Friday, April 30, 2010

"[I]n all this fooling about with form, something serious is at stake."

The Los Angeles Times reviewed Vanishing Point, the new collections from Ander Monson, via Minneapolis' Graywolf Press. The article gives a cogent summary of a very unusual book--part memoir, part meditation on reality: "Vanishing Point asks hard questions about the limits, possibilities and responsibilities of nonfiction, questions that are especially relevant in a culture obsessed with reality television, virtual reality role-playing games and tell-all books." (The full review is here.)

You can find out more about Ander Monson and his essays when he visits Magers & Quinn this summer. He'll be reading at the store on
Tuesday, June 15, at 7:30pm. Details are here.--David E

“We’d prefer it if there were alcohol available, but don’t want to force it in case you’re not the kind of person who’s into drinking on a Tuesday night.”

John Jodzio and Andrew De Young tell the story of how they first met in the latest issue of InDigest. John was a struggling author looking for publisher. Replacement Press (run by Andrew and his wife Sarah) was a new publisher looking for an author. The result of their meeting is If You Lived Here You'd Already Be Home. Both John and Andrew are very funny. You can see why the book turned out as well as it did.

The full conversation is here. Read it.--David E

Thursday, April 29, 2010

And a Puppy!

If you missed last night's reading by Jonathan Balcombe, author of Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals, You not only missed an evening with a fascinating author and an enthusiastic crowd. You also missed a puppy.

The Animal Humane Society, which co-sponsored last night's reading, brought along an adorable Australian Shepherd puppy. You can meet him and many other pets at the AHS' Walk for Animals this Saturday. And follow M&Q's events here. You never know who's going to be in the audience.--David E

Monday, April 26, 2010

Extra! Extra!

Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi will be at Magers & Quinn for a reading on Monday, May 17, at 7:30pm. He's coming to Minneapolis to talk about his latest novel Beatrice and Virgil with Kerri Miller's Book Club, but you can see him here for free if you're not a member of the KMBC.--David E

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Aww, Shucks

We're thrilled to be named the Twin Cities' "Best Bookstore (Used)" by the City Pages. And such a nice article: "Among the options for bargain-minded bookworms, one stands tall above the rest: the mighty Magers & Quinn. The uptown anchor has it all: an attractive space, roomy layout, friendly staff, and convenient hours. Its stock of used books is not only massive, it's diverse and well chosen. The store does an admirable job of promoting local authors as well as hosting readings from writers on national tours."

We're blushing.

The full write-up is here.--David E

Citizen Reviews: Parott and Olivier in America

"Citizen Reviews," our occasional series of customer book reviews, continues with the indefatigable Ben Paulson's thoughts on the latest novel from Peter Carey. It's available today.
Parrot and Olivier in America

There are two things that I should be honest about from the beginning. The first is that I don't know anything about Alexis de Tocqueville. I mean, I've heard of him. I've read a quotation here and a paragraph there. I know he wrote about America, about the United States of America, and I know he had various opinions about American democracy. But as to the aim and quality of these opinions, I think it would be fair to categorize my knowledge as near total ignorance. My second confession is that before picking up Parrot and Olivier in America, I had never heard of Peter Carey, a fault clearly my own.

Despite all of my ignorance, I was happy to discover that Peter Carey's new book Parrot and Olivier in America is a fascinating read. In the interest of clarity, I should say that this is a novel. Olivier, an aristocrat trying to escape the backlash of the French Revolution by escaping to the New World, is a fictionalized reimagining of De Tocqueville, and he writes his way around the United States joined by his somewhat less than faithful servant, Parrot. Carey uses these two characters as the framework for this picaresque story, cobbling together a narrative from their personal papers, letters and journal entries. Through this juxtaposition of Olivier and Parrot, Carey brings depth to the writing, allowing the narrative to alternate between the flowery prose of a youthful French aristocrat and the sly, pragmatic language of his older British servant. As a reader, you will revel in the linguistic dexterity of this novel, as well as the satisfying texture of Carey's sentences. Although the entire novel is aimed at exploring the young America and its potential, it is through the democratic language itself that Carey shines. This, I think, is the greatest success of the novel--that Carey's explorations of American identity are not thin mechanizations draped over political philosophy. They are researched, well composed and adorned with luxurious language; language that sprawls from high brow aristocrats to low servants, from eloquent pretense to jarring cynicism, from library desk to barstool.

Parrot and Olivier in America is an interesting work because Peter Carey reinvents and employs a historical figure as the template for an entertaining and thoughtful book that explores American democracy at its roots. It's a great novel because Carey is such a strong and versatile writer. If you don't believe me, read one of his sentences.

Ben Paulson lives in St. Paul, where he obsesses about books, zombies and breakfasts.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hail Fellow Well Met

Congratulations to Monica Haller. The photographer--and one of the artists responsible for the recent book Riley and His Story, Me and My Outrage, You and Us--has been named a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow. It's quite the honor. To quote the foundation's website, "The Fellowships are awarded to men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts."

You can meet Monica Haller and learn more about her creative process on Friday, May 28. Magers & Quinn is hosting a public conversation between Monica Haller and Wing Young Huie, at 7:30pm, at the Loft Literary Center (1011 Washington AVe S, Minneapolis.) The event is free and open to the public. Arrive early to ensure you can get a seat. Details are here.--David E

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Memoir is dead. Long live the anti-memoir, built from scraps."

In this week's New York Times Book Review, David Shields (author most recently of Reality Hunger) discusses Ander Monson's new book Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir. It's hard to quote from the article--I really believe the Times leads seminars in how to write an unblurbable review for all its writers--so you'll have to trust me that it's good. The gist of it is that memoir is ripe for a rethinking, and that Ander Monson is very good at exploding the form. Or, as Shields not-so-succinctly puts it: "he turns the banality of nonfiction inside out and thereby makes nonfiction a staging area to investigate claims of fact and truth, an extremely rich theater for exploring the most serious ontological questions."

Ander Monson brings his ontological roadshow to Magers & Quinn this summer. He'll be here Tuesday, June 15, at 7:30pm. Details are here.--David E

Saturday, April 17, 2010


We were the backdrop to some wedding photos today. No, I don't really know why, either. But we're always glad to oblige.--David E

Find Yourself

Colleen Baldrica will read from Tree Spirited Woman--4:00pm, Sunday, April 25, at M&Q.

As the former lead school counselor for the St. Paul Public School District and a Past President of the Minnesota School Counselors Association, Colleen Baldrica is no stranger to helping people listen to their inner voice. Her book Tree Spirited Woman is a narrative that takes the reader through one woman's intimate transformation from the death of her maternal grandmother to the establishment of a new and guiding friendship with a wise and mystical woman. Along the way, she learns to "let go and trust" in love, personal relationships, and, utimately, death.

Baldrica says the inspiration for the various chapters, which correspond to life's stages, came from her personal life as well as from the teachings of her Native American grandmother. "I thought a lot about subjects that were important to me," she says. "I knew these would have resonance with other women. Women are reaching out, and this book is touching many lives.

Details are here.--David E

Friday, April 16, 2010

Coming Soon...

"Cook the Books, Seattle's Annual Edible Book Contest" was April 10, and although winners have been announced, there are still no pictures.

I for one am eagerly awaiting an image of Robin Kessler's magnum opus "Quiche of the Spider Woman," which took the bronze medal in the Most Delectably Appetizing category, but was oddly overlooked in the Most Pun-derful competition. Robin, you was robbed.

I'll post pictures as soon as I can. Meanwhile, a full list of winners is here.--David E


The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awardprize--sponsored by the Dublin City Public Libraries and the Improved Management Productivity And Control company--may not be the most glittering literary prize, but it has something special nonetheless. The prize brings with it a purse of over $135,000.

The 2010 shortlist has been announced. The contenders are The prize has often gone to debut authors, so there's no clear frontrunner among the nominees. The winner will be announced June 17. Details are here.--David E

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Haiku in the EU

Herman Van Rompuy's day job is president of the European Council--so he's more or less the president of the European Union. But after the day's travails, he likes to unwind by composing haiku, 17-syllable poems. His efforts have been collected into a book, which came out this month. To better reach Europeans of all stripes, the poems were published in English, French, Dutch, German and Latin. For the Pope, I guess.

Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Join author Doug Grow for a discussion of his book We're Gonna Win, Twins! Come to the Town Park Tavern in Target Field (near the 5th St Gate). There will be free food and refreshments--and even memorabilia from the collection of Clyde Doepner. This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited.

Details are here.--David E

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Here, At Last

"Here, At Last" is the second of Neil Dyer's poems to be chosen a winner in our What Light Poetry Contest - and it's one of my personal favorites.

"Here, At Last" was selected by Leslie Adrienne Miller a poet and professor of English at St. Thomas University.

To visit M+Q's mnLIT page, read more about Neil and Leslie, and learn about the most recent call for submissions to What Light and miniStories please click here.

See you next week!
Jay P.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Help Me, Obi-Wan... Pass the Glitter.

Pundits would have you believe that pixels on screens will kill ink on paper, but there's a strong trend in the other direction. Blogs are becoming books. Julie & Julia, Regretsy and Cake Wrecks are but a few recent examples.

The latest instance of the trend is surely the best. A long-running craft column on Star Piñata, anyone?--will hit the shelves in late September as the Star Wars Craft Book. Promised goodies include
  • Ewok Fleece Hat
  • Space Slug Door Draft Blocker
  • and my favorite, the Jabba the Hutt Body Pillow
Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Boldtype is getting a jumpstart on Follow Friday with their list of ten top twitterers who write about things bookish.

The full list is here.--David E

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Start Up in Uptown: Shop and Walk

Get up, get out and get walking by spending a shopping day in Uptown. As part of a partnership between the Uptown Association and the American Heart Association, Uptown Minneapolis will host a day of shopping, dining and relaxing on April 10 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. to encourage everyone to "Start!" living a healthier lifestyle by walking a little each day. Nearly 40 Uptown businesses will offer "Start Up in Uptown Shop and Walk" discounts ranging from free appetizers and deeply discounted merchandise, to door prizes and drawings. Participation is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

Stop by the "Shop and Walk" check-in located at Cowboy Slim's Saloon (1312 West Lake Street) anytime during the event to pick up your complimentary gift bag, available to the first 200 visitors, as well as a complete listing of specials and a map highlighting each of the participating businesses. The map will outline different walking routes, ranging from easy to advanced, that will allow you to take advantage of the best discounts while burning off the most calories according to your desired activity level. Use your free pedometer, one of many freebies included in the gift bags, to track your steps, distance and calories burned. Skip the hassle of looking for parking by downloading a free Metro Transit bus pass, valid on April 10. Bus Maps and a complete listing of participating businesses are available for download at

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tell Your Friends

Magers & Quinn has a deal for you. Visit on Tuesday, April 6, and you can purchase a coupon good for twenty dollars worth of books for only ten dollars. The coupon will be available for only twenty-four hours. You can redeem it at the store any time in the next six months.

Spread the word. Tell your friends about the deal, and introduce them to your favorite bookstore for a bargain price. They'll be glad you did, and you'll be helping us find
homes for more of our great books. Details are here.--David E

America's Pastime

Baseball fans in Minnesota have a lot to look forward to this spring. Target Field opens April 12, and the night before two great baseball minds will meet to discuss America's pastime Sunday, April 11, at 5:00pm.


In Peter Schilling's The End of Baseball, a team that "almost was" becomes real, and the extraordinary season of 1944 comes vividly to life.

Bill Veeck, the maverick promoter, returned from Guadalcanal with a leg missing and $500 to his name, has hustled his way into buying the Philadelphia Athletics. Hungry for a pennant, young Veeck jettisons the team's white players and secretly recruits the legendary stars of the Negro Leagues, fielding a club that will go down in baseball annals as one of the greatest to play the game.

"The End of Baseball is so engaging and convincing that it accomplishes something truly special: it makes you wish desperately it were true."--Brad Zellar, The Rake

Peter Schilling Jr. edited the online baseball journal and has covered baseball for years. He grew up in Michigan and now lives in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The End of Baseball is his first novel.

Peter Schilling's short play Who's on Steroids (written with Judd Spicer) is part of It's Outta Here!, an original, nine inning show of baseball plays and sketch comedy. The interactive production has been designed to be like an actual game with nine one-act “innings.” It features baseball themes and an intermission (seventh inning stretch) and culminates with a noted baseball comedy sketch. It's Outta Here! will be performed at several theaters in the Twin Cities, March 5th through April 18th. Learn more at


From open air to the Dome to blue sky again in 2010, Doug Grow covers a half century of Twins baseball. In We’re Gonna Win, Twins! the longtime sports reporter and columnist chronicles a half century of Twins baseball, season by season. Grow captures the changing economics of baseball and vividly portrays the characters that defined the times--from the “holy cow” of original radio color man Halsey Hall to the sweet moments and struggles of players like Zoilo Versalles, the first Latin MVP, to the 2006 season when the major leagues’ batting title, MVP, and Cy Young Award all went to Minnesota Twins.

"There will always be people who say that baseball is just a game--until they read this book.”--Don Shelby, WCCO-TV

Doug Grow covered the Minnesota Twins as a sports columnist from 1979 to 1987, and as a metro columnist he wrote about the 1987 and 1991 World Series as well as the long debates over stadium funding. He is currently a journalist working for the online publication MinnPost.

Details are here.--David E

Saturday, April 3, 2010

M&Q Closed for Easter

Magers & Quinn Booksellers will be closed on Sunday, April 4. We will open again 10:00am on Monday.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Citizen Review: I Thought You Were Dead

We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with Ben Paulson's summary of the latest comic novel from Pete Nelson. You can meet Pete Wednesday, April 21, at 7:30pm, when he reads at Magers & Quinn.
I Thought You Were Dead
It's generally accepted fact that people who love dogs and people who love books rarely have anything to discuss with each other. I am happy to announce that those days of conflict are safely behind us. I Thought You Were Dead, the new novel by Pete Nelson, is the story of a man in a rut. Recently divorced, Paul Gustavson oscillates between his floundering freelance writing career and his local drinking establishment, meandering peaceably through his days side by side with his faithful dog, Stella. When his father is hospitalized, Paul must return home, embarking on a personal odyssey of reconciliation. Forced to confront his own disappointments, Paul ultimately finds renewal through an introspective reevaluation of his life, reconsidering the changes of middle age, the value of family and the meaning of companionship, canine or otherwise. Through this narrative of mordant humor and patient storytelling, Nelson explores the inertia of lowered expectations and the constant possibility of change. Perfect for the dog-lover in your life, I Thought You Were Dead is the tale of a man at odds with the world and the dog that talks him through it. Oh, yeah, the dog talks. You'll get used to it. In fact, like Paul, you'll start to find it kind of comforting.
Ben Paulson lives in St. Paul, where he obsesses about books, zombies and breakfasts.

Golden Rule

Jaime Theler, better know by her nom de blog as Bookmom, has posted this handy dandy guide to crafting your own bestseller.

The words of the immortal Tom Lehrer are as useful now as ever: "Plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize." And now the dance portion of our show.--David E