Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We're #59!

Magers & Quinn's reading series is #59 on Mpls/St. Paul Magazine's "Best of the Twin Cities" list. What's more, we're also one of the sixty-four Bests competing in the best of the best showdown.

We're up against some stiff first-round competition--the Modern Cafe's meatloaf. Please log in and vote for great authors. I admit that meatloaf is tasty, but book readings have no trans fats or cholesterol. Vote here, and show the written word some love, would you?--David E

A Holiday We Can All Enjoy

Saturday Signings: Dara Moskowitz-Grumdahl & Stewart Woodman

Magers & Quinn Booksellers presents "Saturday Signings." Every Saturday in December, great local authors will be available to make your book a unique present--at Magers & Quinn Booksellers. Signed books are one-of-a-kind gifts. No one else can give your dad a copy of Kevin Kling's Holiday Inn dedicated to him by the author. Or a copy of Drink This with a personal recommendation from Dara Moskowitz-Drumdahl.

Magers & Quinn Booksellers makes it easy for you to get personalized gifts for everyone on your list. Every Saturday in December, authors will be in the store signing copies of their books. The events are free and open to the public.

1:00pm, Saturday, December 4--Glorious food books

"If you haven't lived with reading Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl every week, you have missed the reason why we humans have opposing thumbs. They're there so you can keep turning her pages. With Dara doing a wine book, the days are over of buying bottles because the labels match your home team colors. Be bamboozled and intimidated no more. Dara is about to give you the best and easiest kind of wine smarts, and gift you a good read in the bargain."--Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of The Splendid Table

"Straight-forward, clearly organized and ambitiously witty, [Drink This] makes reading about wine fundamentals interesting again. Includes many "conversations" with bigwigs in the industry, provocative sidebars, and a clever "what's to love/hate" approach to major grapes."--Epicurious.com

On a brisk February morning, Stewart Woodman learned he’d been named a semifinalist for Best Chef: Midwest by the prestigious James Beard Foundation. That afternoon, a fire gutted his restaurant, Heidi’s, a southwest Minneapolis bistro whose inspired meals had garnered a passionate following among neighbors and travelers alike. Undaunted, Woodman turned his time and energy to cooking on a smaller scale--at home, for family and friends. He learned to adjust his tools and ingredients but not his style, and the result is chef-quality fare suitable for the home kitchen.

"Shefzilla is a great achievement--superb recipes, pertinent insight into the mind of a fine chef, a nifty glimpse into the kitchens I wish I worked in--but mostly this is a finely tuned chronicle of the food we all want to cook and eat with friends and family."--Andrew Zimmern, co-creator, host, and contributing producer of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stay Warm

Fight winter's chill: Michael Nordskog and Aaron W. Hautala discuss the lure and lore of the sauna--7:30pm, Tuesday, November 30, at Magers & Quinn.

As many in the north country can attest, one of life’s great pleasures resides in the tradition of sauna--sitting in 180-plus-degree heat and throwing cool water on oven-hot stones to create a blast of steam (called löyly), followed by a jump in the lake, standing naked in subzero temperatures (or even rolling in the snow), or just relaxing on the cooling porch. To the uninitiated, there is a strange, alluring mystique to the art of Finnish sauna. But to an ever-increasing number of people--from their small urban saunas to backwoods and lakeside retreats--the culture and practice of Finnish sauna are as much a part of northwoods life as campfires and canoe trips.

Beginning with the origins of Finnish sauna and arrival of the practice to North America, and continuing all the way to contemporary design, The Opposite of Cold is an exquisite commemoration of the history, culture, and practice of Finnish sauna in the north woods. With stunning photographs of unique and historic saunas of the region--including the oldest sauna in North America, incredible surviving saunas from immigrant farmsteads, and the gorgeous contemporary saunas from noted architects--Michael Nordskog and Aaron W. Hautala unveil the importance and beauty of sauna culture in modern Midwestern life.

Richly illuminated by Hautala’s photographs of distinctive saunas from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, and Finland, The Opposite of Cold is for people who grew up with Wednesday and Saturday evening saunas (or watched their steaming neighbors running toward the lake) and for those who dream of one day having their own. Through this book we see why Finnish sauna tradition is vital and enduring, from the warmest summer evenings to the coldest winter nights.

Michael Nordskog grew up in the heart of North American sauna country. He works as an attorney, writer, and editor, and he lives with his wife and three children in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Aaron W. Hautala is the creative director and owner of RedHouseMedia in Brainerd, Minnesota. He has helped launch a variety of magazines and was the founding art director at Lake Country Journal. His photographs have appeared widely throughout Minnesota.

Details on this event are here.--David E

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

M&Q's Thanksgiving Day Sale is Back

Start your holiday shopping early--and save 20%. Magers & Quinn's annual Thanksgiving Day Sale is back. We'll be open from 1:00pm until 9:00pm, on Thursday, November 25. Everything in the store will be 20% off the sticker price. Bring your list and get great gifts for everyone.

The fine print:
  • Sale applies only to items in the store.
  • No additional discounts or coupons may be used during this sale.
  • Store credit is limited to a total of $100.00 on November 25.
Stretch your legs on Thanksgiving Day with a trip to Magers & Quinn. You'll be glad you did.--David E

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Announcing the Grand Prize Winner in our 2010 miniStories contest

This week's featured author in our flash fiction series is Minnesota newcomer Hillary Wentworth.

Hillary Wentworth studied creative writing at the University of New Hampshire, the Salt Institute, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she received her MFA. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Caesura, and the Fourth River. Hillary enjoys reading, traveling, hip-hop dancing, and roller skating, among other pursuits. As a new resident, she is excited about all things Minnesota.

Hillary's story, 146.9 Volts, was selected as the GRAND PRIZE WINNER by our 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 stories, 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 Hillary's story.

Meet Michael Fischman at M&Q

“Michael Fischman’s journey reveals how fears and negative emotions can be transformed into love, compassion, and higher consciousness when a student has an authentic relationship with a wise teacher.”--Deepak Chopra

Stumbling Into Infinity is the intimate and sometimes startling account of Michael Fischman’s spiritual journey and the encounter that changed his life forever. His story opens on a flight to India, as he reflects on the unusual chain of events that led him from a challenging childhood to his unexpected role as friend and helper to a renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader. Michael Fischman’s fascinating and personal memoir takes us into the compassionate and mysterious world of an enlightened seer. It is a compelling narrative that blends remarkable experiences with an inner struggle and search for meaning.

Michael Fischman is a leader in the field of personal development. He is a founding member and current president of the U.S. Art of Living Foundation, a global non-profit educational and humanitarian organization, and is also the CEO of the APEX course, the corporate training division of the International Association for Human Values, an NGO founded by spiritual leader and humanitarian Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

You can meet Michael Fischman when he visits Magers & Quinn Booksellers--4:00pm, Sunday, November 21. Details are here.--David E

Get Happy

What lifestyle secrets can we learn from the world’s happiest people? Dan Buettner tells you when he comes to Magers & Quinn Booksellers--7:30pm, Monday, November 22.

In Thrive:Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, New York Times bestselling author and explorer, Dan Buettner, reports on the surprising findings from his five-year global study on the keys to personal happiness. In addition to sharing his extraordinary accounts of the happiest people on the planet, Buettner examines how their unique lifestyles correlate to their extraordinary well-being. Finally--and most importantly--Buettner details how to incorporate these powerful characteristics into our daily routine so that we, too, can thrive.

The National Geographic Society sent Buettner on assignment to the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark; the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon; the town of San Luis Obispo in California (arguably the happiest place in America); and perhaps counter-intuitively, the island of Singapore, a region known for its draconian justice system. To unravel the complicated mystery of how each of these four geographic pockets, and specifically their culture, geography, government policies and behavior of their thriving citizens, stack the deck in favor of happiness, Buettner began his research plumbing the most comprehensive databases--tens of millions of data points collected over the past 70 years and representing 95 percent of the world’s population--to determine which factors most directly impact happiness. In addition, he gathered valuable insights from social scientists, economists, politicians, writers, demographers, physiologists, anthropologists and even comedians in each location.

"Dan Buettner has hit this one out the ballpark. In fact, reading Thrive had the effect of asking myself whether it was worth devoting any more time to the arduous study of well-being. I would like to add the book to our class reading list, but again I am afraid of signaling to our PhD students that they need not bother learn statistics and survey methods…Thrive is really subversive!"--Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow and Professor of Psychology Claremont Graduate

Dan Buettner is an internationally recognized research, explorer, and author. As a pioneer in exploration and education, he has traveled the world to find the best practices in health, longevity and happiness. Buettner's National Geographic cover story on longevity, "The Secrets of Living Longer" was one of the top-selling issues in history and a made him a finalist for a national magazine award. His 2008 book, The Blue Zones, hit the New York Times bestseller list.

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Coming to America

In the Company of Angels, a luminous love story and an internationally acclaimed masterpiece, is at last being published in the United States for the first time. You can meet its author Thomas E Kennedy at Magers & Quinn--7:30pm, Friday, November 19.

“[A] wide-ranging and assured novel….The stories of torture that emerge…offer, in their horror and dignity, a quiet criticism of the characters with more prosaic problems.”--New Yorker

Imprisoned for teaching political poetry to his students, Bernardo Greene has been tortured for months in Pinochet’s Chile when he is visited by two angels who promise that he will survive to experience beauty and love once again. Months later, in Copenhagen, where he has come for treatment, the Chilean exile befriends Michela Ibsen, herself a survivor of domestic abuse. In the long nights of summer, the two of them struggle to heal, to forgive those who have left them damaged, and to trust themselves to love. Taking on the very best and the very worst of human experience, In the Company of Angels is a moving, achingly human story that achieves a fable-like quality rare in contemporary fiction. Dense with wisdom and humanity, this already acclaimed novel is a riveting testament to the resilience and complexity of the human heart.

In the Company of Angels... is powerful and of the moment.... Kennedy writes clean, evocative prose, and an occasional note of humor leavens this dark novel. He is a writer to be reckoned with, and it's about time the reckoning got underway in the country of his birth.”--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Thomas E. Kennedy spent his youth hitchhiking and writing his way around the United States before moving to Europe, where he has quietly published over twenty books. In the decade from 1995 to 2005, he wrote the Copenhagen Quartet, four novels set in the Danish capital, his adopted home. Published in Ireland and Denmark, the Copenhagen Quartet won international awards and was hailed as a “masterpiece” by Duff Brenna. Critics concurred, establishing Kennedy as a daring writer of rare grace and vision. Yet his work has never seen major publication in his native country. In the Company of Angels is the first novel of the Quartet to appear here.Details are here.--David E

Saturday Signings Make Your Holiday Shopping Easy

Magers & Quinn Booksellers presents "Saturday Signings." Every Saturday in December, great local authors will be available to make your book a unique present--at Magers & Quinn Booksellers. Signed books are one-of-a-kind gifts. No one else can give your dad a copy of Kevin Kling's Holiday Inn dedicated to him by the author. Or a copy of Drink This with a personal recommendation from Dara Moskowitz-Grumdahl.

Magers & Quinn Booksellers makes it easy for you to get personalized gifts for everyone on your list. Every Saturday in December, authors will be in the store signing copies of their books. The events are free and open to the public.

1:00pm, Saturday, December 4--Glorious food books

1:00pm, Saturday, December 11--Books children of all ages

Bonus signing!--12:00pm, Saturday, December 18

1:00pm, Saturday, December 18--(Minnesota) Nice Books

Stay tuned for details or check out www.magersandquinn.com for details right now.--David E

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Popularity Index

The Independent has a headline sure to warm the cockles of an English professor's heart: "Shakespeare has more friends than J.K. Rowling." The article refers to the work of www.allfacebook.com, which compiled a list of authors ranked according to their number of friends on Facebook:
  1. Stephen King (1,302,973 fans)
  2. Nicholas Sparks (506,300)
  3. George Orwell (399,403)
  4. Shakespeare (356,920)
  5. Nora Roberts (290,836)
  6. Stephenie Meyer (261,176)
  7. Jane Austen (230,814)
  8. Anne Rice (229,192)
  9. Jodi Picoult (209,637)
  10. Sidney Sheldon (207,727)
Details are here.--David E

Friday, November 12, 2010

Best Pictures

Bink and Gollie is a powerhouse of a kid's book. It was written by Alison McGhee and Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Tony Fucile. The stories and the language are charming, and the pictures are as quirky and energetic as the title characters. All that star power has paid off: Bink and Gollie is on the New York Times' list of the ten Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2010.

Bink and Gollie is available now. And author Alison McGhee will be at Magers & Quinn on Saturday, December 11, at 1:00pm to personalize your copy. Signed books make great gifts, too, so get two. Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Biggest Book of the Fall

Beginning with a chance encounter with the beautiful Eliza June Watermark and ending, four days and 900 pages later, with the Events of November 17, this is the story of Gurion Maccabee, age ten: a lover, a fighter, a scholar, and a truly spectacular talker. Expelled from three Jewish day-schools for acts of violence and messianic tendencies, Gurion ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases of Aptakisic Junior High. Separated from his scholarly followers, Gurion becomes a leader of a very different sort, with righteous aims building to a revolution of troubling intensity.

"One of the buzziest books of the fall."--The Stranger (Seattle)

You can meet Adam Levin when he comes to Magers & Quinn--7:30pm, Thursday, November 18. Details are here.--David E

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bad Buoys

From Boing Boing comes word of this awesome desk. It's made from decommissioned Soviet mines. The manufacturer--Estonia's Marinemine--also makes chandeliers, aquariums, and even baby carriages from the old weapons. See their wares here.--David E

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Signed Copies of At Home Available Now at M&Q

Bill Bryson was kind enough to sign copies of his new book At Home: A Short History of Private Life for M&Q when he was in town recently to read as part of the Pen Pals lecture series.

At Home is a great gift idea for almost anyone on your list. When Bryson explores his house room by room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.” The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.

Get your signed copy of this enchanting book now, because once they're gone, they're gone.--David E

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sports Talk

"It's more exciting reading Bad Sports than 95% of the games I've watched."--Ralph Nader

Complaints from alienated fans abound: inflated ticket prices, $6 hot dogs, and $9 beers to owners endlessly demanding new multimillion-dollar stadiums funded by public tax dollars. Those sitting in the owners' boxes are increasingly placing profit over players' performances and fan loyalty. Bad Sports cuts through the hype and bombast to zero in on tales of abusive, dictatorial owners who move their teams thousands of miles away from their fan base, use their stadiums as religious and political platforms, or hold communities ransom for millions of dollars of taxpayer money to fund their gargantuan stadiums.

As the multibillion-dollar sports-industrial complex continues to lumber along, Dave Zirin is the voice in the wilderness, speaking out for the common fan with a tough, passionate, and intelligent voice that will remind readers that there is more to sportswriting than glowing athlete profiles.

Meet Dave Zirin at Magers & Quinn. He'll be in the store at 7:30pm, Thursday, November 11. Details are here.--David E


India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh blamed the country's illegal trade in owls on the usual suspects--blackmarket medicinal and religious uses--and on one very unusual suspect: a fictional boy wizard.

"Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls," Mr Ramesh said. His remarks came on the release of a government report entitled Imperilled Custodians of the Night. Details are here. (Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the tip.)--David E

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Live to Tell

In her heartbreaking, triumphant, and elegantly written memoir, Prisoner of Tehran, Marina Nemat tells the heart-pounding story of her life as a young girl in Iran during the early days of Ayatollah Khomeini's brutal Islamic Revolution. She will discuss her book at 7:30pm, Tuesday, November 9, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

In January 1982, Marina Nemat, then just sixteen years old, was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death for political crimes. Until then, her life in Tehran had centered around school, summer parties at the lake, and her crush on Andre, the young man she had met at church. But when math and history were subordinated to the study of the Koran and political propaganda, Marina protested. Soon she was arrested with hundreds of other youths who had dared to speak out, and they were taken to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Two guards interrogated her. One beat her into unconsciousness; the other, Ali, fell in love with her.

"Like a harrowing Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Prisoner of Tehran is the story of Marina Nemat--her unvarnished courage, her intrepid wisdom, her fight to save her integrity and her family in a world in which to be female is to be chattel. Written with the deft hands of a novelist, it is the portrait of a world only too real, where women's lives are cheap--but not this one."--Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Cage of Stars

Lyrical, passionate, and suffused throughout with grace and sensitivity, Marina Nemat's memoir is like no other. Her search for emotional redemption envelops her jailers, her husband and his family, and the country of her birth -- each of whom she grants the greatest gift of all: forgiveness.

Marina Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. She came to Canada in 1991 and has lived there ever since. Prisoner of Tehran was published in Canada in April 2007 and has since been published in 28 other countries. It is an international bestseller.

Details are here.--David E

Monday, November 1, 2010

Live Longer

Find out how to live longer--and stay happier--from two authors who've tried it all. Gene Stone and Dan Buettner will be at Magers & Quinn at 7:30pm, Wednesday, November 10.

Gene Stone is a bestselling health-savvy journalist who’s investigated virtually every form of regimen, diagnostic test, therapy, and fad. His new book The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick (available October 15) is a fascinating and original book of science. In it, Stone tells the stories of 25 people who each possess a different secret of excellent health--and shows how we can all use these insights to change our lives for the better.

The stories make it personal; then comes the science, the authority (with experts’ conflicting opinions on if and how it really works), and the nuts and bolts--how to bring each secret into your own life. From probiotics to veganism to a daily dose of garlic, from yoga to cold showers, it’s an invaluable list: 25 secrets to health, and how to make each work for you.

"Offbeat, informative, and fun, this original book reveals the health secrets of people who never get sick--some right on, some you'd never expect. ... A great read."--Andrew Weil, MD, author of Spontaneous Healing

Gene Stone is a writer, journalist, and former Peace Corps volunteer. He’s written and/or ghostwritten more than 30 books, most recently the national bestseller The Engine 2 Diet, with Rip Esselstyn; his articles and columns have appeared in New York, Playboy, Esquire, Vogue, Elle, and GQ. He lives in New York City.


Gene Stone will be joined by special guest Dan Buettner.

What makes us happy? It's not wealth, youth, beauty, or intelligence, says Dan Buettner. In fact, most of us have the keys within our grasp. Circling the globe to study the world's happiest populations, Buettner's new book Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way (available November 2) identifies the happiest region on each of four continents. He explores why these populations say they are happier than anyone else, and what they can teach the rest of us about finding contentment. His conclusions debunk some commonly believed myths: Are people who have children happier than those who don't? Not necessarily--in Western societies, parenthood actually makes the happiness level drop. Is gender equality a factor? Are the world's happiest places to be found on tropical islands with beautiful beaches? You may be surprised at what Buettner's research indicates.

Details are here.--David E