38 Snelling Ave S, St. Paul, MN 55105 • 651-225-8989
the ncb newsletter
EST. 2006 .. St. Paul, Minnesota .. “Veni Sedi Legi”
M A R C H . 2 5 , . 2 0 2 4
Howdy, readers! I hope everyone had a good St. Patrick's Day, and that you're all cozied up fire-side with a nice book as I write this (during the customary early spring snowstorm).

This week, we have several upcoming events with Minnesotan authors to get excited about, including readings next month with Leif Enger and Fredrick Soukup, and new releases from Amor Towles, Maggie Nelson, Ada Limon, and Hanif Abduraqib...

All that and more, in this edition of the NCF Newsletter!
Local Author Events
Springing Up All April!
It's been an eventful (and event-full) winter for us here at Next Chapter, with plenty of poetry readings and scintillating conversations taking place in the store! You can find signed copies of the books from these events on our new 'Recent & Upcoming Events' table pictured above, which you can find next to the Local Interest shelf. Now that spring has arrived, we'd like to spotlight the slate of exciting events we have planned for April, which include a plethora of local authors!

Today, in fact, we've got Lois Quam discussing Who Runs the World?, and on Wednesday we have legendary baker-poet Klecko in conversation with columnist and editor Mary Ann Grossman! Next week, we've got Roger Barr discussing his work of historical true crime, A Murder on the Hill. In addition to the above links, you can read more about these events in the 'Upcoming Events' section below.

But if I've done my job, you already knew about those ones and we'll be seeing you there! So now I'd like to announce some new and exciting spring events that are a little further out.
First, on April 19th, Next Chapter is hosting the release of local novelist Fredrick Soukup latest book Ashes, Ashes! His previous novels include Bliss, which was a 2021 Minnesota Book Award Finalist, and Blood Up North, which won the 2022 NYC Big Book Award for Literary Fiction. We hosted release parties for both of those, and they're always a great time, full of food and friends and family.

His latest, Ashes, Ashes, is a Minnesota-set literary mystery drawing from the author's own childhood experiences. Our protagonist Dorian is white-knuckle sober, carving out a life for himself in the Northwoods, all thanks to Miss Bonnie, foster mother to him and many others. Painful memories of his childhood have kept him from returning to thank her, but after learning of her sudden passing, he resolves to pay his respects. But what he discovers back home alters the course of his life forever. Ashes, Ashes lays bare the struggle foster children face in their pursuit of identity, belonging, and love, all amidst a heartbreaking murder mystery. Joins us Friday, April 19th at 6pm to get a signed copy of this exciting new novel!
Next, on April 24th, we'll be hosting acclaimed Minnesotan novelist Leif Enger! Enger grew up in Osakis, Minnesota, and worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio before writing his bestselling debut Peace Like a River, which won the Booksense Award for Fiction. His second novel, So Brave, Young, and Handsome, was a Midwest Booksellers Honor Book, while Virgil Wander was named a year's best book of the by Library Journal, Bookpage, and Chicago Public Library. He lives with his wife in Duluth.

In Enger's mythic latest novel, I Cheerfully Refuse a bereaved and pursued musician sails a sentient Lake Superior in search of his departed wife. Fleeing a lawless society, crumbled infrastructure, and a malignant billionaire ruling class, Orphean narrator Rainy seeks refuge in the harbors, fogs, and islands of the inland sea. Amidst the challenges of life on the lake, he is lifted by surprising humor, generous strangers, and an unexpected companion. And as his guileless nature begins to make a rebel of him, Rainy’s quest for the love of his life grows into something wider and wilder, sweeping up friends and foes alike in his strengthening wake. I Cheerfully Refuse is out next Tuesday, the 2nd, but you can preorder now in advance of the reading and signing, which will be Wednesday the 24th at 6pm.
Finally, Saturday, April 27th is Independent Bookstore Day!! We don't have much to say yet except "Save the date!" But in the coming weeks we'll tell you all about the special guests, books, goodies, and gifts we have planned. That said, you can safely expect limited-edition tote-bags and Blackwing pencils, as well as the Twin Cities IBD Passport and Roadmap, to make a return. We'll see you there, on the last Saturday in April!
Next Chapter Is Hiring!
Next Chapter Booksellers is looking for a part-time bookseller to work weekends. Interested parties should send a resume and cover letter to info@nextchapterbooksellers.com.
Benefits include: too many ARCs.
New Books
In Fiction

Table For Two — Amor Towles

This collection of Amor Towles's shorter fiction includes six stories based in New York City, and a novella set in Golden Age Hollywood! The New York stories, set around the year 2000, consider the fateful consequences that can spring from brief encounters and the delicate mechanics of compromise that operate at the heart of modern marriages. The novella "Eve in Hollywood" follows Evelyn Ross, picking up where Rules of Civility left off. Through seven points of view, we see Eve craft a new future for herself—and others—in a noirish tale that takes us through the movie sets, bungalows, and dive bars of 1938 Los Angeles. Written with his signature wit and sophistication, Table for Two is a glittering addition to Towles’s canon of stylish and transporting fiction.
In Poetry

You Are Here: Poetry In the Natural World — Ada Limón, ed.

Edited and introduced by the twenty-fourth Poet Laureate of the United States, Ada Limón, this book challenges what we think we know about "nature poetry," illuminating how our landscapes--both literal and literary--are changing. You Are Here features fifty new poems by poets such as Joy Harjo, Diane Seuss, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Jericho Brown, and more. Each poem engages with its author's local landscape, offering an intimate model of how we relate to the world around us and a beautifully diverse range of voices from across the United States. Joyful and provocative, wondrous and urgent, this singular collection of poems offers a lyrical reimagining of what "nature" and "poetry" are today.
In Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Annie Bot — Sierra Greer

Such an astonishing debut. The book's central relationship, the keyhole through which we see its world, presents such a believable, nuanced depiction of sex and femininity under patriarchy that I felt I (or someone smarter than I) could write an essay about every page. And many of them would boil down to this: even an AI designed to be the perfect woman can't win, because the expectations we set for women are self-defeating. So what's a sex-bot to do? I won't spoil it, but but the ending is beautiful and immensely satisfying.
In Romance

Just For the Summer — Abby Jimenez

Justin has a curse: every woman he dates goes finds her soulmate the second they break up. When Emma slides into his DMs with the same problem, they hatch a plan: date each other, break up, and both go on to find the loves of their lives. Emma hadn't planned on moving to Minnesota, but Justin is too good an opportunity to pass up, especially when they get to rent a cottage on Lake Minnetonka. It's supposed to be a quick fling, but when Emma's toxic mother shows up and Justin assumes guardianship of his three siblings, they're suddenly navigating a lot more than they expected--including catching real feelings for each other. What if this time fate has actually brought the perfect pair together?
In Essays

There's Always This Year — Hanif Abduraqib

Growing up in Columbus in the 1990s, Hanif Abdurraqib witnessed a golden era of basketball. His lifelong love of the game leads him into a lyrical, historical, and emotionally rich exploration of what it means to make it, who we think deserves success, and the very notion of role models, all woven together with intimate, personal storytelling. There’s Always This Year is a triumph, brimming with joy, pain, solidarity, comfort, outrage, and hope. No matter the subject of his keen focus, Abdurraqib’s writing is always poetry, always profound, and always a clarion call to reimagine how we think about our culture, our country, and ourselves.

Like Love — Maggie Nelson

Like Love is a momentous collection of essays drawn from twenty years of Nelson’s brilliant work. These profiles, reviews, tributes, and conversations bring to life Nelson’s passion for dialogue and dissent. The range of subjects is wide, but certain themes recur: intergenerational exchange; love and friendship; feminist and queer issues as they shift over time; and the fruits and follies of a life spent devoted to making. Arranged chronologically, Like Love shows the writing, thinking, feeling, reading, looking, and conversing that occupied Nelson while writing iconic books such as Bluets and The Argonauts. As such, it is a portrait of a time, a window into Nelson’s development, and a testament to the profound sustenance offered by art and artists.
In Nature

H is For Hope — Elizabeth Kolbert & Wesley Allsbrook

Climate change resists narrative—and yet some account is needed. Millions of lives are at stake, and upward of a million species. In H Is for Hope, Elizabeth Kolbert investigates the landscape of climate change—from “A”, for Svante Arrhenius, creator of the first climate model in 1894, to “Z”, for the Colorado River Basin, ground zero for climate change in the United States. Along the way she looks at Greta Thunburg’s “blah blah blah” speech (“B”), learns to fly an all-electric plane (“E”), and struggles with the deep uncertainty of the future of climate change (“U”). Adapted from essays originally published in The New Yorker and beautifully illustrated by Wesley Allsbrook, H Is for Hope is simultaneously inspiring, alarming, and darkly humorous—a unique examination of our changing world.
News In Photos
The year is 2004. Your mom just got off the phone and the landline is free for you to dial up and log in to Neopets-dot-com so you can check on your Shoyru, Sasuke. If only you could see what the next twenty years will hold. What depredations might you circumvent? What vicissitudes might you better weather, knowing they are coming? If only you had... The Official Neopets Tarot Deck.
If you preordered local author / Minnesota State University professor Eric Sprankle's new book DIY: The Wonderfully Weird History and Science of Masturbation, your book is now in the mail. (And wow, there are a lot of you. We spent all day last Monday processing and packaging these!) If you didn't order one, we still have signed copies -- find them on our 'Love & Loving' table, or on our website here.
"Previously on... NCB Manga Club": You can now see our Manga Club's previous books all in one place. If you want to read a diverse selection of the best stories manga has to offer, this is the place to start! Find this section on the top shelf of our manga bay, or here on our website.
As the birds return to the branches, so too does Aries return to our rotating zodiac display! Check out all the amazing authors born under the Sign of the Ram, including Flannery O'Connor, Barbara Kingsolver, and the Cities' own Kate DiCamillo! Aries is the best sign, hands down. Incidentally, I am getting old.
Now In Paperback

As always, our newsletter can't fit everything, so check out the other new arrivals and recent bestsellers on our website!
Upcoming Events
Lois Quam — Who Runs the World?
TODAY (Monday, March 25th) at 6:00pm

Who Runs The World? Unlocking the Talent and Inventiveness of the Women Everywhere offers personal reflections to demonstrate that unlocking the talent of the world’s women is the key for global progress in the 21st century. One of FORTUNE’s most influential women leaders in business, Lois Quam is a leader in the corporate, government, and civil sectors. At Pathfinder, Lois and her colleagues provide global leadership demonstrating the vital role women play in addressing the central challenges of our day. Prior to joining Pathfinder, she served as leader of President Obama's Global Health Initiative, addressing the biggest health challenges across over eighty countries. In the corporate sector, she was the founding CEO of a division of UnitedHealth Group. A Rhodes Scholar from Minnesota, Quam has degrees from Oxford and Macalester.
Klecko (A Bakeable Feast)
In Conversation With Mary Ann Grossmann
Wednesday, March 27th at 6:00pm

A Bakeable Feast is a memoir of 45 years as a baker, poet, emcee, and observer of a host of coworkers and colleagues from across the globe. Each 'Baking Memory' is a page in length and tells the stories of individuals who have populated the bread crew over the years, varying from sweet to ribald, funny to tragic, and everything in between. In the tradition of Kitchen Confidential, A Bakeable Feast takes the reader beyond the quest for our daily bread and honors the people met along the way. Klecko is a master bread baker, a Midwest Book Award winner, and the author of six books. He hosts the F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Series for the St. Paul Public Library, which will launch its second season in April. He is also a regular contributor to Metropolitan Diary in the New York Times.

Mary Ann Grossmann joined the Dispatch-Pioneer Press in 1961. She has been a fashion writer, a women's columnist and the women's department editor who brought "society" pages into the 20th century. She was named book editor in 1983, just when the local literary community exploded. She has won the Minnesota Book Awards Kay Sexton Award, a Page One Award, and YWCA Leader Lunch Award. She retired in 2001 and works part time. A graduate of Macalester College, she lives in St. Paul.
Roger Barr — A Murder On the Hill
Thursday, April 4th at 6:00pm

On December 9, 1937, St. Paul firefighters discovered the burned body of waitress Ruth Munson. As detectives searched for clues to Ruth's killer, they uncovered hints of her secret, double life, which included culturally taboo connections with Black men. Now, using police records, reportage, and Ruth’s own diary, Roger Barr provides a meticulous examination of the missed opportunities, secrets, and racism that hampered the investigation. Rich in period detail and fascinating anecdotes, A Murder on the Hill offers both a high-profile procedural and a remarkable view of a racially and economically divided time in a Depression-ridden city. Roger Barr is a writer and writing teacher living in St. Paul. He is the author of ten published books, more than thirty published short stories, an award-winning play, and newspaper and magazine articles. His short story "Forgiveness" was a finalist in Narrative's 2020 Winter Short Story Contest.
See the calendar on our website for more!
Book Clubs & Recurring Events
Book club titles are 15% off through the date of the meeting!
Manga Club: the gods lie.
Saturday, April 13 at 5:00pm

Come to Next Chapter Fishsellers at 5pm on the second Saturday of every month to eat some unagi and talk manga with other otaku! Hosted by our resident manga expert Graham, the Manga Club (マンガクラブ, lit. manga kurabu) provides a forum to casually discuss a new title every month -- no RSVP required. For our April meeting, we'll be reading Kaori Ozaki's the gods lie., a coming-of-age one-shot about family, secrets, and youthful yearning. Natsuru, a 6th grader who lives alone with his mother, strikes up an unlikely friendship with the reserved and driven Rio. Natsuru plays hooky from soccer camp that summer, spending all his time with Rio and her kid brother at their rickety house, where a dark secret threatens to upend their fragile happiness.
Enemies To Readers: A Promise of Fire 
Thursday, March 28th at 5:00pm

Whether or not you are already in love with romance novels, or are seeking a new relationship with the genre, Enemies to Readers invites you to join us every last Thursday at 5pm to discuss the latest read, as well as our continuing passion for tropes and spicy reads. Our March pick is A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet -- this will be the club's first romantasy! Cat Fisa is perfectly content living disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus, avoiding the destiny the Gods--and her dangerous family--have saddled her with. She won't be a pawn in anyone's game. But then she is kidnapped by the ambitious warlord Griffin, and her illusion of safety is shattered. Griffin wants Cat to be a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm, but Cat fights him at every turn, showing a ferocity of spirit that leaves him desperate for more. Can he ever hope to prove to her that he wants her by his side as his equal... and maybe someday, his Queen?
First Chapter Story Time
Every Saturday at 10:30am

Join us for First Chapter Story Time every Saturday at 10:30am, when Michael or a special guest reader will share a couple favorite picture books from our children’s section, followed by an activity related to the story! Children of all ages are invited. Enjoy a story, browse our books, and instill a love of reading in your tykes!

Coming up on 3/30, we'll be reading Vlad, the Fabulous Vampire by Flavia Z. Drago and Oh, Olive! by Lian Cho.
Literary Bridges 
Sunday, April 7th at 2:00pm

April is the first full month of spring and a time of renewal. Why not join us and be revived by these marvelous writers:

  • Carolyn Holbrook is a writer, educator, and advocate for the healing power of the arts. Her memoir, Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify, won the 2021 Minnesota Book Award for memoir and nonfiction. She is co-editor with David Mura of the anthology We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World, and co-author with Josie Johnson and Arleta Little, of Hope in the Struggle. She teaches at The Loft, Hamline University, and other venues.
  • Roy G. Guzmán (they/them) is a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts fellow and a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry fellow. Their debut collection, Catrachos, was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry.
  • Beth Spencer has been published in Wisconsin Review, Rag Mag, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, and Carve Magazine. Her first book is C- in Conduct.
  • Khary Jackson is a writer, dancer and musician. Khary has been a recipient of the 2019 Jerome Artist Fellowship and 2022 McKnight Fellowship in Writing. Khary's poetry book is Any Psalm You Want.
From Our Shelves
Staff Pick Spotlight:
Griffin & Sabine An Extraordinary Correspondence — Nick Bantock

"This epistolary novel is so stunning and unique -- complete with an interactive component. This book will always hold a special place in my heart!"
Featured Excerpt:

"Social justice is the essential antidote to otherwise depoliticized stratifications, exclusions, abjections, and inequalities attending liberal privatism in capitalist orders and is itself a modest rejoinder to the impossibility of direct democracy in large nation-states or their post-national successors, such as the European Union. More than an ideological persuasion, social justice--modulation of the powers of capitalism, colonialism, race, gender, and others--is all that stands between sustaining the (always unfulfilled) promise of democracy and wholesale abandonment of that promise. The social is where we are more than private individuals or families, more than economic producers, consumers, or investors, and more than mere members of the nation.

Tellingly, the existence of society and the idea of the social--its intelligibility, its harboring of stratifying powers, and above all, its appropriateness as a site of justice and commonweal--is precisely what neoliberalism set out to destroy conceptually, normatively, and practically."

-Wendy Brown, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism:
The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West
We Are Open!

Three ways to shop with Next Chapter Booksellers:

1. Come in the store and browse. Talk to a bookseller or peruse the shelves, as you prefer.

2. Order online or over the phone (at 651-225-8989) for in-store pickup. We'll let you know when your books are ready, then you can swing by and pick them up at your leisure.

3. We can mail your books (at no additional charge for orders over $75). This option is available for web, phone, or in-store orders.

We're here 10am to 5pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 5pm on Sunday.
Thanks for reading
all the way to the end.

As always, we've got lots more great books in the store. Come in and ask us for a recommendation, or tell us what you're reading right now!

See you in the stacks!

Graham (and all of us at Next Chapter Booksellers)
On days when she got off work before him, which was every day he worked, she'd come to the restaurant and sit at the bar. "Let her have my shifty," he'd say to the bartender, Paolo. "That's not how it works," Paolo would say. She'd look up from her book when she was sure he wouldn't see her watching, at the height of the rush when the printers screeched in chorus as they spewed out tickets. He and the other cooks moved around each other with such a balletic grace. He would drop three patties onto the flattop and then pivot to the salads, and in a blink another cook would be where he was, scooping up a grilled cheese with the slash of a spatula. They almost never touched, but they were so close -- always so close, they must feel the heat radiating from each other's bodies. They were the many limbs of one organism. Where was that ease, when he was with her? Where was that unthinking closeness?