I recently visited Fargo, North Dakota. Really. A traveling companion picked up this t-shirt in a downtown art gallery, of all places:

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With a metro area some 200,000 strong, Fargo is home to a state university, quite a lot of railroad tracks, a surprisingly bumpin’ downtown area, and three library locations. For some perspective, the Fargo Radisson is the tallest building in town at 18 stories (and no, there’s no observation deck. The top floor is leased to a law firm and they’re very uptight about hotel guests exploring their floor – can’t imagine why). If you haven’t been lucky enough to visit this glamorous locale, check out these library materials for a peek into the sophisticated, swanky, utterly glam Fargo lifestyle.

  • Fargo: this famed “murder-comedy” follows Frances McDormand as a policewoman uncovering the truth behind a string of interconnected murders. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, whose unique style gives this movie an unforgettable tone.
  • Trains roll through Fargo at terrifying speeds. Honestly – they move about twice as fast through downtown Fargo as they do through downtown Davenport. The corresponding noise and whooshing wind is rather alarming, especially if you’re on foot waiting for it to pass. Strangers on a Train (the Hitchcock classic about a murder pact gone awry) and Murder on the Orient Express (the unforgettable Agatha Christie mystery) also involve trains, and plenty of murder – a distinctly Fargo-esque combination, based on my extremely limited and highly biased research.
  • Louise Erdrich was prominently featured both at the Fargo Public Library and at the hip downtown Fargo bookstore. Her stories about Native Americans past and present are rich with descriptions of the Great Plains and its people; Love Medicine, her first novel, is set in North Dakota and is excellent. Ditto her second novel, The Beet Queen. (side note: I also highly recommend The Painted Drum, although it really has nothing to do with Fargo and probably deserves its own post).

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