where I went in April

Alright, so since there’s a TON of events going on and my poor fingers can’t keep up with typing up each one after I attend, I thought I would do monthly recaps of the awesome ones I went to. This way, you get a look at the bigger picture of what’s going on in the Twin Cities every month!

I will also be doing monthly looking ahead event posts so I can highlight some of the awesome things coming up in the near future! These will be posting towards the beginning of each month. (But bear with me as I form these blogging trends on this baby blog!) I’m working on a post to give you SOON because there’s some great ones coming up just this week!

April Event Recap

As you know, the last day of April included the second annual Independent Bookstore Day 2016, which you can read about here (part 1) and here (part 2).

milkweedOn April 29, my husband and I attended Milkweed Editions’ and Motionpoems’ National Poetry Month + Reading Party at Milkweed Editions and the Loft Literary Center in the Open Book building. I wasn’t able to attend the pre-party, but the reading was BOMB. So. Good. First, Adam Clay read from his new poetry book, then Mary Austin Speaker, and lastly Anders Nilsen.

And let me tell you, I was blown away by all three. Anders brought a fantastic twist to the reading by showing us his drawings as he read his poetry/stories, and I was floored. Definitely so thankful I attended this. download

On April 21, as I talked about here, Andy and I were able to attend Coffee House Press’ Bowling & Books Happy Hour event at Bryant Lake Bowl. It was so fun to get to know some of their staff on a more informal level while bowling, and now I am way more excited to read more of their books that I now have to explore!

helen macdonald

April 14 marks the day I met Helen Macdonald at the Loft. I think it’s safe to call it an understatement how EXCITING THIS WAS. She was just lovely—so very personable, relatable, and down to earth. I loved hearing her stories about what raising her hawk Mabel taught her. Seriously, I wish I could grab tea with this woman. So much wisdom, ugh! I have yet to locate the picture that was taken of us at the Loft by their photographer, but when I track it down it WILL be on social media, haha. This event was also fairly bittersweet because it was my last official event I worked for Magers & Quinn. I am now just part time a bookseller in the store and occasionally help out with in-store events only now. This event was extra special as I was able to take care of selling books while also hearing the talk on the big screen in the overflow room. It was so wonderful. I wish I had the time to read her book NOW.

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our book table at the Helen Macdonald event! 

 

Even though it feels like such a short month for me with only 4 literary events that I attended, that’s still hitting my goal of one every week! I actually looked back at it like this yet and it feels so good to be closer to accomplishing all my professional goals. Of course, there were many great ones that I know I missed. I’d love to hear about them from you!

Did you attend any awesome literary events in April, or listening to any readings on NPR even? Please share in the comments! 

independent bookstore day 2016 adventures: Part 2

As promised, here’s part 2 of my Saturday #IBD2016 adventures!

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6. DreamHaven Books & Comics, Minneapolis 

DreamHaven is a fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and comics lovers’ dream! (pun intended) I enjoyed the eclectic feel of books literally pouring out of the floor and walls—boxes of books were on the ground, the aisles were thin, and they used every bit of space for other neat features like collectibles and even old movie posters. I laughed at the picture because it states “Official Star Wars Book Center” and below was almost entirely Star Trek books so I’m not sure how much that angers the true fans of either, haha. It even smelled old. Very different even from Moon Palace since it was mostly used books, but I loved it.

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7. Paperback Exchange: Used & New Books, Minneapolis

Unfortunately I don’t have my Minneapolis neighborhoods down yet, so I couldn’t tell you exactly where this is, but on the map we followed a complete semi-circle from St. Paul to Uptown Minneapolis. I do remember crossing 55/Hiawatha and suddenly I was in beautiful neighborhoods and envious of everyone’s house!

This was a very small, very cute bookstore. The aisles are MINUSCULE. Like, if you get claustrophobic, don’t go on a busy day like last Saturday! Also, it seems like it extends endlessly into the back, with paperbacks lining every inch of the walls. So fun. I made a young friend almost immediately who made me follow her around the store. She showed me the exclusively romance section and each of her favorite stools.

8. wild rumpus

8. Wild Rumpus Books, Minneapolis (Lake Harriet)

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The only awake cat couldn’t stop playing with the party decorations!

Tada! Though it isn’t my favorite bookstore anymore since I am very very partial to Magers & Quinn for a plethora of reasons, I LOVED this bookstore when I discovered it as a teenager. They have 3 adorable cats, parrots, 2 chinchillas, a rat (or mouse?), aaaaaand I can’t even remember what other animals. So. Very. Whimsical. But I was pleased to see that they have an, albeit small, section of adult/upper YA level books in addition to so many fun children’s books. I also have always loved that they have a reading chair in one corner, and a small shack in the middle of the back room that has scary Halloween-themed books inside. Definitely a treat!

 

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9. Birchbark Books & Native Gifts, Minneapolis

Owned by acclaimed local author Louise Erdrich, who I definitely saw for a few minutes when we first arrived, this bookstore is so unique. They have a tiny cat section, a big display for new books and bestsellers, small, but wonderful, genre sections, and many many “staff picks” notes strewn about the shelves. What I wouldn’t give to write a book and have Louise herself write a staff pick note that sticks underneath it for years to come (some were yellowing!). There was even a beautiful birchbark-shelved display of native Minnesotan foods like wild rice, and local honey and maple syrup. Something for everyone here!

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10. Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Uptown Minneapolis

10. magersandquinn2While I will spare you my schpeel about how much I love M&Q and why, this was the end of our journey so that we would 1) have time to chat with friends, 2) feel at home upon completing the quest and 3) it made sense! We were pleased to walk into an impromptu Shakespeare scene being performed by talented theater grads, and the store was hopping. So many people!

Here we got the final stamp on our passport and also applied some of those Alice in Wonderland lithograph tattoos!

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In conclusion, I would argue that every one of those 37 miles was worth it. Not simply for the gift cards and wonderful reasons to go back to each store, but for the experience itself. My goal this summer is to visit every bookstore in the Twin Cities metro area, and I knocked out 10 in one day! 5 stores in which I had never been to before. So I would say that is a success and good use of my Saturday. I even got to close M&Q and stamp some passports myself, so participating in both sides was very rewarding.

Cheers to independent bookstores! May you all live long and prosper.

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Tell me about your Indepdendent Bookstore Day experiences! Leave a comment below or find me on social media! 

independent bookstore day 2016 adventures: part 1

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This sign! Love love love

If you were following my Instagram on Saturday, you’ll know all too well that I DID step up to the challenge of visiting 10 select independent bookstores in the Twin Cities for the chance to earn a $10 gift certificate to each. My husband and I jumped in my new used—with great gas mileage—car and sped off to start our adventure in St. Paul.

Bear with me through this post! I will try to keep my descriptions short, but in order to not talk (read?) your ears off, I’m splitting it into two posts. The following will release tomorrow!

Thus, I give you the first 5 bookstores:

 

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1. Subtext Books, downtown St. Paul

I had only been there once before, for bookseller “Rep Night” last fall, and so it was fun to see it in a retail setting. It’s small, but the selection is good. I found myself fascinated with their use of space: every possible surface is covered in books or book-related merchandise, but it doesn’t seem too overcrowded! Although I’m sure it did later in the day when it got busy.

Here we picked up our passports, and I grabbed the small book of bookstore essays by Ann Patchett that I have yet to start reading.

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2. Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul

This is a very lovely children’s bookstore on Grand. They are very whimsical and fun, with space for kids to run around and adults to mingle, and they even have a good selection of adult and YA books as well. Something for everyone! Andy, my husband, and I each got to choose something out of the “treasure chest”—Tolkien stickers for all! I purchased that savvy “cat and bookstores” limited edition bag, since it was the last one.

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3. Common Good Books, St. Paul

The awesome Common Good Books, also on Grand, is a fantastic place. No used selection yet, but they did have a great 20% off poetry deal for National Poetry Month. I’ve been here before to hear Tony Hoagland read his poetry—they host some great events! And I had the privilege of going there the next day for bookseller “Rep Night” again and meeting some of their booksellers all over again.

4. daybreak press and global books

4. Daybreak Press & Global Bookshop, Minneapolis (U of M)

This is a very new bookstore right by the light rail off on University on the University of Minnesota campus. I had never heard of it before Saturday, so it was a pleasure having another excuse to visit! I loved their selection of travel and books on different faiths. It was neat seeing many different faiths represented all in the same place. I’m still not sure entirely what they publish, but I plan to find out. It seems like a really awesome place!

5. moon palace

5. Moon Palace Books, Minneapolis

This is right next door to Peace Coffee, which LET ME TELL YOU was highly tempting at this point in the day, but I persevered. This is a cute, one-room bookstore that houses new AND old books, which was a refreshing change! It sounds like they do some events there as well. I very much enjoyed the handmade cards section—letterpressssssss!—and bought several, as well as picked up the Terry Tempest Williams chapbook that was available for IBD. Also met some awesome booksellers, but I’m sad to say that I met so many I can’t remember any names! D:

BOOKSELLERS, if you by any chance read this, let’s connect! I love this partnership the Midwest Booksellers Association created by making the passport contest and am so happy I was able to expand my horizons! Definitely looking forward to visited again to spend more time browsing.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

Did you participate in #IBD2016 by doing the passport challenge? Leave a note in the comments! 

ideas for indie bookstore day

HEY GUYS, guess what!

Saturday, April 30 is Independent Bookstore Day. 

indie bookstore day 2016

You heard me: a day to celebrate all your favorite indie bookstores! Visit! Read! Buy! Say hello!

Though I work that evening (at my very own favorite indie bookstore), I have until 4pm to hit as many Twin Cities metro bookstores as possible. And yes, that is my goal.

Actually, here’s the part where I tell you that my goal for this summer is to hit them all. All of them that are within an hour or two of Minneapols, anyway. Unless of course I’m on a trip up north or wherever, then I will make it a point to visit any bookstore within 30 miles of my location. Don’t worry, I’ll be chronicling my adventures—with photos!—on this blog. I’ll make it a point to meet a person at each bookstore and HOPEFULLY (if I can afford it) buy a book or piece of memorabilia from each store. I haven’t solidified all the “rules” yet, but those are what I have so far.

Anyways, back to April 30.

I can’t tell you all the details yet, because I’m not sure who even knows them all. But on April 30 you can get a Twin Cities Independent Bookstore Day Passport. There are 10 stores featured (but that’s the part I don’t know yet. The only store I know for sure is Magers & Quinn!), and if you collect all 10 stamps on your passport, take a picture of the completed stamps page, and tweet it to @MidwestBooks, you’ll apparently receive a $10 gift certificate from all 10 participating stores. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

I got this limited info from Magers & Quinn. So you should start by going there (shameless plug!) 😉

Please, if you can, take this opportunity to show the love to the independently owned and bookish and amazing stores that keep readers’ hungry minds happy. Skip Barnes & Noble, and skip Amazon—at least just for the DAY—and experience something totally new, even if you only visit one!

Here are some ideas for the frugal or the time-limited indie bookstore shopper:

  1. Buy a new (or unique used!) book as a Christmas present. Just don’t forget where you stashed it when wrapping season comes around! But think of how prepared you’ll feel!
  2. Check out some of the awesome, limited one-day-only merchandise that will be available at participating stores! Like the temporary tattoos available at M&Q!
  3. Buy a book of poems for National Poetry Month before it’s over! Heck, maybe you should read one poem at every bookstore (hmmm, I might actually have to steal this idea)…
  4. Take a photo of the most unique book, rare, used, or otherwise—that you find and share it on social media! Don’t forget to use the #IBD2016 tag! Check out my own Instagram (link in about) for my #IBD2016 adventures.

Don’t forget to have fun and share the book love with everyone you know!

Here’s the list of participating Minnesota bookstores that I found hereSince some are fairly far apart, try just visiting the ones in the Twin Cities or near suburbs at least!