Independent Bookstore Day: What to do/see/read in the Twin Cities

From face-painting to F. Scott Fitzgerald bingo, independent bookstores are throwing a giant party on Saturday, May 2.

LAURIE HERTZEL
Updated 5/1/2015

It started, as so many things do, in California. Now in its second year, Independent Bookstore Day has gone national, spreading across the country with celebrations, giveaways, parties and special events. More than 400 stores nationwide will take part in Saturday’s celebration, including dozens in Minnesota.

In the Twin Cities, home to nearly 30 indie bookstores, you can play F. Scott Fitzgerald bingo, make your own ’zine in the middle of the night, dance around a Maypole, get your picture taken with a lamb (a real one!) (actually, two real ones!) and, oh yeah, buy some books and chat up some authors.

For full details, it’s best to check the website or Facebook page of your favorite indie, or just stop by. But here’s a sampling of what will be going on:

You might want to start at Moon Palace Books, 2820 E. 33rd St., Mpls., because they have put together a bright green map of all the indie bookstores in Minneapolis and St. Paul. They’re also giving away free tote bags (with purchase), coupons for Peace Coffee (right next door) and will raffle off a big basket of bookish goodies.

Boneshaker Books, 2002 23rd Av. S., Mpls., will stay open all night, with prices falling every hour. The later the hour, the more that customers save; at the 8 a.m. opening time, book prices will be 1 percent off but by, say, 3 a.m. Sunday they’ll be 20 percent off. They will also have staplers, paper cutters, collage material and other things on hand if you feel like crafting your own book or ’zine.

Birchbark Books, 2115 W. 21st St., Mpls., will host crafts, Maypole dancing, face-painting and food samples from Heid Erdrich’s “Original Local” cookbook.

Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., will have doughnuts and coffee in the morning, literary board games in the evening, and in between will host impromptu poetry and Obscure Book Recommendations from the extremely literary folks at Rain Taxi Review.

In St. Paul, Common Good Books, 38 S. Snelling Av., will host a full day of events that also includes doughnuts and coffee (if you drive fast, you can enjoy doughnuts in both Minneapolis and St. Paul), coupons for Nice Ride (Magers & Quinn is doing this, too), a walking tour of Little Free Libraries (not all of them, just the ones near the store), Fitzgerald bingo and more.

Red Balloon, 891 Grand Av., St. Paul, has root beer and cookies, a book signing with picture book author David LaRochelle and face-painting.

Back across the river (on your Nice Ride, maybe), Wild Rumpus, 2720 W. 43rd St., Mpls., has more face-painting and photo ops with a live sheep and two lambs with shepherdess and author Joan Jarvis Ellison.

This might be the day to visit all of the indies. Think about it! In your painted face, full of doughnuts, the winnings from your bingo game stuffed into your free Moon Palace Books bag, you pedal your free rental bike back and forth across the river … and when you’re done, keep going. With 400 stores across the country taking part, this could be your busiest Saturday yet.

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