Verso: July 2017

Kristi Hanson - Saturday, July 15, 2017
Verso: July 2017

You may not recognize the name Michael Bond, but nearly everyone knows Paddington Bear. Michael Bond (January 13, 1926-June 27, 2017) was the creator of the Paddington Bear series of children’s books. Bond was from London, where he imagined a stuffed bear that was inspired by child refugees traveling through Reading Station from London. He remembered that the children he saw carried all of their possessions in little suitcases or packages and wore labels around their necks which gave their names and addresses. Bond stated that he’d never seen a sadder sight.

There are more than 20 Paddington books, which have sold over 35 million copies and been translated into at least 40 languages. Paddington Bear is recognized by his blue duffle coat, floppy felt hat and red Wellington boots. Paddington is known for his love of marmalade sandwiches, for being unfailingly polite and for always trying to do the right thing.

The first book in the series, A Bear Called Paddington, is where Mr. and Mrs. Brown find Paddington at the railway station. He is wearing a tag around his neck that reads “Please look after this bear”. Paddington goes home with the Browns to 32 Windsor Garden and becomes part of the family along with the children, Judy and Jonathan and the housekeeper, Mrs. Bird. A Bear Called Paddington was published in Britain in 1958.

"Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore's longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since. In the days it takes the authorities to make an identification, the residents rekindle stories, rumors, and recollections both painful and poignant as they revisit Jess's troubled history."

tsundoku (v.) A Japanese word that has no direct synonym in English. It means, ‘the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.’ This may be similar to being buried under a pile of unread books, which is every book lover’s reality.

Ten Questions for…

Roger Tunberg, age 88

Q. Where were you born?
A. Clearbrook, Minnesota. We moved to Thief River Falls when I was a year old.

Q. Do you have a favorite author?
A. No. I don’t think I was much of a reader when I was young.

Q. Do you prefer e-books or physical books?
A. Neither. I like the audio books, where they read the story to me. I don’t see as well as I used to, so I go to the library and I ask the librarians to choose something that sounds interesting.

Q. What are you reading right now?
A. I just finished a John Grisham book, and I am trying to read Eight Miles Without A Pothole, by Jim Klobuchar. I read this book using my magnifier. I have an autographed copy.

Q. Have you traveled to any other countries?
A. Yes, I was in Japan from 1951-1954, right after the war.

Q. Did you ever play a sport?
A. Yes, I played basketball and football. In 1946, I was the co-captain of the football team. We were only scored on one time that whole season, by Bemidji. It was on a blocked punt.

Q. What is the best thing about getting older?
A. Well, you have more time. You have to use your time wisely, though. I think I am just as busy now as I was when I worked.

Q. What kind of work did you do?
A. I had the Ford dealership here in town.

Q. Is that a fun job?
A. Yes, it is! Everyone is happy when they get a new car. Even if it’s a used car, it’s still new to them. Sometimes I would see people that I had sold a car to many years before, and I could still recall the model and even the color of the car.

Q. Do you have any advice for kids?
A. Well, I never did go to college, and I always regretted that. I think I was easily influenced when I was young. Now, I’m working on a scholarship fund for non-traditional students who didn’t get to go to college when they were younger. I think college is really important.