BELL MUSEUM LAUNCH: “A Natural Curiosity: The Story of the Bell Museum,” a book celebrating the 150-year history of the St. Paul-based University of Minnesota museum, is virtually launching at 7 pm Wednesday, April 20. Presented by University of Minnesota Press and hosted by the museum’s science director, Dr. George Weiblen, the event will feature presentations by authors Don Luce and Barbra Coffin. Co-authors Lansing Shepard and Gwen Schagrin will join the program during the Q&A portion. Register at Eventbrite at: z.umn.edu/042022. A Zoom link will be sent to registered participants.
BRIT BENNETT: Author of “The Mothers” and bestseller “The Vanishing Half” discusses her work in the Minnesota State Write Like Us series that centers on and celebrates the work of Black, Indigenous and people of color. In conversation with Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, Minnesota children’s book author best known for her award-winning play “Kung Fu Zombies Vs Cannibals.” In-person. Free, open to the public. 2 pm Thursday, April 21. Anoka-Ramsey Community College Performing Arts Center, 11200 Mississippi Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids campus. Information: [email protected]
ABBY JIMENEZ: Minnesota bestselling romance writer and founder of the award-winning Nadia Cakes launches her new novel, “Part of Your World,” in conversation with Dylann Crush. In-person. 7 pm Tuesday, April 19, Granada Theater, 3022 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. Ticketed event, presented by Magers & Quinn. Information: magersandquinn.com/events.
LORNA LANDVIK: Popular Minnesota author of novels such as “Patty Jane’s House of Curl” and “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons” discusses her latest, “Chronicles of a Radical Hag” hosted by St. Pascal’s Women’s Book Club. 7 pm Monday, April 18, St. Pascal’s Church, 1757 Conway St., St. Paul. Free and open to the public but reservations are required by calling the parish office, 651-774-1585, or emailing [email protected]
MEANT TO RISE: Panel discussion of the anthology “We are Meant to Rise,” with contributors Arleta M. Little, Shannon Gibney, Ricardo Levins Morales, Mona Susan Power and Sun Yung Shin. In-person. Presented in partnership with More than a Single Story and University of Minnesota Press. 2:30 pm Sunday, April 24, Common Ground Meditation Center, 2700 E. 26th St., Mpls. Information: commongroundmeditation.org/calendar/.
READINGS BY WRITERS: With poets Roy G. Guzman, Leslie Adrienne Miller and Jim Moore. 7:30 pm Tuesday, April 19, University Club, 420 Summit Ave., St. Paul.
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON
St. Paul baker / poet (or poet / baker) Danny Klecko headlined what he believes is the first post-pandemic bookstore event in Washington, DC The reading was April 1, presented by Solid State Books. Klecko was supposed to read from his Midwest Book Award-winning “Hitman-Baker-Casketmaker: Aftermath of an American’s Clash with ICE” two years ago but the lockdown halted everything.
When the bookstore was ready to reopen, store manager Gwen Hunter contacted Klecko’s St. Paul publisher, Julie Pfitzinger of Paris Morning Publications, and invited him to read at their celebration on the rooftop of the Apollo luxury complex attached to the bookstore. Klecko read with poets Dwayne Lawson-Brown, Phil Goldstein and Teri Ellen Cross Davis. He says “it was a diverse audience happy to be back in one another’s company.”
On Aug. 13 Klecko will launch his book “The Dead Fitzgeralds” at the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald museum in Montgomery, Ala.
For all you subversives who make it a point to read banned books, thand the American Library Association offers help. The ALA kicked off National Library week April 4 by releasing its State of America’s Libraries Report, highlighting challenges US libraries faced in the second year of the pandemic.
The 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021 were:
- “Gender Queer”
- “All Boys Aren’t Blue”
- “Out of Darkness”
- “The Hate U Give”
- “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”
- “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”
- The Bluest Eye ”
- “This Book is Gay”
- “Beyond Magenta”
Reasons for the challenges: LGBTQ + content, considered sexually explicit, profanity.
ALA also reports recent polling shows seven in 10 voters oppose efforts to remove books from public libraries, including majorities of voters across party lines.
In response to the uptick in book challenges and other efforts to suppress access to information, ALA launched Unite Against Book Bans, a national initiative focused on empowering readers to stand together in the fight against censorship. More information at uniteagainstbookbans.org.