Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

Ron Charles, fiction editor at the Washington Post and Marjorie Kehe, book editor of the Christian Science Monitor sat down with Kerri Miller today on MPR's Midmorning program to review their picks for the year's must-reads. Among their choices were some you've likely heard of already--Wolf Hall, The Angel's Game--and some you probably don't yet know--The Anthologist, Border Songs, Yesterday's Weather. There were even suggestions for younger readers, such as Rick Riordan's excellent Percy Jackson series and the delightfully-titled Al Capone Shines My Shoes.

You can listen to the whole show here:

You might hear a few ideas to pick up at our New Year's Day sale. Everything in the store will be 25% off on January 1, 2010.--David E

Citizen Review: The Unnamed

We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with loyal M&Q customer Jess Horowitz, writing about Joshua Ferris' second novel.
The Unnamed
Joshua Ferris, author of the popular office black comedy Then We Came to the End (2007), returns to the shelves with his second novel, The Unnamed. We meet Tim and Jane Farnsworth, a wealthy, successful couple who share a beautiful home and an inability to relate to their introverted teenage daughter. Tim has just begun a third bout with an inexplicable illness. As we learn about Tim’s illness, family relationships are tested, flaws are illuminated, and countless doctors shrug their shoulders as to what is causing Tim’s problem.

Throughout the novel, Tim and Jane are repeatedly separated and reunited, having to reestablish their sense of home and continuity. While reading, I was frustrated, relieved, and again frustrated by their actions, which I imagine was Ferris’ intention. As in his first novel, he excels at creating characters that we can’t help but follow down the path to insanity.

Many novels and films take on a strained marriage, but Ferris’ story is original and unusual. Much of the book takes place in winter, so it’s highly recommended to read it in these cold months, to make the book’s feeling of cold all the more vivid.
Jess Horwitz lives in Uptown and likes her books arranged by color.
The Unnamed will be published on January 18, 2010.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Year's Day Sale

M&Q is kicking 2010 off in style. We will be open New Year's Day from 10:00am to 8:00pm, and everything in the store will be 25% off. (This does not include special orders.)

There will be refreshments and maybe even live music. So come in and stock up on your winter reading.--David E

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Hours

Please note our holiday hours:
  • Dec 23: 10:00am to 10:00pm
  • Dec. 24:10:00am to 4:30pm
  • Dec 25: Closed
  • Dec 26: 10:00am to 10:0pm
Save yourself a trip and check our inventory online before you come in. Our website is updated hourly, so if a book is listed as "In Store," you can find it here. Give us a call (612/822-4611) and we'll even put it on hold for you.--David E


USA Today has published its annual list of the country's most literate cities. The rankings are based on newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources.

The readingest cities are
1. Seattle
2. Washington, DC
3. Minneapolis
4. Pittsburgh
5. Atlanta
6. Portland, OR
7. St. Paul
8. Boston
9. Cincinnati
10. Denver

That's right, folks. Washington, DC, is bigger on reading than Minneapolis. We used to own this list, and now we have fallen to number three. Hang your head in shame for a minute, then get out there and visit a library, buy a local magazine, attain some education, and (do I have to say it?) go to a local bookstore!

USA Today's article is here. The original data is available here.--David E

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa Wears a Wig

Winter snowstorms can slow down holiday deliveries, and bookstores suffer along with everyone else. But M&Q was fortunate that when we ran out of copies of Drink This: Wine Made Simple, we were able to turn to the author for help. Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl loaned us copies from her private reserve, so we can get them to you in time for the holidays.

They won't last long, so stop in and get your copy today, before they're all gone.--David E

Sunday, December 20, 2009

All in the Family

Did you know that Carl Sandburg's house is now a National Historic Site? Did you know that Sandburg and his wife Lilian moved to the home outside Asheville, NC, because the longer summers would be good for her goat-breeding business? Did you know that the Sandburgs' three girls were nicknamed "Spink," "Skabootch," "Swipes"? I didn't either, but happily the blog Novel Destinations is there to fill in the gaps in my literary knowledge.

Visit the Carl Sandburg NHS here--virtually at least.--David E

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Got to Put It Someplace

Don't know where to put a piece of public art? Libraries seem to be the default choice lately.

The Lithuanian branch of Frank Zappa's fan club donated a bust of the singer to his hometown, Baltimore. The city, however, was at a loss as to where to put it. In the end they decided to put the statue (pictured above) outside the Highlandtown branch of the city's public library system.

Details are here.--David E

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coming Soon

Library Journal looked at the 2010 crop of fiction and found a winner: Maaza Mengiste's novel set during the Ethiopian revolution of 1974, Beneath the Lion's Gaze (available January 11, 2010).

"A recent New York University graduate, Mengiste was voted a "new literary idol" by New York magazine and garnered a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her honors do not belie her skill, for this book is stunning." (The full review is here.)

You can meet Maaza Mengiste when she reads from her novel at Magers & Quinn--Sunday, January 24, at 5:00pm. Don't miss it.--David E

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Flavorwire has compiled a fascinating list of recent electronic literature ("created in a digital environment, and often intended to be read or viewed on a computer"). Among the items mentioned are works for Wii, SMS, and even Google AdWords.

I'm going to start with Mai Ueda’s Domain Poems (.pdf), a work composed entirely of found domain names, but I'm sure I won't stop there. The full list is here.--David E

Read a new poem by Darci Schummer

Darci Schummer's poem Hair is this week's winner in our What Light Poetry Project. This is the second of Darci's work to be selected for this year's contest.

What Light is a part of mnLIT, which is presented by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and All the winning poems, as well as the short stories from our flash fiction competition miniStories will be published on and in the months to come. So come back soon!

Click here to read Darci's poem and to learn more about the mnLIT contest.--Jay P

Beat the Winter Doldrums

The Twin Cities' largest and friendliest book club, Books and Bars, is kicking it into high gear this winter. From January to March, B&B will meet twice monthly, on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.

Here's what we're reading: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. --David E

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Going Once, Going Twice...

Rain Taxi has just launched its annual Benefit Auction on eBay to raise funds for the coming year. There are first editions, gorgeous broadsides, rare chapbooks, quirky used books, as well as original art, an article of clothing, a decorative bag, and even a crazy quilt. Many of the items are signed by the authors and/or artists.

The auction runs through Sunday, so don't procrastinate. Browse the items here.--David E

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meet Mitch Omer

Mitch Omer, owner and chef of Hell's Kitchen, will be at M&Q to meet customers and talk about his cookbook Damn Good Food--from 1:00pm to 3:0pm, Saturday, December 19.

In his new cookbook, Damn Good Food, Mitch Omer reveals the recipes that have made his restaurant a pleasure seeker's destination, including inventions like his tart, ethereal Lemon-Ricotta Hotcakes; dark, wild Bison Sausage Bread; and sweet, creamy Mahnomin Porridge. These dishes have the hungry and eager queued up out the doors of Hell's Kitchen, often for hours, but now you can make them at home.

"Mitch Omer makes Anthony Bourdain look like an altar boy."--Jacques Pepin

Stop by Magers & Quinn to get a copy of Damn Good Food, get it signed, and get inspired to make your best holiday meal ever.

Citizen Review: The Farmer's Daughter

We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with M&Q's own Shawn Neary reviewing the new collection of three novellas from Jim Harrison.

The Farmer's Daughter
When in our store and walking underneath the low ceiling in literature, you may have noticed Jim Harrison's books off to your right. These are the books whose jackets bear a certain resemblance to one another. They are, by and large, paintings in muted colors, of quiet landscapes and powerful, solitary animals (the odd Legend of the Fall movie tie-in being the exception). The three novellas within The Farmer's Daughter, Harrison's latest, possess this same relational quality. While there's no direct tie between Sarah Anitra Holcomb, Brown Dog, or the nameless narrator of "Games of the Night," the same measured pace, the same types of challenges, the same turns of phrase, even the same songs (Patsy's Cline's The Saddest Word in Lonesome is Me is mentioned a number of times) appear throughout these pages. The characters examined--a home-schooled daughter of Montana, a some-time rabble rouser and full-time father fleeing the law, and a man prone to monthly blackouts and compulsions to insatiable violence--are molded by actions from which there is no going back and emerge, to paraphrase Harrison's description of the farmer's daughter from which this book takes its name, terribly certain of themselves.
Shawn Neary is excited to write a 200 word review of Updike's Rabbit novels. He could kind of go for a pizza right now and misses Book It in a bad way.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Was Victor Frankenstein a mad scientist? How have images from Mary Shelley’s classic monster novel permeated our ostensibly modern ideas of science? We’ll discuss these questions and much more when the Big Bang Book Club goes literary for December. We'll meet at 7:00pm on Tuesday, December 22, at Grumpy's Bar, 1111 Washington Ave S, in Minneapolis.

The Big Bang Book Club is a monthly book club for non-scientists that relishes in folding arts and science into a heady brew. It is sponsored by The Big Bang Book Club is a monthly book club for non-scientists that relishes in folding arts and science into a heady brew. It is sponsored by Magers & Quinn Booksellers; the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy, which works to engage the public on science or technology issues to deliver the knowledge and experience of Humphrey Institute experts; Secrets of the City--the daily digest of Twin Cities culture; and Grumpy's Downtown.

Five Dollah Five!

Bargain hunters, take note. Magers & Quinn has a super special cart of beautiful books on the sidewalk in front of the store. They're all priced to move at only $4.99 each. Check them out.--David E

Saturday, December 12, 2009

We Sold One!

Today, nineteen days after the book was first released, M&Q sold its first copy of Going Rogue. We're in the big leagues now!--David E

M&Q is Your Source for Breaking News

It turns out that Books & Bars is a good source for Hollywood gossip, as well as a fun evening out.

Word is out that Natalie Portman will both produce and star in a film adaptation of the spoof/mashup Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance -- Now With Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!. Author Seth Grahame-smith broke the news when he spoke to our monthly beer-infused book club back in May. The New York Daily News reported the news yesterday (here).

Magers & Quinn--we're booksellers and gossipmongers.--David E

The Making of...

The Utne Reader's "Great Writing" blog clued me in to this article in Poets & Writers. It tells the story behind the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary With Additional Material from a Thesaurus of Old English, published earlier this year by Oxford University Press. (Read more about that here.)

P&W includes news of a near-disaster. "In 1978, things nearly went up in smoke when the building housing the sole copy of the work-in-progress caught fire." The whole article is here.--David E

Friday, December 11, 2009

Checking It Twice

Here's a gift for the book collector on your list. This reproduction of Thomas Jefferson's bookstand let the polymath president consult five volumes at once.

Buy one here, but be warned: innovation in solid mahogany doesn't come cheap.--David E

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Read Caroline Ore's short fiction on our mnLIT page

Caroline Ore's short story "Solo Performance" is this week's winner in our flash fiction competition miniStories. miniStories is a part of mnLIT, which is presented by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and

All the winning stories, as well as the poems from our What Light contest will be published on and in the months to come. So come back soon!

Caroline was selected as a winner by local novelist David Oppegaard, whose novel Wormwood, Nevada was just published by St. Martin's Press.

Click here to read Caroline's story and to learn more about the mnLIT contest.--Jay P

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Alice through the Ages

Flavorwire looks at artists' impressions of Alice over the years. See them all here.--David E

Not Zombies

It has long been thought (on the Wikipedia, for instance) that Jane Austen died of Addison's disease. But today the New York Times reports that Katherine G. White of the Addison’s Disease Self-Help Group has pointed the finger in another direction. She blames cows for giving Ms A bovine tuberculosis.

Details are here.--David E

A new poem by Greg Watson

Greg Watson's poem "My Brother's Tattoo" is this week's winner in our What Light Poetry Project. If memory serves me, I believe that Greg has had a winning poem in each of our What Light contests. He also has a new book due out soon titled Not Elsewhere, But Here.

What Light is a part of mnLIT, which is presented by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and All the winning poems, as well as the short stories from our flash fiction competition miniStories will be published on and in the months to come. So come back soon!

Click here to read Greg's poem and to learn more about the mnLIT contest.--Jay P

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mightier Than the Pen

You don't mess with Katherine Dunn.

The 64-year-old author, best known for Geek Love, was the target of an attempted purse snatching recently, reports The Oregonian newspaper. Twenty-five-year-old Brandy Amber Carroll approached Dunn in the parking lot of Trader Joe's and demanded her bag. Little did Carroll know that the author has been training at the Knott Street Boxing Club for ten years.

Dunn fought back. “I would normally lead, as all good boxers do, with my left hand,” she said. “But my left hand was tied up in the purse.” Still, she managed to hold on to her valuables until police arrived.

Details are here.--David E

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Your Moment of Zen--Library Edition

I can't tell you much about this video, but it sure is pretty.

Thanks to architechnophilia for the catch.--David E

Keeping it Simple, Not Stupid

The Onion's "A.V. Club" talked to Carol Sklenicka recently. She's the author of Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life, a comprehensive biography of one of America's foremost writers of short stories.

The Onion poses such down-to-earth questions as "Why all the fuss?" and "Carver’s described as a “dirty realist.” That’s bad, right?", and Sklenicka's responses are just helpful and succinct.

Read the full interview here, then meet Carol Sklenicka when she's in our store tomorrow--7:00pm, Sunday, November 29.--David E

Are You Listening?

Minnesota's own Kevin Kling will read from Holiday Inn at Magers & Quinn--Thursday, December 3, at 7:30pm.

Kevin Kling's first book, The Dog Says How, brought readers into his wonderful world of the skewed and significant mundane. His second book, Holiday Inn, is a romp through a year of holidays.

"Kevin Kling's stories are not merely delightful. They are surprising, wise and redemptive. He is one of our great national treasures."--Krista Tippett, public radio host and founder of Speaking of Faith.

Details on this and all our events are always on the M&Q events page.--David E

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shop Local, Eat Local

Sunday, M&Q is hosting James Norton and Becca Dilley. They traveled the length and breadth of Wisconsin, talking to all the graduates of the UofW's Master Cheesemaker certification program. The result is their new book The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin. They'll be in the store at 4:30pm on Sunday, November 29, to talk about their travels and the great cheeses they found. Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl will emcee the evening's discussion.

But wait, there's more....

Cheese samples at the event will be provided by France 44 Wine & Spirits. France 44 Cheese Shop and its new sister across the river, St. Paul Cheese Shop are committed to offering the best customer service and the best tasting cheeses from near and far. Stop by for a taste of something delicious and check out for the cheesiest blog. And remember, "Friends don't let friends eat cold, precut cheese."

Details on the event are here.--David E

Keep It in the Community

Got the Black Friday Big Box Blues? The Downtown Journal has posted a list of local gift ideas for the holiday season. "Give Local: 2009 Holiday Gift Guide" will help you find clothes, music, housewares, and even... ahem... books from local, independent vendors. The full list is here.--David E

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Beat Black Friday... on Thursday

Want to cut down on holiday spending? Eat more turkey today.

Scientific American's "60-Second Science" podcast has the details. The tryptophan in turkey is converted into serotonin, which has been shown to reduce impulsive behavior. Hear the news here. It'll only take a minute.--David E

Chin Chin

Magers & Quinn Booksellers is pleased to announce an evening of wine information you can really use. On Friday, December 4, at 7:30pm, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl will be in the store to talk about her new book Drink This: 473 Answers to Your Most Impolite Questions About Wine (available November 24).

If you've been baffled by a wine list, stood perplexed before endless racks of bottles at the liquor store, or ordered an overpriced bottle out of fear of the scathing judgment of a restaurant sommelier, Dara is here to help. Before she became a James Beard Award-winning food and wine writer, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl (formerly of the City Pages, currently at Minnesota Monthly) experienced all these things. Now she presents a handy guide that will show you how to stop being overwhelmed and intimidated, how to discover, respect, and enjoy your own personal taste, and how to be whatever kind of wine person you want to be, from budding connoisseur to someone who simply gets wine you like every time you buy a bottle.

Refreshingly simple, irreverent, and witty, Drink This explains all the insider stuff that wine critics assume you know. It will teach you how to taste and savor wine, alone, with a friend, or with a group. And perhaps most important, this book gives you the tools to learn the only thing that really matters about wine: namely, figuring out what you like.

Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl draws on her own experience and savvy and interviews some of the world's most renowned critics, winemakers, and chefs, including Robert M. Parker, Jr., Paul Draper, and Thomas Keller, who share their wisdom about everything from pairing food and wine to the inside scoop on what wine scores and reviews really mean. Readers will learn how to master tasting techniques and understand the winemaking process from soil to cellar. Drink This also reveals how to get your money's worth out of wine without spending all you've got.

"Dara Grumdahl is right about absolutely everything. If she calls me up at four in the morning, says 'Get dressed, get some money--and a gun--you'll need it where we're eating,' I don't ask any questions. I just go."--Anthony Bourdain

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Rick Moody, author of The Ice Storm, will serialize his latest short story via Twitter. From November 30 to December 2, a new 140-character-long installment will appear every fifteen minutes from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Here's a sample:

Saw him on OKCupid. Agreed to meet. In his bio he said he had a “different conception of time.” And guess what? He didn’t show.

Online literary magazine Electronic Literature is sending out the story chunks. Details are in Entertainment Weekly. Follow the stories on Twitter.--David E

Sunday, November 22, 2009


How much do you make if your book gets on the New York Times' bestseller list? Lynn Viehl, author of Twilight Fall, has posted her royalty statement from Penguin.

Income for the eleven months since the book came out is $24,517.36. Or as Viehl puts it, "My income per book always reminds me of how tough it is to make at living at this gig, especially for writers who only produce one book per year. If I did the same, and my one book performed as well as TF, and my family of four were solely dependent on my income, my net would be only around $2500.00 over the income level considered to be the US poverty threshold (based on 2008 figures.) Yep, we'd almost qualify for foodstamps."

Thanks to Nathan Bransford for the catch.--David E

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cheese, Please

Magers & Quinn Booksellers and invite you to learn about the artisans making Wisconsin's most famous--and tastiest--food: cheese. Eating local has never been more important to diners. A personal connection to the people who produce our food is an important and valuable part of fine dining. The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin is your guide to some of the most skilled craftsmen and -women right here in the Upper Midwest. Authors James Norton and Becca Dilley discuss their new book at 4:30pm, Sunday, November 29, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin--beautifully photographed and engagingly written--introduces hardworking, resourceful men and women who represent an artisanal craft that has roots in Europe but has been a Wisconsin tradition since the 1850s. Wisconsin produces more than six hundred varieties of cheese, from massive wheels of cheddar and swiss to bricks of brick and limburger to such specialties as crescenza-stracchino and juustoleipa. These masters combine tradition, technology, artistry, and years of dedicated learning--in a profession that depends on fickle, living ingredients-to create the rich tastes and beautiful presentation of their skillfully crafted products.

James Norton and Becca Dilley interviewed these dairy artisans, listened to their stories, tasted their cheeses, and explored the plants where they work. They offer here profiles of forty-three active Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin, as well as a glossary of cheesemaking terms, suggestions of operations that welcome visitors for tours, tasting notes and suggested food pairings, and tasty nuggets (shall we say curds?) of information on everything to do with cheese.

Researching the book, the authors logged more than 7,600 miles on Wisconsin highways and back roads, visiting 35 cheese plants and interviewing 43 cheesemakers. They don't even want to think about how many pounds of cheese they ate.

James Norton is a weekly columnist for Chow magazine and editor of Heavy Table, a food magazine for the Upper Midwest. He is also author of Saving General Washington. Becca Dilley has photographed food for numerous publications and works as an independent photojournalist. Follow their blog is at

Details are here.--David E

"It was the dilemma of the watchers"

Earlier this week, Collum McCann's novel Let the Great World Spin won this year's National Book Award for fiction. The story takes place in New York City in 1974. A street full of people stands rapt as a tightrope walker crosses between the towers of the World Trade Center. McCann follows their lives after the event, eventually bringing them together again for an astounding finale.

Dave Eggers said, "This is a gorgeous book, multilayered and deeply felt, and it’s a damned lot of fun to read, too." The New York Times said, "Let the Great World Spin is an emotional tour de force."

Is it true? Find out for yourself. Random House has posted a long excerpt here.--David E

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Examined Life

In the cover story of this weekend's New York Times Book Review, Stephen King discusses the life and career of Raymond Carver, one of America's great short story writers. Carver was also, however, "the destructive, ­everything-in-the-pot kind of drinker who hits bottom, then starts burrowing deeper."

King's summary draws heavily from Carol Sklenicka's new biography Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life. King says, "[A]s a chronicle of Carver’s growth as a writer... Sklenicka’s book is invaluable." (The full review is here.)

Carol Sklenica will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers to discuss her book at 7:00pm on Sunday, November 29. We hope you can join us. It's sure to be a fascinating evening.--David E

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Sale at Magers & Quinn

On Thanksgiving Day from 12:00 until 9:00pm everything at Magers & Quinn Booksellers will be 20% off. No coupons, no crowds. Come in while the turkey's in the oven or later when you're fighting off the tryptophan. Either way, you can get a jump on your holiday shopping. Beat the crowds during this very special sale.

Throughout the holiday season, Magers & Quinn will be collecting donations to the Joyce Food Shelf. High-protein foods (peanut butter, tuna, dried bean and peas), infant formula, and toiletries are particularly useful and welcome. Share the bounty of the holiday season with your neighbors.

The Fine Print: During our Thanksgiving Day sale, no further discounts or coupons apply.--David E

Act One

There's a new player on the Twin Cities bookstore scene. Play by Play Books has opened at 1771 Selby Ave in St Paul. They have an bright and cheery store filled with books, scripts, memorabilia, and theater-related gifts. There will soon be wi-fi and coffee for sale, as well as a meeting space and even a patio in the back. Stop in today and buy a book.

Visit for details.--David E

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fashion on the Radio

Scott Schuman, who curates the Sartorialist and who put together a book gathering together the best of the blog's fashionable pictures, was recently on The Sound of Young America podcast. His talk on style is worth hearing, even without the pretty pictures. Here it here:

You can also download the podcast here.--David E

No Bird Brain He

Join members of the Big Bang Book Club for a discussion of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--And Formed a Deep Bond in the Process Tuesday, November, 24, 7:00pm, at Grumpy's, 1111 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis.

Alex's brain was the size of a shelled walnut--he was a parrot, after all--and when Irene and Alex first met, birds were not believed to possess any potential for language, consciousness, or anything remotely comparable to human intelligence. Yet, over the years, Alex proved many things. He could add. He could sound out words. He understood concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none. He was capable of thought and intention. Together, Alex and Irene uncovered a startling reality: We live in a world populated by thinking, conscious creatures.

The Big Bang Book Club is a monthly book club for non-scientists that relishes in folding arts and science into a heady brew. This event is sponsored by Magers & Quinn Booksellers; the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy; Secrets of the City; and Grumpy's. Follow us on Facebook for details on all our events, plus extra materials about all the books.

Read Double Bound by Elizabeth Dingmann

Elizabeth Dingmann's poem Double Bound is this week's winner in our What Light Poetry Project. What Light is a part of mnLIT, which is presented by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and

All the winning poems, as well as the short stories from our flash fiction competition miniStories will be published on and in the months to come. So come back soon!

Click here to read Elizabeth's poem and to learn more about the mnLIT contest.--Jay P

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Damn Good Giveaway

One of the big food books for the holiday season will be Mitch Omer's Damn Good Food. Omer is the chef and owner of Hell's Kitchen. The book has 157 recipes from the restaurant, as well as stories of Omer's struggles with drugs and how he used cooking to get clean.

Mitch Omer will be in the store from 1:00pm to 3:00pm on Saturday, December 19. He'll be signing copies of the book and giving away samples from it.


Anyone who buys a copy of Damn Good Food can enter to win a free brunch for four at Hell's Kitchen. There are entry forms and a cigar box to keep them in by the front register.--David E

Citizen Review: The Lacuna

We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with the latest from novelist Barbara Kingsolver.
The Lacuna
The United States has some 'splainin' to do. Kingsolver's newest novel, The Lacuna, shines light on some of the darkest episodes in American and Mexican history, including the brutal suppression of the 1932 bonus army protests, Leon Trotsky's murder in 1940, and the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. The novel begins with Harrison Shepherd's tumultuous childhood, spent shuffling between his Mexican mother and American father. A gift of a diving mask allows him to exchange the ugliness of life on land for the beauty and mystery of life underwater, where he discovers his first "lacuna" or "gap" in the form of a cave accessible only when the tide is just right. A chance encounter with Frida Kahlo shapes the rest of his life, spent mostly as a writer in North Carolina. We get a glimpse of the difficulties he faces as a young gay man pre-Stonewall. The cruelties of the McCarthy era are portrayed without ambiguity. Kingsolver's deft, compelling prose backs us into a corner with Shepherd until we can see no way out. And then the lacuna beckons.
Nancy Seger is a social worker who lives in south Minneapolis. She bagged twenty-two (22!) bags of leaves this fall. She has also recently re-discovered a deep love of falafel.

PS: Barbara Kingsolver was on Minnesota Public Radio recently. You can hear the hour-long interview here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

That Study Carrel Will Look Great in My Media Room

The Elkhart (Indiana) Public Library is auctioning off its vintage furnishings. When the library opened on March 31, 1963, it was full of desks, tables and chairs by Herman Miller, fiberglass chairs from Charles and Ray Eames, and desks and credenzas by Jens Risom. According to the library's sale website, "Some have been in use to the present day, while others have spent years in storage." Design fiends are salivating at the prospect of an unused Eames chair for their apartments.

An online auction begins on Sunday and continues until the end of business on Friday, November 20. Send your bid emails to

Thanks to Book Patrol for the catch.--David E

Friday, November 13, 2009

Starting Strong

St Paul's Replacement Press has announced its very first title. If You Lived Here, You’d Already Be Home is a collection of short stories by John Jodzio of Minneapolis. You might already know Jodzio's work from McSweeney's or from miniSstories. Jodzio won the miniStories competition in the summer of 2008 for "Shoo Shoo". You can also read the longer story which commissioned from Jodzio, entitled "Monarchs".

If You Lived Here, You’d Already Be Home will be published in March. Details are here.--David E

Get On the Bus

This coming Saturday, November 14, at 7:00pm, Peter Conners discusses his memoir Growing Up Dead at Magers & Quinn.

Peter discovered the Grateful Dead in 1985, at the age of 15, through friends who exchanged bootleg tapes of live Grateful Dead concerts. A teenager living in the suburbs of Rochester, New York, he became exposed to an entirely new way of life, and friends who were enjoying more freedom and less parental guidance. At the age of 16, he attended his first Grateful Dead concert on June 30, 1987-he was hooked. Between 1987 and 1995, Conners would attend Dead shows all over the United States.

Growing Up Dead provides riveting insight into the obsessive fandom that made the Grateful Dead the most successful touring band of all time. “We were just on the road, doing the best we could to get from show-to-show. So that was the story I wanted to tell: the story of a street-level Deadhead.”

Details on the event are here.--David E

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Big Bang in a Book

Here's a suggestion for the science nerd on your Christmas shopping list. Voyage To The Heart Of Matter is a collaboration between CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and "paper engineer" Anton Radevsky. Or as Gizmodo described it, it's "the most accurate paper Large Hadron Collider ever." That's right, all the inner workings of the world's largest partical physics laboratory are explained to you in these 3D pages.

It's not clear how widely the book will be distributed in the US, but you can always buy it directly from the publisher. Details are here.--David E

Read "Sights" by Jessica Roeder, this week's winning flash fiction piece.

Jessica Roeder's short story "Sights" is this week's winner in our flash fiction competition miniStories. miniStories is a part of mnLIT, which is presented by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and

All the winning stories, as well as the poems from our What Light contest will be published on and in the months to come. So come back soon!

Click here to read Jessica's story and to learn more about the mnLIT contest.--Jay P

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are You Experienced?

Graywolf Press is looking for interns. Graywolf is one of the nation's leading nonprofit literary publishers; their authors include Elizabeth Alexander, Charles Baxter, Sven Birkerts, Linda Gregg, Tony Hoagland, Jane Kenyon, William Kittredge, David Treuer, and Brenda Ueland. And they're right here in Minneapolis.

Applications for winter/spring internships are due November 15. Details are here.--David E