at Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S, Minneapolis, 612.822.4611, www.magersandquinn.com
August 18, 7:30 p.m. – Anders Nilsen discusses his graphic novel Big Questions – A haunting postmodern fable, Big Questions is the magnum opus of Anders Nilsen, one of the brightest and most talented young cartoonists working today. This beautiful minimalist story, collected here for the first time, is the culmination of ten years and more than 600 pages of work that details the metaphysical quandaries of the occupants of an endless plain, existing somewhere between a dream and a Russian steppe. A downed plane is thought to be a bird and the unexploded bomb that came from it is mistaken for a giant egg by the group of birds whose lives the story follows. The indifferent, stranded pilot is of great interest to the birds – some doggedly seek his approval, while others do quite the opposite, leading to tensions in the group. Nilsen seamlessly moves from humor to heartbreak. His distinctive, detailed line work is paired with plentiful white space and large, often frameless panels, conveying an ineffable sense of vulnerability and openness. Big Questions has roots in classic fables – the birds and snakes have more to say than their human counterparts, and there are hints of the hero’s journey, but here the easy moral that closes most fables is left open and ambiguous. Rather than lending its world meaning, Nilsen’s parable lets the questions wander where they will. Anders Nilsen lives in Chicago. He has a BFA in painting and illustration from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He is the author of Dogs and Water and Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow.
August 26, 7:30 p.m. – Steve Brezenoff launches his new novel Brooklyn, Burning – When you’re 16 and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you’re lucky, you find a place that accepts you, no questions asked. And if you’re really lucky, that place has a drum set, a place to practice, and a place to sleep. For Kid, the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are that place. Over the course of two scorching summers, Kid falls hopelessly in love and then loses nearly everything and everyone worth caring about. Brooklyn, Burning is a fearless and unconventional love story that addresses the challenges of teens questioning their gender or sexuality. Throughout the entire book, Brezenoff never identifies the gender of his two main characters, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions about Kid and Scout. Steve Brezenoff is the author of two young adult novels, The Absolute Value of -1 and Brooklyn, Burning (both published by Minneapolis-based Carolrhoda Lab, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group). Born in Queens, Steve spent much of his twenties and early thirties living in Brooklyn. He writes about Greenpoint, the northern-most Brooklyn neighborhood, in vivid and unmistakable detail. Steve left his apartment in Greenpoint when he moved to Minnesota with his dog, Harry. It was in that apartment that he proposed to his wife, Beth (the reason he moved to Minnesota). He lives in St. Paul with Beth, their son, Sam and Harry.
August 29, 7:30 p.m. – James Reeves discusses The Road to Somewhere: An American Memoir – One day James A. Reeves realized that he no longer understood his country or what he should be doing in it. There was a time when the road to manhood was clear – go to war, find a job with a big company, wear a tie, and start a family – but then the wars got strange and companies changed. He decided to go for a drive to clear his head. What resulted is a scattershot journey spanning five years, 40,000 miles, twelve speeding tickets, and several moments of unexpected kindness through the neon corridors and dark corners of America. James A. Reeves is a writer, educator and designer. He has taught courses in design, research, history and visual culture at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design. He lives in New Orleans.