“Conversations with Jon Hassler,” the book written by retired Central Lakes College instructor Joseph Plut of Crosby, has been nominated for the 23rd annual Minnesota Book Awards. It will be judged in the General Non-Fiction category on Jan. 31, 2011, when judges will meet to select five finalists. Winners will be announced at the Minnesota Book Awards gala on Sat., April 16, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, St. Paul Riverfront. Announcement of finalists will be posted online at http://www.thefriends.org/ on Jan. 31, according to Anne Nelson, Minnesota Book Awards coordinator. Joe, who taught at CLC for more than three decades, is known as “the mad hugger” and was a close friend of another CLC English instructor, the late Jon Hassler, who became one of Minnesota’s most-loved authors after launching his career as a novelist while teaching in Brainerd. Jon died in 2008. He and Joe collaborated for discussions on nine novels that became the foundation for Joe’s book, which serves as an insightful study guide for those reading Jon’s novels. Upon release of “Conversations” Joe held a book-signing in the Jon Hassler Library at CLC and has accommodated more than a dozen other requests around the state. There have been several printings in response to book store sales.