38 Snelling Ave S, St. Paul, MN 55105 • 651-225-8989
the ncb newsletter
D E C E M B E R . 4 , . 2 0 2 3
Howdy, readers! We're approaching the height of our busy season, so I'll keep things to the point and save my more rambling delivery for January.

This week, we have a video series starring our booksellers, some audiobooks on sale and some ebooks for free, new books by Louise Kennedy and Douglas Wood, humble-bragging about the frog comic, and a favorite poem...

All that and more, in this edition of the NCB Newsletter!
Learn More About Our Holiday Picks In Our First Video Series!
In our last issue, we introduced this year's Holiday Picks! Since then, I've been interviewing our booksellers about the books they chose, and posting short videos on our Instagram! Here they are! You can also find them collected in this Insta highlight or this Youtube playlist. I can't say much for my camerawork, but everyone had such interesting things to say! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more videos.
Ten More Days To Place Orders For Christmas Eve Pickup
Just a reminder: December 14th is our cut-off date for orders, after which we can't guarantee that ordered books will arrive for pickup by Christmas Eve. That said, I suggest not waiting until December 14th! Coming in now is the best way to make sure you get the gifts you want for your loved ones. We also love to give recommendations!! Drop by the store, call us at 651-225-8989, or shop on our newly-revamped website at nextchapterbooksellers.com. 
We are currently open for extended holiday hours to give you extra time to shop after work on weekdays! So, our hours are now:

  • Monday - Friday: 10am - 6pm
  • Saturday: 10am - 5pm
  • Sunday: 12pm - 5pm

These extended hours will last through December 23rd.
Audiobook Sale on Libro.fm
Our audiobook partner Libro.fm is having their annual Credit Bundle Sale -- 10% off all credit bundles through December 7th! These make an excellent gift for the loved one who never has time to read, or suffers a long commute, or is trying to kick their Audible subscription. Buy them a credit bundle, and they can pick their own audiobooks! Your purchase supports us when you select us as your local bookstore or use this link.
Read Palestine Week
On November 29th, Publishers for Palestine kicked off Read Palestine Week, offering over thirty ebooks from their Free Palestine reading list. These ebooks are free through December 5th; check them out here. Most of these books are not available to order in hard copy, but those that are can be found on our website here.

Publishers for Palestine is a collective of publishers that includes such NCB favorites as Microcosm and Haymarket Books. They're encouraging readers to "post on social media about their favorite Palestine books, to quote from their favorite authors, and to make learning more about Palestine an act of solidarity."
New Books
In Fiction

The End of the World Is A Cul De Sac — Louise Kennedy

In these visceral, stunningly crafted stories by the author of Trespasses, women’s lives are etched by poverty—material, emotional, sexual—but also splashed by beauty, sometimes even joy, as they search for the good in the cards they’ve been dealt. A wife is abandoned by her new husband in a derelict housing estate, with blood on her hands. An expectant mother’s worst fears about her husband’s entanglement with a teenage girl are confirmed. A sister is tormented by visions of the man her brother murdered during the Troubles. Plumbing the depths of intimacy, violence, and redemption, these stories will dazzle you and break your heart.

Orbital — Samantha Harvey

A slender novel of epic power, Orbital snapshots one day in the lives of six women and men selected for one of the last space station missions of its kind before the program is dismantled. These astronauts from around the world have left behind their earthly lives, which we glimpse only through brief communications, photos, and talismans. We watch them whip up dehydrated meals, float in gravity-free sleep, and form bonds that will stand between them and utter solitude. Most of all, we are with them as they behold and record their silent blue planet. Their experiences of sixteen sunrises and sunsets and the constellations of the galaxy are at once breathtakingly awesome and surprisingly intimate.
In Nature

A Wild Path — Douglas Wood

In his follow-up to the critically-acclaimed memoir Deep Woods, Wild Waters, Wood again leads readers along a meditative path through a wilderness of many dimensions—from the pain of childhood wounds to appreciation for a life rich with nature. As on every good journey, there is plenty of laughter, warmth, and humor on the trail. With the generosity and compassion of a good wilderness guide, Wood welcomes readers to accompany him as he navigates his life-path from struggling student and “worst reader in the class” to prolific author. He offers courage and hope to those who feel different or left behind, and shares how he found, through the counsel of rocks, trees, and waters, his own way toward joy and wonder and an unshakable sense of belonging.
News In Photos
In the immortal words of the Beach Boys, 'Christmas comes this time each year.' And late last month, the time came for our customary table of holiday books!! We have two new holiday displays this year too: a table of specifically holiday- or winter-themed picture books next to the kid's books, and a selection of coffee-table books on our new coffee table (including Audubon's Birds of America, which I believe to be the heaviest book we've ever stocked -- give it a look if you have the strength to hoist it!).
Washi tape is perfect for elegant giftwrapping! We've brought in more varieties than ever, with wide tapes for $5, special edition foil-stamped designs for $6, and the original solid-color tapes now on sale for $2.79 (30% off)!
Sagittarii on our rotating zodiac display include Ann Patchett, Clarice Lispector, Jaques Pepin, Phillip K Dick, Willa Cather, Joan Didion, and Jane Austen! This display will continue to rotate throughout the month, so come see what's new!
How it started
How it's going
On a personal note: last month when we were deciding on this year's holiday picks, I decided to take a gamble and order a graphic novel I really loved by a Swedish artist, from a Swedish publisher whose books are not available through the wholesalers on whom we traditionally rely. So we brought in ten copies of Linnea Sterte's A Frog in the Fall (And Later On), a tale of amphibian wanderlust... And I have been so deeply gratified at the love this comic has gotten!! It was our single bestselling book last week! We started with ten copies, then ordered twenty, and now forty! This has been beyond my WILDEST DREAMS. Thanks a bunch to everyone who came in to look at it! And if you haven't seen it, come and flip through the display copy, or check it out on our website here.
Now In Paperback
Available Dec. 12th: Preorder Now
Available Dec. 12th: Preorder Now
Available Dec. 26th: Preorder Now
As always, our newsletter can't fit everything, so check out the other new arrivals and recent bestsellers on our website!
Upcoming Events
Holiday Signing: The Staff of Northern Waters Smokehaus — Smoke on the Waterfront
Saturday, December 9 at 1:00pm

Our Holiday Signings series brings in local authors to spotlight some of the season's most exciting books -- and of course, offer personalized signatures -- on the Saturdays leading up to Christmas! First, we'll be hosting the staff of Northern Waters Smokehaus, signing their new cookbook Smoke on the Waterfront. A celebration of the Smokehaus’s singular contribution to Duluth’s cuisine, Smoke on the Waterfront lays out the stories, recipes, and techniques that have made the establishment a fixture. The crew shares their many ways of preserving food (smoking, canning, fermenting, and kippering), and presents recipes that capture a port city’s old-world charm—all workable with simple equipment, allowing home cooks to bring delicious Smokehaus flavors to their own kitchens.
Holiday Signing: Linda Lee Grover —
A Song over Miskwaa Rapids
Saturday, December 16 at 1:00pm

Our Holiday Signings series brings in local authors to spotlight some of the season's most exciting books -- and of course, offer personalized signatures -- on the Saturdays leading up to Christmas! Our second and final signing will feature Linda LeGarde Grover, whose new novel is A Song Over Miskwaa Rapids. A rock dislodged from its slope by mischievous ancestors reveals a gruesome secret half a century old. Some people of Mozhay Point have theories about what happened; others know—and the discovery stirs memories long buried, reviving a terrible story yet to be told. Margie Robineau, in the midst of a fight to keep her family’s allotment land, uncovers events connected to a long-ago escape plan across the Canadian border, and the burial—figurative and painfully real—of not one crime, but two. Linda LeGarde Grover has created and explored the imaginary Mozhay Point Ojibwe Reservation in northern Minnesota for years, starting with her story collection The Dance Boots and continuing with novels The Road Back to Sweetgrass and In the Night of Memory. She is author of a poetry collection, The Sky Watched; a book blending memoir, history, and Ojibwe tradition, Gichigami Hearts; and a collection of short essays that evoke the four seasons, Onigamiising: Seasons of an Ojibwe Year. She is professor emerita of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe.
See the calendar on our website for more!
Book Clubs & Recurring Events
Book club titles are 15% off through the date of the meeting!
(As of this newsletter, the discount now applies to web orders as well: click on one of the images below to open our website and get your copy of this month's book!)

Note: Our book clubs don't meet in December, since that's when we're busiest. We'll look forward to seeing everyone again in January!
First Chapter Story Time
Resumes in January

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 with your tykes!

First Chapter Story Time is on pause for the rest of December -- we'll see you again January 6th!
Manga Club: Delicious in Dungeon, vol. 1
Saturday, January 13 at 5:00pm

Come to NCB at 5pm the second Saturday of every month to talk manga with other otaku! Hosted by our resident manga experts Emily B. and Graham (yours truly), the Manga Club provides complimentary Pocky and a forum to discuss a new title every month. For our first 2024 meeting, we'll be discussing the first volume of Ryoko Kui's dungeons & dragons & cooking manga Delicious in Dungeon, coinciding with the January premiere of the Studio Trigger anime adaptation set to stream on Netflix. Emily B. describes this as one of her favorite series, a hilarious and brilliantly-conceived premise that takes the Stock Fantasy Setting and expands it into something totally unique through its exploration of fantasy ecology and anthropology. Come discuss volume one with us before you start the show! Our meeting last year for Seven Little Sons of the Dragon, Kui's short story collection, was one of my favorites, so I can't wait for this one!
Enemies To Readers: Raiders of the Lost Heart
Thursday, January 25th 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 January 25th, we'll discuss a new release, Raiders of the Lost Heart by Jo Segura, in which rival archaeologists must team up on a secret Aztec expedition, or it could leave their careers—and hearts—in ruins.
Sci-Fi Fantasy Club:
Tam Lin
Friday, January 26 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 January meeting, we'll be considering the foundational urban fantasy Tam Lin. Much as anime post-1995 exists only in the shadow of Hideaki Anno, Pamela Dean's collegiate classic has influenced countless fantasists; all fantasies of manners written after Tam Lin react to it, or they recreate it. (Please forgive the comparison.) And Tam Lin itself is about English literature-- especially the action of story through performance, poetry, oral tradition, and folk song. Like that Scottish ballad Tam Lin? You know the one. Per Dean's author note, "readers acquainted with Carleton College will find much that is familiar to them in the architecture, landscape, classes, terminology, and general atmosphere of Blackstock. They are earnestly advised that it would be unwise to refine too much upon this." But if you've lived in Northfield you will be so charmed.
From Our Shelves
Staff Pick Spotlight:
Baking Yesteryear: The Best Recipes from the 1900s to the 1980s, by B. Dylan Hollis

B. Dylan Hollis is lovingly referred to as "The Cooking Guy" in my household. After first discovering his highly entertaining cooking videos on TikTok, whenever he posts a new recipe, one of us calls out "Cooking Guy has a new video", then everything stops as we watch the latest 60 second clip. My favorite recipe has to be the Peanut Butter Bread (P. 103), it's the first recipe of his I tried, and has since become a go-to for whenever we have friends or family over. This cookbook is entertaining and inspiring, and 1000% easier to follow than a 60 second video set on repeat.
-Emily K.
Featured Excerpt:
"Create Something New"

A pattern, a recipe, a story, a poem.
Plant a seed, be metaphorical.
Now is not the time to be boring.
Get inventive, get bold, get weird and outlandish.
Get uncomfortably vulnerable.

Construct a new status quo,
figure out your deepest,
wildest, most expansive dreams for the world
and write them down, build them up.
Begin. Conceive. Create. Birth. Open.

If ever there was a time for you to become
who you always dreamed you could be, it is now,
when the rules are soft and the edges are blurred
and the world is blinking into an uncertain future.

Be the future that comes into sharp focus.
Tell the truth. The absolute truth.
Spare none the details.
The only way through this is
mutually assured creation.

-Alix Klingenberg,
collected in Bread Sex Trees
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)
No one else shopped here at midday. Some of the booths were darkened; the ones still open were staffed by owners or owners’ nephews eating lunch behind the counters. Food smells and perfumes mingled in the fluorescent lights’ shadowless gloom. The grandma-with-infant was on the other side of a low shelf laden with dry goods, weighing the choice between two brands of dried bean. The infant stirred against her chest in its sling, and, unconsciously, I thought, her bent body started to rock in a slow rhythm, lulling it back into sleep. At this time of day, the men were conscripted to action, patrolling perimeters or running drills. The women were at work in the pleasure houses or holed up hiding from the men. Here it was only the grandma and the infant and me, the three of us useless to broader designs, invisible, free.