Friday, April 29, 2011

Giving It Away

Congratulations to Marquita Jaeger. She won our first drawing for a Book Club Bag, donated by Algonquin Press. In addition to the bag, Marquita received four books to read and discuss
M&Q has suggestions for any book club. Stop in today and ask us for one.--David E

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Joshua Page will discuss his book The Toughest Beat: Politics, Punishment, and the Prison Officers Union in California --7:30pm, Thursday, May 5, at Magers & Quinn.

In America today, one in every hundred adults is behind bars. As our prison population has exploded, "law and order" interest groups have also grown-in numbers and political clout. Committed to punitive justice, these organizations perpetuate America's imprisonment binge. The Toughest Beat forcefully demonstrates how this cyclical process has unfolded in California.

In crisp, vivid prose, Joshua Page argues that the Golden State's prison boom fueled the rise of one of the most politically potent and feared interest groups in the nation: the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). As it made great strides for its members, the prison officers' union also fundamentally altered the composition and orientation of the penal field. It promoted extreme punishment and moralistic conceptions of prisoners, helped institute ultra-tough penal policies such as Three Strikes and You're Out, obstructed efforts to privatize prisons, and empowered sympathetic political figures and groups, including crime victims' organizations that it helped create. To understand the nature, purpose, and scope of California's penal system, Page explains, we cannot neglect the story of this group so often known simply as "the powerful prison guards union."

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Story Continues

Fifteen years after the publication of Push, one year after the Academy Award–winning film adaptation Precious, Sapphire brings us the story of Precious's son, Abdul. You can meet the author when she visits Magers & Quinn this summer--7:30pm, Friday, July 15.

A story of body and spirit, rooted in the hungers of flesh and of the soul, The Kid (available July 5) brings us deep into the interior life of Abdul Jones. We meet him at age nine, on the day of his mother's funeral. Left alone to navigate a world in which love and hate sometimes hideously masquerade, forced to confront unspeakable violence, his history, and the dark corners of his own heart, Abdul claws his way toward adulthood and toward an identity he can stand behind.

In a generational story that moves with the speed of thought from a Mississippi dirt farm to Harlem in its heyday; from a troubled Catholic orphanage to downtown artist's lofts, The Kid tells of a twenty-first-century young man's fight to find a way toward the future. A testament to the ferocity of the human spirit and the deep nourishing power of love and of art, The Kid chronicles a young man about to take flight. In the intimate, terrifying, and deeply alive story of Abdul's journey, we are witness to an artist's birth by fire.

Sapphire is the author of two collections of poetry and the bestselling novel Push. The film adaption of her novel, Precious (2009), received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, in addition to the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance. In 2009 she was a recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship. She lives in New York City.

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

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rock'em Sock'em Robots

From the book industry newsletter Shelf Awareness comes news of used book pricing run amok. Michael Eisen, an evolutionary biologist and Red Sox fan, tells the story.

It's no secret that online booksellers often use computer programs to set their prices. Most of the time, prices are fairly stable, but Eisner noticed one instance when the system didn't work. Only two copies of Peter Lawrence’s The Making of a Fly were available. Each seller was clearly setting the his or her price in relation to the other. When one went up, the other soon followed suit. Eventually, the unchecked algorithms took the price all the way up to a whopping $23,698,655.93. As charming and useful as Lawrence's work on the Drosophila no doubt is, no one bought either copy.

Eisen's full article is here.--David E

On Books

Laurie Hertzel--book editor at the Star Tribune, author, and Minnesota Book Award winner--now has her own blog. "On Books" brings you book news both local and national. Check it out to stay on top of all the news that's fit about print.

"On Books" is here.--David E

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Closed Sunday

Magers & Quinn Booksellers will be closed on Sunday, April 24, in order to allow staff time to bathe and comb their rabbits. We will be open Saturday and Monday as normal.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Two Kisses for Maddy

Matthew Logelin reads from Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love--Thursday, April 28, 7:30pm, at Magers & Quinn.

Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. After years of long-distance dating, the pair finally settled together in Los Angeles, and they had it all: a perfect marriage, a gorgeous new home, and a baby girl on the way. Liz's pregnancy was rocky, but they welcomed Madeline, beautiful and healthy, into the world on March 24, 2008.

"Two Kisses for Maddy is less a conscious piece of writing than a spontaneous eruption from the heart. It will make you cry but not only out of sadness. Some of your tears will be for the beauty of love and its miraculous power to heal even the deepest wounds."--John Grogan, author of Marley and Me

Just twenty-seven hours later, Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism and died instantly, without ever holding the daughter whose arrival she had so eagerly awaited. Though confronted with devastating grief and the responsibilities of a new and single father, Matt did not surrender to devastation; he chose to keep moving forward--to make a life for Maddy. In this memoir, Matt shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends.

"No one wants to read a depressing book. But how can you possibly call depressing what is so filled with love and life and the unstoppable message of how lucky we are to have what we have."--Brad Meltzer, author of Heroes for my Son

Born and bred in Minnesota, Matt Logelin was a project manager at Yahoo! until he left the company to focus on writing this book and raising his daughter, Madeline. The two live in Los Angeles, traveling often to see as much of the world as possible. Visit them at

Details are here.--David E

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Go Wild(er)

For anyone who has ever wanted to step into the world of a favorite book, Wendy McClure's new book The Wilder Life is a pioneer pilgrimage, a tribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder, and a hilarious account of butter-churning obsession. You can meet the author at Magers & Quinn Booksellers--7:30pm, Wednesday, April 20.

"Anyone who loved the Little House series is in for a treat, because in a new book, writer Wendy McClure really put her money where her sunbonnet

Wendy McClure is on a quest to find the world of beloved Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder--a fantastic realm of fiction, history, and places she's never been to, yet somehow knows by heart. She retraces the pioneer journey of the Ingalls family--looking for the Big Woods among the medium trees in Wisconsin, wading in Plum Creek, and enduring a prairie hailstorm in South Dakota. She immerses herself in all things Little House, and explores the story from fact to fiction, and from the TV shows to the annual summer pageants in Laura's hometowns. Whether she's churning butter in her apartment or sitting in a replica log cabin, McClure is always in pursuit of "the Laura experience." Along the way she comes to understand how Wilder's life and work have shaped our ideas about girlhood and the American West.

Wendy McClure has been writing about her obsessions online and in print for nearly a decade. In addition to her 2005 memoir, I'm Not the New Me, she is a columnist for BUST magazine and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine. McClure holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives in Chicago, where she is a senior editor at the children's book publisher Albert Whitman & Company. You can read more from Wendy at Details on the event at M&Q are here.--David E

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Confessions of a Very Literary Economic Hitman

While writing about economics in Ecuador for a nonprofit think tank straight out of undergrad, Mountford noticed his title was “Senior Associate” for a hedge fund he’d never heard of. It turned out the think tank was running the hedge fund out of its back office--and Mountford found the inspiration for his first novel. Mountfrod will read from A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism at 7:30pm, Thursday, April 21, at Magers & Quinn.

A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism is, quite simply, one of the most compelling and thought-provoking novels I’ve read in years. It’s extraordinarily vivid, populated by characters whose fates I cared about desperately, beautifully written, timely beyond measure, but above all it conveys--with impressive precision and nuance--how we are vectors on the grid of global capital; how difficult it is to even attempt to be an authentic, let alone admirable, human being when we are, first and last, cash flow.”--David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

On his first assignment for a rapacious hedge fund, Gabriel embarks to Bolivia at the end of 2005 to ferret out insider information about the plans of the controversial president-elect. If Gabriel succeeds, he will get a bonus that would make him secure for life. Standing in his way are his headstrong mother, herself a survivor of Pinochet's Chile, and Gabriel's new love interest, the president's passionate press liaison. Caught in a growing web of lies and questioning his own role in profiting from an impoverished people, Gabriel sets in motion a terrifying plan that could cost him the love of all those he holds dear.

"In Mountford's novel, the stakes of international finance and the personal lives of those involved intersect in a beautifully drawn Bolivia. A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism accomplishes that rare trick of being a book of ideas and politics while remaining, at its core, a profoundly intimate, character-driven story and a tremendously good read."--Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Peter Mountford has lived in Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles, as well as Scotland, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, and Mexico. His fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices 2008, Boston Review, and Conjunctions. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter. Find him online at

Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shared Interests

We got a charming email this week from an M&Q fan who'd attended our recent reading by Philip Connors, author of Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout.

"My name is Jordan Wiklund, a writer and editor from St. Paul. Last week I attended the Connors' reading and just had a blast; hadn't been in the store for a year or two and picked up a copy of The Know-It-All in addition to Connors' book. If you were there, I was the young guy in the Twins cap who asked him about cribbage.

"...During the signing, I told Connors about the project and he actually gave me his card for a future conversation about cribbage on his mountain.

"Long story short, his eyes grew wider than mine when he said, "I was on your website yesterday!" So I've followed up with a blog post about that experience found here. All the dialogue is verbatim because I taped the whole reading, a literary bootleg!"

We love bringing authors and readers together. Leave us a comment and let us know about your favorite experience.--David E

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Whoa, Nellie

"McClure owns seven sunbonnets, two butter churns, a Laura-themed charm bracelet, a corncob doll, many Little House-themed magnets, a bottle of Laura Ingalls Wilder wine (red), a Little House on the Prairie shot glass and a Laura bobblehead, to name only part of her collection."

So begins the Chicago Tribune's review of Wendy McClure's new book The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie. In addition to a partial contents of McClure's memorabilia collection, you'll about the Wilder World--up to and including Laurapalooza. (The full review is here.)

You can find out even more about Wendy's Laura Ingalls Wilder obsession when McClure visits M&Q. She'll be here Wednesday, April 20, at 7:30pm. Details are here.--David E

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Trip to Old St Paul

History comes alive when Peg Meier visits M&Q to discuss Through No Fault of My Own: A Girl's Diary of Life on Summit Avenue in the Jazz Age by Coco Irvine. Join us at 7:30pm, Monday, April 18, for a fascinating evening of history and hijinks.

On Christmas Day, 1926, twelve-year-old Clotilde “Coco” Irvine received a blank diary as a present. Coco loved to write, and her new diary gave her the opportunity to explain her side of the messes she created: “I’m in deep trouble through no fault of my own,” her entries frequently began. The daughter of a lumber baron, Coco grew up in a twenty-room mansion--which is now the governor's residence--on fashionable Summit Avenue at the peak of the Jazz Age, a time when music, art, and women’s social status were all in a state of flux and the economy was still flying high.

Coco’s diary carefully records her adventures, problems, and romances, written with a lively wit and a droll sense of humor. Whether sneaking out to a dance hall in her mother’s clothes or getting in trouble for telling an off-color joke, Coco and her escapades will captivate and delight preteen readers as well as their mothers and grandmothers.

Peg Meier’s introduction describes St. Paul life in the 1920s and provides context for the privileged world that Coco inhabits, while an afterword tells what happens to Coco as an adult--and reveals surprises about some of the other characters in the diary.

Peg Meier was a reporter at the Star Tribune for thirty-five years. She is the author of many popular books, including Wishing for a Snow Day, Bring Warm Clothes, and Too Hot, Went to Lake.

Details are here.--David E

Way to Go, Matthew Zapruder

Congratulations to Matthew Zapruder. The poet--who read at M&Q just last month--has won a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship. The grants are awarded "on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise." Three thousand writers, artists, and scienctists applied; 180 got the nod. Details are here.--David E

Friday, April 8, 2011


You might have seen the enormous, 360-degree, clickable photograph of Prague's Strahov monastery library that went viral online earlier this week. If not, it's here. It's an incredible piece of technology, and I urge you to waste a few minutes zooming, panning, and otherwise enjoying this normally forbidden room.

Now Wired has the story behind the image. They interviewed Jeffrey Martin about his camera (robot-controlled), the program that drives it (euphoniously named GigaPanBot), and Two thousand nine hundred forty-seven photos later, Martin had his raw material. Initial processing took 111 hours. Martin himself spent 20 hours correcting misaligned pictures--and an eagle-eyed coworker of mine took about two seconds to spot one that Martin missed.

The full Wired article is here. Check it out--David E

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Must-See TV

Last month, Magers & Quinn hosted a reading by Joshua Foer, author of the spring's most memorable science book, Moonwalking with Einstein. Foer talked about his book and led the audience in a simple memory-building technique.

Ah, but readings are never exactly what you expect. Foer also talked about entering the German competitive Slip 'n Slide league championship. You won't hear that on The Daily Show.

Don't fret if you missed Foer's reading. You can see it all on the Magers & Quinn YouTube channel. The first part is below. Then join M&Q's mailing list, so you don't miss out on any of our other great author events.--David E

Details are here.--David E

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Community Space

Jonesing for a bookstore in Nordeast? Eric Brew feels your pain. In fact, he's launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to address the problem. Brew's Coffee & Books Community Space will be "a specialty coffeehouse in NE Mpls coupled with a bookstore, lending library, theater stage, writing studios and radical resources."

Brew and crew hope to raise $32,000 by May 4. They're collecting pledges now. Details--including instructions on how to donate--are here.--David E

Monday, April 4, 2011

Author Spotting

Nearly a decade ago, Philip Connors ditched his job as an editor at the Wall Street Journal to spend his summers sitting in a glass-walled perch, 10,000 feet above sea level, watching for smoke. As a fire lookout, Connors follows in a venerable literary tradition--Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, Norman Mclean, and Gary Snyder were all firespotters--and in Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout (available April 5), Connors writes with eloquence and awe about his unusual job and the mythic landscape he watches.

You can get a glimpse of Connors' life and landscapes in the trailer below.

Philip Connors will be at M&Q on Wednesday, April 6, at 7:30pm. Details are here.--David E

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Bible and Biology

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church is sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Edward “Ted” Davis, Messiah College Professor of the History of Science. "The Bible and Biology: Understanding the Creation-Evolution Debate" will present many of the reasons why American Christians have found evolution so objectionable. Davis will outline the main ideas and attitudes associated with “scientific creationism,” draw a comparison with “intelligent design,” and conclude with examples of Christian thinkers who accept biological evolution. This lecture will be 7:00 PM, Thursday, April 7, at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue (94 at Lyndale) Minneapolis, MN 55403.

The event is sponsored by the Science and Theology Network. It is free and open to the public. Details are at E

Mother and Daughters

Rae Meadows reads from her novel Mothers and Daughters--Wednesday, April 13, 7:30pm, at Magers & Quinn.

"Rae Meadows has written a richly textured novel of three generations of mothers and daughters who by finding each other, find themselves. ...Mothers and Daughters is a powerful novel of women’s secrets and strength.”--Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author of Prayers for Sale and Whiter Than Snow

Mothers and Daughters is a rich and luminous novel about three generations of women in one family: the love they share, the dreams they refuse to surrender, and the secrets they hold. Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood, but she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago. When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an eleven-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet's real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age? Moving back and forth in time between the stories of Sam, Violet, and Iris, Mothers and Daughters is the spellbinding tale of three remarkable women connected across a century by the complex wonder of motherhood.

Rae Meadows is the author of Calling Out, which received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction, and No One Tells Everything, a Poets & Writers Notable Novel. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more at

Details are here.--David E