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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477599983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477599983
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,450,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mimi Johnson grew up on an Iowa farm and in the nearby town of Essex. She is a former columnist for the Journal Herald in Shawnee, Kan., and the Minot (N.D.) Daily News. Her freelance writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Omaha World-Herald and other newspapers. She was an English major at Creighton University, where she won the Creative Writing Award in 1996. This is her first novel.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 39 customer reviews
This is a book with memorable characters and an engaging story, timely and well told.
Francis Materi
She writes characters that you feel like you know, and puts them in a story that will keep you turning pages until you reach the end.
Christopher Hubbs
Anyone with an interest in the journalism industry will enjoy Johnson's commentary on the state of the industry today.
stacey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Donald K. Fry on March 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Gathering String, by Mimi Johnson.
This debut novel comes at a time of great stress for journalists looking for new ways to perform old roles. All the old rules and many of the traditional techniques and assumptions are in flux, and much may be lost, and soon. Mimi Johnson's novel introduces us to Sam Waterman, a swashbuckling reporter familiar from TV depictions of the press; actually, most newsrooms have at least one. Sam works for a website, Politifix, but still resists changes to his profession as he hunts for another killer story. Jack Westphal, athlete turned editor of a small-town paper, embraces the future as the killer story develops in his own backyard, involving Swede Erickson, the governor of Iowa. Tess Benedict, Waterman's former love and Westphal's new one, complicates all the relationships. This is the kind of novel I love to read, the kind that engrosses you in the action while making you want to yell at the characters.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Hubbs on May 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Now this is a great yarn. Gathering String follows the intertwined lives of three journalists and an ambitious politician on a stage that grows from small town to national. Johnson has an ear for dialogue and an eye for authentic detail. She writes characters that you feel like you know, and puts them in a story that will keep you turning pages until you reach the end. I only wish it would've lasted longer. A great read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By meg4cy on April 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gathering String weaves an intriguing story that takes readers on a ride through the changing relationship between politics and journalism and the flawed but determined individuals in the middle. Spanning from the vulgar and charged newsrooms of DC to the sleepy small-town Iowa communities, Johnson crafts an intricate and fascinating tale - revealing details of the story layer by layer. While the characters are far from perfect, each has enough charm and appeal to keep you rooting for them while trying to determine your allegiance to "Team Jack" or "Team Sam." Gathering String was an easy read that will have you trying to piece together the puzzle and thinking of the characters long after you finish.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lex Alexander on April 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I spent 25 years in newsrooms and was involved enough in some of the technological and cultural changes Mimi Johnson describes to have appeared in textbooks about them, so believe me when I tell you that she gets that part painfully, exactly right.

But beyond that, this is a high-stakes political thriller with a love triangle among the three heroes, and it was the perfect read to start my grad-school semester break: plot, characterization and dialogue realistic enough to draw you in and keep you there without going down any thematic or plot rabbit holes. It ain't literary fiction, but that's OK: It's still the first book I stayed up past 2:30 a.m. to finish in a long, long time.

Brava, Mimi Johnson. (Full disclosure: Her husband, Steve Buttry, and I corresponded electronically from time to time during and shortly after my time in newspapers, which ended in early 2009. We've never met in IRL.)

(A technical note: This is the first novel I've read start to finish on the Kindle app for Android. I found quite a few typos, misplaced words and other things that adept copy editing should have caught. Also, a lot of paragraphs started without indentations. The publisher and/or Amazon should pay closer heed to this stuff.)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lee Fleming on May 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked this book. Most of it, anyway. Pretty good character development, and I liked the key characters (and disliked the bad guys). Figured out a lot of it, but the author never really answered a couple of questions that were brought up in the course of the story. Like, "Where was Carl?" and "Who is Swede's fixer?"

This book went into copious back-story detail -- read at times like a Harlequin Romance. Page after page after page of history. Entire articles reprinted. Minute detail about the house and fooling around. A road trip by a speed demon that lasted page after page ... all the details of the investigations and the machinations to get the story out. Definitely needs some trimming with a heavier hand.

Then, finally, the climax. And it just ends. Did Mimi get bored with her story? I mean, I hung in there through page after page of stuff not really essential for the story, eyes glazing over in parts of it just to get through it all, get through to the point of the entire book, but I never did get to find out the consequences -- the ending just blows. No satisfaction after sticking through all 360+ pages of it -- left with, "then what happened?" That last paragraph was like a slap in the face. You go through all the work and don't get any of the payoff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DocRoc on May 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mimi's husband Steve and my wife and I had opportunity to get together over some great Kansas City BBQ a few weeks ago. During our time together he mentioned that Mimi was about to publish her first book and encouraged me to read it which, as a card carrying bibliophile, I was eager to do. "Gathering String" is a political novel that is centered around the Midwest and particularly around Iowa, from where the four of us graduated, oh so many years ago. There are some great character developments, especially Sam, whom I disliked before the end of the first page of his description. In addition there are many Iowa locations and descriptions that endeared this story to me, such as the Tall Corn Inn, Jay's Drug Store, the Iowa Governor who is running for President, Swede Erickson (Mimi is from Essex a small town with a large Swedish heritage), Farragut Admirals girls basketball team and so many other little insights that most won't recognize. With each new chapter I anticipated another mention of familiar spots that had been cleverly woven into the story, not unlike "easter eggs" that are often found in video games. It's paced well with flashbacks, foreshadowing, romance and intrigue. I have to admit it is not what I expected but by chapter eight I was fully drawn in and knew I was going to finish it. And to demonstrate that I am not totally biased, it needs to be stated that Mimi and I have never met. I can claim to be objective to at least that degree. Now the challenge is to re-read the novel again through the eyes of a non-Iowan and focus more on the characters and less on the settings. As a first novel "Gathering String" shows a depth of creativity with promise of greater things to come. It may not be Pulitzer material but Mimi more than deserves her husband to bring her to Kansas City for some BBQ and so we can meet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Mimi Johnson can't remember not being able to read or not wanting to write. Gathering String is her first novel after a lifetime of planning to write (or finish) a book someday.

Mimi grew up on a farm near Essex, Iowa. She is a former newspaper reporter for the Shenandoah (Iowa) Evening Sentinel and a columnist for the Shawnee (Kan.) Journal Herald and the Minot (N.D.) Daily News. As a freelance writer, she has contributed to several newspapers, including the Washington Post and Omaha World-Herald. She blogs at RubyEyedFox.com.

Though Swede Erickson, the political character in Gathering String, is entirely fictional, Mimi has had multiple brushes with political fame: Two of her sons have worked for U.S. senators. Barack Obama (as a senator) sat across from Mimi on a commercial flight and hoisted her suitcase into the overhead bin. And she covered Marilyn Quayle at the North Dakota State Fair. Of her three sons, one is a conservative Republican, one is a liberal Democrat and one is an independent. It is a source of pride that her children learned to think and decide issues for themselves, and she enjoys the lively political discussions at dinner table when the whole family is gathered together.

She won the Creative Writing Award at Creighton University in 1996. She worked for Creighton's University College for 11 years.

Mimi enjoys cooking and traveling. Her favorite place is Tofino, B.C., one of the settings in Gathering String.

Mimi lives in Herndon, Va., with her husband, Steve Buttry, a journalist, and an ornery schnauzer named Duffy de Dog. She has three grown sons, two daughters-in-law and two granddaughters.

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