Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Perks of Being a Bookseller

We've had some luck (and a whole lot of fun) putting on authorless events here at Magers and Quinn Booksellers and I'm curious what other booksellers have done in their stores. Please chime in down there in the comments and share your ideas and success stories.

This month we're doing two big off site events in conjunction with an exhibit at the Soap Factory gallery (yes, it's in an old Soap Factory!)called Common Room. Common Room will be a temporary curated gathering space within The Soap Factory designed to facilitate interactivity and the blurring of the boundaries between curators, performers and audience, all within in a casual, living room-esque environment.

We were invited to curate some community gatherings around the subject of books.
And here's what we have on tap:

During our book club discussion of Time Traveler's Wife, we're having our attendees (circa 100 people) each create a paper sculpture (Clare's profession/hobby in the book). And, in honor of Henry the time-traveling librarian, we're building a card catalog of information on the reading habits of our book club regulars.

Afterwards, once the beer and wine have been flowing for a while, we'll do:

Competitive one-on-one writing contests (sort of like Balderdash, but trying to write a cover blurb for a book you've never read) and Giant Mad Libs on a 1970s projection screen that looks a little like Wall-E.

We're also hosting a release party for the new issue of Granta Magazine, which will feature:

5-minute book reports (think Reading Rainbow for adults)
A presentation on literary hoaxes, which may or may not include slides.
An interactive book report (requiring audience participating to act out various scenes)
A presentation by author Eric Hanson titled "When Ted met Sylvia." The working subtitle is "excerpts from Eric Hanson's birthday miscellany on crossed paths and bypaths of literary and historical figures."
A literary trivia challenge with author Brad Zellar taking on the crowd.
An Exquisite Corpse writing game using a vintage typewriter

Jay D. Peterson
Magers and Quinn Booksellers
Minneapolis, MN


  1. How does the Exquisite Corpse writing game work?

  2. We just had an Infinite Jest Cheerleading Party for LA folks who are taking part in Infinite Summer. It brought in 15-20 people, several of whom had never been to the store before. It was also a precursor for what we hope will be a bigger event to honor DFW in September. But mainly it was just fun -- we moved the rolling tables around and played badminton in our annex!

  3. There are quite a few different ways to handle an exquisite corpse game, but I think we'll just have a typewriter available and encourage people to sit down and write a few sentences to add their own twist on the story. I think it'll be fun to see what the end result will be.

    p.s. Dear Emily,
    Combining badminton and books sounds like heaven to me. How awesome!