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Book events (and shopping) in December

Sure, you can easily buy all your books online. But our local bookstores can special order — and have lots of author events.

It is so easy to buy all your gift books at this season. Too easy, I know. But every actual bookstore in the Twin Cities will special order any book you need, and they won’t abuse their workers, suck money from the local economy, or hurt other small businesses on the way. And every one of our local stores gives you a beautiful, friendly and memorable browsing experience.

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Micawber’s Books is the very idea of what a neighborhood bookstore should be, quirky and stocked with really thoughtful, handpicked inventory. If you stop in at Common Good Books or Birchbark Books, you might run into their author proprietors. If you think Uptown has become a mall with bad parking, dip into Magers & Quinn. Quirky, lively, full of surprises, this store is where the ghosts of Uptown past live. Instead of e-gift cards, get kids a gift card to Wild Rumpus, and take them there yourself. You can’t pet a chicken on the Internet, but you can here. If your closest bookstore is Barnes & Noble, you can interact with booksellers who are passionate about good books. If we want to keep bookstores in town, we need to shop at these stores.

Here’s what’s happening in books this month.

Garrison Keillor
Courtesy of Prairie Home Productions
Garrison Keillor

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 7 p.m. Common Good Books, St. Paul. Meet the Proprietor, from 7 to 8 p.m. Garrison Keillor might have some good ideas for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list. Really, ask him.

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis. Scott W. Berg, author of “38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier’s End” discusses the War of 1862.

Thursday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m. Talk of the Stacks, Minneapolis Central LibraryCalvin Trillin, longtime New Yorker writer and humorist, will read from “Dogfight: An Occasionally Interrupted Narrative Poem About the Presidential Campaign” and “Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of His Funny Stuff.”

Saturday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m. Common Good Books, St. Paul. Book signing with photographer Don Breneman and University of Minnesota meteorologist/climatologist  Mark Seeley, authors of “Voyageur Skies: Weather and the Wilderness in Minnesota’s National Park.” 

Sat. Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m. Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis. Ron Gerber’s KFAI radio show “Crap From the Past” has been on the air for nearly 20 years. This book chronicles those years both on and off the air, and offers a unique perspective on local music history.

Saturday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m. Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis. Emily Dickinson’s Black & White Birthday Ball. Celebrate the poet’s birthday with refreshments, a poetry swap, and an open recitation of Dickinson poems.

Tuesday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m. Wayzata Community Church, Wayzata. Anne Lamott will read from her new book, “Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Survival Prayers.” The Bookcase of Wayzata is hosting this event.

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Minneapolis. Birchbark Books presents Local Authors With New Books, featuring Stephen Wilbers, Kathleen Weihe, John Medeiros, Kris Bigalk, and Carol Allis.

Saturday, Dec. 22, 2 p.m. Common Good Books, St. Paul. Brenda Langton, author of “The Spoonriver Cookbook,” will talk about local food and her life in the kitchens of some of Minnesota’s most innovative restaurants.