Tag Archives: Sherman Alexie

“Eat My Shorts” Celebrates the Art and Elegance of a Powerful Genre

Back in the day, when the printed word reigned as a prime mode of communicating information and ideas – and academic institutions offered electives that were not finely tuned to career goals – I spent a semester mesmerized by Catherine Lupori who taught a most exceptional course on The Short Story. We devoured with awe the artfully crafted words of Flannery O’Connor (still my favorite), Virginia Wolff, Alan Tate, Franz Kafka and scores of other short story writers. (The elegance of the short story allows for many voices to be heard.)

Thus I rejoice at the launch this week of “Eat My Shorts: Short Story Theatre”, the brainchild of Scott VanKoughnett, proprietor of Eat My Words Bookstore. The opening event, 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 29, is first in the series that features a robust mix of short fiction, performance, and audience participation. The performance reading will be led by Applause Community Theatre whose members will lead with a performance reading followed by opportunities for audience participation.

Featured author for the premiere is Sherman Alexie (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/sherman-alexie) whose work includes poetry, fiction, comedy and film, much of which reflects Alexie’s experience as a Native American.

Eat My Words bookstore is at 1228 2nd Street in Northeast Minneapolis. To learn more about this most extraordinary bookstore check this recent blog post — file://localhost/(https/::marytreacy.wordpress.com:2016:02:06:hungry-for-a-good-read-try-eat-my-words)

To read or reconnect with some favorite short stories you might want to start here:


To learn more about Applause Community Theatre on FaceBook click here: https://www.facebook.com/ACTMN/timeline



Indy First Day/Small Business Saturday, November 29

Reading is such a personal thing to me, I’d much rather give someone a

gift certificate to a bookstore, and let that person choose his or her own books.

Writer & journalist, Erik Larson

A gift suggestion to consider as you work your way down this season’s holiday shopping list.  A best path  to the perfect book – – or the gift certificate — starts with a  visit to a favorite indie bookstores on Small Business Saturday, November 29, 2014 – a day now known to bibliophiles as Indies First day!

 The Indies First campaign was the brainchild of Sherman Alexie who proposed last year that authors celebrate Small Business Saturday by lending a hand at their favorite indie bookstore. Gaiman’s “audacious and imaginative” idea caught on – over 100 writers helped out at their favorite indie. Indies First became an instant Tradition!

This year, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) introduced Upstream, an independent bookstore-author partnership that builds on Alexie’s Indies First idea. (http://www.bookweb.org/news/daniel-handler-launches-upstream-initiative-support-indie-bookstores)

And in anticipation of Small Business Saturday 2014 writers Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer joined the campaign. Earlier this year Gaiman and Palmer penned a delightful letter to their fellow authors in which they describe their personal love affairs with indies…. “Neil wanted to be an author when he grew up. But if he wasn’t an author, he thought, the best possible profession would be working in a bookshop, pointing people at books they might like, ordering books for them, divining with some kind of superhuman ability that the book with the blue cover that their granny needed was actually Forever Amber, and otherwise making people’s lives better while being in bookshops.”

Palmer’s affair began with a more casual encounter: “Before she started working on her first book, Amanda walked into the Trident Bookstore on Newbury Street in Boston. She wasn’t even in there to browse books…she was in there to go to the bathroom, like you do…On her walk through the store, she noticed a book called Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown, sitting on the Staff Picks table. Amanda remembered seeing Brene’s TED talk about fear and vulnerability, and picked up the book, which she started reading and couldn’t put down. She bought it.   Two months later, Amanda wrote Brene a fan letter, and then Brene wrote the introduction for Palmer’s new book.”

Gaiman and Palmer conclude that “the Internet cannot make this magic happen. It cannot suggest books you have no idea you want. There’s nothing like the human, organic serendipity of an independent bookshop, where people who read and love books share their love with others.”

The Indie’s First campaign (http://www.bookweb.org/indiesfirst) features an up-dated listing of bookstore events scheduled for Small Business Saturday. Conveniently arranged by author and bookstore the list offers location site and brief description of events. Minnesota Indie First participants include these – be sure to check the listing for more complete information and for last minute updates:

  • An Open Book – Wadena – Activities and authors: story time and free craft activities
  • Excelsior Bay Books – Author Molly Beth Griffin, illustrator Jennifer A. Bell of Rhoda’s Rock Hunt, 1:00-3:00
  • Magers & Quinn – Minneapolis – Will Alexander, Anders Nilsen and Charlie Quimby will be selling books all afternoon
  • Red Balloon – St. Paul –Personal shopping with William Alexander, Michael Dahl, Brian Farrey, Michael Hall, David LaRochelle, Carrie Mesrobian, Stephen Shaskan, Trisha Speed Shaskan and Anne Ursu.
  • Scout & Morban Books – Cambridge – Stan Tekiela, Holly Harden
  • Valley Bookseller – Stillwater – local authors
  • Wild Rumpus – Minneapolis – William Alexander, Michael Hall, Lauren Stringer





“Book nerds” Pitch in for Indies on Small Business Saturday

Author Sherman Alexie is well known to Minnesota readers.  In fact, he will be in Minnesota next week to speak at Minnesota State University Moorhead. (Thursday, September 12, 7:00 p.m.)   His talk at Plymouth Congregational Church last fall drew an SRO crowd.  He’s been on “Talking Volumes” and was interviewed on Bill Moyers’ show.

His fans may want to heed his recent brainstorm:   Alexie is out with an idea that may resonate with Minnesota writers, readers, booksellers other “book needs”, as Alexie calls his colleagues.

The popular writer has proposed this week that writers enter the world of commerce by participating in Small Business Saturday, the national initiative of independent business;  more specifically, Alexis suggested that writers – and presumably other bibliophiles, join ranks with independent booksellers.   Small Business Saturday 2013 is November 30, Thanksgiving weekend– in the wake of Black Friday.

Alexie may be taking a lead from the Obama family who last year celebrated the day by shopping at One More Page Books in suburban Virginia.  Or he may be buoyed by the fact that Oren Teicher of the American Booksellers Association has reported that 2012 sales by independent booksellers were ten percent ahead of 2011 sales.

In a letter to a small group of authors (http://www.bookweb.org/indies-first)  sent over Labor Day weekend Alexie called on them to become “superheroes for independent booksellers“ by working at their favorite indie in whatever role is needed.  “We book nerds will become booksellers.  We will make recommendations. We will practice nepotism and urge readers to buy multiple copies of our friends’ books.  Maybe you’ll sign and sell books of your own in the process. I think the collective results could be mind-boggling …The most important thing is that we’ll all be helping independent bookstores and God knows they’ve helped us over the years.”

Though the drive is just aborning, the mechanics are actually in place The ABA has created a webpage for those who wish to sign up.  Authors sign up here:  (http://www.bookweb.org/indies-first-author-sign) and booksellers can sign up here: (http://www.bookweb.org/indies-first-bookstore-sign).

Minnesota “book nerds” may want to call or stop by an indie bookstore to learn more, express support, even sign up to lend on hand to sell, shelve, hype, to get up and do what needs to be done to help out the Indies First cause on Small Business Saturday.