At Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis – www.magersandquinn.com – 612.822.4611:

Bill Voedisch reads from his new book about his cat, Citizen Mitten – 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2 – Millions of people have cats, dogs and other pets. Once in a lifetime, there is one so special you will never forget it. That’s the case with Bill Voedisch and his cat Mitten. Enjoy their antics, and those of their other two-legged and four-legged pals, in Citizen Mitten. But beware, Bill says anyone who brings home a pet accepts the responsibility for their death, be it a few years away, or 20, as in the case of Mitten. Why? Bill tells us in his sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant, always memorable, stories. Voedisch, now retired from West Publishing, plays competitive bridge, raises sweet corn in the summer and plows snow in the winter and has been fishing with the same guys for over 50 years. Bill and his wife, Laurie, are active in a therapy horseback riding program. Along with their horses and volunteers, they teach therapeutic riding for kids and adults with disabilities at their farm, East Wind, located 25 miles from St. Paul in the beautiful St. Croix River valley on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. They provide therapy riding for kids and adults with disabilities, via their affiliation with We Can Ride (WCR), a non-profit based in Minnetonka, Minn. Bill and Laurie also support Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota (HSDM), and they sometimes get to care for one of HSDM’s service dogs when the need arises. For more information on these two non-profits, visit www.wecanride.org and www.HSDM.org

Mary Hayes Grieco presents her book Be a Light – 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 8 – Be a Light: Illumined Essays for Times Like These is a collection of essays offered as a perennial inspirational “companion” book for those who are on a journey of hope, self-healing, personal illumination, and purposeful world service. There are three types of essays in this book: philosophy, how-to, and storytelling. In the perennial tradition of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea and Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, this book is meant to be a life-long friend that will be read over and over. Be a Light is a book that sits on the nightstand or near your favorite chair, and never ends up in a garage sale. Each essay stands on its own as a piece to be dipped into when one wants a short, complete, and nourishing read at the beginning or the end of a day, but there is also a message that implicitly runs through the book as a whole. The unifying message of Be a Light, in essence, is: “Heal the wounds of your past, break out of your fears, discover your life purpose, and serve the world with all your heart.” Mary Hayes Grieco, of Minneapolis, is a respected spiritual teacher, healer, philosopher and storyteller. She is the director of The Midwest Institute for Forgiveness Training and has been writing and teaching about spirituality, healing, forgiveness and purposeful living for 25 years. She was the creator and host of her own radio program in the Twin Cities, and led retreats at Hazelden Renewal Center from 1992-2008. She works in private practice as a counselor at The Well Healing Arts Center in Minneapolis.

Rachel Coyne reads from her novel Whiskey Heart – 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24 – Alcohol is the villain in this novel, and Coyne tells her story of grief and redemption in a heightened language that will captivate readers. It’s a literary soap opera that forces its narrator to deal with one predicament after another in a world of anger, denial, and moments of fierce joy. When Rachel Coyne was 15, her estranged father entered alcohol rehab after drinking himself into a coma that lasted so long he claims he heard the dead whispering to him. The novel’s themes – alcoholism is a long, slow suicide; numbness and disassociation accompany grief; and the repudiation of the curative power of romantic love – are universal. Finally, the novel is about place. Coyne says, “I wanted to portray the hidden, exotic nature of rural Minnesota life – the tall, red-rooted varieties of corn, the crows, the fishing camps and frozen lakes.” The novel is like an old bluegrass song that stays in your head.

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