Listen to Past Events
Talk of the Stacks Ron Padgett
In honor of National Poetry Month, we hosted celebrated poet, editor and translator Ron Padgett. Born in Oklahoma, Padgett moved to New York City in 1960 to enroll in Columbia University and became a vital part of the famed Second Generation New York School Poets. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, he is the author of over 30 collections of poetry and books of prose, including Great Ball of Fire (1969), You Never Know (2002), How to Be Perfect (2007) and How Long (2011). His new Coffee House Press book, Collected Poems, is the record of his 50-year dynamic career as a beloved American poet.
Talk of the Stacks with Lorrie Moore
Over the course of the last two decades Lorrie Moore has earned a place among the finest writers in this country by exploring the lives of modern women and men, as they confront the absurdities of ordinary life. A contributor to The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, she has earned fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In Bark, her first collection in 15 years, she presents eight new masterful stories — exploring the passage of time, with a perfect blend of craft, humor and bewitched spirit.
Talk of the Stacks with Jennifer Senior
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting
Contributing editor at New York Magazine Jennifer Senior is an accomplished journalist and frequent television news panelist. When her cover article “All Joy and No Fun” was published in 2010, it set off a firestorm of responses in the media and blogosphere. Based on that controversial article, All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting is an honest and fascinating look at the true experience of parenthood. Weaving psychological and case studies from across the globe with personal experience, the book explores the tangible effect children and parenting have on parents.
Talk of the Stacks with Nikki Giovanni
Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid
Poet and activist Nikki Giovanni has spurred social movements and informed generations with her work. Recipient of nineteen honorary degrees from colleges and universities; Nikki has received seven NAACP Image Awards and was the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award. A Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech, Nikki has written over 30 books for adults and children and received a Grammy nomination for The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. Nikki will share her much anticipated new poetry collection, Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid.
Annual Holiday Toast with Kevin Kling
an annual celebration for our supporters
Kevin Kling is an acclaimed storyteller, playwright, and regular contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered. He is the author of five books published by Minnesota Historical Society Press — The Dog Says How, Holiday Inn, Big Little Brother, and most recently Big Little Mother and On Stage with Kevin Kling. His artist book Come and Get It was the 2012 Minnesota Center for Books Arts “Winter Book.” To celebrate the season, Kling will perform selected stories from his work.
Talk of the Stacks with Amy Tan
Amy Tan is the bestselling author of seven novels (including The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter), a memoir and two children’s books. Contributor to countless collections and magazines, Tan also co-wrote and co-produced the film version of The Joy Luck Club and worked on the Emmy-nominated children’s TV series, Sagwa. Her latest book, The Valley of Amazement, will be her first published novel in almost ten years. Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is a deeply moving narrative of family secrets, the legacy of trauma and the profound connections between mothers and daughters.
Talk of the Stacks with Dessa
in conversation with Rain Taxi's Eric Lorberer
Acclaimed singer, songwriter, performer and author, Dessa was born and raised in Minneapolis. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a philosophy degree, her musical talents eventually led her to join the Doomtree collective. Her musical output, including 2013′s Parts of Speech, unites a wide range of tones and narratives under the author’s whip-smart lyricism. Dessa has taught at McNally Smith College of Music, spoken at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, and published a book of poetic prose, Spiral Bound. Her newest literary release, a poetry chapbook, will be published by Rain Taxi in early October. Join Dessa and editor Eric Lorberer as they converse about creating this collection, poems versus lyrics, and more.
Talk of the Stacks with Larry Watson and Jon Pineda
in conversation with Milkweed Edition's Daniel Slager
Hear from two Milkweed National Fiction Prize-winning authors: Larry Watson and Jon Pineda. Larry Watson (who won the prize in 1993 for Montana 1948) will launch his new novel Let Him Go, a riveting tale of familial love and its unexpected consequences. Acclaimed Asian-American writer Jon Pineda will share his 2013 Milkweed prize-winning novel Apology, a vivid portrait of sacrifice within two immigrant families raising first-generation children. After brief readings, Daniel Slager, publisher and CEO of Milkweed Editions, will lead a literary discussion fueled by the question that lies at the heart of these novels: how do the decisions we make in an instant reverberate in the years to come?
Talk of the Stacks with Terry Brooks
With over 22 million copies of his books in print, Terry Brooks has been a seminal force in fantasy fiction for the past twenty five years. In 1977 his debut novel, The Sword of Shannara, became the first fantasy book ever to appear on the New York Times bestseller list. His success and popularity hasn’t faltered since. He has written more than 30 titles of science fiction and fantasy, including the wildly popular Shannara and Magic Kingdom of Landover series, as well as several film novelizations and short stories. Terry will present Witch Wraith, the last book in The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy.
Talk of the Stacks with Colum McCann
Colum McCann is the internationally bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin, Zoli, Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Songdogs, as well as two critically acclaimed story collections. He has received many international honors, including the National Book Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and has had his work published in thirty-five languages. Named one of Esquire’s “Best & Brightest,” McCann’s fiction has been published in thirty-five languages. Transatlantic, his newest book, is an incredible act of storytelling and a profound meditation on identity and history – connecting a series of narratives spanning 150 years and two continents.
Talk of the Stacks with David Rhodes
After receiving an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1971, David Rhodes published three acclaimed novels in rapid succession: The Last Fair Deal Going Down (1972), The Easter House (1974), and Rock Island Line (1975). A motorcycle accident in 1976 left him paralyzed from the chest down, which brought a temporary halt to his publishing career. In 2008, David Rhodes returned to publishing after a 30 year silence, releasing the award-winning Driftless, from Milkweed Editions. His newest work, Jewelweed, features a protagonist struggling to adjust to life after a period of incarceration and further develops several of the characters of Driftless.
Co-presented by Milkweed Editions.
Talk of the Stacks with John Robison
Robison is the New York Times bestselling author of Be Different and Look Me in the Eye, colorful and heartfelt memoirs about unknowingly growing up with Asperger’s syndrome and finally emerging as a fully realized adult. He is the elder brother of memoirist Augusten Burroughs, and has appeared in People, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, Boston Globe and elsewhere. Raising Cubby, his newest book, is an unforgettable and hilarious chronicle about a different kind of boy being raised by a different kind of father and coming to terms with being “on the autism spectrum.”
Talk of the Stacks with Deb Perelman
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Perelman, a self-taught home cook, photographer and foodie, writes an award-winning blog (SmittenKitchen.com) with a focus on stepped-up home cooking through unfussy ingredients. Her chatty, familiar, and reassuring style of writing is matched by her recipes, created and tested in her tiny Manhattan kitchen. She brings her friendly style to print in her New York Times bestseller, “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” an approachable and accessible collection gorgeously illustrated with hundreds of her own beautiful photographs.
Talk of the Stacks with Calvin Trillin
Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin & Dogfight
A journalist, humorist, food writer, poet, and novelist, Calvin Trillin is the author of more than 20 books and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. From food (in American Fried and Third Helpings) to his wife (in the best-seller About Alice) to politics (in Deciding the Next Decider and Obliviously On He Sails), Trillin does not shy away from any topic. He will present two books: the paperback edition of Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of His Funny Stuff (a humorous collection of excerpts from his writing career) and the newly released Dogfight: An Occasionally Interrupted Narrative Poem About the Presidential Campaign (a roast to the 2012 presidential elections).
Talk of the Stacks with Geoff Dyer
Otherwise Known as the Human Condition
British writer Geoff Dyer has earned the devotion of passionate fans on both sides of the Atlantic through his wildly inventive, romantic novels as well as several brilliant, unclassifiable works of nonfiction. Dyer is the author of many novels, collections of essays, and other genre-defying titles. His work Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, which collects twenty-five years of essays, reviews, and misadventures was winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Dyer will be joined on stage by Fiona McCrae, publisher at Graywolf Press, for a conversation about his work.
Talk of the Stacks with Naomi Wolf
Vagina: A New Biography
Naomi Wolf is an accomplished author, social critic and political activist. She is the author of several controversial and popular books, including the international bestseller The Beauty Myth, which launched a new wave of feminism in the early 1990s. A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Wolf is co-founder of The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership and The American Freedom Campaign. Her new book, Vagina: A New Biography, draws on cutting-edge science and cultural history to reframe how we understand the vagina and the female consciousness.
Talk of the Stacks with Michael Chabon
Novelist, screenwriter, columnist and short story writer Michael Chabon is widely considered one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. He is the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than ten books, including The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Maps and Legends, among others. Chabon’s newest book, Telegraph Avenue (September 2012), explores the intertwined lives of two families, one black and one white, in Oakland, California.
Talk of the Stacks: Esmeralda Santiago
Esmeralda Santiago is the author of the critically acclaimed books When I Was Puerto Rican, Almost a Woman, The Turkish Lover and América’s Dream. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. Born in Puerto Rico, she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and now lives in New York. Her newest novel, Conquistadora, set in the 1800s, tells two coming-of-age stories: one of the daughter of Spanish aristocrats who becomes head of a plantation in the new world, and the other of Puerto Rico itself.
Talk of the Stacks: Richard Ford
Richard Ford is the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner award-winning author of Independence Day, The Sportswriter and The Lay of the Land. Ford also has written three collections of short fiction and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Granta and The New Yorker, among other magazines and journals. His new novel, Canada, is the haunting tale of a 15-year-old boy who, after his parents are imprisoned, is spirited away to the prairie of Saskatchewan by an enigmatic family friend.
Talk of the Stacks with Benjamin Busch
Benjamin Busch is a decorated U.S. Marine officer who served two combat tours in Iraq, an award-winning photographer and short film director, the son of celebrated novelist Frederick Busch, and an acclaimed actor from the HBO series The Wire. He has written for Harper’s, been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has been a guest commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered. His new memoir, Dust to Dust, takes the reader on a journey of his life exploring life and death, war and peace, childhood and revelations of adulthood.
Talk of the Stacks with David Treuer
David Treuer, acclaimed author of Little, The Hiawatha and The Translation of Dr. Apelles, has received a Pushcart Prize, the Minnesota Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Bush Foundation for his work. A professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California, he divides his time between Los Angeles and Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota. In Rez Life, his first full-length work of nonfiction, Treuer uses his novelist storytelling skills and eye for complex and subtle detail to examine Native American reservation life, past and present.
Talk of the Stacks with Gabrielle Hamilton
Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village. She received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and Food & Wine. She has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and the Food Network, among other television programs. Her memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, is an unflinching and lyrical memoir about her unconventional journey as a cook for the last twenty years.
“I will read this book to my children and then burn all the books I have written for pretending to be anything even close to this.”— Chef Mario Batali
Spotlight on Milkweed Editions
An Evening of Travel, Politics, and Prose with Christopher Merrill
Award-winning poet, journalist, translator and essayist Christopher Merrill will discuss his new book, “The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War.” Merrill, who directs the international Writing Program at the University of Iowa, was recently nominated by the White House for membership on the National Council on the Humanities. He will discuss his extensive travels, and explore what it means to write about the politicized world in the wake of September 11th from a historical as well as a literary perspective, and where we are going as a country and a people from here. Merrill will be introduced by Daniel Slager, Publisher and CEO of Milkweed Editions. Minnesota Public Radio’s Marianne Combs will moderate the conversation.
A program of Friends of the Hennepin County Library, presented with volunteer support from Friends of the Minneapolis Central Library. Co-sponsored by Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions, and Magers and Quinn Booksellers.
Talk of the Stacks: Will Hermes
Will Hermes is a senior critic for Rolling Stone and a longtime contributor to NPR’s “All Things Considered.” His writing about music and culture has appeared in SPIN Magazine, The New York Times, Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, GQ, and City Pages. He co-edited the book, SPIN: 20 Years of Alternative Music, and Tracks, a magazine for “grown-ass music geeks.” His newest work, Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, explores the vibrant music scene of New York City during the mid-1970s. The book moves panoramically from post-Dylan Greenwich Village, to the arson-scarred South Bronx barrios where salsa and hip-hop were created, to the lower Manhattan lofts where jazz and classical music were re-imagined, to ramshackle clubs like CBGB and the Galley where rock and dance music were born. Will Hermes was there and tells the full story of the era’s intersecting music scenes, covering Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Grandmaster Flash, Talking Heads and others.
Peter Heegaard Book Event
Recently published by Minneapolis-based Nodin Press, More Bang for Your Buck describes how modern economic analysis can lead to wiser use of society’s resources to better human lives. Drawing on a variety of national studies and think tank publications, Peter develops a convincing case for long-term investment in people’s lives through neighborhood organizations, government aid programs, early-childhood education funding, and other means.
Peter Heegaard is a former trust banker who has championed the connection of business people to community through such initiatives as Urban Adventure and the One Percent Club, an organization that enlists people to contribute 1% or more of their net worth annually to tax-deductible causes. He is the editor of An Investment Letter for Minnesota Philanthropists and author of Heroes Among Us: Social Entrepreneurs Working to Build Strong Families and Communities.
Talk of the Stacks: Leslie Marmon Silko
Leslie Marmon Silko was the youngest writer to be included in The Norton Anthology of Women’s Literature, for her short story “Lullaby.” She has published three novels, including Ceremony, which has sold more than one million copies since its publication in 1978. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship and an NEA fellowship, she has written many short stories, poetry, and essays on Native American culture. Her newest book, Turquoise Ledge, combines memoir with family history and reflections on animals, the environment, and spiritual forces.
Talk of the Stacks: Lisa Randall
“One of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation,” according to Rolling Stone, Lisa Randall is an expert in particle physics and cosmology. Harvard professor and winner of numerous awards, Randall was named to Newsweek’s “Who’s Next in 2006,” Time’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2007, Esquire’s “75 Most Influential People” in 2008. Her book, Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions, was included in the New York Times‘ 100 notable books of 2005. In her newest, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Randall doesn’t just explain the latest ideas in science but also aims to clarify how scientists decide what to study, what they’re deciding to study now, and how they go about doing it.
Spotlight on Local Presses: Coffee House Press
Coffee House Press
Download Audio 82 minutes, 75 MB. Celebrate the launch of new poetry collections by Ed Bok Lee and Bao Phi, two of the Twin Cities’ most dynamic poets on the national Asian American literary and spoken word scene. In Whorled, Ed Bok Lee looks toward a global future, one where the dividing lines between state, religion, race, history, and culture have been blurred to the extent that the very idea of difference requires a new understanding. In Bao Phi’s Sông I Sing, the Twin Cities provides the backdrop to a rhythmic exploration of the contradictions of race and class in America. Emceed by multidisciplinary artist and spoken word performer Shá Cage, the program will feature a performance and conversation by the poets and music by DJ Nak. Recorded live on September 24, 2011 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: Nuruddin Farah
Download Audio 64 minutes, 37 MB. Born in 1945 in Baidoa, Somalia, Nuruddin Farah is the author of 11 novels, a nonfiction book about the Somali diaspora, and numerous plays. Farah was pushed into exile by the dictator Siyad Barre long before the collapse of Somalia’s government, and he currently resides in Capetown, South Africa. He is serving as 2010-2012 Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. A celebrated “feminist” African writer, Farah tackles the controversial and complex topics of arranged marriages, patriarchal constructs, government dictatorships, and exile. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages and has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature for his trilogy (Maps, Gifts, and Secrets). His newest work, Crossbones, is the final book in his third trilogy (with Links and Knots), which imagines possible modes of a return to Somalia. Recorded live on September 20, 2011 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Celebrity Poet Event
An outgrowth of former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project, which asks Americans of all walks of life to share their favorite poems for public audiences. Participating celebrities include:
- Amber Damm, Former Minnesota Teacher of the Year
- Dennis Douda, WCCO Television Anchor
- Sintripetal Force, Minnesota RollerGirls Blocker-Jammer
- Vincent Francoual, 2011 winner of Minnesota Monthly’s Local Chef Challenge and chef/owner of Vincent – A Restaurant
- Linda Higgins, State Senator
- Bernadeia Johnson, Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent
- Chris Osgood, guitarist from The Suicide Commandos
- And others
Recorded live on May 21st, 2011 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: Joyce Carol Oates
Download Audio 77 minutes, 42 MB. Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written over 30 collections of short stories, eight volumes of poetry, innumerable essays and plays, and 56 novels, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Falls, and Blonde. She is a Professor of Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. A Widow’s Story is a poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of her husband of 46 years and its wrenching, surprising aftermath. Recorded live on March 30, 2011 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: Jasper Fforde
68 minutes, 39 MB Jasper Fforde is the New York Times bestselling author of the Thursday Next series, the Nursery Crimes series, and the Shades of Grey series. Noted for their literary allusions, wordplay and tight plots, his books are a mixture of fantasy, crime thriller, and humorous fiction. Born in London, Fforde’s early career was spent in the film industry, where he worked on a number of films including Quills, GoldenEye, and Entrapment. Set in an alternate England circa 1985 where airships rule the skies and people can read themselves into books, One of Our Thursdays is Missing is an exuberant return to the fantastical “BookWorld” and the beloved heroine Thursday Next. Recorded live on March 16, 2011 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: NBCC Reads: A Literary Showcase
Download Audio 76 minutes, 45 MB. The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), consisting of over 600 book reviewers, presents annual awards for the best books in different genres. This special edition of Talk of the Stacks will feature three diverse and talented authors, all of whom were recognized this year by the prestigious NBCC awards committee. Eula Biss won the NBCC Award for criticism for No Man’s Land: American Essays; Stephen Burt was a finalist in the criticism category for Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry; and Marlon James was a finalist in the fiction category for The Book of Night Women. Jeffrey Shotts, senior editor at Graywolf Press and editor of Biss and Burt’s respective books, will moderate. Recorded live on November 3, 2010 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: Ian Frazier – Travels in Siberia
Download Audio 64 minutes, 37 MB. Writer and humorist Ian Frazier is the critically-acclaimed author of Great Plains, On the Rez, and Dating Your Mom, among other works. His latest book, Travels in Siberia, is the culmination of ten years of research and travel to the mythical region of Siberia. More than just a historical travelogue, Travels in Siberia is an account of Russia since the end of the Soviet Union and a personal and often humorous reflection on this vast country – exploring the geography, the people, the history, the weather, the bugs, and the unexpected. Frequent contributor to The New Yorker, Frazier lives in New Jersey with his wife and children. Recorded live on October 26, 2010 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: Antonya Nelson
Download Audio 41 minutes, 39 MB. Antonya Nelson is the award-winning author of nine books of fiction, including Nothing Right, Talking in Bed, Nobody’s Girl, and Living to Tell. Nelson’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, Redbook, The Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Grant, and recently, the United States Artists Simon Fellowship. Nelson is known for her razor-sharp depictions of contemporary family life in all of its sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious complexity. Bound, her much anticipated first novel in over a decade, tells the story of tangled lives, set in a Wichita, riveted by the reemergence of the city’s real-world “BTK” serial killer. She is married to the writer Robert Boswell and holds the Cullen Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. Recorded live on September 30, 2010 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: Barbara Graham, Sandra Benitez, and Judith Guest – Eye of My Heart
Download Audio 64 minutes, 38 MB. Frequent contributor to O: The Oprah Magazine, playwright and journalist Barbara Graham’s new anthology, Eye of My Heart, is a collection of twenty-seven essays by acclaimed women writers that explodes the myths and stereotypes about being a grandmother in today’s world. In celebration of Mother’s Day, Graham will be joined by local contributing authors, Sandra Benitez and Judith Guest, to discuss this fascinating collection and life as a writer and grandmother. Benitez, recipient of a National Hispanic Heritage Foundation of Literature Award, is the award-winning author of four works of fiction and the memoir, Bag Lady: A Memoir. Author of five novels and several screenplays, Judith Guest’s best-selling first novel, Ordinary People, won the Janet Heidegger Kafka Prize for best fiction and was made into an Academy Award-winning movie. Recorded live on May 6, 2010 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: David Lipsky
Download Audio 70 minutes, 40 MB. Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is a fascinating new book about the legendary author David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008. Based on the largely unedited “road trip interviews” by David Lipsky, contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine, this work offers an intimate portrait of Wallace during his 1996 book tour for Infinite Jest. From struggles with fame and mental illness, to getting high and getting laid, to the nature of art itself – Lipsky allows Wallace to speak for himself. Winner of a National Magazine Award for his commemorative article on Wallace in Rolling Stone, Lipsky is a frequent commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered and the author of several works including the best-selling nonfiction book Absolutely American. Lipsky has appeared on the Today show, Charlie Rose, and elsewhere. Recorded live on April 15, 2010 at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: Kevin Kling – Holiday Inn
Download Audio 54 minutes, 31 MB. Kevin Kling is a storyteller, playwright, and regular contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered. His plays have been seen at the Guthrie Theater, Second Stage, Seattle Rep, the Goodman Theatre, the Spoleto Festival, and the HBO Comedy Arts Festival. Kling’s first book, The Dog Says How, brought readers into his wonderful world of the skewed and significant mundane. His second book, Holiday Inn, is a romp through a year of holidays. Recorded live on November 12, 2009 from the Minneapolis Central Library.
Talk of the Stacks: Padgett Powell – The Interrogative Mood
Download Audio 51 minutes, 29 MB. Once touted as one of “the best American writers of the younger generation” by Saul Bellow, Padgett Powell’s newest work, The Interrogative Mood, is a wildly inventive, jazzy meditation on life and language — in which every sentence is a question. Often compared to David Foster Wallace or George Saunders, Powell’s new book explores what it feels like to hear the swing and snap of American talk.
Powell is the author of two collections of short stories and four novels, including Edisto, which was nominated for the American Book Award. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. Recorded live on October 28, 2009 from the Central Library in downtown Minneapolis.
Talk of the Stacks: Andrew Zimmern – Bizarre Truth
Download Audio 64 minutes, 37 MB. Andrew Zimmern is a food columnist, culinary expert, dining critic, radio talk show host, TV personality and chef. Writing for many national magazines and publications, Zimmern has received the Society of Professional Journalists Page One Award. Host of a weekly travel and food program on the Travel Channel called Bizarre Foods, Zimmern travels the world, exploring the food. His new show, Bizarre World’s with Andrew Zimmern, is set to debut on Travel Channel in 2009. His new book “Bizarre Truth: How I Walked out the Door Mouth First and Came Back Shaking My Head” chronicles his world travels. Recorded live on October 20, 2009 from the Central Library in downtown Minneapolis.
Talk of the Stacks: Saïd Sayrafiezadeh – When Skateboards Will Be Free
Download Audio 59 minutes, 34 MB. Saïd Sayrafiezadeh is a writer and dramatist, whose writing has appeared in Granta, the Paris Review, and numerous anthologies. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1968 to an Iranian father and a Jewish-American mother, both of whom were members of the Socialist Workers Party.
When Skateboards Will Be Free tells the story of a brilliant young writer struggling to break away from the powerful mythologies of his upbringing and create a life—and a voice—of his own. Chosen as one of the 7 Best Books by Amazon, this acclaimed debut memoir was described in the New York Times as “exacting and finely made…[written] with extraordinary power and restraint.”
Talk of the Stacks: Patricia Smith – Blood Dazzler
Download Audio 73 minutes, 42 MB. Smith’s groundbreaking book, Blood Dazzler, chronicles the human, emotional and physical toll exacted by Hurricane Katrina. It was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and one of NPR’s Top Books of 2008. A poet, spoken word performer, playwright, author, writing teacher, and former journalist, Smith was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent in 2006 and has performed at Carnegie Hall, on tour with Lollapalooza, in the film Slamnation, and on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Recorded live on July 30, 2009 from the Central Library in downtown Minneapolis.
Globalization Unearthed: Global Trends in Art Museums
Download Audio 68 minutes, 39 MB. Art has rarely respected international borders, but globalization’s pace and pervasiveness is changing the business of art museums in new ways. What challenges and opportunities are museums experiencing? How are these trends affecting artists and patrons? Is the art business a barometer of globalization? Or is art part of the process of globalization? Kaywin Feldman, Director of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Olga Viso, Director of the Walker Art Center, will explore these questions and others as they contemplate the world of art in this new age of interconnectedness. Moderated by Tad Simons, the arts and entertainment editor for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Recorded on July 28, 2009.
Globalization Unearthed: Voices and Influences of International Journalism
Download Audio 64 minutes, 37 MB. The future of foreign relations may rely on the future of global journalism. If a wise foreign policy relies on an informed and engaged public, it is essential to understand how the consolidation of media ownership, celebrity journalism, increasing access to foreign media via the web, and the perceived disinterest of the American public all impact awareness and policy. Join us for a conversation among media leaders exploring how media consolidation is affecting the news consumption and how this shift allows for new voices, perspectives and news media to emerge.
Panelists include: Tom Gitaa, President & Publisher of Mshale; Nghi Huynh, Publisher & Editor of Asian American Press; and Melinda Ward, Senior Vice President for Content, Public Radio International. Recorded live on July 21, 2009.
Globalization Unearthed: Responding to the Global Food Crisis
Download Audio 65 minutes, 37 MB. The United Nations announced last year that the number of undernourished people in the world had increased by 75 million reaching to more than 963 million worldwide. Demand at U.S. food banks increased by 30% last year. How did we get here? Jim Harkness will discuss the causes of the global food crisis and chart a course for how the U.S. and the world can build a stronger, healthier global food system. Harkness is the president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Former adviser for the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Harkness has written and spoken frequently about sustainable development. Recorded live on July 14, 2009.
Globalization Unearthed: Globalism’s Funeral and the Future of the World
Download Audio 77 minutes, 44 MB. Is globalism as we know it dead? What will replace it? Since the 1980s, neo-liberalism supporters have advocated for government deregulation of the economy and a dismantling of political borders in order to permit the free flow of capital across countries. Yet the global economic crash of 2008-2009 seriously questions the continued viability of these practices. Dr. David Schultz will examine the contending perspectives on globalism and what possibilities there are for the creation of a new world economic order.
Schultz is a Professor at Hamline University’s School of Business and a senior fellow at the Institute of Law and Politics at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of more than 20 books and 100 domestic and international articles. A frequent commentator for television and radio, he has appeared on Almanac, Today Show, National Public Radio, and elsewhere. Recorded live on June 23, 2009.
Globalization Unearthed: Beyond “World Music”: From the Roots of Jazz to Ringtones
Download Audio 89 minutes, 51 MB. The role of music within the process of “globalization” is rich and complex — yet poorly understood. In this joint presentation, two University of Minnesota professors tackle overlapping perspectives on the subject: definition and distribution. Timothy Brennan, author of Secular Devotion: Afro-Latin Music and Imperial Jazz, dissects the perplexing term of “world music” by exploring jazz’s neo-African and Latin roots. Sumanth Gopinath, currently working on a book on the ringtone industry, examines the new microindustry of musical ringtones and its impact on the world economy, artists, and social practices. Presented in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s School of Music. Recorded live on June 9, 2009.
Globalization Unearthed: The World is Curved – David M. Smick
Download Audio 83 minutes, 48 MB David Smick argues, “The world is curved. We can’t see over the horizon… and that is why the world has become such a dangerous place.” Looking back at how the economic deck of cards was formed and how it failed, Smick will examine the challenges presented by a curved world. From the local mortgage mess to Wall Street to the global Asian markets, Smick will address: How bad can things really get in today’s volatile economy? And what can we do about it?
Smick is the best-selling author of The World is Curved. Global economic strategist and founder of The International Economy, his writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Hailed as “one of the most respected economic thinkers in the country” by CNN, Smick has advised both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. Recorded live on June 2, 2009.
Talk of the Stacks David Plotz – Good Book
Download Audio 62 minutes, 35 MB. David Plotz is the Slate’s new editor. Contributor to the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, New Republic, Washington Post, and GQ, Plotz won the National Press Club’s Hume Award for Political Reporting in 2000.
His newest work, Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, is based on his “Blogging the Bible” series which previously appeared on Slate.com. Examining the Bible from a cultural and personal perspective, Plotz explores such theological questions as: Does God prefer obedience or good deeds? How many commandments do we actually need? Why are so many women in the Bible prostitutes? And why does God love bald men so much?
People’s University Building a Fairy Tale Opera Exploring the Music and Stage Magic of Pinocchio
Download Audio 79 minutes, 45 MB. In March 2009, The Minnesota Opera will be stages the American premiere of The Adventures of Pinocchio. This fantastical tale brings to life the wooden boy who wants to be good, but just can’t stay out of trouble. Guided by the Blue Fairy, Pinocchio has a lot to learn before he can discover the secret to becoming a real boy. Jonathan Dove’s exhilarating music is paired with magical stagecraft and storybook scenery. Come explore how a beloved fairy tale becomes a full-scale opera.
In this People’s University class, literature and opera buff Marcia Aubineau leads composer Jonathan Dove, director Martin Duncan, and librettist Alasdair Middleton in a look behind the scenes at the opera, The Adventures of Pinocchio.
People’s University Using Photography to Engage Community
Download Audio 57 minutes, 33 MB. This winter the library hosts “32 x 4,” a photography exhibition that documents 32 Twin Cities neighborhoods through the lenses of 4 commissioned photographers (Michael Dvorak, Dusty Hoskovec, Sarah Stacke, and Xavier Tavera). “32 x 4,” a project by Over Exposure, explores the changing characteristics of local neighborhoods and engages the community in the artistic process. In this installment of the People’s University, join experts from artistic, public policy, historical, and economic fields as they discuss this landmark exhibition and the intersection of art and community.
Panelists include photographer Xavier Tavera; Minneapolis City Council member Elizabeth Glidden; historian and photography curator George Slade; and Ann Markusen, professor and Director of the Arts Economy Initiative at the Humphrey Institute, and visual and performing artist Camille Gage as moderator.
Talk of the Stacks M.T. Anderson – The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing
Download Audio 58 minutes, 34 MB. M.T. Anderson is the multiple award-winning author of several books for children and young adults, including The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, (2006 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature) and Feed (2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner). Anderson has published six novels, two collections of young-adult stories, four middle-grade picture books, and adult short stories. Known for his keen sense of social criticism, complex narratives, and masterful use of language, Anderson proves young-adult novels are alive and well. Co-hosted by Teen Central’s Teen Advisory Group.
2008 Holiday Toast George Rabasa – The Wonder Singer
Download Audio 48 minutes, 28 MB. Author George Rabasa, soprano Jennifer Baldwin Peden, and pianist Barbara Brooks present The Wonder Singer through a program of storytelling and song. Rabasa’s critically acclaimed 2008 novel, The Wonder Singer, tells the story of Mark Lockwood, who is hired to ghost-write the autobiography of an aging operatic diva. When she dies suddenly, leaving him with hours of interview tapes, he realizes he has the greatest story of his life, but he faces the greatest struggle of his life in telling it. The Wonder Singer, takes shape as a book-within-a-book and sweeps Lockwood along the dizzying chronology of the diva’s life.
Talk of the Stacks Garrison Keillor – Liberty
Download Audio 75 minutes, 45 MB. This is a recording from the Talk of the Stacks, a reading series at the library exploring contemporary literature and culture, sponsored by The Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library and U.S. Trust.
Author, poet, storyteller, humorist, and creator of the radio show A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor has been entertaining audiences for more than 34 years with his tales from Lake Wobegon. Author of more than a dozen books including Lake Wobegon Days, Pontoon, and Good Poems for Hard Times, Keillor writes a syndicated newspaper column and is a frequent contributor to Time, The New Yorker, and National Geographic. His radio show inspired the 2006 movie, A Prairie Home Companion. Keillor’s latest book is titled Liberty.
Talk of the Stacks Andrei Codrescu – Jealous Witness
Download Audio 55 minutes, 32 MB. Romanian-born poet, novelist, screenwriter, and commentator on National Public Radio, Andrei Codrescu is internationally known for his satiric wit and biting political perspective. His newest collection of poetry, Jealous Witness, honors the dispossessed, artists, lovers, and cultural icons who have influenced his life. Published by Coffee House Press, Jealous Witness includes a CD by the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars and some spoken word performances by the poet.
Talk of the Stacks Marilynne Robinson – Home, A Novel
Download Audio 55 minutes, 31 MB. Marilynne Robinson’s first novel, Housekeeping, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1980. In 2005, her long-anticipated second novel, Gilead, won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her newest novel, Home (set in the same town as Gilead), is a moving and healing book about family secrets, love, death, and faith. Home has been named a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award for fiction.
In this recording, Robinson treats a Talk of the Stacks audience to a reading from Home and took questions ranging from writing to religion.
2008 Annual Meeting State by State – A Panoramic Portrait of America
Download Audio 55 minutes, 32 MB. With editor Matt Weiland and contributing authors Philip Connors, Susan Orlean, and Saïd Sayrafiezadeh.
Matt Weiland, editor of the best-seller State of State, leads an entertaining and educational conversation with contributing authors Philip Connors, Susan Orlean, and Saïd Sayrafiezadeh.
Is our nation truly so divided between blue and red states? What are each state’s prejudices and biases, beauty marks and moles, cadences and jokes? State by State answers these questions and more while portraying the beauty, the kitsch, the humorous, the unexpected, and the quintessential things that make America home and each state unique. The brainchild of editors Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey, the State by State collection resurrects an effort from the 1930s, when the WPA created the Federal Writers’ Project, commissioning America’s writers to describe their states. It is a classic American road movie in book form.
People’s University William Carlos Williams – Father of Modern American Poetry
Download Audio 68 minutes, 39 MB. Presented by Dr. Neil Baldwin, Distinguished Visiting Professor in the College of the Arts at Montclair State University, and best-selling author of eight books, including To All Gentleness: William Carlos Williams, The Doctor-Poet. William Carlos Williams is celebrated in our cultural memory as the author of modern lyrics crafted in the speech of the working-class streets he knew so well; in addition to novels, short stories, essays, plays — and the epic long poem, Paterson. He was also a devoted family doctor, delivering more than three thousand babies in the course of a forty-year career at his suburban home-office in Rutherford, New Jersey, the town where he was born in 1883, lived his entire life, and died in 1963. Join best-selling author and historian Dr. Baldwin for a lively discussion in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Williams’ birth.
People’s University 150 Years of Beer Brewing by the River
Download Audio 73 minutes, 42 MB. For centuries, brew masters both professional and homegrown have pursued the perfect pour – a delectable combination of barley, yeast, water, and hops and few states can claim as devoted a relationship to beer as Minnesota. Starting with its first brewery in 1849, Hoverson will tell the story of the state’s beer industry from the small-town breweries that gave way to larger companies with regional and national prominence (including Hamm’s, Grain Belt, and Schell’s) to the vibrant beer culture of today, led by a new wave of breweries such as Summit, Lake Superior Brewing Co., and Surly.
Presented by Doug Hoverson. Hoverson is a teacher at St. Thomas Academy, associate editor of American Breweriana Journal, a certified beer judge, and the author of Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota.
Talk of the Stacks Lynne Rossetto Kasper – The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper
Download Audio 72 minutes, 42 MB. For more than twenty years, Lynne Rossetto Kasper has been recognized as one of America’s leading food authorities, commentators, and cultural historians. Her national radio show, The Splendid Table, is a staple of American Public Media. Her first cookbook, The Splendid Table, is the only book to receive The Cookbook of the Year Award from both the Julia Child/IACP and James Beard Awards.
Now with her third book, How to Eat Supper, Kasper goes far beyond the recipe and standard cookbook by exploring the people and stories that shape America’s changing sense of food. Examining rarely heard perspectives on food from the quirky to the political from the highbrow to the humble, Kapser shows the essential role breaking bread together plays in our world. Tom Crann, host of Minnesota Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and Sally Swift, co-author and managing producer of The Splendid Table, join Kasper on stage for this delicious edition of Talk of the Stacks.
Talk of the Stacks Tim Weiner – A Legacy of Ashes
Download Audio 62 minutes, 39 MB. Tim Weiner is a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter for The New York Times and has on American intelligence for more than twenty years. Weiner will discuss his newest work, A Legacy of Ashes, which won the 2007 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a Finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. Based on more than 50,000 documents (primarily from the archives of the CIA itself and hundreds of interviews with CIA veterans), A Legacy of Ashes examines the CIA from its creation after World War II through its battles in the cold war to its near-collapse after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Weiner’s work has been praised as “impressively reported” and “immensely entertaining” by The New York Times and “truly extraordinary . . . the best book ever written on a case of espionage” by the Wall Street Journal.
Talk of the Stacks Riding Shotgun – Women Write About Their Mothers
Download Audio 67 minutes, 39 MB. A group of America’s award-winning literary women have come together to tackle a topic close to their hearts: Mom. Riding Shotgun is a disarmingly honest and poignant collection of essays that explores one of the most common and complex human experiences, being a daughter. Looking behind the cliché of motherhood, these honest narratives tackle the personal experiences of motherhood. Edited by Kathryn Kysar, the 21 diverse stories in Riding Shotgun are beautifully crafted, alternately tender and tormented, and shockingly intimate. In an advance celebration of Mother’s Day, Talk of the Stacks hosts the book launch of this highly-anticipated anthology.
Participating authors: Barrie Jean Borich is the creative nonfiction editor of Water Stone Review and the author of My Lesbian Husband and Restoring the Color of Roses. Shannon Olson is the author of Welcome to My Planet: Where English Is Sometimes Spoken and Children of God Go Bowling. Wang Ping is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer with seven books, including her most recent story collection, The Last Communist Virgin. Faith Sullivan is the author of eight novels, including Gardenias, What a Woman Must Do, and The Cape Ann. Anne Ursu is the author of two novels, The Disapparation of James and Spilling Clarence, and the children’s trilogy, The Cronus Chronicles. Ka Vang is a Hmong playwright, fiction writer, and poet. Her play, From Shadows to Light, was produced by Theatre Mu. Kathryn Kysar is the author of a book of poetry, Dark Lake, and the editor of this collection of essays, Riding Shotgun.
Talk of the Stacks Ali Selim and Will Weaver – Sweet Land From Fiction to Film
Download Audio 63 minutes, 37 MB. In 1989, author Will Weaver received the Minnesota Book Award for Best Fiction for A Gravestone Made of Wheat & Other Stories. Sixteen years later screenwriter and director Ali Selim adapted the title short story from this collection to create the critically acclaimed movie, Sweet Land.
In this unique installment of Talk of the Stacks moderated by The Rake’s Cristina Cordova, Selim and Weaver will discuss fiction writing, film making, and the process of adapting a short story to a feature-length movie.
Will Weaver writes for adults and young adults. His novels and short stories have earned praise from reviewers coast to coast for their realism. Weaver’s debut novel, Red Earth, White Earth, was produced as a CBS television movie and several of the stories were performed on National Public Radio. Formerly an English professor at Bemidji State University, Weaver was described by the Los Angeles Times as a writer of uncommon natural talent.
Saint Paul resident Ali Selim (son of a German-American mother and an Egyptian-born father) has been directing advertising commercials since 1989. Selim has received the Gold Lion, advertising’s most coveted award from Cannes Advertising Film Festival. Ad Week magazine listed Selim in the top 1% of most sought after directors in the country and the Star Tribune named him the Minnesota Artist of the Year in 2006.
Talk of the Stacks Charles Baxter – The Soul Thief
Download Audio 63 minutes, 32 MB. In his 25-year career as a fiction writer, Charles Baxter has established himself as one of our great contemporary American novelists. Perhaps best known for his National Book Award-nominated The Feast of Love (which will be released this fall as a major motion picture starring Morgan Freeman), Baxter is the author of four novels, four collections of short stories, three collections of poems, and a collection of essays on fiction.
In his new novel, The Soul Thief, Baxter delivers a beautifully wrought and unexpected work of fiction about Nathaniel Mason, a graduate student living in Buffalo, who through a chain of illusive relationships and complex events learns his identity may in fact not be his own. Acutely observed in its emotional and terrifying detail, The Soul Thief explores the slippery nature of identity in American culture.
Talk of the Stacks Chip Kidd – The Learners
Download Audio 28 minutes, 17 MB. Award-winning graphic design pioneer Chip Kidd is credited with changing the way modern books are packaged. Having designed more than 1,500 book covers and counting, Kidd has been called “the closest thing to a rock star” in graphic design today by USA Today. His work has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New Republic, TIME, The New York Times, and countless other publications. With ‘The Learners’, the fascinating follow-up to his national bestselling debut ‘The Cheese Monkeys’, Kidd again shows that his writing is every bit as original and memorable as his celebrated book jackets. This time, Kidd conjures up a remarkable story about advertising, electro-shock torture, suicide, a giant dog, potato chips, and the Holocaust. Written in sharp, witty prose, and peppered with absorbing ruminations on the presence and importance of graphic design in our everyday lives, ‘The Learners’ is as entertaining as it is thought provoking.
In this insightful and hilarious presentation, Kidd reads from ‘The Learners’ and takes audience questions. Due to the audio-only nature of this recording, portions of Mr. Kidd’s presentation that relied heavily visuals have been edited from this podcast.
Talk of the Stacks Night Train and Other Ojibwe Stories: A celebration of Writing and Sisterhood with the Erdrichs
Download Audio 48 minutes, 28 MB. Sisters Lise, Heid, and Louise Erdrich grew up together in Wahpeton, ND (where their parents taught at the Bureau of Indian Affairs school) and each of them became accomplished writers. Coming together for a rare public appearance in celebration of Lise’s debut story collection, Night Train, the three sisters will discuss their craft, life, and Native American writing.
Lise is the author of several children’s books, including Sacagawea and Bears Make Rock Soup: And Other Stories. Her debut story collection, Night Train, is hot off the press from Coffee House. A sharp-humored collection set in the small towns and reservations of Northwestern Minnesota and North Dakota, Night Train was described by Sherman Alexie as “beautiful and rowdy, this book challenged, entertained, thrilled and scared me.”
Heid is the author of three collections of poetry, National Monuments (forthcoming), The Mother’s Tongue, Fishing for Myth, as well as co-editor of Sister Nations: Native American Women on Community. Her books have each been nominated for the Minnesota Book Awards and she has received numerous grants and honors. She co-founded the Turtle Mountain Writing Workshop with her sister Louise.
Louise is the author of eight novels, including the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Love Medicine and the National Book Award Finalist The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, as well as poetry, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood, The Bluejay’s Dance. She owns a small independent bookstore, BirchBark Books, in Minneapolis.
People’s University Hmong in Minnesota
Download Audio 77 minutes, 44 MB. According to the 2000 census, more than 42,000 Hmong live in Minnesota and the Twin Cities has the largest number of Hmong persons of any metropolitan area in the nation. Dr.Chia Vang (a refugee from Laos, assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and author of Hmong in Minnesota) will recount the colorful, intricate history of Hmong Minnesotans, many of whom were forced to flee their homeland of Laos when the communists seized power during the Vietnam War in the mid-70s. Through personal stories from immigrants, Vang will offer a unique perspective into the lives of the Minnesota Hmong population – exploring the immigrants’ struggle to adjust to new environments, build communities, maintain cultural practices, and make their mark on government policies and programs today.
People’s University Backstage at Peer Gynt
Download Audio 84 minutes, 49 MB. This winter, the Guthrie Theater will present Peer Gynt, a timeless and rarely-produced masterpiece, with a newly commissioned translation by prolific poet and Minnesota native Robert Bly. Bold, raucous, and satirically funny, this charming fantasy play captures the misadventures of the charismatic Peer Gynt on a journey to find his place in the world. Get the inside scoop on the newest production of the Guthrie Theater when Carla Steen (Literary Department) discusses the text, Craig Pettigrew (Assistant Technical Director) talks about building the set, the Property Mistress discusses the props, and Amy Schmidt (Costume Director) talks about the costumes for this eagerly awaited production. Moderated by Louise Chalfant, Associate Director of Education and Community Programs at the Guthrie Theater.
2007 Holiday Toast Kevin Kling – The Dog Says How
Download Audio 54 minutes, 32 MB. Kevin Kling is a storyteller, playwright, and regular contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered. His plays have been seen at the Guthrie Theater, Second Stage, Seattle Rep, the Goodman Theater, the Spoleto Festival and the HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. For the 2007 Friends Holiday Toast, Kling performed stories from his new debut book, The Dog Says How, a collection of classic and never-before-told stories about his eclectic life – from hopping freight trains, getting hit by lightning, performing his banned play in Czechoslovakia, to growing up in Minnesota. In Kling’s world, “the mundane becomes magical, the fantastic becomes accessible and through it all his profound sense of curiosity about the world transforms the everyday to the timeless” (Queen Anne News).
Talk of the Stacks Bill Holm – Windows of Brimnes
Download Audio 67 minutes, 39 MB. Garrison Keillor described Bill Holm as “The tallest radical humorist in the Midwest and a truthful and graceful writer. The award-winning author of nine books (both poetry and essays), Holm lives in Minnesota half the year teaching at Southwest State University and spends his summers in Iceland on the Arctic Circle.
Poet, musician, and polemicist Bill Holm brings us his most ambitious book to date, in Windows of Brimnes, a long essay that reflects on the state of America today as seen from the window of his home in the small fishing town of Brimnes, Iceland. Holm contrasts Iceland’s warmth, community, secularism, pacifism, and love of nature and poetry with America’s seemingly permanent state of war, fundamentalism, and pervasive violence. Bill Holm delivers a straightforward and often comical reflection on the state of our country today.
Talk of the Stacks Arvonne Fraser – She’s No Lady: Politics, Family, and International Feminism
Download Audio 58 minutes, 32 MB. Arvonne Fraser is senior fellow emeritus of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, co-founder and director of the Institute’s Center on Women and Public Policy, former director of the International Women’s Rights Action Watch, and former ambassador to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. Political activist, prolific leader, and founding mother of the women’s movement, Fraser is the author of countless publications, articles, and books.
In her newest work, She’s No Lady, she brings us a spirited memoir of a Minnesota farm girl who became founding mother of the worldwide women’s movement. Recounting her Depression-era upbringing, the early days of the DFL Party, her marriage to Don (former Congressman and Minneapolis Mayor), and her career in the non-profit sector, Fraser let’s the reader into her fascinating and inspiring life. In celebration of the publication of this historic memoir, Lori Sturdevant (editor and friend) will join Arvonne on stage in a conversation about life, politics and everything in between.
People’s University Reading the Days of the Dead Its Theory of Person and Society
Download Audio 62 minutes, 36 MB. Presented by Dr. Juanita Garciagodoy, Professor at Macalester College and author of Digging the Days of the Dead
In this illustrated lecture about interpreting Mexico’s Days of the Dead, Dr. Garciagodoy will consider the practices and paraphernalia of the fiesta in order to tease out some of its philosophical implications. According to the celebrant, what is a human being and how does she fit into her community? What obligations do the living have towards the dead and vice versa? How does this festival both use and resist the homogeneity of a globalized world? At the end of the lecture audience members will be invited to build an ofrenda to our dead at the library — bring a photo or name-card of your dead, plus a representation (or item) that was of significance to them, such as their favorite food, clothing, or pastime.
Talk of the Stacks Steve Almond – Not That You Asked
Download Audio 58 minutes, 34 MB. Steve Almond is the author of Candyfreak (named a Best Book of 2004 by Booksense, Amazon.com, Time Out and Library Journal), My Life in Heavy Metal, The Evil B.B. Chow, and Which Brings Me to You, co-written with Julianna Baggott. The San Francisco Chronicle described Almond’s language as “rendered in precise strokes with metaphors so original and spot-on that they read like epiphanies.”
In Not That You Asked, Almond gives us a provocative, universally offending, and wickedly entertaining collection of essays that explore the moral dilemmas of our age – tackling topics such as chest waxing, Kurt Vonnegut, ham at Chanukah, Oprah’s Book Club, homoerotic nature of professional sports, reality television, and much more.
People’s University Taking a Global Temperature
Download Audio 87 minutes, 50 MB. Frank Niepold, Climate Education Coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, delivers a presentation on ground-breaking work to ensure resource managers, policy makers, and the general public understand how to cope with climate variability and change. Annual temperatures are now approximately 1 degree warmer than at the start of the 20th century and the past nine years have all been among the 25 warmest years on record for the contiguous United States. Improved satellite and climate observation technologies, coupled with media interest and the internet, have allowed scientists to share their findings with a broader public audience.
Talk of the Stacks Per Petterson – Out Stealing Horses
Download Audio 43 minutes, 20 MB. With his fifth book, Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson has become an international literary sensation. Out Stealing Horses, published by the Twin Cities’ Graywolf Press, has won International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Norwegian Booksellers Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and has been translated into 24 languages. The New York Times calls it, “a gripping account of such originality as to expand the reader’s own experience of life.” Out Stealing Horses is the story of Trond, a man who has settled into a rustic cabin in eastern Norway to live the rest of his life with quiet deliberation. A meeting with his only neighbor, however, forces him out of isolation to reflect on a fateful childhood summer.
Talk of the Stacks Reading, Writing, Reviewing – 25 Years at the Washington Post Book World with Michael Dirda
Download Audio 65 minutes, 32 MB. Michael Dirda is the winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He has been an editor and writer for The Washington Post Book World for the past 25 years. A Fulbright Fellowship recipient, Dirda received his bachelor’s degree in English from Oberlin College and his doctorate in comparative literature from Cornell University. Dirda is the author of two collections of essays (Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments and Bound to Please), a memoir (An Open Book: Coming of Age in the Heartland) and a guide to reading and its life lessons (Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life).
The People’s University The Guantanamo Bay Challenge
Download Audio 135 minutes, 44 MB. Attorneys James Dorsey and Nicole Moen, of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., represent a Guantanamo Bay detainee and are on the leading edge of international human rights advocacy. Their presentation highlights four recent visits to Guantanamo Bay, their client’s situation, and human rights concerns.
Talk of the Stacks An Unexpected Life of Books – Sven Birkerts & Lewis Buzbee
Download Audio 61 minutes, 28 MB. Explore the unexpected life in books with award-winning authors Sven Birkerts & Lewis Buzbee, in conversation with Gail See. Both authors started their careers as booksellers and ultimately became authors. How did their passion for books become an all consuming career? What books have changed their lives? Will the ‘book’ survive?
Talk of the Stacks Heather McElhatton – Pretty Little Mistakes
Download Audio 56 minutes, 26 MB. Heather McElhatton’s original debut novel, Pretty Little Mistakes, is an edgy interactive novel for adults with more than 150 possible endings. After a witty introduction from satirist Kevin Kling, Heather reads one possible scenario from her book. Guitar accompaniment by Robert Bell.
2007 Minnesota Book Awards Finalists
Join us as nine exciting finalists of the 2007 Minnesota Book Awards describe the writing process and read from their books. Featured finalists are:
Caroline Burau for ‘Answering 911′; Mary Rose O’Reilley for ‘The Love of Impermanent Things’; Matthew Sanford for ‘Waking’; Diane Wilson for ‘Spirit Car’; Brian Freeman for ‘Stripped’; Roger Stelljes for ‘The St. Paul Conspiracy’; Alicia Conroy for ‘Lives of Mapmakers’; Patti Frazee for ‘Circus’; and Maureen Millea Smith for ‘When Charlotte Comes Home’.
Favorite Poem Celebrity Reading
Download Audio 35 minutes, 16 MB. Favorite Poem Celebrity Reading asks Minnesota celebrities to share a favorite poem. This popular event is in its 6th year. This year’s participating celebrities are: Andrew Zimmern, Host of the Travel Channel’s ‘Bizarre Foods’; Amelia Santaniello, WCCO News Anchor; Ta-coumba Aiken, artist; Brad Childress, Vikings Coach; Nate Dungan, Lead vocalist of Trailer Trash; Lee-Ann Stephens, Minnesota Teacher of the Year; Scott Seekins, artist; and Kerri Mil+ ler, Host of MPR Midmorning.
Talk of the Stacks The Laurel Poetry Collectives
Download Audio 87 minutes, 30 MB. This special event marks the completion of the Laurel Poetry Collective’s four-year mission and features its two latest books. Celebrate with US Trust and The Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library as 22 accomplished poets read a poem and shares how poetry has effected their lives.
People’s University Neil Baldwin and The Marshall Plan and Its Meanings – Europe 1947 – Iraq 2007
Download Audio 79 minutes, 33 MB. Best-selling author (The American Revelation, Henry Ford and the Jews) and historian Dr. Neil Baldwin assesses the Marshall Plan’s use as a descriptor for Bush administration’s actions in Iraq. Presented by the Marquette Financial Companies and The Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library.