Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Click, Click, Click

Elmore Leonard's new novel Road Dogs comes out May 12, but you can get a sneak preview on Entertainment Weekly right now.

The first eight chapters are online for you, but be warned: they're spread out across an amazing 34 pages on EW's website. That way, they get to count you almost three dozen times when they report usage to their advertisers. It's free, but you're still paying for it.--David E

Monday, March 30, 2009

By Any Other Name

I'd never really stopped to wonder about Elizabeth Barrett Browning's title Sonnets from the Portuguese, and it turns out that's a shame, because the story behind it is quite good. Luckily for me, Gary Dexter pays attention to such things--and luckier still, he writes about them on his blog How Books Got Their Titles.

But back to Browning... It seems the book was almost named Sonnets translated from the Bosnian, before the poet and her husband settled on a better moniker. Why Portuguese?The whole story is here.--David E

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Brand-New Pooh, Part 2

Earlier this year, we learned about the first new version of Winnie the Pooh to be sanctioned by the A.A. Milne estate--details are here.

Now via Publishers Weekly comes a sneak peek at the artwork. The new book will be available, uncensored, on October 5.--David E

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Laundry Day

Click the picture to buy a shirt, but not from us. (With thanks to the Inkwell Bookstore Blog.)--David E

Graphic, But Not Too Graphic

Alison Bechdel's review of Jane Vandenbergh's memoir A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century is unusual for its format: it's a cartoon. Sorry, it's a graphic review. I mean it's a drawn commentary. Sigh.

Click the image above to see the review at full size and decide for yourself.--David E

Friday, March 27, 2009

What Happens to a Dream Deferred

Magers & Quinn can hook you up with some good theater. Come in and pick up a postcard good for twenty dollar tickets to the Guthrie's production of A Raisin in the Sun. The offer is good for performances on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings during the show's run.

Stop in and get a postcard soon, because once they're gone, they're gone.--David E

Here and Queer

Deflowered is Jon Ginoli’s journey of self-discovery, musical passion, and drive to become the founding member of Pansy Division, the first out and proud queer core punk rock band to hit the semi-big time. Set against the changing decades of music, we follow the band from their inception in San Francisco, to their search for a music label and a permanent drummer to their current status as indie rock icons. We see the highs--touring with Green Day--and the lows--homophobic fans--of striving for acceptance and success in the world of rock. Featuring behind-the-scenes photographs and replete with the requisite tales of sex, drugs, groupies, band fights and label battles, this rollicking memoir is also an impassioned account of staying true to the artistic vision of queer rock'n'roll.

Jon Ginoli will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers on
Saturday, April 4, at 7:00pm. Details on this event and all our upcoming readings are on our events page.--David E

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bold Type Indeed

Boldtype sat down with Mankato's own Diana Joseph to talk about her recent memoir I'm Sorry You Feel That Way: The Astonishing but True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother, and Friend to Man and Dog.
Boldtype:Why did you choose this as the title?

Diana Joseph: “I’m sorry you feel that way” is, for me at least, the most obnoxious and passive-aggressive thing one human being can say to another. But as a title, it’s good.

Joseph also philosophizes on the challenge of writing ("The writer needs to answer to the question of, 'So what?'") and the perils of including real people ("I never want to demonize the people I write about, but I don’t want to valorize them, either.")

Read the whole interview here.--David E

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

They're Here!

That book I won't shut up about? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance -- Now With Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!? It's finally in the store. Come in soon and get your copy--David E

A Jury of Your Peers

mnartists.org has announced the panel of judges for the "miniStories" flash fiction contest currently underway, and it's a powerhouse list: miniStories is a competition for writers of short, short stories--500 words and under. Details on the contest and how to submit your work are here. The deadline is April 30.--David E

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gun Jokes Are Fine... Women Not So Much

A new ad campaign for the Wyoming State Library has drawn both praise and criticism. But it's working: more men are visiting libraries in the Equality State (honestly, that's the state's motto).

"Goshen County Library Director Isabel Hoy distributed the mudflap girl materials to local auto shops. She said she also showed shop workers how to access the database. The campaign resulted in a slight increase in the number of men who visited the library to apply for a card, she said.

"'It definitely hit that target audience,' Hoy said. 'The target audience was very well defined and the material was constructed in a tasteful way to appeal to that male audience.'

The whole story is here.--David E

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"And if you listen very hard / The tune will come to you at last."

Scott, who apparently buys music for the Green Apple Books in San Francisco, breaks the code of silence and tells the story of when Robert Plant came into the store. Read it here.--David E

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Aspiring Writers, Listen Up

The Loft Literary Center is holding its Festival of Children's and Young Adult Literature & Illustration," April 18 and 19. Attend workshops to get practical how-to information. Network with authors, editors, illustrators, and your fellow writers to trade tips for success.

And best of all, you can get $30.00 off your fee if you include a receipt from Magers & Quinn Booksellers with your registration form. Details are here.

Context is Key

Anyone who came to last month's inaugural meeting of M&Q's Big Bang Book Club--and even those of you who didn't--will enjoy this review of Daniel Bergner's book The Other Side of Desire, posted on the Seminary Co-op Bookstore's blog. It places the book in a larger context of sexual health and "alternative sexuality activism."

The BBBC meets again Tuesday, March 24 at 7:0pm, at Grumpy's Bar & Grill. Details are here. We'll be discussing Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body.--David E

Friday, March 20, 2009

Periodic Table of Typefaces

The graphic designer in your life will think this is funny, even if you don't. (Click on the the image to see a larger version.)

Thanks to the Inkwell Bookstore Blog for the tip.--David E

Thursday, March 19, 2009

But You Are, Blanche, You Are

Quiz: Are You a Grammar Geek?

If you were at all tempted to click the link above, then the answer is a resounding "Yes." Welcome to the club. Now the only remaining question is "How good a grammar geek are you?" Click and find out.--David E

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hammer Time

Say you're a budding author, and you are lucky enough to get a contract for an unwritten book. How long do you have to deliver the manuscript before the publisher sues you to recover the advance payment? If the experience of MC Hammer is anything to go by, the answer is about six years.

In 2003, Simon and Schuster paid Hammer $61,000 for a book on fatherhood. Earlier this month, they sued him for the return of the advance--plus interest. Details are here.--David E

Two Poets for the Price of One

On Tuesday, March 24, at 7:30pm, two poets will read from their new work at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

In her third book of poems, The Plum-Stone Game, Kathleen Jesme asks what happens if the ordinary ways of knowing are taken away—if one is suddenly unable to see or hear or has been stripped of the familiar past. What begins to show through when absence (or darkness) creates a different inner landscape? In five distinct but interconnected poem cycles, Jesme excavates these inner landscapes and discovers word artifacts to reveal new directions to dig, always bringing the reader somewhere unexpected.

Jesme will be joined at Magers & Quinn by Janet Holmes. She taught at St. Paul’s Macalester College for several years and is now an associate professor in the MFA Program for Writers at Boise State University where she directs Ahsahta Press, an all-poetry press founded in 1974

Details on this event and all our upcoming readings are on our events page.--David E

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Like Magic

On Sunday, May 3, at 5:00pm, Magers and Quinn will be hosting author Steven Vander Ark, author of The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials. Vander Ark's book was the subject of a long legal battle. Ms R and her publisher didn't want this information getting out to you mere muggles. But that's all water under the bridge; Steven's appearance is totally legal.

Want to remember the date? We just heard this from the publisher: "For Text Alerts on Steve Vander Ark's appearance at Magers & Quinn Text RDR MN to 95495." And as ever, details on the event are on our events page.--David E

Monday, March 16, 2009

Too Good to Factcheck

John Cheever once said, "I want to write short stories like I want to f*** a chicken." Soon after that utterance, his career took off and he's now acknowledged as a master of the short story.

That's just one of the pithy revelations from Blake Bailey's new book Cheever: A Life. For more, check out this review on slate.com or read the first chapter in the New York Times.--David E

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Never Tire of the Phrase

The man arrested last fall for attempting to sell Adolph Hitler's golden bookmark (details here) has plead guilty. The bookmark was stolen from a Spanish auction house in 2002.

Details are here.--David E

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Hot blood begets hot thoughts, and hot thoughts beget hot deeds, and hot deeds is love."

We know comparatively little about William Shakespeare--least of all what he looked like. But we may now be one step closer to finding out. Art historians have agreed that a painting recently uncovered in the UK is a almost certainly a likeness of the bard, painted during his lifetime.

Details are here.--David E

Something Fishy

The Big Bang Book Club meets Tuesday, March 24, at Grumpy's Bar & Grill to discuss Neal Shubin’s book Your Inner Fish.

Why do we look the way we do? Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells the story of our bodies as you've never heard it before. By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm.

“With infectious enthusiasm, unfailing clarity, and laugh-out-loud humor, Neil Shubin has created a book on paleontology, genetics, genomics, and anatomy that is almost impossible to put down. In telling the story of why we are who we are, Shubin does more than show us our inner fish; he awakens and excites the inner scientist in us all.”—Pauline Chen, author of Final Exam

“The antievolution crowd is always asking where the missing links in the descent of man are. Well, paleontologist Shubin actually discovered one. . . . A crackerjack comparative anatomist, he uses his find to launch a voyage of discovery about the evolutionary evidence we can readily see at hand. . . . Shubin relays all this exciting evidence and reasoning so clearly that no general-interest library should be without this book.”—Booklist (starred review)

We hope you can join us for a fascinating evening.--David E

Friday, March 13, 2009

National Book Critic Circle Winners Announced

The National Book Critics Circle announced its 2009 award winners yesterday. They are Details are here in Publishers Weekly.--David E

Up, Up, and Away

Broadway.com reports that a stage version of Khaled Hosseini's hit novel The Kite Runner will premiere in San Jose on March 21. Hosseini lives in San Jose.

Details are here.--David E

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Call for Submisions

Magers & Quinn Booksellers and mnartists.org are looking for Minnesota writers. We're running two series: What Light is a poetry competition, and miniStories is a flash fiction contest. Submissions will be accepted through April 30. Details are here.

Winning poems and stories will be posted on mnartists.org and on magersandquinn.com. Winning authors will be invited to record audio versions of their work, which will be posted online and distributed through iTunes. Twenty authors in each category will be chosen between June 2009 and March 2010. Three of those twenty grand prize winners will be selected. Grand prize winners will be able to submit a second work to be posted online and will receive a small cash prize.

So sharpen your pencils and start writing. Full details on both competitions are here.--David E

Jill Jepson discusses Writing as a Sacred Path

Jill Jepson is assistant professor of English at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she teaches creative writing and linguistics. She has taught writing for 15 years and is an award-winning research anthropologist. She also offers online writing workshops. For more information, visit www.writingthewhirlwind.com.

Join us at Magers & Quinn Booksellers on
Thursday, March 19, at 7:30pm, as Jill Jepson discusses her new book Writing as a Sacred Path: A Practical Guide to Writing with Passion and Purpose.

Details on this event and all our upcoming readings are on our events page.--David E

Far Off, In the East

Largehearted Boy pointed out a posting on the blog How to Japanese which speculates about the recently announced novel by Haruki Murakami--puportedly titled 1Q84. It has been announced in Japanese, anyway; I can't find mention of an English edition as yet. There's not a lot of hard news as yet, but Murakami fans (this blogger included) are already salivating at the prospect by another book by the author of Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood.

Stay tuned.--David E

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Trash Talk? I Think Not

Word bookstore, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is bridging the gap between books and basketball. If you can answer five simple questions (sample: Who wrote Ulysses?), you might join the store's summer basketball league. Talk on the bench will include jumpshots and the value of magical realism in post-narrative memoir. Bring your A-game.

New Yorkers can still sign up. Details are here. (Thanks to the indefatigable Galley Cat for the for the tip.)--David E

Monday, March 9, 2009

Talking in the Library

Tomorrow night the Library Foundation of Hennepin County (formerly the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library) continues its "Talk of the Stacks" program.

David Plotz is the editor of slate.com. Contributor to the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Rolling Stone, New Republic, Washington Post, and GQ, Plotz won the National Press Club's Hume Award for Political Reporting in 2000. His newest work, Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, is based on his "Blogging the Bible" series which previously appeared on Slate.com. Examining the bible from a cultural and personal perspective, Plotz explores such theological questions as:
  • Does God prefer obedience or good deeds?
  • How many commandments do we actually need?
  • Why are so many women in the Bible prostitutes?
  • And why does God love bald men so much?

Talk of the Stacks is a reading series at the Minneapolis Central Library exploring contemporary literature and culture. Readings are held at the Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Readings are held at the Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. The Talk of the Stacks presenting sponsor is U.S. Trust. Additional support provided by Secrets of the City and Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

The programs are free with open seating to the public. Book sale and signing follow presentations. Call 612-630-6174 for more info.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Debut Novelist

Join us at Magers & Quinn Booksellers on Friday, March 13, at 7:30pm, as Stephen Lovely reads from his first novel Irreplaceable.

“Stephen Lovely’s debut novel is wise, heartbreaking, funny, and human in every possible way. In this debut novel, he manages to humanize the sterile world of heart transplants, the faceless victims and lucky receivers of their organs, and the families who are touched forever by happenstance. Irreplaceable is unforgettable. I simply love this book.”—Ann Hood, author of Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine

Details on this event and all our upcoming readings are on our events page.--David E

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"I don’t have any rules or principles."

Colm Toibin, author of The Blackwater Lightship among many other prize-winning novels, has given a very strange interview to The Manchester Review. For example:

What do you enjoy most about your life as a writer?
The money. I never knew there would be money. It is such a surprise. And I like not having to leave the house in the morning. Yes, the money.

Is there nothing else you enjoy about your life as a writer?
It is not for enjoyment. It has nothing to do with enjoyment. I like selling foreign rights, but that feeling would last no longer than 20 minutes.

That soundbite is getting a lot of attention, to be sure, but the entire article is deadpan and hilarious. Read the whole story here.--David E

Don't Forget Tom Davis

Saturday Night Live alum and now author Tom Davis will be in Minneapolis to discuss his memoir Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL from Someone who Was There. Magers & Quinn Booksellers is pleased to host a reading by Tom Davis at Lyndale United Church of Christ, 31st and Aldrich Avenue S, Minneapolis, on Thursday, March 12, at 7:30pm, for this one-of-a-kind event.

A memoir by Tom Davis, an original writer on Saturday Night Live and comedy partner with Al Franken, Thirty-nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss is a hilarious book about the early days of Saturday Night Live that chronicles Davis’s friendship with Jerry Garcia, Timothy Leary, and his friends at SNL.

“Finally a book by someone who actually worked at the original Saturday Night Live. Tom Davis writes in a heartfelt and hilarious style telling great stories from the world of show business and entertainment.” —Dan Aykroyd

“Frankly, I’m surprised Tom was able to remember this much of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. But I’m not surprised that my old partner was able to capture the times with such humor and such wisdom.” —Al Franken

Details on this event and all our upcoming readings are on our events page.--David E

Friday, March 6, 2009

Literate Locusts

These photos were taken at an warehouse near Bristol, England, last month. The books were abandoned by online dealer Bookbarn after its lease expired. The warehouse owner opened the doors to all comers, and the result was "like a swarm of locusts."

Details are here.--David E

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Read All About Us

The March 2009 issue of the Magers & Quinn email newsletter has just gone out. If you haven't signed up, you're missing out. Take a look at the March issue here.

If you like what you see, join our mailing list here.--David E

Get Them While They're Young

A broadcaster and agitator in Maine is producing a coloring book featuring leftist activists, including Noam Chomsky.

If this project takes off, he's considering a comic book along similar lines. But, Chomsky purists, fear not. "No, I will not put him in a cape or any other get-up," said Leisner. "A blue workshirt and Levis is good enough for me," says Roger Leisner.

Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No One Must Know

From The Bookshelf comes this stylish country pine armoire, sure to satisfy both your left and right brains. When company's coming over, the rotating shelf allows you to hide your books behind a television, so you are not revealed as an intellectual.

Details are here.--David E

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Talking About an Evolution

Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish, talked to the Infidel Guy podcast.

Put my show and this player on your website or your social network.

Your Inner Fish is the March
book for M&Q's new Big Bang Book Club. Details are on our events page.--David E

Monday, March 2, 2009

Och, Aye, He's a Scot

Alex Haley is Scottish.

DNA analysis has revealed that the author of Roots is directly descended from one William Baugh, an overseer of an Alabama slave plantation in the mid-nineteenth century. The Caledonian connection has long been part of the Haley family's lore, but has been unproven until now.

Details are here.--David E

A Book and a Beer Chaser

The next meeting of the Twin Cities' most unusual and interesting book club is Tuesday, March 10. Books & Bars meets at Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W Lake Street, in Minneapolis. Doors open at 6:00pm; the discussion begins at 7:00pm.

March's book is The Dispossessed by sci-fi stalwart Ursula K LeGuin. Winner of both the Nebula and Hugo awards, the novel tells of Shevek, a physicist who hopes to bring his utopian society back into the materialist world it shunned centuries earlier.

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.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Having to Say You're Sorry

There's a nice review of I'm Sorry You Feel That Way: The Astonishing but True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother, and Friend to Man and Dog.It's a memoir Mankato State's own Diana Joseph in which she dishes the dirt on the men in her life.

There's a nice review in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "You can't help but wonder, Does she know what she's saying? Does she know how she sounds? But her stories are carefully planned, and just when you despair of her they suddenly veer in a different direction and gain focus and insight and, yes, wisdom, and you watch with admiration, and say, Ahh, yes, she does."

Diana Joseph will give a reading at Magers & Quinn at 6:00pm on Saturday, March 7. Details are here.--David E