Lit Up Late (1/3)

Something crucial often gets lost at a literary event. There’s a thrill in seeing an author you admire in the flesh, getting your new book signed and personalized, getting to ask a question during a Q&A. There’s revelation in hearing a sentence uttered by its creator, the inflections you wouldn’t have ascribed to a line. There’s the community of the event, being surrounded by fellow readers. There are often snacks, sometimes free booze, sometimes raffles and giveaways. Sometimes literary events have little to do with literature-see Revolver’s amazing boxing party from a couple years ago. Sometimes the whole point of going to a literary event is just to reassure yourself that people who like to read aren’t going extinct. There are many of us, and we’re not going anywhere. So what’s that crucial missing component?

Oh yeah. Books.

murakami mitchell darnielle Continue reading

George Saunders

by guest contributor Samantha Campbell

Thursday, October 10th kicked off the 17th season of the Pen Pal series put on by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library. On stage, beneath a couple of giant mice (the reading was held in the Children’s Theater at the Hopkins Center for the Arts), George Saunders gave the first lecture of the season. A nationally acclaimed writer of novellas, short stories, essays, and children’s books, Saunders was recently named to the long list for the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction for his story collection, Tenth of December. Continue reading

Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair

The 23rd annual Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair took place on the weekend of June 28-29 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  Organized and hosted by the Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association, this ticketed event (entry cost $7) gives collectors and book lovers a chance to browse some of the most sought-after titles in existence.  First editions, signed first editions, old OLD books, collectibles, rarities, oddities–if it’s for sale and it’s a book, it was likely in the Progress Center last weekend. Continue reading

Paper Darts Pop-Up: The Secret Sauce of Book Marketing

Tuesday the 18th of June marked the first time I made it to an event at the Paper Darts Pop-Up storefront installation, which seems absurd given how many events they’ve already produced.  The space on south Nicollet, a project of SooVAC that provides storefront exposure to arts organizations for a limited time (in Paper Darts’ case, six weeks), has already hosted art exhibitions, a YourthLEAD/Young Nonprofit Professionals Network campaign that traded professional headshots for work clothes donations, and the Paper Darts Issue 5 release party featuring Sweetpea, Joe Midthun, Carl Atiya Swanson, Jami Jerome, and Justin Schuetz. Continue reading

Rep Night at The Bookcase

There are a few tried-and-true ways to get people excited about upcoming books.  Reviews, author interviews, profiles, media appearances, stints at book festivals, and, of course, readings.  As far as getting customers to buy books, these methods tend to work  well. For booksellers, it’s  a bit different.  How do publishers get bookstores to carry their books, how do they get booksellers excited about a book so the booksellers will in turn recommend them to their customers? How do booksellers decide which books to display prominently, and which live huddled in the musty stacks in the back corner? Continue reading


I’ve been a busy book lover lately, but there was no way I was going to miss Revolver‘s “Confess” event last Saturday, May 11, 2013.  Not after their launch party at Uppercut Boxing Gym last fall, which has achieved near-legendary status as far as literary events go.  In some ways, that “book-nerd-turned-featherweight” spectacular set the bar pretty high for the folks at Revolver.  Luckily, they’re a creative bunch. Continue reading