Luther College presents book, DVD signings during homecoming

The Luther College Book Shop will host book and DVD signing sessions Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5, as part of Luther's homecoming weekend of events. Luther alumna Callista Gingrich, class of 1988; Richard Simon Hanson, Luther professor emeritus of religion and class of 1953; Douglas Knick, Luther professor; Carson Ode, class of 1963; and Steven Nelson, on behalf of his late wife, class of 1970, will sign copies of their books and DVDs in Luther's Book Shop located in the Dahl Centennial Union on Luther's campus.

The events, open to the public with no charge for admission, start at 3:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, with Knick presenting his book, "The Kingdom of Collectible Treasures" and Hanson sharing his set of DVDs, "How the Bible Happened," which are recordings of a religious series of eight lectures he gave in 2006.

On Saturday at 11 a.m., Gingrich will present her newly released children's book, "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Following Gingrich, Carson Ode will share his books, "Spaces, Places and Faces" and "Celebrate IOWA" at 12:30 p.m. At 2:00 p.m., Steven Nelson will posthumously sign copies of his wife, Susan's, books.

Providing an insider look at the job of a pastor, Knick explores the joys, challenges and surprises of a newly ordained pastor struggling to remain faithful to God and to the people of his congregation. The unique and engaging format of the book invites the reader into a worship service that serves as the foundation for each story.

Knick has served as a parish pastor for 10 years and holds a master’s degree of Divinity and a doctoral degree in education. He currently works as an associate professor at Luther College and is the founder and director of Delta Institute, an organization that offers multiple equine therapy programs and specializes in working with youth. He resides in Gibbon, Minn.  

Hanson is a member of the Dead Sea Scrolls archaeology and translation team and currently works as professor emeritus of religion at Luther. He received his doctoral degree from Harvard University.

His DVDs offer a new and deeper understanding of the ancient texts of the Bible. Heard on the disks are back stories and personalities who shaped tribes and nations who contributed to these religious writings. Proceeds from the sale of Hanson's DVDs will support religious education programs in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Gingrich's book, "Yankee Doodle Dandy," educates and entertains as Ellis the Elephant experiences the American Revolution. With beautiful illustrations and charming rhymes, "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is a must read for young and old alike who want to know how America became a free and independent nation. She has also written two other children's books, "Sweet Land of Liberty" and "Land of the Pilgrim's Pride."

Aside from being an author, Gingrich and her husband produce historical and public policy documentaries. She is also the voice for several audio books, including, "A Nation Like No Other," "Valley Forge" and "To Save America." Her photography has been published in the New York Times and Washington Post. It has also been featured in a photographic book titled, "Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny."

Prior to leading Gingrich Productions, Gingrich served in the office of House Representative Steve Gunderson. She also served as the chief clerk of the House Committee on Agriculture in Washington, D.C. where she held hearings on a wide range of issues including conservation, forest management and nutrition.

Gingrich is currently the president of the Gingrich Foundation, a nonprofit corporation that established the Newt and Callista Gingrich Scholarship at Luther College. She graduated cum laude and earned a bachelor's degree in music from Luther. While at Luther, she was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and honored as a Regents Scholar. She currently resides in McLean, Va., with her husband Newt.

Carson Ode is the author of two Iowa-themed books. The most recent, titled "Celebrate IOWA," expands on the good life reported in his first book, "IOWA-Spaces, Places, Faces." Ode experienced as many Iowa festivals and events as he possibly could during 2010-11. The total came to 103, making him the most highly entertained guy in Iowa during that two-year period.

Ode currently lives south of Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife, Connie, and their five children. He has been employed as an advertiser for an art studio, a greeting card designer and a graphic designer with the Meredith Corporation. 

Wrapping up homecoming weekend is Steven Nelson who will sign copies of his wife, Susan's, books, "A Dead Woman's Mirror," "In Search of Emily" and "Zoo Girl." Both "Zoo Girl" and "A Dead Woman's Mirror" were finalists in the Midwest Book Awards with "Zoo Girl" receiving top honors at the 23rd annual Midwest Book Awards gala last May. The award was presented to RocketDog books, which Steven and his wife founded together. Nelson plans to publish three books his late wife authored prior to her death in 2011.

Book Shop signings