Midwestern Strange

B.J. Hollars, Kaite Stover
2020 Summer Reading: Live the Fantastic
Thursday, June 18, 2020
6:30 pm

The West Coast celebrates Bigfoot and the East Coast has Champy, the purported lake monster claimed by both New York and Vermont. But Wisconsin English professor and author B.J. Hollars is here to tell you: The oft-overlooked Midwest is just as murky and mysterious as the next place.

He joins the Library’s Kaite Stover in a discussion of his book Midwestern Strange: Hunting Monsters, Martians and the Weird in Flyover Country, exploring the oddities and locally treasured myths of middle America – tales of monsters and events and encounters “that are improvable either as events or illusions.” They range from the spike-shelled, dining-table-sized snapping turtle that gave rise to an annual Turtle Days celebration in Churubusco, Indiana, to UFOs and the plumber who swears he was treated to a plate of extraterrestrial-made pancakes in Wisconsin.

As National Public Radio put it, the book is “both a quirky primer on some of the Midwest's most bizarre stories and a fresh perspective on small-town culture.”

Hollars is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and columnist for the Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley newspaper, the Leader-Telegram. His writing has won the Truman Capote Prize for Literary Nonfiction, among other awards. Stover is the Library’s director of readers’ services.

The presentation is part of the Library’s 2020 Summer Reading Program, Live the Fantastic, highlighting and celebrating the power of storytelling and running through July 31. Watch the conversation live online at YouTube.com/kclibrary.