Thursday, March 31, 2011

YA Isn't Just for Kids

If you've read Steve Brezenoff's novel The Absolute Value of -1, you know that his so-called Young Adult books isn't just for kids. The love triangle at the center of the book is something anyone can relate to.

Brezenoff's newest novel is good reading for grown-ups, too. Brooklyn, Burning tells the story of sixteen-year-old Kid, who lives on the streets of Brooklyn. Kid loves Felix, a guitarist and junkie who disappears, leaving Kid the prime suspect in an arson investigation. Then, a year later Scout arrives, giving Kid a second chance to be in a band and find true love.

M&Q will be hosting a launch party for Brooklym, Burning on Friday, August 26. It'll be a grownup event with wine and a special musical guest. Pre-order your copy here.--David E

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lookout for Philip Connors

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. He will read from his book at 7:30pm, Wednesday, April 6, at Magers & Quinn,

“Philip Connors’s remarkable account of his seasons as a fire lookout on the Gila National Forest in New Mexico is enlightening and well-informed. The surprise in the book is the author’s willingness--his courage, actually--to examine his own naïveté about the natural world. His is a most welcome new voice.”--Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

“The life of a lookout,” Connors writes, “is a blend of monotony, geometry, and poetry, with healthy dollops of frivolity and sloth. It’s a life that encourages thrift and self-sufficiency, intimacy with weather and wild creatures. We are paid to master the art of solitude, and we are about as free as working folk can be. To be solitary in such a place and such a way is not to be alone. Instead one feels a certain kind of dignity.”

“What a wonderful book. Philip Connors went up to the mountaintop to serve as a lookout—and he has come down with a masterwork of close observation, deep reflection, and hard-won wisdom. This is an unforgettable reckoning with the American land.”--Philip Gourevitch, author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families

Philip Connors has worked as a baker, a bartender, a house painter, a deliveryman, and an editor at the Wall Street Journal. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, the Paris Review, n+1, and in Dave Egger’s Best Nonrequired Reading anthology. Originally from Minnesota, he now lives in New Mexico with his wife and their dog.

Details are here.--David E

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Trip to the Islands

Hear a singular Caribbean voice without leaving Minneapolis. Tiphanie Yanique discusses "How to Escape from a Leper Colony" with Marlon James--Sunday, April 3, at 4:0pm, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

Lyrical, lush, and haunting, the prose shimmers in her nuanced debut, How to Escape from a Leper Colony: A Novella and Stories, set mostly in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Part oral history, part postcolonial narrative, How to Escape from a Leper Colony is ultimately a loving portrait of a wholly unique place. Like Gabriel García Márquez, Edwidge Danticat, and Maryse Condé before her, Tiphanie Yanique has crafted a book that is heartbreaking, hilarious, magical, and mesmerizing. It is an unforgettable collection.

“I reached the end of How to Escape from a Leper Colony with the exhilarating sense that I had been on the best kind of journey—not, finally, to the Virgin Islands nor Trinidad nor Houston nor London, but to the imagination of a wonderfully talented young writer who has many more stories to tell.”--Margot Livesey, The Boston Globe

Read an excerpt here.

Tiphanie Yanique is from the Hospital Ground neighborhood of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. She is an assistant professor of Creative Writing and Caribbean Literature with Drew University and an associate editor with Post-No-Ills. She lives between Brooklyn and St. Thomas.


Tiphanie Yanique will be interviewed by Marlon James, author of The Book of Night Women and John Crow's Devil. Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica. A professor of literature and creative writing at Macalester College, he divides his time among Minnesota, New York and Jamaica.Details are here.--David E

Friday, March 25, 2011

Your Vote Counts

Voting for the City Pages' Best of the Cities Readers' Poll 2011 ends March 30. You can write in your favorite bookstore (new and used) in categories 51 and 52. The full list is here.--David E

Building Community

Jay Walljasper comes to M&Q Monday, April 4, at 7:30pm, to discuss new book All That We Share. The book is a wake-up call that will inspire you to see the world in a new way. As soon as you realize that some things belong to everyone--water, for instance, or the Internet or human knowledge--you become a commoner, part of a movement that's reshaping how we will solve the problems facing us in the twenty-first century.

Edited by award-winning journalist Jay Walljasper, All That We Share is an indispensable introduction to fresh ideas that touch all of us. Filled with practical solutions for today's economic, political, and cultural issues, it's a much-needed and thoroughly accessible field guide to the new world of the commons. Including success stories from communities across the country and around the world, this book is for anyone seeking new ways of thinking about our shared values.

"I have been studying the commons for several decades now; to my surprise and delight this wonderful book taught me many things I didn't know."--Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift and Common as Air

Jay Walljasper is the editor of the book All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons. He is a Fellow at On the Commons--a movement strategy center, connecting organizations, community leaders, and individuals with new ideas, practical solutions, and each other to create change--and co-editor of its website, He is also a contributing editor of National Geographic Traveler, Senior Fellow at Project for Public Spaces, an Associate of the Citistates group and a cities columnist for He was editor of Utne Reader for fifteen years, during which the magazine was nominated three times for a National Magazine Award for General Excellence. He is author of The Great Neighborhood Book and co-author of Visionaries. He writes widely about travel, cities, ecology and politics.

Details are here.--David E

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Staff Picked

At the risk of having my mandatory bookstore cardigan taken away, I have to confess that I don't always read a lot of novels. I'm more likely to settle down with a history of Jacobean religious policy (God's Secretaries should be your first choice on the subject) or a good bit of reportage (I loved John Vaillant's book The Tiger). But I do love a good crime novel, and easily my favorite series has been the John Rebus novels by Scotland's most famous author who doesn't write about wizards, Ian Rankin.

Rankin pulled the plug on the Rebus books a few years ago--his protagonist had reached the mandatory retirement age for Scottish policemen, and so was retired. Happily, Rankin is back with a new hero in his latest book The Complaints. Malcolm Fox (and yes, he's wily) stalks Edinborough's finest, and he finds them at their worst. Fox, you see, is a cop who investigates other cops.

It feels disloyal to say so, but I think I prefer Fox over John Rebus. Rankin's new book is great.

You can read a lot more--including a teaser about a possible return for Rebus--in this recent interview from NPR's Morning Edition. There's also an excerpt from The Complaints.

Please check it out. If you like a good, foggy police story, you won't be disappointed by The Complaints.--David E

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

He's That Charming

How did Joshua Foer convine Martha Stewart to wear these glasses? Find out tomorrow when Foer reads from his book Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything at Magers & Quinn tomorrow at 7:30pm. Details are here.--David E

Monday, March 21, 2011

"For fun, I sift through archives of the Minnesota Historical Society."

Peg Meier's idea of a good time--rummaging around in archives--may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it certainly yields some good results. The author of Too Hot, Went to Lake and Coffee Made Her Insane unearthed the diary of Coco Irvine, a Summit Avenue scamp of the 1920s. Coco was the daughter of a St Paul lumber baron, but she was no slouch when it came to getting into trouble.

Meier knew the diary would appeal to today's readers, and she convinced the University of Minnesota Press to publish it for today's readers. The book Through No Fault of My Own: A Girl's Diary of Life on Summit Avenue in the Jazz Age comes out March 30. You can read more details about both Coco and Peg's publishing story at the University of Minnesota Press Blog.

Peg Meier herself will visit Magers & Quinn to discuss her latest book. Join us Monday, April 18, at 7:30pm, for a lively evening of humor and history. Details are here.--David E

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Steve Healey and Matthew Zapruder read from their poetry

Two great poets read from their work at Magers & Quinn Booksellers. Steve Healey and Matthew Zapruder share new poetry Saturday, March 26, at 7:30pm.

"Healey's work demands that we betray our allegiance to poetry schools and simply appreciate his rich imagination."--Bloomsbury Review

Fluid, lively, and referential, 10 Mississippi samples language from many cultural tributaries, performing sequels of celebrated twentieth-century poems, riffing on advertising slogans, tongue twisters, formulaic news reports, and everyone's favorite twenty-six-letter sentence, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Like the proverbial river that is never the same twice, Steve Healey's poems channel the constant transformation of the modern world and embrace the human drama in a way that makes them a joy to read and revisit.

Steve Healey is the author of Earthling and most recently 10 Mississippi. His essays and criticism have appeared in the Writer’s Chronicle and Rain Taxi, and his poems have appeared in the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century and the journals American Poetry Review, Boston Review, jubilat, and others. He currently divides his time between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and East Lansing, Michigan, where he teaches creative writing and literature at Michigan State University.

Come On All You Ghosts, Matthew Zapruder's third book, mixes humor and invention with love and loss, as when the breath of a lover is compared to "a field of titanium gravestones / growing warmer in the sun." The title poem is an elegy for the heroes and mentors in the poet's life--from David Foster Wallace to the poet's father. Zapruder's poems are direct and surprising, and throughout the book he wrestles with the desire to do well, to make art, and to face the vast events of the day.

"Zapruder's innovative style is provocative in its unusual juxtapositions of line, image and enjambments.... Highly recommended."--Library Journal

Matthew Zapruder is the author of two previous books, including The Pajamaist, which won the William Carlos Williams Award and was honored by Library Journal with a "Best Poetry Book of the Year" listing. He lives in San Francisco and is an editor at Wave Books.

Details are here.--David E

Friday, March 18, 2011

Yardley Likes Kennedy

The Washington Post had some kind words for Thomas E. Kennedy's latest book. "Falling Sideways is that rarest of commodities in American literary fiction, a novel about men and women at work; it is part-satire and part-drama, and it is very smart." (The whole review is here.)

Thomas E. Kennedy returns to Magers & Quinn to read from his novel. He'll be here at 7:30pm, on Tuesday, April 12. See you there.--David E

Welcome to the Memory Palace

"I saw Jerry Seinfeld sprawled out bleeding on the hood of a Lamborghini (five of hearts, ace of diamonds, jack of hearts)."

That's the image Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, used to help him remember three random playing cards. Foer spoke to CNBC recently about the "memory palace" technique which fuses places and pictures into a mind-jogging stories. The whole article is here.

You can learn this and much more, when Joshua Foer visits Magers & Quinn. He'll be here at 7:30pm, Thursday, March 24. Don't forget.--David E

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nothing Rhymes with Orange

The Orange Prize for Fiction, awarded annually for outstanding writing by a female author, has announced its 2011 nominees. The longlist includes Jennifer Egan and Nicole Krauss--and also M&Q favorite Tea Obreht. Tea recently visited Minneapolis to read from her debut novel The Tiger's Wife. Video of her reading is here.

The winnner of the 2011 Orange Prize will be announced on April 12. Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Don't Forget Joshua Foer

Joshua Foer tells how he changed from chronically forgetful science journalist to U.S. Memory Champion--7:30pm, Thursday, March 24.

On average, people squander forty days annually compensating for things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget: In every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

"If you want to understand how we remember, and how we can all learn to remember better, then read this book.”--Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist

Moonwalking with Einstein draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of memory, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human remembering. Under the tutelage of top "mental athletes," he learns ancient techniques once employed by Cicero to memorize his speeches and by medieval scholars to memorize entire books. Using methods that have been largely forgotten, Foer discovers that we can all dramatically improve our memories.

“You have to love a writer who employs chick-sexing to help explain human memory. Foer is a charmer, a crackling mind, a fresh wind. He approaches a complex topic with so much humanity, humor, and originality that you don’t realize how much you’re taking in and understanding. It’s kind of miraculous.”--Mary Roach, author of Stiff, Bonk, and Packing for Mars

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

Stay Tuned

If you missed Tea Obreht reading from The Tiger's Wife on Monday--or just want to relive the evening--you can watch it on M&Q's brand new YouTube channel. Parts one and two are up; look for the thirds and fourth installments later today.--David E

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yellow Tiger

Covers often vary widely in the US and UK markets. What works in one country doesn't always work in the other. But the two covers for The Tiger's Wife could hardly be more different. While the US cover is dark and dare I say moody, the UK model is bright and sunny. Same book inside. Go figure.--David E

Friday, March 11, 2011

Vote Early and Often

City Pages is collecting votes for its 2011 "Best of the Twin Cities" issue. You can vote for Best Lake and Best Weatherman and... I don't know... Best Bookstore (New) and Best Bookstore (Used) and Best Bowling Alley. Did I mention Best Bookstore? I'm sure that's on the list somewhere. [Editor's note: See items #51 and #52.]

Anyhoo, it would really be super if you voted. I'm sure there's a weatherman out there who'd really appreciate your support.--David E

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Can we pick them, or can we pick them? Hot on the heels of a rave review of Moonwalking with Einstein--whose author Joshua Foer will be reading at M&Q on March 24--New York Times has written a love letter to another author who will be reading at our store this month. In her review today, Michiko Kakutani calls Tea Obreht's debut novel The Tiger's Wife "a richly textured and searing novel." It's also "a hugely ambitious, audaciously written work."

The Tiger's Wife is on sale now. Tea Obreht will be at M&Q on Monday, March 14, at 7:30pm. Come early to be sure you get a seat. This one's going to be big.--David E

Try to Remember

The New York Times reports on the first reading by Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein. Foer read last night at Brooklyn's Freenlight Bookstore. "Mr. Foer said that Wednesday’s reading was the first he had ever done. 'You get to see my schtick before it gets honed,' he told the audience."

The schtick is to bring audience members forward and lead them through the "memory palace" technique, which makes it easier to remember a list of arbitrary words. Says the Times, "Despite having to remember such vague words as grace and sesquipedalian, the audience remembered all seven words perfectly."

Try your luck when Joshua Foer comes to Magers & Quinn. Repeat after me, he'll be at Magers & Quinn... at 7:30pm... on Thursday, March 24. Write it down if you have to.--David E

Discover New Fiction

Peter Grandbois reads from his novel Nahoonkara--Tuesday, March 15, at 7:30pm, at Magers & Quinn.

"Peter Grandbois is a splendid writer I intend to follow very closely.”--Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize Winning author of A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain

Set simultaneously in the farm country of Wisconsin and a small mining town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado during the nineteenth century, Nahoonkara, the new novel by Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” and Border’s “Original Voices” author Peter Grandbois follows the lives of three brothers as each strives to re-create himself despite the forces that work to determine his identity. Though told from the point-of-view of many characters, the novel revolves around Killian, the oldest of the three, as he attempts to recapture a childhood as ephemeral as a dream. While Killian’s brother Henry strives to make the town prosperous and his brother Eli prays to maintain the town’s spiritual center, it becomes clear as the novel progresses that the center will not hold. Violence, lust, and greed tear at the fabric of the town until the only possibility for healing arrives in the form of a snowfall that lasts for three months, burying the town.

"Vividly drawn, exquisitely crafted, Nahoonkara bespeaks not just the promise of its author, but also his undeniable power."--Laird Hunt, author of Ray of the Star

Peter Grandbois is the author of The Gravedigger (2006), a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” and Borders “Original Voices” selection as well as the hybrid memoir, The Arsenic Lobster (2009). His essays and short fiction have appeared in magazines such as Boulevard, Narrative, Post Road, Gargoyle, Zone 3, Eleven Eleven, The Denver Quarterly, Word Riot, Pindeldyboz, and The Writer’s Chronicle, among others, and have been short listed for the Pushcart Prize. He serves as associate editor for Narrative magazine and is an assistant professor at Denison University in Ohio.

Details are here.--David E

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Citizen Reviews: The Tiger's Wife

We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with Ben Paulson's impressions of the debut novelist from the youngest author on last year's "20 under 40" list from The New Yorker.

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
It's difficult to find a synonym for the word nice that doesn't sound in some way backhanded. The term itself is probably exactly what I'm looking for, but it carries with it a certain patronizing air, perhaps an unspoken accusation of quaintness and, if nothing else, it suggests a definite lack of effusion. Nonetheless, it seems the pitch perfect word to describe Téa Obreht's debut novel, The Tiger's Wife, because its restraint aptly reflects that of Obreht's writing. You see, The Tiger's Wife may be wonderfully composed, confidently coy, and, at times, entrancing. But effusive it is not.

In The Tiger's Wife, Obreht offers us the story of Natalia, a young doctor from a war-eroded Balkan country, travelling across a neighboring border to deliver medical aid to an orphanage. En route, she learns that her beloved grandfather has died in a clinic inexplicably far from their home. The novel that unfolds is Natalia's quest to understand the mysteries surrounding his death. This investigation begins literally but, over time, it shifts into something slightly more existential, as Natalia begins to examine and retell the stories that her grandfather has passed on to her. The first of these stories describes an escaped tiger that haunted the pastoral village of his childhood. The second recurrent tale is of the "deathless man," an unwillingly immortal man whose life intersects her grandfather's from time to time. It's this strange mix of traumatic reality and magical realism that gives The Tiger's Wife its strength. Obreht embeds this ethereal world of mythology into a contemporary backdrop of conflict and loss. She does so with such unflinching simplicity and deliberate pacing that the novel's oscillations between dreamlike folklore and lyrical truth quickly blur into a charming and surreal meditation on the nature of mourning and mortality; on truth and myth; on the nature of storytelling itself.

In The Tiger's Wife, Téa Obreht has given us an eloquent novel that is as charming as it is quietly confident. Delving into the patchwork narrative of this novel is a pleasure, and the world of The Tiger's Wife, is at once strange, captivating and resonant. Which brings me back to my point: The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht may be a nice book; but it is a really, really nice book. Please pick up this novel and read it. Do something nice for yourself.

Ben Paulson lives in St. Paul, where he obsesses about books, zombies and breakfasts.

Inner Beauty

"Book surgeon" Brian Dettmer operates on old books--bending the, removing portions, and ultimately exposing their inner workings. He adds nothing.

See more of Dettmer's work here.--David E

Is Joshua Foer the New George Plimpton?

The hard-to-please Michiko Kakutani might just have a crush on Joshua Foer. How else to explain her fullsome praise for the young author? To wit, "Joshua Foer tackles the subject of memory the way George Plimpton tackled pro football and boxing." And "His narrative is smart and funny and, like the work of Dr. Oliver Sacks, it’s informed by a humanism that enables its author to place the mysteries of the brain within a larger philosophical and cultural context."

Those are heady comparisons for Mr Foer, and the New York Times is hardly alone in its plaudits. The Washington Post called the book "passionate and deeply engrossing." The Seattle Times said it's a "inspired and well-written debut book about not just memorization, but about what it means to be educated and the best way to become so, about expertise in general, and about the not-so-hidden "secrets" of acquiring skills."

Joshua Foer will be at M&Q to read from Moonwalking with Einstein on Thursday, March 24, at 7:30pm. Details are here.--David E

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Catch A Rising Star

The youngest author on last year's "20 Under 40" list from The New Yorker comes to Minneapolis. Tea Obreht reads from her much-anticipated first novel The Tiger's Wife, at 7:30pm, Monday, March 14, at Magers & Quinn.

“Téa Obreht is the most thrilling literary discovery in years.”--Colum McCann

“A marvel of beauty and imagination. Téa Obreht is a tremendously talented writer.”--Ann Patchett

The Tiger's Wife begins in a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, when Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.

“A novel of surpassing beauty, exquisitely wrought and magical. Téa Obreht is a towering new talent.”--T. C. Boyle

Téa Obreht was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve. Her writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The Guardian, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She was named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty and included in the National Book Foundation’s list of 5 Under 35. She lives in New York.

Details on all the events at M&Q are here.--David E

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Two Poets at M&Q

Minneapolis' poetry scene is as vibrant as ever. Come hear for yourself when two local authors read from their new work--4:00pm, Sunday, March 13, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

Sharon Chmielarz’s fifth collection poetry is a cornucopia of small, lyric poems on various topics, encompassing Chopin and Pushkin, dolphins and cows, zippers and gourds, bar scenes and garden scenes.

"In The Sky Is Great, The Sky Is Blue, Sharon Chmielarz is singularly herself with her sharp eye, her quick ear, and her knowledge that 'one becomes full by merely remembering.'”--Tim Nolan, author of The Sound of It

Dylan Garcia-Wahl's poetry weds romanticism with a thoroughly modern sensibility. In Becoming, the poet travels from jazz bars to the Ganges, from the Boundary Waters to the boudoir, subtly tracing the outlines of the human condition.

"Dylan Garcia-Wahl's Becoming lingers with a reader, worldly, sparse and nuanced."--Bryan Thao Worra Details are here.--David E

Friday, March 4, 2011

"One of the most exciting new writers of her generation"

Entertainment Weekly gives The Tiger's Wife a grade of A, calling its young author Tea Obreht "one of the most exciting new writers of her generation." They also said, "In her spectacular debut novel, The Tiger's Wife, the Belgrade-born, New York-based writer spins a tale of such marvel and magic in a literary voice so enchanting that the mesmerized reader wants her never to stop." The full review is here.

The Tiger's Wife will be published Tuesday, March 8. Tea Obreht will be at Magers & Quinn on Monday, March 14, at 7:30pm. Don't miss her.--David E

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Drawn to Reading

Meet two author/artists at M&Q. Ron Tanner discusses Kiss Me, Stranger: An Illustrated Novel--:30pm, Monday, March 7. He will be joined by local graphic artist Lars Martinson.

Featuring over fifty illustrations by the author, Kiss Me, Stranger is a comical and tragic commentary on war, violence, and consumerism. Set in an unnamed country sometime in the past, present, or future, Kiss Me, Stranger is the story of one woman's attempts to keep her family together while a civil war rages around her. Penelope, her husband and her fourteen children live in a small war-torn country built atop a landfill. After her husband and eldest son are drafted by opposing factions in the war, Penelope and her remaining children, desolate and nearly starving, are forced to scavenge for scrap--comprised of discarded consumer goods such as computers, televisions and automobiles--in the bombed-out city. When the government scrap collector makes an unreasonable demand in already unreasonable circumstances, Penelope slaps him across the face, leading to her arrest. Her subsequent escape sends her family on a journey literally into the heart of the landfill, where they come face to face with the stupidity, destruction and at times, dark humor, of war and modern consumer society.

"Ron Tanner's Kiss Me, Stranger would be remarkable for the eerie simplicity of the text alone, but his seemingly guileless illustration flip this impressive book into another dimension, well outside the spectrum of post-apocalyptic narratives than runs from Riddley Walker to The Road."--Madison Smartt Bell

Ron Tanner’s awards for fiction include a Faulkner Society gold medal, a Pushcart Prize, a New Letters Award first prize, a Best of the Web Award, and many others. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including The Iowa Review, West Branch, and The Quarterly. His collection of stories, A Bed of Nails, won both the G.S. Sharat Chandra award and the Towson Prize for Literature. He teaches writing at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland, and directs the Marshall Islands Story Project.


Lars Martinson's Tonoharu (Parts One and Two) tell the story of Dan Wells, an assistant junior high school teacher in the rural Japanese village of Tonoharu. Isolated from those around him by language and cultural barriers, he leads a solitary existence, until the day an unrequited crush extends him a dinner invitation. What follows shakes up Dan's quiet life and expands his social circle into unexpected quarters. But do these new associates exert an influence that is beneficial, or detrimental?

Lars Martinson was born on Mother's Day, 1977. He has met a princess, seen a five-legged cow, and eaten raw octopus eggs. From 2003 to 2006 he taught English in Fukuoka, Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. In 2007 he received the prestigious Xeric Grant. He lives in Minneapolis. You can learn more at

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