the ncb newsletter
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Howdy, readers! I hope everyone's had a good summer so far and gotten in some lake or cabin time.

This week, we have an upcoming event for the release of William Kent Krueger's next Cork O'Connor novel, Barack Obama's summer reading list, an impressive new writing implement in stock, and information about vending machines that may save your life...

All that and more is in this edition of the NCB Newsletter!
Obama's Summer Reading List!
It's that time of year again: as sure as Puxsutawney Phil emerges from his hole to cast about for his shadow every winter, so too does Barack Obama each summer tweet a new Summer Reading List.

So what have we got this year? Well, as it turns out, we have most of these titles in-store, and those that we don't are now on order. Pat yourselves on the back, because many of these books were very popular here thanks to you! But if you missed one of these upon release, now's a great time to circle back and check it out. There's a little bit of everything. Come into the store, where we've got the Obama Reading List titles highlighted in their respective sections, or order through our website from the handy list below.
Blackwing Pencils Land at NCB
If you care about writing implements, you know the name Blackwing. If not, you probably wonder who would pay $27 for a dozen pencils. "Listen," says Emily, our resident stationary enthusiast, "I am a miser. A cheapskate. A penny-pincher. A $27 box of these pencils is worth it."

Blackwings are most notable for their distinctive gold, capsule-shaped ferrule, which is designed to easily extend the eraser as it wears down, and replace it as needed. The body is Californian incense cedar, which lends the pencil a pleasant smell, while the graphite core is exceptionally smooth.

While in the past we've stocked exclusive Blackwings for Independent Bookstore Day, we recently decided to bring in the whole lineup year-round. This includes the 602, with a gray finish and firm graphite (approximately B) good for art and great for writing; the Pearl, with a white finish and a "balanced" graphite (in the realm of 2B), good for art and writing; and the Matte, with a black finish and soft graphite (around 4B), which is fantastic for art. These pencils are currently available in-store only, so come by to give them a try -- we have a couple boxes open for testing! After all, you can really only understand the appeal of the Blackwing through firsthand experience.
New Books

Mercury Pictures Presents Anthony Marra

Maria Lagana has come to 1940s Hollywood to outrun her past. As an associate producer at Mercury Pictures, she tries to keep her personal and professional lives from falling apart. Her mother won’t speak to her; her Chinese-American boyfriend can’t escape the studio’s narrow typecasting. Despite teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, Mercury Pictures becomes a nexus of European émigrés and refugees. While the world descends into war, Maria rises through a maze of conflicting politics, divided loyalties, and jockeying ambitions. But when the arrival of a stranger from her father’s past threatens Maria’s carefully constructed facade, she must finally confront her father’s fate—and her own.

Journal of Radical Permission adrienne marie brown & Sonya Renee Taylor

Based on the philosophies of radical self-love, emergent strategy, and pleasure activism, this journal gives you permission to love yourself deeply as you are. It will help you surrender to your body’s needs instead of forcing yourself into cramped disciplines. It will encourage you to become awed by the natural beauty of your divine self instead of being rampantly self-critical. It will aid you in embracing your shadows and accepting responsibility for your impact all while liberating you to just be. This structured journal provides six key practices, with prompts for each practice that center on curiosity, surrender, grace, and satisfaction.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau Silvia Moreno-Garcia

In her follow-up to Mexican Gothic, Moreno-Garcia gives us another... well, Mexican Gothic. Yet this feels like an evolution, not a retread. The two point-of-view characters serve as wonderful foils, and the tension between them is gripping. It really is a will-they-won't-they: you feel at any point that it could go either way. As in her other works, Moreno-Garcia reveals a well-researched historical and political context that adds both vividity and thematic richness. Doctor Moreau develops and broadens themes from Mexican Gothic: bodily autonomy and anticolonialism. The political and personal merge as the action slowly rises, ending with a cathartic, unsettling climax and a sweet denouement. -Graham

The Destructionists: The Twenty-Five Year Crack-Up of the Republican Party – Dana Milbank

In 1994, more than 300 Republicans stood outside the U.S. Capitol to sign the Contract with America and put bipartisanship on notice. Twenty-five years later, on January 6, 2021, a bloodthirsty mob incited by President Trump invaded the Capitol. Dana Milbank sees a clear line from the former to the latter. In the past quarter century, the party of Lincoln has become a haven for white supremacists, political violence, conspiracy theorists and authoritarians. Following the careers of party heavyweights like Gingrich, Rove, McConnell, and Giuliani, Millbank recounts the shocking lengths the G.O.P. has gone to to maintain its grip on the American people.

Around the World In 80 Birds – Written By Mike Unwin, With Illustrations By Ryuto Miyake 

This beautiful and inspiring book tells the stories of eighty birds around the world: from the Sociable Weaver Bird in Namibia which constructs huge, multi-nest 'apartment blocks' in the desert, to the Bar-headed Goose of China, one of the highest-flying migrants which crosses the Himalayas twice a year. Many birds come steeped in folklore and myth, some are national emblems and a few have inspired scientific revelation or daring conservation projects. Each has a story to tell that sheds a light on our relationship with the natural world and reveals just how deeply birds matter to us.
New in Paperback
Upcoming Events
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.
Fox Creek – William Kent Krueger

Ticketed Event:
Tickets are $5 or free with purchase of the book here

Monday, August 29 at 6:00pm
In this latest entry in the New York Times bestselling Cork O’Connor Mystery Series, the Ojibwe healer Henry Meloux guides a mysterious stranger and his great niece, Cork O’Connor’s wife, to safety deep into the Boundary Waters. On the last journey he may ever take into this beloved land, Meloux must do his best to outwit the deadly mercenaries who follow. Meanwhile, Cork begins tracking the killers, but his own skills as a hunter are severely tested by nightfall and a late season snowstorm. But his fiercest enemy in this deadly game of cat and mouse may well be his own deep self-doubt about his ability to save those he loves. William Kent Krueger is the author of This Tender Land, Ordinary Grace (winner of the Edgar Award for best novel), as well as nineteen acclaimed books in the Cork O’Connor mystery series. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family.
Sex and the Single Woman: 24 Writers Reimagine Helen Gurley Brown's Cult Classic with Haley Swanson, Kathryn Nuernberger, and Elizabeth R. Tannen

Tuesday, August 30 at 6:00pm
Sixty years ago, Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Single Girl sent shockwaves through American culture. Helen’s message was radical for its time: marriage wasn’t essential for women to lead rich, fulfilling lives. Now, in these critical, wry, and expansive essays, twenty-four writers reconsider Helen’s advice and how it applies to their own paths, fielding topics that she couldn’t—or wouldn’t—conceive of in 1962: contraception and abortion, queer and trans womanhood, polyamory, celibacy, interracial dating, bodies of all kinds, consent, sex work, IVF, and the pop culture that both saves and fails us. Editor Haley Swanson is an MFA candidate at Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Glamour, Electric Literature, Bustle, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at Catapult and lives in New York. Contributor Kathryn Nuernberger’s latest book is The Witch of Eye, which is about witches and witch trials. She is also the author of poetry collections RUE, The End of Pink, and Rag & Bone, as well as a collection of lyric essays, Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past. She teaches poetry and nonfiction for the MFA program at University of Minnesota. Contributor Elizabeth R. Tannen is a writer, editor, and educator based in Minneapolis.
From Our Shelves
Staff Pick Spotlight:
The Man Who Could Move Clouds Ingrid Rojas Contreras

"Challenging and enchanting. Contreras's story will cast a spell over you even as it upends your perceptions of memory and truth. 'Good divination is the art of a good story,' Contreras's curendero grandfather instructs. 'You have to speak in metaphors, in paradox, in symbolism.' By this standard, despite her complicated relationship with her family's gift and the legacy attached to it, Conteras proves herself a great curandera."
Fact of the Week:

An average of 2.2 people die in the United States each year due to being crushed by vending machines, in most cases after trying to tip or rock the machine (because it failed to dispense a paid-for item, or in an attempt to get an item without paying).

This figure does not reflect long-term deaths due to consumption of food and drink dispensed by vending machines.

You can stay safe by never shaking, kicking, punching, pushing, or climbing on a vending machine.

Learn more about the different ways to die (and how to avoid them) in
You Bet Your Life! Your Guide to Deadly Risk, by Sheila & Joe Buff
Next Chapter Reader Poll
Thanks to everyone who voted in last week's poll! The results are in:

What's your ideal book length?
  1. 201 - 300 pages - 52.4% (22)
  2. 301 - 400 pages - 31% (13)
  3. 400 pages or longer - 11.9% (5)
  4. 101 - 200 pages - 4.8% (2)
  5. 51 - 100 pages - 0% (0)
  6. 50 pages or shorter - 0% (0)

Wow, you guys really like some epics. I'm right there with you, especially when it comes to fiction, but there's also something to be said for novellas as well, which, in my opinion, can often deliver experiences a longer book could not. So, if you'd like to explore the world of shorter books (including essays, chapbooks, novellas, and more), check out the new "Short And Sometimes Sweet" display we've got at the end of the counter. I especially recommend Samanta Schweblin's horror novella Fever Dream.

Now for this week's poll! This week's question is "short answer" rather than "multiple choice," so feel free to reply to this email with your response! And the question is:

What's your desert island book?
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)