Friday, January 29, 2010

Without Comment

I refuse to watch myself on television, but I hear the store looks OK in this clip from last night's ten o'clock news.--David E

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Linden and the Oak

Mark Wansa reads from his novel The Linden and the Oak, Thursday, February 4, at 7:30pm at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

The culmination of nine years of work, including research and interviews in six countries, The Linden and the Oak is the epic story of two families and an ill-fated romance set against three very different backdrops: the impoverished, although occasionally idyllic, Carpatho-Rusyn peasant existence in Eastern Europe in the early 20th century; the horrific slaughter on the Eastern Front during World War I; and, finally, the voyage to a new life in ‘Ameryka.’ Partly the story of the author’s family, The Linden and the Oak is also the story of countless thousands of new arrivals from Europe who passed through Ellis Island. The historical context--Carpatho-Rusyn traditions and customs, World War I, and the immigrant experience--has been meticulously researched and offers fascinating insights into Eastern European culture.

This event is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Rusin Association. Visit them online at

Details on this and all our events are here.--David E

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another winning poem by Jeff Johnson

"Lake Street" is the second poem by Jeff Johnson to be selected in this series of the What Light Poetry Contest. It was selected by our juror, poet Connie Wanek, who wrote, "This poem explores the insufficiency of language. The image of a baby riding backwards 'for safety' is full of nuance, and brings another touch of lightness to the scene."

What Light is a part of mnLIT, which is presented by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Citizen Review: The Poison Eaters

We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with The Poison Eaters by Holly Black. The book will be available in February.

The Poison Eaters

Holly Black's novels for young adults combine, in a vivid and visceral way, folkloric raw material and the pangs of contemporary adolescence. Every tale in her new collection, The Poison Eaters, accomplishes this same alchemy in short story form. The result is concentrated, distilled, weapons-grade stuff, and it is beautiful. It's like very strong espresso, delicious to sip but powerful enough to keep you up all night wishing you could breathe comfortably with blankets pulled over your head.

Some of Black's stories use old faerie lore--the really old stuff (you can tell by the spelling) in which the Fair Folk are far more frightening than flowery—and situate themselves in the same world as Black's Modern Faerie Tale novels. Others are fairy tales of the familiar, Grimm-collected sort, concerning princes, princesses, and the inheritance of thrones. These turn out to be the most likely to cause nightmares. There are also queer stories here, both in the sense of having queer protagonists and in the sense of queering reality as it is commonly understood, making the familiar strange and the strange somehow comforting.

Many contradictions come together and dance in Black's fiction: the uncanny mixes with the ordinary, old lore walks in contemporary settings, and childhood collides with maturity in that heartbreaking incongruity for which "young adult" is as good a name as any. Every ending, when it comes, presents another contraction: they are simultaneously astonishing and inevitable. The last words of a last bedtime story, told by a king to the son who tried to poison him, will surprise you. The judicious and sacrilegious use of paper and scissors will surprise you. The choices made by Matilda, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," who teaches others to be so very careful what they wish for, will surprise you—and yet, afterwards, you will know that these stories could not possibly have ended any other way.

The Poison Eaters will reward the brave, and offer strange and powerful comforts to anyone who is, was, or is about to become an adolescent. The book offers something more useful than the old instruction to avoid eating faerie gifts: it provides both the poisons and the antidotes. Trust that these cures will work.
William Alexander lives in Minneapolis with spouse, new baby, and cat, and is always overjoyed to hear words used well. These are his current favorites: "We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"After Verona"

Four of the authors in Interfictions 2: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing--William Alexander, David Schwartz, Kelly Barnhill, and Alan DeNiro--are from from the Twin Cities. You can meet them Friday, January 29, 7:30pm, at M&Q. Details are here.

To whet your appetite, here's the opening of one of the short stories from the collection, "After Verona" by William Alexander. The SF Signal said, "[William] Alexander has a unique and welcome voice and the length feels just right. ... an entertaining and pleasant read." I think you'll agree.--David E

After Verona by William Alexander
The news is getting everything wrong. Her name was Verona, and not Veronica. She was not a teenager, and would not have been flattered to be mistaken for one. She was not an edgy performance artist. She painted. She also sculpted.

The news is implying that her boyfriend is sketchy. They always imply that the boyfriend, or husband, is sketchy. I’m angry on his behalf. I am also angry because this basic, default assumption usually turns out to be right. Part of the logic behind it is that someone has to care about you very deeply if they are going to bother beating you to death with “multiple instruments.”

The only fact which does not change between newspaper editions is the fact that she is dead. That part is accurate. I know because she isn’t answering messages, and because she hasn’t finished the painting that’s supposed to be in a show next week. I know because I’m looking after her dog, and she would never leave her dog alone for this long if she could possibly help it.

The dog is small and bug-eyed. She loved it. I made fun of her for it. It never barks, it just whines when it needs to excrete.

The newspapers are retelling a familiar story, visible in the details they choose to print, the ones they ignore, and the ones they completely and utterly misrepresent. They are not doing this by choice. They have no choice. The pattern is hardwired.

They are telling a story about a girl who goes walking alone. She meets a wolf. The end. It is all very sad, but with clucking of tongues and with shaking of heads we must admit that, in some small way, she had it coming.

I am not at all sure that I want to know the other story, the one under the latex gloves of a medical examination, but I do know that it is not about a girl who went walking alone in dark woods and died there. She was smart, and she was careful, and she died at home. She did not have it coming.

Hear the rest of the story on Friday.--David E

Mr Postman

The Guardian reports on the latest stamps from Down Under. The set honors Aussie authors, including Peter (True History of the Kelly Gang) Carey, Thomas (Schindler's List) Keneally and Colleen (The Thorn Birds) McCullough

I'm assuming most of the authors are pleased, but at least one--Bryce (The Power of One) Courtenay--is not impressed. He told The Guardian, "Stamps aren't what they used to be. It was the king's head on stamps when I was young. Now they just put old sh*tbags on them."

Details are here. (All praise to Shelf Awareness for the catch.)--David E

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tattoo You

Sunday, January 31, at 5:00pm, Amelia Klem Osterud will read from her new book The Tattooed Lady: A History at Magers & Quinn.

Today, almost a quarter of Americans now have tattoos. Yet there was a time--not very long ago at all--when tattoos were not at all acceptable in mainstream society. To be tattooed was to be an outcast and a freak. Many women found freedom in their decorations, traveling the country, performing nearly nude on carnival stages, making a living as "The Tattooed Lady."

The Tattooed Lady: A History uncovers the true stories behind these tattooed women of the circus sideshow, bringing them out of the sideshow and examining their working-class lives. These gutsy women spun amazing tall tales about abductions and forced tattooing at the hands of savages, but shared little of their real lives, and though they spawned a cultural acceptance of tattooing that we still see today, they have largely faded into history. Combining thorough research with more than a hundred historical photos, this lushly illustrated social history reveals tattoo origins, women’s history, and circus lore. The Tattooed Lady uncovers the remarkable women of the sideshow--many of whom were born and lived in the Midwest.

Amelia Klem Osterud is a tattooed academic librarian from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has a Masters in history from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and writes and lectures on the subject. The Tattooed Lady is her first book. Visit her blog at

This event is cosponsored by Live Fast Die Young Tattoo (44 Lowry Ave NE, Minneapolis; 612/789-5339; E

Read a story by Duluth's Paul Lundgren

We're back with another winning piece from our flash fiction competition miniStories. miniStories is part of mnLIT, which is presented by Magers & Quinn Booksellers and

This week's winner is "Beat" by Paul Lundgren. 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!

Paul's short story was selected by bestselling author Leif Enger, author of Peace Like a River.

Click here to read Paul's story and to hear what Leif had to say about it.--Jay P

Steampunk or Neo-Luddite?

The designers at twelvesouth have unveiled the BookBook. It's a cover for your laptop that looks like a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, so you can pretend you're Shakespeare while you twitter.

Details are here. (Tip of the hat to for the catch.)--David E

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Get Your Football Fix

Former Viking offensive lineman and Minnesota native Todd Kalis returns to Minnesota, with co-author Dr. Stephen Below, to sign copies of their book Pigskin Dreams: The People, Places, and Events that Forged the Character of the NFL's Greatest Players. Kalis has invited several former Vikings to stop by and visit including Hall of Famer’s Paul Krause and Randall McDaniel, The Power Trip (KFAN) host Mike Morris, Bob Lurtsema, Rich Gannon and John Randle.

Todd Kalis and Dr. Stephen Below conducted personal interviews with twenty-two Pro Football Hall of Fame Players about their early lives and influences for Pigskin Dreams (foreword by Don Shula). NFL players--including Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Franco Harris, Paul Krause, and Howie Long--shared tales of the factors that led them to greatness. The stories are candid reflections of each player’s childhood and the people and events that influenced the development of their character.

Come by Magers & Quinn Booksellers Sunday, January 31, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Remains

Peter Ross has made a series of photographs of William Burroughs' goods and chattels, and they're a compelling view of the iconic author. Says Ross, "William Burroughs lived for many years in the former locker room of an 1880s YMCA, on the Bowery in New York City. The almost windowless space was known as The Bunker. When he died in 1997, his friend and mine, John Giorno, kept the apartment intact, with many of Burroughs’s possessions sitting as they were. ... His bedroom is as he left it, with all his stuff in place."

See all the pictures here--thanks to the The Morning News.--David E

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Tattoos have been a lifelong fascination for me"

Amelia Klem Osterud will be at Magers & Quinn at 5:00pm, Sunday, January 31, to read from her fascinating new book The Tattooed Lady: A History. It's a beautiful book, full of illustrations and history.

Check out some of the photographs from the book, read the introduction, then join us to learn even more from the author herself.

From the Introduction:
Tattoos have been a lifelong fascination for me; I grew up drawing on my body with colored markers to create my own tattoos before getting my first real one at age eighteen. My tattoos are a major part of my identity; I am proud of the stories they tell about my life. However, I didn’t know much about the greater history of tattooing until a chance discovery in graduate school, where I was studying history and library science. I was taking a class on Native American women’s history and learned that many Native women (and men) were tattooed or marked in some manner. Even though I was more interested in studying women’s labor history, I delved into the subject of Native American women’s tattooing and found that nineteenth-century documents held a wealth of information about tattooing.

I went deeper, looking for books about the history of Western women and tattooing, and found, to both my horror and delight, almost nothing. Women are mentioned in general tattooing history only in passing or as an aside. Sometimes, they just show up in books of historical images of tattooing, mixed in with men with bad prison tattoos, completely out of context. However, there were a few women who kept popping up ever so briefly in my research; these were the tattooed ladies, a group of interesting sideshow performers with unbelievable tales. Betty Broadbent, La Belle Irene, Annie Howard. Their names were mentioned, but little else. Tattooed ladies were a part of forgotten American history, often dismissed in print as second-rate circus freaks or as monstrous, yet sexy, anomalies. These women were left to languish in a past that didn’t know what to do with them when they were alive, and a present that wasn’t sure what to do with their memory—that is, until now. I’m here to tell their stories and to celebrate their contributions to American history.

When asked in a 1934 interview why she got tattooed, Artoria the Tattooed Girl admitted, “I got tattooed because I wanted to get tattooed; it’s a nice way to make a living. You wouldn’t believe, though, how many people come up an’ ask if I was born this way.” Anna Mae Gibbons, who performed as Artoria for more than fifty years with various circus sideshows, dime museums, and carnivals, always affirmatively answered that question onstage: “The doctors figure it was on account of my mother must have gone to too many movies.”

Tattooed ladies graced sideshow and carnival stages until 1995, when the last performing tattooed lady, Lorett Fulkerson, retired from the carnival circuit at age eighty. For just over one hundred years, women who were not afraid of being different took advantage of the weird perceptions that Americans had about tattooing. The medieval idea of “impression,” a mark left on a baby in the womb because of something the mother witnessed, which Artoria referred to in the aforementioned 1934 interview, was clearly alive and well in the minds of American circus audiences well into the twentieth century. Other ideas about tattoos and those who had them were just as strange. Hospitals quarantined patients with tattoos, regardless of the condition or age of the tattoo, due to fear of disease and infection. Cities banned tattooing because they thought it spread cancer. To some, tattoos were the mark of a “savage” or a sign of a criminal mind, and on a woman, it clearly meant she was a prostitute. “Scientific” minds studied tattoos on individuals and deemed these people unfit for civilization. Yet, despite, or perhaps because of, the supposed danger, tattoos were considered exotic and sexy--the gutsy tattooed women onstage wore short skirts and skimpy tops to show off their body art. Then, like today, sex and danger sold tickets.

These tattooed performers came of age when it was unseemly for women to show their ankles in public, much less display their tattoo-covered arms, legs, and chests for paying audiences. That they chose this type of career is both remarkable and courageous, especially since many came from impoverished backgrounds. Despite the myth of the American dream, working-class women were born poor and stayed poor because they had little education or options. Going to school, working their way up the ladder--these were not alternatives available to them, and because of these limitations they lacked the ability to make choices that would help them break out of their class. The decision to get tattooed and go on the road allowed women to achieve things that few others, especially working-class women, could even imagine.

Their histories, both real and faked for the sideshow audience, show us exactly how important these women were to developing American culture. Their sideshow stories are, without a doubt, reflections of America’s nightmares and dreams. Early tattooed lady Nora Hildebrandt’s story is one of capture by “savage Indians” and torture by tattoo at the hands of her father. Artoria’s famous story involves her running off as a teenager to join the sideshow and become a tattooed muse. When you pair these fabrications with what has been uncovered about their actual lives, the differences are both telling and fascinating.

Their real biographies are obscure and have been pieced together from work histories, photographs, newspaper articles, advertisements, and interviews. Putting tattooed ladies in their proper context requires knowing where they fit in circus and sideshow history, the history of tattooing, as well as nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century women’s history. These were not women who left memoirs, diaries, or letters. These were hardworking women who spent a majority of their careers traveling, living life, getting by.

Ultimately, this book is about how a group of gutsy women found a better way, for them, to survive and flourish, and how their decisions impact us today.

From The Tattooed Lady: A History. Meet the author, Amelia Klem Osterud, at M&Q, 5:00pm, Sunday, January 31. Details are here.

Four for the Price of One--Free!

Interfictions 2: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing is a genre-spanning collection of short stories from 21 authors from around the world. An amazing four of the authors are from the Twin Cities, and they'll all be reading at Magers & Quinn Booksellers,
Friday, January 29, at 7:30pm.

Alan DeNiro is the author of Skinnydipping in the Lake of the Dead and Total Oblivion, More or Less. He was shortlisted for the O. Henry Award and co-founded the Rabid Transit series of fiction anthologies. "Skinnydipping in the Lake of the Dead was always my favorite. I'm thrilled to see him in bookstores at last."--Jonathan Lethem

David Schwartz is the author of the Nebula-nominated novel Superpowers. "A thoughtful and convincing blend of magic and realism. I believed in these ordinary, recognizable college students with their extraordinary abilities."--Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club

Kelly Barnhill has published several nonfiction books for kids, short fiction for adults in venues as diverse as Postscripts and The Sun, and a novel forthcoming in 2010 from Little, Brown. "Absolutely marvelous worldbuilding."--Aliette de Bodard, The Fix

William Alexander's short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and magazines both literary and gleefully genre. He teaches writing at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. "Alexander has a unique and welcome voice."--Charles Tan, SF Signal

Join us for a fascinating evening of stories both real and imagined. It's sure to be a lively night for fans of speculative fiction and aspiring writers alike.--David E

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In a State

Join us 8:00pm, Monday, January 25, when acclaimed “literary horror” writer Brian Evenson (author of Fugue State) and acclaimed indie cartoonist/musician Zak Sally (author of Like A Dog and former bassist for Low) celebrate their books. The evening will feature readings by Brian, music by Zak, and an onstage conversation with them both about their individual and joint projects.
"Everything Sally creates, on some level, is personal, he says, though the appropriate legal authorities should know that the stories aren't necessarily drawn directly from his life."--City Pages
Tickets for this event are $6.00--$3.00 for Rain Taxi members and are available at Bryant-Lake Bowl (810 W Lake St., Minneapolis; 612/825-3737). Tickets are available from Bryant-Lake Bowl at 612/825-8949 or online at E

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back 4 More

We're pleased to again have copies of Ounce Dice Trice back in stock. The children's book, originally published in 1958, was recently reissued as part of the estimable New York Review Children's Collection of revived classics. It's been out of stock since NPR's Daniel Pinkwater raved about it in early December.

Get your copy while they last. Stop by the store or buy one here.--David E

The Third Way

Tired of having to choose between the durability of a hardcover and the flexibility of a paperback? You'll like the new format UK publisher Bloomsbury is introducing.

The "bendyback" is halfway between rigid and pliant. The Bookseller describes the binding thus: "The bendyback is mid-way between hardcover and paperback, with a very thin board binding (0.42mm) and a cover design printed onto 150gsm linen. This firm but flexible style of binding is popular in Europe, and in Germany is called a 'smartcover'."

Jon McGregor's novel Even the Dogs will be released as a bendy in the UK, but a paperback in the States. Details are here.--David E

Beneath the Lion's Gaze

Magers & Quinn is pleased to bring an exciting young talent to the Twin Cities. At 5:00pm, Sunday, January 24, Maaza Mengiste will read from her novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze.

This memorable heartbreaking story opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1974, on the eve of a revolution. Yonas kneels in his mother’s prayer room, pleading to his god for an end to the violence that has wracked his family and country. His father, Hailu, a prominent doctor, has been ordered to report to jail after helping a victim of state-sanctioned torture to die. And Dawit, Hailu’s youngest son, has joined an underground resistance movement--a choice that will lead to more upheaval and bloodshed across a ravaged Ethiopia.

Read an excerpt at

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze is an extraordinary novel, which assembles a dauntingly broad cast of characters and, through them, tells stories that nobody can want to hear, in such a way that we cannot stop listening. Although set more than thirty years ago, Mengiste's novel is timely and vital: Its illumination of a world unfamiliar to most Americans shows us how individuals will fight to retain their humanity in the face of atrocity.”--Claire Messud, BookForum

Details on this event are here.--David E

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ellen Sandbeck on KFAI

Ellen Sandbeck was on KFAI's Catalyst today, talking about her new book Green Barbarians: How to Live Bravely on Your Home Planet. She'll be at Magers & Quinn--7:30pm, Tuesday, January 19.

You can listen to the show here.--David E

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Literary Voyeurism

Our bookshelves say a lot about us. (See this item, for example.) One French politician and member of the European Parliament wishes her literature had just kept quiet.

According to this article in the UK's Daily Mail newspaper, "French former justice minister turned Euro MP Rachida Dati is being ridiculed in France after a TV crew spotted a book called 'Europe for Dummies' on her office bookshelf."

Details are here.--David E

Science and Religion Together Again

This month, The Big Bang Book club is meeting in conjunction with the Science & Religion Roundtable. Their motto is "You don’t have to be a person of faith to participate in the Roundtable, just have an interest in the relationship between religion and science." We'll meet at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue (at Lyndale), in Minneapolis, at 7:00pm on Thursday, January 28.

We'll be discussing Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief by Andrew Newberg. The book explores the complex relationship between spirituality and the brain.This fascinating, eye-opening book examines both the miracle and the biology of our enduring relationship with God.

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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Other March Madness

The Morning News has announced its sweet sixteen, the competitors in the The 2010 Tournament of Books. Throughout March, a panel of esteemed judges will oversee a series of cage matches. Two books enter the ring, but only one advances, until finally a sole victor stands triumphant.

Obligatory local angle: Among this year's judges is David Gutowski, who runs the music and culture blog Largehearted Boy.

This year's contestants are:
Bonus points if you recognize the St Paul author on that list.

The tournament begins March 9. Get reading.--David E

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A mnLIT Original by Ben Weaver

"Eggshells" is a newly commissioned poem by one of our 2009 What Light grand prize-winners, Ben Weaver. Each of these new works is accompanied by a curated selection of work drawn from's vast database of artists. To view a slideshow of those images click here.

You can read more of Ben's poetry (and, while you're there, view his artwork or listen to a song or two) on his very own blog.

What Light is a part of mnLIT, which is presented by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and

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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Living Green, Simply

If you've ever felt confused by the challenge of living a simpler, more sustainable life, you'll want to come to Magers & Quinn to hear Ellen Sandbeck. The noted author and worm rancher will be in the store on at 7:30pm, Tuesday, January 19, to talk about her new book Green Barbarians.

Ellen’s common sense, no-holds-barred approach will appeal to anyone who feels confused or inundated by the contradictory information about organic and green products now dominating our marketplace. Green Barbarians shows that by mustering a bit of courage, arming ourselves with information, and rejecting the notion that antibacterial hand wipes, organic food, color-preserving laundry detergent and countless other modern day conveniences are always best, we can live happier, safer, more ecologically and economically responsible lives.

This event is co-sponsored by Twin Cities Green (2405 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis; 612/374-4581). At TC Green, you'll find a diverse collection items--recycled, reclaimed, natural, organic, sustainable--for your home and life, all deeply researched to provide you with the best guilt-free green products at the most affordable prices. Visit the store at 2405 Hennepin Avenue S, Minneapolis, or shop online at

Details are here.--David E

Do It Yourself and Die

You rarely hear of books being recalled, but it happened recently. The San Jose Mercury News reports, "Sunset Publishing, was forced to recall six of its titles Friday, after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said consumers who followed some of the wiring instructions in the books risked electrical shocks or could start a fire."

Details--including a list of the faulty titles--are here.--David E

Saturday, January 9, 2010


It's a big weekend on Lynn Rosetto Kaspar's show The Splendid Table. First up is Dara Moskowitz, talking about her oenophile how-to tome Drink This: Wine Made Simple. An excerpt on how to pick zinfandels is available here. The complete book is in the store now.

Kaspar also interviews Monica Bhide about her cookbook Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen. We've got copies of that one for only $17.49.

Man Fails to Bite Dog

The headline above a recent KARE-11 news article is alarming: "Independent bookstores in Minn. fighting to stay alive," it says. But don't worry, the story is actually a happy one. Both the Bookcase in Wayzata and Uncle Hugo's/Uncle Edgar's are hanging in there, thank you.

If you'd rather read your TV news, click here.--David E

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hard Times Indeed

Augsburg Fortress, the Minneapolis-based publishing arm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has unilaterally ended its employee retirement plan. Publishers Weekly reports, "At the end of 2009, retirement obligations totaled $24.2 million. Assets totaled $8.6 million."

In a recent blog posting Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO, said, "This was a very difficult decision.... There were no good choices."

Lewis' blog item is here. PW's article is here.--David E

Stay in Touch

M&Q's monthly email is a handy source of information about all our events, sales, and store news. Stay in touch with all the latest goings-on, right in your inbox. Sign up for the newsletter here, and you won't miss a thing.

You can also get to the archived newsletters from look for the "Sign up for our monthly email newsletter" link near the bottom of the left column on any page.--David E

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Read Rebecca Dosch-Brown's story The Trousers

We're back with another winning piece from our flash fiction competition miniStories. miniStories is part of mnLIT, which is presented by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and

This week's winner is "The Trousters" by Rebecca Dosch-Brown. 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!

Rebecca's short story was selected by Lise Erdrich, author of Night Train.

Click here to read Rebecca's story and to learn more about the mnLIT contest and to read the winning poem from the holiday week by Kirsten Dierking.--Jay P

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Half Asleep by Kirsten Dierking is this week's winning poem

Kirsten Dierking's poem Half Asleep is this week's winner in our What Light Poetry Project. Kirstin has published two books of poetry, one with Spout Press and another with Holy Cow! Press.

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 Kirsten's poem and to learn more about the mnLIT contest.--Jay P

Emergent Poets III

Magers & Quinn Booksellers and Rain Taxi Review of Books are pleased to bring three award-winning poets to the Twin Cities. Each has just published their third book.

Andrew Zawacki is the author of three poetry books—most recently Petals of Zero Petals of One (Talisman House)—and of several chapbooks. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and numerous other journals and anthologies. A former fellow of the Slovenian Writers’ Association, he edited Afterwards: Slovenian Writing 1945-1995 (White Pine Press) and is co-editor of the literary magazine Verse. He teaches at the University of Georgia.

Christine Hume is the author of three books of poetry--most recently Shot (Counterpath Press)--and a chapbook, Lullaby: Speculations on the First Active Sense (Ugly Duckling Presse). Her work has been included in The Best American Poetry, and she writes reviews and critical essays for a number of journals, including Rain Taxi. She currently coordinates the interdisciplinary Creative Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University.

Julie Carr is the author of three books of poetry--most recently 100 Notes on Violence (Ahsahta Press)--and her National Poetry Series selection Sarah--of Fragments and Lines will be published later next year by Coffee House Press. Her work has been included in The Best American Poetry, and numerous other journals and anthologies. She is co-publisher of the small press Counterpath and teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Join us Saturday, January 9 at M&Q for a night of great poetry. Details are here.--David E

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Citizen Review: Wormwood, Nevada

We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with Aaron Wilson's review of David Oppegaard's recent science fiction novel.

Wormwood, Nevada
It is a Twin Cities’ tradition to support local businesses, farms, and artists. We take great pride in supporting all things Minnesotan. Buying locally allows us to keep our communities, hinterland, and culture vibrant, ensuring a strong economy voting, Minnesota--yes, with our hard-earned dollars. If you still have that special someone, you know whom I mean, that guy or gal, who sits up at night pondering whether we are a lone in the galaxy, on your holiday shopping list, then I have the perfect gift to suggest.

Wormwood, Nevada is David Oppegaard’s alien-injected follow-up to his 2008 Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel The Suicide Collectors. Oppegaard is a Twin Cities native who, having grown up in small town of Crystal Lake, MN, went on to earn his M.F.A in Writing from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. He has a twisted and dark sense of humor that imbues all of his characters with tragic and often comedic destines. While reading one of his novels, you can’t help but feel sucked a long with the characters as they do battle with the most human of flaws while trying to collectively escape a lager than live catastrophe.

In Wormwood, Nevada, Oppegaard invites us to share in the lives of Anna and Tyler as they begin their new lives in the dusty sunburned town of Wormwood, Nevada. Tyler was offered a job teaching high school English, including an ever so thankful summer school class, in Wormwood. Tyler admits that he could have found a teaching job elsewhere, but he has a plan that includes staying in his Aunt Bernie’s home for a year while they save up enough money for a place of their own. Meanwhile, Anna, a former Miss Nebraska, still wants the excitement of the big city, and she is very leery about their move to Wormwood.

The town of Wormwood takes on a life of its own. Oppegaard’s writing allows readers to feel the sun-parched, dusty soil, and the refreshing sips of lemonade mixed with vodka that Aunt Bernie refers too when she says, “I figure drinking’s the most popular pastime in Wormwood” (12). Wormwood is one of those places where everyone knows everyone’s name and just enough of each other’s intimate affairs to be just a little bit dangerous, a real ‘these are the people in my neighborhood’ type place that would make Sesame Street proud.

The real reason to finish Oppegaard’s Wormwood, Nevada is that it is clearly a case study in personal and communal trauma. Tyler and Anna struggle with what their relationship looks like now that they’ve moved in with Aunt Bernie in Wormwood. One day, will Anna pack up her things, take the car, and drive west because she has finally had it with Tyler and his nerdy obsessions and Aunt Bernie’s over dramatic dream love affair with Leonard Nimoy, or will she stay? Will Tyler’s fascination with visitors from outer space drive her away? With his head in the sky, will he even notice that she is gone?

And what about the rest of the town, how will Wormwood define itself after the meteorite crashed into downtown? “Will it change” is the question that everyone in town is struggling to answer, as well as, “Can I change”? The problem is that change always follows a traumatic event. Change is a natural response to unnatural or unusual circumstances of which Wormwood, Nevada’s supply is about to overflow.
Aaron M. Wilson lives in Minneapolis with his loving wife and his two cat’s (one good and one bad). He reviews short stories for his blog, The Soulless Machine Review, and is an adjunct instructor of English, Literature, and Environmental Science at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Smile for the Camera

"The Long Hours of Neal Baxter"--a collection of photographs of one of M&Q's tallest and happiest regulars, taken by Matt Newberry--is on display at the Dunn Brothers coffeeshop at 3348 Hennepin Ave S through February 28. You can see a preview of the photos here.--David E

Word Flowers

Visuwords bills itself as "an online graphical dictionary." Enter a word, and the site blossoms with a display of the search term's synonyms, antonyms, meronyms (words that name a part of a larger whole), and even hypernyms (words that are more generic than a given word ).

I'm not sure it's more useful than Roget's, but it's certainly a lot prettier.--David E

Get Happy

Alex Lemon discusses his new book Happy: A Memoir--7:30pm, Thursday, January 7, at Magers & Quinn.

His freshman year at Macalester College, Alex Lemon was supposed to be the star catcher on the baseball team. He was the boy getting every girl, the hard-partying kid who everyone called Happy, often without even knowing his real name. In the spring of 1997, he had his first stroke.

For two years Lemon coped with his deteriorating health by sinking deeper into alcohol and drug abuse. His charming and carefree exterior masked his self-destructive and sometimes cruel behavior as he endured two more brain bleeds and a crippling depression. After undergoing brain surgery, he is nursed back to health by his free-spirited artist mother, who once again teaches him to stand on his own.

Happy is a hypnotic self-portrait of a young man confronting the wreckage of his own body; it is also the deeply moving story of a mother's redemptive and healing powers.

Join us next Thursday for a fascinating evening. Details are here.--David E

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bag It

If a book of yours has outlived its usefulness, you can always make it into a nifty purse. Written instructions are here, or you can watch this video:

A tip of the hat to for the catch.--David E

Better Late than Never

I'm really irked that I missed this during the actual holiday season. Oh well, here it is now, courtesy of the Bookshelfblog.--David E