Marc de Celle says the Fargo-Moorhead area is “A different planet from the one I grew up on.” Close Encounters is the follow-up to How Fargo of You, de Celle’s light-hearted memoir about his family’s first five years in North Dakota, which quickly became the best-selling non-fiction book about North Dakota of the 21st century after its publication three years ago. De Celle will do his first public reading from Close Encounters of the Fargo Kind at 6:30 on Wednesday, December 10, in the theater of the Hjemkomst Center of the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County in Moorhead. The event is free to the public.
In his new book, de Celle has collected over eighty stories from our region, most of them told in first person by local people, illustrating many of the same themes from How Fargo of You. Once again, he centers on the kindness of people in the Northern Prairie, calling our region an “opposite world” from Arizona and California, where the author spent his first fifty years before moving to the Fargo area with his family in 2005.
Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker is a fan. “All these stories from all these people add a lot of credibility to what Marc said about our region in his first book,” Walaker said at the book’s official release event on November 23 in Fargo, adding, “I really enjoyed it. It’s another great book that helps us really appreciate what we tend to take for granted around here.”
“After ‘How Fargo of You’ came out,” de Celle says, “people started telling and sending me their ‘Fargo stories.’ At the same time, people were always asking me when my next book would be out. I finally decided to turn some of the great stories I’d collected into this new book.”
How Fargo of You, which was published in November of 2010, was de Celle’s first book. It has since had six printings, and there are now 22,000 copies in print, more than 18,000 of which were sold in the Fargo-Moorhead area. The last non-fiction book about North Dakota to sell more copies was , the 1997 book published by the Grand Forks Herald about the great flood and fire of that year, which publisher Mike Jacobs says has sold more than 50,000 copies in the sixteen years since its release.
How Fargo of You is currently only available as an ebook from independent booksellers through Amazon who charge as much as $100 for a new copy. When asked why he let his first book go out of print, de Celle says, “I wanted to put everything into printing as many copies of ‘Close Encounters of the Fargo Kind’ as I could, so maybe it won’t sell out before Christmas! That’s what ‘How Fargo of You’ did the first two years it was out.”