Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stranger than Fiction

There's so much love in this news story from the Palm Beach Post.

First off, the setting is Ozzy Osbourne's recent reading at the local Barnes & Noble. Yes, I Am Ozzy is on bookstore shelves right now. Next, we learn that a fan there apparently forgot where he was and lit up a joint. Finally, when police searched the miscreant, they found not only more pot but also--wait for it--homemade fireworks. Because it's not really a rocking book signing without fireworks, is it?

Details are here.--David E

PS: The photo above shows Ozzy Osbourne at a recent signing in LaJolla. It comes to us via Shelf Awareness. There's no reason to think marijuana was involved.

Friday, February 26, 2010

How I Spent My Summer

If you liked Wells Tower when he read at M&Q earlier this month, you might consider attending Hamline University's Summer Writing Workshop. It's a week-long, intensive residential retreat which will be held at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Seminars include creative nonfiction with Scott Russell Sanders (author of A Conservation Manifesto), poetry with Patricia Smith (author of Blood Dazzler), or fiction with Wells Tower.

Open spots are going quickly. Details are here.--David E

Thursday, February 25, 2010

X Marks the Spot

From designer Icoeye comes this fresh idea--bookmarks that extend the design of the book's cover beyond the pages. As far as I can tell, these aren't actual books yet, but here's hoping the idea takes off.

Thanks to Design*Sponge for the catch.--David E

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stitches in Time

Flavorwire features a series of needlepoint projects inspired by the late Kurt Vonnegut. They're by the crafty Joanna; see more of her work here.--David E

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

There's a House in Far Bombay

There's a house in Mumbai. Called “The Dean’s Bungalow”, it sits on the grounds of the JJ School of Art in the city that was once called Bombay. This lovely structure is going to be a museum soon, because this is the house where Rudyard Kipling was born in 1865.

But don't expect to learn much of anything about the great British poet and novelist in the new museum. In fact, there won't be any mention of him at all in any of the exhibits; he's still too controversial. Quoth the Telegraph: "Sharad Keskar, Chairman of the Kipling Society, explained: 'You have a fairly ignorant officialdom in India, who don’t know much about Kipling apart from that he was an imperialist or part of the Raj. Officially he’s still persona non grata. I think that is changing, but it’s rather a slow change.'"

Thanks to Novel Destinations for the news.--David E

Read Ben Weaver's prize-winning poem "Devastations"

Ben Weaver's poem "Devastations" was selected as a Grand Prize Winner in this cycle of the What Light Poetry Contest. As a winner, he was commissioned to write a new poem for us. To read that poem, titled "Eggshells," 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

Friday, February 19, 2010

When You Care Enough

John Jodzio's piece "When You Care Enough" is in the latest edition of Minnesota Monthly. It's a funny recollection of greeting cards and garage door openers. Like all his stories, it's both funny and touching.

John's first book if You Lived Here You'd Already Be Home comes out March 19. You can get a signed copy at the book's launch party--7:30pm, Friday, March 19, at M&Q. Details are on our events page.--David E

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Think Spring

Design Blog Spoon & Tamago spotted these bookmarks in Japan. The Green Marker is from designers Bananao and Kinue Oneda, who work as Yuruliku. There's no indication that they're available in the US, but if you can read Japanese, maybe you can order them here.--David E

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Say it Soft, and It's Almost Like Praying

Even if a winter of inactivity has left you so enfeebled that you can't lift your head from the pillow, you can still read a book, thanks to these Supine Reading Glasses from Hammacher Schlemmer. "[T]wo optical-quality glass prisms that bend your vision 90ยบ providing easy reading from a recumbent position." Nausea medication is not included.

Thanks to Crunch Gear for the catch.--David E

Read a new piece of short fiction by Jorie Miller

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 "JULY 29, 1954" by Jorie Miller. Jorie is a graduate of the University of Minnesota who now teaches writing classes for beginners at The Loft Literary Center and at the White Bear Center for the Arts.

Jorie's story was selected by novelist Jon Fasman, author of The Geographer's Library. Mr. Fasman is also a writer and an editor for The Economist's web site

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!

Click here to read Jorie's story.--Jay P

Monday, February 15, 2010

Behind the Scenes with an ER Psychiatrist

Minnesota native Dr. Paul Linde reads from Danger to Self: On the Front Line With an ER Psychiatrist--4:00pm, Sunday, February 21, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

The psychiatric emergency room, a fast-paced combat zone with pressure to match, thrusts its medical providers into the outland of human experience where they must respond rapidly and decisively in spite of uncertainty and, very often, danger. In this lively first-person narrative, Dr. Paul R. Linde's Danger to Self takes readers behind the scenes at an urban psychiatric emergency room, with all its chaos and pathos, where we witness mental health professionals doing their best to alleviate suffering and repair shattered lives.

Details are here.--David E

Off and Running

Magers & Quinn Booksellers is pleased to celebrate Minnesota's resilient book culture and to host the launch party for John Jodzio's short story collection If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home. Join us at 3038 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis--7:30pm, Friday, March 19. This event is free and open to the public.

In twenty-one brief, funny stories, John Jodzio’s new book If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home documents his characters’ disappointment, frustration, and longing for a home that seems forever out of reach. By turns bleak and hopeful, cruel and tender, this is an exciting literary debut by a writer to watch.
"You may think you've read enough stories about penniless gay clowns who can't get over the loss of a dog, but--I assure you--you have not. John Jodzio is the best kind of modern fiction writer: a thematic traditionalist who feels totally new."--Chuck Klosterman, author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

We hope you can join us for a fantastic evening. Details are here.--David E

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Because I Love You

The BBC has posted a slideshow of historical valentines from the nineteenth century. The cards are part of a show currently on display at Oxford University's Bodleian Library.

Thanks to the inimitable Book Patrol for the catch.--David E

Friday, February 12, 2010


Magers & Quinn Booksellers is pleased to host the West Metro regional competition of "Poetry Out Loud--6:30pm,
Thursday, February 18." Students from the Minneapolis area will gather to recite poetry. The winners will continue on to state and national competitions.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with State Arts Agencies of the United States to support the expansion of "Poetry Out Loud," which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Details are here.--David E

It's C, Right?

WBUR's On Point program spoke to Peter Hessler about his new travel memoir Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory. Hessler drove the length and breadth of China and reports on how the car is changing the world's largest country.

He began his journey with a mundane trip: he got a driver's license. Among the questions on the written exam is this one, which tells you a lot about driving conditions in the Middle Kingdom, even in the twenty-first century:

223. If you come to a road that has been flooded, you should
a) accelerate, so the motor doesn’t flood.
b) stop, examine the water to make sure it’s shallow, and drive across slowly.
c) find a pedestrian and make him cross ahead of you.

Hear the interview and read the whole excerpt here.--David E

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet Music

Jennifer Salima Holt will discuss her book Sacred Gateway of Grief and Loss: Freeing the Imprisoned Soul, 7:30pm, Friday, February 19, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

Jennifer Salima Holt's inspirational book, Sacred Gateway of Grief and Loss: Freeing the Imprisoned Soul (Indigo Heart Publishing, 2009) describes the breakthroughs Jennifer witnessed by leading grief and loss groups for women prisoners. Many personal stories of miraculous change, love and light fill the book, as well as practical information about how each one of us can approach our grief and loss in sacred, loving ways. Sacred Gateway is a deeply felt, loving testament to the power and beauty of the human spirit to survive and even thrive, regardless of the depths to which we may tumble. At the event, Jennifer Salima will also perform spiritual chants inspired by her work with the prisoners (available on her CD, Ecstatic Groove: Sacred World Chant Infusions, Salima's Whirled Peas, 2009).

"Inspiring, courageous, beautifully written. Jennifer Holt's heart-felt story of her volunteer work running grief and loss groups with women prisoners shows us that transformation is possible anywhere. Her book is testament to the amazing capacity we all have to change, grow, learn and feel joy, despite our challenges."--Charlotte Sophia Kasl, Ph.D., author of If the Buddha Dated

Details are here.--David E

Important Stories

Mshale, the Minneapolis-based "newspaper for African immigrants in the Americas," recently ran an article about a recent appearance at M&Q by Maaza Mengiste. She visited in January to read from her first novel, Beneath the Lion's Gaze. The article pointed out one of the many reasons we hold readings--promoting discussion.
Solomon Deressa said he came to the book reading to support Mengiste. Deressa said not many Ethiopians are open to have a discussion about the traumatizing conflict the revolution brought forth.

“I am an Ethiopian and I am here to support Maaza Mengiste,” said Deressa. “We need to see more of these stories being told.”
Read the whole story here.--David E

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Black & White & Green

Arcadia Publishing is a niche publisher. They compile historic photographs of towns and organizations, to save and spread local history. Their book Uptown Minneapolis--a collection of photographs of the neighborhood in the first half of the twentieth century--is a perennial M&Q bestseller, but we have a good range of their offerings.

Today from Publishers Weekly comes yet another reason to like the South Carolina house: Arcadia Publishing is now printing all of its titles on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper, making it the first publisher of its size to be using FSC paper for all books." At 700 books a year, that's a very significant shift indeed. Details are here.--David E

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Read "Freight," a poem by Duluth's Mark Maire

Mark Maire is one of several Duluth-based writers selected in our What Light Poetry Contest. His poem "Freight" was selected by poet Deborah Keenan.

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

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

Monday, February 8, 2010

ER, For Real

Paul R. Linde is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He's also worked in a psychiatric emergency room. He tells of his time in the ER in his new book Danger to Self: On the Front Line With an ER Psychiatrist. The San Francisco Chronicle said, "Linde's fast-paced but well-detailed accounts supply the wild, loud, chaotic, smelly and dangerous but also mostly moving 'scripts' that could easily be a TV show."

Here's an excerpt from the first chapter of Danger to Self: On the Front Line With an ER Psychiatrist:

My first night at work is an unseasonably warm evening in the summer of 1992. The customary layer of fog has not yet descended on the city. The psych emergency room is stuffy, the ventilation poor, the ceiling’s air vents clogged with lint and dust. A faint whiff of fresh feces and old urine, ineffectively masked by a cloying cinnamon-scented spray, hangs about the place. It is then that I understand why state hospital psychiatrists smoke cigarettes on the job--to cut the stench.

Though I had worked there for a week as a fourth-year resident just a few months earlier, this is my initial performance as an authority figure in psych emergency. At this point, I haven’t worked a shift yet. I had just returned, lean and refreshed, from a month’s holiday spent traveling with my wife in a 1984 Volkswagen camper van through the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies. I had enjoyed an invigorating taste of freedom on this trip, and now I was beginning my career on a lockdown. Though I was getting paid for my time and had chosen this vocational path, I was still working in a place for which a key was required to get out.

Suddenly, a rather large, unkempt man, a scowl on his face, stumbles out of one of the four seclusion rooms and ambles to the desk.

“What do you want, George?” asks Christina.

“I need to take a piss.”

“Get back in that room, or we’ll have to tie your ass up and give you a shot.”

“But I need to go real bad.”

“Get back in there. I’ll bring you a urinal.”

“I want to pee in a fuckin’ toilet, not a fuckin’ bottle.”

“Get back in there, George. Now.”

“Fuck you, you slanty-eyed bitch,” he says as he comes half-lurching, half-lunging toward the desk.

“Staff!” yell the nurses.

“For that,” Bo says, “he’s going into points.” The shorthand points is emergency room slang for the four points at which a patient’s extremities are attached via restraints to a bed bolted to the floor of a seclusion room. I’m not sure, when Bo says “that,” whether he’s referring to the menacing stance or the racially charged barb or the whole package.

Since I am not officially on duty and am new to the place and generally inexperienced, I step back. Three staff members rush to the scene and grab George by the hands and around the waist and escort him roughly to his seclusion room, where he lies down on the bed without a struggle. “Do we need to call IP?” asks one. At the time, the hospital was staffed by bona fide San Francisco institutional police officers, whose station was next door. We called them often.

“Nah,” said Christina as she deftly encircles one of George’s wrists with the belt loop of a leather restraint. All four of George’s extremities are now strapped by restraints. Seemingly accustomed to this routine, George lies passively, his body supine on a clean white sheet.

“George, why did you have to go and do this?” asks a psych tech. “You’re gonna get a shot now, too.”

“Yeah, but I’m allergic to Haldol.”

“Sure, George, sure.”

A nameless, faceless doctor wrote the order for restraints and Haldol. Or maybe he just signed an order that the nurse had written herself on an order sheet. That was standard operating procedure in those days. Sitting in the staff room would be some MD who was happy to sign whatever order was placed in front of him. Technically the restraints could not be applied, and an injection could not be given, without a doctor’s order. But who was really calling the shots?

This process was bluntly dubbed “shoot first and ask questions later” or simply “tie ‘em up and shoot ‘em up.” It was also called “let ‘em prove to us that they’re okay to come out of restraints.” The burden of proof lay with the patient. It might seem like a pathological need on the part of both nurse and doctor to control things, but the process of restraining and medicating a psychotic patient becomes a necessary and therapeutic step in the patient’s treatment. Giving truly ill patients sedatives and antipsychotic medications allows them a chance to regain a piece of sanity--to tamp down anxiety, hallucinations, and paranoia.

George receives a large injection, the solubilized medications mixed into a single syringe and delivered via an eighteen-gauge needle into the upper outer quadrant of his left buttock, where the thick muscle can soak up all those good tranquilizers and get them on their way to his brain. Venous capillaries absorb the drug, the blood then transports it via circulatory branches to the inferior vena cava, upward to the right atrium of the heart, down to the right ventricle, then to the lungs to pick up oxygen, back to the left atrium, and then down to the left ventricle, which ejects the blood carrying the drug into the ascending aorta and carotids into the brain.

George’s brain, with its dopamine, histamine, benzodiazepine, and GABA (gamma-aminobutryric acid) receptors receiving the signals, decelerates to a resting pace. Not down for the count, mind you, but it descends to a mild snooze. The blockade of the dopamine receptors in the limbic system begins to dissolve the man’s psychotic symptoms. Biologically, it’s complex. Phenomenologically, it’s a cakewalk: man goes to sleep crazy; man wakes up calmer, if not saner.

As I was soon to discover, the medication process was perpetuated because Christina and a few of her peers had become pretty talented mental health clinicians by dint of their experience. And, of course, she was someone to be, if not feared, then at least approached with some caution. By then, several of my physician colleagues were streaming past me toward the meeting room. “Thanks for the doughnut,” I say. “You know, Bo, this place reminds me of a bitter and twisted summer camp, and we’re like the counselors.”

“Oh, yes, honey, you are so right,” he says.

“Or maybe something like a twenty-four-seven casino, and we’re just like the blackjack dealers or the floorwalkers.”

“It is kind of like that,” says Bo. “And much, much more. You just wait and see, girl.”

When I leave the meeting an hour and a half later, I see George the patient careening around in front of the triage desk, none the worse for wear. He has slept off his injection, and I’m sure a psych tech helped him pee into a urinal while he was in restraints. (They wouldn’t let him piss himself in points. They weren’t that mean.) And, frankly, it seems that George has woken up from the shot much less irritable and at least a bit less crazy. It did him no harm.

Dr Paul Linde will be Sunday, February 21, at 4:00pm. Details are here.--David E

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Wells Tower is a serious wiseacre"

This Star Tribune talked to Wells Tower about his short story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. Like almost everyone else in the known universe, they love it: "Written with startlingly original voice, careening imagination and an abiding fondness for what Teabaggers would call "the non-elites," his stories are set in a surreal America we know, but aren't sure we want to." The whole interview is here.

Meet Wells Tower Tuesday at 7:30pm, when he visits Magers & Quinn. Details are here.--David E

Saturday, February 6, 2010

You Have to Read These

If you came in the store this week and asked me what's good, I'd size you up and give you one of two recommendations. Since you look like a strong reader, I'll give you both my suggestions.

Amy Bloom visited M&Q in 2008 to read from . She was funny, wry, and utterly entertaining. Now she's back with a new collection of interconnected short stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out. Her haute bourgeois characters drink their wines and mourn their lost loves with elan--French words abound. Francine du Plessix Gray, writing in this week's New York Times Book Review raved, "Brava, Ms. Bloom. Send us an equally sly, dashing book very soon, please."

I've been a fan of David Peace since I read his Yorkshire Ripper quartet, which chronicles a grisly series of murders in the north of England. (Watch for the movies, coming soon.) His latest book--Occupied City--is set in his current home, Tokyo, but in many ways, he's still covering the same ground. Reports the Independent, "Occupied City pieces together the investigation into the 1948 Teikoku Bank massacre, in which a man posing as a doctor from the occupying forces pretended to administer a dysentery vaccine to 16 bank employees, and instead poisoned them with cyanide, killing 12 instantly." Peace's writing is incantatory. If you like your chills served up in high literary style, this is the book for you.--David E

Friday, February 5, 2010

Extra! Extra!

Issue number 33 of McSweeney's Quarterly is available now at Magers & Quinn. It's a one-time-only, Sunday-edition "newspaper"--the San Francisco Panorama. It has news, sports, and arts coverage, and comics--plus sixteen pages of glorious, full-color comics, from Chris Ware and Dan Clowes and Art Spiegelman and many others. Eggers and Co. aim to demonstrate the great things print journalism can (still) do, with as much first-rate writing and reportage and design.

Get your copy while they last. They won't last long.--David E


We have some passes to an advance screening of Martin Scorsese's long-awaited film version of Dennis Lehane's novel Shutter Island. The preview will be at the Mall of America on Thursday, February 18, at 7:30pm.

Stop in and get your pass while supplies last.--David E

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Through the Airwaves

Wells Tower, author of the acclaimed short story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned talked to MPR's Midmorning show this morning. If you weren't able to call in, you can ask talk to him next at 7:30pm next Tuesday, when he will be at Magers & Quinn. Details on the event are here.--David E

Books vs TV

From the Bookshelf Blog.--David E

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Coffee House Press Seeking Development Manager

Position to start May 1, 2010
Application deadline February 28, 2010

Coffee House Press is one of the leading nonprofit literary publishers in the United States. We publish books that push cultural and formal boundaries, challenging readers to new points of view.

Coffee House Press seeks a full-time Development Manager, to begin on May 1.

Duties: This person will, under direction of the Publisher, assist with the creation of the development plan and goals; manage and administer the writing, submission, tracking, and reporting of grants; coordinate the individual giving program; maintain all development records and files; work with board fundraising committees; implement other related fundraising duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications: Three years in development experience, familiarity with donor databases, B.A. or equivalent; excellent writing and public speaking skills.

Preferred Qualifications: Development work in the arts or publishing.

Salary: Dependent on qualifications, $34,000 to $38,000 per year.

To Apply: Please send cover letter, resume, and contact information (phone numbers and e-mail addresses) of at least two references to: Teri Hageman Or send to Teri Hageman, Coffee House Press, 79 Thirteenth Ave. NE #119, Minneapolis, MN 55413. Applications will be accepted until February 28. Coffee House Press is an equal opportunity employer.

The mission of Coffee House Press is to publish exciting, vital, and enduring authors of our time; to delight and inspire readers; to contribute to the cultural life of our community; and to enrich our literary heritage. By building on the best traditions of publishing and the book arts, we produce books that celebrate imagination, innovation in the craft of writing, and the many authentic voices of the American experience. We publish books of fiction, poetry, and some nonfiction.

  • Literature. We will promote literature as a vital art form, helping to redefine its role in contemporary life. We will publish authors whose groundbreaking work helps shape the direction of 21st-century literature.
  • Writers. We will foster the careers of our writers by making long-term commitments to their work, allowing them to take risks in form and content.
  • Readers. Readers of books we publish will experience new perspectives and an expanding intellectual landscape.
  • Publishing. We will be leaders in developing a sustainable 21st-century model of independent literary publishing, pushing the boundaries of content, form, editing, audience development, and book technologies.

Look at the Mountains, Man

The sales copy for this rack says, "It mounts in seconds to virtually any road, mountain or stationary bike."

Really?! I'll agree that it would be good to have on a stationary bike, but reading on a road bike is just foolhardy. And don't get me started about dipping into a favorite volume while on a mountain bike.

Details are here.--David E

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Read Alison Moore's short story The Apartment

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 "The Apartment" by Alison Morse. 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!

Alison's story was selected by novelist David Oppegaard, author of Wormwood, Nevada.

Click here to read Alison's story.--Jay P

How Many Bookers Is Too Many?

When it was originally launched in 1969, the Booker Prize (now the Man Booker Prize, in honor of the ), was retrospective. That is, 1969's prize was open to novels written only in 1968. Two years later, the competition was reorganized to feature the current year's writing. In effect, then, there was no award for novels written in 1970.

To rectify the situation, a list of 22 novels written in the missing year has been posted at the MPB's website. A shortlist will be announced in March, and the world can vote until May when the winner will be announced. Details and the complete list of nominees are here.--David E

Wells Tower reads from Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of his award-winning collection of short stories Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Wells Tower will read at Magers & Quinn Booksellers (3038 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis; 612/822-4611).

Well's Tower's book was a smash hit when it was first published in 2009. Michiko Kakutani said in The New York Times, "This arresting debut collection of stories decisively establishes Mr. Tower as a writer of uncommon talent." Wells Tower's version of America is touched with the seamy splendor of the dropout, the misfit: failed inventors, boozy dreamers, hapless fathers, and wayward sons. A man is booted out of his home after his wife discovers that the print of a bare foot on the inside of his car's windshield doesn't match her own. A boy runs off to the carnival after his stepfather bites him in a brawl. And in the most talked-about story in the collection, Viking marauders descend on a much-plundered island, hoping some mayhem will shake off the winter blahs.

"Wells Tower's stories are written, thrillingly, in authentic American vernacular--violent, funny, bleak, and beautiful. You need to read them, now."--Michael Chabon, author of The Yiddish Policemen's Union and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Details are here.--David E

Talk of the Stacks

Talk of the Stacks, the Library Foundation of Hennepin County's glorious reading series, has announced its spring lineup:Talk of the Stacks events are held at the Central Library in downtown Minneapolis (Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall). They're free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:15 PM. Programs begin at 7 PM. Details are here.--David E