Book lovers take note: two big literary launches are underway this week.
First up: Tonight, in the underground retail space below Nina’s Coffee Café of St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood, the brand-new Subtext bookstore will hold its first-ever in-store reading. The event features an impressive line-up of local writerly talent: Minnesota Book Award-winner Ed Bok Lee, Shannon Gibney, Jim Moore, Juliet Patterson and Carol Connolly will all read some poetry. In the coming months, a bevy of other area writers will make appearances as well, including acclaimed novelist Charles Baxter (July 25), poet Todd Boss (June 20), fairy tale-expert Jack Zipes (August 1) and poets Jim Cihlar, Heid Erdrich, William Reichard and Kathyrn Kysar (July 11).
Subtext is a new shop, but one helmed by a small crew of well-seasoned bookslingers with deep community roots: David Unowsky, founder of the late Hungry Mind/Ruminator Books, will take charge of the events; Sue Zumberge, the long-time general manager of Garrison Keillor’s Common Good Books (which recently vacated this space) is striking out on her own, as Subtext’s new proprietor. (“Publishers Weekly” had a nice write-up on the venture, if you’d like to read more.)
The new bookshop’s first-ever reading, with poetry by Carol Connolly, Shannon Gibney, Ed Bok Lee, Jim Moore, and Juliet Patterson is Wednesday, June 13 at 7 p.m, at Subtext, 165 Western Avenue North, St. Paul; 651-493-3871. Find current information about store hours and upcoming events on the shop’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SubTextaBookstore
Second: “Thirty Two Magazine,” its first issue hot off the presses, will launch in style with a party Thursday night at Amsterdam Bar and Hall in downtown St. Paul. The start-up is entering a crowded and beleaguered media landscape, but doing so loaded for bear, with lofty aspirations and a masthead full of Minnesota-based contributors who’ve made their names in much bigger publishing markets.
“Thirty Two” bills itself as a local publication that eschews provincialism, “a new current affairs and culture magazine for the Twin Cities…a platform for the region’s award-winning journalists and thought-provoking voices… [telling] stories about the life and culture of the Twin Cities that redefine the way we look at ourselves and our place in the world.” (Read an interview with founding editor Katie Eggers about the new project, published by “The Line” in March.)
The launch party for “Thirty Two” is shaping up to be a can’t-miss shindig for the local literary community, with live music by the Cactus Blossoms and stories by Maggie Ryan Sandford, comedian Mike Fotis and others. The free event is Thursday, June 14 from 7-9 p.m. at Amsterdam Bar and Hall, 6 West 6th St., St. Paul. Find more: thirtytwomag.com