Sunday, May 29, 2011

One Tough Mother

Gail Rosenblum reads from A Hundred Lives Since Then: Essays on Motherhood, Marriage, Mortality and More--7:30pm, Monday, June 6, at Magers & Quinn.

Gail Rosenblum has gathered a collection of her wry observations on a host of experiences ranging from home remodeling and a parent’s late-life romance to a child’s show-and-tell and the neighborhood book club. With self-depreciating humor, she reminds us of how difficult it can be to hire a babysitter, how frightful to take a young child on an amusement park ride. She describes her daughter’s first crush, analyzes the stages of an exasperating family holiday, and explores the complicated process of choosing the right dog. She evokes the sense of vanishing time as a parent watches her children grow up and the craziness and sense of loss that accompany even the most well-mannered divorce. Her irrepressible humor is never far from the surface, but readers will also be moved by her ability to expose the enduring significance of the most quotidian observations and events.

Gail Rosenblum is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, writing two to three columns a week on current issues, trends and the complexities of human relationships.--David E

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"And the writing ... oh, the writing."

"Each story reads like a mini-novel because the paragraphs pack a punch; worlds are contained in a single page. And the writing ... oh, the writing."--San Francisco Chronicle

Robin Black’s short stories are populated with men and women who face losses both real and unexpected. A philandering father learns the limits of his ability to fool his blind daughter about who he is. An artist paints the portrait of a man suffering from dementia while she mourns the end of a long love affair. A fifth grade show-and-tell session reveals the world to be stranger and more dangerous than one girl ever imagined. A father commits suicide on the same day his daughter’s bathwater is charged with electricity, leaving her struggling to find meaning in the coincidence. A young widow finds herself envious of an acquaintance who has a prosthetic leg, and a living spouse. A dying woman fantasizes about persuading her selfish, bullying neighbor to see the value of her ebbing life. A mother gains sympathy for her adult daughter’s infidelity even as her own world begins to expand in surprising ways. A man whose life is newly filled with love tries to reconnect with the daughter who staged her own disappearance years before. An accident on an Italian holiday and an unexpected connection with a stranger cause a woman to question her lifelong assumptions about herself.

“Ten incisive tales peopled with characters so fully imagined you’ll feel they’re in the room.”--People magazine

Robin Black’s stories and essays have appeared One Story, Colorado Review, The Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Southern Review, and the anthology The Best Creative Nonfiction. She lives in Philadelphia.

Robin Black reads from If I Loved You I Would Tell You This at Magers & Quinn--7:30pm, Tuesday, June 7. Details are here.--David E

Friday, May 27, 2011

Famous Hair

The David Thorne Hair Tour--details are here--has begun. The lovely locks were recently visiting Pudd’n’head Books in Webster Groves, Missouri, when who should stop by for a photo but Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City and most recently In the Garden of Beasts.

Thorne's hair will be at Magers & Quinn from June 1 to 5. Stop by, have your picture taken with the hair, and donate a dollar to the National Children's Cancer Society. Just like Erik.--David E

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Flash! Fiction!

A rock-star line-up of writers comes to Magers & Quinn. It’s a triple bill of great authors—with no cover charge. John Jodzio, Dessa, and David Philip Mullins read from their short stories at 7:30pm, Thursday, June 2.

Yoga stalkers, guns and gold, babies with iron stomachs, drunkards with t-shirt cannons, and warlocks--lots of warlocks—populate John Jodzio’s latest short story, “Do Not Touch Me Not Now Not Ever.” It’s one of five pieces of flash fiction in They Could No Longer Contain Themselves from Rose Metal Press.

John Jodzio is the author of If You Lived Here, You’d Already Be Home and a winner of the Loft-McKnight Fellowship. His stories have appeared in McSweeneys, One Story, Opium, The Florida Review, and Rake. He’s won a Minnesota Magazine fiction. More information is available at


Dessa is a Minneapolis musician and writer. Spiral Bound, her collection of essays and poetry, was dubbed a “dazzling literary debut” by the City Pages and “witty and desperately honest” by Alive Magazine.


What would have become of Nick Adams if he’d been born along the ragged edges of a new American city, one with more churches per capita than any other, and twice the suicide rate? Meet Nick Danze, the main character of David Philip Mullins’s vital debut collection, Greetings from Below. In these stories, Danze prowls Vegas, with its gilded casinos, neon-tinted suburbs, and dingy, outer-ring strip clubs. He visits a swingers’ club on Christmas Eve, obsesses over obese middle-aged women, and meets the love of his life, Annie, only he’s not sure he loves her and he’s compulsively unfaithful.

David Philip Mullins is the author of Greetings from Below (Sarabande Books), a collection of linked short stories, which won the 2009 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His work has appeared in The Yale Review, The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, Cimarron Review, Fiction, Ecotone, Folio, and Gulf Coast. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with his wife and two children, where he teaches writing at Creighton University. Visit for more information.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Arrive Early for The Arriviste

Milkweed Editions brings a new literary voice to the Twin Cities. James Wallenstein reads from The Arriviste at Magers & Quinn--7:30pm, Wednesday, June 1.

Neil Fox has made a fortune off the “head we win/tails you lose” venture capital deals negotiated by his brother, costing him almost everything but money. His ex-wife and daughter spurn him, and he lost his young son. He now lives a carefully plotted life, working as a lawyer at a small investment banking firm and spending nights at home with a drink.

When the affable Bud Younger moves in next door--on a parcel that Neil had sold off-Neil takes an almost instant dislike to him. Bud is nearly everything Neil is not--a gregarious, energetic striver loved by his intact family. When Bud asks Neil to fund a new business venture, he reluctantly accepts, setting in motion events that hurtle to a startling and haunting conclusion.

James Wallenstein’s work has appeared in GQ, The Believer, Antioch Review, Boston Review, and Hudson Review, among other publications. He lives in New York. The Arriviste is his first novel.

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

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Moment with John Sayles

John Sayles reads from his novel A Moment in the Sun at Magers & Quinn--Tuesday, May 31, at 7:30pm.

It’s 1897. Gold has been discovered in the Yukon. New York is under the sway of Hearst and Pulitzer. And in a few months, an American battleship will explode in a Cuban harbor, plunging the U.S. into war. Spanning five years and half a dozen countries, this is the unforgettable story of that extraordinary moment: the turn of the twentieth century, as seen by one of the greatest storytellers of our time.

Shot through with a lyrical intensity and stunning detail that recall both Doctorow and Deadwood, A Moment in the Sun takes the whole era in its sights--from the white-racist coup in Wilmington, North Carolina to the bloody dawn of U.S. interventionism in the Philippines. Beginning with Hod Brackenridge searching for his fortune in the North, and hurtling forward on the voices of a breathtaking range of men and women--Royal Scott, an African American infantryman whose life outside the military has been destroyed; Diosdado Concepc√≠on, a Filipino insurgent fighting against his country’s new colonizers; and more than a dozen others, Mark Twain and President McKinley’s assassin among them.

Traveling from the Yukon gold fields, to New York’s bustling Newspaper Row, to Wilmington’s deadly racial coup of 1898, to the bitter triumphs at El Caney and San Juan Hill in Cuba, and to war zones in the Philippines, A Moment in the Sun is a book as big as history itself.

John Sayles’s previous novels include Pride of the Bimbos, Los Gusanos, and the National Book Award–nominated Union Dues. He has directed seventeen feature films, including Matewan, Lone Star, and Eight Men Out, and received two Academy Award nominations.

Details are here.--David E

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Greil Marcus discusses Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes

Minnesota music history comes alive at M&Q when rock’s preeminent historian sits down with a local legend to discuss Bob Dylan. Greil Marcus and Papa John Kolstad visit M&Q at 7:30pm, Thursday, May 26

Previously published as Invisible Republic and already considered a classic of modern American cultural criticism, The Old, Weird America is Greil Marcus's widely acclaimed book on the secret music (the so-called "Basement Tapes") made by Bob Dylan and the Band while in seclusion in Woodstock, New York, in 1967--a folksy yet funky, furious yet hilarious music that remains as seductive and baffling today as it was more than thirty years ago.

As Mark Sinker observed in The Wire: "Marcus's contention is that there can be found in American folk a community as deep, as electric, as perverse, and as conflicted as all America, and that the songs Dylan recorded out of the public eye, in a basement in Woodstock, are where that community as a whole gets to speak." But the country mapped out in this book, as Bruce Shapiro wrote in The Nation, "is not Woody Guthrie's land for made for you and me... It's what Marcus calls 'the old, weird America.'" This odd terrain, this strange yet familiar backdrop to our common cultural history--which Luc Sante (in New York magazine) termed the "playground of God, Satan, tricksters, Puritans, confidence men, illuminati, braggarts, preachers, anonymous poets of all stripes"--is the territory that Marcus has discovered in Dyaln's most mysterious music. And his analysis of that territory "reads like a thriller" (Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly) and exhibits "a mad, sparkling brilliance" (David Remnick, The New Yorker) throughout.

“Marcus draws bold freehand loops around Dylan's music, loops so wide and loose that they take in not just the breadth of American folk music, but huge chunks of American history as well. This is the best kind of history book, one that acknowledges that mythology is sometimes the truest kind of fact."--Stephanie Zachareck, Newsday

One of America's most original and incisive critics of pop music and pop culture, Greil Marcus is the author of Double Trouble, Lipstick Traces, and Mystery Train. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Papa John Kolstad is a longtime Minneapolis musician--and mayoral candidate.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Such a Deal

The Magers & Quinn email newsletter is chock full of news you can use. Each month, you can learn about new books, fantastic author readings, and much more.

This month, the newsletter will include a special offer from MCAD. Newsletter subscribers can get $25.00 off any class at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

If you're not already getting our newsletter, you can sign up here. The next issue goes out June first.--David E

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hair Club... It's Not Just for Men

Did you know that a lock of Justin Bieber's hair is currently on tour--with a bodyguard no less? Frenzied fans are lining up across the nation to get their picture taken with Bieber's hair for $1. (The money raised is being donated to the tsunami relief.)

Not to be outdone, David Thorne, creator of the hilarious website and author of The Internet is a Playground: Irreverent Correspondences of an Evil Online Genius, is sending a few of his own gorgeous tresses around the country. The locks will be at Magers & Quinn from June 1 to 5. Stop by, have your picture taken with the hair, and donate a dollar to the National Children's Cancer Society. Everybody wins.

[Note to the Bieber Feverish everwhere: David Thorne does not hate JB. To quote his website, "I personally have nothing against Justin Bieber. I haven't seen him in anything but I am sure he is a fine actor. ...I'd like to think that Justin and I would get along quite amicably under normal circustances but if we were both shipwrecked, washed ashore on a small desert island, and had to fight over a single can of peaches, I would get the peaches." Feel better?]

Sit. Stay. Enjoy.

All dogs are allowed when Martin Kihn comes to Magers & Quinn Booksellers--4:00pm, Sunday, May 22.

Hola is a nightmare, but it’s not her fault if she tackles strangers and chews on furniture, or if she runs after buses and fried chicken containers and drug dealers. No one ever told her not to. Hola may be the most beautiful Bernese mountain dog in the world, but she’s never been trained. At least not by anyone who knew what he was doing.

Hola’s supposed master, Marty, is a high-functioning alcoholic. A TV writer turned management consultant, Marty’s in debt and out of shape; he’s about to lose his job, and one day he emerges from a haze of peach-flavored vodka to find he’s on the verge of losing his wife, Gloria, too, if he can’t get his life--and his dog--under control.

"This tale of a man who forgot he was a man and the dog who ultimately reminded him is the most touching, original buddy story I've come across in ages. Sit. Stay. Read."--Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air

Martin Kihn is a writer, digital marketer, dog lover, balletomane and spiritual athlete. He was born in Zambia, grew up in suburban Michigan, has a BA in Theater Studies from Yale and an MBA from Columbia Business School. His articles have appeared in New York, the New York Times, GQ, Us, Details, Cosmopolitan, and Forbes, among many others, and he was on the staff of Spy, Forbes, New York, and Vibe. Until recently, most of his writing could be called satirical or snarky, meticulously researched and office-based. More information is available at

Details are here.--David E

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rebecca Rasmussen

The inspiration for The Bird Sisters came to Rebecca Rasmussen while reading her grandmother Kit's journals. Kit lost both her parents at age 17 just after a crisis revealed the failings in their marriage. As she grew older, she grew away from her only sister, Virginia. This novel is Rasmussen's imaginings of what could have been, had Kit and Virginia learned to cling to each other rather than turn away.

You can meet Rebecca Rasmussen and learn more about her first novel when she visits Magers & Quinn--Thursday, May 19, at 7:30pm.

"The Bird Sisters is that immensely satisfying combination of indelible characters and a suspenseful and cunningly revealed plot. ...Full of wonderful surprises, The Bird Sisters is a splendid debut that will stay with the reader long after the last page."--Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street

Milly and Twiss weren’t always two old spinsters known to everyone in Spring Green, Wisconsin as the Bird Sisters. There was a time when people called Milly “Goldilocks” because of her beautiful hair, and Twiss played Lewis and Clark on the course with her golf-pro father. Rebecca Rasmussen's masterfully written debut novel, The Bird Sisters, takes readers though the routines of a single day in the lives of these elderly sisters, from waking up in their childhood beds to sharing a glass of ice tea on the porch of the wind-worn house they grew up in. Their minds are fixed on the summer of 1947, the summer their Cousin Bett came down from Deadwater, Minnesota to stay and nothing was ever the same again. The two narratives twist and turn like the Wisconsin River, ultimately revealing how the sisters’ hearts came to be broken and why they have spent their lives healing birds and sometimes people.

"Rebecca Rasmussen’s gorgeous debut is infused with a certain grace: there remains hope that damaged things, wild or tame, can still be nursed back together again."--Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone

Rebecca Rasmussen teaches creative writing and literature at Fontbonne University. Her stories have appeared in Triquarterly magazine and the Mid-American Review. She was a finalist in both Narrative magazine’s 30 Below Contest for writers under the age of thirty and Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Contest. She lives with her husband and daughter in St. Louis.

Rebecca will be joined by Kate Ledger, author of Remedies. Simon and Emily Bear look like a couple who have it all. Simon is a respected doctor; Emily shines as a public relations expert who spins away her corporate clients' mistakes. Yet as their 13-year-old daughter's troubled summer reveals, all is not perfect inside this home. Simon has stumbled upon an obscure drug that may revolutionize the treatment of pain. In his excitement, he barely notices that Emily is seeking relief from the family's tragic past. And neither fully realizes how much danger their daughter is in. Soon, everything they have will be on the brink of collapse, and there will be no masking the symptoms or hiding the truth any more.

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

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wising Up

Local authors Wendy Brown-Baez, Patricia Barone, Emilio De Grazia, Benjamin Doty, and Jane Levin, Mary Kay Rummel visit Magers & Quinn to talk about their contributions to various anthologies from Wising Up Press--Sunday, May 15, at 4:00pm.

The authors will discuss:
  • Double Lives, Reinvention & Those We Leave Behind--We frown upon double lives, but laud reinvention as the perpetual rebirth of our best self. But are these two states so very different for us as we live them?
  • Families: The Frontline of Pluralism--The difficulties of living up close and personal with diversity--of sensibility, race, culture, class, or religion--is the subject of the stories, memoirs, and poetry in this anthology.
  • Illness & Grace, Terror & Transformation--In this anthology of personal memoirs, stories, and poetry contemporary writers explore themes of illness and trauma and the wide variety of ways in which we respond to them.
  • Love After 70--What is love, in all its forms, like after 70? If you didn’t know most of these writers were over 70, you would not think so as you listen to their most personal of voices.
  • View from the Bed, View from the Bedside--Thirty-eight contemporary writers explore with memoir, story, and poetry the different ways we talk about, to--and through-- each other at the doctor's office, hospital, or sickbed.
Wising Up Press, of Decatur, Georgia, publishes books about creative acculturation, social forces and psychological resiliency, illness and meaning, spirituality and embodiment. More information is available at Details on this and all our events are here.--David E

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

And We Like Sheep

Discover the advantages of having sheep as the planet’s “self-propelled lawn mowers” and the scary truth behind “wrinkle free” clothing as Catherine Friend reveals what it really means to be sheepish--and why it might not be such a bad thing after all--when she reads from her latest book Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep & Enough Wool to Save the Planet--7:30pm, Thursday, May 12, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

What do you do when you love your farm... but it doesn’t love you? After fifteen years of farming, Catherine Friend is tired. After all, while shepherding is one of the oldest professions, it’s not getting any easier. The number of sheep in America has fallen by 90 percent in the last ninety years. But just as Catherine thinks it’s time to hang up her shepherd’s crook, she discovers that sheep might be too valuable to give up. What ensues is a funny, thoughtful romp through the history of our woolly friends, why small farms are important, and how each one of us—and the planet—would benefit from being very sheepish, indeed.

“Fans of Hit by a Farm will get another dose of Catherine Friend’s signature wit and moxie with Sheepish, as she faces a rough patch on the farm, but still manages to be hilarious. In the end, Friend’s enthusiasm will make you want to raise sheep, or at least wear wool undies.”--Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City

Catherine Friend is the author of Hit by a Farm and The Compassionate Carnivore, as well as seven children’s books and three novels. She farms in Minnesota with her partner of twenty-seven years.

Details are here.--David E

Describing the Indescribable--A Books and Bars (Pre)View

This month's Books and Bars pick, the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From the Goon Squad gets a closer look from book club regular Courtney Algeo in the books section of the TC Daily Planet.

In her review, Algeo sniffs out hints of Faulkner, marvels at author Jennifer Egan's ability to "describe the indescribable" and plucks this gorgeous phrase from the pages of Goon Squad, “We’ll rise up out of our bodies and find each other again in spirit form. We’ll meet in a new place, all of us together, and first it’ll seem strange, and pretty soon it’ll seem strange that you could ever lose someone, or get lost.”

Click here to read the rest of Courtney's review.

Books & Bars meets at 7:00pm, this coming Tuesday at Aster Cafe, 125 SE Main Street, St Anthony Main, Minneapolis. The club is presented by Jeff Kamin and Magers & Quinn Booksellers, sponsored by Aster Cafe, Metro Magazine and Fulton Beer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Path of Compassion and Wisdom

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's book Modern Buddhism is a dynamic and comprehensive presentation of Buddha’s teachings, including practical explanations on how to attain lasting happiness and freedom from problems for ourselves and others. With clear and accessible language, Gyatso guides the reader from the fundamentals of Buddhist meditation and philosophy and offers practical advice to solve daily problems. His inspiring handbook for daily practice is designed for those seeking solutions within Buddhism to the problems of everyday life, as well as to encourage people of all faiths to deepen their understanding and enjoyment of the spiritual paths.

Gen Kelsang Drubwang is a resident teacher at the Akanishta Buddhist Center in Madison, Wisconsin. He will discuss Modern Buddhism at Magers & Quinn Booksellers. Join us at 7:30pm, Wednesday, May 18. Details are here.--David E