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

Eric Lundgren & Kathryn Davis

A doubleheader of a reading took place at Magers & Quinn last Wednesday, September 18 2013.  Debut novelist Eric Lundgren read from The Facades, and Kathryn Davis read from her seventh novel, Duplex.  Each of these books has been getting some ridiculously good press lately–Kathryn Davis’s book earned a full page review in the New York Times, and The Facades received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly–so it was no surprise that the house was packed. Continue reading

Marisha Pessl

by guest contributor Josh Plattner

“Mortal fear is as crucial a thing to our lives as love. It cuts to the core of our being and shows us what we are. Will you step back and cover your eyes? Or will you have the strength to walk to the precipice and look out?”

I was sweating, and no one was surprised.

Lit events always incite this unsettling mixture of excitement and anxiety within me. Is it the anticipation of the author’s reading? Is it questions of whom I might run into? Maybe it’s the perpetual nagging of an inner voice whispering: ‘the author won’t even like you!’ (That’s too neurotic, right? Can’t possibly be healthy. Like, who actually cares if an author is a fan of someone they’ve never met and, likely, will never interact with? Well certainly not me and I definitely didn’t fixate on Marisha’s failure to respond to my tweet inquiring about the designer of her killer heels!) Continue reading

Tao Lin

8430331964_d17994fbab 2 Common Good Books and Paper Darts teamed up to host Tao Lin, author of the divisive and gloriously covered Taipei (as well as cult-faves Richard Yates, Eeeee Eee Eeee, and You Are a Little Bit Happier Than I Am, as well as a few others) to the Paper Darts Pop Up last Wednesday, June 26, 2013.  Tao Lin is heralded among many for his active online persona (which happens to be a subject of his new novel, though the book isn’t fully autobiographical–merely about a novelist with an active online persona). For all of his many admirers, however, his new book seems to have achieved that odd and bittersweet career milestone of widespread yet often negative critical attention, at least in traditional media outlets like the LA Times, NPR, and even the Millions. 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