Upcoming Events

Tuesday, July 24, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Scott Carlson presents Twin Cities Beer: A Heady History

The Twin Cities has witnessed a recent explosion of craft beer breweries and brewpubs, but the region’s beer history reaches back generations. The Minneapolis Brewing Company introduced the iconic Grain Belt beer in 1893, and it remains a local favorite. Fur trapper and bootlegger Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant established a St. Paul tavern along the banks of the Mississippi River in the early 1800s. The area has been home to some of the best-known beer brands in America, from Hamm’s and Schmidt’s to Yoerg’s and Olympia. Today, microbreweries such as Bad Weather Brewing, Summit Brewing and more than fifty others are forging new avenues. Join author Scott Carlson as he offers an intriguing history and guide to Twin Cities beer.

Scott Carlson is a Twin Cities journalist and writer. He spent nearly thirty years at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, where he won numerous awards for his work. Most recently, Scott served as a research associate in the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and as a media relations and communications consultant. Scott has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota and a juris doctorate from the William Mitchell College of Law (now known as the Hamline Mitchell School of Law). He lives with his wife, Betsy, in the Twin Cities.

Wednesday, July 25, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Mary Moore Easter presents The Body of the World

"Open this book anywhere to find poetry that surges and snaps with energetic language, strong currents of emotion, and clear-eyed observation. Mary Moore Easter’s writing shows courageous truth-telling and corporeal wisdom, qualities of literary relatives such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Claudia Rankine. Her poems are riveting, whether the content is anger and outrage at the historical fact and ongoing evil of racism, dignity and pride in the stride of a stately black woman down a street, or sensuality as a man feeds his lover a grape. Easter is wickedly sly as a feminist, such as when she imagines getting naked in a painting by Picasso. Like Lucille Clifton, she also celebrates the self, the voice in one of her poem insisting: … I got the road / wide open in me.

Add Mary Moore Easter to the list of African American writers, such as James Baldwin and Ta Nehisi-Coates, for whom Paris has been a place of fascination, offering a safer home than the U.S. while also confirming that prejudice knows no boundaries. Easter’s poem, Paris 1960: City of Light, ends with Nineteen-sixty is as/ pitch black in Paris/ as in Mississippi/ it turns out. The Body of the World releases its poetic power in narratives, lyrical free verse, persona poems, an ode, and a crowning centerpiece of 15 sequenced sonnets, which respond to the terracotta army buried with the first emperor of China and meditate on art’s capacity to embody and to entomb, and on human aggression coupled with the enduring desire for justice and peace."

- Margaret Hasse, poet, Between Us

Pushcart Prize-nominated poet Mary Moore Easter’s The Body of the World (Mad Hat Press 2018) was a finalist for the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in 2017.  A Cave Canem Fellow, her work has been published in, among other journals, Poetry, Seattle Review, Water Stone, Calyx, Pluck!, Persimmon Tree and Fjord’s Review, and in the anthology Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota (2015). Her chapbook Walking from Origins was published by Heywood Press in 1993. She holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence and an M.A. from Goddard. A Virginia transplant, Easter re-rooted at Carleton College in Minnesota, where she was founder and director of the Dance Program. Now emerita professor of dance, veteran dancer/ choreographer, she is a member of Penchant, aka the Northfield Women Poets, and is represented in the group’s four anthologies: Absorb the Colours, A Rich Salt Place, Tremors, Vibrations Enough to Shake the World and Penchant(Heywood Press). Her honors include a Bush Artist Fellowship, multiple McKnights, The Loft Creative Non-Fiction Award, and Ragdale and Anderson Center residencies. She co-mentored the Givens Black Writers Program (2015-17).

Thursday, July 26, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Dan Kaufman presents The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics

For more than a century, Wisconsin was known nationwide for its progressive ideas and government. It famously served as a "laboratory of democracy," a cradle of the labor and environmental movements, and birthplace of the Wisconsin Idea, which championed expertise in the service of the common good.

But following a Republican sweep of the state’s government in 2010, Wisconsin’s political heritage was overturned, and the state went Republican for the first time in three decades in the 2016 presidential election. Here is untold story behind the most shocking political upheaval in the country.

The Fall of Wisconsin is a deeply reported, searing account of how the state’s progressive tradition was undone and turned into a model for national conservatives bent on remaking the country. Dan Kaufman, a Wisconsin native who has been covering the story for several years, traces the history of progressivism that made Wisconsin so widely admired. Kaufman reveals how the “divide-and-conquer” strategy of Governor Scott Walker and his allies pitted Wisconsin’s citizens against one another so powerful corporations and wealthy donors could effectively take control of state government.

Neither sentimental nor despairing, Kaufman chronicles the remarkable efforts of citizens who are fighting to reclaim Wisconsin’s progressive legacy against tremendous odds.

“Through the microcosm of one state Dan Kaufman does a masterful job explaining what’s happened to America, and why. It’s not a happy tale, but it’s an important one.” — Jane Mayer, best-selling author of Dark Money

Dan Kaufman has written for The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker. Originally from Wisconsin, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

Tuesday, August 7, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Obama: An Oral History - author Brian Abrams in conversation with Ana Marie Cox

The first ever comprehensive oral history of President Obama’s administration and the complex political machine that created and powered a landmark American presidency.

In this candid oral history of a presidential tenure, author Brian Abrams reveals the behind-the-scenes stories that illuminate the eight years of the Obama White House through more than one hundred exclusive interviews. Among those given a voice in this extraordinary account are Obama’s cabinet secretaries; his teams of speechwriters, legal advisers, and campaign strategists; as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who fought for or against his agenda. They recall the early struggles of an idealistic outsider candidate and speak openly about the exacting work that led to cornerstone legislation. They share the failures and dissent that met Obama’s efforts and revisit the paths to his accomplishments. As eyewitnesses to history, their accounts combine to deliver an unfiltered view of Obama’s battle to deliver on his promise of hope and change.

Brian Abrams is the author of three bestselling Kindle Singles: And NOW . . . An Oral History of Late Night with David Letterman, 1982–1993; Gawker: An Oral History; and Die Hard: An Oral History. He has written for the Washington Post Magazine, Time, and The Lowbrow Reader. He lives in New York City. You can visit www.brianlabrams.com for more information and follow the author on Twitter @BrianAbrams.

Ana Marie Cox is a political columnist and culture critic whose writing has appeared in The New Republic, Sports Illustrated, the Washington Post, and Esquire. She hosts With Friends Like These, a podcast from Crooked Media. Since starting the snarky political blog Wonkette in 2004, she has worked at a bewildering variety of outlets, including Time, GQ, Air America, and The Guardian. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband.

Thursday, August 9, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Michael E. Murphy presents Songs of Crocus Hill, with Nancy Christensen

Join us for an evening of poetry with Michael E. Murphy and Nancy Christensen.

Michael E. Murphy's Songs of Crocus Hill are a collection of memory poems drawn from his years growing up in the Crocus Hill district of St. Paul, from his experiences as a husband and father, and from his travels abroad as an international lawyer. In his blend of narrative and lyrical poetry, Murphy wants his readers to discover the Crocus Hills in their own lives. Here's the opening stanza from "Carl Wolf:"

                              His Crocus Hill custom required more

                              of Carl Wolf than the mending and hemming of clothes.

                              Carl was a listener, a safe-keeper of secrets

                              who dwelt in the confessional darkness of his shop

                              at Grand and Oxford, across from Vince's Pure Oil.

Michael E. Murphy taught English briefly at St. Olaf and Macalester Colleges before his thirty-year career as an international business lawyer with Medtronic and the Faegre law firm in Minneapolis. In retirement, he has been teaching a seminar on The Law in Literature at the University of St. Thomas Law School and writing poetry.

Nancy Christensen is a member of the Ginger Poetry Group facilitated by St. Paul poet Margaret Hasse. Nancy's work is included in A Little Book of Abundance, an anthology edited by Margaret Hasse and published by Red Bird Press.

Tuesday, August 14, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Sam Stephenson presents Gene Smith's Sink, in conversation with Steve Marsh and featuring a short film by Jem Cohen

Famously unabashed, W. Eugene Smith was photography’s most celebrated humanist. As a photo essayist at Life magazine in the 1940s and ’50s, he established himself as an intimate chronicler of human culture. His photographs of war and disaster, villages and metropolises, doctors and midwives, revolutionized the role of images in journalism, transforming photography for decades to come.

When Smith died in 1978, he left behind eighteen dollars in the bank and forty-four thousand pounds of archives. He was only fifty-nine, but he was flat worn-out. His death certificate read “stroke,” but, as was said of the immortal jazzman Charlie Parker, Smith died of “everything,” from drug and alcohol benders to weeklong work sessions with no sleep.

Lured by the intoxicating trail of people that emerged from Smith’s stupefying archive, Sam Stephenson began a quest to trace his footsteps. In Gene Smith’s Sink, Stephenson merges traditional biography with rhythmic digressions to revive Smith’s life and legacy. Traveling across twenty-nine states, Japan, and the Pacific, Stephenson profiles a lively cast of characters, including the playwright Tennessee Williams, to whom Smith likened himself; the avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage, with whom he once shared a Swiss chalet; the artist Mary Frank, who was married to his friend Robert Frank; the jazz pianists Thelonious Monk and Sonny Clark, whose music was taped by Smith in his loft; and a series of obscure caregivers who helped keep Smith on his feet. The distillation of twenty years of research, Gene Smith’s Sink is an unprecedented look into the photographer’s potent legacy and the subjects around him.

Sam Stephenson is a writer and documentarian. He is the author of Dream Street: W. Eugene Smith’s Pittsburgh Project and The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue, 1957–1965. His writing has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Paris Review, Tin House, and the Oxford American. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Steve Marsh is a writer interested in culture, extreme experience and performance. He's profiled athletes, artists and leaders in thought and business on their own turf whether that's Detroit, Berlin or Rio de Janeiro. He’s the senior writer at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and he’s contributed to GQ, Grantland, Vulture, Pitchfork, and The Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, August 16, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Paul Lubenkov presents Tap Dancing on the Razor's Edge

As the title of this collection suggests, the poems in Tap Dancing on the Razor's Edge reflect a dynamic tension between exuberant joy and exquisite pain, with a liberal dose of sardonic humor. In the headlong pursuit of love and redemption, the poems in this collection peel back the subliminal layers of comfort surrounding the soul and wander between the darkness and the light. Here is a poet unafraid to grapple with the dark matter in our lives and confront the bright light; who imbues striking narratives with alternating bursts of vivid imagery, singular rhythms, engaging pathos, and a relentless dose of humor. Here is a poet who loves to sing, and we are fortunate to hear his voice. Enjoy the ride.

"It's past time we had Paul Lubenkov's Tap Dancing On The Razor's Edge, a dark comedy of gesture and thrills that mirrors the insanity of our times with a wry grin slanting through the mist of horrors... From a threnody on the bombing of Japan to the series of short, snorty poems about his irascible character Milo, we see a masterful working out of ragtime foibles, flirtations of the Fifties, and results of the irrational stichomythia of the stock market. It's good poetry the way it used to be. Grab it."-Larry Johnson, author of Alloy

"By turns witty, vulgar, angry, and tender -- Paul Lubenkov's poems may be just the accompaniment for our disjointed times."-R. M. Ryan, author of The Lost Roads Adventure Club.

Paul Lubenkov has had experience in a wide range of occupations: grinder in an iron foundry, university instructor, benefits analyst, technology sales executive, national account manager, corporate leasing director, and business banking vice president. He currently teaches at Morton College and strongly believes that having multiple careers allows you to live multiple lives.

Wednesday, August 22, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Christopher A. Paul presents The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games: Why Gaming Culture Is the Worst

Video games have brought entertainment, education, and innovation to millions, but gaming also has its dark sides. From the deep-bred misogyny epitomized by GamerGate to the endemic malice of abusive player communities, gamer culture has had serious real-world repercussions, ranging from death threats to sexist industry practices and racist condemnations.

In The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games, new media critic and longtime gamer Christopher A. Paul explains how video games’ focus on meritocracy empowers this negative culture. Games typically valorize skill and technique, and common video-game practices (such as leveling) build meritocratic thinking into the most basic premises. Video games are often assumed to have an even playing field, but they facilitate skill transfer from game to game, allowing certain players a built-in advantage.

The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games identifies deep-seated challenges in the culture of video games—but all is not lost. As Paul argues, similarly meritocratic institutions like professional sports and higher education have found powerful remedies to alleviate their own toxic cultures, including active recruiting and strategies that promote values such as contingency, luck, and serendipity. These can be brought to the gamer universe, Paul contends, ultimately fostering a more diverse, accepting, and self-reflective culture that is not only good for gamers but good for video games as well.

Christopher A. Paul is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Communication Department at Seattle University. He also wrote: Wordplay and the Discourse of Video Games: Analyzing Words, Design, and Play. Prior to joining SeattleU, he spent a decade in Minnesota getting his undergraduate degree from Macalester and going to graduate school at University of Minnesota.

Thursday, August 23, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Mara Altman presents Gross Anatomy: Dispatches from the Front (and Back), moderated by the Loft's Steph Opitz

For every woman who has ever heard the phrase, “That’s so gross!” aimed in the direction of her hairy legs or sweaty pit stains, Mara Altman gets it. As a newly pubescent eighth grader, those three words simultaneously indicted her bare, unshaven legs and sparked a lifelong obsession with the female body and its many (often-embarrassing) excretions.

Arranging the collection into two parts, Altman takes readers on a wild and relatable ride from head to toe. In Part One, “The Top Half,” she tackles topics such as body hair, lice, facial features, sex sounds, sweat glands, boobs, and belly buttons. In Part Two, she investigates “The Bottom Half”—why dogs sniff crotches, why butts are considered attractive, if anal sex worsens hemorrhoids, whether PMS is real, and much, much more. Why, for example, wasn’t evolution smart enough to build us with buttholes made of out something more durable, like lead piping?

Altman’s journey to answer this and other questions take her to an inventor’s workshop, a plastic surgeon’s exam table, a menstrual retreat, and nudist colony. She interviews doctors, scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, researchers, historians, and scholars. Along the way, Altman uses her personal experiences as springboards and her own body as guinea pig, laying bare her innermost anxieties and physical foibles. Altman unsparingly documents the weird, quixotic, and downright icky aspects of bodily functions in her quest to diminish the sting of shame and find space for self-love and acceptance—gross parts and all.

With the dark humor of a trusted friend (who enthusiastically shares her favorite pimple-popping YouTube videos), Altman holds a magnifying glass to commonly held beliefs, practices, biases, and the most grody body parts to show that even in grossness, there is greatness.

Mara Altman enjoys writing about issues that embarrass her (e.g. chin hair), because she has found that putting shame on the page diffuses the stigma, leaving her with a sense of empowerment and freedom. Her first book, Thanks for Coming, an investigation into love and orgasm, was translated into three languages. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon and New York Magazine among other publications. Before going freelance, She worked as a staff writer for the Village Voice and daily newspapers in India and Thailand. She is an alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and lives in San Diego with quite a few other hairy beings.

Steph Opitz is the founding director of Wordplay at The Loft Literary Center. She serves on committees for the National Book Foundation, PEN America, Rain Taxi, among others. She has curated literary events and festivals around the country and was the books reviewer for Marie Claire magazine for six years. Her book reviews can also be found in Garden & Gun, Departures, Kirkus, and elsewhere.

Sunday, August 26, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

An Evening of Poetry with Blue Light Press

Come join us for an evening of poetry with writers published by Blue Light Press.

Patricia Barone’s The Scent of Water is from Blue Light Press; another collection of poetry, Your Funny, Funny Face, is forthcoming. New Rivers Press published her first book of poetry, Handmade Paper, and a novella, The Wind. Periodicals include The Shop (Ireland), Great River Review, Pleiades, Commonweal, The Seattle Review, Visions International, and the Widener Review. She has received a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in poetry, a Lake Superior Contemporary Writers Award for a short story, and a Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant.

K.B. Ballentine’s fifth collection, Almost Everything, Almost Nothing, was published in 2017 by Middle Creek Publishing. Two collections, The Perfume of Leaving and What Comes of Waiting, won the 2016 and 2013 Blue Light Press Book Awards. Published in many print and online journals, her work also appears in In Plein Air (2017), Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017), River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015), and other anthologies. Learn more about KB Ballentine at www.kbballentine.com.

Diane Frank is an award-winning poet and author of seven books of poems. Her new book of poems, Canon for Bears and Ponderosa Pines, was recently published by Glass Lyre Press. Blackberries in the Dream House, her first novel, won the Chelson Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Diane lives in San Francisco, where she dances, plays cello, and creates her life as an art form. She teaches Poetry and Fiction Workshops at San Francisco State University and Dominican University. She is editor of the bestselling anthology, River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the 21st Century. She also plays cello in the Golden Gate Symphony. 

Helga Kidder is a native of Germany’s Black Forest and lives in the Tennessee hills with her husband, Everett.  She was awarded an MFA in Writing from Vermont College.  She is co-founder of the Chattanooga Writers Guild and leads their poetry group.  Her poetry most recently has been published by Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal, On the Veranda, and was featured in Southern Light, Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets, the Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, and Carrying the Branch: Poetry in Search of Peace. She has three poetry collections, Wild Plums (2012 Finishing Line Press), Luckier than the Stars (2013 Blue Light Press), and Blackberry Winter (2016 Blue Light Press).

Mary Kay Rummel was Ventura County’s first Poet Laureate (from 2014-16). Her eighth book of poetry, Cypher Garden, was recently published by Blue Light Press of San Francisco. Her previous book of poetry, The Lifeline Trembles, won the 2014 Blue Light Poetry Prize. Other prize winning books include: What’s Left is the Singing (Blue Light Press); This Body She’s Entered (New Rivers Press); Love in the End (Bright Hill Press). She has been called a “powerhouse reader” and has read her poems in many venues and festivals across the US and in London and Ireland.

Tuesday, August 28, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Alexandra Tweten presents Bye Felipe: Disses, Dick Pics, and Other Delights of Modern Dating

After one too many hostile dating app encounters, Alexandra Tweten set up the Instagram account @ByeFelipe, a place for women to protest the horrors of online dating and to share stories and screenshots of their own experiences. Three years later, the account has become a forum where women can fight back against the men who have made them uncomfortable, scared, and embarrassed--and to laugh at the appalling men they encounter.

The name of Bye Felipe is a nod to the "Bye Felicia" meme, which Urban Dictionary defines as a cool dismissal of a noxious person.  In that spirit, the book helps women navigate the perils that come with swiping right and provides practical steps to overcome the harassment rampant in the dating app ether. Blending humor, feminist theory, and solidarity, this "field guide" provides profiles of the worst types of guys (also known as "Felipes")--from the classic fat shamer to the mansplainer to the surprise sociopath--answers questions like "How do I react when a guy sends me a dick pic?," and gives women the tools they need to take control of their dating life. With stories, screenshots, and Riot Grrrl-esque graphic art throughout, Bye Felipe empowers women to stand up for themselves and uphold the confidence and self-worth Felipes try so desperately to steal.

Alexandra Tweten is the creator of ByeFelipe and has been called a "Feminist-Tinder-Creep-Busting Web Vigilante." She has been featured in national media outlets including the New York Times, Huffington Post, The Guardian, and Cosmopolitan, and has recently appeared on Good Morning America and Nightline. Tweten co-hosts the V Single Podcast on iTunes and has been a guest speaker at universities, the L.A. Museum of Broken Relationships, and the Sexting Art Festival in NY. She is the subject of the forthcoming short-form documentary #Internetfamous. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Thursday, August 30, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Stephen Markley presents Ohio

The debut of a major talent; a lyrical and emotional novel set in an archetypal small town in northeastern Ohio—a region ravaged by the Great Recession, an opioid crisis, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—depicting one feverish, fateful summer night in 2013 when four former classmates converge on their hometown, each with a mission, all haunted by the ghosts of their shared histories.

Since the turn of the century, a generation has come of age knowing only war, recession, political gridlock, racial hostility, and a simmering fear of environmental calamity. In the country’s forgotten pockets, where industry long ago fled, where foreclosures, Walmarts, and opiates riddle the land, death rates for rural whites have skyrocketed, fueled by suicide, addiction and a rampant sense of marginalization and disillusionment. This is the world the characters in Stephen Markley’s brilliant debut novel, Ohio, inherit. This is New Canaan.

At once a murder mystery and a social critique, Ohio ingeniously captures the fractured zeitgeist of a nation through the viewfinder of an embattled Midwestern town and offers a prescient vision for America at the dawn of a turbulent new age.

“Stephen Markley is an expert cartographer of the American Rust Belt and the haunted landscapes of his characters' interiors. A fast-moving and devastating debut.” —Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Swamplandia!

Stephen Markley is an author, screenwriter, and journalist. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Markley’s previous books include the memoir Publish This Book: The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold, and Published This Very Book, and the travelogue Tales of Iceland. He lives in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, September 5, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Kathleen E. Allen presents Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World

Can we design organizations in a way that creates a space where employees, the organization, and the larger community all thrive? And if so, where can we go for inspiration to help us achieve this goal?

In a time of volatile and complex uncertainty, it is time to learn the lessons that nature has compiled from 3.8 billion years of research and development. Nature is an interdependent, dynamic and living system – just like today’s organizations and communities. Kathleen Allen uses nature as a model, mentor, and muse to rethink how leadership is practiced today. Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World takes nature as a source of inspiration to help organizations see a new way of leading and designing workplace structure, applying the generous framework found in mature ecologies to human organizations.

In Leading from the Roots, Kathleen Allen helps shift assumptions, practices, structures, and processes of organizations to become more resilient and nourishing for all, and, along the way, design the way out of workplace dysfunction and drama.

Dr. Kathleen E. Allen is President of Allen and Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in leadership coaching, innovation, and organizational change in non-profit and for-profit organizations.

She is the author of Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World and has written widely on leadership and change. She writes a weekly blog on leadership and organizations that describes a new paradigm of leadership based in lessons from nature and living systems. She has a doctorate in leadership from the University of San Diego.

Thursday, September 6, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Dianna E. Anderson presents Problematic: How Toxic Callout Culture Is Destroying Feminism

From Beyoncé’s Lemonade to The Force Awakens to the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, the entertainment industry seems to be embracing the power of women like never before. But with more feminist content comes more feminist criticism—and it feels as if there’s always something to complain about.

Dianna E. Anderson’s incisive Problematic takes on the stereotype of the perpetually dissatisfied feminist. Anderson suggests that our insistence on feminist ideological purity leads to shallow criticism and ultimately hurts the movement. She proposes new, more nuanced forms of feminist thought for today’s culture, illustrated by examples from across the spectrum of popular music, movies, and TV, including Lena Dunham, Nicki Minaj, and even One Direction.

While grounding her inquiry in pop-culture media and topics, Anderson draws on concepts of feminist theory to show how we can push for continued cultural change while still acknowledging the important feminist work being done in the pop-culture sphere today.

Dianna E. Anderson is a freelance journalist, author, and activist in women’s issues. She is a regular contributor to Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, the Establishment, Vice, and Bitch magazine. Anderson is the author of Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity.

Tuesday, September 11, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Mindy Mejia presents Leave No Trace

From the author of the “compelling” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) and critically acclaimed Everything You Want Me to Be, a riveting and suspenseful thriller about the mysterious disappearance of a boy and his stunning return ten years later.

There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later... the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

Mindy Mejia is the author of The Dragon Keeper and Everything You Want Me To Be. She writes what she likes to read: contemporary, plot-driven books that deliver both entertainment and substance. She lives in the Twin Cities and holds an MFA from Hamline University.

Wednesday, September 12, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Bill Percy presents The Bishop Burned the Lady

A mysterious fire in a remote forest clearing; a woman's charred bones; unexplained tracks in the rutted road—the only clues Deputy Andi Pelton has until she meets an old man living alone in a forest compound that houses a dormitory. Sex trafficking in the Montana wilderness? As Andi and psychologist Ed Northrup struggle to solve the brutal fiery murder, Andi faces a fear she didn’t know she had.

The horrors they unearth lead them deep into the appalling reality of prison gangs and a cult led by a malign Bishop. They threaten Andi and Ed’s romance and her growing bond with her “step-girlfriend,” Ed’s adopted daughter, Grace.

Will that center hold when Andi finds the Bishop holding a knife against her throat? And if it does and she succeeds, will she be able to face her greater fear?

Bill Percy, an award-winning Idaho writer, draws on his experiences as a psychotherapist to write vivid, engaging tales of people confronting painful and challenging mysteries. His previous novels in the Monastery Valley series, Climbing the Coliseum and Nobody’s Safe Here, were finalists or distinguished favorites in multiple book award competitions. Bill lives with his wife, Michele, in Hope, Idaho, above the shore of idyllic Lake Pend Oreille in the shadow of the rugged Cabinet Mountains.

Sunday, September 16, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Alison McGhee presents What I Leave Behind, with Amy McNamara and A Flicker in the Clarity

About What I Leave Behind:

Sixteen-year-old Will spends most of his days the same way: Working at the Dollar Only store, trying to replicate his late father’s famous cornbread recipe, and walking the streets of Los Angeles. Will started walking after his father committed suicide, and three years later he hasn’t stopped. But there are some places Will can’t walk by: The blessings store with the chest of 100 Chinese blessings in the back, the bridge on Fourth Street where his father died, and his childhood friend Playa’s house.

When Will learns Playa was raped at a party—a party he was at, where he saw Playa, and where he believes he could have stopped the worst from happening if he hadn’t left early—it spurs Will to stop being complacent in his own sadness. He begins to leave small gifts for everyone in his life. And it is through those acts of kindness that Will is finally able to push past his own trauma and truly begin to live his life again. Oh, and discover the truth about that cornbread.

Alison McGhee is the New York Times bestselling author of Someday, as well as Maybe a Fox, Firefly Hollow, Little Boy, So Many Days, Star Bright, A Very Brave Witch, and the Bink and Gollie books. Her other children’s books include All Rivers Flow to the Sea, Countdown to Kindergarten, and Snap. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Laguna Beach, California. You can visit her at AlisonMcGhee.com.

About A Flicker in the Clarity:

Evie and Emma are inseparable. Two halves of a whole, they balance each other until Evie makes a flip decision that gets Emma in serious trouble. Feeling the sting of betrayal, Emma freezes Evie out leaving Evie full of regret, desperately sorry, sad, and—for the first time in her life—entirely alone. Then Evie meets Theo, a boy who offers her a view of the world through a different lens. Just as she lets herself fall for Theo, Emma resurfaces—but not without consequence. Emma’s erratic behavior, drunken mishaps, and panicked phone calls leave Evie afraid there’s something deeper going on. Evie wants to help Emma, but Emma is bent on self-destruction. All Evie wants is her friend back—but can you help someone who doesn’t want to be saved?

Amy McNamara's poems have appeared in numerous journals and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first novel, Lovely, Dark and Deep, won an ILA Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Award, was an ABC New Voices Pick, and was nominated as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her online at amymcnamara.com.

Wednesday, September 19, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

William Kent Krueger presents Desolation Mountain

All his life, Stephen O'Connor has had visions, portents of tragedies to come.  When he’s visited time and again by the vision of a great bird shot from the sky, he knows something terrible is about to happen in Tamarack County, Minnesota.  The crash of a private plane on Desolation Mountain in a remote part of the Iron Lake Reservation, which kills a U.S. senator and most of her family, confirms Stephen’s worst fears. Stephen and his father, Cork O’Connor, join a number of Ojibwe men from the Iron Lake reservation, who were the first on the scene. They’ve barely begun to sift through the smoldering wreckage when the FBI arrives and quickly assumes control of the situation, dismissing Cork, Stephen, and the other searchers.

In that far north Minnesota county, which is overrun with agents of the FBI, NTSB, DoD, and even members of a rightwing militia, all of whom have their own agendas, O'Connor, his father, and Bo Thorson, a private security consultant, attempt to navigate a perilous course. Roadblocked by lies from the highest levels of government, uncertain who to trust, facing evermore threats the deeper they dig for answers, the three men finally understand that to get to the truth, they will have to face the great menace: the beast huge and evil lurking in the woods that surround Desolation Mountain, a beast with a murderous intent of unimaginable scale.

William Kent Krueger writes the New York Times bestselling Cork O’Connor mystery series. Krueger’s work has received a number of awards, including the Edgar Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.

Thursday, September 20, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Courtney Kersten presents Daughter in Retrograde: A Memoir

When she isn’t eavesdropping on family gossip or gazing at taxidermy squirrels in smoky dives, Courtney Kersten charts the uncertainty of her Midwestern homeland by looking to the stars and planets in her debut memoir Daughter in Retrograde. As a teen, she had plunged deep into the worlds of signs, symbols, and prophecy. But now, as her mother—her traveling companion into these spheres—lies dying, Kersten must learn to navigate without the person who always lit the way. Their last journey together, to swim in a Wisconsin lake, is a bittersweet, darkly comic, poignant climax, the mark of a transformative memoir.

Courtney Kersten is the author of Daughter in Retrograde: A Memoir (University of Wisconsin Press 2018). Her essays can be seen or are forthcoming from Prairie Schooner, Brevity, The Normal School, River Teeth, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. She was the 2018 winner of the Annie Dillard Award for Nonfiction, a Fulbright Fellow to Riga, Latvia, and is currently a PhD student in Literature, Creative Writing, and Feminist Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Tuesday, September 25, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Rebecca Clarren presents Kickdown

When Jackie Dunbar's father dies, she takes a leave from medical school and goes back to the family cattle ranch in Colorado to set affairs in order. But what she finds derails her: The Dunbar ranch is bankrupt, her sister is having a nervous breakdown, and the oil and gas industry has changed the landscape of this small western town both literally and figuratively, tempting her to sell a gas lease to save the family land. There is fencing to be repaired and calves to be born, and no one—except Jackie herself—to take control. But then a gas well explodes in the neighboring ranch, and the fallout sets off a chain of events that will strain trust, sever old relationships, and ignite new ones.

Rebecca Clarren's Kickdown, shortlisted for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, is a tautly written debut novel about two sisters and the Iraq war veteran who steps in to help. It is a timeless and timely meditation on the grief wrought by death, war, and environmental destruction. Kickdown, like Kent Haruf's Plainsong or Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone, weaves together the threads of land, family, failure, and perseverance to create a gritty tale about rural America.

Award-winning journalist Rebecca Clarren has been writing about the rural West for nearly twenty years. Her journalism, for which she has won the Hillman Prize, an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship, and nine grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, has appeared in such publications as Mother Jones, High Country News, The Nation, and Salon.com. She lives in Portland, Ore. with her husband and two young sons.

Wednesday, September 26, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Porter Fox presents Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America's Forgotten Border

America’s northern border is the world’s longest international boundary, yet it remains obscure even to Americans. The northern border was America’s primary border for centuries—much of the early history of the United States took place there—and to the tens of millions who live and work near the line, the region even has its own name: the northland.

Travel writer Porter Fox spent three years exploring 4,000 miles of the border between Maine and Washington, traveling by canoe, freighter, car, and foot. In Northland, he blends a deeply reported and beautifully written story of the region’s history with a riveting account of his travels. Setting out from the easternmost point in the mainland United States, Fox follows explorer Samuel de Champlain’s adventures across the Northeast; recounts the rise and fall of the timber, iron, and rail industries; crosses the Great Lakes on a freighter; tracks America’s fur traders through the Boundary Waters; and traces the forty-ninth parallel from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean.

Fox, who grew up the son of a boat-builder in Maine’s northland, packs his narrative with colorful characters (Captain Meriwether Lewis, railroad tycoon James J. Hill, Chief Red Cloud of the Lakota Sioux) and extraordinary landscapes (Glacier National Park, the Northwest Angle, Washington’s North Cascades). He weaves in his encounters with residents, border guards, Indian activists, and militia leaders to give a dynamic portrait of the northland today, wracked by climate change, water wars, oil booms, and border security.

Porter Fox is the editor of literary travel writing journal, Nowhere, and the author of Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow (2013). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and The Best American Travel Writing. Raised in Maine, he lives in New York.

Thursday, September 27, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Julie Schumacher presents The Shakespeare Requirement

Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes arms against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional. His ex-wife is sleeping with the dean who must approve whatever modest initiatives he undertakes. The fearsome department secretary Fran clearly runs the show (when not taking in rescue parrots and dogs) and holds plenty of secrets she's not sharing. The lavishly funded Econ Department keeps siphoning off English's meager resources and has taken aim at its remaining office space. And Fitger's attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly when the press concludes that the Bard is being kicked to the curricular curb.

Lord, what fools these mortals be! Julie Schumacher proves the point and makes the most of it in this delicious romp.

Julie Schumacher grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from Oberlin College and Cornell University, where she earned her MFA. Her first novel, The Body Is Water, was published by Soho Press in 1995 and was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her 2014 novel, Dear Committee Members, won the Thurber Prize for American Humor; she is the first woman to have been so honored. She lives in St. Paul and is a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of Minnesota.

Tuesday, October 2, 12:00am Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Jan Linn presents Evangelicalism and the Decline of American Politics

Beginning in the 1970s, evangelical Christians decided to become involved in our nation's political life by becoming Republican partisans. Today they are widely considered the Republican Party's most reliable constituency. In the process American politics has become more bitter, chaotic, divisive, and now dysfunctional.

There is a significant bipartisan consensus that the Republican Party bears the most responsibility for the state of our nation's politics. This is not an endorsement of Democratic policies, only an assessment of why our government no longer gets anything done. What is often ignored, though, is the role evangelicals are playing in what is happening.

This book connects the dots between evangelical theology and evangelical politics. The key factor in both is their "no compromise" attitude that sees negotiations as a betrayal of moral principles, confident as they are that they are doing God's work here on earth. The result, as this book shows, is bad politics and bad religion, both of which are out of step with the views of most Americans. It concludes with suggestions for what the nation and evangelicals themselves can do to open the door to our government being able to function again, and to the nation healing some of its divisions.

Jan G. Linn has served as chaplain and a member of the teaching faculty at Lynchburg College in Virginia, and was Professor of the Practice of Ministry at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky before giving up tenure to become co-pastor with his wife of a new church start in Minnesota. After fourteen years he retired to write full-time. He is the author of fifteen books, and has a widely read blog, Thinking Against The Grain

Wednesday, October 17, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

James Anderson presents Lullaby Road

Winter has come to Route 117, a remote road through the high desert of Utah trafficked only by those looking to escape the world and those the world has rejected. Local truck driver Jones, still in mourning over the devastating murder of his lover Claire, is trying to get through another season of his job navigating treacherous roads and sudden snowfall without accident when a mute Hispanic child is placed in Jones’s path at a seedy truck stop along his route bearing a note that simply reads “Please, Ben. Bad trouble. My son. Take him today. His name is Juan. Trust you only. Tell no one. Pedro.”  From that moment forward, nothing will ever be the same. Not for Ben. Not for the child. And not for anyone along the seemingly empty stretch of road known as Route 117.

Despite deep misgivings, and without any hint of who the child is or the grave danger he’s facing, Jones takes the child with him and sets out into a landscape that is as dangerous as it is beautiful and silent. With the help of his eccentric neighbors—Phyllis, who turned up one day in her Rolls-Royce with two children in tow and the FBI on her tail; Andy, a Utah State Trooper who is on or off duty depending on if his hat is on or off his head; and Roy, an ex–coal miner who has lived in Rockmuse, off Highway 117, his whole life and survives on odd jobs and the kindness of his neighbors—Jones uncovers buried secrets of the desert that are far more painful than he could have imagined.

James Anderson was born in Seattle, Washington, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a graduate of Reed College and received his MFA in creative writing from Pine Manor College. His short fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines.  He currently divides his time between Colorado and Oregon. For more information please visit www.jamesandersonauthor.com.

Thursday, October 18, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Dan Hill presents Famous Faces Decoded: A Guidebook for Reading Others

Unless you’ve never been lied to in life, you know that words aren’t enough in assessing people and situations. Vital to emotional intelligence is fluently reading the language of facial expressions. Famous Faces Decoded reveals how emotions shape and reflect our personalities, driving behavior. This book is full of lively stories about stars you know, or think you know, from the realms of Hollywood, music, sports, and the media, to leading politicians and business people from The Silent Generation to Millennials.

In this unique mini-workshop / reading event, Dan will help guests get oriented to facial coding (reading expressions for emotions expressed) using large, mounted heads as examples. Guests are also invited to bring to the event photographs from either current events or personal moments like weddings, family reunions, etc. Readings from the book will highlight a range of personalities, with Q & A to follow.

Dan Hill, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on the role of emotions in business, politics, sorts, and popular culture. His-wide ranging media coverage and appearances have included: front-page coverage in The New York Times, plus ABC’s Good Morning, America, NBC’s The Today Show, and CNN. Dan lives in St. Paul, and received his doctorate in English literature at Rutgers University following studies at Brown University, Oxford University and St. Olaf College. Dan’s blog Faces of the Week covers the emotional dynamics at play in today’s headlines.

Tuesday, October 23, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Mike Corrao launches Man, Oh, Man, with Daniel Abbott and The Concrete, in conversation with Andrew Wilt (Age of Agility)

Come enjoy an evening with two debut novelists.

About Man, Oh, Man:

Two patrons appear in a dim cafe one day. How they've arrived, where they've come from, and why they're there at all, they have no idea. What they do know is that they hate one another.

So they smoke. They tinker. They talk about art. They talk about waiting. They talk about talking. They talk about talking about talking. They talk about the strange messages coming through the radio. They talk about the even stranger guests who arrive, only to disappear a moment later. And as they fall deeper and deeper into this hysteria, what's uncovered might just make these two unlikely protagonists the most human of us all.

Mike Corrao has with Man, Oh, Man masterly crafted a humorous yet insightful experiment that'll have you questioning how you've always approached novels.

Mike Corrao is a young writer and filmmaker working out of Minneapolis, where he earned his B.A. in film and English literature at the University of Minnesota. In 2016 he was an artist-in-residence for the Altered Esthetics Film Festival. His work has appeared in over 20 different publications, including Entropy, decomP, Cleaver, and the Portland Review.

Man, Oh, Man is his first novel.

About The Concrete:

Set in an impoverished area of Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Concrete follows the Carters and their foster sons, Isaac and Miles. The two boys share a dark past, though neither of them are aware of it..

As the boys try to escape the grim reality of the violent streets--in different ways--Isaac through basketball, Miles through music--the novel shifts back and forth in time, in the process revealing the story of an entangled community plagued by trauma and death, trying to confront the ghosts of its past, and seize a better life.

Daniel Abbott is a novelist and short story writer from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned a BA in Writing from Grand Valley State University and an MFA in Fiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Daniel's writing has appeared in Lit Hub, The Noctua Review, Ginosko Literary Journal, and The Owen Wister Review.

Tuesday, November 6, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Election Day: Austin Smith presents Flyover Country

Flyover Country is a powerful collection of poems about violence: the violence we do to the land, to animals, to refugees, to the people of distant countries, and to one another. Drawing on memories of his childhood on a dairy farm in Illinois, Austin Smith explores the beauty and cruelty of rural life, challenging the idea that the American Midwest is mere “flyover country,” a place that deserves passing over. At the same time, the collection suggests that America itself has become a flyover country, carrying out drone strikes and surveillance abroad, locked in a state of perpetual war that Americans seem helpless to stop.

In these poems, midwestern barns and farmhouses are linked to other lands and times as if by psychic tunnels. A poem about a barn cat moving her kittens in the night because they have been discovered by a group of boys resonates with a poem about the house in Amsterdam where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis. A poem beginning with a boy on a farmhouse porch idly swatting flies ends with the image of people fleeing before a drone strike. A poem about a barbwire fence suggests, if only metaphorically, the debate over immigration and borders. Though at times a dark book, the collection closes with a poem titled “The Light at the End,” suggesting the possibility of redemption and forgiveness.

Building on Smith’s reputation as an accessible and inventive poet with deep insights about rural America, Flyover Country also draws profound connections between the Midwest and the wider world.

Austin Smith grew up on a family dairy farm in northwestern Illinois. He is the author of two poetry collections, Almanac and Flyover Country (both published through the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets). His work has appeared in New Yorker, Poetry, Harper’s, Ploughshares, and many other publications. He teaches at Stanford but currently lives in a 100-year-old farmhouse in Jo Daviess, County in northwestern Illinois, where he writes and gardens.

Wednesday, November 7, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Erin Gibson presents Feminasty: The Complicated Woman’s Guide to Surviving the Patriarchy Without Drinking Herself to Death

Erin Gibson has a singular goal - to create a utopian future where women are recognized as humans. In Feminasty—titled after her nickname on the hit podcast "Throwing Shade”—she has written a collection of make-you-laugh-until-you-cry essays that expose the hidden rules that make life as a woman unnecessarily hard and deconstructs them in a way that's bold, provocative and hilarious. Whether it's about shaming women for having their periods, allowing them into STEM fields but never treating them like they truly belong, or dictating strict rules for how they should dress in every situation, Erin breaks down the organized chaos of old fashioned sexism, intentional and otherwise, that systemically keeps women down.

Feminasty is Erin Gibson’s revolutionary handbook for dismantling the patriarchy, one pay gap joke at a time.

Emmy-nominated Southern loudmouth Erin Gibson is an expert at mixing social commentary, political satire, and vagina jokes into neat little comedy packages. Based in Los Angeles, she's one half of the Throwing Shade empire, which includes an award winning political absurdist comedy podcast, international live touring show, the Funny or Die web series and a TV Land late night show. She also created the long running Emmy-nominated "Gay of Thrones" starring her real-life hair stylist, Jonathan Van Ness. Feminasty is her debut book of comedic essays.

Wednesday, November 14, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Allen Eskens presents The Shadows We Hide

Purchase the book (available November 13, 2018)

Joe Talbert, Jr. has never once met his namesake. Now out of college, a cub reporter for the Associated Press in Minneapolis, he stumbles across a story describing the murder of a man named Joseph Talbert in a small town in southern Minnesota. Full of childhood dreams about who his father might have been, Joe is shocked to find that none of the town's residents have much to say about his father's murder-other than that it was long overdue. Joe discovers that his father was a loathsome man who cheated his neighbors, threatened his daughter, and squandered his wife's inheritance after she, too, passed away--an inheritance that may now be his.

Mired in uncertainty and plagued by his own tenuous relationship with his mother, whose sobriety has led her to seek reconciliation with her distant son, Joe must put together the missing pieces of his family history-- before his quest for discovery threatens to put him in a grave of his own.

Allen Eskens is the USA Today bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, and The Deep Dark Descending. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, the Rosebud Award, and the Silver Falchion Award, and has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Thriller Award, the Anthony Award, and the Minnesota Book Award. His debut novel, The Life We Bury, has been published in 16 languages and is being developed for a feature film.

Sunday, November 18, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Dorothy Van Soest launches Death, Unchartered

When a child’s skeleton is discovered during the excavation of the site for a new charter school being built in the Bronx, former teacher Sylvia Jensen is certain of only two things. She is sure that the remains are those of eight-year-old Markus LeMeur, her third-grade student who disappeared in the violent and tumultuous fall of 1968. And she is sure that his death was no accident. Determined to find out who killed Markus and why, Sylvia again joins forces with investigative reporter J. B. Harrell and together they delve into the strikes and political protests of the late 1960s and corporate greed of the present. As Sylvia fights to make peace with her own past, she realizes that she missed her chance to save Markus, and she becomes driven to find his killer, before he can kill again.

Novelist Dorothy Van Soest, professor emerita and retired dean at the University of Washington, holds a B.A. in English Literature and a Masters and Ph.D. in Social Work. Death, Unchartered, the second of her Sylvia Jensen mysteries, is grounded in her career as an educator that spanned the teaching of high school English, elementary and preschool, undergraduate and graduate courses at the university levels. dorothyvansoest.com