Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996. She is the author of "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist," winner of a Minnesota Book Award.

Minneapolis writers are finalists for Lambda Award

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book awards, Book news Updated: March 6, 2014 - 3:11 PM

Ellen HartThe Lambda Awards honor the best in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender writing. This year, Minneapolis mystery writer Ellen Hart is among the finalists. (She has won five times before. Root for her anyway!) Memoirist Barrie Jean Borich, recently of Chicago but a longtime Twin Cities writer and teacher at thee Loft, is also a finalist. Also on the list: Twin Cities novelist Edmond Manning's latest romance; a novel published by Minneapolis publisher Scarletta Press, a nonfiction book published by the University of Minnesota Press, and a collection of poetry published by Graywolf Press.

It's a long list, with lots of worthy nominees, and new this year is the category of graphic novels. Winners will be announced in June. Links to Star Tribune reviews, when available.


Nevada, a novel, Imogen Binnie, Topside Press
Tiresias, Devon Llywelyn Jones, Devon Llywelyn Jones
Wanting in Arabic, Trish Salah, TSAR Publications


Corona, Bushra Rehman, Sibling Rivalry Press
Hild: A Novel, Nicola Griffith, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
In His Secret Life, Mel Bossa, Bold Strokes Books
My Education, Susan Choi, Penguin Group/Viking
The Two Hotel Francforts: A Novel, David Leavitt, Bloomsbury


A Visit to Priapus and Other Stories, by Glenway Wescott, Ed. Jerry Rosco, University of Wisconsin Press
An Honest Ghost, Rick Whitaker, Jaded Ibis Press
The City of Devi, Manil Suri, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Damn Love, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Ig Publishing
The Desperates, Greg Kearney, Cormorant Books
Fire Year, Jason K Friedman, Sarabande Books
Local Souls, Allan Gurganus, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Mundo Cruel: Stories, Luis Negron; translated by Suzanne Jill Levine, Seven Stories Press
Necessary Errors, Caleb Crain, Penguin Books
The Red Shoes, John Stewart Wynne, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus


The Albino Album, Chavisa Woods, Seven Stories Press
Bodies of Water, T. Greenwood, Kensington
Cha-Ching!, Ali Liebegott, City Lights
Cream, Christiana Harrell, Createspace
The Daylight Gate, Jeanette Winterson, Grove/Atlantic Inc./Grove Press
Fat Angie, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Candlewick Press
Happiness, Like Water, Chinelo Okparanta, Mariner Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
She Rises: A Novel, Kate Worsley, Bloomsbury
Survival Skills, Jean Ryan, Ashland Creek Press
We Are Water, Wally Lamb, HarperCollins/Harper


The Affairs of Others: A Novel, Amy Grace Loyd, Picador
Descendants of Hagar, Nik Nicholson, AuthorHouse
Golden Boy, Abigail Tarttelin, Simon & Schuster/Atria Books
How to Shake the Other Man, Derek Palacio, Nouvella
In Between, Jane Hoppen, Bold Strokes Books
Inside, Charles L. Ross, Ink Inc.
Jane and the Whales, Andrea Routley, Caitlin Press
My Brother's Name: A Novel, Laura Krughoff, Scarletta / Scarletta Press
Prick Queasy, Ronald Palmer, Publication Studio
The Rest of Us: Stories, Guy Mark Foster, Tincture/Lethe Press


Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter, S. Bear Bergman, Arsenal Pulp Press
The End of San Francisco, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, City Lights Publishers
Testo Junkie, Beatriz Preciado, Feminist Press


The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television, Maria San Filippo, Indiana University Press
Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, Shiri Eisner, Seal Press
The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis, Simon & Schuster


Among the Bloodpeople, Thomas Glave, Akashic Books
Does Jesus Really Love Me?, Jeff Chu, Harper Collins
The End of the Homosexual?, Dennis Altman, University of Queensland Press
Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims, Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle, NYU Press
Meet Grindr: How One App Changed The Way We Connect, Jamie Woo, Self-Published
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants, Phil Tiemeyer, University of California Press
The Queer Limit of Black Memory Black Lesbian Literature and Irresolution, Matt Richardson, The Ohio State University Press
Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II, Daniel Winunwe Rivers, University of North Carolina Press
Tom Bianchi: Fire Island Pines. Polaroids 1975-1983, Ben Smales, Tom Bianchi, Edmund White, Damiani
White Girls, Hilton Als, McSweeney's Publishing
You Can Tell Just By Looking: And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People, Michael Bronski, Ann Pellegrini and Michael Amico, Beacon Press


Alternative Medicine, Rafael Campo, Duke University Press
The Apartment of Tragic Appliances, Michael D. Snediker, Peanut Books (an imprint of punctum books)
Clay, David Groff, Trio House Press
Companion Grasses, Brian Teare, Omnidawn Publishing
Metaphysical Dog, Frank Bidart, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Obscenely Yours, Angelo Nikolopoulos, Alice James Books
Silverchest, Carl Phillips, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Straight Razor, Randall Mann, Persea Books
The Talking Day, Michael Klein, Sibling Rivalry Press
Unpeopled Eden, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Four Way Books


A Wild Surmise: New & Selected Poems & Recordings, Eloise Klein Healy, Red Hen Press
Chopper! Chopper! Poetry From Bordered Lives, Veronica Reyes, Red Hen Press/Arktoi Books
Chord Box, Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers, The University of Arkansas Press
The Collected Poems of Ai, Ai, W.W. Norton & Company
The Exchange, Sophie Cabot Black, Graywolf Press
Proxy, R. Erica Doyle, Belladonna Collaborative
Rise in the Fall, Ana Bozicevic, Birds, LLC
She Has a Name, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Four Way Books
Viral, Suzanne Parker, Alice James Books
We Come Elemental, Tamiko Beyer, Alice James Books


Baton Rouge Bingo, Greg Herren, Bold Strokes Books
Boystown 5: Murder Book, Marshall Thornton, MLR Press
Fierce, David Lennon, Blue Spike Publishing
Foxed, Garry Ryan, NeWest Press
The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari, Sarah Black, Dreamspinner Press
How to Greet Strangers: A Mystery, Joyce Thompson, Lethe Press
In Real Life, The 3rd Gemini & Flowers Mystery, Jonathan Gregory, Amazon Digital Services Inc
Pawn of Satan, Mark Zubro, MLR Press
Pretty Boy Dead, Jon Michaelsen, Wilde City Press
The Prisoner of the Riviera: A Francis Bacon Mystery, Janice Law, Road Media


Cross and Burn, Val McDermid, Grove/Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press
Death of the Demon, Annel Holt, Scribner
High Desert, Katherine V. Forrest, Spinsters Ink
The Killer Wore Leather: A Mystery, Laura Antoniou, Cleis Press
Point of Betrayal, Ann Roberts, Bella Books
The Rainey Season, R.E. Bradshaw, R.E. Bradshaw Books
She Overheard Murder, Jean Sheldon, Wellworth Publishing/Bast Press
Taken by the Wind, Ellen Hart, St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books
Turning on the Tide, Jenna Rae, Bella Books
Web of Obsessions, Diane Wood, Bella Books
The Wild Beasts of Wuhan: An Ava Lee Novel, Ian Hamilton, Picador


A Heaven of Words: Last Journals, by Glenway Wescott, Ed. Jerry Rosco, University of Wisconsin Press
The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience, Perry N. Halkitis, Oxford University Press
American Hipster: A Life of Herbert Huncke, The Times Square Hustler Who Inspired the Beat Movement, Hillary Holladay, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography, Richard Rodriguez, Penguin Group/Viking
Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns, David Margolick, Other Press
Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, Alysia Abbott, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Farther and Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson, Blake Bailey, Alfred A. Knopf
Henry Darger, Throwaway Boy: The Tragic Life of an Outsider Artist, Jim Elledge, Overlook Duckworth
In Bed With Gore Vidal, Tim Teeman, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
Returning to Reims, Didier Eribon, Semiotext(e)

Barrie Jean Borich.

Barrie Jean Borich.

Barrie Jean Borich.

Barrie Jean Borich.

Barrie Jean Borich.


Body Geographic, Barrie Jean Borich, University of Nebraska Press
Growing up Golem, Donna Minkowitz, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
How Poetry Saved My Life, Amber Dawn, Arsenal Pulp Press
L Is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir, Annie Rachel Lanzillotto, SUNY Press, Excelsior Editions
Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology, Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton, Bloomsbury


Covet Thy Neighbor, L. A. Witt, Riptide Publishing
Glitterland, Alexis Hall, Riptide Publishing
Into This River I Drown, TJ Klune, Dreamspinner Press
King Mai, Edmond Manning, Pickwick Ink Publishing
My Dear Watson, L.A. Fields, Lethe Press
Pickup Men, L.C. Chase, Riptide Publishing
Play Me, I'm Yours, Madison Parker, Harmony Ink Press
Rocky's Road, Lynley Wayne, MLR Press
Unbroken, Larry Benjamin, Beaten Track Publishing
Where You Are, J.H. Trumble, Kensington


All That Lies Within, Lynn Ames, Phoenix Rising Press
At Seventeen, Gerri Hill, Bella Books
Broken Trails, D Jordan Redhawk, Bella Books
Clean Slate, Andrea Bramhall, Bold Strokes Books
Date with Destiny, Mason Dixon, Bold Strokes Books
Hold Me Forever, D. Jackson Leigh, Bold Strokes Books
Hoosier Daddy, Ann McMan, Salem West, Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company/Nuance
Last Salute, Tracey Richardson, Bella Books
Love by the Numbers, Karin Kallmaker, Bella Books
The Prince ss Affair, Nell Stark, Bold Strokes Books


Capture & Surrender, Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing
The Padisah's Son and the Fox: an erotic novella, Alex Jeffers, Lethe Press
Sensual Travels: Gay Erotic Stories, Michael Luongo (Ed.), Bruno Gmuender
Show-Offs: Gay Erotic Stories, Ed. Richard Labonte, Cleis Press
Team Players: Gay Erotic Stories, Winston Gieseke (Ed.), Bruno Gmuender


At Her Feet, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Bold Strokes Books
Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, Kathleen Warnock, Ed., Cleis Press
Wild Girls Wild Nights: True Lesbian Sex Stories, Ed. Sacchi Green, Cleis Press


An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk's Speeches and Writings, Harvey Milk, Jason Edward Black, Charles E. Morris, University of California Press
The Feminist Porn Book, Tristan Taormino, Constance Penley, Celine Parrenas Shimizu & Mireille Miller-Young, Feminist Press
Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology of Spoken Word and Poetry, Editors: Brittany Fonte and Regie Cabico, Lowbrow Press
Ghosts in Gaslight. Monsters in Steam. Gay City: Volume 5, Evan J Peterson & Vincent Kovar, Gay City Anthologies
Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba, MaThoko's Books
Queer in Aztlan: Chicano Male Recollentions of Consciousness and Coming Out, Ed. Adelaida R. Del Castillo and Gibran Guido, Cognella Academic Publishing
This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching, Megan Volpert, Sibling Rivalry Press
Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, T.C. Tolbert and Tim Trace Peterson, Nightboat Books
What I LOVE about being QUEER, Vivek Shraya, George Brown College
Who's Yer Daddy?: Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners, Eds. Jim Elledge and David Groff, The University of Wisconsin Press


Better Nate Than Ever, Tim Federle, Simon & Schuster, Inc./ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Boy In Box, Christopher R. Michael, Hubbub Publishing
Girls I've Run Away With, Rhiannon Argo, Moonshine Press
If You Could Be Mine, Sara Farizan, Algonquin Books
Openly Straight, Bill Konigsberg, Arthur A. Levine Books
Rapture Practice, Aaron Hartzler, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Secret City, Julia Watts, Bella Books
The Secret Ingredient, Stewart Lewis- Author, Rebecca Short-Editor, Delacorte Press (Penguin/Random House)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Arthur A. Levine Books
Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
What Makes a Baby, Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth, Seven Stories Press/Triangle Square


Las Hociconas: Three Locas with Big Mouths and Even Bigger Brains, Adelina Anthony, Korima Press
sash & trim and other plays, Djola Branner, RedBone Press
Tom at the Farm, Michel Marc Bouchard, Talonbooks


Artifice, Alex Woolfson (author), Winona Nelson (Illustrator), AMW Comics
Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir, Nicole J. Georges, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Duck! Second Chances, Tana Ford, Bang A Left
The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker, Steve Dutro, M Press


Collaborators, Deborah Wheeler, Dragon Moon Press
Death by Silver, Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold, Lethe Press
Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy, Alex Jeffers, Lethe Press
Dragon Slayer, Isabella Carter, Less Than Three Press
Dust Devil on a Quiet Street, Richard Bowes, Lethe Press
Hell's Belle, Marie Castle, Bella Books
Invisible Soft Return :\, Roberta Degnore, Digital Fabulists
Light, Nathan Burgoryne, Bold Strokes Books
Like Light for Flies, Lee Thomas, Lethe Press
The Stars Change, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Circlet Press, Inc.


Butch Queens Up in Pumps Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit, Marlon M. Bailey, University of Michigan Press
Feeling Women's Liberation, Victoria Hesford, Duke University Press
Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America, Colin R. Johnson, Temple University Press
Love and Money: Queers, Class, and Cultural Production, Lisa Henderson, NYU Press
Oye Loca: From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Cuban Miami, Susana Pena, University of Minnesota Press
Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Duke University Press
Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence, Christina B. Hanhardt, Duke University Press
Shanghai Lalas, Lucetta Yip Lo Kam, Hong Kong University Press
Tomorrow's Parties: Sex and the Untimely, Peter M. Coviello, NYU Press
Transforming Citizenships: Transgender Articulations of the Law, Isaac West, NYU Press

PEN Faulkner finalists announced, and Graywolf is in the running

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book awards, Book news, Graywolf Press Updated: March 5, 2014 - 10:07 AM

The list of finalists for the PEN/Faulkner fiction award was announced this morning in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced April 2, with an awards ceremony in May at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Here's the list with links, when available, to Star Tribune reviews:

Daniel Alarcon, "At Night We Walk in Circles," published by Riverhead Books.

Percival Everett, "Percival Everett by Virgil Russell," published by Graywolf Press.

Karen Joy Fowler, "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," published by Putnam.

Joan Silber, "Fools," published by W.W. Norton.

Valerie Trueblood, "Search Party:  Stories of Rescue," published by Counterpoint Press.

This year's judges were Madison Smartt Bell, Manuel Munoz, and Achy Obejas.

The annual PEN/Faulkner award for fiction honors the best published works of fiction by an American author.

Hudson bookstore to close on Friday -- and reopen in new location next week

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book news, Book stores Updated: February 27, 2014 - 12:46 PM

They'll be working all weekend, shlepping books out the door, up the street and around the corner, but Brian and Sue Roegge will be happy to do so. The owners of the three-year-old Chapter2 Books in Hudson, Wis., had lost their lease and up until two days ago had figured their indie bookstore was going to have to close. They'd been looking for a new space in Hudson's little riverfront downtown, but with no luck.

On Tuesday, their luck turned. They have signed a lease with a landlord in the Star Observer building, next floor to a flower shop and a chocolate shop. (That side of the street must be very busy on Valentine's Day, and Mother's Day, and Christmas.)

The new spot is what you might call "garden level"--it's down six steps-- but "it is a spacious 1,250 square feet with great lighting," Sue Roegge said, and it has big windows.

So on Friday night, the store will close for the last time in its current location, and the plan is to be up and running again by early next week in the new place. Sue Roegge suggested that interested customers might call the store at 1-715-220-8818 for updates. 

And that's not the Roegges' only bit of good news: On Tuesday a publicist for Candlewick Press called the store, asking if they would be interested in hosting Minneapolis author Kate DiCamillo in May. It would be DiCamillo's first trip to Chapter2.

Interested? "I am bursting with excitment right now," Sue Roegge said. "I can't believe what a change from a few weeks ago."

The new store will be at 226 Locust Street, Suite 3, Hudson, Wis.

Spring literary events sprouting like dandelions

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Author events, Competitions, Poetry, Readings Updated: February 25, 2014 - 5:12 PM

It's cold outside but it's warm inside--inside bookstores and colleges, libraries and coffee shops and performance spaces, and if you can make it out of your alley and not spin out at those icy intersections you might want to check out some of these spring literary events coming up in the Twin Cities. And yes, I am using the word "spring" very loosely. And yes, I am bitter.

The list is long and I am not pretending to be comprehensive. Please feel free to add any missing events in the comments, so send me an email and I'll update this. Events are free unless otherwise noted. Here goes:

Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore








Talk of the Stacks with Lorrie Moore: 7 p.m. March 7, Central Library, Nicollet Mall

You know the drill--doors open at 6:15 and people start lining up ahead of time. Get there early. Some late arrivals might have to go into an overflow room, which was the case when Amy Tan spoke here last fall. The hour-long reading/q&a will be followed by a reception and booksigning.

Club Book with P.S. Duffy, 7 p.m. March 11, Merriam Park Library, St. Paul

P.S. Duffy, who lives in Rochester, is the author of "The Cartographer of No-Man's Land."

Birchbark Books Reading Series: 7 p.m. March 12, Bockley Gallery, Minneapolis

William Bearhart, Sun Yung Shin, Cole Bauer, and Margaret Hasse will read their poetry.

Poetry Out Loud State Competition: 11:30 a.m. March 13, Pohlad Hall, Central Library, Minneapolis

One high school from this competition will go on to represent Minnesota at the national finals in Washington, D.C., in April. Yes, poetry is a competitive sport! (Shouldn't it have letter jackets? With lots of letters?)

University of Minnesota "First Books": 7 p.m. March 13, Weisman Art Museum

This is a spring tradition at the U, a reading by new authors. This year, the three authors--all of nonfiction--will be in conversation with Chris Fischbach, publisher of Coffee House Press (which published two of the books).

Authors are: Kate Hopper ("Ready for Air," University of Minnesota Press), Andy Sturdevant ("Potluck Supper with Meeting to  Folow"), and Joshua Ostergaard ("The Devil's Snake Curve: A Fan's Notes from Left Field").

Minnesota Book Awards Nominee Readings: 7 p.m. March 14, The Loft, Minneapolis

This is always a fun event, with most of the 30 or so finalists for the Minnesota Book Award reading from their nominated works.

Benjamin Percy

Benjamin Percy







Normandale Community College Writing Festival: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., March 19

This is the fifth annual festival, which is free and open to the public. Keynote speeches will be by Sarah Stonich ("Vacationland") and Benjamin Percy ("Red Moon"). Other speakers include Swati Avasthi and Ed Bok Lee.

Club Book with Nikki Giovanni and Dave Zirin, 7 p.m. March 19, Southdale Library, Edina

Dave Zirin is a sportwriter and the author of "Game Over: How Politics Have Turned the Sports World Upside Down." Nikki Giovanni is, of course, a poet, winner of an American Book Award.

North Hennepiin Community College Meet the Authors Reading Series, March 20 and April 21

I'm sorry that you've already missed the first two in the series--Kao Kalia Yang and Matt Rasmussen. But YA author Pete Hautman will read at 11:30 a.m. March 20, and Heid Erdrich will read at 10 a.m. April 21.

Echoes Across the Pond--Voices Irish & American: 7 p.m. March 26, The Loft at Open Book

Poets Joyce Sutphen, Tim Nolan, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Anne-Marie Fyfe, and C.L. Dallat.

Cracked Walnut Reading Festival: April 2-May 1, various spots around the Twin Cities and Duluth

The second annual spring series from this group will hold readings at coffee shops, community centers, and other neighborhood locations for most of April. The list of readers is long (and full disclosure, I will be one of them), and is still in the works, but it includes Margaret Haase, Mona Susan Power, Ryan Vine, Pam Schmid, and Anika Fajardo.

Talk of the Stacks with Ron Padgett: 7 p.m. April 3, Central Library, Mpls.

Poet Ron Padgett, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry and also an editor and translator, has published his collected works this year with Coffee House Press.

Minnesota Book Awards Gala: 7 p.m. April 5, The Historic Union Depot, St. Paul

The glittering event of the season. Dress up (in black, of course, and maybe a hat with a jaunty feather? Or some jet beads? Go nuts), enjoy some jazz, have a glass of wine, and find out who wins the trophies this year. Tickets are $45 and you can register online here.

Club Book with Brian Freeman: 7 p.m. April 7, Rum River Library, Anoka

Minnesota writer Brian Freeman is the best-selling author of the Jonathan Stride mysteries.

David Mitchell.

David Mitchell.







David Mitchell: 7:30 p.m. April 9, Northrop Auditorium, University of Minnesota

Part of the notable Esther Freier Endowed Lectures, a continuing series that brings in significant authors to speak at a free event. Mitchell will discuss "Cloud Atlas," and will give a few peeks into his sixth novel, "The Bone Clocks," to be published in September. These lectures tend to fill up fast; go early.

Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry: 7 p.m. April 11, University of St. Thomas

This year's winner is Irish poet Catherine Phill MacCarthy, from Dublin. Go for the accent, stay for the poetry.

Club Book with Peter Geye and Amy Greene: 7 p.m. April 15, Roseville Library

Geye, who lives in Minneapolis, is the author of "Safe from the Sea" and "The Lighthouse Road," chosen as a 2014 World Book Night selection. Greene, a novelist, is the author of "Long Man," published this month by Alfred A. Knopf.

Poetry readings: 7 p.m. April 22, the Loft at Open Book, Minneapolis

Kate Green, Jane Yolen and Susan Deborah King read from their new books.

World Book Night: April 23, all day long, everywhere

This will be the third year for World Book Night in the United States (it's been going on longer in the UK), a day (and night) during which volunteers hand out free paperback copies of selected books to random folks. This year's titles includes books by Minnesota writers Garrison Keillor, Peter Geye, Eleanor Brown, and Cheryl Strayed. Try to hang out in a place where you think a giver might happen by. Good luck nabbing a free book.

Club Book with Amanda Coplin: 7 p.m. April 24, Stillwater Public Library

Amanda Coplin, who earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota, is the author of the highly acclaimed novel, "The Orchardist."

PenPals Lecture Series with Art Spiegelman: 7:30 p.m. April 24 and 11 a.m. April 25, Hopkins Arts Center

Artist and illustrator Art Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, "Maus," an illustrated history of the Holocaust (told by a mouse). Tickets are $50-40 and available here.

The Great Twin Cities Poetry Read: 7 p.m. April 26, Augsburg College, Minneapolis

Thirty poets will each read one poem. Names? Here's all thirty, in groups of five:

William Waltz, Elisabeth Workman, Sarah Fox, Christopher Bolin, Chay Douangphouxay.

Katrina Vandenberg, Kate Shuknecht, Patrick Werle, Jessica Welu, Heid Erdrich.

Paula Cisewski, Chris Martin, Dobby Gibson, Angela Mason, Jenny McDougal

Patricia Kirkpatrick, Dessa, Mary Austin Speaker, Sun Yung Shin, Kate Green

Betsy Brown, Kavi Jointe, Seth Abramson, Matt Mauch, Brad Liening

Steve Healey, Matt Rasmussen, MC Hyland, Emily Fedoruk, Tai Coleman

Children's and Young Adult Literature Conference: April 25-27, the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis. 

Register online here for the conference, which will feature workshops, lectures and panel discussions with Anne Ursu, Pete Hautman, Brian Ferrey-Latz, Molly Beth Griffin, and many others.

Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith







PenPal Lecture Series with Tracy K. Smith: 7:30 p.m. May 8 and 11 a.m. May 9, Hopkins Center for the Arts

Tracy K. Smith's "Life on Mars," published by Graywolf Press, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. Tickets are $50-40 and are available here.

Talk of the Stacks with Francine Prose: 7 p.m. May 12, Central Library, Minneapolis

Francine Prose is a novelist and essayist; her new book, "Lovers at the Chameleon Club," will be published March 1.

And let's not forget all of the authors who will be coming through your neighborhood bookstores--Common Good Books, Once Upon a Crime, the various Barnes and Nobles, Magers & Quinn, Chapter 2, Valley Booksellers, Excelsior Bay, SubText, the Bookcase of Wayzata, Micawber's, Wild Rumpus, Red Balloon: check their websites for events.

And by the time you've gone to all of this events, it really and truly will be spring. 

Tired of winter? Check out these 5 books set in the spring

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book news Updated: February 20, 2014 - 11:38 AM
Ratty and Mole. Original illustration by Ernest H. Shepard

Ratty and Mole. Original illustration by Ernest H. Shepard

Spring in fiction, as well as in real life, means all kinds of lovely things: hope and renewal and rebirth and a new beginning and second chances (or third). Right now we are waiting for the latest blizzard to blow in, and next week and maybe the week after that we'll be back in the clutches of the Polar Vortex (and can't you just picture him, with his long icy fingers and his flowing gray robe..). But spring will come, eventually, as it did last year (though not until late May, I admit), and as it does every year.

In the meantime, here are five books set in the springtime, or about springtime, or otherwise redolent of new grass and sunshine and baby animals.

"Onward and Upward in the Garden," by Katherine A. White. White was the New Yorker's fiction editor, and also an inveterate gardener. In the late 1950s and through the 1960s, she wrote a series of pieces about gardening for that magazine--elegant, thoughtful pieces, collected and published as a book after her death by her husband, E.B. White.

"The Beginning of Spring," by Penelope Fitzgerald. Talk about new beginnings.... In this novel by the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist, a wife leaves her husband behind in Russia on the eve of revolution, where he cares for the children, lusts after the housemaid, and contemplates revolution.

"The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone," by Tennessee Williams. The story of an aging actress who heads to Rome to, well, feel young again. The young gigolo she meets says, "I'll help." Because it's Tennessee Williams, you know nothing can possibly go wrong. (You could also just watch the movie.)

"The Wind in the Willows," by Kenneth Graham. Remember how it begins? With Mole fed up with spring cleaning? That opening, with Mole throwing down his whitewash brush and scrabbling and scrooging out of his hole and the popping out into a place of sunlight and warm grass.... Oh, it could make you weep. And then there are picnics, and those lovely picnic baskets, motor-car rides, and more picnics, and simply messing about in boats...

"Make Way for the Ducklings," by Robert McCloskey. Because nothing says spring like waddling, chirping baby ducks. And oh I cannot wait!



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