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The Exceptions

Newsletter, March 10th, 2023

One of the books I'm currently reading “The Exceptions” turned out to be a perfect read for “International Women's Day” which was this past Wednesday. It is the story of Nancy Hopkins a molecular biologist at MIT and 16 other women scientists who forced MIT to reckon with its sexism. The description of the early years of Nancy working with stalwarts of genetics like Watson and Crick is fascinating yet appalling in the way she was treated. What I loved though is how she just kept going, turning the exceptional nature of her presence into a normal that others could see and follow. I had a T-shirt once that said, “Know your limitations, then ignore them”. It was in the context of roller coasters and even though it doesn't work for me and rollercoasters, I think it's a pretty good maxim for working through uncomfortable situations. Keep making the exceptional normal and maybe one day, we will no longer have to do special callouts to a group or community for just being who they are. At least that's my dream.


  • *NEW* The Reading Circle - Saturday, March 11th, 9-10 am - Saturday morning quiet reading time! Bring your own book, pick up your favorite beverage (or use our free options), find a cozy corner at The Spot, and join us in reading for an hour. No discussion, no questions, just reading in the company of other readers! Exercise your brain, get the weekend started right, then off you go, doing things that you have to do.

  • Reading with Getty - Tuesday, March 14th, 4-6 pm - It's been a lot of fun having Getty in-store. We will continue to bring her back as long as there is interest. Find a slot that works for you and come visit her. 10 mins is all it takes and builds a reading habit over time!

  • *NEW* Science Trivia Night - Thursday, March 23rd 6-8pm - Are you into gathering facts? Love science? Come test your knowledge against others in a fun and relaxing environment.

  • Generative AI Workshop - Saturday, March 26th Noon-1:30 pm. These sessions are “generating” a lot of interest and some very insightful discussions! March session is also being live-streamed so please make sure you pick the appropriate ticket when signing up.

  • *NEW* Nerd Nights - Thursday, April 13th, 7 pm - An Evening of Learning and Nerding out! Join us as we hear from 3 members of the community on various STEM topics.


All Author events are FREE. Register early to reserve your spot!

  • Landscaping for Bees - Saturday, March 11th, 2:00 pm - Heather Holm - Minnetonka's very own celebrity pollinator expert will speak about “Creating and Managing Landscapes for Native Bees”. Her books on Bees and Wasps are also now on our regional shelf! She is a prolific researcher and writer and speaker about all things pollination.

  • Ecology for Kids - Saturday, March 18th, 10:00 am - Liz Heinecke - Our favorite local scientist is back with another book. Her latest - Ecology for Kids - releases on March 7th and this will be our “book launch” party for her. As usual, she will have experiments from her book for the kids (and adults) to watch and perform!

  • How High We Go in the Dark - Sunday, April 16th, 1:00 pm - Sequoia Nagamatsu - Book-signing, reading, and discussion about the national best-selling novel "How high we go in the dark" with Author Sequoia Nagamatsu. A profoundly prescient debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague—a daring and deeply heartfelt work of mind-bending imagination from a singular new voice. Our Fiction book club is currently reading this book!

  • *NEW* Saving The Planet - Saturday, April 23rd, 2:00 pm - Celebrate Earth Day with Paul Douglas, local meteorologist and Author of climate-related books in conversation with Dr. Rod Fisher - scientist, engineer, and teacher who is now in phase 4 of his professional life focused on understanding and enabling solutions to societal problems - in particular, challenges & opportunities with Climate Change.


CHESS Workshops with Dr. Fun - The beginner's session had to be canceled due to low registration. The intermediate sessions are still being offered, please register if your child is interested. Minimum 8 needed to hold the sessions.

  • America’s Fun Science presents four classes of fun learning chess basics from a championship chess coach; each class focuses on a different piece. Each 2-session series culminates with a mini-tournament and prizes! And, you can learn to play Four-Way Chess!

  • Beginner Chess - 2 sessions. 2 hrs each. March 11th and 25th 10:30a-12:30p. - CANCELLED

  • Intermediate Chess - 2 sessions. 2 hrs each. April 1st and 8th 10:30a-12:30p.


Our various Book Clubs are listed here. Call or WhatsApp to join!



Lots of great new releases this week, including a bumper crop of Local Authors' books - there were 5 new local Author releases this week! So cool to have so many wonderful Authors in our midst. Raise your hand if you'd like to meet them all! I know I do!

Happy reading and see you at the Spot soon!


(Call/WhatsApp - 952-217-5682)

New or Upcoming Titles Recommended For You

The Exceptions

By Kate Zernike

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who broke the story, the inspiring account of the sixteen female scientists who forced MIT to publicly admit it had been discriminating against its female faculty for years—sparking a nationwide reckoning with the pervasive sexism in science. In 1999, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology admitted to discriminating against women on its faculty, forcing institutions across the country to confront a problem they had long ignored: the need for more women at the top levels of science. Written by the journalist who broke the story for The Boston Globe, The Exceptions is the untold story of how sixteen highly accomplished women on the MIT faculty came together to do the work that triggered the historic admission. The Exceptions centers on the life of Nancy Hopkins, a reluctant feminist who became the leader of the sixteen and a hero to two generations of women in science. Hired to prestigious universities at the dawn of affirmative action efforts in the 1970s, Dr. Hopkins and her peers embarked on their careers believing that discrimination against women was a thing of the past—that science was, at last, a pure meritocracy. For years they explained away the discrimination they experienced as the exception, not the rule. Only when these few women came together after decades of underpayment and the denial of credit, advancement, and equal resources to do their work did they recognize the relentless pattern: women were often marginalized and minimized, especially as they grew older. Meanwhile, men of similar or lesser ability had their career paths paved and widened. The Exceptions is a powerful yet all-too-familiar story that will resonate with all professional women who experience what those at MIT called “21st-century discrimination”—a subtle and stubborn bias, often unconscious but still damaging. As in bestsellers from Hidden Figures to Lab Girl and Code Girls, we are offered a rare glimpse into the world of high-level scientific research and learn about the extraordinary female scientists whose work has been overlooked throughout history, and how these women courageously fought for fair treatment as they struggled to achieve the recognition they rightfully deserve.

Kate Zernike has been a reporter for The New York Times since 2000. She was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for stories about al-Qaeda before and after the 9/11 terror attacks. She was previously a reporter for The Boston Globe, where she broke the story of MIT’s admission that it had discriminated against women on its faculty, on which The Exceptions is based. The daughter and granddaughter of scientists, she is a graduate of Trinity College at the University of Toronto and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and sons.

Urban Jungle

By Ben Wilson

In this exhilarating look at cities, past and future, Ben Wilson proposes that, in our world of rising seas and threatening weather, the natural world may prove the city's savior •

"Illuminating. . . Wilson leaves readers with hope about the future of efforts to preserve the ecosystems that surround us, as well as a new perspective that looks beyond the concrete and asphalt when walking along a city’s streets."—AP Since the beginning of civilization, humans have built cities to wall nature out, then glorified it in beloved but quite artificial parks. In Urban Jungle Ben Wilson—the author of Metropolis, a seven-thousand-year history of cities that the Wall Street Journal called “a towering achievement”—looks to the fraught relationship between nature and the city for clues to how the planet can survive in an age of climate crisis. Whether it was the market farmers of Paris, Germans in medieval forest cities, or the Aztecs in the floating city of Tenochtitlan, pre-modern humans had an essential bond with nature. But when the day came that water was piped in and food flown from distant fields, that relationship was lost. Today, urban areas are the fastest-growing habitat on Earth and in Urban Jungle Ben Wilson finds that we are at last acknowledging that human engineering is not enough to protect us from extremes of weather. He takes us to places where efforts to rewild the city are under way: to Los Angeles, where the city’s concrete river will run blue again, to New York City, where a bleak landfill will be a vast grassland preserve. The pinnacle of this strategy will be Amsterdam: a city that is its own ecosystem, that makes no waste and produces its own energy. In many cities, Wilson finds, nature is already thriving. Koalas are settling in Brisbane, wild boar may raid your picnic in Berlin. Green canopies, wildflowers, wildlife: the things that will help cities survive, he notes, also make people happy. Urban Jungle offers the pleasures of history—how backyard gardens spread exotic species all over the world, how war produces biodiversity—alongside a fantastic vision of the lush green cities of our future. Climate change, Ben Wilson believes, is only the latest chapter in the dramatic human story of nature and the city.

BEN WILSON has an undergraduate and master's degree in history from Cambridge. He is the author of six previous books, including Metropolis, What Price Liberty?; for which he received the Somerset Maugham Award; and the Sunday Times bestseller Empire of the Deep: The Rise and Fall of the British Navy.


By Hettie Judah

Inspired by the lapidaries of the ancient world, this book is a beautifully designed collection of true stories about sixty different stones that have influenced our shared history The earliest scientists ground and processed minerals in a centuries-long quest for a mythic stone that would prolong human life. Michelangelo climbed mountains in Tuscany searching for the sugar-white marble that would yield his sculptures. Catherine the Great wore the wealth of Russia stitched in gemstones onto the front of her bodices. Through the realms of art, myth, geology, philosophy and power, the story of humanity can be told through the minerals and materials that have allowed us to evolve and create. From the Taiwanese national treasure known as the Meat-Shaped Stone to Malta’s prehistoric “fat lady” temples carved in globigerina limestone to the amethyst crystals still believed to have healing powers, Lapidarium is a jewel box of sixty far-flung stones and the stories that accompany them. Together, they explore how human culture has formed stone, and the roles stone has played in forming human culture.

Hettie Judah is one of Britain’s leading writers on art and a sought-after public speaker. She writes regularly for the Guardian, Vogue, Frieze, The i, Apollo and the New York Times, and is the author of several art books that include Art London, Frida Kahlo and How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers (and Other Parents). She lives in London.

I, Human

By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

For readers of Sapiens and Homo Deus and viewers of The Social Dilemma, psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic tackles one of the biggest questions facing our species: Will we use artificial intelligence to improve the way we work and live, or will we allow it to alienate us?

It's no secret that AI is changing the way we live, work, love, and entertain ourselves. Dating apps are using AI to pick our potential partners. Retailers are using AI to predict our behavior and desires. Rogue actors are using AI to persuade us with bots and misinformation. Companies are using AI to hire us—or not.

In I, Human psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic takes readers on an enthralling and eye-opening journey across the AI landscape. Though AI has the potential to change our lives for the better, he argues, AI is also worsening our bad tendencies, making us more distracted, selfish, biased, narcissistic, entitled, predictable, and impatient.

It doesn't have to be this way. Filled with fascinating insights about human behavior and our complicated relationship with technology, I, Human will help us stand out and thrive when many of our decisions are being made for us. To do so, we'll need to double down on our curiosity, adaptability, and emotional intelligence while relying on the lost virtues of empathy, humility, and self-control.

This is just the beginning. As AI becomes smarter and more humanlike, our societies, our economies, and our humanity will undergo the most dramatic changes we've seen since the Industrial Revolution. Some of these changes will enhance our species. Others may dehumanize us and make us more machinelike in our interactions with people. It's up to us to adapt and determine how we want to live and work.

The choice is ours. What will we decide?

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is the Chief Innovation Officer at ManpowerGroup, Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and at Columbia University, cofounder of Deeper Signals, and an associate at Harvard's Entrepreneurial Finance Lab. He is the author of Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (and How to Fix It), upon which his TEDx talk was based. Find Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Twitter at or at


By Kelsey Oseid


Discover the wonder of trees—one of the most essential life forms on the planet—in this beautifully illustrated, entertaining, and educational guide from the acclaimed author of What We See in the Stars. Trees are fascinating: The oldest living organism on Earth is a tree, and forest biomes cover one-third of the Earth’s surface. Trees provide fruit, spices, nuts, timber, shade, habitats, and oxygen, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They can tap into fungal networks in the soil to care for each other by trading water and nutrients and to warn one another of drought and disease. In Trees: An Illustrated Celebration, celebrated artist and author Kelsey Oseid shows us just how vital trees are to the health and beauty of our planet. Her striking naturalistic art is accompanied by fun scientific facts: Some trees have thinner root hairs than human hairs; tree rings provide important information on supernovae and climate change; and you can identify many trees from their leaf shape alone. The world's most stunning, strange, and noteworthy trees—from mangroves and redwoods to baobabs and dragon trees—come to life in Oseid's elegant and playful style. Filled with captivating information and vivid, colorful illustrations, Trees: An Illustrated Celebration will delight and inspire nature lovers of all ages.

Kelsey Oseid is an illustrator, painter, artist, and amateur naturalist. She has illustrated a variety of children's books and runs an online shop where she sells prints and original pieces of her nature-themed work. She is the author of What We See in the Stars, Whales: An Illustrated Celebration, and Nests, Eggs, Birds.

The Kitchen Pantry Scientist Ecology for Kids

By Liz Lee Heinecke

LOCAL AUTHOR; Science & Nature / Experiments & Projects; Ages 7 to 10

The Kitchen Pantry Scientist: Ecology for Kids features biographies of 25 leading ecologists, past and present, accompanied by accessible and engaging experiments and activities to bring the history and principles of ecology alive.

Aspiring young ecologists will discover an amazing group of role models and memorable experiments in Ecology for Kids, the fifth book in The Kitchen Pantry Scientist series. A step-by-step illustrated experiment paired with each story offers kids a hands-on opportunity for exploring concepts the scientists pursued, or are working on today. Experiments range from very simple projects using materials you probably already have on hand, to more complicated ones that may require a few inexpensive items you can purchase online. Just a few of the incredible people and scientific concepts you’ll explore: Eunice Newton Foote (b. 1819) See how carbon dioxides trap heat George Washington Carver (b. 1864) Grow beans and study soil conditions Rachel Carson (b. 1907) Test the water clarity from local ponds, lakes, or steams E. O. Wilson (b. 1929) Observe insects in their natural habitats

Liz Lee Heinecke has loved science since she was old enough to inspect her first butterfly. After working in molecular biology research for 10 years and earning her master’s degree, she left the lab to kick off a new chapter in her life as a stay-at-home mom. Soon, she found herself sharing her love of science with her three kids as they grew, chronicling their science adventures on her KitchenPantryScientist website. Her desire to share her enthusiasm for science led to regular television appearances, an opportunity to serve as an Earth Ambassador for NASA, and the creation of an iPhone app. Her goal is to make it simple for parents to do science with kids of all ages, and for kids to experiment safely on their own. Liz graduated from Luther College and received her master’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of Kitchen Science Lab for Kids, Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Edible Edition, Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, STEAM Lab for Kids, Sheet Pan Science, and Little Learning Labs: Kitchen Science for Kids. Her namesake series, The Kitchen Pantry Scientist, pairs illustrated biographies with engaging hands-on activities inspired by their work. The books in that series include: Chemistry for Kids, Biology for Kids, Physics for Kids, and Math for Kids.

Kelly Anne Dalton is a professional artist and illustrator living in the wild mountains of Montana. Working from her charming 1920s studio, Kelly Anne loves creating a wide range of work, from children’s books to decorative greeting cards and gifts. Growing up with a biologist mother, Kelly has had an appreciation for science and nature her entire life, and because of that, she enjoys creating the portraits for the Kitchen Pantry Scientist series. When not drawing, Kelly Anne can be found trail running in the forest, playing with her dogs, and adventuring with her husband.

Waffles and Pancake: Failure to Lunch (A Graphic Novel)

By Drew Brockington

LOCAL AUTHOR; Comics & Graphic Novels / Humorous; Ages 6 to 9

Go back in time to when everyone's favorite Catstronaut, Waffles, was a kitten! Fans of Narwhal and Jelly will love this fun, cat-tastic early graphic novel series. Waffles and Pancake are at Cape CatNaveral, waiting to watch a CatStronauts shuttle launch. But when the liftoff is delayed, the kittens and their family go home to pass the time. Dreaming of joining the CatStronauts one day, they decide to build a rocket themselves before a snack. Space waits for no cat! But when it doesn’t launch, Grammers may have the answer they’re looking for….and it may involve lunch. Together the kittens launch themselves into problem-solving with hilarious creativity. Time for takeoff!

Drew Brockington has flown a Space Shuttle, repaired the International Space Station, and served in Mission Control; all during a week at Space Camp. He is the author of the CatStronauts series and the Waffles and Pancake series. He lives with his family in Minneapolis.

Big Belching Bog

By Phyllis Root

LOCAL AUTHOR; Science & Nature / Environmental Science & Ecosystems; Ages 6-9

Cold, wet, and acidic, bogs appear to be extremely hostile to life, yet numerous plants and animals have adapted in fascinating ways in order to survive there.

In Big Belching Bog, Phyllis Root lets us in on the secrets of the mysterious bog, describing such special inhabitants as plants that eat insects, bog lemmings, and frogs that stay frozen through the winter and thaw out in the spring. But what's that coming up from the bottom of the bog?

The biggest bog secret of all, we learn, is the remarkable process of methane gas belching out of the bog. The gas is created by decaying peat moss and forms a bulge in the surface of the moss six inches or taller before breaking through. Does this "belch" make a sound? No one knows, says Root, because no one has ever heard it. In fact, bogs are known as some of the quietest places on earth. Maybe you will be the first to hear the big bog belch!

Illustrated by renowned woodcut artist Betsy Bowen, Big Belching Bog also contains a section of bog facts, including more information about the plants and animals mentioned in the book as well as tips for visiting a bog. Big Belching Bog will stir the imagination of young readers and teach them about the landscape and environment of these mysterious and, ahem, gassy places.

Phyllis Root is the author of more than thirty books for children, including If You Want to See a Caribou and Big Momma Makes the World (winner of the Boston Globe Horn Book Award).

Betsy Bowen is a Minnesota woodcut printmaker who illustrated Borealis, Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman, and Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet Year, which she also wrote.

Not A Book About Bunnies

By Amanda Henke

LOCAL AUTHOR; Social Themes / Friendship; Ages 3 to 7

Debut author Amanda Henke shines a funny, fact-filled, and heartwarming spotlight on one of nature’s most overlooked and misunderstood creatures – the loveable (but not-so-huggable) Porcupine!

There are no books about the most underrated, majestic forest creature of all time … porcupines! But there are loads about bunnies. Can't Porcupine have just this one book to herself? What is it with these attention-seeking, book-hogging carrot crunchers?!

So be sure to ignore any floppy ears or cotton tails. That is NOT what this book is about.

As Porcupine vies desperately for the reader's attention, one little bunny follows to get her attention too. Can a fluffy forest critter and a prickly, aspiring author forget their differences and become friends?

With charm and a quirky, self-aware sense of humor, Not a Book About Bunnies will have readers of all ages giggling as they watch this unexpected friendship unfold. A perfect picture book for little animal admirers, nature nuts, and especially porcupine pals—because this is a 100% porcupine story.

Amanda Henke writes books for kids. Amanda loves to explore nature with her family and friends, while dreaming of future travels and book ideas. These outdoor adventures make everyone hungry and usually steer Amanda toward her kitchen, where she whips up French food: bouillabaisse, bourguignon, baguette ... anything that does not involve bananas. Amanda lives in St. Paul, MN.

Anna Daviscourt graduated from the Art Institute of Portland and worked as a concept artist for video games before becoming a children's book illustrator. She teaches online at the Society of Visual Storytelling and in person at local art schools. Anna is an enthusiastic baker, sculptor, gardener, and lover of animals and animated movies. She lives in Portland, OR.

A Kid's Guide to Backyard Bugs

By Eliza Berkowitz

Packed with essential facts on the United States’ most easy-to-spot bugs, this brightly illustrated guide is perfect for burgeoning bug finders ages 6 to 8. A Kid’s Guide to Backyard Bugs is filled with fascinating facts about the United States’ most common insects, including where they live, what they eat, and how they move. Which insect can live without food for up to a whole year? Which insect grows up to almost 2 feet in length? Packed with over 80 full-color, gorgeous illustrations, this portable field guide will have burgeoning bug lovers excited about exploring the amazing world just outside their door. The front matter contains a hands-on DIY project, info on how to identify bugs, and the essentials to take in your bag as a beginner bug-finder. The back matter contains a bug log to keep track of all the bugs spotted, information on how we can protect our bugs by protecting our planet, and a glossary of important terms bolded throughout the book.

Eliza Berkowitz is a writer and editor who has worked on a wide variety of books in her 20+ years in publishing. In her free time, she loves exploring the natural wonders of Redding, Connecticut, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and dog. Nicole LaRue a graphic designer and illustrator, believes every person—no matter their size, age, color, or status—can help create positive social change. Called upon at the eleventh hour to create the official logo for the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, she is no stranger to mighty work. Her clients include, Chronicle Books, Abram’s Books, Oxford University Press, Compendium Inc., Madison Park Greetings, Johnson & Johnson, Chat Books, Tiny Prints, DC Shoes, American Eagle, and more. See her work at Nicole resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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