Books & Bars: “Dark Matter”

With The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, moderator Jeff Kamin brings his unique take on a public book club show to Saint Paul every first Tuesday of the month (with some exceptions: July and August will be held on the third Tuesday). Even if you don’t like the featured book, he “guarantees a good time at our entertaining discussions.” All are welcome to try this moderated reinvention of the book club. No registration required.

5:00 Happy Hour Social | 6:15 Discussion


Blake CrouchDark Matter

by Blake Crouch

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible. From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human – a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

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Club Book: Yaa Gyasi

Yaa GyasiGhanaian-American novelist Yaa Gyasi is the author behind Homegoing, one of the breakout hits of 2016. This sweeping, transcontinental family saga follows the descendants of two sisters torn apart by the African slave trade. The legacy of slavery follows six subsequent generations – through the American Civil War, to twentieth-century Harlem, and up to the modern day. It has earned a wide range of accolades and honors. The Washington Post endorses Homegoing as “[Alex Haley’s] Roots for a new generation. A bold tale of slavery… how much we know, and how much we willfully forget.” Gyasi’s unique, relevant, and engaging voice earned the 26-year-old the National Book Foundation’s highly coveted ‘5 Under 35’ Award for 2016. Random House is re-releasing the New York Times bestseller in paperback in May.

**PLEASE NOTE**

All Saint Paul libraries are closed on May 11, but Merriam Park will open at 6:30 p.m. for this special event.

See more Club Book events >>

Books & Bars: “Sweetbitter”

With The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, moderator Jeff Kamin brings his unique take on a public book club show to Saint Paul every first Tuesday of the month (with some exceptions: July and August will be held on the third Tuesday). Even if you don’t like the featured book, he “guarantees a good time at our entertaining discussions.” All are welcome to try this moderated reinvention of the book club. No registration required.

5:00 Happy Hour Social | 6:15 Discussion


Sweetbitter Book CoverStephanie DanlerSweetbitter

by  Stephanie Danler

Twenty-two, and knowing no one, Tess leaves home to begin her adult life in New York City. Thus begins a year that is both enchanting and punishing, in a low-level job at “the best restaurant in New York City.” Grueling hours and a steep culinary learning curve awaken her to the beauty of oysters, the finest Champagnes, the appellations of Burgundy. At the same time, she opens herself to friendships and love, set against the backdrop of dive bars and late nights. As her appetites sharpen, Tess is drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle that will prove to be her most exhilarating and painful lesson of all. Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant – conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, and suggestions below the surface. Evoking the infinite possibility of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy, Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the wisdom that comes from experience, sweet and bitter.

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Books & Bars: “Locally Laid”

With The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, moderator Jeff Kamin brings his unique take on a public book club show to Saint Paul every first Tuesday of the month (with some exceptions: July and August will be held on the third Tuesday). Even if you don’t like the featured book, he “guarantees a good time at our entertaining discussions.” All are welcome to try this moderated reinvention of the book club. No registration required.

5:00 Happy Hour Social | 6:15 Discussion


Locally LaidLucie AmundsenLocally Laid

by Lucie Amundsen

Lucie will be attending the event. Hear from the author, ask questions, and get your copy signed!

Lucie Amundsen is a self-described ‘reluctant farmer’ and co-owner, with her husband Jason, of Locally Laid Egg Company, a ranch enterprise in Duluth that supplies pasture-raised eggs to markets in Minnesota, Iowa, and Indiana. Amundsen holds an MFA from Hamline University and is a past contributor to the Star Tribune and Reader’s Digest Association. When this plucky couple – with no real agricultural experience between them – decided to leave their professions to start up a mid-sized chicken farm, Amundsen applied her considerable writing talents to a part-memoir, part-exposé about the experience. Kirkus Reviews recommends Locally Laid highly, stating: “The author’s skepticism and her husband’s optimism collide to create a laughable tale.” Behind the humor, however, Amundsen reveals some alarming truths about today’s egg and poultry industry, along with insights on what we can all do to turn the situation around.

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2017 O’Shaughnessy Award Recipient: Katie Donovan

Katie Donovan

Dublin-based poet Katie Donovan will receive the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award in April. Her free public reading, which will follow a week of classroom visits and public appearances, will be on Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of John Roach Center at the University of St. Thomas.

The $5,000 O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry, established in 1997, honors Irish poets.  The award is named for Lawrence O’Shaughnessy, who taught English at St. Thomas from 1948 to 1950, formerly served on the university’s board of trustees and is the retired head of the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation.

Donovan, born 1962, grew up on a farm in County Wexford, and was educated at Trinity College Dublin and at UC Berkeley. She spent a year in Hungary teaching English before returning to Ireland to work as a journalist withthe Irish Times. She has published five poetry collections, all with the British publisher Bloodaxe. Currently she works as an Amatsu practitioner and has taught creative writing at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire. She is widowed and has two children.

Her books include Watermelon Man, Entering the Mare, Day of the Dead, Rootling: New and Selected Poems, and most recently, Off Duty, a collection that focuses on the year in which her husband died of throat cancer.

Learn more about the O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry >>

Writers in Conversation: “Deep Heart’s Core: Poetry & Mystery”

Katie Donovan

James Lenfesty

“Deep Heart’s Core: Poetry & Mystery” with Katie Donovan and James Lenfestey

Monday, April 17 | 7 p.m.

 

Join O’Shaughnessy Award-winning Irish poet Katie Donovan and local writer James Lenfestey for a conversation about their craft and the influence of the great mysterious in poetry. Presented with the Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas.

Donovan, born 1962, grew up on a farm in County Wexford, and was educated at Trinity College Dublin and at UC Berkeley. She spent a year in Hungary teaching English before returning to Ireland to work as a journalist with the Irish Times. She has published five poetry collections, all with the British publisher Bloodaxe. Currently she works as an Amatsu practitioner and has taught creative writing at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire. She is widowed and has two children.

Her books include Watermelon Man, Entering the Mare, Day of the Dead, Rootling: New and Selected Poems, and most recently, Off Duty, a collection that focuses on the year in which her husband died of throat cancer.

Journalist and poet James P. Lenfestey was born and raised in De Pere, Wisconsin, and educated at Dartmouth College. In 1974, he discovered the work of T’ang poet Han-shan, or Cold Mountain, whose poems offer both thematic and formal inspiration for Lenfestey’s concise, image-driven poetry. He is the author of several poetry collections, including A Cartload of Scrolls: 100 Poems in the Manner of T’ang Dynasty Poet Han-Shan and Into the Goodhue County Jail: Poems to Free Prisoners, the essay collection The Urban Coyote: Howlings on Family, Community and the Search for Peace and Quiet, and a haibun volume of interwoven poetry and prose, Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain, a Minnesota Book Award finalist.

During his career as a journalist, Lenfestey served as an editorial writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he received three Page One Awards for excellence in journalism. He chairs the Literary Witnesses poetry program in Minneapolis.

Dublin-based poet Katie Donovan will receive the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award in April.  Her free public reading, which will follow a week of classroom visits and public appearances, will be on Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of John Roach Center at the University of St. Thomas.

Learn more about the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award. >>

Meet the Finalists for the Minnesota Book Awards

Join the Minnesota Book Awards and the Loft Literary Center for a celebration of this year’s finalist books. Authors from each of the nine award categories will gather to discuss their work in a series of fast-paced Q&A sessions hosted by Twin Cities writers, editors, and booksellers. This event is free and open to the public — no reservations required.


EVENT DETAILS

Reception | 6:00 p.m.
Come early to meet the finalist authors and enjoy complimentary wine and light refreshments. Book sales will be provided by Magers & Quinn Booksellers and authors will be available for signing.

Program | 7:00 p.m.
Join the authors in the Target Performance Hall for a fun and fast-paced program consisting of a Q&A session for each category. A different moderator for each group of authors will get them talking about their books, how they got into writing, and much more.

Dessert | 8:30 p.m.
Grab another glass of wine and something sweet and take one last opportunity to mingle with the authors.


PARTICIPATING AUTHORS

We are thrilled to have 24 authors and illustrators participating in the event this year! Here’s who will be there, separated by panel group:

Children’s Literature
Moderated by Lisa Von Drasek, Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota 

-David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka (This Is Not a Cat!)
-Lauren Stringer (Yellow Time)

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction
Moderated by Melanie Hoffert, 2014 Minnesota Book Award winner for Prairie Silence

-Erik Anderson (editor of This Is Where I Am: A Memoir)
-Clyde Bellecourt (The Thunder Before the Storm: The Autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt)
-Michelle Leon (I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland)

Middle Grade Literature
Moderated by Jay D. Peterson, Program Manager for CHP In The Stacks at Coffee House Press, co-editor of Sky Blue Water: Great Stories for Young Readers

-Abby Cooper (Sticks & Stones)
-Brian Farrey (The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse) 
-Caren Stelson (Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story)

Minnesota Nonfiction
Moderated by Patrick Coleman, Acquisitions Librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society

-Gary Christensen and Stephen Gjertson (Richard F. Lack: Catalogue Raisonné 1943-1998) 
-Brian McMahon (The Ford Century in Minnesota)
-Cheri Register (The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape)
-Virginia M. Wright-Peterson (Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation)

Novel & Short Story / Genre Fiction
Moderated by Hans Weyandt, Manager at Milkweed Books

-Stephanie Wilbur Ash (The Annie Year)
-Peter Geye (Wintering)
-Kathleen Novak (Do Not Find Me)
-Robert Spande (The Born and the Made)

Poetry
Moderated by Heid E. Erdrich, Author, Performer, Teaching Mentor at Augsburg College MFA

-Gretchen Marquette (May Day)
-Amy Munson (Yes Thorn)
-Sun Yung Shin (Unbearable Splendor)

Young Adult Literature
Moderated by Megan Atwood, Adjunct Creative Writing Instructor at Hamline University

-Sarah Ahiers (Assassin’s Heart)
-Lara Avery (The Memory Book)
-E. Eero Johnson (Original Fake)

Fireside Reading Series: Lara Mimosa Montes, Chris Santiago, Sun Yung Shin

Lara Mimosa Montes, Chris Santiago, Sun Yung Shin

These gifted poets explore language, meaning, and identity in new and compelling ways with their new work. 


 

Sonambulist

Lara Mimosa Montes, The Somnambulist

At once a writer’s memoir, coming-of-age story, family history, and true crime drama, Montes startling and powerful work weaves together multiple stories in fragments to create a compelling picture of a life becoming.

Lara Mimosa Montes is a writer based in New York and Minneapolis. Her work has appeared in Fence, BOMB, Poor Claudia, The Third Rail, Powder Keg, and elsewhere. Lara holds a Ph.D. in English from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She also teaches poetry at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and works as a contributing editor at Triple Canopy. Her first book, The Somnambulist, was recently published by Horse Less Press. She was born in the Bronx.


Tula

Chris Santiago, Tula

Tula: a ruined Toltec capital; a Russian city known for its accordions; Tagalog for “poem.”

Prismatic, startling, rich with meaning yet sparely composed, Chris Santiago’s debut collection of poems begins with one word and transforms it, in a dazzling sleight of hand, into a multivalent symbol for the immigrant experience. Tula: Santiago reveals to readers a distant land devastated by war. Tula: its music beckons in rhythms, time signatures, and lullabies. Tula: can the poem, he seems to ask, build an imaginative bridge back to a family lost to geography, history, and a forgotten language?

Inspired by the experiences of the second-generation immigrant who does not fully acquire the language of his parents, Tula paints the portrait of a mythic homeland that is part ghostly underworld, part unknowable paradise. Language splinters. Impossible islands form an archipelago across its landscape. A mother sings lullabies and a father works the graveyard shift in St. Paul—while in the Philippines, two dissident uncles and a grandfather send messages and telegrams from the afterlife.

Deeply ambitious, a collection that examines the shortcomings and possibilities of both language and poetry themselves, Tula announces the arrival of a major new literary talent.

Chris Santiago was awarded the 2016 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry for his manuscript Tula. His poems, short stories, and criticism have appeared in FIELDPleiades, the Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies, and nominations for Best New Poets and others. Born and raised in the Twin Cities, he received his PhD in the literature and creative writing program at the University of Southern California and is an assistant professor in the English department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.


 

Unbearable Splendor

Sun Yung Shin, Unbearable Splendor

Who is guest, and who is host? Adoption, Antigone, zombies, clones, and minotaurs—all building blocks, forming and reforming our ideas.

In addition to Unbearable Splendor, Sun Yung Shin is the author of poetry collections Rough, and Savage and Skirt Full of Black, which won an Asian American Literary Award. She coedited the anthology Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, and is the author of Cooper’s Lesson, a bilingual Korean/English illustrated book for children. She’s received grants and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and elsewhere. She lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the Perpich Center for the Arts.


 

This program is free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice. For additional information, call The Friends or email friends@thefriends.org. Please note, a wood-burning fire accompanies the program.

About the series >>

Fireside Reading Series: Fred Amram

We're in America NowFred Amram, We’re In America Now: A Survivor’s Stories

These compelling stories form a riveting memoir that begins with the author’s birth during the rise of Hitler in 1930s Germany. He and his surviving family escape to Holland and sail to America where they encounter many challenges as immigrants in a new world. This country truly becomes a land of opportunity where one can build a new life and become more than a “Holocaust survivor.” Midwest Book Review states “We’re In America Now: A Survivor’s Stories is an unforgettable memoir, not only of isolation and genocide during the Holocaust of World War II, but also of hope and commitment to social justice.”

Fred Amram is a professor emeritus in General College at the University of Minnesota. He has been head of the Division of Arts, Communication, and Philosophy, as well as director of academic affairs. He has won the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award and has taught courses in the areas of speech communication and creativity. Professor Amram is an author of books and articles about creativity, invention, robotics, and communication, and curator of several exhibitions displaying the achievements of women inventors. In addition to We’re In America Now, his articles and essays have been published in American Jewish World, Whistling Shade, and more.

Fred Amram is a retired University of Minnesota professor of communication and creativity. He spent his early years in Hanover, Germany, where he experienced the Holocaust from its inception in 1933. In addition to We’re In America Now, his articles and essays have been published in American Jewish World, Whistling Shade, and more.


 

This program is free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice. For additional information, call The Friends or email friends@thefriends.org. Please note, a wood-burning fire accompanies the program.

 

About the series >>

Fireside Reading Series: Larry Millett

Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf EnigmaLarry Millett, Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma

Dogged by depression, doubt, and—as a trip to the Mayo Clinic has revealed—emphysema, 66-year-old Sherlock Holmes is preparing to return to England when he receives a shock: a note slipped under his hotel room door, from a vicious murderer he’d nearly captured in Munich in 1892. The murderer, known as the Monster of Munich, announces that he has relocated to Eisendorf, a tiny village near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. If Holmes is not what he once was, the same can be said for Eisendorf: once a thriving community founded by German idealists but now a dying town with only forty residents—two of whom have, indeed, died recently under highly mysterious circumstances. Replete with all the gothic richness of Millett’s earlier Holmes novels, Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma links events in 1892 Germany with those in small-town Minnesota in 1920 in a double mystery that tests the aging detective’s mettle—and the reader’s nerve—as never before.

Guided by Eisendorf’s peculiar archivist and taunted by the Monster, Holmes finds himself drawn into the town’s dark history of violence and secrecy, and into the strange tunnels that underscore the old flour mill where answers, and grievous danger, lie in wait. No longer the cool, flawless logician of times past, Holmes must nonetheless match wits with a fiendish opponent who taunts him right up to a final, explosive confrontation.

Larry Millett is the author of twenty books, including seven mystery novels—mostly set in Minnesota—featuring Sherlock Holmes and St. Paul detective Shadwell Rafferty. A longtime reporter and architecture critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Millett is also the author of numerous books on architecture, most recently Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury, winner of a 2016 Minnesota Book Award.


 

This program is free and open to the public. Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice. For additional information, call The Friends or email friends@thefriends.org. Please note, a wood-burning fire accompanies the program.

 

About the series >>