Saturday, September 24, 2011

Susan Niz's new novel Kara Lost has gotten great reviews. Alison McGhee called it "a masterful debut,” and David Housewright thinks it's “smart as hell."

Sixteen-year-old Kara fless the suffocation of her surburban life, trading in her home and family for a gritty, anonymous existence on the streets of Minneapolis. She begins a perilous journey, naive, well-intentioned, and isolated as she struggles to reconnect with her older sister.

Part of the book's charm also comes from it's setting: Uptown in the 1980s. If you visited M&Q when it first opened 17 years ago, you'll recognize Niz's description of the neighborhood:

Walking down the street, I asked myself what was so exciting about Uptown in the first place. There was plenty to look at, that's for sure. People with nose rings and spikes and patches on their black clothes. Fire-engine red and eggplant-plant purple hair, dyed with this Manic Panic stuff, drew attention from a block away. I had always shown up as is, looking suburban or not. I would watch the people as they panhandled for money to buy a case of beer, a meal, or a pack of smokes.

In Uptown, I got off by Calhoun Square and walked the block toward McDonald's. There were more street kids out in the April weather than when I left in February, but most of them wouldn't come out until after dark. Looking down at the sidewalk dotted with embedded wads of gray gum, I wondered what had been so fun about hanging out there. All I wanted was a safe little place to live and I could give up ever going there again.

Susan Niz comes to M&Q at 7:30pm, next Tuesday, September 27, to read from her new novel Kara, Lost.--David E

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cookbook recommendations from Chef Lucia Watson

If it weren't for a steady diet of tea, coffee, soups, salads, sandwiches (and cookies!) from Lucia's To Go, just around the corner from our store, we here at Magers & Quinn would have a difficult time doing much of anything. We asked Lucia Watson herself to recommend a handful of her favorite cookbooks. Here's what she had to say.
M&Q:How long have you been in business? And why?
LW:: "26 years!!! For 26 years, Lucia's has been creating weekly menus, selecting delicious wines and greeting our wonderful customers! Our Restaurant, Wine Bar, and Lucia's To Go are inspired by high quality local foods, exceptional cooking, and genuine hospitality. The seasonal, nourishing, and cultural properties of cooking continue to be our passion.
  1. Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi "My newest love is a book called Plenty by London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi. It's just vegetables. So inspiring and so beautiful!"
  2. Simple French Food by Richard Olney "To me, this is the authentic hands on book that describes how to cook the way the French do. I just love this book. I go back to it over and over..."
  3. Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland by Lucia Watson and Beth Dooley "Can I say my own book? It is true that it is the one I turn to always for the basics of how I like to cook: seasonal foods, roasted chicken, soups, etc."
"Other books I love and refer to frequently are Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller, The River Cafe Books by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers and all of Deborah Madison's books ."M&Q is full of good cookbooks. Come by today to find the right one for you.