Al Pappas Jr., Armand Peterson

It's been a long while since Minnesota football fans have had any compelling reason to be proud of the Vikings or the Gophers. The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl and haven't gotten out of the NFC championship game in nine years. Meanwhile, the Gophers are probably best known for their great success around the time of World War I, and haven't been Big Ten champs since 1967. So what's a fan to do? Get nostalgic with a pair of new books celebrating the Vikings and Gophers football teams of yore. Artist Al Papas Jr. will present his book Gophers Illustrated (University of Minnesota Press), a collection of drawings and tales from the golden years. For Gopher fans with children, it's a must have if only to prove to them that there was indeed a time when the U's football program wasn't a complete disappointment. Purple fans will want to get their hands on Armand Peterson's Vikings Reader (University of Minnesota Press), which acknowledges the heartbreaking rollercoaster ride that is Vikings fandom, while it also recognizes the Vikes' brighter moments, like the Purple People Eaters' 1970s defense. Peterson breaks down the Vikings' history year-by-year through his own thoughts, stories from the writers who covered the team, and articles from time. With the Vikings generating some pretty serious buzz going into the current season, now is the perfect time for a refresher course on the team. (pictured: Armand Peterson)
Wed., Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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