Newsletter, Nov11th 2022

The cold is finally here and likely here to stay for the next few months! Bookstores are just the cozy places to warm your heart on a cold afternoon. It still amazes me every time I open a book, the amount of wisdom and thought and research that goes into each book. For a mere 20/30$ we get to partake in the fruit of someone's imagination and years of laborious research! It's priceless! I do believe, books are the most underrated, undervalued, of all the “things” in our lives. Off my high-horse now :)

Preparations are in full swing for our Birthday Party weekend! November 25th is the 1 year anniversary and Nov 26th is Small Business Saturday - encouraging everyone to shop local, shop small. We will continue our celebration both days. We have Authors lined up for meet and greet both days. Cake cutting at noon on Friday! Early bird discounts and all-weekend giveaways! Check it all out.

Speaking of Authors, super excited to be meeting Paul Douglas - Author of Kids Guide To Saving the Planet, Founder and Chief Meteorologist at Praedictix and Climatrends, Star Tribune Meteorologist and Chief Meteorologist at WCCO Radio! He will be hanging out with us from 10-11 on Saturday the 26th.

Upcoming Events

  • Friday 11/11 4p - Another Robotics session with STEM Builders.

  • Friday 11/25 10-7p - Spot Birthday Party Open House

  • Saturday 11/26 10-6p - Small Business Saturday Open House

  • Saturday 11/26 7p - Standup comedy by Matt Kessen - come unwind with us. After a weekend of shopping and chasing deals, this will be just the thing. The topic is “ A Minnesota Bestiary” - The North Country’s rich and diverse imaginary fauna – monsters from Ojibwe and Dakota legends, lumberjack tall tales, the Paul Bunyan stories, and modern cryptozoology and UFOs!

  • Sunday Dec 4 2p - In conversation with Jessica Nordell Author of End of Bias: A beginning

  • Friday Dec 9th 5p - Ben Orlin and Math Game Night is back! Ben is finally seeing light after being buried in finishing his next book and has agreed to host another game night. This will be a fun family holiday evening outing! We will also have all the other board games out for you to check out and someone will be on hand to explain how to play.

Book Clubs

  • Sunday 11/13 4p - Middle Grade Bookclub - meeting to discuss Flush by Carl Hiaasen - that book was a hoot! Can't wait to hear what the kids thought of it! They're tough critics though so we shall see :)

  • Sunday 11/20 2p - Science Book Club - meeting to discuss section 1-3 of Joy of x by Steven Strogatz. I've just started it but one initial observation just blew my mind: Math is the one thing that we humans invented, totally made up, it does not exist outside of our minds and yet, we discover new “rules” about it all the time! Guess everyone knows that but having seen it put that way, it's mind-blowing isn't it?

  • The Master Naturalist Book club meets once a month at the Spot. They are currently reading “Secret Life of Fungi”. Please reach out if you are a master naturalist and interested in joining them.

Science News

It was Carl Sagan's birthday on Nov 9th. Wonder what he would've made of our Mars madness - our scramble to reach Mars. Speaking of Mars, this thing is going to get us to Mars. Yesterday, NASA used a satellite launch to test out its new heat shield. The successful Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) is a milestone for someday getting humans to Mars.

Book Recs

In addition to new releases and some gift recs below, here's a link to the Midwest Booksellers' Holiday Catalog. Obviously, I only carry a few of these books but you can always order from our Bookshop page. And if you'd like me to order ANY book for pickup in store, just call or email. Please allow 7-10 days for arrival however on any special orders and if you're watching the calendar that puts the last day to special order to guarantee arrival before Christmas at Dec 10th!

Oh and I might've gone a bit crazy on puzzles. There were so many great images and sizes - I couldn't resist! Then there's the Midwest Bookseller roadmap and other puzzle twist puzzles. Puzzles provide hours of pleasure, as a mindfulness break, mental workout or a just an old-fashioned family activity everyone can enjoy! Puzzle Away!

Lastly, we have a “Thanking Tree” setup in one of the windows. This was an idea I heard about from another bookseller and thought what a great way for people to take a moment to express gratitude as they are going about their day. Plus, what a great way to reuse some of that packing material I'm drowning in :). Add a “leaf” with your gratitude next time you're in-store.

Keep reading and see you at The Spot soon,


New Titles Recommended For You

The End of Craving

By Mark Schatzker

November 8, 2022 ; Health & Fitness / Diet & Nutrition

The international bestseller from award-winning writer Mark Schatzker that reveals how our dysfunctional relationship with food began—and how science is leading us back to healthier living and eating. For the last fifty years, we have been fighting a losing war on food. We have cut fat, reduced carbs, eliminated sugar, and attempted every conceivable diet only to find that eighty-eight million American adults are prediabetic, more than a hundred million have high blood pressure, and nearly half now qualify as obese. The harder we try to control what we eat, the unhealthier we become. Why? Mark Schatzker has spent his career traveling the world in search of the answer. Now, in The End of Craving, he poses the profound question: What if the key to nutrition and good health lies not in resisting the primal urge to eat but in understanding its purpose? Beginning in the mountains of Europe and the fields of the Old South, Schatzker embarks on a quest to uncover the lost art of eating and living well. Along the way, he visits brain scanning laboratories and hog farms, and encounters cultural oddities and scientific paradoxes—northern Italians eat what may be the world’s most delicious cuisine, yet are among the world’s thinnest people; laborers in southern India possess an inborn wisdom to eat their way from sickness to good health. Schatzker reveals how decades of advancements in food technology have turned the brain’s drive to eat against the body, placing us in an unrelenting state of craving. Only by restoring the relationship between nutrition and the pleasure of eating can we hope to lead longer and happier lives. Combining cutting-edge science and ancient wisdom, The End of Craving is an urgent and radical investigation that “charts a roadmap not just for healthy eating, but for joyous eating, too” (Dan Barber, New York Times bestselling author of The Third Plate).Mark Schatzker is an award-winning writer based in Toronto. He is a writer-in-residence at the Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center at Yale University, and a frequent contributor to The Globe and Mail (Toronto), Condé Nast Traveler, and Bloomberg Pursuits. He is the author of The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth about Food and Flavor and Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef.

Conversations with Birds

By Kumar Priyanka

November 8, 2022; Nature / Animals / Birds

“Birds are my almanac. They tune me into the seasons, and into myself.”

So begins this lively collection of essays by acclaimed filmmaker and novelist Priyanka Kumar. Growing up at the feet of the Himalayas in northern India, Kumar took for granted her immersion in a lush natural world. After moving to North America as a teenager, she found herself increasingly distanced from more than human life, and discouraged by the civilization she saw contributing to its destruction. It was only in her twenties, living in Los Angeles and working on films, that she began to rediscover her place in the landscape -- and in the cosmos -- by way of watching birds.

Tracing her movements across the American West, this stirring collection of essays brings the avian world richly to life. Kumar’s perspective is not that of a list keeper, counting and cataloguing species. Rather, from the mango-colored western tanager that rescues her from a bout of altitude sickness in Sequoia National Park to ancient sandhill cranes in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, and from the snowy plovers building shallow nests with bits of shell and grass to the white-breasted nuthatch that regularly visits the apricot tree behind her family’s casita in Sante Fe, for Kumar, birds “become a portal to a more vivid, enchanted world.”

At a time when climate change, habitat loss, and the reckless use of pesticides are causing widespread extinction of species, Kumar’s reflections on these messengers from our distant past and harbingers of our future offer luminous evidence of her suggestion that “seeds of transformation lie dormant in all of our hearts. Sometimes it just takes the right bird to awaken us.”

Priyanka Kumar is the author of Conversations with Birds. Her essays and criticism appear in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Huffington Post, and High Country News. She is a recipient of the Aldo & Estella Leopold Writing Residency, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Award, a New Mexico/New Visions Governor's Award, a Canada Council for the Arts Grant, an Ontario Arts Council Literary Award, and an Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Fellowship. A graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and an alumna of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Kumar wrote, directed and produced the feature documentary The Song of the Little Road, starring Martin Scorsese and Ravi Shankar. Kumar has taught at the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of Southern California, and serves on the Board of Directors at the Leopold Writing Program.

When Galaxies Were Born

By Richard S. Ellis

November 8, 2022; Science / Space Science / Astronomy

One of today’s leading astronomers takes readers inside the decades-long search for the first galaxies and the origin of starlight Astronomers are like time travelers, scanning the night sky for the outermost galaxies that first came into being when our universe was a mere fraction of its present age. When Galaxies Were Born is Richard Ellis’s firsthand account of how a pioneering generation of scientists harnessed the world’s largest telescopes to decipher the history of the universe and witness cosmic dawn, the time when starlight first bathed the cosmos and galaxies emerged from darkness. In a remarkable career spanning more than forty years, Ellis has made some of the most spectacular discoveries in modern cosmology. He has traveled the world to conduct observations in locales as beautiful and remote as the Australian outback, the Canary Islands, Hawaii, and the Chilean desert. In this book, he brings to life a golden age of astronomy, describing the triumphs and the technical setbacks, the rivalries with competing teams, and the perennial challenge of cloudy nights. Ellis reveals the astonishing progress we have made in building ever larger and more powerful telescopes, and provides a tantalizing glimpse of cosmic dawn. Stunningly illustrated with a wealth of dramatic photos, When Galaxies Were Born is a bold scientific adventure enlivened by personal insights and anecdotes that enable readers to share in the thrill of discovery at the frontiers of astronomy.

Richard S. Ellis is professor of astrophysics at University College London and a world-renowned observational astronomer who has made numerous discoveries about the nature and evolution of the universe. He lives in Cambridge, UK.