Ruminator Finds added to Sources

August 9th, 2009

Ruminator Finds (originally known as Hungry Mind Finds), which was part of the catalog of Ruminator Books (originally known as Hungry Mind Books), the publishing arm of Ruminator Books, a legendary St. Paul, Minnesota bookstore (originally known as Hungry Mind Books), which also published the literary quarterly The Ruminator Review (originally known as–you got it–The Hungry Mind Review), has been added as a new Source (see under “Sources” to the left) with a list of the dozen or so titles issued during the first five years of Ruminator Books.

The Ruminator Books storeThe story of Hungry Mind/Ruminator Books is a parable of how far a passion for books can take you … until simple economics kick in. David Unowsky, who founded his independent bookstore, Hungry Mind Books, near the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1970, and it acquired a reputation as one of a handful of truly great American bookstores. In the mid-1990s, he and his wife, Pearl Kilbride, along with other partners, started up an independent press, also known as Hungry Minds Books. Over the course of its nearly ten years’ existence, the press published 50 titles, with an emphasis on literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry, including a series of reissues of quality non-fiction under the rubrics of Hungry Mind Finds and Ruminator Finds.

In early 2000, they changed the company’s name to Ruminator Books after selling the name to Hungry Minds, publisher of the hugely successful [Fill in the Blank] For Dummies® series. Hungry Minds was later acquired by the technical publishing giant Wiley.

Unfortunately, that move was motivated mainly as an attempt to inject a positive cash flow into what was already a failing business. By mid-2004, the bookstore was forced to close its doors. The press was abandoned as an unsupportable venture, and the literary magazine Unowsky and Kilbride had also established became the last casualty in late 2005.

The Ruminator Finds list is an eclectic sample of some of the best non-fiction writing of the late 20th century and includes such well-recognized classics as Pat Jordan’s baseball memoir, A False Spring, and Bill Barich’s Laughing in the Hills, as well as a few fine but lesser-known works like Carl Raswan’s 1934 memoir, Black Tents of Arabia (My Life Among the Bedouins).

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