the ncb newsletter
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Howdy, readers! Welcome to the dog days of summer. With most people stumbling into the store in a state of near-heat-stroke, and the books in the front window beginning to melt, and our cat Honya playing dead constantly atop the Arts and Crafts cubbies, it felt like a good day to explore the theme of laziness, so that's what we did!

We have new releases from store favorite genre-hopper Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Michael Pollan's as-seen-on-Netflix This is Your Mind on Plants out in paperback, and a surprising (to me) revelation about the pet preferences of Next Chapter's readership...

All that and more is in this edition of the NCB Newsletter!
Books About Nothing
In keeping with this lazy, humidity-choked weather, here's a staff-favorite selection of books where nothing happens, books about doing nothing, or books that communicate nothing.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation Ottessa Moshfegh

It's good; it's funny. It's upsetting. It's hard to explain -- I mean, how do you describe a book that's just about someone wanting to sleep as much as possible? -Joe
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy – Jenny Odell

I was going to write a good blurb here but I got distracted. Maybe I should reread this. -Graham
A Sport and A Pastime James Salter

If you're just getting into Salter this is a good place to start. They drive around France and have sex, and on a deeper level it's about a lot of things, but that's really all that happens. -David
Gerald Murnane

Gerald Murnane's last name might as well be mundane. His narrators typically sit in a room, re-organize their desks, and think about horse-racing odds from decades ago. Fortunately he's funny. Border Districts and Barley Path, while sometimes infuriating, are also some of the most unique English-language prose works of the new millennium. -Hank
Important Manga Club Correction
We have an important announcement for our new Manga Club: the first meeting on September 10th will no longer be covering Sazan & Comet Girl, due to supply issues with that title (namely that it won't be available again until October). We'll be pushing the meeting for Sazan to March, so don't worry if you already bought it!⁠

Instead, for our first meeting we’ll be covering the early work of a modern master: Inio Asano's standalone, Solanin. A sweet and wistful coming-of-age tale, Solanin follows Meiko and her boyfriend Naruo, who quit their jobs to revive their band, confronting the difficulty of finding their place with the liberating power of self-expression.
We'll be getting copies within the next week or two but you can reserve yours now! It will be 15% off over the phone or in-store through September 10th. 
New Books

The Daughter of Doctor MoreauSilvia Moreno-Garcia

Carlota: A young woman growing up on a remote estate, the only daughter of a genius researcher. Montgomery: Dr. Moreau's assistant, a man with a tragic past and a drinking habit. The hybrids: The monstrous fruits of the doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator. All of them live in a perfectly static world, until the arrival of Eduardo , the charming son of Dr. Moreau’s benefactor.

We love Silvia Moreno-Garcia here at NCB! David's a big fan of her period mystery Velvet Was The Night, while Emily and I are partial to her horror novel Mexican Gothic. I've been listening to The Daughter of Doctor Moreau as an audiobook, and so far it's utterly gripping!

The Force of Such Beauty Barbara Bourland

When former Olympic runner Caroline meets Finn, the handsome prince of a small European kingdom, her fate is sealed. With a collar of pearls locked around her throat, she uses her once-powerful body to smile, wave, and produce children with perfect grace. But once she begins to open her eyes to the world around her, Caroline discovers that she may have entered a bargain that cannot be undone. Inspired by accounts of real-life princesses who yearned to escape, and set in a grotesque and gaudy prerecession 2000s Europe, The Force of Such Beauty is a heart-wrenching and compulsively readable testament to the way in which real-life power structures around the world rest on the subjugation of women’s bodies.

Wonderlands: Essays on the Life of Literature Charles Baxter

In this new collection of essays, Baxter shares years of wisdom and reflection on what makes fiction work. Baxter is equally at home tackling a thorny matter such as charisma as he is bringing new interest to subjects such as list-making in fiction. Amid these craft essays, an interlude of two personal essays—the story of a horrifying car crash and an introspective “letter to a young poet”—add to the intimate nature of the book. The final essay reflects on a lifetime of writing, and closes with a memorable image of Baxter as a boy. Wonderlands will stand alongside his prior work as an insightful work of criticism. See below for an upcoming signing with the author!

Turn Up the Ocean 
Tony Hoagland

Over the course of his celebrated career, Tony Hoagland ventured fearlessly into the unlit alleys of emotion and experience. The poems in Turn Up the Ocean examine with an unflinching eye and mordant humor the reality of living and dying in a time and culture that conspire to erase our inner lives. Hoagland’s signature wit and unparalleled observations take in long-standing injustices, the atrocities of empire and consumerism, and our habit of looking away. In these poems, perseverance depends on a dogged quest for connection and the consolations of the natural world. Turn Up the Ocean is a remarkable final collection, a fitting testament to Hoagland’s devotion to the capaciousness of poetry.
New in Paperback
Upcoming Events

For events held in the store, all attendees are required to wear masks and show proof of vaccination at the door. For attendees who are unable to get vaccinated, a negative COVID test result dated within 72 hours of the event date is also accepted.
Events are no longer ticketed unless otherwise noted.
Pop-Up Book Fair at Lake Monster Brewing Co.

Monday, July 25 from 6:00 to 7:30pm
550 Vandalia St, #160
Saint Paul, MN 55114
It’s our third Brewery Book Fair! Enjoy craft beers from the maestros at Lake Monster, and shop a curated selection of titles, from best-sellers to best-kept secrets!
Till The Wheels Fall Off – Brad Zellar

Thursday, July 28 at 6:00pm
It’s the late 1980s when teenaged Matthew bonds over music with his mom’s new husband, roller rink owner Russ, setting off a series of events that will haunt him into adulthood. After years trucking, dealing with mental health disorders, and living on the road, Matthew returns to his hometown and seeks to reconnect with the man who shaped the course of his life. An expansive, masterfully crafted story for readers of Jennifer Egan and Ben Lerner, Till The Wheels Fall Off is an ambitious coming-of-age tale and portrait of Midwestern life, examining neurodiversity, masculinity, family, and nostalgia. Brad Zellar is the author of Suburban World: The Norling Photos, Conductors of the Moving World, House of Coates (a Next Chapter favorite!), and Driftless. A frequent collaborator with photographer Alec Soth, his work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Believer, and Paris Review. He spent fifteen years as a bookseller, and co-owned Rag & Bone Books in Minneapolis. He lives in Saint Paul.
Connie Wanek Signing

Saturday, July 30 at 2:00pm
Poet Connie Wanek, coauthor of Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets At Play Among Figures of Speech with Ted Kooser and illustrator Richard Jones, will be in the store signing on the last Saturday of the month. A freewheeling romp through the world of imagery and metaphor, Marshmallow Clouds is a quietly startling collection of thirty poems framed by the four elements, exploring art and reality, fact and fancy. As poet Connie Wanek alludes to in her afterword—a lively dialogue with former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser—sometimes the simplest sights and sounds “summon our imaginations” and cry out to be clothed in the alchemical language of poetry. This compendium of the fleeting and unexpected turns the everyday—turtles, trees, and tadpoles; cow pies, lazy afternoons, and pillowy white marshmallows—into poetic gold.
Wonderlands: Essays on the Life of Literature
– Charles Baxter in Conversation With Sally Franson

Tuesday, August 2 at 6:00pm
Acclaimed novelist, short story writer, and essayist Charles Baxter will be in the store reading from his new collection of essays Wonderlands. Baxter is equally at home tackling a thorny matter such as charisma as he is bringing new interest to subjects such as list-making in fiction. Ranging from brilliant thinking on the nature of wonderlands in the fiction of Murakami and other fabulist writers, to intimate reflections on Baxter’s own life, including the story of a horrifying car crash and an introspective “letter to a young poet,” Wonderlands is an insightful and lasting work of criticism. Charles Baxter is the author of fourteen books, most recently the novel The Sun Collective. His stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He lives in Minneapolis. Sally Franson is the author of the novel A Lady's Guide to Selling Out. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Best American Travel Writing, among numerous others. She lives in Minneapolis.
From Our Shelves
Staff Pick Spotlight:
Oreo Fran Ross

"A satire, a travelogue, a picaresque, a work of postmodernism, a Black novel, a Jewish novel, an experiment in code-switching, a feminist lark, a neo-Greco myth, a 'Great American Novel' that doesn't give a damn about being a 'Great American Novel', etc. etc. etc."
Fact of the Week:

In 1976, a letter-writing campaign by Star Trek fans convinced President Ford to change the name of NASA's first space shuttle from Constitution to Enterprise, after the spaceship in which that show's protagonists voyaged the stars. NASA's scientists consulted on the show and films, and in turn, Star Trek promoted NASA's message.

However, Nichelle Nichols, the African-American actress who portrays Nyota Uhura, shamed NASA for its unilaterally white, male astronaut corps. In response, they asked her to help with a recruitment campaign targeted at minorities, which resulted in Sally Ride (who would become the first American woman in space) applying to NASA.

Learn more about Trekkie history in
Phasers On Stun! by Ryan Britt
Next Chapter Reader Poll
Thanks to everyone who voted in last week's poll! The results are in:

Are you a cat person or a dog person? (I'm trying to prove a theory here.)
  1. Both - 32% (16)
  2. Dog person - 30% (15)
  3. Cat person - 24% (12)
  4. Neither - 14% (7)

Now, the theory I was trying to prove was that most readers consider themselves cat people (this was based on my own observation). However, I was wrong! Instead, most people reject the false cat-person/dog-person binary, which is a much more heartening result!

Now for this week's poll! Click on "Select" to choose your answer! The results will be in the next newsletter. And our question is:
What's your ideal book length?
50 pages or shorter
51 - 100 pages
101 - 200 pages
201 - 300 pages
301 - 400 pages
400 pages or longer
We Are Open!

Three ways to shop with Next Chapter Booksellers:

1. Come in the store and browse. Talk to a bookseller or peruse the shelves, as you prefer. Although the mask mandate is no longer in effect, we do still appreciate it if you choose to wear a mask. 

2. Order online or over the phone for in-store pickup. We'll let you know when your books are ready, then you can swing by and pick them up at your leisure.

3. Get your books delivered to your home. We can mail your books to you (no charge for orders over $50) or deliver them to your home (to addresses in St. Paul only, and again for orders over $50).

We're here 10am to 5pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 5pm on Sunday.
Thanks for reading
all the way to the end.

As always, we've got lots more great books in the store. Come on in and ask us for a recommendation -- or tell us what you're reading right now! And follow us on social media for the latest news: we’re Next Chapter Booksellers on Facebook, @nextchapterbooksellers on Instagram, and @NextChapterMN on Twitter.

See you in the stacks!

Graham (and all of us at Next Chapter Booksellers)