Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Party Hearty

Magers & Quinn celebrated 15 years of operation with a big party last night. Thanks to all who attended and wished us well. Below are some pictures. Click on any of the photos below to see a larger version or view the whole lot on our Facebook page.--David E

Louisville is Back

Earlier, I told you about flooding at the Louisville Public Library. Today, I'm happy to report that the city's main branch has opened, only 23 days after it was inundated and a full ten days ahead of schedule.

Details are here.--David E

Friday, August 28, 2009

Collector's Edition

We recently acquired a collector's edition of JK Rowling's Tales of Beedle the Bard. This limited edition copy is quite the presentation. To quote the publisher's blurb, "Tucked in its own case disguised as a wizarding textbook found in the Hogwarts library, the Collector's Edition includes an exclusive reproduction of J.K. Rowling's handwritten introduction, as well as 10 additional illustrations not found in the Standard Edition or the original. Opening the case reveals a velvet bag embroidered with J.K. Rowling’s signature, in which sits the piece de resistance: your very own copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, complete with metal skull, corners, and clasp; replica gemstones; and emerald ribbon. As a special gift for fans, the Collector's edition also includes a set of 10 ready-for-framing prints of J.K. Rowling's illustrations, enclosed in a velvet-lined pocket in the lid of the outer case."

They're not making these any longer, so if this tickles your fancy, act quickly. Quantities are limited--to one. Details are here.--David E

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Backstage Pass

Oh, to be a fly on the backstage wall Wednesday, November 18. That's when Talking Volumes hosts not one, but two authors on the same evening. And it's quite the combo: dark master Stephen King and Audrey The Time Traveler's Wife Niffenegger.

The event is sold out, but if anyone is in the green room, please tell us what the preshow chatter is about.--David E

Norah Labiner at Magers & Quinn

Minneapolis' own Norah Labiner will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers on Thursday, September 3, at 7:30pm, to read from her latest novel German for Travelers

Alternating between the great doctor’s household, the mysterious case of his patient Elsa Z., the rise of Nazi Germany, mid-century Detroit, and modern-day Berlin, this is a story about a girl whose dreams reveal the future, a family beset by ghosts, and the place that haunts them all.

Acclaimed for her ability to write “heartbreaking and vastly original tale[s] of literary intrigue” (Time Out New York), Norah Labiner is the author of three novels including German for Travelers, Our Sometime Sister, a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, and Miniatures, an American Library Association Notable Book, a Minnesota Book Award winner, and a selection for both the Minnesota Monthly and Utne Reader bookclubs. She lives in Minneapolis.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Curtain Up

Even though it doesn't yet have a storefront, Play by Play bookstore has already begun its mission to "build the theatre community in the Twin Cities, and provide a vital gathering place for artists and residents alike." They've just announced the "Table Read Book Club"--Monday, October 12, at 7:00pm (location to be announced). Each month, the club will discuss a play. October's selection is Neal LaBute's Some Girl(s). Members of the Walking Shadow Theatre Company, which will mount a production of the play in November, will attend the club.

There's a lot more in Play by Play's newsletter, including tips for theater administrators and actors and plans for a holiday artists bazaar. Read the whole newsletter here.--David E

Moving Forward

What would you do if your soulmate died, you lost your job, and you found yourself with your three young children depending on you along?

For most, it would be a struggle to survive, let alone "keep it together." Even putting one foot forward every day would become an epic act of bravery. One man defied these very circumstances, and managed to do much more than just survive in the years following his wife's death.

Terry Hitchcock, age 57 at the time, ran 75 consecutive marathons in 75 consecutive days. He traveled over 2,000 miles to bring awareness to the financial and emotional hardships faced by single parents and their children--everyday heroes who run quiet, yet extraordinary, daily marathons.

Meet the author and hear his story Wednesday, September 2, 7:30pm, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.--David E

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Readers Anonymous

The owner of the Edmonton Book Store recently discovered one book's previous owner's secret. An inconspicuous book of English poetry had been hollowed out to make room for a bottle of whiskey.

Details are here.--David E

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Learn Something

This coming Thursday, August 27, at 7:30pm, Mahmoud El-Kati discusses his book The Hiptionary: A Survey of African American Speech Patterns with a Digest of Key Words and Phrases at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

“Mahmoud El-Kati’s deep love of Black people is again manifest in his deep inquiry into the Black language--especially the global movement in language called Hip Hop. Don’t miss this book!”--Cornel West, Princeton University

Details are here.--David E

Friday, August 21, 2009

Twin Cities Book Festival Authors Announced

The Twin Cities Book Festival has announced some of the authors who will be reading at this year's event, and it's a list full of big names. Among the attendees will beThe TCBF will be Saturday, October 10, from 10:00am to 5:00pm, at the Minneapolis Technical College. It's free and open to the public. Don't miss it. Details are here.--David E

Instant Class

Deborah Bowness makes trompe l'oeil wallpapers. Her photorealistic designs include chairs, lamps, and books, so you can get a library without all that difficult reading. If those are too high falutin' for you, she also does a nifty pattern of filing cabinets.

Thanks to New York Times for the catch.--David E

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Might Actually Buy That

It's a strange day when Yale University Press appears in the New York Times' blog The Moment, which more often chronicles $600 Armani tshirts and other such nonessentials. But that's just what happened today when the blog posted an item about Lived in London: Blue Plaques and The Stories Behind Them. The book, out this week from YUP, is a guidebook--albeit a 10x11", seven-pound guidebook--to the ubiquitous historical markers that can make a stroll down even the lowliest London street into a delightful history lesson.

The full posting is here.--David E

If You Plan to Motor West...

Denver is hoping that fans of the Beat poets will stop by their fair city. To encourage that, they've posted a Beat Poetry Driving Tour. The sights include the hotel where Neal Cassady met his wife and the site of the department store where Cassady and Kerouac spent a summer working. In fact, most of the stops on the tour have to do with Neal Cassady, a Denver native, though Kerouac and Ginsberg make appearances as well.

The full tour is here.--David E

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nerd Alert

I'm probably late to the party with this news, but an announcement for Ken Burns' new book The National Parks: America's Best Idea alerted me to the companion PBS series. Six nights of rangers, parkitechture, and brown signage--what could be better? A coffee table book, that's what. The tome will be available September 8.

A preview of the series is below; more details are here. It starts September 27.--David E

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That's Hot

How do you make a hundred-year-old novel appealing to today's readers? Japanese publisher Bunkasha is putting music stars on their covers, and they credit the stars with a ten-fold increase in sales. Natsume Soseki's novel Botchan, about a Tokyo teacher who moves to rural Japan and runs smack into the countryside's oldfashioned sterotypes and prejudices, got the 90210 treatment, complete with a winsome photo of Yuko Oshima of the pop group AKB48 (at right).

The full story is here.--David E

No Kindle Down Under?

Plans to extend the Kindle's reach to Australia have hit a snag. Two large newspaper groups--including Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation--have declined to make their publications available on the e-reader. The Sydney Morning Herald, another of the hesitant papers, reports that Apple's rumored entry into the market means publishers don't want to commit to the Kindle, lest it become the Betamax of digital readers.

Details are here.--David E

Brian Beatty is this week's winner of our miniStories Flash Fiction contest

"Velour" by Brian Beatty is one of the winning pieces in this year's Flash Fiction competition miniStories, which is sponsored by Magers and Quinn and presented by Brian's story was chosen by novelist David Oppegaard, one of our talented judges.

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 Brian's story.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dress Up

Come celebrate the publication of blogger/photographer Scott Schuman's new book, The Sartorialist, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers--Sunday, August 23, at 5:00pm. Featuring men's and women's street fashion from around the globe, The Sartorialist's blog has become one of the world's best sources for fashion inspiration.

Magers & Quinn brings you another untraditional book event. Have your photo taken in front of M&Q's towering wall of art books, nibble on Japanese street food from Moto-I and mingle with fashion writers, editors and photographers from local media. Accessories and styling provided by Blacklist Vintage. Fashion photography Digital Crush.

The event is co-sponsored by Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Letoile Magazine,, and Blacklist Vintage.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

A movie version of Anne Frank's classic The Diary of a Young Girl is in the works, with none other than David Mamet signed up as both producer and screenwriter.

Details are here. Thanks to Early Word for the news.--David E

This week's What Light contest winner is poet Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson's wonderful villanelle for his thirteen-month-old son is one of the winning pieces in this year's What Light competition, which is sponsored by Magers and Quinn and presented by All the winning poems from our What Light contest (as well as the stories from our Flash Fiction contest, miniStories) will be published on and in the months to come. So come back soon!

Click here to read Jeff's poem.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reading Is Fundamental... and Sometimes Disturbing

Famously foulmouthed White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel kept it clean today when he read to children as part of the Department of Education's "Read to the Top" program. US News & World Report has the details.

The event put me in mind of another chilling performance: Christopher Walken reading from Goodnight Moon, courtesy of The Simpsons. Enjoy.--David E

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Reason to Keep It Indie

You know that great blog from that Borders store in your local mall? No, you don't, and you never will because Borders employees are apparently being asked to sign a non-blogging contract.

No copy of the contract has yet surfaced, but the good folks at the Used Books Blog are hot on the case. If they crack this one, I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, I suggest you visit a few of the great indie store blogs. I recommend the Inkwell Bookstore Blog, The Front Table, and the inimitable Green Apple Core.--David E

Update: I did find one blog by a Borders employee--here. Read it while you can.

Celebrate Fiction

Winners of the most recent miniStories competion will read their flash fiction on Monday, August 17, from 7:00pm-9:00pm at the Ritz Theater--at 345 Thirteenth Ave NE in Northeast Minneapolis. Plus: What Light's grand prize champions will perform their winning poems.

Even if you can't make the live readings, read some of the best new work by Minnesota writers on and, where a new poem or story is published each week. Or, if you prefer, listen to our winners read their pieces by downloading a free audio version of the weekly mnLIT story or poem through the Walker's iTunes channel.

minLIT--which includes both miniStories and What Light--is jointly sponsored by Magers & Quinn Booksellers, the Twin Cities largest independent bookstore, and online service of the Walker Art Center for artists of all types.

Details on this event are here.--David E

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fugitive Sheets

London's Wellcome Library collects "books, manuscripts, archives, films and pictures on the history of medicine from the earliest times to the present day." They're just posted images of some sixteenth century anatomical illustrations--known as fugitive sheets--on their website. As they describe them, "These intriguing prints depict the human body through labelled illustrations, often using a three-dimensional 'pop-up' device of superimposed flaps, which can be raised in sequence to display the internal anatomy of the male or female figure. The fugitive sheet thus mimics the act of dissection. ...

"Images have been created showing each flap in sequence. Animated versions are also available from the catalogue records, showing the flaps raised and lowered in sequence."

Eleven fugitive sheets are available as videos here. I wish I could embed one to show you. I promise they're worth checking out.--David E

Sick, but Funny

What happens when a Minnesota farm boy with an arm of gold becomes a star athlete in college and is offered a contract to play professional baseball? Fate intervenes, Sieve walks away from the sport, and a chance meeting in a pub sets him on a new, often hilarious, three-decade long comedy career. But along with hilarity comes heartache. Faced with the sudden death of his sidekick in 2008, will the show go on?

Mark Sieve’s life story is as fascinating as his performances are side-splitting. With wit and energy Mark Sieve, co-founder of Puke & Snot, the longest-running comedy duo in the country, weaves choice tidbits about his remarkable partnership with Joe Kudla against the backdrop of his early life in a small Minnesota town and his emerging career as an actor. A supremely affectionate book, Call Me Puke, finally puts to rest his mother's oft-stated and greatest fear: "I hope I die before I find out my kids are stupid."

Hear more from Puke Sunday, August 16, at 7:00pm when he reads from his memoir at Magers & Quinn Booksellers. Details are here.--David E

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stupid Lamb

I can't express enough blogger gratitude to the Floating Lush, who won an eternal place in my heart when she posted a link to this gallery of tattoos inspired by the novel Twilight.--David E

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Literary Scavenger Hunt

Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press, The Loft Literary Center, and Milkweed Editions have joined forces to mark their respective anniversaries by hosting a scavenger hunt--Around the Literary Twin Cities in (Almost) 80 Days--and they need your help. Submit a Minnesota-related question to by August 14. Eleven lucky winners will receive a totebag full of preview copies from the publishers involved--and major litnerd cred. Winners will be announced August 28.

The hunt itself will from run mid-October through December 24th. Full details on the entire escapade are at E

391.65 GDS*

Librarians in Texas are showing some skin. Their new Tattooed Ladies of TLA calendar--that's the Texas Library Association--aims to raise both awareness of the importance of libraries and to raise money for the TLA's disaster relief fund. You can help out by buying a copy here.

And before you cry sexism, know that the previous calendar featured the men of Texas libraries.--David E

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh Brave New World

Louisville's main library is underwater. A thunderstorm Tuesday flooded the building, destroying thousands of books. I know about this because of Twitter user @gregschwartz. He's the library's IT manager and has been posting updates and pictures throughout the ordeal.

You can follow the latest news on the flooding--and the library's recovery--here--David E

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dewey II: Out of the Library

Publishers Weekly reports that Vicki Myron, author of the heartwarming Dewey : The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, has signed a two-million-dollar deal for her next book. Look for the newest feline love from Iowa in the fall of 2010. There are also rumors of a movie version of Dewey, with Meryl Streep impersonating the librarian author.

Details are here.--David E

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

M&Q Turns 15

August marks the store’s fifteenth anniversary. Magers & Quinn’s longevity and success are truly remarkable. The same family that started the store in 1994 remains at the helm today: owner Denny Magers, daughter Mary, and son John are fully engaged in the management and work of the store. Magers & Quinn is a true family-owned, independent business. They have seen the bookstore grow from a small operation--books were laid on tables--into the Twin Cities’ largest independent bookstore.

Magers & Quinn opened for business during the Uptown Art Fair in 1994. The store first occupied the front section of a building on Uptown’s main thoroughfare, Hennepin Avenue, in a space previously occupied by a thrift store. The first opening nights were exciting, as people thronged the store shopping for good art books. Not long afterward, work began to expand the retail space into the back portion of the building, called the Bryant Building, which was built in 1922 and originally housed a Chevrolet dealership.

To celebrate fifteen great years of connecting books and book lovers, Magers & Quinn is hosting a birthday party 6:00pm, Friday, August 28. Festivities include music, food and drink, and a special 15% off storewide sale at 3038 Hennepin Avenue S, Minneapolis. This event is free and open to the public.

We're looking forward to seeing you.--David E

This week's miniStories winner is Kelly Barnhill

"Casting Off" by Kelly Barnhill is one of the winning pieces in this year's Flash Fiction competition miniStories, which is sponsored by Magers and Quinn and presented by Kelly's story was chosen by novelist John Fasman, one of our talented judges.

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 Kelly's story.

The Bad, the Good, and the Strange

The bad news: Thieves broke into St Paul's Common Good Books early Thursday and stole the safe.

The good news: The safe has been found and is being processed for any clues it may yield.

The strange news: No books were stolen, so you are not a suspect, gentle reader.

Details are here.--David E