Author Spotlight: Author explores how natural places shape our lives

Water and What We Know
Water and What We Know
We are part of The Trust Project.

Karen Babine has lived all over the United States, and in her new book, she writes about how the different lands and various cultures shaped her life.

Babine's debut book of essays titled "Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of Northern Life" was released by the University of Minnesota Press on Sunday. She will read from her book at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Barnes & Noble at Apache Mall in Rochester.

Babine is an assistant professor of English at Concordia College in Moorhead. During her college years, she lived in several different climates, from the Red River Valley of Fargo-Moorhead to the plains of Lincoln, Neb., to the barren, relatively soil-free landscape of Spokane, Wash. Babine aims to explore the meaning of being in your place on a particular day.

"The book is about those places that mean something to us and play a role in our identity and how it shapes who we are," said Babine, who grew up in Nevis, Minn. "You live differently in a place that has lakes and trees than you would if you lived in the Red River Valley, which is flat and has soil made of clay."

Babine's love of nature and conservation came from her grandparents, Kermit and Phyllis Kleene, who she said instilled in her, through their actions, a love and respect of nature.


"Both of them had a conservation ethic, and for every tree that fell or had to be cut down, they planted another one," she said. "Grandpa was highly conscious of erosion. They were highly aware. They knew the land and the water and everything else had to work together. When things were out of balance, bad things happened. They were very conscious of their impact on the environment and they passed it on to us — the curiosity about the world and the way it worked."

After touring to promote "Water and What We Know," Babine will finish up her second book, which studies the Galway Region in Ireland.


If you go

What: Reading/Q&A with Karen Babine, author of "Water and the Way We Live."

When: 1 p.m., Saturday.

Where: Barnes and Noble, Apache Mall, Rochester.

Admission: free


Karen Babine

What to read next
Columnist Sandy Erdman says Old Glory has been an inspiration for years, and collectors often look for items with its patriotic feel.
Columnist Emily Carson says that July 4 that happened 246 years ago was a beginning, and we are still growing.
Columnist Leo Endel says you don't have to look far to find the Lord's admonition to be kind to one another.
Marcos Freitas Gudmundson’s style is all about honoring culture, confidence and comfort.