Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vita.mn's Autumn Music and Movies Series

Magers & Quinn is proud to sponsor Vita.mn's 2nd annual Autumn Music and Movies Series outdoors at the Lake Harriet Band Shell. Produced in cooperation with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, the four-week series features a range of Minnesota musicians paired with their favorite and most inspiring films. Bands will take the stage at 8pm and play as the sun sets. The film of their choice will then screen at 9:15pm. Guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets.

Friday, September 3, stop by Lake Harriet to hear Solid gold and see the movie is Point Break. Details on this and the rest of the autumn's pairings are here.--David E

Monday, August 30, 2010

Read "Letters of Transit" by Jeffrey Burton

mnartists.org launches this season of miniStories with contest winner Jeffrey Burton's piece "Letters of Transit."

Mr. Burton's story was selected as a 2010 miniStories finalist by an all-star panel of flash fiction judges -- Alexander Chee (The Queen of the Night, Edinburgh), Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket series, The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs), Kevin Larimer (editor of Poets & Writers), Heather McElhatton (Pretty Little Mistakes, Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single), and author Dennis Cass, who served as lead juror in mnartists.org's 2010 miniStories competition.

miniStories is a part of mnartist.org's mnLIT progam and is presented online by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and mnartists.org. All the winning poems, as well as the poems from our poetry contest What Light will be published on magersandquinn.com and mnartists.org in the months to come. So come back soon!

Click here to read Jeffrey's story.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Feliz CumpleaƱos, Julio

The Argentine writer Julio Cortazar was born on August 26, 1914. Following the rise to power of Juan Peron, Cortazor emigrated to Paris in 1951. There he produced his masterpieces Hopscotch, Blow-up and Other Stories (the titular short story formed the basis for Antonioni's movie of the same name), Around the Day in Eighty Worlds (my personal favorite), and We Loved Glenda So Much. They're hard to find but well worth the search.

Like many Latin American authors of the period, Cortazar's work is surrealist and fabulist. He was also strongly influenced by jazz improvisation. His stories are melancholy and beautiful--I can't recommend him enough.

Julio Cortazar died in 1984.--David E

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Barack and Helen--Fans of Freedom

Jonathan Franzen's new novel Freedom doesn't come out until next Tuesday, but it's already big, big news in the publishing world. Franzen's first novel The Corrections was a smash hit (and won the National Book Award for Fiction... and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award... and was picked as an American Library Association Notable Book), and expectations are high for his follow-up book.

The story got even bigger recently when President Obama was given an advance reading copy during a recent visit to the Bunch of Grapes bookstore on Martha's Vineyard.

We here at Magers & Quinn also received an advance copy of the book from the publisher, and while we weren't able to give it to the President, we did find it a good home. It went to a beloved former employee, Helen Schnoes. She was kind enough to take time out of her studies to send us a quick review:

"It seems right that Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Freedom, comes at the end of summer. This book (like Franzen) repudiates the notion of a novel as a quick beach read to breeze through in a weekend, the content of which never breaks the surface. Acute detail and care pervades the whole novel--always necessary to the story. As a Minnesotan, I found Franzen’s rendering of our state to be spot on--he got all the names and references right. From ancestry dating back generations to a prominent change of narration to a few paragraphs following the migration of songbirds, each stylistic choice works to bring the novel one level deeper, to see his characters clearer, and to further enthrall the reader. In Freedom, Franzen has created a powerful examination of the U.S. today, infusing the novel with the cultural-political anger and literary passion that make his essays so enjoyable. I do wonder how a reader with more conservative political views would react to the novel, but hope that
regardless of partisanship, all readers connect with the complex characters he's created and the unspectacular, recognizable difficulties and relationships that fill their lives."

Freedom will be available August 31. Stop by the store to preorder a copy today.--David E

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sideronym, Metonym, or Tautonym? You Decide

From Oxford University Press'blog comes word of a nifty little quiz for word lovers everywhere. It tests you knowledge of the "-nyms." Sure you already know synonym and antonym. But how about exonym or chironym? Those really separate the tyros from the adepts.

Take the quiz here. (Check out this list at www.wordnik.com if you need a refresher.)--David E

Grammar Nerds Unite!

Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson created the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL). Armed with markers, chalk, and correction fluid, they circumnavigated America, righting the glaring errors displayed in grocery stores, museums, malls, restaurants, mini-golf courses, beaches, and even a national park. Jeff and Benjamin championed the cause of clear communication, blogging about their adventures transforming horor into horror, it’s into its, and coconunut into coconut.

But at the Grand Canyon, they took one correction too far: fixing the bad grammar in a fake Native American watchtower. The government charged them with defacing federal property and summoned them to court--with a typo-ridden complaint that claimed that they had violated “criminal statues.” Now the press turned these paragons of punctuation into “grammar vigilantes,” airing errors about their errant errand.

“This pair of kooks, with their high standards and principled civil disobedience, give me hope for the future of humanity.”--Steven Pinker, professor, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct and The Stuff of Thought

Meet Deck and Herson and see for yourself--4:00pm, Sunday, September 5, at Magers & Quinn. Details are here.--David E

Friday, August 20, 2010

Companion Animals

The indispensable blog A Journey Around My Skull has posted an excellent article about literary pets. Among the animals listed are Flannery O'Connor's peacocks, Carl Sandburg's goats, and Edith Wharton's dogs (at right). William S. Burroughs, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain and T. S. Eliot, on the other hand, were all cat people. Go figure.

You can read the whole story here.--David E

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mind the Gap

Below is the trailer for Zero History, the latest novel from William Gibson, author of Mona Lisa Overdrive and Neuromancer. Zero History isn't available until September 7, but you can get a sneak peek in the video below. It's narrated by the author himself.

William Gibson will be at Magers & Quinn Booksellers on September 16:
  • At 5:00pm, William Gibson will meet fans and sign copies of his new novel in our store
  • At 7:30pm, William Gibson will read from Zero History at The Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. Q&A and signing will follow. Tickets for this reading are available at Magers & Quinn Booksellers (3038 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. Tickets are $5.00 each, redeemable towards the purchase of Zero History.
Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bon Voyage

The indefatigable John Jodzio, author of If You Lived Here You'd Already Be Home, is taking his act on the road. He's touring the West Coast. If you'll be out that way, check him out. And please encourage your friends to go to his readings:

Beautiful Words

Toronto's Postertext makes posters that use words from classic books to make pictures for your wall. You can choose Moby Dick, Kafka's The Metamorphis, and even the New Testament. Decorate your mind as well as your wall. See them all at postertext.com.

Tip of the hat to Flavorwire.--David E

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"They’re apes and we’re apes.”

In order to write her latest novel, Ape House (available September 7), Sara Gruen--author of the bestselling novel Water for Elephants--studied linguistics and a system of lexigrams so that she could communicate directly with the bonobos living at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa. Gruen now considers them to be part of her extended family, and, according to the bonobos, the feeling is mutual.

“Four years ago, it would never have occurred to me that I would ever be able to say that I have great apes as personal friends, and now I can say that,” she said. “That’s just an amazing life change. I am aware of them all the time, and I want other people to be aware of them. It’s sort of an otherworld experience, and yet it’s not. They are of the same world. They’re apes and we’re apes.”

You can learn more about both bonobos and Sara Gruen in this short video about her new novel.

Magers & Quinn Booksellers is pleased to present an evening with Sara Gruen, reading from Ape House--7:30pm, Thursday, September 9, at The Woman's Club of Minneapolis (410 Oak Grove St, Minneapolis). Sara Gruen will read from Ape House; a Q&A and signing will follow. This will be her only Twin Cities appearance. Tickets for this reading are available at Magers & Quinn Booksellers (3038 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis). Tickets will be available August 1; they are $5.00 each, redeemable towards the purchase of Ape House.

Details are here.--David E

Saturday, August 14, 2010

South Dakota Nice

Jon Lauck reads from Prairie Republic:The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879-1889--Sunday, August 22, 4:00pm, at M&Q.
American democratic ideals, civic republicanism, public morality, and Christianity were the dominant forces at work during South Dakota’s formative decade. Taking Dakota Territory as a laboratory for examining a formative stage of western politics, Lauck artuges that settlers from New England and the Midwest brought democratic practices and republican values to the northern plains and invoked them as guiding principles in the drive for South Dakota statehood. Prairie Republic corrects an overemphasis on class conflict and economic determinism. Lauck finds South Dakota’s political founders to be agents of Protestant Christianity and of civic republicanism--an age-old ideology that entrusted the polity to independent, landowning citizens who placed the common interest above private interest.

In rescuing the story of Dakota’s settlers from historical obscurity, Prairie Republic corrects darker portrayals of western history and expands our understanding of the American democratic tradition.

Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

All Fall Down

No one was injured last week when four shelves in Indiana State University's Cunningham Memorial Library collapsed, tipping 25,000 books onto the floor. Workers were replacing the base of an empty set of shelves when it fell over and the other three were knocked down like dominoes in a row. Library officials expect it will be at least two weeks before all the downed books are sorted and reshelved.

Details are here.--David E

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hot Enough For You?

Hear a fascinating slice of history from the Big Apple this coming Thursday, August 12, 7:30pm, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers, when Joe Flood discusses The Fires: How a Computer Formula, Big Ideas, and the Best of Intentions Burned Down New York City--and Determined the Future of Cities.

In the late 1960s, the RAND Corporation--a California-based military think tank--had an alluring proposal for New York City mayor John Lindsay: using their computer modeling techniques, which had been developed for, and successfully implemented in high-level military operations, the city could save millions of desperately-needed dollars by establishing more efficient public services, planned by the new science of “computer modeling.” A deal was struck: RAND would begin their first major civilian effort with New York City. The result was the worst fire epidemic in modern urban history.

Details are here.--David E

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Short Versions

Too busy to read? Jason Huff has a solution. His AutoSummarize project uses Microsoft Word's feature of the same name to boil classics of literature down to ten simple sentences.

For example, Clippy thinks that The Illiad can best be summed up as "Gods! Gods! Gods! Hector! Gods! Gods! Hector! Gods! Gods! God!"

Huff has compiled his summaries in a book, or you can see them in a PDF here. (Thanks to Taylor A. for the find.)--David E

Monday, August 2, 2010

Annie Baxter kicks off the new season of the What Light Poetry Contest

MPR's Annie Baxter kicks off the new season of the What Light Poetry Contest with her winning poem "The Buildup."

Her poem was selected by Chicago poet Sandi Wisenberg, author of The Sweetheart Is In, and Holocaust Girls: History, Memory, & Other Obsessions.

What Light is a part of mnartist.org's mnLIT progam and is presented online by Magers and Quinn Booksellers and mnartists.org. All the winning poems, as well as the short stories from our flash fiction competition miniStories will be published on magersandquinn.com and mnartists.org in the months to come. So come back soon!

Click here to read Annie's poem.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hot Tickets: Sara Gruen and William Gibson

Magers & Quinn is please to bring you two of the fall's best authors.
  • Sara Gruen (author of Water for Elephants) comes to the Woman's Club of Minneapolis on September 9.
  • William Gibson signs copies of his latest novel Zero History September 16 at M&Q; he'll also be reading and talking with fans at the Minneapolis Central Library that evening
Tickets for these readings are $5.00 each--redeemable towards the purchase of a new book the night of the reading. Seating is limited, so get your tickets while they last. Tickets are available only at M&Q.

Available September 7

The author of the bestselling and beloved Water for Elephants returns with a new novel, Ape House (available September 7). Sara Gruen will read from Ape House at the beautiful Woman's Club of Minneapolis. Q&A and signing will follow. This will be her only Twin Cities appearance. Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani, and Makena are no ordinary apes. These bonobos, like others of their species, are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships--but unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language. Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn't understand people, but she gets bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she's ever felt among humans . . . until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what's really going on inside. When an explosion rocks the lab, severely injuring Isabel and "liberating" the apes, John's human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime, one he'll risk his career and his marriage to follow. Then a reality TV show featuring the missing apes debuts under mysterious circumstances, and it immediately becomes the biggest phenomenon in the history of modern media. Millions of fans are glued to their screens watching the apes order greasy take-out, have generous amounts of sex, and sign for Isabel to come get them. Now, to save her family of apes from this parody of human life, Isabel must connect with her own kind, including John, a green-haired vegan, and a retired porn star with her own agenda.

"Sara Gruen ... has created a true thriller that is addictive from its opening sentence. Devour it to find out what happens next, but also to learn remarkable and moving things about life on this planet. Very, very few novels can change the way you look at the world around you. This one does."--Robert Goolrick, author of A Reliable Wife

Available September 7

The author of the cult hits Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive returns with a new novel, Zero History (available September 7). Magers & Quinn Booksellers is pleased to announce two appearances by the author. These will be his only events in the Twin Cities.
  • William Gibson will meet fans and sign copies of his new novel--5:00pm, Thursday, September 16 at Magers & Quinn Booksellers
  • William Gibson will read from his new novel Zero History--7:30pm, Thursday, September 16, at the Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. Q&A and signing will follow.

Tickets for these events will go quickly, so stop by M&Q soon to be sure you get yours. Once they're gone, they're gone.