Monday, December 31, 2007

I Kid You (Not)

The Producers? OK. Hairspray? Sure. Musicals can come from unlikely sources, but how's this for a surprising one? Dan Savage's book The Kid, a memoir in which the popular sex advice columnist and his partner adopt a baby boy, is being turned into a Broadway musical. Check mentions here and here.

No word yet on who will star as Savage. I'm thinking Ben Stiller.--David E

Sunday, December 30, 2007

For Our Loyal Customers...

A New Year's Day Sale

We're helping you start 2008 off right. Come in on New Year's Day and take 20% off everything in the store.

We'll be open from 10:00am until 8:00pm, so please stop by and take advantage of this unique chance to save on all our great books.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Get Cracking

According to, the movie version of the cult novelists book Choke And, sure enough, you can find it listed on the Sundance festival website. The movie version stars Sam Rockwell as the professional scam artist who fakes choking to raise money to care for his Alzheimer's-afflicted mother, played by Angelica Huston.

There's no date set for a wide release, so you still have time to read the book.--David E

Friday, December 28, 2007

We're Number One (and Number Three)

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul are ranked numbers one and three respectively on USA Today's list of America's most literate cities. Minneapolis edged out longtime rival Seattle this year, while St Paul continues its meteoric rise; it was ranked eleventh only four years ago.

The survey measures residents' literate behaviors, including reading newspapers or magazines, going online, library use, or buying books from a local bookstore.--David E

Friday, December 21, 2007

Windows on Minnesota

Bill Holm talked about his life in Iceland and his most recent book Windows on Brimnes as part of the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library's "Talk of the Stacks" program. If you missed the event, you can listen to his remarks on Minnesota Public Radio (here).

Magers and Quinn is proud to support the Friends of the Library's programming. Upcoming events include a discussion of Ojibwe stories with Heid, Lise, and Louise Erdrich and book cover designer-turned novelist Chip Kidd. Don't miss them. Visit their website for details.--David E

Thursday, December 20, 2007

500,000 Books... No Waiting

With all due respect to the internet bookselling behemoths, if you haven't ordered your book from them by now you're just not going to get it by the 25th. We, on the other hand, scrappy little bricks-and-mortar store that we are, have books piled high. They're ready for immediate delivery, right into your hands--no shipping, no waiting.

Holiday Hours:
  • Thursday, Dec.20: 10am to 10pm
  • Friday, Dec. 21: 10am to 11pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 22: 10am to 11pm
  • Sunday, Dec. 23: 10am to 10pm
  • Monday, Dec. 24: 10am to 5pm
Come in today and let us help you find the perfect gift. Here are a few ideas that are sure to please even the most difficult person on your holiday list.

Dads are notoriously hard to buy for, so here are two suggestions: The Illustrated "A Brief History of Time" and Ken Burn's most recent magnum opus The War. They're both fascinating, full of
compelling text and images.

The Original Picture Puzzle This is another great activity book to engage any family member around the tree. Life originated the side-by-side, almost-the-same photograph game, and they do it right. Can you spot the
difference? You'll have fun trying.

Transit Maps of the World contains route maps for every urban rail system in the world-from Buenos Aires to Bucharest. Armchair travelers will
pour over this for days and days.

The Book of Bunny Suicides You'll be passing this one around, so everyone can choose their favorite cartoon featuring "little fluffy bunnies who just don't want to live any more." It's funny, it's morbid, it's great for teens and twenty-somethings alike.

There's no better book to introduce a teenager to the joys of reading than A Confederacy of Dunces. The story of grumpy New Orleans misfit Ignatius Reilly is as charming and funny now as when it was first written.

Vegan niece? Vikings fan brother-in-law? Veterinarian aunt? We can point you towards titles for anyone on your list. Try and stump us. We love a challenge.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A World Without Us

How ironic is this? I haven't had time to read Caleb Crain's article "Twilight of the Books" in the latest issue of the New Yorker because it's been too busy in the store. Which is a shame, since the article (which I've skimmed, thank you) looks interesting. Crain isn't optimistic about the future of books, but we certainly are, and the customers filling the store this month clearly agree.

Apologies to Alan Weisman.--David E

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Head to Head

In this corner, Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy--which the Catholic League hopes you won't read or see in movie theaters.

And in this corner Why I Am A Catholic for obvious reasons. Who will win?--David E

Friday, December 14, 2007

So 2007

According to the semi-official news website, wall calendars are out of fashion in the Middle Kingdom. "The Yantai Daily has reported that Xinhua Bookstores in the city's urban area have stopped selling them completely. ...Wall calendars are no longer considered a must in their daily life as many new digital devices can do the work better and easier."

Well, that may be fine in China, but here in Uptown, we're doing a brisk trade in 2008 calendars. Stop in today for these and many, many other great, old-fashioned date-keepers.--David E

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Way Out West

The Flathead Beacon has a profile of the independent booksellers in Montana's Flathead County,just to the west of Glacier National Park. The moderately upbeat article--entitled "Flathead’s Remaining Bookstores Hang on Through Changing Times"--is interesting, but of real note is the slideshow tour of the stores themselves. I can't post it on this blog, but if you click here, you can see what shopping for used books is like out west.--David E

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Iran's government is holding its first Satirical Book of the Year awards.

I'm not kidding. One of the world's more repressive regimes, which regularly restricts publishers and bans books (ses details here, here, and here) hopes to "help raise the status of satire in Iran."

Details of the awards are here. Winners will be announced December 16.--David E

B'gosh and Begorrah!

Dublin's Independent newspaper recently talked to Maria Dickenson, who buys books for that city's branch of the Easons chain of bookstores, and asked her picks for the Christmas season's big sellers. Among her picks are some that you can expect to see flying off our shelves here in the states--Man Booker Prize-winner The Gathering by Anne Enright, Per Petersson's much-feted Out Stealing Horses, Eric Clapton: The Autobiography, and The Golden Compass. But there are also some uniquely Irish choices on the list:Grab a pint of Harp and get reading.--David E

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sabuda Popping Up All Over

One of the most beautiful books out this holiday season has to be Robert Sabuda's pop-up version of The Chronicles of Narnia. Sabuda is probably the best-known "paper engineer" or pop-up book artist working today. His books are avidly collected and always beautiful. This one is no exception.

Get an inside look at the book and its maker--courtesy of the Wall Street Journal of all places.--David E

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Make magazine's video podcast this week shows you how to make a book into a secret hiding place for your small valuables. --David E

Friday, December 7, 2007

Before You Go to the Movies...

Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel Persepolis tells the story of a young girl growing up in Iran during that country's Islamic revolution. It's an amazing story of resistance and resilience. It's also a darn good read. Now Persepolis has been made into a movie. It has already won the Jury Prize at the most recent Cannes Film Festival. It will be released in the US on December 25.

But the movie is only a condensed version of the original novel. Read the books before you see the movie, and get the whole story--David E

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Book with a Beer Chaser

There's still time to get ready for next week's installment of our lubricated reading group Books & Bars. Join us Tuesday night (the 11th) at Bryant Lake Bowl (map) for conversation and a beverage with some very interesting folks. Doors open at 6:00pm for socializing; discussion begins in earnest at 7:00pm.

December's book is Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. This comic science-fiction romp encompasses the atomic bomb, theology, technology, and even the end of the world. But don't worry--it's less than 300 pages long.

Books & Bars is not your typical book club. We provide a unique atmosphere for a lively discussion of interesting authors, fun people, good food and drinks. You're welcome even if you haven't read the book.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Wow Factor

This just might be the world's most beautiful bookstore. It's an eight-hundred-year-old converted Dominican church in Maastricht, in the Netherlands. Today it's part of the Selexyz chain. Best of all, it's an English-language bookstore, so if you get the chance to visit, you can take home a souvenir you can actually read.

Check out for more photos.--David E

Happy Birthday, Calvin

Today is Calvin Trillin's birthday. Trillin is a prolific writer, whose work spans several disparate genres, and he's one of my favorite authors.I don't know where he found the time to turn 72. Many happy returns of the day, Mr. Trillin.--David E

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Art Imitates Life (Retroactively)

In the wake of the Gillian Gibbons teddy bear brouhaha in Sudan (details here), a British author has decided to revise an existing children's book to change a character's name from Mohammed to something less potentially offensive.

The Times of India reports, "Gray's book, an illustrated volume called Who's Poorly Too, has sold 40,000 copies in Britain and abroad over the last eight years it has been in print. But the author says he decided to postpone a re-print and rename the mole to guard against the possibility of trouble from angry Muslims."

The Mole-Formerly-Known-As-Mohammed is now to be called Morgan.--David E

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Top That

I was reading a review of John MacIntyre's The Montreal Book of Everything because you never know when you might find something interesting in an unlikely place, and sure enough I came across this factoid: 80 per cent of North America's screw-top caps come from a single factory St. C├ęsaire, 60 kilometres east of Montreal.

Now I'm bummed to find out that the book--the ninth in a series of Canadian Books of Everything--isn't available in this country. What else am I missing? Until some brave American distributor takes on this series, I'll just have to make due with MacIntyre's syndicated column Figuratively Speaking.--David E

PS: "Top That" was my second choice for a title for this posting. I'll leave it to you to guess what I'd originally thought to use, though I'll say that the second word was still "that."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Inside Joke

Life imitates art in Santa Barbara, where someone is spraypainting graffiti on the local UC campus. The red figures are in the shape of the muted trumpet (below) from Thomas Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49. In the book, the trumpet is the clue which allows the protaganist Oedipus Maas to discover the reclusive organization called Tristero. Fifteen to twenty of the designs have been found so far on the University of California campus.

No one has claimed responsibility for the grafitti, and says, presumably with a straight face, "Pynchon could not be reached for comment."--David E

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Kalima (Arabic for "word") is a project funded by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage which aims to increase the number of books in translatation available to readers in the Arabic language. According to their website, that won't be hard; there's a real dearth of such works available at the moment. "If you are looking for the works of Freud or Chaucer for example, you will not find them in Arabic. ... Spain translates in one year the number of books that have been translated into Arabic in the past 1000 years."

I'm already a fan of the project just from having learned that one of the first six titles they've translated is Haruki Murakami's novel Kafka on the Shore. Arabic readers looking for something meatier can at last read Stephen Hawking's A Briefer History of Time--David E

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Agony, I Tell You

You may not know the name Vinko Bogataj, but his world-famous wipeout in the opening credits of ABC's "Wide World of Sports" was formative to me in my youth and gave rise to the expression "pulling a Vinko."

I mention this because on Saturday, Decepber 8, at 8:30pm, Wayne Johnson, author of White Heat: The Extreme Skiing Life will be in the store. Johnson has met Bogataj and other similarly wild and crazy skiing guys. So that video isn't looking so gratuitous after all, is it?.--David E

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You Tell Me

If you're having trouble choosing a book, you can always ask the staff at your friendly local independent bookstore for some suggestions. Or visit There you can choose up to four characteristics for your desired book. Should it be short or long? Safe or disturbing? Sex-filled or sex-free? Click on the appropriate bar, then move the slider to get just the right balance. Then click on "Go," and see what you should be reading.

You can also search the recommendations by character, plot, and setting. The possibilities are endless.--David E

Boldly Go

I'm not a big fan of science fiction, but when the Seattle Public Library's book maven Nancy Pearl--author of Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason and Book Crush For Kids and Teens: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Interest--makes some suggestions, even I pay a little attention. Pearl has listed six of her favorite SF novels. Better still, there are excerpts for them all, so you can get a taste without leaving your computer.

You can find the list and the excerpts here.--David E

Friday, November 23, 2007

Since You're (Probably) Not at Work Today

First, Ian McEwan's novel On Chesil Beach is passed over for the Booker Prize. Now he's been hit with a nomination for the Literary Review's Bad Sex Award. Also on the list is the late Norman Mailer for his book The Castle. Details of the prize and its history are here.

In fairness to McEwan, On Chesil Beach is a novel about sexual dysfunction. It centers on a rather unsatisfactory honeymoon night, so the attention actually means McEwan has done a good job of writing,perversely enough.--David E

Sneak Peek

The New York Times has posted its list of 2007's 100 most notable books. The list will be in print on December 2, but you can check it out online now. Click here to refresh your memory and help jumpstart your holiday shopping list.

Remember that you can always check our inventory on our website or by phoning us at 612/822-4611 (toll-free: 888/912-6657). If the book you want isn't in stock, we can always order new copies of in-print books; special orders are 10% off the publisher's price and generally arrive in under a week.