake Wobegon Summer 1956. All of them are nostalgic and gentle stories that recall a quaint small community where everyone knows everyone and eccentricity is accepted. The humor is both dry and laugh-out-loud funny and Keillor is an absolute champ at making readers care about and be charmed by mundane moments. 



Two brothers in 1920’s Minneapolis open a radio station in WLT: A Radio Romance. They are not looking for stardom, but to finance their failing sandwich business. To their surprise the station becomes successful and their quirky cast of on-air performers and behind-the-scenes staff provide endless opportunities for readers to guffaw. Keillor further shows his storytelling skills in Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny, a satire of classic detective yarns, but this time with extra hilarity.

Keillor’s mellifluous voice can also be heard narrating Ken Burns’ documentary Civil War, found on the DVD shelves.

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