Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Information, Whether You Want It or Not

Activists in New Hampshire have taken their message to the Portsmouth Public Library. Staff there have found over 5,000 bookmarks in library materials. The inserts direct readers to two websites--one an internet radio show "for all lovers of personal and political freedom" and one which opposes public education. You'll forgive me if I don't name the groups and give them more publicity. The curious can find their names here--David E

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Magnetic Poetry 3.0

Remember Magnetic Poetry--the little fridge magnets you used to rearrange while waiting for your microwave burrito to heat up? Well, that was then. MP is now available online. Version 3.0 lets you move the words and word fragments on your computer screen. No word as yet about a mobile app.

Thanks to Wessel & Lieberman for the catch.--David E

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tanks for the Book, Man

Argentine artist Raul Lemesoff has turned a 1979 Ford Falcon into a "weapon of mass instruction." Armored with 900 books, the car--previously owned by the country's actual army, now roams the country distributing its payload free of charge.

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

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sneak Preview

Bonnie Blodgett spoke to All Things Considered's Melissa Block this week about her new book Remembering Smell. Blodgett lost her sense of smell after using an over-the-counter nasal spray. The results--both personal and authorial--are a fascinating read. You can hear the interview here.

Oh but it gets better. Bonnie Blodgett will be at Magers & Quinn to read from her book on Friday, June 25, at 7:30pm. Details are here.--David E

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Absolutely Entertaining

Magers & Quinn Booksellers is pleased to host the launch party for one of the first books from Carolrhoda Lab--The Absolute Value of -1 by St Paul's Steve Brezenoff--Thursday, September 23, at 7:30pm.

In his luminous YA novel, Steve Brezenoff explores the changing value of relationships as the characters realize that the distances between them are far greater than they knew. Noah, Lily, and Simon have been a trio forever. But as they enter high school, their relationships shift and their world starts to fall apart. Privately, each is dealing with a family crisis--divorce, abuse, and a parent’s illness. Yet as they try to escape the pain and reach out for the connections they once counted on, they slip--like soap in a shower. Noah’s got it bad for Lily, but he knows too well Lily sees only Simon. Simon is indifferent, suddenly inscrutable to his friends. All stand alone in their heartache and grief.

“Brezenoff’s enviable prose captures distinct, compelling characters as they struggle through the often heartbreaking work of becoming adults. Readers will identify with Lily, Noah, and Simon as they try to reconcile their longing for connection with their need to break free."--Sara Zarr, National Book Award Nominee and author of Once Was Lost

Steve Brezenoff has written several chapter books for young readers, and The Absolute Value of -1 is his first novel for teens. As he tells it, "I was born and raised in and around New York City, and I lived in the tri-state area for over thirty years. But I met and fell for a shiksa, and my exile began in earnest in March of 2006. Now we live in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with our infant son and our scrappy, smelly dog." Learn more at

Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You + Tutoring = Awesome

Last week, M&Q hosted a video crew. They--and actor Michael Ritchie--were filming ads for Rock Star Supply Co, which pairs tutors with high school students in Saint Paul. (Learn more about them at

Now the ads are finished. The first is below and there are two more online.

See the other two videos here and here.--David E

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Land Was Your Land

How well do you know Minnesota's history? Test your knowledge Thursday, June 24, at 7:30pm, when Mary Lethert Wingerd discusses her new book North Country: The Making of Minnesota from the University of Minnesota Press.

Wingerd's book chronicles the untold history of how the land of the Dakota and Ojibwe became the State of Minnesota. In North Country, Mary Lethert Wingerd unlocks the complex origins of the state--origins that have often been ignored in favor of legend and a far more benign narrative of immigration, settlement, and cultural exchange.

"By teaching us the story of this land, Wingerd tells us where we are today, and by opening up this neglected and hidden history of its native people, she helps us to understand the debt and respect that we owe them and points the way for us to make a better future for our children."--Jack Weatherford, professor of anthropology at Macalester College and author of Native Roots : How the Indians Enriched America

Mary Lethert Wingerd is associate professor of history at St. Cloud State University. She is the author of Claiming the City: Politics, Faith, and the Power of Place in St. Paul.

Details are here.--David E

Sunday, June 13, 2010

All Over the Radio

The airwaves have been full of people talking about Ander Monson's new book Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir.

Last week, Lucia Silva, the book buyer at Portrait of a Bookstore in Studio City, California, said "Monson's writing makes you realize how very alive thinking and writing can be," on NPR's Bookseller's Picks. Then this week, Jodi Chromey, editor of the fantastic blog Minnesota Reads sang his praises on MPR's Art Hounds.

You won't need batteries to hear Ander Monson. He'll be reading at M&Q at 7:30pm, Tuesday, June 15. Unplug and enjoy. Details are here.--David E

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Father's Day at M&Q

Celebrate Father's Day with Nick Hayes as he recounts his own father's life and accomplishments--4:00pm, Sunday, June 20, at Magers & Quinn.

And One Fine Morning is a memoir of Hayes’ father, Mark, an award-winning architect and artist who was equally at home sitting in the backyard or at a North Side Minneapolis restaurant or bar, laughing and telling stories. In the prime of his life in 1954, a series of heart attacks and strokes “cut him down, cost him his left leg, impair his speech and cripple his gift for painting and drawing,” Nick Hayes wrote. Two years later, one last heart attack killed Mark Hayes.

“Nick Hayes has written a moving tribute to his father--an artist, architect and dreamer who died too young but left behind a first-class legacy of buildings . . . a wonderful memoir of growing up in Minneapolis in the 1950s."--Larry Millett, author of AIA Guide to the Twin Cities, The Lost Twin Cities

“I’m going to do selected readings that I think gives the audience a good snapshot of the nature of the book,” Hayes said. “Some of those passages just reflect upon the story of my father, and a lot of which I’ll be reading reflects on the Irish-American community of Minneapolis in the 1920s and 1930s.”Although Nick Hayes says it is still difficult to talk about Mark’s death over 50 years later, he will conclude the reading with a portrait of the day his father passed away.

“Nick Hayes delivers a brilliant, touching and engrossing epic, which rings the bell of recognition as it moves gracefully through a rich and varied terrain. His captivating work captures, with respectful verve, not only the travail, but the magic, humor, and joy, that endures in lives well-lived.”--Carol Connolly, poet-laureate of St. Paul and author of All This and More: New and Selected Poems and Payments Due

Nick Hayes is professor of history at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University and University Chair in Critical Thinking at SJU. He is a regularly featured commentator for the daily public affairs program Midday on issues ranging from political turmoil in post-communist Europe to the war in Iraq. He has appeared on PBS’s The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Religion and Ethics News Weekly.

Details are here.--David E

It's Inevitable

It's not over. Two short stories by the late author/phenomenon Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) have been discovered in the Swedish National Library.

Will the stories be published? Well, they have a lot of strikes against them:
  • They're short stories, not novels.
  • They're science fiction.
  • They were written when when Larsson was only 17.
  • They were rejected by the Swedish magazine Jules Verne.
The final decision as to whether or not to publish the stories rests with Larsson's estate, but there's really no question that they will make their way to bookstores eventually. Details are here.--David E

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sneak Peek

M&Q has passes to a preview screening of Jonah Hex. The movie, which stars Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, and Megan Fox, is based on the graphic novel of the same name.

The advance show will be Wednesday, June 16, in Roseville. Tickets are limited, so stop in soon. When they're gone, they're gone.--David E

David Byrne Comes to Uptown

Nice Ride Minnesota, the non-profit operator of the Twin Cities' new bike share system, will host a panel of community artists, civic leaders and biking advocates discussing the future of transportation in the United States at a special "Policy and a Pint" event at the Uptown Theatre on June 17 at 7:00pm. The forum, "Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around," will include Twin Cities author Jay Walljasper; musician, author and artist David Byrne; Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak; and Steve Clark, manager of the Twin Cities' Transit for Livable Communities Walking and Bicycling Program. It will be moderated by 89.3 The Current host Steve Seel.

David Byrne, a founding member of the musical group The Talking Heads, will discuss his latest book, The Bicycle Diaries. Since the early 1980s, David Byrne has been riding a bike as his principal means of transportation in New York City. Two decades ago, he discovered folding bikes and started taking them on tour. Convinced that urban biking opens one's eyes to the inner workings and rhythms of a city's geography and population, Byrne began keeping a journal of his observations and insights. Bicycle Diaries recounts David Byrne's adventures as he pedals through cities from Berlin to Buenos Aires, Istanbul to San Francisco, Manila to New York. Part travelogue, part journal, part photo album, Bicycle Diaries is an eye-opening celebration of seeing the world from the seat of a bike.

Signed copies of David Byrne's book Bicycle Diaries will be available at the event.

"Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around" is part of the "Policy and a Pint" series, a collaboration of The Citizens League and 89.3 The Current, where important policy conversations are held in informal settings. Tickets are $10.00 and are available now at the Uptown Theatre box office and at the Minneapolis Commuter Connection, 220 6th Street South.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

History Set on Repeat

You already know the first part of this story. James Joyce's magnum opus Ulysses was banned in the US from its publication in 1921 until 1933.

Now it seems that history is repeating itself. Apple has banned a graphic novel adaptation called Ulysses Seen from its gadgets. It seems one of the comic's panels shows some fleeting male nudity, and thus the whole work has been deemed pornographic.

Thanks to The Big Money for the catch.--David E

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Where the Cool Kids Are

The New Yorker will publish its “20 Under 40” list of fiction writers worth watching on Monday, but the New York Times has leaked the names already. First on the list--OK, it's alphabetical, but still--is Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, author of The Thing Around Your Neck. She'll be at M&Q on Sunday, June 13, at 4:00pm, so you can hear for yourself what all the hubbub is about. (Short version: She's awesome.)

You will also be able to meet the list-worthy Gary Shteyngart at M&Q at 7:30pm, Tuesday, September 21, when he stops by to read from his new satirical novel Super Sad True Love Story.

There's even a third author on the list who will be here later this year, but I can't tell you who just yet. Stay tuned.

Oh, oh... and Wells Tower is on the list and he was here in February, reading from Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. But you knew that because you get our newsletter already.

The NYT's full list is here. Or just read the M&Q event page. It's about the same thing.--David E

Citizen Review #2: Vanishing Point

Last month Jess Horowitz gave us her "Citizen Review" of Ander Monson's collection of essays Vanishing Point: Not A Memoir. Now Hilary Wentworth brings us another take on this fascinating book. Get your own copy now and meet the author when he visits the store on June 15.
Vanishing Point
Hey, remember when books were fun? Remember staying up all night with a Choose Your Own Adventure, the story playing out in seemingly infinite ways? Ander Monson gets it. He understands the need for something more than just printed words on a page.

Monson describes his new project, Vanishing Point, as “a hacked out space between book and whatever’s beyond book.” And it’s just that. Throughout the physical book are dagger-shaped symbols that lead not to the bottom of the page or to the end, but to that most wonderful of places: the internet. The actual book is only part of the experience. In order to have fully “read” Vanishing Point, you need to go to Monson’s website and type in the noted words, an act that unlocks additional texts and images.

Many of Monson’s essays are about layers--of paint, of flavor, of self--so this electronic accessing, this unpeeling, of information makes sense to me. And like the life behind it, the book doesn’t just end. It goes on, perhaps indefinitely if Monson keeps adding to the site. I happen to love footnotes and endnotes; I think that’s where the real juicy stuff resides. If you’re like me, then buy this book . . . and let the games begin.
Hillary Wentworth recently moved to Minneapolis from New Hampshire. She misses her state motto.

Poetry? There's an App For That

The Poetry Foundation has released its own iPhone application. Called, logically enough, POETRY, the program lets you find poems based on their subject or mood--or shake your phone to read a random new poem. William Shakespeare, C├ęsar Vallejo, T.S. Eliot, Pablo Neruda, Lucille Clifton, and Emily Dickinson are all represented. And best of all POETRY is free.

Download it here.--David E

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Get Smart

Anya Kamnetz will discuss her new book DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education--Thursday, June 10, 7:30pm, at Magers & Quinn.

"A vibrant democracy depends on vibrant education. Anya Kamenetz shows a way to shake up education to release more potential at every level."--Naomi Wolf, bestselling author of The End of America

Nine out of ten American high school seniors aspire to go to college, yet the price of college tuition has increased more than any other major good or service for the last twenty years. Almost half of college students don’t graduate; those who do have unprecedented levels of federal and private student loan debt, which constitutes a credit bubble similar to the mortgage crisis. The future lies in personal learning networks and paths, learning that blends experiential and digital approaches, and free and open-source educational models. Increasingly, college students will decide for themselves what, when, where, and with whom they want to learn. Education is going do-it-yourself.

"Never before has a college degree been more important, making the need to address the failure of many higher ed institutions to deliver on that promise that much more critical. Kamenetz captures a higher ed system on the brink of dramatic transformation, and paints two provocative futures: revolution from within the system and disruption from the outside. This is valuable reading for higher education leaders, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in understanding how innovation and market forces can begin to drive real and necessary change."--Josh Jarrett, Senior Program Officer for Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Anya Kamnetz's new book DIY U tells how students are forging their own educational paths, and how parents, educators, and administrators can help. Read an excerpt from DIY U here.

Details are here.--David E

Listen Up

The Bookworm is a long-running program on KCRW, Santa Monica's public radio station. Host Michael Silverblatt interviews the creme de la creme of authors every week.

Tomorrow's show features a forward-looking lineup: Ander Monson (author of Vanishing Point) and David Shields (Reality Hunger) will talk about nothing less than "a new kind of writing." The show's teaser says, "This prose uses fact and randomness rather than story and structure."

The show will be broadcast in California on Thursday and will be archived here. Ander Monson will be reading at Magers & Quinn on Tuesday, June 15, at 7:30pm.--David E