Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Harvard Bars Students from Books

Harvard University has put bars across the books on the shelves of the Dunster House dormitory. It seems they've discovered that several of the rare books in the collections have been stolen recently, and the bars are a temporary measure until the books can be cataloged and, most likely, moved to a permanent, more secure home.

Until then, no one can get to the books.

Details are here.--David E

An Evening with John Irving

Magers & Quinn is pleased to host an evening with John Irving--Monday, November 9, at 7:00pm, at the Suburban World Theater (3022 Hennepin Ave S). He will read from his new novel Last Night in Twisted River.

This is a ticketed event. Tickets are available only at M&Q and are $30.25 plus tax. This price includes admission and a signed book and admission to the reading. Only 200 tickets are available. This will be John Irving's only public appearance in the Twin Cities, and no other signed copies of Last Night in Twisted River will be available in town.

“Veteran novelist Irving’s twelfth novel is full to bursting with story, character and emotion…. Irving is a natural-born story-teller with a unique and compelling authorial voice. He shapes his over-the-top plot and larger-than-life characters into an artful reflection of how the past informs the present, both for the unforgettable trio at the heart of his novel and the flawed but indomitable country they live in.”--Booklist (starred review)

Over the course of an extraordinary career that spans more than forty years, John Irving has earned a distinguished reputation as one of the greatest storytellers of our time. With a body of work that includes novels, short stories and memoirs, Irving has taken readers on incredible journeys into the hearts and minds of characters who are trying to find a place for themselves in a world that has a tendency to turn topsy-turvy. Whether telling the story of a young man’s memorable coming-of-age (The World According to Garp); chronicling the trials and tribulations of an unforgettably eccentric family (The Hotel New Hampshire); describing the life of a young orphan as he tries to make a place for himself in the world (The Cider House Rules); recounting with laughter and tears an ill-fated friendship (A Prayer for Owen Meany) or documenting the extraordinary exploits of a magician caught up in a decades-old mystery (A Son of a Circus), John Irving has set the standard of excellence in contemporary fiction. On Last Night in Twisted River--John Irving’s achingly beautiful novel that explores the profound love between fathers and sons, the mysteries of love and sex, and the relationship between the memories that haunt us and the fiction they inspire--will be available on October 27, 2009.

The year is 1954. In a logging settlement in northern New Hampshire, Dominic Baciagalupo works as a cook, feeding a crew of hungry workers from dawn until dusk. A widower still reeling from the death of his beloved wife years before, Dominic is devoted to his twelve-year-old son Daniel. The camp is a rough and tumble place to raise a child, but the cook will do anything and everything he can to provide for his son.

Dominic is somewhat of a loner and spends much of his time prepping for the meals to come and attending to his duties as a parent. His closest friend is Ketchum, a hard living river man whose musings about life and the ways of the world become more abrasive with each drink he consumes. The two men are remarkably different, yet they are linked by an unusual history. There is also Injun Jane, the kitchen dishwasher, who dotes on young Daniel and offers Dominic companionship on lonely nights. Yet if Jane’s boyfriend, Twisted River’s ruthless lawman Constable Carl, were ever to find out about these trysts, there would be hell to pay.

On a fateful evening, young Daniel makes a tragic mistake that leads to the death of Injun Jane. In a split second, lives are changed forever. Dominic and Daniel are forced to flee Twisted River and become fugitives, trying to escape the vengeance of Constable Carl. In a journey that spans more than half a century, father and son travel from the buttoned-down repression of Boston in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, to the American Midwest at a time when the country is on a collision course with its past and its future, to the melancholic landscape of southern Vermont and, finally, to the Canadian north.

Aided and abetted by an unforgettable cast of characters, Dominic and Daniel experience the triumphs and tragedies that shape a lifetime. Over the years, their relationship deepens, as the roles of the protector and the protected inevitably shift.

In a recent interview, John Irving said, “There’s one thing that readers take away from many of my stories, which is don’t take the people you love for granted. Love them while they’re there, because you don’t know how the story ends.” Last Night in Twisted River is a reminder that we should love the important people in our lives ferociously because, indeed, we do not know how the story ends. Sweeping in its scope and intimate in its exploration of the lives of its characters, the novel is a work of one of America’s greatest storytellers at the height of his powers.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Choose to Reuse--and Save

They're back! The Choose to Reuse coupon books are available now at Magers & Quinn. The books contain a multitude of coupons you an use at businesses and organizations that reuse, repair, rent, resell or accept donations in and around Hennepin County. Cut down on solid waste and save money all at the same time.

The coupons are good from October 1 to November 30. Find more information on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle at E

Funny Funny Man

David Cross will be at the University of Minnesota bookstore at Coffman Union on Monday, October 5 at 4:00 p.m., reading from his new book I Drink for a Reason. Here is a bit of his reading earlier this month at Book Soup in Los Angeles.

There's another video clip here.--David E

Sunday, September 27, 2009


The UK's Telegraph newspaper heaps some derision on Dan Brown in their article The Lost Symbol and The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown: 50 factual errors. For example: "Brown claims the Washington Monument is the highest point in the city. This is false: the tower of the National Cathedral is the highest point. The Monument is the tallest building--555 feet--but the Cathedral, which is just over 300 feet tall, is built on Mount St Albans, a 400 foot tall hill."

Ah, but a more charitable reading suggests that Brown is actually improving his accuracy. The fifty errors are drawn from Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol, and there are comparatively fewer mistakes for Brown's latest novel.

All fifty "errors" are here.--David E

I Missed It!!

National Punctuation Day was last Thursday--the 24th. If you missed it, as I did, don't despair: You can still visit to review the uses of various punctation marks, check out photos of NPD celebrations around the country, and even listen to a punctuation rap.--David E

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Scarcity Sells

JK Rowling is twittering. You can follow her at jk_rowling. But don't worry that she's taking time away from writing her next magnum opus. She twits, "I’m afraid you won’t be hearing from me very often."--David E

What We Do In Bookstores After Hours

Hat tip to Bookstore People for the catch.--David E

Every Boat Turns South

J. P. White reads from his novel Every Boat Turns South this coming Saturday, October 3, 7:00pm, at Magers &Quinn Booksellers.

"A wonderfully absorbing tale of loss and redemption, told by a prodigal son returning to set the record straight with his family. For lovers of the sea and adventure, this novel will be a feast of delights, reminiscent of Conrad and Joseph O'Connor in its grasp of human character forced to jerry rig a moral compass amidst the drama of failed expectations and greed. ... This fast-paced story launches a major fiction talent who writes with breathtaking lyricism and knife point insight about the voyage we take to strip away masks and disguises, to expose and confront our drives and fears--bringing us face to face with ourselves."--Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife

Details are here.--David E

Friday, September 25, 2009

At Home with Edward Gorey

In conjunction with an upcoming documentary about the late author/illustrator Edward Gorey, filmmaker Christopher Seufert has posted a number of photos of Gorey's home, taken between 1996 and his death in April, 2000. The full set is here. More about the movie is here. (Thanks to the New York Review of Books for the tip.)--David E

Feline Persuasion

Millions of people have cats, dogs and other pets. Once in a lifetime, there is one so special you will never forget it. That's the case with Bill Voedisch and his cat Mitten. Enjoy their antics, and those of their other two-legged and four-legged pals, in Citizen Mitten. But beware, Bill says anyone who brings home a pet accepts the responsibility for their death, be it a few years away, or 20, as in the case of Mitten. Why? Bill tells us in his sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant, always memorable, stories.

Join us at Magers & Quinn Booksellers on Friday, October 2, at 7:30pm, to hear more from Bill Voedisch.

Details are here.--David E

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All Grown Up

Diablo Cody, author of Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper and author of the screenplay for Juno has won a hard-fought battle to adapt the Sweet Valley High series of young adult books for the screen. According to her Twitter feed (via Jezebel), she wrote, "You have no idea how many [*&^!*!]s I took down to do this project. I went 'full Jessica.' Believe it."

I've never read the books so I'll trust Variety's description of them: "The "Sweet Valley" novels followed the lives of identical twins with dissimilar personalities -- the sensitive and practical Elizabeth and the flighty and boy-crazy Jessica -- in the fictional town of Sweet Valley."

All praise to Jodi Chromey for the catch.--David E

Looking Ahead

It's not too early to start thinking about 2010. To help you out, we've
calendars in the store right now. There are wall calendars, desktop calendars, and even page-a-day calendars just waiting to help you plan a fun new year.

The calendars are tucked away near Pop Fiction. Just ask us if you need help finding them.--David E

Sarah Stonich at M&Q

Sarah Stonich, author of The Ice Chorus and These Granite Islands, will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers at 7:30pm, Thursday, October 1.

“Any woman who ever had her heart cracked open by a man should read The Ice Chorus, and the rest should too.” --Nuala O’Faolain, author, My Dream of You

“Stonich…pays homage to the Irish storytelling tradition in this sophisticated and fully realized tale of love and forgiveness. Midlife renewal and the power of art to transform life are celebrated in this bittersweet tale.”--Publishers Weekly on The Ice Chorus

Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Somebody Say "Amen"

Local book sales rep John Mesjak has written a blog posting that should be required reading for all computer-savvy fans of indie bookstores. How to Thank Your Favorite Bookstore talks about the importance of talking up your favorite stores on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and the like.

Mesjak writes, "[W]hite noise can drown out the genuine and worthwhile buzz about the places and people that truly deserve our attention. And, reader, you and I are the lucky ones. We already HAVE a favorite bookstore. We know where to turn when we need a new book or a recommendation."

I couldn't say it better myself. The full posting is here.--David E

A Novel--Yes, a Novel--from Ralph Nader

Only the Superrich Can Save Us is the vivid new novel by political activist and bestselling author Ralph Nader that answers the question, "What if?" What if a cadre of superrich individuals tried to become a driving force in America to organize and institutionalize the interests of the citizens of this troubled nation? What if some of America's most powerful individuals decided it was time to fix our government and return the power to the people? What if they focused their power on unionizing Wal-Mart? What if a national political party were formed with the sole purpose of advancing clean elections? What if these seventeen superrich individuals decided to galvanize a movement for alternative forms of energy that will effectively clean up the environment? What if together they took on corporate goliaths and Congress to provide the necessities of life and advance the solutions so long left on the shelf by an avaricious oligarchy? What could happen?

And who better to tackle those questions than Ralph Nader? Hear his answers--and pose your own questions--Wednesday, September 30, at 7:00pm, at First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Avenue S, in Minneapolis. No tickets are necessary, but we suggest you arrive early for the best seats.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A River Story

Saturday, September 26, 7:00pm, Eileen McMahon and Theodore Karamanski will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers to discuss their book, North Woods River: The St. Croix River in Upper Midwest History. The new book is a thoughtful biography of the river over the course of more than three hundred years. Eileen McMahon and Theodore Karamanski track the river’s social and environmental transformation as newcomers changed the river basin and, in turn, were changed by it. The history of the St. Croix revealed here offers larger lessons about the future management of beautiful and fragile wild waters.

Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Good Food from Denmark

Want a little inspiration to get you moving in the kitchen? We've got the event for you. On Wednesday, September 23, at 7:30pm, Trina Hahnemann will be at Magers & Quinn to discuss The Scandinavian Cookbook.

Trina hails from Denmark where she created, owns, and runs a cafe in Denmark's House of Parliament. She is a chef, food writer, and published cookbook author. You can get a taste of her recipes at

Details are here.--David E

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This week's miniStories winner is Terry Dunham

Terry Dunham's "The Last Trip to Bradford" is one of the winning pieces in this year's Flash Fiction competition miniStories, which is sponsored by Magers and Quinn and presented by Terry's story was selected by Lisa Erdrich, author of Night Train, which won the Minnesota Monthly Tamarack Award.

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 Terry's story.

More movie passes

Free stuff! Who wants free stuff?!

Stop by the store between now and Thursday to pick up tickets to an advance screening of the new film Bright Star, based on the life of John Keats.

Click the image to browse a selection of Keats' works.

This Staff Picked...

As part of a reworking of our website, we've begun adding pages for Staff Picks. My selections are here.--David E

Monday, September 14, 2009

News from Alaska

He’s in the middle of nowhere, Alaska, because his Eskimo mother has moved home, and Cesar, a seventeen-year-old former gang banger, is convinced that he’s just biding his time ‘til he can get back to LA. His charmingly offbeat cousin, Go-boy, is equally convinced that Cesar will stay. And so they set a wager. If Cesar is still in Unalakleet in a year, he has to get a copy of Go-boy’s Eskimo Jesus tattoo.

Sometimes We’re Always Real Same-Same is a novel about a different Alaska than many of us have read about in the past, about a different kind of wilderness and survival. As Cesar (who later assumes his Eskimo name, Atausiq) becomes connected to the community and to Go-boy, the imprint he bears isn’t Go-boy’s tattoo but the indelible mark of Go-boy’s heart and philosophy, a philosophy of hope that emphasizes our similarities to one another as well as a shared sense of community, regardless of place. As Go-boy says to Cesar, “Sometimes we’re always real same-same.”

Hear more of the story when Mattox Roesch visits Magers & Quinn to read from his novel Sometimes We’re Always Real Same-Same--7:30pm, Monday, September 21.

This event is co-sponsored by the Loft Literary Center.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Edward or Jacob?

Fans of the Twilight series of vampire/teen romance books can vote with their feet in northern Utah. Black Island Farms in Syracuse, Utah, has cut two mazes in its cornfields. One is for "Team Jacob;" the other is for "Team Edward." The gentlemen in question are the heroine's paramours in Stephanie Meyer's novels.

Details on the mazes are here.--David E

Friday, September 11, 2009

Movie Passes

Here's a special treat for our loyal blog readers: We have 5 FREE passes for the new film The Baader Meinhof Complex, based on the book by Stefan Aust. Each pass is good for TWO admissions to any WEEKDAY showing of the film.

To reserve your pass, please email me at

Click the cover image for more info on Aust's fascinating book or stop by M+Q to purchase a copy yourself.

Living Thoughtfully

Sue Leaf will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers,
Thursday, September 17, at 7:30pm, to discuss her new memoir about life in east-central Minnesota.

In The Bullhead Queen, Sue Leaf exemplifies the moral aspect of humans to nature through a collection of engaging meditations on the places she sees every day on Pioneer Lake in east-central Minnesota. Reflecting on the birds she peers at through binoculars and the Lutheran church that anchors the lake’s southern shore, Leaf contemplates how her relationship to nature has been colored by the Christian theology of her childhood. Acknowledging the influence of the church on her view of the natural world, she follows the liturgical calendar as a thread, chronicling the change of seasons over the year.

“Like the late Paul Gruchow's Journal of a Prairie Year, Sue Leaf's The Bullhead Queen records a sensitive observer’s impressions of local animals, plants, and a partly developed lake across Minnesota’s seasons. This is a gentle, plainspoken book that finds its truths in what is most local and personal—a breviary for humble, semiwild/semideveloped places.” —Jan Zita Grover

Details are here.--David E

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Support Your Library

The Library Foundation of Hennepin County will hold its Autumn Book Sale, Thursday, September 24 through Sunday, September 27 at the Central Library Bookstore (300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis). Prices start low and get lower as the sale progresses.
  • Thursday, September 24: 10 AM - 7 PM (All used books 50% off)
  • Friday, September 25: 10 AM - 5 PM (All used books 50% off)
  • Saturday, September 26: 10 AM - 4:30 PM (All used books 50% off)
  • Sunday, September 27: Noon - 4 PM (All used books 75% off)

Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Looking Good

Photos from our launch party for the book version of the Sartorialist are online, courtesy of Digital Crush Photography. If you were there, check them out to see if you made the grade. If you weren't at the party, you can still buy the book and get some tips for a fashionable fall wardrobe.

See all the photos here.--David E

Two Poets in One Evening

Wendy Brown-Baez and Tim Brennan read from their new poetry Wednesday, September 16, at 7:30pm, at Magers & Quinn.

Wendy Brown-Baez, author of Ceremonies of the Spirit, is renowned for her signature style as a performance poet; she takes you into her vibrant, colorful world with sensual imagery, elegant rhythms and poignant stories. Ceremonies of the Spirit is a collection of love poems that travel a spiral from infatuation to transformation, from grief to consecration. Ceremonies has been called "gorgeous", "exquisite", "flirty", and "joyous work that should be celebrated. ...engrossing, vibrant, honest, theatrical, mystical, lyrical, poignant, passionate, expressive, ceremonial, heart-achieving, soul-renewing..."

Tim J Brennan writes from southeastern Minnesota. As well as being a published poet, he is well-known as a playwright. His poetry has appeared in literary journals such as Whispering Shade, Main Channel Voices, Green Blade, and RiverWalk Journal. His poem "Hewn" took first place in the 2009 edition of The Talking Stick and he won a 2005 Whatlight monthly poetry contests on His short plays which have been produced in six states, most recently Chicago and NYC. Tim is a husband, a dad, and a golfer. On the side, he's been a teacher for twenty-seven years.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This Week's What Light contest winner is Kayla Skarbakka

Kayla Skarbakka's poem Mary in Blue 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 Kayla's wonderful poem.

Man Booker Shortlist Announced

It begins: The shortlist of nominees for the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction have been announced. It won't add much to your reading list--only one of the books is available in the States right now.
The shortlisted titles are:
  • The Children's Book by A S Byatt (Available in the US October 6)
  • Summertime by J M Coetzee (Available in the US December 24; excerpts here and here)
  • The Quickening Maze by Adam Fould (No US publication date announced)
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Available in the US October 13)
  • The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (No US publication date announced)
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Coetzee has already won the prize twice before; a third win would be a first for any author. Byatt has won once. The rest are first-time nominees. The winner will be announced October 6. Details are here.--David E

A Very Graphic Novel

Fans of graphic novels and devotees of dark family stories alike will want to come to hear David Small when he discusses his memoir Stitches, Tuesday, September 15, at 7:30pm.

One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die.

In Stitches, Small, the award-winning children's illustrator and author, recreates this terrifying event in a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. As the images painfully tumble out, one by one, we gain a ringside seat at a gothic family drama, where David--a highly anxious yet supremely talented child--all too often became the unwitting object of his parents' buried frustration and rage.
Details are on the M&Q events page.--David E

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Happy Medium

Seekers of all stripes will want to come to Magers & Quinn Booksellers at 4:00pm, Sunday, September 13, when intuitive coach Jodi Livon shares the fascinating true stories and hard-won wisdom she's acquired on her journey as a psychic medium. Packed with tips on trusting your senses, maintaining emotional balance, staying grounded, and interpreting signs from the Universe, along with fun exercises to develop your psychic abilities, Jodi's new book, The Happy Medium can help you learn to tune in to your own intuition for higher awareness and guidance in making life's decisions.

For more than twenty-five years, Jodi Livon has used her psychic skills professionally. An intuitive coach for the business sector, she also offers readings for individuals and leads workshops on developing psychic intuition. Visit her more information.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Oh Canada!

Toronto's online magazine The Gate has a nice bit of boosterism for Ian Halperin, author of Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson: "Ian Halperin has done what every Canadian author in the country has dreamed of doing, but only he has done since 1944--to see their name under the title of a book atop the New York Times Best-Seller list. Good for you Ian, keep up the good work--it is an inspiring achievement that we should all be proud of."

Stranger still is the accompanying photo of Mr. Halperin--disco ball shirt, gold bowtie, and looming above a not-so-subliminal sign for "Scientology."--David E

"I'm still taking Adderall, but I'm against it." has posted a great interview with Stephen Elliot, author most recently of The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder. In both the article and the book, Elliot discusses his childhood (drug-addled), his relationship with his father (fraught), his opinion of 60 Minutes ("exploitative") and his cagey plan to get advance buzz for his book (very successful). Through it all, Elliot comes off as entertaining and frank, just like his book, according to the reviews.

The full interview is here.--David E

Two Poets for the Price of One--Free

Two great poets will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers on Saturday, September 12, at 7:00pm.

Kiki Petrosino's poem, “You Have Made a Career of Not Listening,” was featured in the anthology Best New Poets 2006 (Samovar Press), and other poems have appeared in FENCE, The Iowa Review, Forklift, Ohio, and elsewhere. She lives in Iowa City. Her latest book Fort Red Border is available now.

Brad Liening teaches writing and literature to college students in the Twin Cities. His poetry has appeared in a bunch of journals and magazines, including Mustachioed, the Sonora Review, and Forklift, and a chapbook of poems, Ker-Thunk, was published by H_NGM_N B__KS. He’d like to get a pet but isn’t quite sure if he’s a dog- or a cat-person.

Details are here.--David E

Friday, September 4, 2009

Save the Date

Coffee House Press will be hosting its 25th Anniversary Benefit “One for the Books” on October 29, 2009 from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at our home in Northeast Minneapolis. The evening will include a reading by featured guest Ed Sanders, live music, food, an open bar, and a silent auction. Tickets are $40/person or $75 for a pair. To RSVP, please contact Emily via email.

Check out for more details.--David E

Livraria da Vila

The Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld has built a very nifty space for Sao Paolo's Livraria da Vila. My favorite feature is the pivoting bookshelves that serve as doors, but the rest of the store is equally cool. Check it out here.--David E

Meet Alaska’s Fiddling Poet

Ken Waldman, Alaska’s Fiddling Poet, will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers at 7:30pm, Friday, September 11.

A twenty-four-year Alaska resident, Waldman's live performance has been described by Michael Miller, music columnist for The State in Columbia, South Carolina, as “Picture William Carlos Williams behind a dogsled. Walt Whitman jamming with the Carter Family.” According to Austin Chronicle writer, Ric Williams, “Feels like a Ken Burns movie.... Always recommended.”

Check out for more information. Details on the event are here.--David E

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kate Ledger at M&Q

Magers & Quinn Bookseller hosts St Paul's own Kate Ledger, reading from her new novel Remedies, Thursday, September 10, at 7:30pm.

Simon and Emily look like a couple that has it all. Simon is a respected physician, one of Baltimore's "Top Docs," with a burgeoning private practice. His wife, Emily, shines professionally as a partner in a premier public relations firm. They have a beautiful house and a healthy daughter. But their marriage is scarred by old, hidden wounds. Even as Simon tends his patients' ills, and Emily spins away her clients' mistakes, they can't seem to do the same for themselves or their relationship.

Remedies explores the complicated nature of pain, in the nerves of the body and the longings of the heart. To what lengths would you go to avoid feeling pain? And would you believe in a cure?

Details are here.--David E

Free for the Asking

We've got a promotional poster for Chuck Pahlaniuk's latest book Pygmy. It's approximately 22x28". There's some damage to the lower corners.

This poster is free for the first person to come into the store and ask for it. Don't phone, don't write. Just come in and pick it up. Once it's gone, it's gone.--David E