38 Snelling Ave S, St. Paul, MN 55105 • 651-225-8989
the ncb newsletter
EST. 2013 . . "Veni, Sedi, Legi"
F E B R U A R Y . 2 6 , . 2 0 2 4
Howdy, readers! I hope everyone's been well. I'm back from a bout of COVID I picked up at a national bookselling convention in Cincinnati. I was laid out for a week, but I got a lot of reading done -- mostly books that come out this summer, so for now, I can say nothing, except: it's good to be back!

This week, we have some of the year's first big releases, including Tommy Orange's follow-up to There, There, the latest Tara French thriller, and a new middle-grade novel by our beloved Kate DiCamillo; women's history month recommendations; a musical number; and an upcoming event with a well-known poet/baker...

All that and more, in this edition of the NCB Newsletter!
Woman's History Month Starts Early at NCB
We got a jump on Woman's History Month, which begins Friday, with this expansive table display! Brush up on your 'herstory' today:
One More Week to Grand Ave And Win An NCB Gift Card
We have one more week to hand out stamps for I ♥ Grand Ave! Stop by Next Chapter or another participating business to pick up a stamp card, and then:

♥ You have until March 5th to get as many stamps from stores on Grand Ave as you can, then turn in your card at one.
♥ Visit 10 businesses and be entered to win a $25 gift card for one of the stores on Grand Ave (possibly NCB!)
♥ Visit all 21 businesses and be entered to win the grand prize: a $25 gift card to EACH of the participating stores -- a $525 value!!

We'll see you between now and March 5th for your chance to win!
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. Come work with us, we're cool!!
Fare Thee Well, Adriana
At the end of the month, Next Chapter will be bidding a tearful farewell to our bookseller Adriana, who joined us in July last year. The store has greatly benefitted from her excellent recommendations and warm presence, as well as her passion for uplifting marginalized voices through novels, histories, poetry, and more.

Adriana introduced and hosted our weekly First Chapter Story Time, where she read books and lead activities for assembled children and parents every Saturday morning. As anyone who has attended one of these story times knows, Adriana is incredible with kids, and regular attendees will miss her dearly. Her future work will be in teaching, where we all agree she will do an amazing job! As Schopenhauer said, "Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection." We hope to see you around the store, Adriana!

First Chapter Story Time will resume at a future point with a new host.
New Books
In Fiction

Wandering Stars — Tommy Orange

Colorado, 1864. Star, a survivor of the Sand Creek Massacre, is imprisoned, and forced to learn English and practice Christianity by an evangelical prison guard who will go on to found the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, dedicated to the eradication of Native culture and identity. A generation later, Star’s son Charles is sent to the school and brutalized by the man who was once his father’s jailer. In a novel both shattering and wondrous, Orange has conjured the ancestors of the family readers first fell in love with in There There—warriors, drunks, outlaws, addicts—asking what it means to be the children and grandchildren of massacre. Wandering Stars is a novel about epigenetic and generational trauma that has the force and vision of a modern epic.

NCB has signed first-edition copies of Wandering Stars, while supplies last!
In Memoir

Grief Is For People — Sloane Crosley

How do we live without the ones we love? For most of her adult life, Sloane and Russell worked together and played together as they navigated office life, the literary world, and the cultural shifts of New York City. Russell's unexpected suicide propels Sloane to look for answers in philosophy and art, hoping for a framework more useful than the unavoidable stages of grief. Her search for truth is frank, darkly funny, and gilded with empathy. Upending the “grief memoir,” Grief Is for People is a category-defying story of the struggle to hold on to the past without being consumed by it. A modern elegy, it rises to console and challenge our notions of mourning during these grief-stricken times.

Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story — Leslie Jamison

In her first memoir, Jamison turns her unrivaled powers of perception on some of the most intimate relationships of her life: her love for her young daughter, a ruptured marriage once swollen with hope, and the legacy of her own parents’ complicated bond. In examining what it means for a woman to be many things at once—a mother, an artist, a teacher, a lover—Jamison places the magical and the mundane side by side in surprising ways. The result is a work of nonfiction like no other, an almost impossibly deep reckoning with the muchness of life and art, and a book that grieves the departure of one love even as it celebrates the arrival of another.
In Mystery / Thriller

The Hunter — Tara French

Cal took early retirement from Chicago PD and moved to rural Ireland looking for peace. He’s found it, more or less: he’s built a relationship with a local, Lena, and he’s turning Trey from a half-feral teenager into a good kid going places. But then Trey’s long-absent father reappears, bringing along an English millionaire and a scheme to find gold in the townland, and suddenly everything the three of them have been building is under threat. Cal and Lena are both ready to do whatever it takes to protect Trey, but Trey doesn’t want protecting. What she wants is revenge. From the queen of Irish crime fiction, a nuanced, atmospheric tale that explores what we’ll do for our loved ones, what we’ll do for revenge, and what we sacrifice when the two collide.
In Children's

Pretty Ugly — David Sedaris & Ian Falconer

In this beautifully gross picture book, Anna Van Ogre’s lovely monster face turns into that of a sickeningly adorable, rosy-cheeked little girl—and it’s not switching back! Can she find a way to stop looking like an ugly human and regain her gorgeous monstrosity of a face? In this incredible story about beauty standards, owning your uniquessness, and developing self-esteem, David Sedaris and renowned creator of the Olivia series Ian Falconer come together to ponder the eternally relevant question: is true beauty really on the inside?

Ferris — Kate DiCamillo

It’s the summer of sheer pandemonium for ten-year-old Ferris: Her little sister, Pinky, has vowed to become an outlaw. Uncle Ted has left Aunt Shirley and holed up in the basement. And Charisse, Ferris’s sick grandmother, has started seeing a ghost. But the ghost is not there to usher Charisse to the Great Beyond -- she has other plans. How can Ferris satisfy a specter with Pinky terrorizing the town, Uncle Ted sending Ferris to spy on her aunt, and her father battling an invasion of raccoons? As Charisse likes to say, “Every good story is a love story,” and Kate DiCamillo has written one for the ages: emotionally resonant and healing, showing the Newbery Medalist at her most playful, universal, and profound.
News In Photos
A huge thanks to everyone who attended our reading and conversation with Ian Fritz and Arshad Mohammed! If you couldn't make it, we have signed copies of Ian's book What the Taliban Told Me; grab one in the store or here on our website.
Congratulations Jeremy Norton!! His book Trauma Sponges was just announced as a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, so he came by with some stickers for our copies. We have plenty signed from his recent reading! They're here on our site.
Now In Paperback

Available March 1st:
Available March 4th:
As always, our newsletter can't fit everything, so check out the other new arrivals and recent bestsellers on our website!
Upcoming Events
Diana Khoi Nguyen (Root Fractures)
& Cindy Juyoung Ok (Ward Toward)
Tuesday, March 12th at 6:00pm

Poet and multimedia artist Diana Khoi Nguyen was born and raised in California. Her debut poetry collection Ghost Of was a finalist for the National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A Kundiman fellow and member of the Vietnamese diasporic artist collective She Who Has No Master(s), Nguyen’s teaches creative writing at Randolph College and University of Pittsburgh. In Root Fractures, Nguyen excavates the moments of rupture in a family: a mother who was forced underground after the Fall of Saigon, a father who engineered a new life in California as an immigrant, a brother who cut himself out of every family picture before cutting himself out of their lives entirely. And as new generations come of age, opportunities to begin anew blend with visitations from the past. Through poems of disarming honesty, Nguyen examines what takes root after a disaster and how we can make a story out of the broken pieces of our lives.

Cindy Juyoung Ok is the author of Ward Toward, which won the Yale Younger Poets Prize. She is a former high school science teacher and current Kenyon Review fellow teaching poetry at Kenyon College. A MacDowell fellow, she also edits and translates poetry. In the 118th volume of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Ok moves assuredly between spaces—from the psych ward to a prison cell, from divided countries to hospice wards. She plumbs these institutions of constraint, ward to ward, and the role of each reality's language, word to word, as she uncovers fragmented private codes and shares them in argument, song, and prayer. Ok’s resolute, energizing debut sifts language’s fissures to reassemble them into a new place of belonging.
Lois Quam — Who Runs the World?
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.
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 Manhua Club: Cuisine Chinoise
Saturday, March 9 at 5:00pm

Come to Next Chapter Booksellers at 5:00pm on the second Saturday of every month to eat some Pocky 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. After discussing Delicious in Dungeon and Our Dining Table, we're rounding out our series of cooking comics with a collection of manhua (Chinese comics) by the virtuosic Zao Dao. The five stories in Cuisine Chinoise explore Chinese culture and Buddhist folklore through the lens of food, with tones ranging from amusing to mysterious to tragic. Zao Dao blends traditional ink wash painting with elements of manga and other modern influences; her work is both singular and stunning. We'll see you at 5pm, Saturday, March 9th, to partake of this aesthetic feast!
Enemies To Readers: Don't Want You Like a Friend 
Thursday, February 29th 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. For our next meeting on February 29th, we'll be covering Don't Want You Like a Friend by Emma R. Alban, a swoon-worthy debut queer Victorian romance in which two debutantes distract themselves from having to seek husbands by setting up their widowed parents, and instead find their perfect match in each other--the lesbian Bridgerton/Parent Trap you never knew you needed!
Literary Bridges
Sunday, March 3rd at 2:00pm

"The Literary Bridges for March 3 continues our once-in-a-while spotlight on writers groups," says co-host, Stan Kusunoki. "This month we feature contributors of the Water Songs anthology by the Mississippi Valley Poets & Artists." The roster includes:
-Annette Gagliardi
-Laura Kozy Lanik
-Donna Isaac
-River Maria Urke
-Marilyn Gonrowski
-Jennifer Hernandez
From Our Shelves
Staff Pick Spotlight:
Minor Detail, by Adania Shibli

"In 1949, one year after the Nakba, Israeli soldiers rape, kill, and bury a Palestinian girl in the desert. Decades later a woman in Ramallah becomes obsessed with this 'minor detail' of history and risks her life to learn more. A haunting story spanning two separate but parallel timelines; a harrowing account of erasure and who really gets to write history.

'Sometimes it's inevitable for the past to be forgotten, especially if the present is no less horrific.' "
Featured Excerpt:

Erin reaches for the wine bottle, pours herself another glass. Go same reason you. Big big death. My dad.

They monster. They enjoy kill, I think. They enjoy.

Oh, it no terror group. He just get bad sick.

What with?

BPD, Erin says.

The young man hesitates. Brad Pitt Disease?

She nods.

Damn. I hear it... well... rumor, really. No know much.

She presses a thumb against her glass stem. It rough. Bad way go.

He sick long?

Erin lifts the glass as if to drink, then sets it back on its coaster. She stands abruptly from her seat, her hip bumping the table with a hollow thud. The candles wobble and settle, the shadows swaing around her as if in the hull of a storm-tossed ship.

Need bathroom, she says. Be back minute.

Sorry, no mean--

No prob, honest. Need bathroom.

The camera follows her as she strides down the hall, passing a glimpse of the bathroom, the patches of missing picture frames on the walls. In her bedroom, she quietly shuts the door and sits on the edge of the mattress. She holds her stuffed seal in her lap, attempts to slow her breathing.

Then, without warning, the bedroom is plunged into darkness. Not a trace of light remains: no glow from the bedside lamp, no sheen around the doorframe, no streetlights paling the curtains. From the ceiling shines a sourceless beam, circling the plastic woman in the luminous hoop of a spotlight. Her glossy surface reflects the beam, shimmering as if it blazes from within.

Erin turns her head and looks at the camera. One the soundtrack plays a dreamy guitar, a swell of synthesizer. In a soft soprano she sings:

With all the losses that I've grieved
I should have known my limits:
I can't discuss Brad Pitt Disease
When a Hot Date visits.

My father dead, my sister fled,
My Patrick lost forever...
I'll need to chase them from my head
To have sex with a stranger.

But is there any hope of that,
As triggered as I am?
I'll give him five stars on the app
And send away this man.

She glances away from the camera. The synthesizer goes silent; the lamplight returns.

-Plastic, Scott Guild
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)