Friday, March 28, 2008

Up North

On April 8, Philip Pullman's semi-prequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy will be released. The book, entitled Once Upon a Time in the North, follows aeronaut Lee Scoresby's journey to Svalbard as a boy; he appears in the trilogy as a grown man. The Guardian has published an excerpt.--David E

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"...and yes I said yes I will Yes."

The American Book Review has posted its list of the "100 Best Last Lines from Novels" (.pdf). My vote goes to #73: "Somebody threw a dead dog after him down the ravine." That's the ending of Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano, a book I once started, but never finished. I'm glad to learn that it ended about as I expected it would.--David E

Revival House

Boulder bookseller Arsen Kashkashian reminisces about "How I Became A Bookseller. It's a lovely tale of working in a Houston bookstore housed in a former movie theatre in the late 80s.

But tempis fugit, and the Bookstop is now part of the Barnes & Noble chain.--David E

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Get the Milk for Free

In the future, we won't have books; we'll simply have digital videos of books.

If you want an analog copy of Marion Bataille's ABC3D, you'll have to wait until it's released in October.--David E

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Is That You?

Rod Lott has some choice things to say about his fellow bookstore shoppers in his blog post "The 9 Most Annoying People I Always See at the Bookstore." And don't think that they're all his fellow customers; he's got ire to spare for staff as well. We clock in at number eight.--David E

Friday, March 21, 2008

No Debauchery, Please, We're American

A British author/dandy/provocateur has been denied entry to the United States. Sebastian Horsley is the author of Dandy in the Underworld. The book details Horsley's involvement with numerous prostitutes and copious drugs. US customs officials turned him away citing the book as proof of moral turpitude. (Easter connection: Horsley was once nailed to a cross in the Phillipines as part of an art project.)

Horsley was on his way to New York for a launch party and readings. Publisher Harper Perennial is undaunted, calling the book "very important."--David E

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Not Gloating

We outlasted the store directly across the street from us. We are still here after the Borders in downtown Minneapolis closed earlier this year. Now comes news that the entire Borders chain is likely up for sale (details here and here.). Its stock price has fallen 66 percent since last year, and they've stopped paying dividends on their stock.

Asked whether Barnes and Noble would want to buy the failing number two chain, B&N COO answered with a lukewarm "maybe." (Details here). --David E

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Meet Chuck Palahniuk

We're pleased to announce a very special evening with cult author Chuck Palahniuk. Palahniuk's books include Fight Club, Choke, and the forthcoming Snuff, which will be released May 20.

Palahniuk will be reading Wednesday, May 21, at Minneapolis' Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave S. Doors will open at 6:00pm; the event begins at 7:30pm.

Admission is by pre-paid non-refundable reservations only. Tickets are available now online. Each reservation is $30.00 and includes admission to the event and a pre-signed non-returnable copy of Snuff to be received upon entering the Triple Rock. (A $4.00 additional service fee per reservation will also apply.)

The first 150 reservations will receive a special ticket or wristband at the door allowing them access to the signing line. Those 150 will be able to get their signatures personalized by Chuck and to have 1 or 2 of his previous books autographed. No memorabilia or other materials will be signed. All other attendees will receive a pre-signed copy of the book and will be able to see and hear the conversation, and have an opportunity to participate in the Q&A.

The Satellite Looks Down*

By now you've heard of the death at the age of 90 of Arthur C Clarke--see the New York Times' obituary here. Clarke is widely credited with popularizing the idea of space travel--see the trailer for the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey below--and numerous more specific technical concepts as well. In particular, his idea that satellites could be placed in fixed (ie, "geosynchronous") positions above the earth to allow for widespread communications. It turns out that these stationary positions are actually known as "Clarke orbits." You can read Clark's 1945 article detailing his idea here .--David E

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

War Was Hell

While promoting his new memoir, former Luftwaffe pilot Horst Rippert has claimed that he was the one who shot down pilot and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Saint-Exupery, who had a long history of civilian flying in Africa, was flying a reconnaissance mission in support of the upcoming Allied landings in Provence when he went missing on July 31, 1944. His plane was recovered, but his body has not been found. (If your French is up to it, you can see the full article from Le Figaro here.)

For his part, Rippert is all torn up about the news that is coincidentally driving his book off the bookstore shelves. "In our youth, at school, we had all read him. We loved his books," he said. "If I had known, I would not have opened fire. Not on him!"--David E

Friday, March 14, 2008

The View from the Podium

Author Ed Lin has a funny essay in Seattle's free weekly the Stranger about the oddballs he's met at some of his bookstore readings. We've never had folks like that at our genteel midwestern readings, I'm sure. That's more of a West Coast thing, right?--David E

So Meta

It goes like this. Richard Price has written Lush Life, a mystery of the type known in the genre as a "police procedural." Then Sam Anderson wrote a review of said novel in New York magazine which is itself a pastiche of the novel's tone. And finally, a web denizen who goes by "Ricardo5" has posted a comment about Anderson's review, denying that he hates hipsters.

Is this Web 2.0--authors and reviewers duking it out while we all watch on the internets? You decide.--David E

Thursday, March 13, 2008

7 Books = 8 Movies

News today that the seventh and final Harry Potter book will be made into not one, but two movies. No comment.--David E

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Say "AAH" to support healthcare for Minnesota artists

In April, Magers and Quinn Booksellers will donate ten percent of purchases by members of and Springboard for the Arts to the Artists' Access to Healthcare program. The AAH program gives vouchers to help uninsured and underinsured artists get medical care. More about the program and how to apply are here.

To support the Artists' Access to Healthcare program, just stop by our website or visit our store. Enter code "AAH" in the Institutional Account field when you purchase books online or tell the cashier you want to support AAH. It's as easy as that.

Soldier Boys

The Los Angeles Times' book blog has a brief post on what's to be found on the lending library shelves of American military bases in Iraq.--David E

Mumbai Doesn't Believe in Tears*

I've got India on the brain. I'm reading Vikram Chandra's Bombay gangster saga Sacred Games, and I love it. So news that another Indian novel with the (to me) puzzling title One Night at the Call Center will soon be made into a Bollywood musical caught my eye.

Is this novel the stuff of a singing and dancing extravaganza? Even the author seems to have a jaundiced eye for the glamour of phone work, to judge interview with the author: "I have a couple of cousins and sisters-in-law who work in call centres. ...I learnt from their tales that call centres are not all fun and joy, as is the popular perception." But that's not stopping Bollywood. Cue the dancers.--David E

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

So Money

According to its press release, Bauman Fine Books has opened a rare book store in the Shoppes at the Palazzo in Las Vegas. Bauman (you may know of them already from their ads on the back cover of every week's New York Times Book Review) already has stores in New York City and Philadelphia.

The new store's opening comes scant weeks after the closing of Vegas' only new bookstore. A slightly desperate article entitled "Bookstores aren’t our thing, but Vegas has literary life" has all the information. But if you're going to LV in the near future, take your own reading material. I suggest Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down the House : The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions.--David E

Road Trip to Grand Forks?

Salman Rushdie will speak at the University of North Dakota as part of its upcoming Annual Writers Conference, to be held March 25 to 29. Rushdie's talk will be at 7 p.m. on March 25 in Chester Fritz Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Beyond the controversial novelist, UND's conference has quite the starpacked lineup this year. Other authors scheduled to appear include Russell Banks, Junot Diaz, Alexandra Fuller, and Alice Fulton. (Amiri Baraka, previously schedule to appear, will not be attending, after a controversy over a poem he wrote about the attacks of September 11.) Details of the conference are here.--David E

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tastes Like Wisconsin

If you've ever gotten hungry on I-94 while driving through Osseo, I hope you've pulled off for a meal at the Norske Nook. The food is good, but the award-winning pie is the real draw.

I think of this because it's getting on towards lunchtime, but also because we just got a used copy of Farm Recipes and Food Secrets from the Norske Nook in the store. Pick it up and you can be making Knaeckbrod and Fattigmand for dinner tonight.--David E

The More Things Change...

There's been another epidemic of memoirs that have turned out to be fictitious of late. The Boston Globe has a nice summary here.

Now, has brought back an old article, originally written during the James Frey fracas, which attempts to answer the question of the moment: "Why are book editors so bad at spotting fake memoirs?" The best part of the recycled think-piece is this bit of prognostication: "Obviously, in the post-Frey era, editors will show more due diligence." Obviously, that's easier said than done.--David E

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Belated Valentine?

Richard Price's new novel Lush Life is the subject of Michiko Kakutani's latest "Book of the Times" article in the New York Times, and she loves it.

She loves his dialogue: "No one writes better dialogue than Richard Price — not Elmore Leonard, not David Mamet, not even David Chase."

She loves the characters: "He depicts his characters’ daily lives with such energy, such nuance and such keen psychological radar that he makes it all come alive to the reader."

She loves the book over all: "In his latest novel, Lush Life, Mr. Price puts his myriad gifts together to create his most powerful and galvanic work yet, a novel that showcases his sympathy and his street cred and all his skills as a novelist and screenwriter: his gritty-lyrical prose, his cinematic sense of pacing, his uncanny knowledge of the nooks and crannies of his characters’ hearts."

You can hear Richard Price reading from his new novel and answering questions when he's in our store. He'll be here at 7:30pm on Wednesday, March 12. The event is free and open to the public.--David E

That's Really Super, Superman

Michael Chabon has an article in the current issue of The New Yorker on the nature of the superhero costume. (This issue is the Style issue, after all.) Chabon's interest in all things leotard will come as no surprise to readers of his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which recounts the adventures of two 1930s writers who concoct their own caped avenger, the Escapist, but Chabon's thoughts on the semiotics of capes and boots and the rest are fresh nonetheless.

I also recommend the audio interview with Chabon. In it, he discusses not only his article, but also his happiness at the forthcoming Coen brothers adaptation of his novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union (details here) and gives shout-outs to two of his favorite authors. One is Raymond Chandler; the other is Richard Price. You can't meet Chandler any longer, but Price will be in our store on March 12. Find out more by visiting our events page, as always.--David E

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ebook Redux

Not to be outdone, HarperCollins has made all of Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods available online here for the next month. If anything the format is even less conducive to reading than the downloadable PDF of Beautiful Children I told you about earlier.--David E