38 Snelling Ave S, St. Paul, MN 55105 • 651-225-8989
the ncb newsletter
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Howdy, readers! Have you enjoyed Fake Spring? It's sure been surreal walking around in a hoodie and no coat. I've been spending more time outside, but as I've heard many of you say in the store recently, my desire to frolic is compounded by a heady dose of climate anxiety. It's finally getting colder again today, with a light dusting outside as I type this -- a reassuring return to form.

This week, we have Kelly Link's debut novel, Sheila Heti with a bold new form of memoir, hot new comics from Sweden, everything you need for Valentine's Day, the return of Anne Carson, and some recipe recommendations from our cookbook guru...

All that and more, in this edition of the NCB Newsletter!
Books, Cards, & Chocolate
Valentine's Day is Wednesday, and we are your one-stop shop for V-day gifts and treats! Put together a book bouquet for that special someone, and grab some chocolates while you're at it -- salted caramels are the latest addition to our extensive Mayana Chocolates lineup, made right next door in Wisconsin. We also have Valentine's Day cards handmade by our favorite local collage artist. Pick up something sweet for your sweetie (or yourself) alongside a great read -- we'd love to recommend your next read!
Show Grand Ave Some and Win a $25 NCB Gift Card
February 5th kicked off "I Love Grand Ave," a month-long promotion courtesy of the Grand Avenue Business Association. Come by Next Chapter or any of the other twenty participating businesses to pick up a stamp card and get it stamped! Then:

♥ You have until March 5th to get as many stamps from stores on Grand Ave as you can, then turn in your card at one.
♥ Visit 10 businesses and be entered to win a $25 gift card for one of the stores on Grand Ave!
♥ Visit all 21 businesses and be entered to win the grand prize: a $25 gift card to EACH of the participating stores -- a $525 value!!

Some of our favorite neighbors are participating in ''I Love Grand Ave,'' including:

♡ Red Balloon Bookshop, who have the most amazing selection of children's books, readings, and activities.
♡ The illustrious Mischief Toy Store, featuring an endlessly-surprising array of gadgets, gifts, goods, and gear.
♡ Wet Paint, one of the most extensively-stocked art supply stores in the state, with a kind and knowledgeable staff.

…And many more. Grab a stamp card here, or come by with your stamp card this month!
From Sweden With Love, Peow Studio Arrives at NCB
New to Next Chapter: comics from Peow Studio! The coolest (and smallest) comics publisher in Sweden, Peow publishes English-language comics that are perfect for:

(1) people who aren't normally into comics, or
(2) people who are into the weirdest and most obscure comics you've never heard of.

After the runaway success of Linnea Sterte's A Frog in the Fall over the holiday season, we've brought in their entire catalog -- currently six comics, including Sterte's earlier work Stages of Rot. With multiple Eisner-nominations under their belt, Peow is constantly raising the bar for creative book design in comics, and each of their titles will introduce you to an exciting new artist! You can find them on the graphic novels endcap in the store, or on our website here.

I'm so happy I can share these books with you! Here are my elevator pitches:
Heat — Jean Wei

This is a quiet story, short and sweet with surprising emotional heft. The three spot colors lend it the delicate feel of a riso print. If it were written by Travis Baldree it would be called Fire-Demons and Farmhands.
Bark Bark Girl — Michael Furler

Bark Bark Girl is some world-class cartooning that also feels like it was drawn in MS Paint. (Or maybe Kidpix? Or Photoshop 1.0?) Pick this up if you like endearingly shitty teen protagonists, shiba inus, slice of life, or hand-lettering.
Stages of Rot — Linnea Sterte

A whale fall occurs when a whale carcass lands on the deep ocean floor, giving rise to a small ecosystem that develops through several stages over decades as organisms break down the body. Do alien worlds have their own kinds of whale fall? A work of speculative ecology/anthropology, Stages of Rot is reminiscent of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (my favorite comic of all time, so I don't say that lightly). Otherworldly, cryptic, and unforgettable.
Internal Affairs Tense Anniversary — Patrick Crotty, Mel Tow, and Michael Furler

Zany dystopic losercore action / slice-of-life perfect for fans of 90s-00s manga and video games (especially Metal Gear Solid). You don't need to have read the previous Internal Affairs to enjoy it (based on a sample size of 'me'). Book design and colors are 10/10, would jiggle again.
New Books
In Memoir

Alphabetical Diaries — Sheila Heti

An unconventional confessional from the award-winning author of Pure Colour! Sheila Heti kept a record of her thoughts over a ten-year period, then arranged the sentences from A to Z. Passionate and reflective, joyful and despairing, these are her alphabetical diaries. A sample from page two:

"A child until he is seven. A city in which people speak another language is good, because their conversations are not so distracting or irritating. A commitment to the relationship with full understanding that the relationship will evolve and change as you two evolve and change. A curiosity about self-help. A desire to do acting. A desire to help people. A desire to uplift humanity."
In Science Fiction / Fantasy

The Book of Love — Kelly Link

Almost a year after their mysterious deaths, Laura, Daniel, and Mo find themselves in their high school's music room, with their previously unremarkable music teacher, who seems to know something about their disappearance. Desperate to reclaim their lives, the three agree to the bargain he offers. But their resurrection has attracted the notice of other supernatural forces. As Laura, Daniel, and Mo grapple with the lives they left behind, these others begin to arrive, engulfing their community in chaos, and the teens must solve the mystery of their deaths to avert disaster. Welcome to Lovesend, where you’ll encounter love and loss, laughter and dread, magic and karaoke, and some really good pizza!

What Feasts at Night — T. Kingfisher

After their terrifying ordeal at the Usher manor, all Alex Easton craves is rest, routine, and sunshine. But instead, as a favor to Angus and Miss Potter, they find themself heading to their family hunting lodge, deep in the cold, damp forests of their home country, Gallacia. When Easton arrives, they find the caretaker dead, the lodge in disarray, and the grounds troubled by a strange, uncanny silence. The villagers whisper that a breath-stealing monster from folklore has taken up residence in Easton’s home. Easton knows better than to put too much stock in local superstitions, but they can tell that something is not quite right in their home... or in their dreams. Alex Easton, returns in a horrifying new adventure in the follow-up to the bestselling gothic novella What Moves the Dead!
In History

True Believer: Hubert Humphrey's Quest For a More Just America — James Traub

Hubert Humphrey was liberalism’s most dedicated defender. As a young politician in 1948, he defied segregationists and forced the Democratic Party to commit to civil rights. As senator in 1964, he helped pass the Civil Rights Act. But as vice president, his support for the Vietnam War made him a target for both Right and Left, and he suffered a shattering loss in the election of 1968. Though Humphrey’s defeat was widely seen as the end of America’s era of liberal optimism, he never gave up. This biography reveals a deep-dyed idealist willing to compromise and even fight ugly in pursuit of a better society.
In Fiction

The Women — Kristin Hannah

When twenty-year-old nursing student Frankie's brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path. As green and inexperienced as the soldiers, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos of war. But she survives, becoming one of the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost. But war is just the beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends. The real battle lies in coming home to a changed and divided America, to angry protesters, and to a country that wants to forget Vietnam. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten.
In Poetry

Wrong Norma — Anne Carson

Anne Carson’s first original work since Float! Published here in a stunning edition with images created by Carson, several of the twenty-five startling poetic prose pieces have appeared in magazines and journals like The New Yorker and The Paris Review. As Carson writes: “Wrong Norma is a collection of writings about different things, like Joseph Conrad, Guantánamo, Flaubert, snow, poverty, Roget's Thesaurus, my dad, Saturday night. The pieces are not linked. That's why I've called them ‘wrong.’" 
News In Photos
We have a new block-printed bookmark design from our (very) local supplier! If you happen to have a cat and read books, you recognize the behavior portrayed in this image. Every one of these block-printed bookmarks, which now come in three designs, features a one-of-a-kind combination of tassel color, bead, and front and back cardstock color -- each bookmark is totally unique! This is the first design to feature NCB by name, and, as with the others, you can only get them here.
At our Literary Bridges poetry reading on Sunday, attendees were treated to a musical interlude by Mrithika here! A student at the Naadharasa Center for Music, Mrithika played the veena (an ancient Indian instrument, ancestor to the sitar) before a rapt audience. If you want to see her or Naadharasa's other students and teachers perform, check out their upcoming event at the Schubert with composer and vocalist Shruthi Rajasekar: "Parivaar – A Celebration of Community as Family."
Celebrate Black History Month at NCB with our new column display, featuring handpicked favorite books by Black authors and about Black history and culture!
Now In Paperback
As always, our newsletter can't fit everything, so check out the other new arrivals and recent bestsellers on our website!
Upcoming Events
Ian Fritz (What the Taliban Told Me)
In Conversation With Arshad Mohammed
TODAY (Monday, February 12th) at 6:00pm

When Ian Fritz joins the Air Force at eighteen, he does so out of necessity. But the Air Force recognizes his potential and sends him to the elite Defense Language Institute to learn Dari and Pashto. By 2011, Fritz is an airborne cryptologic linguist in Afghanistan, monitoring communications on the ground to determine which Afghans are Taliban and which are innocent civilians. Over the course of two tours, what he hears teaches him about the people of Afghanistan—Taliban and otherwise—the war, and himself. Fritz’s fluency is his greatest asset to the military, yet it becomes the greatest liability to his own commitment to the cause. Both proud of his service and in despair that he is instrumental in destroying the voices that he hears, What the Taliban Told Me is a brilliant, intimate coming-of-age memoir and a reckoning with our twenty-year war in Afghanistan.

Ian Fritz was an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist in the United States Air Force from 2008-2013. He became a physician after completing his enlistment. Now, he writes. Arshad Mohammed writes about U.S. foreign policy for Reuters as a diplomatic correspondent based in Washington. He has worked as a correspondent in New York, Paris, Algiers, and Washington, where he covered the White House and State Department. His assignments entailed extensive travel with former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Born and raised in Washington D.C., he is married to Lois Quam, a Minnesotan who is the chief executive of Pathfinder International. They have five children and five grandchildren.
Girl Scout Popup at Next Chapter Booksellers
Saturday, February 17th, 11:30am - 1:00pm

What a treat! A group of local Girl Scouts will be joining us in the store on Saturday, February 17th, to sell boxes of delicious cookies to our customers. You can stock up on your favorite cookies after First Chapter Storytime, from 11:30 - 1! Emojis are against the NCB Newsletter style guidelines, but please picture a variety of cookie emojis here.
Diana Khoi Nguyen (Root Fractures)
& Cindy Juyoung Ok (Ward Toward)
Tuesday, March 12th, 6:00pm

Poet and multimedia artist Diana Khoi Nguyen was born and raised in California. Her debut poetry collection Ghost Of was a finalist for the National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A Kundiman fellow and member of the Vietnamese diasporic artist collective She Who Has No Master(s), Nguyen’s teaches creative writing at Randolph College and University of Pittsburgh. In Root Fractures, Nguyen excavates the moments of rupture in a family: a mother who was forced underground after the Fall of Saigon, a father who engineered a new life in California as an immigrant, a brother who cut himself out of every family picture before cutting himself out of their lives entirely. And as new generations come of age, opportunities to begin anew blend with visitations from the past. Through poems of disarming honesty, Nguyen examines what takes root after a disaster and how we can make a story out of the broken pieces of our lives.

Cindy Juyoung Ok is the author of Ward Toward, which won the Yale Younger Poets Prize. She is a former high school science teacher and current Kenyon Review fellow teaching poetry at Kenyon College. A MacDowell fellow, she also edits and translates poetry. In the 118th volume of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Ok moves assuredly between spaces—from the psych ward to a prison cell, from divided countries to hospice wards. She plumbs these institutions of constraint, ward to ward, and the role of each reality's language, word to word, as she uncovers fragmented private codes and shares them in argument, song, and prayer. Ok’s resolute, energizing debut sifts language’s fissures to reassemble them into a new place of belonging.
See the calendar on our website for more!
Book Clubs & Recurring Events
Book club titles are 15% off through the date of the meeting!
First Chapter Story Time
Every Saturday at 10:30am

Join us for First Chapter Story Time every Saturday at 10:30am, when Adriana or a special guest reader will share a favorite picture book from our children’s section, followed by an activity related to the story! Children of all ages are invited. Enjoy a story, browse our books, and instill a love of reading in your tykes!

We are sorry to report that First Chapter Story Time will not be continuing in March. We still have two story times before then:

  • 2/17: Under the Umbrella by Catherine Buquet & Marion Arbona
  • 2/24: Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran & Barbara Cooney, read by bookseller Graham
Manga Manhua Club: Cuisine Chinoise
Saturday, March 9 at 5:00pm

Come to Next Chapter Booksellers at 5:00pm on the second Saturday of every month to eat some Pocky and talk manga with other otaku! Hosted by our resident manga expert Graham, the Manga Club (マンガクラブ, lit. manga kurabu) provides a forum to casually discuss a new title every month -- no RSVP required. After discussing Delicious in Dungeon and Our Dining Table, we're rounding out our series of cooking comics with a collection of manhua (Chinese comics) by the virtuosic Zao Dao. The five stories in Cuisine Chinoise explore Chinese culture and Buddhist folklore through the lens of food, with tones ranging from amusing to mysterious to tragic. Zao Dao blends traditional ink wash painting with elements of manga and other modern influences; her work is both singular and stunning. We'll see you at 5pm, Saturday, March 9th, to partake of this aesthetic feast!
Enemies To Readers: Don't Want You Like a Friend 
Thursday, February 29th at 5:00pm

Whether or not you are already in love with romance novels, or are seeking a new relationship with the genre, Enemies to Readers invites you to join us every last Thursday at 5pm to discuss the latest read, as well as our continuing passion for tropes and spicy reads. For our next meeting on February 29th, we'll be covering Don't Want You Like a Friend by Emma R. Alban, a swoon-worthy debut queer Victorian romance in which two debutantes distract themselves from having to seek husbands by setting up their widowed parents, and instead find their perfect match in each other--the lesbian Bridgerton/Parent Trap you never knew you needed!
Literary Bridges
Sunday, March 3rd at 2:00pm

"The Literary Bridges for March 3 continues our once-in-a-while spotlight on writers groups," says co-host, Stan Kusunoki. "This month we feature contributors of the Water Songs anthology by the Mississippi Valley Poets & Artists." The roster includes:
-Annette Gagliardi
-Laura Kozy Lanik
-Donna Isaac
-River Maria Urke
-Marilyn Gonrowski
-Jennifer Hernandez
From Our Shelves
Staff Pick Spotlight:
More is More, by Molly Baz

"Tried the leek pizza (pg. 121) and the meatball recipe (pg. 142). An incredible Sunday dinner. Many staple ingredients are used in multiple dishes. The leftovers were even better. Keep in mind that these recipes are for allium lovers, but modify how you please."
Featured Excerpt:

Patriarchal masculinity teaches men that their selfhood has meaning only in relation to the pursuit of external power; such masculinity is a subtext of the dominator model.

Before the realities of men can be transformed, the dominator model has to be eliminated as the underlying ideology on which we base our culture

To offer men a different way of being, we must first replace the dominator model with a partnership model that sees interbeing and interdependency as the organic relationship of all living beings. In the partnership model selfhood, whether one is female or male, is always at the core of one's identity. Patriarchal masculinity teaches males to pathologically narcissistic, infantile, and psychologically dependent for self-definition on the privileges (however relative) that they receive from having been born male. Hence many males feel that their very existence is threatened if these privileges are taken away. In a partnership model, male identity, like its female counterpart, would be centered around the notion of an essential goodness that is inherently relationally oriented. Rather than assuming that males are born with the will to aggress, the culture would assume that males are born with the inherent will to connect.

Feminist masculinity presupposes that it is enough for males to be to have value, that they do not have to "do," to "perform," to be affirmed and loved.

-bell hooks, The Will to Change:
Men, Masculinity, and Love
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.

2. Order online or over the phone (at 651-225-8989) 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. We can mail your books (at no additional charge for orders over $75). This option is available for web, phone, or in-store orders.

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 in and ask us for a recommendation, or tell us what you're reading right now!

See you in the stacks!

Graham (and all of us at Next Chapter Booksellers)
The greatest feeling in the world is to skim along the surface of something not solid, knowing that all the gravity in the world conspires to drag you underneath, into the spin. You know what angels know, in that whorling blue tunnel. And afterward, beer in hand, you sit on the sand and stare into space, adrenaline-high, guffawing.

I used to have dreams of that tunnel. In the dreams I wasn’t on a board, either. Just walking. An endless perfect wave, always cresting, never breaking, stretching to both horizons. Always looking for something a little further on. Always walking.