After 11 years—arguably as North Dakota’s most widely read columnist—Tony Bender has finally done it. The Ashley newspaperman compiled the ‘Best of Bender’ into one book, Loons in the Kitchen. Subtitled Humorous and Poignant Short Stories from the Dakotas, Bender’s work between 1990-2000 ranges widely in emotion from serious and thoughtful to buoyant and witty. From Lives Collide, the beautifully haunting story of a plane crash in Prairie City, SD, to the dignified anguish of Dreams For Sale, the tale of a North Dakota farm auction, Tony Bender rivets the reader to the page with masterful story-telling. His classic essays about family will tug heartstrings. And in raucous pieces like The Redhead’s Tractor and Jukebox Blues, Bender proves he is a first-rate humorist. Loons in the Kitchen is great entertainment.