300 episodes

Looking for your next great read? Ask a bookseller! Join us to check in with independent bookstores across the U.S. to find out what books they’re excited about right now.



One book, two minutes, every week.



From the long-running series on MPR News, hosted by Emily Bright. Whether you read to escape, feel connected, seek self-improvement, or just discover something new, there is a book here for you.

Ask a Bookseller Minnesota Public Radio

    • Arts
    • 3.0 • 2 Ratings

Looking for your next great read? Ask a bookseller! Join us to check in with independent bookstores across the U.S. to find out what books they’re excited about right now.



One book, two minutes, every week.



From the long-running series on MPR News, hosted by Emily Bright. Whether you read to escape, feel connected, seek self-improvement, or just discover something new, there is a book here for you.

    Ask a Bookseller: ‘We Mostly Come Out at Night’ edited by Rob Costello

    Ask a Bookseller: ‘We Mostly Come Out at Night’ edited by Rob Costello

    On The Thread’s Ask a Bookseller series, we talk to independent booksellers all over the country to find out what books they’re most excited about right now. 

    Click here.


    Emma Presnell of Carmichaels Bookstore in Louisville, Ky., recommends a brand new short story collection that was released just in time for Pride Month.

    It’s a YA anthology called “We Mostly Come Out at Night: 15 Queer Tales of Monsters, Angels, and Other Creatures,” edited by Rob Costello.

    Here’s what Emma has to say: This is one of the best collections of works in the young adult genre that I’ve seen in a really long time. Every single story has something so unique about it that makes it shine, but the stories also complement each other and no one story feels like it's out-shadowing the others.


    To have so many new voices within the queer and trans community in the young adult genre coming together has been so fascinating. And the spins on the different monsters has just been one of the most delightful things to see.

    Some of the stories involve monsters that appear in our day to day. Like, it’s just kind of weird, but we go along with it. Others are right on the edge of being spooky, but not being too scary that you’re gonna completely not be able to sleep at night.

    — Emma Presnell

    While Emma says no story overshadows the others, she says the story about Mothman continued to haunt her for days, "but in the best way possible."

    • 2 min
    Ask a Bookseller: ‘The Ministry of Time’ by Kaliane Bradley

    Ask a Bookseller: ‘The Ministry of Time’ by Kaliane Bradley

    Looking for a novel you can pass around to your friends and family at the next gathering?

    Tiffany Lauderdale Phillips of Wild Geese Bookshop in Franklin, Ind., recommends Kaliane Bradley’s debut novel “The Ministry of Time.” She calls it a time-travel romance with a James Bond element, with beautiful writing and ideas that will leave you with plenty to talk about over dinner.

    The premise is that a ministry in England has decided to take five people from history who would have died and to plant them into modern-day England, ostensibly to study the feasibility of time travel.

    One is an Arctic adventurer from a doomed voyage, another was at the Battle of the Somme, etc. A “bridge” is assigned to live with each person and help them adjust to daily life. Our narrator is paired with the Arctic explorer, who has Victorian ideas about how a man and a woman living together should comport themselves.

    • 1 min
    Ask a Bookseller: ‘Pest’ by Michael Cisco

    Ask a Bookseller: ‘Pest’ by Michael Cisco

    Stefen Holtrey of Brilliant Books in Traverse City, Mich., has a title for readers who love to be surprised by something experimental and new.

    He’s a big fan of Michael Cisco, whose work is generally classified as weird or speculative fiction but whose novels vary wildly in style. A philosophical writer who tends toward a horror lens, his work regularly defies genres in ways Holtrey finds delightful.


    “He’s very experimental. Each one of his books are completely different experiences,” says Holtrey.

    Cisco’s new novel “Pest” focuses on a man who transforms into a yak.

    Before he was turned into a yak, he was an architect, working for a cult trying to build a piece of architecture to welcome some unseen celestial being into the world. The book goes back and forth between the viewpoint of the main character as the yak and as the architect.

    “It’s a phantasmagoric ride through this transformation,” says Holtrey. “When he’s embodied in the yak, it’s some of the coolest writing that I’ve ever read that really puts you in an alien body. I was really interested in just the ways he senses and experiences the world.”

    • 1 min
    Ask a Bookseller: ‘Aednan: An Epic’ by Linnea Axelsson

    Ask a Bookseller: ‘Aednan: An Epic’ by Linnea Axelsson

    On The Thread’s Ask a Bookseller series, we talk to independent booksellers all over the country to find out what books they’re most excited about right now. 

    Click here.


    Darcie Shultz of Books and Burrow in Pittsburgh, Kas., highly recommends Linnea Axelsson’s novel in verse “Aednan: An Epic,” which was translated by Saskia Vogel.

    It’s a sweeping saga set across 100 years, three generations and two Sámi families. The story encompasses the forces of colonialism and the importance of language.

    Translated from Northern Sámi, the title of the book means “the land, the earth and my mother.”

    “It’s the most stunning book,” Shultz says. “It reads so quickly, but it contains so much. The author writes about some of the harshest circumstances in the most eloquent way.” 

    For Shultz, the story held profoundly personal echoes. She explains why she was drawn to this book: 

    “I’m a member of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. And I have had two family members who were forced into residential schools. My great-great-great-grandfather was in Carlisle in Pennsylvania and then my grandfather — I didn’t learn until I was an adult — was in Fort Lapwai in Idaho. 


    He spent most of his developmental years in residential school, and it was never talked about at all. And this book and that history of the Sámi people has so many parallels to North American Indian residential schools. Parts of it were hard for me to read because of that history, but that's one reason why I was drawn to it. 

    The second [reason] was the language: That loss of language and relearning the language. It’s a process that I’m going through and in the third part the daughter of one of the characters is on that journey. I just felt extremely connected to it on a very personal level.” 

    • 1 min
    Ask a Bookseller: ‘Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea’ by Rebecca Thorne

    Ask a Bookseller: ‘Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea’ by Rebecca Thorne

    On The Thread’s Ask a Bookseller series, we talk to independent booksellers all over the country to find out what books they’re most excited about right now.


    If you love a good cozy romance or fantasy — romantasy, anyone? — then Charlotte Klimek of Hearthside Books in Watertown, Minn., has the perfect book for you.

    You get a good sense of the genre from the title alone; it’s “Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea” by Rebecca Thorne.


    Kianthe is the world’s most powerful mage, but all she really wants to do is read a book. What she’d really like to do is leave court life behind and open a tea and bookshop with her girlfriend, Reyna, who serves as a private guard to the Queen.

    Finally fed up by the self-centered monarch, Reyna agrees, and the two head to a small town to open the cozy shop of their dreams. Yes, this does mean Reyna has committed treason, and, yes, the Queen swears revenge.

    Brimming with fireside conversations, witty banter, and memorable fantastical side characters, “Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea” is perfect for fans of Travis Baldree’s “Legends & Lattes” and “Bookshops & Bonedust.”

    The book was published in the UK last year but has not been available in print in the U.S. until this week.

    • 1 min
    Ask a Bookseller: ‘The Devil’s Element’ by Dan Egan

    Ask a Bookseller: ‘The Devil’s Element’ by Dan Egan

    On The Thread’s Ask a Bookseller series, we talk to independent booksellers all over the country to find out what books they’re most excited about right now.

    Click here.



    This week’s recommendation comes from Carrie Koepke of Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, Mo. She suggests the nonfiction book “The Devil’s Element: Phosphorus and a World Out of Balance” by Dan Egan.


    The paperback comes out in June. And while you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this one tells a powerful story from the book; that iridescent swirling green is an algae bloom and the boat in the picture demonstrates the massive scale of the problem.

    Carrie says: Egan does a deep dive into humanity’s interaction with phosphorus and discoveries of its benefits and evils.

    Phosphorus is primarily used as a fertilizer, it gets into some of the fascinating stories of digging up old bodies for grinding the bones into fertilizer, the bat guano islands and then our current situation, which is kind of a very perilous situation with algae blooms and lots of toxicity in our lives.

    So it’s one of our most critical environmental issues right now. But a lot of people don't know about it.

    I think Egan is a writer to follow. He’s always been a fantastic journalist. His other book is “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes,” which oddly we sell a ton of in Missouri because it’s just that good.

    It feels like you are there with him exploring and understanding at a pace that is comfortable. It’s very much conversational language and he’s very good at making you learn things without realizing you’re learning them.

    — Carrie Koepke

    • 2 min

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Arts

The Pink House with Sam Smith
Lemonada Media
Fresh Air
NPR
The Moth
The Moth
99% Invisible
Roman Mars
The Magnus Archives
Rusty Quill
Let's Get Dressed
Dear Media

You Might Also Like

NPR's Book of the Day
NPR
The Book Case
ABC News | Charlie Gibson, Kate Gibson
The Book Review
The New York Times
What Should I Read Next?
Anne Bogel
Curious Minnesota
Star Tribune
Pop Culture Happy Hour
NPR