Upcoming Events

Saturday, December 15, 12:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Elizabeth Verdick signs Small Walt and Mo the Tow

Small Walt befriends a tow truck when he comes across a car in need of help in this irresistible companion to Small Walt.

We’re Gus and Walt
We plow and we salt
We clear the snow so the
Cars can go!

Text filled with onomatopoeia and Walt’s affirming chants make this story about friendship and accepting help from others a real winner.

"The characters are appealing, and the language is active and satisfying, with plenty of onomatopoeia. Good luck saying RUGGAROOOM BRUMMAHUM 10 times fast, but your audience will enjoy hearing you try." - The New York Times Review of Books

Elizabeth Verdick writes a mix of nonfiction and fiction for children of all ages. She is a graduate the Hamline University MFA program and lives near St. Paul. Her picture book Small Walt introduced a plucky little snowplow facing a big blizzard.

Saturday, December 15, 2:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Sarah Stonich signs Laurentian Divide

Returning to the northern Minnesota town of Hatchet Inlet, Laurentian Divide picks up the story where Vacationland left off. Sarah Stonich weaves the past and present lives of a retired union miner, his cherished and surprising bride, and his troubled son as they navigate their next chapters and question what is ours to control or own.

Sarah Stonich is the best-selling author of These Granite Islands (Minnesota, 2013), which has been translated into seven languages and shortlisted for France’s Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle; the critically acclaimed novel The Ice Chorus; and a memoir, Shelter: Off the Grid in the Mostly Magnetic North (Minnesota, 2017). Her novel-in-stories, Vacationland (Minnesota, 2013), is the first volume in her Northern Trilogy, followed by Laurentian Divide. She has written the novels Fishing with RayAnne and Reeling under the pen name Ava Finch. The founder of WordStalkers.com, she lives on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

Sunday, December 16, 1:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Melissa Coleman signs The Minimalist Kitchen

The Minimalist Kitchen is a cookbook, but more importantly, it’s a framework for creating a minimalist kitchen, a kitchen pared down to the essentials. This framework touches everything from your ingredients, tools, and pantry, to your cooking techniques, meal planning, and shopping habits. Once the framework is in place, you can make 100+ mix and match recipes. Creating a minimalist kitchen is counterintuitive. You pare down so you can create more.

Melissa Coleman, creator of thefauxmartha.com, is a designer, home cook, baker, dishwasher, wife, mother, and cozy minimalist. Ordinary, everyday magic and aeropress coffee make her come alive. Melissa has been published in places like Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, and Saveur.

Sunday, December 16, 2:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Anna Ostenso Moore signs Today is a Baptism Day, with illustrator Peter Krueger

An ideal book to read with children to wonder and learn about baptism, with illustrations that reflect the diversity of God's people. Grounded in the Episcopal liturgical tradition, Today is a Baptism Day is an accessible and inviting introduction to baptism for children and families. While learning what occurs during a baptism service, the reader (both child and parent) will be guided through the sacramental and communal aspects of the celebration. Beautifully illustrated in full color, a dedication page encourages personalization of the book, making it a perfect baptism gift.

Anna Ostenso Moore spent years reading a picture book in worship every Sunday, wondering where God was within the words and images. She has written for StoryPath and Daily Devo, online family faith formation websites. With a master's in youth ministry and theological education from King's College, University of London, she is currently an associate for family ministries at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis. Wife, priest, daughter, sister, aunt, godparent, friend, and expectant adoptive mother, she lives in Minneapolis with her husband, David.

Peter Krueger has been drawing, writing, and composing music since his days growing up in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Art after running his daily comic strip in the Badger Herald. As a member of Saint Mark s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis, he has been a Godly Play storyteller since 2012. He lives with his wife, Amy, and his children, Ezra and Eleanor. He drives them throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin to see as many fiberglass statues, roadside attractions, and historical markers as possible.

Saturday, December 22, 11:00am Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Scott Carlson signs Twin Cities Beer

The Twin Cities 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.

Saturday, December 22, 1:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Saymoukda signs When Everything Was Everything, with illustrator Cori Lin

In the tumultuous years during and after the Vietnam War, thousands of ethnic Lao fled Southeast Asia to avoid persecution, imprisonment and even death. Many of these refugees eventually settled in the Upper Midwest, in and around Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Decades later, the older generation of Lao Americans continues to navigate the trauma of the region-wide conflict that ripped them from their homeland thousands of miles away. Their wounds have yet to scab.

Meanwhile, every generation of Lao still grapples with misrepresentation--or no representation at all--in popular and historical narratives, school curriculums, community conversations, and the arts. As a trans-generational narrative, When Everything Was Everything signifies a turning point for Lao American refugee stories.

Artfully stitched together from the author's own imaginings, reimaginings, and memories as a child raised on food stamps and forced into ESL classes while continuously being shuttled from one public housing address to the next, this remarkable picture book is a love letter to survivors that is sure to resonate with readers of all ages.

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is a Lao American writer. She was born in a refugee camp in Nongkhai, Thailand and immigrated to Minnesota in 1984. Her plays have been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Theater Mu, Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists, and Theater Unbound. She is a Many Voices fellow in playwriting, Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion fellow, a Theater Mu New Performance fellow, a VERVE Grant for Spoken Word Poets recipient, and an Aspen Ideas Bush Foundation scholar.

Cori Lin is a Japanese/Taiwanese-American illustrator and graphic designer based in the midwest.  Her artwork is rooted in storytelling, and she strives to platform voices not often heard. Cori combines a background in social science, community development, and book-arts to create impactful illustrations and designs for non-profits, community organizations, and individuals looking to make the world a more equitable place. She is recipient of the 2016 New Sector Alliance Residency in Social Enterprise Fellowship, 2018 CURA Artist Neighborhood Partnership Grant, and the 2018 Jerome Emerging Artists Fellowship at Tofte Lake Center.

Sunday, January 6, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

James Anderson O'Neal presents Riley and the Roaring Twenties

“O’Neal drew me in. His 1920s story of gangsters, gambling, and murder left me hungry for the next Riley story.” — Dean Hovey, award-winning author of the Pine County mysteries

Prohibition-era New York is swimming in a sea of illegal booze and it seems like the party will never end. Even so, dark deeds and bad men lurk behind the good life. Fresh off the boat from the Great War, Riley wants to rush back to the farm but Cornelius aspires to a new life as a crime reporter on Broadway. He surrounds himself with New York’s icons, from the glitterati of the Algonquin Round Table to the seedy underbelly where deals get done and so do people. His job gives him a dangerous front seat to the evil intrigues of Arnold Rothstein, who is creating the modern Mafia.

Back in Missouri, Riley struggles to play the family man and resist the siren call of adventure. But the old friends reunite when tragedy strikes their families and Cornelius falls into Rothstein’s web. The city that never sleeps had better watch out.

Riley and Cornelius continue traipsing through the 20th Century, stumbling across the secrets behind three of its great unsolved mysteries along the way. Dorothy Parker, Al Capone, Damon Runyon, Lucky Luciano, Arnold Rothstein, J.P. Morgan, Albert Anastasia, and a Marx brother or two — any one of them might make the difference between life and death for our boys.

James Anderson O'Neal chairs the board of the Advocates for Human Rights. In addition to the Riley series, Jim is writing a novel inspired by his human rights work in Liberia. He and his wife Sally split their time between the Twin Cities and Lake Vermilion, Minnesota.

Sunday, January 13, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Jack Zipes presents Smack-Bam, or The Art of Governing Men

Édouard Laboulaye (1811–1883), one of nineteenth-century France’s most prominent politicians and an instrumental figure in establishing the Statue of Liberty, was also a prolific writer of fairy tales. Smack-Bam, or The Art of Governing Men brings together sixteen of Laboulaye’s most artful stories in new translations. Filled with biting social commentary and strong notions of social justice, these rediscovered tales continue to impart lessons today.

Inspired by folktales from such places as Estonia, Germany, Iceland, and Italy, Laboulaye’s deceptively entertaining stories explore the relationships between society and the ruling class. In Briam the Fool, the hero refuses the queen’s hand after he kills the king. In Zerbino the Bumpkin, the king and prime minister are idiots, while the king’s daughter runs away with a woodcutter to an enchanted island. And in the title story, Smack-Bam, or The Art of Governing Men, a superficial prince is schooled by a middle-class woman who smacks him when he won’t engage in his lessons and follows him across Europe until he falls in love with her. In these worlds, shallow aristocrats come to value liberty, women are as assertive and intelligent as men, and protagonists experience compassion as they learn of human suffering.

With an introduction by leading fairy-tale scholar Jack Zipes that places Laboulaye’s writing in historical context, Smack-Bam, or The Art of Governing Men presents spirited tales from the past that speak to contemporary life.

Jack Zipes is the editor of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (both Princeton), as well as The Great Fairy Tale Tradition (Norton). He is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota.

Thursday, January 17, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Brian DeVore presents Wildly Successful Farming: Sustainability and the New Agricultural Land Ethic

Wildly Successful Farming: Sustainability and the New Agricultural Land Ethic tells the stories of farmers across the Midwest who are balancing profitability and food production with environmental sustainability and a passion for all things wild. They are using innovative techniques and strategies to develop their “wildly” successful farms as working ecosystems. Whether producing grain, vegetables, fruit, meat, or milk, these next-generation agrarians look beyond the bottom line of the spreadsheet to the biological activity on the land as key measures of success.

Written by agricultural journalist and podcaster Brian DeVore, the book is based on interviews he has conducted at farms, wildlife refuges, laboratories, test plots, and gardens over the past twenty-five years. His accounts provide insight into the impacts regenerative farming methods can have on wildlife, water, landscape, soils, climate, and rural communities, and suggest ways all of us can support wildly successful farmers.

Brian DeVore is a contributor to farm and conservation magazines and an editor with the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota, where he produces the Ear to the Ground podcast. He grew up on a crop and livestock farm in southwestern Iowa and, while serving in the Peace Corps, managed a dairy cooperative in Lesotho, Africa.

Wednesday, January 23, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Tim Johnston presents The Current

In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their automobile from the icy Black Root River. One is pronounced dead at the scene, while the other, Audrey Sutter, daughter of the town’s retired sheriff, survives. What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years prior, and whose killer may still be among them. Determined to find answers, Audrey soon realizes that she is connected to that earlier unsolved murder by more than just a river. And as she plungers deeper into her own investigation, she begins to unearth long hidden secrets and stoke the violence simmering just below the surface of her hometown.

“This novel is careful layer upon careful layer, as deceptively thick yet brutally delicate as winter ice itself. Johnston's descriptions of people, places, grief, and loneliness are subtle and evocative; the minor plot about an aging dog becomes a rending portrait of the ravages of love.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Tim Johnston is the author of the New York Times bestseller Descent, the story collection Irish Girl, and the young adult novel Never So Green. Published in 2009, the stories in Irish Girl won an O. Henry Prize, the New Letters Award for Writers, and the Gival Press Short Story Award, while the collection itself won the 2009 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. Johnston’s stories have also appeared in New England Review, New Letters, the Iowa Review, the Missouri Review, DoubleTake, Best Life Magazine, and Narrative Magazine, among others. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Thursday, January 24, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Tessa Hadley presents Late in the Day, in partnership with Rain Taxi

Join us for a special Magers & Quinn / Rain Taxi event, when notable British author Tessa Hadley visits to discuss her newest book. Refreshments will follow this free reading.

In Late in the Day, the lives of two close-knit couples are irrevocably changed by an untimely death. The book explores the complexity of our most intimate relationships, and exposes how alternate configurations lie beneath the seemingly dependable arrangements we make for our lives. Ingeniously moving between past and present and through the intricacies of her characters’ thoughts and interactions, Tessa Hadley once again “crystallizes the atmosphere of ordinary life in prose somehow miraculous and natural” (Washington Post).

Tessa Hadley is the author of five previous novels, including The Past, and three short story collections. Her first novel, Accidents in the Home, was longlisted for The Guardian First Book Award, and she has since won or made the shortlists for top fiction awards such as the O. Henry Prize, the Story Prize, the Orange Prize, and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. In 2016 she was awarded the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize for fiction. She is also the author of a critical study, Henry James and the Imagination of Pleasure, and has contributed stories to The New Yorker. She lives in London.

Friday, January 25, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Zach Vertin presents A Rope from the Sky, in conversation with Mary Curtin of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs

South Sudan’s historic independence was celebrated around the world — a triumph for global justice and a signal that one of the world’s most devastating wars was finally over. The new Republic’s birth was acclaimed not only by its long-oppressed people, but by three U.S. presidents and the legions of Americans who championed their cause. But the party would not last long; South Sudan’s freedom-fighters soon plunged their new nation back into chaos, shattering the promise of liberation and exposing the hubris of their American backers.

Drawing on extraordinary personal stories of identity, liberation, and survival, A Rope from the Sky tells an epic story of paradise won and then lost. Zach Vertin’s firsthand accounts ― from deadly war zones to the halls of Washington power ― bring readers on an extraordinary journey into the rise and fall of the world’s newest state. South Sudan’s untold story is a unique episode in global history, an unprecedented experiment in international state-building, and a cautionary tale.

“A brilliant, authoritative, and colorful insight into the hope and despair that is the world’s youngest country. Unique in modern history, this untold story of South Sudan’s birth carries lessons not just for Africa but for the rest of the world.”—Jon Snow, Journalist and Anchor, Channel 4 News London

Zach Vertin is an American writer, foreign policy expert, and former diplomat; he has spent the last twelve years working in international peace and conflict issues.  He is currently a Lecturer at Princeton University and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. He previously served in the Obama Administration as a Senior Adviser to the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and Sudan South Sudan, and prior to that he was a Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group. He has written or commented for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, The Economist, The Atlantic, CNN, the BBC, and more.  He lives in Washington, DC.

Mary T. Curtin, PhD, a Minnesota native, joined the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota as diplomat-in-residence in 2013 after a twenty-five year career as a Department of State Foreign Service Officer.  As diplomat-in-residence, she teaches courses in foreign policy and diplomacy and serves as coordinator for the Humphrey School's global policy area. Curtin earned a PhD in History from Columbia University in the City of New York (1986), writing her dissertation on "Hubert H. Humphrey and the Politics of the Cold War, 1943-1954,” a master's degree in security studies from the Army War College (2003), and a BA from the University of Notre Dame (1977).

Monday, January 28, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Peter Sagal presents The Incomplete Book of Running (rescheduled from 11/26)

Peter Sagal, the host of NPR’s Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! and a popular columnist for Runner’s World, shares lessons, stories, advice, and warnings gleaned from running the equivalent of once around the earth.

At the verge of turning forty, Peter Sagal—brainiac Harvard grad, short bald Jew with a disposition towards heft, and a sedentary star of public radio—started running seriously. And much to his own surprise, he kept going, faster and further, running fourteen marathons and logging tens of thousands of miles on roads, sidewalks, paths, and trails all over the United States and the world, including the 2013 Boston Marathon, where he crossed the finish line moments before the bombings.

In this new book, Sagal reflects on the trails, tracks, and routes he’s traveled, from the humorous absurdity of running charity races in his underwear—in St. Louis, in February—or attempting to “quiet his colon” on runs around his neighborhood—to the experience of running as a guide to visually impaired runners, and the triumphant post-bombing running of the Boston Marathon in 2014. With humor and humanity, Sagal also writes about the emotional experience of running, body image, the similarities between endurance sports and sadomasochism, the legacy of running as passed down from parent to child, and the odd but extraordinary bonds created between strangers and friends. The result is a funny, wise, and powerful meditation about running and life that will appeal to readers everywhere.

Peter Sagal is the host of the Peabody Award-winning NPR news quiz Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!, the most popular show on public radio, heard by five million listeners each week. He is also a playwright, a screenwriter, the host of Constitution USA with Peter Sagal on PBS, a one-time extra in a Michael Jackson music video, a contributor to publications from Opera News to The Magazine of the AARP and a featured columnist in Runner’s World. He’s run fourteen marathons across the United States. Sagal lives near Chicago with his wife Mara.

Wednesday, January 30, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Rabeah Ghaffari presents To Keep the Sun Alive

The year is 1979. The Iranian Revolution is just around the corner, as is a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse. Meanwhile, in the northeastern city of Naishapur, a retired judge and his wife, Bibi, run an ancient orchard, growing apples, plums, peaches, and sour cherries, and looking after several generations of family members. The days here are marked by long, elaborate lunches on the terrace and arguments about government corruption and the rise of religious fundamentalism, peppered with tales of ancient Persia that foreshadow the seismic political changes to come.

And yet life continues. Bibi, the matriarch, struggles to keep her family together. Her young nephew goes to university, hoping to lead the fight for a new Iran and marry his childhood sweetheart. Another nephew surrenders to opium, while his father longs for a life in Europe. Her brother-in-law evolves into a powerful Islamic cleric while her husband retreats into intellectual reflection.

Told through a host of vivid, unforgettable characters, ranging from children to servants to friends of the family, To Keep the Sun Alive is the kind of compelling, rich story that not only informs the past, but also reminds us of the human aspirations that animate historical events.

Rabeah Ghaffari was born in Iran and lives in New York City. She is a filmmaker and writer, whose collaborative fiction with artist Shirin Neshat was featured in Reflections on Islamic Art, and her documentary, The Troupe, featured Tony Kushner. To Keep the Sun Alive is her first novel.

Wednesday, January 30, 7:00pm The Parkway Theater (map)

Dave Eggers presents The Monk of Mokha, with Mokhtar Alkhanshali

6:00pm Doors || 7:00pm Conversation
Book signing to follow
$26 || Tickets available via the Parkway Theater

The Monk of Mokha is the exhilarating true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war.

Mokhtar Alkhanshali is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he discovers the astonishing history of coffee and Yemen’s central place in it. He leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral homeland to tour terraced farms high in the country’s rugged mountains and meet beleaguered but determined farmers. But when war engulfs the country and Saudi bombs rain down, Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen without sacrificing his dreams or abandoning his people.

Dave Eggers is the author of many books, including: The Circle; Heroes of the Frontier; A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award; and What Is the What, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of France's Prix Médicis Etranger and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His nonfiction and journalism has appeared in the Guardian, the New Yorker, the Best American Travel Writing and the Best American Essays. He is the founder of McSweeney's, the independent publishing company, and cofounder of 826 Valencia, a youth writing and tutoring center that inspired similar endeavors around the world, and ScholarMatch, which connects donors with students to make college accessible. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and his work has been translated into forty-two languages.

Historian, community organizer, and coffee innovator Mokhtar Alkhanshali envisions a world where industry empowers rather than exploits, uplifts rather than represses. Following his studies, he worked with some of the most respected civil rights and community organizations including the ACLU and Asian Law Caucus. On several occasions he’s been requested to partner with the city of San Francisco in working on initiatives regarding civil liberties.

Mokhtar can be found amongst his coffee farmers in remote villages or speaking around the world on topics of social entrepreneurship, community development and, of course, coffee.

Tuesday, February 19, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Chris Cander presents The Weight of a Piano, in conversation with Peter Geye (Wintering)

In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner piano, built at the turn of the century in Germany, on which she discovers everything that she herself can do with music and what music, in turn, does for her. Yet after marrying, she emigrates with her young family from Russia to America, at her husband's frantic insistence, and her piano is lost in the shuffle.

In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, twenty-six-year-old Clara Lundy loses another boyfriend and again has to find a new apartment, which is complicated by the gift her father had given her for her twelfth birthday, shortly before he and her mother died in a fire that burned their house down: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Orphaned, she was raised by her aunt and uncle, who in his car-repair shop trained her to become a first-rate mechanic, much to the surprise of her subsequent customers. But this work, her true mainstay in a scattered life, is put on hold when her hand gets broken while the piano's being moved--and in sudden frustration she chooses to sell it. And what becomes crucial is who the most interested party turns out to be...

Chris Cander graduated from the Honors College at the University of Houston, in the city where she was raised and still lives, with her husband, daughter, and son. For seven years she has been a writer-in-residence for Writers in the Schools there. She serves on the Inprint advisory board and stewards several Little Free Libraries in her community. Her first novel, 11 Stories, won the Independent Publisher Gold Medal for Popular Fiction, and her most recent, Whisper Hollow, was long-listed for the Great Santini Fiction Prize by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. She is also the author of The Word Burglar, which won the 2014 Moonbeam Children's Book Award (silver).

Peter Geye is the award winning author of Safe from the Sea, The Lighthouse Road, and Wintering, the winner of the 2017 Minnesota Book Award for novel / short story. He holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and a PhD from Western Michigan University, where he was editor of Third Coast. He's a regular teaching artist at The Loft. He was born and raised in Minneapolis where he still lives.

Thursday, February 28, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Raymond Strom presents Northern Lights

On a clear morning in the summer of 1997, Shane Stephenson arrives in Holm, Minnesota, with only a few changes of clothes, an old Nintendo, and a few dollars to his name. Reeling from the death of his father, Shane wants to find the mother who abandoned him as an adolescent—hoping to reconnect, but also to better understand himself. Against the backdrop of Minnesota’s rugged wilderness, and a town littered with shuttered shops, graffiti, and crumbling infrastructure, Holm feels wild and dangerous.

Holm’s residents, too, are wary of outsiders, and Shane’s long blonde hair and androgynous looks draw attention from a violent and bigoted contingent in town, including the unhinged Sven Svenson. He is drawn in by a group of sympathetic friends in their teens and early twenties, all similarly lost and frequent drug users: the reckless, charming J and his girlfriend Mary; Jenny, a brilliant and beautiful artist who dreams of escaping Holm; and the mysterious loner Russell, with whom Shane, against his better judgment, feels a strange attraction. As Sven’s threats of violence escalate, Shane is forced to choose between his search for his mother, the first true friendships he’s ever had, and a desire to leave both his past and present behind entirely.

At its core, Northern Lights is the story of a son searching for his mother, and for a connection with her, dealing with issues of abandonment and forgiveness. But it also addresses the complications, tensions, and dysfunction that can exist in those relationships, presenting an unforgettable world and experience often overlooked, with a new kind of hero to admire.

"In Raymond Strom’s haunting, propulsive, and beautifully rendered debut, a group of misfits chase transcendence in a dying town. Cut with both violence and tenderness, Northern Lights deftly captures the knife-edge of addiction, the electricity of first love, and the insatiable search for belonging."

—Jessie Chaffee, author of Florence in Ecstasy

Raymond Strom was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, and moved from small town to small town in the Midwest as a child. He received his MFA from the City College of New York, where he now works as an academic advisor and studies romance languages. His writing has appeared in Fiction, Tweed’s, and The New York Times. Northern Lights is his first novel.

Tuesday, March 5, 5:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Mark Conway launches rivers of the driftless region

The driftless region is the corner of southeastern Minnesota untouched by the most recent glaciers. Unlike the rest of the state, there are no glacial deposits, or “drift”. The landscape remains as it was thousands of years ago, a jagged terrain of bluffs, deep gorges and many small fast-running rivers. In these poems, Mark Conway explores this ancient territory and more.

“Intensely aware of the ways that violence and humiliation conspire not just to silence voices but also the capacity to think, Mark Conway has written a daz­zling quest-rodeo of the inner life. rivers of the driftless region takes us inside the lush, divided terrain of the mind exploring how thoughts take up space inside of us—and how we attempt to move through and beyond them. Apertures shatter, vistas open. If these are songs of unenlightenment, they are also lit with a grace that may be as close as we get, with their enthralling mind-singing “ring[ing] / ecstatically off- / key.”

—Mary Szybist, winner of the National Book Award for Incarnadine

Mark Conway’s poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Slate, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, PBS NewsHour, The Kenyon Review On-line, Harvard Review, Bomb and the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series, along with critical essays in the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. He has received fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He lives in the Avon hills of central Minnesota. 

Thursday, March 14, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)

Randy Shaw presents Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America

Skyrocketing rents and home values are pricing the working and middle classes out of urban America. Randy Shaw tells the powerful stories of tenants, politicians, homeowner groups, developers, and activists in over a dozen cities impacted by the national housing crisis. From San Francisco to New York, Seattle to Denver, and Los Angeles to Austin, Generation Priced Out challenges progressive cities to reverse rising economic and racial inequality.

Shaw exposes how boomer homeowners restrict millennials’ access to housing in big cities, a generational divide that increasingly dominates city politics.  Shaw also demonstrates that neighborhood gentrification is not inevitable and presents proven measures for cities to preserve and expand their working- and middle-class populations and achieve more equitable and inclusive outcomes. Generation Priced Out is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of urban America.

Randy Shaw is Director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, San Francisco’s leading provider of housing for homeless single adults. His previous books include The Activist’s Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century; Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century; and The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime, and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco.