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View of the 2010 book fair
The 12th annual Twin Cities Book Festival will be held at the historic Progress Center Building on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Saturday, October 13. Among the new attractions: Free Parking!
Events include a giant book fair featuring displays from publishers and literary agents, readings and panels with world-class authors, a used book sale, and storytelling in a children's pavilion. Plus assorted freebies. All sponsored by Rain Taxi Review of Books. Hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Photo by Arthur Pollock
Author Junot Diaz, pictured here at the living room window of his Cambridge apartment in August, has a special reason to smile today.
Fiction writer Junot Diaz has won one of the "genius" grants awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In addition to considerable prestige, the award means big money: Diaz will be one of 23 honorees to receive $500,000 over five years. Diaz, who teaches writing at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his novel "The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao."
Reached Monday afternoon via email, Diaz said "Hate to sound Hollywood but this one is for my community whose sacrifice and courage made me possible," referring to the Dominican immigrant subculture in which he grew up.
As the opening author for the Star Tribune/ MPR Talking Volumes series last month at the Fitzgerald Theater, Diaz was a smart, lively and salty-tongued guest. His third and latest book is the just-published story collection "This Is How You Lose Her," The MacArthur Foundation's release says he "uses raw, vernacular dialogue and spare, unsentimental prose to draw readers into the various and distinct worlds that immigrants must straddle."
Diaz also loves sci-fi, and recently published a story called "Monstro" in the New Yorker. What will he do with that substantial wad of cash?
"I want to write my monster book," he said. "That's what this fellowship will do."
Read a profile of Diaz here: http://www.startribune.com/a1763 and a review of "This Is How You Lose Her" here: http://www.startribune.com/a1764 Also, video excerpts from his Talking Volumes appearance, with host Kerri Miller of MPR, below:
As marketing gimmicks go, Disney Publishing’s free interactive “Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book” is synergy at its slickest.
Pushing the digital convergence between the media giant and its corporate BFF Apple, the ebook of Tim Burton’s new stop-motion film is available exclusively through the iTunes iBookstore. It can only be viewed using iBooks 2 or later, or an iPad with iOS 5 or later.
Following the Frankenstein-parody plot of a live-action short Burton made in 1984, the new feature concerns a science-minded suburban boy's quest to resurrect his dead dog.
The iBook features storyboards, character sketches, videos, a video interview with Burton and soundtrack samples from longtime collaborator Danny Elfman, Neon Trees, Kimbra and Karen O. The ebook directs readers to the iTunes Store to buy the full soundtrack and score, and enables them to find local theaters where the film will be shown and buy tickets.
“Frankenweenie” opens Oct. 5.
The Printed Matter storefront on 10th Avenue in New York.
Printed Matter is to art and book lovers as an great big indy record store is to music fans. Each tim I visit the nonprofit store's Manhattan location, I always end up browsing much longer than I thought I would. It's a haven for zines, artists books, small-press books, chapbooks, catalogs, obscurities, hard-to-find periodicals and artist-writer collabs. Cool postcards, too.
Walker Art Center and Printed Matter launch a collaboration this week with "Over-Booked." The event brings merch and talks to the art center's shop, as well as related talks and an open house at the Walker's library to showcase it's Rosemary Furtak Collection.
The temporary show opens with a reception from 5-9 p.m. at the Walker's shop, with guests from Printed Matter present and books available for browsing and buying.
James Jenkin, executive director of Printed Matter, talks at 1 p.m. Saturday. The free event is in the Lecture Room.
Also on Saturday, the Walker hosts an open house from 1-3 p.m. in its library, which has a giant collection of modern art books, monographs, catalogs, clippings and periodicals from 1940 to the present.
That afternoon, there is a mini-fair of local indy publishers -- Rain Taxi, Midway Contemporary Art, Sam Hoolihan, OHM Editions, Location Books, Little Brown Mushroom, Katelyn Reece Farstad, Mystery Spot Books -- with books available for purchase.
A panel discussion at 3 p.m. Saturday, also in the Lecture Room, will focus on 21st-century publishing. On hand will be representatives from Twin Cities publishers Coffee House Press and Graywolf Press, Micawber's Books, and writer Brad Zellar.
William Souder at The Loft in Minneapolis Monday night to launch his new book about Rachel Carson.
Fifty years after her famous book "Silent Spring" -- and 48 years after her death from breast cancer at age 56 -- Rachel Carson still sparks controversy.
Minnesota writer William Souder, who has just published his Carson biography, did a call-in show on National Public Radio Monday morning. A caller asked "what do you say about the millions who died in Africa because of Carson's efforts to thwart the fight against malaria?"
Souder, a longtime Twin Cities journalist, talked about Carson at a publication party Monday night for the book, "On A Farther Shore" (Crown).
First of all, he said, the caller's accusation, a long-running one in conservative circles, was false. Carson was careful to say that while she opposed the indiscriminate use and overuse of such pesticides as DDT, she did not favor an all-out ban on chemical pesticides. Further, while the U.S. did ban domestic use of DDT in the 1970s, partly as a result of her research and writing, it did not ban its export, and the pesticide continued to be manufactured outside the United States for decades.
A recent story on Slate by Souder offers a fuller account of this aspect of the Carson story.
At the book launch gathering on Monday, Souder showed slides that revealed how popular and widespread the use of DDT became. Its use in the U.S. peaked in 1959, when 80 million pounds of the chemical was applied, in sprays, fogs, dusts and aerosols. One old photo showed a row of suburban lawns being dusted with DDT as shoolchildren ran behind the truck. A magazine ad of the time called DDT "a benefactor for all humanity."
Carson's "Silent Spring," published in 1962, raised the specter of widespread environmental degradation caused by overuse of DDT. The book had a huge impact. It was excerpted in the New Yorker magazine and became an instant bestseller as a book. Souder called its author "the founder of the modern environmental movement."
Carson, who was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was writing "Silent Spring," died two years after its publication.
"Farther Shore" is Souder's third book. He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in biography for "Under a Wild Sky," his biography of John James Audubon. He also wrote "A Plague of Frogs." He lives in Grant, Minnesota.
Here is the Star Tribune review of "On a Farther Shore."