July 2019
September 16th, 2020

Virtual book events
Meet great authors in the comfort of your own home.

Pull up your comfiest chair and enjoy great conversations about books. We have a full list of great reads coming at you.


Quintessence By Jess Redman in conversation with Megan Frazer Blakemore—Thursday, September 17, 7:00pm

Quintessence is an extraordinary story from Jess Redman about friendship, self-discovery, interconnectedness, and the inexplicable elements that make you you.
Find the Elements. Grow the Light. Save the Starling.

Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven’t stopped—even though she’s told her parents that they have. She’s homesick and friendless and every day she feels less and less like herself.

But one day she finds a telescope in the town’s junk shop, and through its lens, she watches a star—a star that looks like a child—fall from the sky and into her backyard. Alma knows what it’s like to be lost and afraid, to long for home, and she knows that it’s up to her to save the star. And so, with the help of some unlikely new friends from Astronomy Club, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of science, a little bit of magic, and her whole self.





Next Chapter Book Club discusses Delayed Rays of a Star by Amanda Lee Koe
--Sunday, September 27, 4:00pm

At a chance encounter at a Berlin soirée in 1928, the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captures three very different women together in one frame: up-and-coming German actress Marlene Dietrich; Anna May Wong, the world’s first Chinese American star; and Leni Riefenstahl, whose work as a director of propaganda art films would first make her famous—then, infamous.

The trajectories of these women’s lives wind from Weimar Berlin to LA’s Chinatown, from the Bavarian Alps to the Champs-Élysées, and the different settings they inhabit are as richly textured as the roles they play: siren, victim, predator, or lover, each one a carefully calibrated performance. In the orbit of each star live secondary players whose voices and viewpoints reveal the legacy each woman left behind. Intimate and clear-eyed, this is a visceral depiction of womanhood—its particular hungers, its oblique calculations, and its eventual betrayals.



Gardeners of the Universe by Ronald E Peterson—Sunday, September 27, 7:00pm

Peterson's debut sci-fi novel, Gardeners of the Universe, begins in the not too distant future with the births of three children destined to change the world. Rianne grows up to lead biological revolutions. Dan creates sentient computers and guides the direction of human evolution. Sarah, in an age of information dissonance, becomes the most trusted individual on Earth, and convinces the world that it must change. What sets the three apart from the rest of humanity are genetics and ''gifts'' that were no accident.

The book shows how the children and their totally different families adapt to disruptive new technologies in transportation, medicine, communication, as well as global catastrophe. The focus is on how people will change themselves, through mechanical devices, augmented intelligence, and ultimately altering our genetics, and how these shifts will affect real people.

As humanity struggles, an ancient alien species, the Torae, a.k.a. the ''Gardeners,'' have come to observe our ''transcendence.'' They are desperately trying to create new universes to populate. The three young humans are unknowingly conscripted into their schemes while guiding the Earth through the most dangerous and consequential time in its history--the 21st century. This is a story about the profound vision, adaptability, and truth we will need to survive.




40 Thieves on Saipan: The Elite Marine Scout-Snipers in One of WWII's Bloodiest Battles—Friday, October 2, 7:00pm

An elite platoon of Marine Scout-Snipers, Lieutenant Frank Tachovsky’s “40 Thieves” were chosen for their willingness to defy rules and beat all-comers. When two Marines got into a fight, the loser ended up in the infirmary, the winner in the brig. Tachovsky wanted the winner on his team—a brush with military law was a recommendation.
 
These full-blooded men were trained in a ruthless array of hand-to-hand killing techniques and then thrown into the battle for Saipan—Emperor Hirohito’s “Treasure” and the bulwark of the Japanese Empire in the Pacific—where they would wreak havoc in and around, but mostly behind, enemy lines. They witnessed inhuman atrocities; walked into an ambush after the cunning Japanese used wounded Marines as bait; endured body-punishing extremes of heat, hunger, and thirst; fought a relentless enemy who would not surrender; and watched best friends die.
 
Now Tachovsky’s son Joseph tells their remarkable story—a story he didn’t even know until after his father’s death—reported from an extensive documentary record, including priceless mementos his father kept, and from exhaustive interviews with survivors who served under Lieutenant “Ski.”
 
This is how America won the war in the Pacific, where “uncommon valor was a common virtue.” 40 Thieves on Saipan: The Elite Marine Scout-Snipers in One of World War II’s Bloodiest Battles is true history. It’s also an adventure you don’t want to miss




Outside the Margins: A Speculative Fiction Book Club discusses The Deep by Rivers Solomon -Tuesday, October 6, 5:00pm

Octavia E. Butler meets Marvel’s Black Panther in The Deep, a story rich with Afrofuturism, folklore, and the power of memory, inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’s rap group Clipping.

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

The Deep is “a tour de force reorientation of the storytelling gaze…a superb, multilayered work,” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) and a vividly original and uniquely affecting story inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping.




French Like Moi: A Midwesterner in Paris By Scott Dominic Carpenter --Friday, October 9, 7:00pm

When Scott Carpenter moves from Minnesota to Paris, little does he suspect the dramas that await: scheming neighbors, police denunciations, surly demonstrators, cooking disasters, medical mishaps--not to mention all those lectures about cheese It turns out that nothing in the City of Light can be taken for granted, where even trips to the grocery store lead to adventure.

In French Like Moi, Carpenter guides us through the merry labyrinth of the everyday, one hilarious faux pas after another. Through it all, he keeps his eye on the central mystery of what makes the French French (and Midwesterners Midwestern).




The Land By Thomas Maltman --Tuesday, October 13, 7:00pm

A story of violence at the heart of a pastoral landscape, from the author of Indie Next pick and All Iowa Reads selection Little Wolves
 
Recovering from a terrible auto accident just before the turn of the millennium, college dropout and hobbyist computer-game programmer Lucien Swenson becomes the caretaker of a house in northern Minnesota. Shortly after moving in, Lucien sets out to find a woman with whom he had an affair, who vanished along with money stolen from the bank where they had worked together.
 
His search will take him to Rose of Sharon, a white supremacist church deep in the wilderness, where a cabal of outcasts await the end of the world at a place they call The Land. Lucien is visited at the house by a mysterious guest, who may not be who she claims, as well as a vast flock of violent ravens out of an apocalyptic vision. At once a mystery and spiritual noir, The Land explores the dark side of belief, entrenched white supremacy in the Heartland, the uniquely American obsession with end times, and the sacrifices we make for those we love.




Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck By William Souder--Wednesday, October 14, 7:00pm

A resonant biography of America’s most celebrated novelist of the Great Depression.
 
The first full-length biography of the Nobel laureate to appear in a quarter century, Mad at the World illuminates what has made the work of John Steinbeck an enduring part of the literary canon: his capacity for empathy. Pulitzer Prize finalist William Souder explores Steinbeck’s long apprenticeship as a writer struggling through the depths of the Great Depression, and his rise to greatness with masterpieces such as The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath. Angered by the plight of the Dust Bowl migrants who were starving even as they toiled to harvest California’s limitless bounty, fascinated by the guileless decency of the downtrodden denizens of Cannery Row, and appalled by the country’s refusal to recognize the humanity common to all of its citizens, Steinbeck took a stand against social injustice—paradoxically given his inherent misanthropy—setting him apart from the writers of the so-called "lost generation."




Shelter in Place By David Leavitt--Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 7:00pm

"Shelter in Place chronicles the upper middle upper upper crust of New York City society. In the months following the election of Donald Trump, they are plunged into uncertainty and doubt. Eva, the group’s north star, copes by buying an apartment in Venice. Her husband embarks on an affair. It’s hard to imagine a softer target for satire, but Leavitt’s verve and wit make this novel a joy to read. Shelter in Place is a classic six of a novel, fully furnished with bon mots and apercus."—David (NCB Manager)

Shelter in Place is a novel about house and home, furniture and rooms, safety and freedom and the invidious ways in which political upheaval can undermine even the most seemingly impregnable foundations. Eva is the novel's polestar, a woman who moves through her days accompanied by a roving, carefully curated salon. She's a generous hostess and more than a bit of a control freak, whose obsession with decorating allows Leavitt to treat us to a slyly comic look at the habitués and fetishes of the so-called shelter industry. Yet when, in her avidity to secure shelter for herself, she persuades Bruce to buy a grand if dilapidated apartment in Venice, she unwittingly sets off the chain of events that will propel him, for the first time, to venture outside the bubble and embark on a wholly unexpected love affair.
 
A comic portrait of the months immediately following the 2016 election, Shelter in Place is also a meditation on the unreliable appetites-for love, for power, for freedom-by which both our public and private lives are shaped.




Curbside pickup continues

As much as we miss you, we're not open for browsing.

We continue to get books out via USPS, home delivery (within St Paul, for orders over $50), and curbside pickup.

  • Curbside pickup is available 10am to 3pm, Monday through Saturday.
  • Call us at 651/225-8989 a few minutes before you arrive at the store.
  • We’ll put your order on the small table outside our front door.

Fine print: All orders must be paid for in advance (either online or by phone). We cannot accept payment at the time of pickup.



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