38 Snelling Ave S, St. Paul, MN 55105 • 651-225-8989
the ncb newsletter
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Howdy, readers! Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you got outside this past weekend. It's been lovely.

This week we have new releases by a teenager, a senator, and an herbivore; the "keynote nonfiction book of the decade" out in paperback; fun fungi fabrication facts; two new events with some of Minnesota's best local authors; and a lot of mouthwatering sweets...

All that and more, in this edition of the NCB Newsletter!
Chocolates, Candy Bars, Caramels, and Cards Now at NCB
Every year in January, the store empties out like a Dairy Queen in a snowstorm, and we booksellers talk amongst ourselves and decide what projects we can undertake to better the store for the new year. This year, my project was to bring in some chocolates, and -- boy howdy, have I succeeded.

Here's the lowdown on our new sweets: 

  • Mayana Chocolates are incredibly rich candy bars made in Spooner, Wisconsin! We have six of their most popular flavors, for $4.50 each! These are like the drug-store candy bars of your youth, but better. So if you like...
  • Snickers, try the Space Bar
  • Twix, try the Fix
  • Three Musketeers, try the Cloud Nine
  • everything, try the Kitchen Sink (it's the best)
  • Annie B's Caramels are made right here in St. Paul, but nationally famous! We have original and sea salt caramels, just 99 cents each!
  • B.T. McElrath's chocolates, also locally made! We carry full-size bars in five flavors for $6.95, plus bite-size chunks for $1.25!
  • Milk or dark chocolate
  • Salty Dog (dark chocolate with sea salt)
  • Prairie Dog (milk chocolate with toasted almonds, toffee, and sea salt)
  • Super Red (dark chocolate with strawberry, raspberry, and cherry)

As usual, we also have beautiful handmade Valentine's Day cards by a St. Paul artist. V-Day is tomorrow, and books and chocolate are the food of love, so pick up some confections while you shop for your sweetheart (or better yet, for yourself!) 
What else have we been working on in our fallow season? Well, in the coming weeks you can expect to see:
  • New cards by a variety of artists, courtesy of Milan
  • A new section of books in Spanish, courtesy of David
  • An assortment of zines about riding the rails, courtesy of Joe
  • An expanded selection of young readers' graphic novels, courtesy of yours truly
News In Photos
It was Superb Owl Sunday yesterday, right?
Baby Fox crushed Little Fox in a Twitter poll asking "Who wore it better?" (winning seven votes to three). It's easy to see why, but I was cheering for the underdog fox.
Local authors Patric Richardson (Laundry Love, left), Shannon Gibney (The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be, right), and Kat Howard (An Unkindness of Magicians, not pictured) dropped by to sign their books! All three of those titles are still in stock signed.
New Books

Fake Meat — Isa Chandra Moskowitz

In 2017 I found a cardboard box outside my Philadelphia apartment building containing Isa's books Isa Does It, Veganomicon, and Vegan with a Vengeance, and I've been cooking with them ever since. I make her Curried Tofu Scramble with Arugula so often I can do it by rote. Isa's recipes are simple enough for weekly use but fancy enough that you'll want to show them off. She even got me to like broccoli rabe! I can't wait for this one, and whether you're a vegan or an omnivore, I urge you give it a shot! -Graham

The Wife of Willesden — Zadie Smith

In her stage-writing debut, celebrated novelist and essayist Zadie Smith brings to life a comedic and cutting twenty-first century translation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s classic The Wife of Bath. Alvita, a Jamaican-born British woman in her mid-50s, tells her life story to a band of strangers in a small pub on the Kilburn High Road. Wearing fake gold chains and knock-off designer clothes, and speaking in a mixture of London slang and patois, Alvita recalls her five marriages in outrageous, bawdy detail, rewrites her mistakes as triumphs, and shares her beliefs on femininity, sexuality, and misogyny. With singular verve and wit, The Wife of Willesden shows why Zadie Smith is one of the sharpest and most versatile writers working today.

The Climate Book — Greta Thunberg

In The Climate Book, Thunberg has gathered the wisdom of over one hundred experts - geophysicists, oceanographers and meteorologists; engineers and mathematicians; historians, philosophers and indigenous leaders - to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster. Alongside them, she shares her own stories of demonstrating and uncovering greenwashing around the world, revealing how much we have been kept in the dark. Once we are given the full picture, how can we not act? And if a schoolchild's strike could ignite a global protest, what could we do collectively if we tried? We can do the impossible. But it has to be us, and it has to be now.

Gone Like Yesterday — Janelle M. Williams

Gypsy moths have been singing to college prep coach Zahra for years, teaching her the songs of her ancestors. They've been singing to budding teenage activist Sammie, too, intertwining the paths of these two very different Black women. When Zahra’s brother, Derrick, goes missing, she and Sammie embark on a road trip from New York to Atlanta, Zahra’s hometown, in search of him, but also to uncover just what the moths and their ancestors want with them, and what to do about their individual and collective futures. Sharp and wholly original, Gone Like Yesterday is a novel about family and legacy but also a literary exploration of racial identity, self, and what it means to be found.

It's OK to Be Angry About Capitalism — Bernie Sanders

How can we accept an economic order that allows three billionaires to control more wealth than the bottom half of our society? Or a political system that allows the rich to buy elections and politicians? An energy system that rewards the corporations causing the climate crisis? In the face of these challenges, the American people must demand fundamental political change. It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism presents a vision that extends beyond past campaigns to reveal what would be possible if we would finally recognize that economic rights are human rights and work to create a society that provides a decent standard of living for all. This isn’t some utopian fantasy; this is democracy as we should know it.

I Have Some Questions For You — Rebecca Makkai

A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—her four miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her roommate senior year. Though the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, is hotly debated online, Bodie prefers to let sleeping dogs lie. But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, she is drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent flaws. Bodie begins to wonder if she may have unknowingly held the key to solving the case all along. I Have Some Questions for You is an investigation into collective memory and one woman’s reckoning with her past, with a transfixing mystery at its heart.
New In Paperback

Caste — Isabel Wilkerson

“An instant American classic ... the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, and stigma. Using riveting stories—about Martin Luther King, Jr., Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their outcasting of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung; she writes about the health costs of caste, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Original and revealing, Caste is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.
As always, our newsletter can't fit everything, so check out the other new arrivals and recent bestsellers on our website!
Upcoming Events
Beth Obermeyer — When Winter Came: A Doctor's Journey to Fight The Flu Pandemic of 1918

Wednesday, February 15 at 6:00pm

Maintain isolation - practice good hygiene - wear a mask - be kind. We all know these methods of fighting COVID-19, but this prescription comes from the 1918 experience of Dr. Pierre Sartor, who battled the worldwide influenza pandemic in his small town of Titonka, Iowa. Dr. Sartor wrote an inspiring first-person account which lay forgotten in a lockbox of family artifacts until it was discovered decades later by his granddaughter, Beth. Based on Dr. Sartor's memoir and years of research, she reconstructs his life from childhood in Luxembourg, to medical school in Chicago, to courtship and marriage. His story speaks to the qualities that make a compassionate physician - a compelling example of doing the best of things in the worst of times. Beth Obermeyer is a dancer, musician, journalist, and author of three books published by North Star Press. Her first book, The Biggest Dance, was a Summer Read Pick in the Pioneer Press. The third, The Days of Song and Lilacs, was a finalist for the Midwest Book Awards. She lives in Minneapolis.
Sci-Fi Fantasy Club: Amatka

Friday, February 24 at 5:00pm

There's no final frontier for the Sci-Fi Fantasy Club! Join us the last Friday of every month as we uncover and rediscover forgotten classics, titles that blur genres, small press stunners, and all the books you missed because they don't have Brandon Sanderson's marketing budget. For our second meeting, a surreal debut novel set in a world shaped by language, in the tradition of Atwood and Le Guin. Vanja is sent to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka to collect intelligence for her employer. Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with her housemate, Nina, and prolongs her visit. But when she stumbles on evidence of a growing threat to the colony, she embarks on an investigation that puts her at tremendous risk. Amatka is a beguiling and wholly original novel about freedom, love, and artistic creation by a captivating new voice.
David Mura in Conversation With Douglas Kearney

Monday, February 27 at 6:00pm

The police murders of two Black men, Philando Castile and George Floyd, frame David Mura's The Stories Whiteness Tells Itself, a searing exploration of the historical and fictional narratives that white America uses to justify and maintain white supremacy. Intertwining history, literature, ethics, and the deeply personal, Mura looks back to foundational narratives of white supremacy to show how white identity is based on shared belief in the pernicious myths, false histories, and racially segregated fictions that allow whites to deny their culpability in past atrocities and current inequities. David Mura is a poet, writer of creative nonfiction and fiction, critic, and playwright. He is author of A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity, and Narrative Craft in Writing and the memoirs Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality, and Identity. He is coeditor, with Carolyn Holbrook, of We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World. He lives in Minneapolis. Douglas Kearney has published seven poetry collections, including Sho, which is a finalist for the PEN and the National Book Award. Kearney teaches Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and lives in St. Paul with his family.
Literary Bridges

Sunday, March 5 at 2:00pm

Literary Bridges marks 50 years of the Onionskins, a writing group, featuring Pat Barone, Carol Masters, Sharon Chmielarz, Donna Isaac, Mary Kay Rummel, Norita Dittberner-Jax, and Kate Hallett, Dayton. Host Donna Isaac states: "It has been my privilege to be part of this writing group for several years, but it has been around for 50, so it's time to honor that dedication. We will also remember Ethna McKiernan, who sadly passed away, but who was integral to the group, and Margaret Hasse, who will be out of town. Since it is Women's History Month, how fitting to celebrate these talented, brilliant women poets!"
V. V. Ganeshananthan — Brotherless Night

Tuesday, March 7 at 6:00pm

Jaffna, 1981: sixteen-year-old Sashi wants to become a doctor. As a vicious civil war tears through her home, she becomes a field medic instead, for the militant Tamil Tigers, who, following years of state violence, are fighting for a separate homeland. But after the Tigers murder one of her teachers Sashi decides to join a secret project documenting human rights violations, embarking on a dangerous path that will change her forever. Brotherless Night is a heartrending portrait of one woman’s moral journey and a testament to both the enduring impact of war and the bonds of home. V. V. Ganeshananthan (she/her) is a member of the boards of the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies and the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Minnesota, where she is a McKnight Presidential Fellow and associate professor of English. She also co-hosts the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast on Literary Hub, which is about the intersection of literature and the news.
Manga Club: Solanin

Saturday, March 11 at 5:00pm

Come to NCB at 5pm on the second Saturday of every month to talk manga with other weebs! Hosted by our resident manga experts Emily and Graham (yours truly), the Manga Club provides free Japanese snacks, a 10% discount on ALL manga in the store, and most importantly, a forum to discuss a new title every month. For our fifth meeting, we're finally reading Inio Asano's Solanin! Join us to discuss this sweet and wistful coming-of-age story about the difficulty of finding your place in society and the liberating power of self-expression. It would be incredibly reductive to call it the Japanese 'Scott Pilgrim,' but I already said it, so there.
From Our Shelves
Staff Pick Spotlight:
Last Exit To Brooklyn Hubert Selby Jr.

An absolute masterpiece. Harrowing and violent - written with an immediate sense of place and detail. Sailors, junkies, and crooks are captured in a brutal world. Almost impossible to describe. Fluid prose - like Joyce with a classic crime novel noir. Utterly original; surprisingly beautiful.
Fact of the Week:

The field of mycoarchitecture strives to replace extractive and pollutive building materials with fungal alternatives. Innovators in this field include Italian company Mogu, which makes mycelium-based floor tiles, and UK-based Biohm, which engineered a fungal insulation panel that outperforms common carcinogenic insulators such as polyurethane. Mycoarchitecture could mean a future in which buildings themselves can easily be biodegraded and recycled. The European Space Agency is also investigating the possibility of using fungi to grow building materials in extraplanetary conditions in order to build colonies.

Learn more about the fungus history and mycotechnology in
The Future is Fungi, by Michael Lim and Yun Shu
Featured Excerpt:

Insofar as there was a practical synthesis going on -- that is, insofar as anyone, especially in the early days of the Enlightenment, was experimenting with new ways of organizing social relations in the light of all these new ideas -- it was for obvious reasons, happening not in the great cities of Europe, still under the control of various ancien régimes, but on the margins of the emerging world-system, and particularly in the relatively free spaces that often opened up alongside imperial adventures, with all the rearrangement of peoples alongside them that they so often entailed. These were often side effects of terrible violence, the destruction of existing peoples and civilization. But it's important to remember this isn't all they were.

-from Pirate Enlightenment, or The Real Libertalia by David Graeber
Next Chapter Reader Poll
Thanks to everyone who responded to last week's poll! Our question was:

Would you come to a book club at Next Chapter if it was...
  1. ...a Literary Fiction club? - 33.8% (23 votes)
  2. I'm not into book clubs. - 19.1% (13)
  3. ...a Mystery/Thriller club? - 17.6% (12)
  4. ...a Nature Nonfiction club? - 10.3% (7)
  5. ...a Historical Nonfiction club? - 8.8% (6)
  6. Other/multiple (feel free to reply!) - 7.4% (5)
  7. ...a Romance book club? - 2.9% (2)

Thank you for this very definitive response! I'm going to talk with my colleagues about a literary fiction book club, although we might not be adequately staffed to start one for the time being (especially with Emily and myself both running book clubs already). It's good to know there's adequate interest in it!

Now for this week's poll! (Which is an unapologetic push-poll; I apologize.) This is a multiple-choice question, so click the 'Select' button to choose an answer. I'll include the results in the next newsletter. And our question is:
For those who've tried them, what's your favorite flavor among our new candy bars?
Space Bar
Fix Bar
Kitchen Sink
Cloud Nine
Coffee Break
Pride Bar
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 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 (no charge for orders over $50) or hand-deliver them (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)