at Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis, 612.822.4611, www.magersandquinn.com
Monday, April 4, 7:30 p.m. — Jay Walljasper discusses All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons. All That We Share is a wake-up call that will inspire you to see the world in a new way. As soon as you realize that some things belong to everyone — water, for instance, or the Internet or human knowledge — you become a commoner, part of a movement that’s reshaping how we will solve the problems facing us in the 21st century. Edited by award-winning journalist Jay Walljasper, All That We Share is an indispensable introduction to fresh ideas that touch all of us. Filled with practical solutions for today’s economic, political, and cultural issues, it’s a much-needed and thoroughly accessible field guide to the new world of the commons. Including success stories from communities across the country and around the world, this book is for anyone seeking new ways of thinking about our shared values. Jay Walljasper is co-editor of its website, OnTheCommons.org. He is also a contributing editor of National Geographic Traveler, Senior Fellow at Project for Public Spaces, an Associate of the Citistates group and a cities columnist for Shareable.net. He was editor of Utne Reader for 15 years, during which the magazine was nominated three times for a National Magazine Award for General Excellence. He is author of The Great Neighborhood Book and co-author of Visionaries. He writes widely about travel, cities, ecology and politics.
Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 p.m. — Wendy Brown-Baez and Diego Vazquez Jr. read from their new poetry. Wendy Brown-BÃ¡ez is a writer, teacher, performance poet and installation artist. She has facilitated writing groups since 1994. She has managed shelters for the homeless and visited incarcerated adults and teens. She is trained as a hospice volunteer and as a facilitator ofÂ Monologue Life Stories. In 2008, she received a McKnight grant to teach a bilingual writing workshop with at risk youth and in 2009, a McKnight grant to develop a writing workshop with impoverished youth into an art installation, both provided through COMPAS Community Art Program. She is the author of Ceremonies of the Spirit, a full-length collection of love poems published by Plain View Press in 2009 and chapbook transparencies of light, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press, 2011. Learn more at www.wendybrownbaez.com. Diego Vasquez Jr. is known as “the Grandfather of Poetry Slams.” He writes poems to flowers, birds, rocks, rivers & salmon, and even people. VÃ¡zquez was born in Chicago and raised in El Paso, Texas. His books include Growing Through the Ugly (1997), a novel about a Chicano Vietnam War vet killed in action, and Twelve Branches: Stories from St. Paul (Coffee House Press, 2003). For more information, visit www.diegovazquezjr.com.
Wednesday, April 6, 7:30 p.m. — Philip Connors reads from Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout. Nearly a decade ago, Philip Connors ditched his job as an editor at the Wall Street Journal to spend his summers sitting in a glass-walled perch, 10,000 feet above sea level, watching for smoke. As a fire lookout, Connors follows in a venerable literary tradition — Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, Norman Mclean, and Gary Snyder were all firespotters — and in Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout (available April 5), Connors writes with eloquence and awe about his unusual job and the mythic landscape he watches. “The life of a lookout,” Connors writes, “is a blend of monotony, geometry, and poetry, with healthy dollops of frivolity and sloth. It’s a life that encourages thrift and self-sufficiency, intimacy with weather and wild creatures. We are paid to master the art of solitude, and we are about as free as working folk can be. To be solitary in such a place and such a way is not to be alone. Instead one feels a certain kind of dignity.” Philip Connors has worked as a baker, a bartender, a house painter, a deliveryman, and an editor at the Wall Street Journal. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, the Paris Review, n+1, and in Dave Egger’s Best Nonrequired Reading anthology. Originally from Minnesota, he now lives in New Mexico with his wife and their dog.
Friday, April 8, 7:30 p.m. — Sam Lipsyte reads from The Ask. Milo Burke, a development officer at a third-tier university, has “not been developing”: after a run-in with a well-connected undergrad, he finds himself among the burgeoning class of the newly unemployed. Grasping after odd jobs to support his wife and child, Milo is offered one last chance by his former employer: he must reel in a potential donor — a major “ask” — who, mysteriously, has requested Milo’s involvement. But it turns out that the ask is Milo’s sinister college classmate Purdy Stuart. And the “give” won’t come cheap. Probing many themes–or, perhaps, anxieties–including work, war, sex, class, child rearing, romantic comedies, Benjamin Franklin, cooking shows on death row, and the eroticization of chicken wire, The Ask is a burst of genius by a young American master who has already demonstrated that the truly provocative and important fictions are often the funniest ones. Sam Lipsyte is the author of the story collection Venus Drive (named one of the top 25 books of its year by the Voice Literary Supplement) and two novels: The Subject Steve and Home Land, which was a New York Times Notable Book and received the first annual Believer Book Award. He lives in New York.
Wednesday, April 13, 7:30 p.m. — Rae Meadows reads from her novel Mothers and Daughters, a rich and luminous novel about three generations of women in one family: the love they share, the dreams they refuse to surrender, and the secrets they hold. Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood, but she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago. When a box of Iris’s belongings arrives on Sam’s doorstep, she learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an 11-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet’s real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age? Moving back and forth in time between the stories of Sam, Violet, and Iris, Mothers and Daughters is the spellbinding tale of three remarkable women connected across a century by the complex wonder of motherhood. Rae Meadows is the author of Calling Out, which received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction, and No One Tells Everything, a Poets & Writers Notable Novel. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more at www.RaeMeadows.com.
Thursday, April 28, 7:30 p.m. — Matthew Logelin reads from Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love. Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. After years of long-distance dating, the pair finally settled together in Los Angeles, and they had it all: a perfect marriage, a gorgeous new home, and a baby girl on the way. Liz’s pregnancy was rocky, but they welcomed Madeline, beautiful and healthy, into the world on March 24, 2008. Just twenty-seven hours later, Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism and died instantly, without ever holding the daughter whose arrival she had so eagerly awaited. Though confronted with devastating grief and the responsibilities of a new and single father, Matt did not surrender to devastation; he chose to keep moving forward — to make a life for Maddy. In this memoir, Matt shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends. Born and bred in Minnesota, Matt Logelin was a project manager at Yahoo! until he left the company to focus on writing this book and raising his daughter, Madeline. The two live in Los Angeles, traveling often to see as much of the world as possible. Visit them at www.mattlogelin.com.