Staff Picks Bonanza: Nonfiction

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As much fiction as we read, even booksellers like a dose of reality every now and then! Here are some brilliant nonfiction titles that the M&Q staff loves. Memoirs, biographies, essays, and history–these titles are all the more fascinating for their examination of real lives and places.

Magers and Quinn Presents: Holly Hughes and BJ Hollars

In September we hosted two authors whose love of birds was evident in their work. Holly Hughes read from her poetry collection, Passingswhile B.J. Hollars gave the audience a preview of his forthcoming memoir Flock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds.

Holly and B.J. talk about spark birds, extinction, famous last birds, and more in this unusual and fascinating evening of poetry and prose!



Recorded on September 4, 2016 at Magers and Quinn Booksellers.


About Holly J. Hughes’ poetry collection Passings:

In a timely, moving collection of elegies, Holly J. Hughes gives voice to these and other bird species that no longer fill our skies. If their names sound as a litany of the hundreds of species we’ve lost, these fifteen poems ring as a reminder that their stories are still with us. In clear, well-crafted poems, Hughes serves as witness to these birds’ stories, offering each a poignant account that acts as a cautionary tale for the many species whose habitats now face threats from climate change. In her preface, Hughes introduces us to the birds she first knew and loved, and her impassioned afterword reminds us that it’s not too late to learn from these birds’ extinction and take action to protect the species that remain. “Take note,” she writes. “These birds are singing to us. We must listen.”

About BJ Hollars’ forthcoming memoir Flock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds:

With the help of a supporting cast of ornithologists and experts, as well as a hermit, a painter of birds, and five billion extirpated passenger pigeons, B. J. Hollars delivers a finely crafted and often profound memoir, Flock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds. For his protagonist Hollars chooses a remarkable creature known as the Lord God Bird, and as the book’s narrator Hollars marries scientific rigor with wide-eyed wonder, letting readers enjoy both his command of and joy in his subject. Available February 2017.

Read the full Colorado Review here:

Magers and Quinn Presents: Blair Braverman


You might have heard of Blair Braverman, as her work has appeared on Buzzfeed, Literary Hub, This American Life, and The Best Women’s Travel Writing.

Her first book, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, journeys to extreme environments and explores the different kinds of fear-physical, emotional, practical-that Blair faces.

In this episode, Blair reads some passages and answers questions about her lifelong love of the cold, her beginnings as a writer, and her old obsession with the phrase “tough girl.”

About Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube:

Blair Braverman fell in love with the North at an early age: By the time she was nineteen, she had left her home in California, moved to Norway to learn how to drive sled dogs, and worked as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. By turns funny and sobering, bold and tender, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube charts Blair’s endeavor to become a “tough girl”—someone who courts danger in an attempt to become fearless. Brilliantly original and bracingly honest, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube captures the triumphs and the perils of the journey to self-discovery and independence in a landscape that is as beautiful as it is unforgiving.


Recorded at Magers and Quinn Booksellers on July 14, 2016.