Tag Archives: bookstores Minneapolis

Eat My Words — A Moveable Feast

Decades ago I had the  experience of helping to move a library – actually the substantial library of the institution formerly known as the College of St. Catherine.  The move was from the basement of Jeanne d’Arc Chapel to a magnificent new facility across the campus.

The operation was masterminded by Sister Marie Inez (aka Alice Smith) with the precision of the Normandy Invasion.  We trudged up what felt like 100 narrow steps from the basement then trekked across campus toting a meticulously ordered and labeled stack of tomes to a pre-determined destination determined on the shelves of the new library.  The rewards were irresistible – time out of class and a cookie/bar at the end of each delivery.  It was a grand experience – and to this day I doubt that a single volume was lost or mis-shelved upon arrival!

All of this comes to mind in vivid detail as I anticipate the forthcoming move of Eat My Words!, my favorite indie bookstore in Northeast Minneapolis.   Proprietor Scott VanKoughnett and his assistant Jennifer Bailey press on with the unflappable spirit of Sister Marie Inez.  Though I’m not privy to the details, I share their optimism for the Grand Relocation, if not for the move per se.  (I suspect Scott has lined up real movers not college students and that their pay will be more negotiable than cookies….)

It’s an upward move – i.e. EMW will be moving about a block up 13th Avenue Northeast to a gracious setting heretofore the home of Two 12 Pottery.  More than ever, visitors will be able to relax and relish the used book selection in the environment described thus on the EMW website: “Spending an hour at Eat My Words is like going to the home of friends – friends with 20,000 books to show you and share with you.”

The relocation setting is well known to denizens and visitors to the Northeast arts community. For many years Two 12 Pottery has been a favorite haunt of discriminating shoppers with a yen for high quality goods at real people prices. Times change, Bob Sorg, the potter and proprietor of Two 12 Pottery, will be exploring other options while EMW will inherit the lovely site and the residual good vibes that Two12 has long emitted.   Learn more about Two12 here:  (http://www.two12pottery.com/about/4590772963)

EMW is not only a bookstore, it is a gathering place of people with ideas.  For example, EMW is is one of the several entities in Northeast that continues to welcome and support community initiatives to engage in civil discourse during these troubled political times.

(https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/heeding-the-clarion-call-to-civil-conversation/)  Somehow the staff will continue to host their robust calendar of events during and after The Move.  You can check these out here.  http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com/events/?view=calendar&month=June-2017  (Tip: You really want to sign up to be on the distribution list for forthcoming events.)

Personally and selfishly I am delighted that we have been assured that there will continue to be space and a welcome mat for Voices of Northeast, the series of videotaped interviews with Northeast writers and literary artists that we have produced in the EMW “parlor” for the past many months.  (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/hungry-for-a-good-read-try-eat-my-words/)

We thank the proprietors of Two 12 Pottery for the many ways in which the unique merchandise and gracious staff have met the wishes of artists and visitors to the shop.  It’s a beautiful hand-off from Two 12 Pottery to Eat My Words.  The Northeast arts community has been and will be enriched by both enterprises and by the customers who appreciate and frequent shops that have

Treat Your Palate to a Mixed Menu of Readings at Eat My Words

If you’ve discovered Eat My Words, you’ve been there often. If not, the next couple of weeks offer a great chance to explore this charming bookstore nestled in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area.   Whether you’re a veteran visitor or a newbie you’ll find the agenda of readings during the early holiday season is intriguing, even irresistible.

Start this week, with a talk by Aaron Isaacs, author of Twin Ports by Trolley: The Streetcar Era in Duluth-Superior.   Sounds like a tome well-suited for a community pondering the possibilities of a streetcar serving Northeast. Isaacs’ talk is Wednesday, December 10, 7:00 p.m. at the bookstore.

Then, on Saturday, December 13, return to Eat My Words for the launch of Festival in Crime, the newest anthology from the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime! The spell-binder will fill the stocking of the best-read mystery fan on your shopping list. The launch is set for 7:00 p.m. but come early so you have plenty of time to browse the book-laden shelves.

On Sunday, December 14, 2:00 p.m. children’s book author Alison McGhee will read from Star Bright: A Christmas Story, described as “a perfectly angelic – and perfectly charming – Christmas story that offers a creative twist on the classic tale of the Nativity” for children ages 4-8.

For a change of pace, drop in on Tuesday, December 17, at 7:00-ish for First Case of Beers, featuring P.M. LaRose, known locally to readers of the PiPress. “Beers” is actually the nickname for the protagonist, James Alfred Biersovich, head of security at LaScala, a trendy Minneapolis department store (aren’t they all trendy?) It’s a holiday thriller, complete with Santa and the Scalabrino clan.

Rounding out the week is a Spoken Word Showcase on Saturday, December 20, 7:00 p.m. Local authors and spoken word artists Thressa Johnson, Lewis Mundt, Taylor Seaberg and Chava Gabrielle Davis will share their recent work, showcasing several media formats and various approaches to their art.

Eat My Words is at 1228 2nd Street Northeast in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area (picture close to the iconic Grainbelt Brewery – one of many in the NEMAA neighborhood) www.eatmywordsbooks.com, eatmywordsbooks@gmail.com, (651) 243 – 1756

Boneshaker Books adds to cities reading options

Think “boneshaker” and bicycles come immediately to mind – unless you’re clueless like me and had to resort to Wikipedia to get a glimmer.  What ignited my curiosity was the quest to understand the origin of the name of this community’s newest bookstore.  First I learned about the bicycle derivation – and then I had the delight of exploring Boneshaker Books, right in the Seward Neighborhood, on 23rd just off Franklin, in SE Minneapolis.

When I arrived at Boneshaker Books I was far more concerned with bone-chilling than bone-shaking.  My arctic trip to their not-quite-new bookshop had left me grumpy and generally impervious to any good thoughts, much less of bicycles and bookstores.  When I left Boneshakers an hour later, after a broad-ranging chat with Clay Beardshear, member of the collective, I was inspired, energized, open to new ideas – I even had a glimmer of the enigmatic name of the shop and an appreciation of the collaboration that’s working to build this unique bookstore.  Not so relevant at the moment, perhaps, is the fact that Boneshakers really does plan to offer a bicycle delivery service, as befits their name.

To understand Boneshakers is to go back to its roots at Arise! where the seven members of today’s Boneshaker Books collective got their start as volunteers, a mix of professionals, craftspeople and all-round bibliophiles promoting the cause, making a difference in the unique role that Arise! once played on the community scene as a source of progressive, non-traditional, unique reading resources.  When Arise! was forced to close, these seven entrepreneurs first considered purchasing the Arise! building to continue the mission.  For several months they hosted the Storefront in a Box programs at their South Lyndale site, maintaining throughout that the demise of Arise! meant an “unacceptable loss” to this community.

At some point, a new idea took shape, the opportunity to create a bookstore born of but not housed at the Arise! site.  Seward neighborhood and the opportunity to establish a new site in an irresistible option.   Boonshaker Books soon saw the opportunity renovate a beautiful building at the same time they could build an independent organization and business, committed to a collection of fiction and nonfiction titles that include  history and politics, economics, race and sexual relations – with a concerted eye to children’s books that escape the made-for-TV genre that permeates the chains.  The building itself is a model of recycling, re-use and environmental concern – the beautiful hardwood floor was once  a basketball court, shelving hand-crafted by Clay Beardshear is as beautiful as it is sturdy, windows, doors, walls – basically everything – is recycled and elegant.

The all-volunteer staff at Boneshaker Books is committed to the power of the printed – and read – word, and to serving the Twin Cities with a unique mix of book stock and creative programming.

A sidebar issue that I hope/plan to explore in greater depth is the fact that one area of tomorrow’s Boneshakers is reserved for the Women’s Prison Book Project, a program that too many of us had assumed was no longer.  I was happy to learn that it was not dead, but only sleeping.

As with other book dealers Clay was far more interested in the future of the printed book and of Boneshakers than he was with whining about the impact of e-books and other technologies, or even the heavy hand of the biggie publishers.  Totally refreshing.

Boneshaker Books is celebrating their Grand Opening with an all-out bash on Saturday, January 15.  They will open their doors to shoppers and explorers at 11:00 a.m. That evening there will be a great blast off, featuring pizza and other treats, free and open to all.

The Seward neighborhood and adventurous readers throughout the Twin Cities have a grand new option.