Club Book is proud to bring bestselling and award-winning authors to the Twin Cities, and we are dedicated to making these events accessible to all audiences. That is why we make podcasts of all our events available for free streaming and download. Whether you missed the program, wish to hear it again, or want to share it with your friends, Club Book makes it easy to listen to podcasts. Note that podcasts will be uploaded to our website and iTunes several days after each event. Enjoy!
Literary dynamo Garth Stein is best known by many for 2008’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, a runaway hit that spent a consecutive 156 weeks on The New York Times bestsellers list. In addition to penning several other well received novels, Stein is also an accomplished playwright and film producer, whose credits include a 1991 Academy Award win in the short film category. His newest book, A Sudden Light, is a masterful blend of ghost tale and coming-of-age story, centered around a 14-year-old desperate to uncover the dark secrets hidden in his ancestral estate. Random House calls it “a triumphant work of a master storyteller at the height of his power,” and Booklist lauds it as simply “haunting in all the right ways.”
Jon Ronson is among Britain’s most prolific journalists and documentarians, and a household name throughout that country. He first came to the attention of most Americans with the publication of Them: Adventures with Extremists in 2001 and the even more successful The Men Who Stare At Goats in 2004. In the latter, Ronson investigated the strange but true experiments conducted until just recently by a secret department within the U.S. Army. It was the basis for a 2009 movie of the same name starring and produced by George Clooney. Ronson’s most recent book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, offers a witty but eye-opening look at the widespread but little studied social phenomenon of public shaming.
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Over the last eight years, Marisa de los Santos has penned three consecutive New York Times bestsellers: Love Walked In in 2006, Belong to Me in 2011, and Falling Together in 2012. She is also an award-winning poet, with published work in a number of prominent journals to her credit, plus a collection all her own called From the Bones Out. In addition, de los Santos is co-writer (with her husband) of the young adult time-traveling odyssey Saving Lucas Biggs. De los Santos’ latest novel, The Precious One, promises to please old fans as well as new. It is “a satisfying novel about friends rediscovering one another — and confronting unwelcome truths — at their college reunion,” according to People.
Anthony Marra’s 2013 opus, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, takes place against the backdrop of occupation and insurgency in war-torn Chechnya. NPR called it “one of the most accomplished and affecting books in a very long time.” It was a contender for the National Book Award, and won the author a number of awards and accolades – including the National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize for emerging authors. Marra is a frequent contributor to publications ranging from The Atlantic to Narrative Magazine and MAKE Magazine. His other honors to date include a Whiting Writers’ Award and the prestigious Pushcart Prize.
Jonathan Odell’s popular books draw from and explore racial divisions that continue to define his native Mississippi. His second novel, 2012’s The Healing, garnered praise for its candid look at plantation life in the antebellum South, and was an American Booksellers Association (ABA) ‘Indie Next’ pick for that year. His most recent title, Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League, is the story of two Civil Rights era mothers – one wealthy and white and the other poor and black – bound together in unexpected ways. In addition to his novels, Odell is both a short story and essayist and a corporate leadership coach. In the latter role, he has published a number of titles on diversity and training in the workplace.
Nadia Hashimi made waves last year with the release of her fiction debut, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell – “a luminous tale of two women, destiny, and identity in Afghanistan,” according to Kirkus Reviews. Hashimi’s parents emigrated from their native Afghanistan in the 1970s, but a lifelong fascination with her cultural heritage led her to pen The Pearl That Broke Its Shell. The crisscrossing narrative follows two Afghan women, one in the present the other in the recent past, living as bacha posh —young women disguised as young men, a true Afghan practice. Hashimi, a pediatrician by training, received accolades for this “lyrical, heartbreaking account of silence lives” and is hard at work on a follow up centered around the experiences of Afghan refugees in Europe.
Quan Barry is a Vietnamese-American author and poet. Her work has appeared in a wide range of literary publications, including The New Yorker and Ploughshares. Quan Barry has written three poetry collections to date, Asylum (2001), Controvertibles (2004), and Water Puppets (2011). The last of these won the Donald Hall Poetry Prize from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs and was a finalist for the 2012 PEN/Open Book Prize. In her newest novel, She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, Quan Barry draws from history and her personal experiences with her native country to “weave a chronicle of life in pre- and postwar Vietnam within the mystical and turbulent journey of the novel’s protagonist,” according to Booklist.
Before turning his attention to novels, literary fiction breakout Peter Heller made a name for himself as a contributor to and editor for such publications as National Geographic Adventure, Outside Magazine, and Men’s Journal. Heller traveled on assignment to all corners of the globe, and parlayed many of his larger-than-life experiences into four gripping works of adventure nonfiction. Heller’s fiction debut, The Dog Stars, was a dystopian thriller. It became a New York Times bestseller and a ‘Best Book of 2012′ selection from both Publishers Weekly and Amazon. His second novel, The Painter, centers around a reclusive artist trying to outrun his checkered past. The New York Times calls it “a stunning, savage novel of art and violence, love and grief.”
Over a prolific career spanning five decades, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni has penned nearly twenty popular poetry collections including, more recently, Acolytes (2007), Bicycles: Love Poems (2009), and Chasing Utopia (2013). She is also the author or co-author of ten children’s books, including several profiling seminal moments from black history. Prominent among other awards and accolades, Giovanni is a five-time NAACP Image Award winner, holds the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry, and is the first-ever recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award. She is currently serving as a Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech.
Literary fiction writer Rebecca Rasmussen garnered accolades in 2011 for The Bird Sisters, an “achingly authentic, almost completely character driven” novel chronicling the remarkable lives of two spinster sisters in rural Wisconsin according to Publisher’s Weekly. Rasmussen also pens short fiction; her stories have appeared in or won prizes from notable journals including The Mid-American Review, Narrative Magazine, and TriQuarterly. Rasmussen currently resides in California, where she teaches writing at UCLA, but her creative interests remain in her native Midwest. Her newest book, Evergreen, also centers around siblings, and plays out against the picturesque backdrop of Minnesota’s verdant northwoods.
Julie Klassen is Minnesota’s answer to Jane Austen. Her romances, set in Regency-era England, have a strong and growing national following. Two of these, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and The Girl in the Gatehouse, have the rare distinction of receiving both a Midwest Book Award and the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Her third hit, The Silent Governess, also earned a Christy Award, and was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award and the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. The Dancing Master, her latest book, shines the spotlight on the unsung professionals responsible for teaching young ladies the social graces necessary for a public life in high society.
Hampton Sides is one of the best known – and bestselling – American historians of the past decade. Sides first made a name for himself with 2001’s Ghost Soldiers, a World War II narrative chronicling the greatest rescue mission in the history of our Armed Forces. The debut received the PEN USA Award for Nonfiction and also became the basis for documentaries on the History Channel and PBS. His gripping follow-ups, Blood and Thunder and Hellhound on his Trail (focused on key chapters of America’s westward expansion and civil rights movement, respectively) also saw successful small-screen adaptations. His newest, In the Kingdom of Ice, is “a white-knuckle tale of polar exploration and survival” (Random House).
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Sue Miller is the author of nearly a dozen bestselling and critically acclaimed novels. Her first two hits, The Good Mother and Inventing the Abbotts, saw successful big screen adaptations in 1988 and 1997. Her third, Family Pictures, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and her sixth, While I Was Gone, became a popular Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. Over the course of her distinguished career, Miller has earned a number of fellowships and other honors, including the Carl Sandburg Award and Kate Chopin Literary Award. Her newest, The Arsonist, is a “suspenseful and romantic novel” that “explores the tensions between the ‘summer people’ and locals in a small New Hampshire town” according to Booklist.
Jennifer McMahon’s unique brand of suspense straddles the line between conventional mystery and supernatural thriller. Her novels have been staples on The New York Times bestseller list since her 2009 breakout, Promise Not to Tell. McMahon’s latest, The Winter People, boasts “a consistently eerie atmosphere, and some of its darker supernatural flights are reminiscent of Stephen King,” according to USA Today. It was an Indie Next pick, Library Reads selection, and Amazon Best Book of the Month (Mystery) in February, its debut month. McMahon is also the author of My Tiki Girl, a well-received GLBT young adult novel included on ALA’s Rainbow List for 2009.
Canadian mystery phenom Louise Penny is the author behind the wildly popular Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, set in Quebec but sold around the world in twenty different languages. She published Still Life, the first of that set, to great acclaim in 2005. Between the ten installments to date, Penny has won or been in contention for nearly every major prize awarded in the mystery genre: five Agatha Awards, four Anthony Awards, two Barry Awards, two Macavity Awards, and an Edgar Award. In addition to her writing, Penny also executive-produced the 2013 film adaptation of Still Life. The tenth Gamache novel, The Long Way Home, is out in August.
Amy Bloom is among the elite set of contemporary American storytellers to see international success as a novelist, short story author, and screenwriter. Bloom’s short fiction has been nominated for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and appeared in popular anthologies including The Best American Short Stories and O. Henry Prize Stories. A psychotherapist by training, Bloom also created, wrote, and produced the Lifetime psychiatry drama “State of Mind.” She brings all this talent and experience to bear in her third full-length novel, Lucky Us, described by Kirkus Reviews as “a multilayered, historical tale about different kinds of love and family.”
Lev Grossman is the author of the bestselling Magicians trilogy, lauded by the Washington Post as a “masterful… fresh and compelling” addition to the corpus of coming-of-age fantasy literature popularized by Harry Potter. The much anticipated third and final installment, The Magician’s Land, debuted August 5, and the full series is already being adapted as a television drama by NBC/Universal. Grossman is also the author of two stand-alone novels, Warp and Codex, and he is currently lead book critic and technology writer for Time Magazine. His nonfiction work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired. He is also a regular guest on NPR.
WARNING: This podcast contains explicit language that may not be appropriate for children.
This last Club Book Podcast of the 2014 Winter/Spring season features Amanda Coplin at her April 24th visit to Stillwater Public Library. Amanda Coplin’s majestic debut novel, The Orchardist, was a New York Times bestseller and has garnered wide critical praise since its release in 2012. Called a “stunning accomplishment” by NPR, the story follows a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the late nineteenth century Pacific Northwest. Coplin, who grew up in her grandparents’ orchards in Washington, received her MFA from the University of Minnesota and was the recipient of residencies from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the Omi International Arts Center at Ledig House in Ghent, New York. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
This Club Book Podcast features J. Courtney Sullivan at her April 17th visit to Chanhassen Library in Carver County. J. Courtney Sullivan is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Commencement, Maine, and The Engagements. Maine was named a Best Book of the Year by Time magazine, and a Washington Post Notable Book for 2011. Gloria Steinem called Commencement a “generous-hearted, brave first novel…that makes clear the feminist revolution is just beginning.” Sullivan’s writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, New York Magazine, and the New York Observer, among many others. She is a contributor to the essay anthology The Secret Currency of Love and co-editor of Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists. Her latest novel, The Engagements, a multi-generational look at marriage and commitment, is currently being adapted for a major motion picture produced by and starring Reese Witherspoon.
This Club Book Podcast features authors Peter Geye and Amy Greene coming together for an evening of conversation about their work and the rich physical landscapes that drive their writing at their April 15th visit to Roseville Library in Ramsey County.
Set against the powerful lakeshore terrain of northern Minnesota, Peter Geye’s second novel, The Lighthouse Road, beautifully explores the hardship and isolation of life in a turn-of-the-century logging town. Geye, a Minnesota native, is also the author of the award-winning novel, Safe from the Sea.
Amy Greene first brought her native Appalachia to life with a spellbinding debut novel, Bloodroot, in 2010. Her highly anticipated second novel, Long Man, explores rural Tennessee in the summer of 1936, as a government-built dam is about to flood an Appalachian town to bring electricity to the area. Long Man was released February, 2014.
This Club Book Podcast features Brian Freeman at his April 7th visit to Rum River Library in Anoka. Brian Freeman is Minnesota’s own master of psychological suspense. He is best known for his internationally acclaimed Jonathan Stride detective series, set in and around Duluth. His 2006 debut, Immoral, won the Macavity Award and was a finalist for the Edgar, Dagger, Anthony and Barry awards for best first novel. His second novel, Stripped, was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. 2011’s The Bone House was also a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and the Audie Award (Audiobook Publishers Association). Freeman’s titles have been printed in 20 different languages and sold in 46 countries. His highly anticipated sixth full-length Stride novel, The Cold Nowhere, was released in April 2014.
This Club Book Podcast features Dave Zirin at his March 19th visit to Southdale Library in Edina. Dave Zirin, correspondent and sports editor for The Nation, is the author, most recently, of Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down. His newest expose, Brazil’s Dance with the Devil, turns attention on the volatile political situation in Brazil in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. It’s due out this June.” Named one of UTNE Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World,” Zirin is a frequent guest on MSNBC, ESPN and Democracy Now! He also hosts his own weekly Sirius XM show, Edge of Sports Radio.
Warning: This podcast episode features limited explicit language.
This Club Book Podcast features P.S. Duffy at her March 11th event at Merriam Park Library in Saint Paul. Duffy’s highly praised fiction debut, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, has been called an “astounding first novel” by Library Journal and was a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers pick for fall 2013. Set in France and Nova Scotia during the First World War, Duffy’s alternating portrayal of a son coming of age at home while his father faces battle overseas is a soulful addition to the canon of World War I literature. With a long career in neuroscience, Duffy is the author of numerous scientific publications and now balances her work as a science writer for the Mayo Clinic with her talent for creative writing.
This Club Book podcast features Elizabeth Berg at her February 26th event at Galaxie Library in Dakota County. One of the most prolific New York Times bestselling authors of the last two decades, Berg’s impressive bibliography lists more than twenty novels, including Open House, an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. She has also penned two well-received works of nonfiction, and her writing has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook, and New York Times Magazine. Her newest novel, Tapestry of Fortunes, confirms her place as “one of America’s most beloved chroniclers of female friendship” according to The Chicago Tribune.
This Club Book podcast features Julie Kramer at her February 11th event at Central Park Amphitheatre in Washington County. Set in the cutthroat world of television news, Julie Kramer’s alliteratively titled mystery thrillers draw from her extensive career in the industry as a news producer for NBC and CBS. Her first novel, Stalking Susan, won both a Minnesota Book Award and the 2008 RT Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Mystery. Her fourth, Killing Kate, won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense. Kramer has also been a finalist for the Anthony, Barry, Shamus, Mary Higgins Clark, and RT Best Amateur Sleuth awards, to name just a few. Her newest title, Delivering Death, hit bookstores in January 2014.
This Club Book podcast features Amy Thielen at her February 3rd event at Prior Lake Library in Scott County. Thielen is a classically trained chef and host of Food Network’s “Heartland Table.” A woman who spent years cooking in some of New York City’s finest restaurants before returning home to Minnesota in 2008. Since then, she has worked as a freelance writer for publications such as the Star Tribune, Men’s Journal, and Saveur, and won a James Beard journalism award in 2011. Her first cookbook, The New Midwestern Table, was released in September 2013 and served as inspiration for her popular Food Network series, which debuted the same month. A cross between memoir, travelogue and cookbook, The New Midwestern Table is a stunning collection of 200 recipes that reveal all Thielen’s come to learn —and love —about the foods of her native Midwest.
The book club that defies all previous expectations kicks off its new podcast and new season in 2014 with a rock star lineup including Amy Thielen, Julie Kramer, J. Courtney Sullivan, Elizabeth Berg, P.S. Duffy, Nikki Giovanni, Dave Zirin, Brian Freeman, Peter Geye, Amy Greene, and Amanda Coplin. With a preview of each event along with a little history and humor, Club Book outlines just how the podcast works. Plug in your headphones, crank up the volume, and get ready to be a part of the coolest club in town.