Mark Allister Reading April 9 7:30 pm

March 30, 2010

Mark Allister will read from his new book Dated Friday April 9 at 7:30 pm.

On the cusp of his fifth decade, Mark Allister, a professor of English at a liberal arts college in Minnesota, is an empty-nester in a double sense: his two children are off at school and his wife of twenty-five years has filed for divorce. A friend suggests that Mark explore the possibility of a new relationship through an online dating service. A man who has centered his life on his family now finds himself going on dates with strangers, sometimes two in a single day, sharing intimacies with women who have had their own lives upended. His online search for love in middle age is both an ordeal and an opportunity.

Mark records his journey of discoveries in a memoir that is remarkably candid about his longings, anxieties and embarrassments. Women sometimes complain that men are seldom willing to share these feelings. In Dated, they will find one man who is emotionally open in a personal narrative that is lively and engaging.

For more information about the book and Mark, you can visit his website.

Ride Photos

March 27, 2010

March has been a good month for riding.  Julie and I have been getting some quality rides in together.  Farmington, Cannon Falls and Dennison. We rode to Burly coffee last Sunday morning.  It was a cold ride so the coffee was a good warm-up. 36 miles, temperature was about 24 F and windy.

These are some recent pictures I had on my camera.  Most of these are from my gravel rides south of Northfield.  The St. Olaf shot is from one of my early morning training rides.

Down in the valley

Jenkins Trail. I think I took this picture in February

I think this is Gibson Trail.

The St. Olaf wind turbine

New Books

March 24, 2010

A lot of new books landed in the store this week.  We’ve been busy getting it all on the shelves.  In the world of new books, Chief Bender’s Burden was just released in paperback. The Girl Who Played with Fire is out in two paperback editions, the mass market for $7.99 or trade paper for $15.95(20% off).

Other notable books released recently are Bite Me by Christopher Moore, Little Bee by Chris Cleave(a staff favorite), and Dawn of the Dreadfuls(another zombie novel).

Obie Holmen’s A Wretched Man has been in the store for about a week  and is already selling well.  Obie will read from his book on Tuesday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m.

In addition to these titles, we have seen an influx of great used books in all categories.

Bag in the Wind-Midwest Connections

March 22, 2010

Ted Kooser
Illustrated by Barry Root

Candlewick Press

One cold morning in early spring, a bulldozer pushes a pile of garbage around a landfill and uncovers an empty plastic bag — a perfectly good bag, the color of the skin of a yellow onion, with two holes for handles — that someone has thrown away. Just then, a puff of wind lifts the rolling, flapping bag over a chain-link fence and into the lives of several townsfolk — a can-collecting girl, a homeless man, a store owner — not that all of them notice. Renowned poet Ted Kooser fashions an understated yet compassionate world full of happenstance and connection, neglect and care, all perfectly expressed in Barry Root’s tender illustrations.

About BAG IN THE WIND, Barry Root says, ” The day I started sketching, I glanced out of my studio and saw a plastic bag caught on a weed stalk. I grabbed a sketchbook and sat down to draw.  As I finished, the bag unhooked itself and blew away. It isn’t always easy to get such as good model.”

True to the book’s earth-friendly spirit, it is printed on paper containing 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste and includes an author’s note on recycling plastic bags.


Ted Kooser lives in rural Garland, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathleen, and three dogs. He is one of America’s most noted poets, having served two terms as U. S. Poet Laureate and, during the second term, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection, DELIGHTS & SHADOWS. He is a retired life insurance executive who now teaches part-time at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The school board in Lincoln, Nebraska, recently opened Ted Kooser Elementary School, which Ted says is his greatest honor, among many awards and distinctions. He has published twelve collections of poetry and several nonfiction books.  The latter include two books on writing, THE POETRY HOME REPAIR MANUAL andWRITING BRAVE AND FREE, the book of essays LOCAL COLOR, and a memoir, LIGHTS ON A GROUND OF DARKNESS (all from University of Nebraska Press.)  BAG IN THE WIND from Candlewick is his first children’s book, with which he is delighted.

Barry Root has illustrated many books for children, including THE CAT WHO LIKED POTATO SOUP by Terry Farish and THE BIRTHDAY TREE by Paul Fleischman. He lives in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.

The House of Tomorrow-Midwest Connections

March 15, 2010

On the outskirts of a small town in Iowa, Sebastian Prendergast lives in a geodesic dome with his eccentric grandmother, who has

The House of Tomorrow - Credit Amy Einhorn Books

spent the last eleven years homeschooling him on the teachings of futurist philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller. But when Sebastian’s grandmother has a stroke, he is forced to leave the dome and discover what it means to live a normal life.

Jared Whitcomb is a chain-smoking sixteen-year-old heart transplant recipient who befriends Sebastian, and begins to teach him about all the things he has been missing out on, including girls, grilled cheese sandwiches with grape soda, and Sid Vicious. Together they form a punk band called The Rash, and with the help of Jared’s sister, Meredith, prepare to take the local church talent show by storm. But when Sebastian’s grandmother wants him to return to the dome and take Bucky’s message to the world, will Sebastian have to give up The Rash—and lose his chance at winning Meredith’s heart?

Unexpectedly poignant and richly comic, THE HOUSE OF TOMORROWis a novel about the power of music, the exquisite torture of first love, and the many places we call home.

ABOUT THE AUTHORBognanni C Melissa Mobley

Peter Bognanni is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a Teaching-Writing Fellowship for his work. He is a 2008 Pushcart Prize nominee, and his short story “The Body Eternal” was chosen by Stephen King as on of the “100 Most Distinguished Stories of 2006 in The Best American Short Stories (2007). Bognanni is currently a visiting instructor of creative writing at Macalaster College in Saint Paul. He once played in a terrible high school punk band

Bike Stuff Has Arrived

March 12, 2010

The weather has cooperated and brought cycling season a little early this year.  We decided to bring in some bicycling accessories early as well.  We have lights from Portland Design Works and a few Knog frog sets.

We also have some socks from Save Our Souls as well as Kenda tubes, WTB water bottles, Click multi-tools, Carb Boom energy gels and chewsPark patch kits, pumps, gloves, and locks from Planet Bike

This video shows off the PDW Radbot 1000.

RADBOT 1000 from PDW on Vimeo.

We will have Kona Africabikes soon.

Lamb Bright Saviors-Midwest Connections

March 11, 2010

“Vivian is a master of the delicately constructed narrative. . . . Lamb Bright Saviors explores the relationship of the
Robert Vivian

torments of the present to the mistakes of the past, laying bare the strange twists and turns of our human and inhuman inner lives.”—Brian Evenson, author of Altmann’s Tongue and The Open Curtain

“Robert Vivian’s prose is lyrical and harrowing—harrowing in the Biblical sense,” Sven Birkerts said of The Mover of Bones, the first book in Vivian’sTall Grass Trilogy. That same lyrical power carries this new volume to a place of hard-won hope and redemption at once both spiritual and earthly.

Lamb Bright Saviors begins as an apocalyptically inclined itinerant preacher staggers across the Nebraska prairie. With his young assistant, Mady, in tow hauling a wagon stacked with bibles, it’s not long before the preacher finds he’s come to the final fulfillment of his self-proclaimed life’s work: to die in front of a group of strangers. Odd as his own end-of-days might be, the lives and struggles of the strangers attending this deathbed scene are even odder. As the dying preacher unleashes a barrage of hallucinatory ramblings and rantings in the hope of imparting wisdom, each ragtag member of this unlikely congregation must reckon with his own dark past. And through it all, the irrepressible Mady lends the preacher’s strange performance a surprising and unforgettable dignity and humor.


Robert Vivian is a professor of English and creative writing at Alma College in Michigan and also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of Cold Snap as Yearning, available in a Bison Books edition, and The Mover of Bones (Nebraska 2006).


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