The Little Free Library Book: Read the Book, Leave the Book

Categories: Books
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Kirk Brust and Maria Olsen
To build up a library is to create a life. It's never just a random collection of books.

This Carlos María Domínguez quote appears at the beginning of a new book examining the micro-library movement. The Little Free Library Book, written by Margret Aldrich and published by Minneapolis's Coffee House Press, is part history, part storytelling, and part how-to.

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Catching Up with Jeff Kamin, Host of Books & Bars and Must Talk TV

Categories: Books, Interview, TV

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Photo courtesy of Books & Bars

Since 2004, Books & Bars participants have made their way through more than 150 books. Much has changed over those 11 years, including event locations and the attendees. Through it all, one thing has remained constant: host Jeff Kamin.

Books & Bars was originally sponsored by the now-defunct Bound To Be Read, and was hosted monthly at Bryant-Lake Bowl. Nowadays, it takes place in three different cities each month (that's three meetings covering one book), hitting St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Excelsior at a variety of locations. "It's a different group and a different discussion at each place, even though it's the same book," Kamin notes.

The idea of the club is to get people to discuss their passions, which often vary widely from one crowd to another. "Reading is such a solitary thing. [It's] this thing you do alone for hours," he says. At events, he hopes readers will "come away with a different perspective."

See also:
Best Reading Series Minneapolis 2009 - Books & Bars

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Roxane Gay on Feminism, Beyonce, Haters on Twitter

Categories: Books

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Roxane Gay invites us to have conviction, even if it is conflicted. Her writing evokes emotion and humor, causes controversy, and explores topics often swept under the rug. Her most recent collection of essays, Bad Feminist, is a New York Times best-seller. In it, Gay is less concerned about locking down a perennial definition of the word, instead creating personalized interpretations that allow room for complexity. Gay employs a confessional-style examination on topics like privilege, female friendships, race, sex, rape, pop culture, and gender, often in tongue-in-cheek fashion.

Gay is heavily engaged online. Her brazen opinions have garnered her many an internet supporter, and just as many "haters." This duality has perhaps just enhanced her popularity and status as a cultural figure.

This Friday, BUST Magazine and the Loft Literary Center will present an AWP-related reading welcoming Gay along with notable writers Amber Tamblyn, xTx, Patricia Smith, Franny Choi, and Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz. In anticipation of the event, we caught up with Gay on her thoughts on Twitter dramas, defining moments of modern-day feminism, and Beyoncé.


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How to Survive AWP: Local Lit Luminary Sally Franson's Tips

Categories: Books

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Ginny, event logo
By now, you've likely heard the chatter surrounding this weekend's riveting, four-day-long Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference & Bookfair. This year's AWP is set to attract over 11,000 attendees for a weekend of insightful panels, readings, craft lectures, and networking, with the most noteworthy organizations and opinion-makers in contemporary literature in town.

Aside from being the largest literary conference in North America, AWP is the perfect chance to brag to visitors about the talent within our Twin Cities' lit scene.

With so many events underway, one might feel overwhelmed by the options. Fret not; we're here to help. To assist you as you wade through the literary pool that is AWP, we caught up with Sally Franson, who teaches at the Loft Literary Center and the University of Minnesota. Not only will she be trying to fit all the lit-centric fun she can into one weekend, she will also be a panelist at a discussion about making the most of writers' residencies.


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Marlon James Talks About Trying to Break into Prince's House on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Categories: Books, Film and TV

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Screenshot via NBC
Last night, local author Marlon James charmed a national audience on Late Night with Seth Meyers while promoting his latest book, A Brief History of Seven Killings.

See also:
Marlon James Hopes for Blood and Guts at the Literary Death Match


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AWP Book List: Read Now, Thank Us Later

Categories: Books
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If you use a library card more than a Netflix account, listen up. The annual AWP Conference and Bookfair is coming to Minneapolis April 8 to 11. That's a ways away, but now is the time to prepare.

Not familiar with the Association of Writers and Writing Programs' annual event? Think of it as the supreme literary gathering of the year. Publishers, editors, teachers, booksellers, readers, writers, and everyone else interested in contemporary literature will convene at the Minneapolis Convention Center for panels, networking, and readings.

For lit lovers not interested in the conference's price tag, most authors will be reading at other venues as well. When you bring thousands of writers and book lovers to one city, you can expect them to escape to a dimly lit bar sooner rather than later, after all. So clear out your reading list, as these are the books you need to finish before April.

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Cary Elwes on Surviving the Fire Swamp and Other Princess Bride Shenanigans

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Miranda Penn Turin
Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... The Princess Bride has it all. Actor Cary Elwes, better known to diehard Princess Bride fans as farmboy Westley-cum-Dread Pirate Roberts, has harnessed the magic of the movie in his new book, As You Wish.

Even though The Princess Bride has won over legions of fans since its initial release in 1987, Elwes wasn't quite sure what the reception to his behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film would be like. Turns out he had nothing to be worried about. Since its release in October, As You Wish has spent three months on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

This weekend, Elwes will continue his book tour, which will bring hundreds of Princess Bride fans to the Mall of America where there will be both a signing and a screening of the movie.

See also:
Cary Elwes Says As You Wish to Fans With a Behind-the-Scenes Look at The Princess Bride


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2014 Year in Review: Top Literary Moments

Categories: Books
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[Editor's note: The year is coming to an end fast. To celebrate 2014, we'll be revisiting the memorable things that happened with a different topic each week. Stayed tuned for more.]

It's been another year of literary goodness in the Twin Cities. In a town known for its nonprofit publishers, indie bookstores, edgy publications, and welcoming community, coming up with a list of the best literary events isn't hard work (except for the fact that there are so many to choose from).

Let's take a look at some of the most-gabbed-about literary events of 2014. More »

7 Local Books for Everyone on Your Gift List

Categories: Books
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Look smart, give a book this holiday season. We all have readers in our lives. The following is a list of seven local books (meaning, local publishers or local authors) published in 2014 for every type of book-lover on your list.

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Dead Media: Books, records, and posters the old-school way

Categories: Books
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Paul Dickinson performing at Riot Act at Dead Media 
Do you ever feel nostalgic for the days when people read books that were printed on paper, or when you could hold an album cover in your hand instead of just viewing it on a screen? Do you like the tactile sensation of turning a page, or the thrill of dropping the needle on a spinning record? If so, you may be in luck. Dead Media, a new book/record/poster store located across the street from the Birchwood Café, seeks to fulfill all your antiquated entertainment needs. 


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