Why the Twin Cities Are Top for Literature

With publishers, libraries across genres, and literary events, Minneapolis-St. Paul welcome book lovers
Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central

Not every city can brag about its literature scene, but, for bibliophiles and new readers alike, Minneapolis and St. Paul offer a brag-worthy array of independent book stores, plus a plethora of libraries in the area. Minneapolis Central Library is the largest of these, with 353,000 square feet and 38.5 miles of shelving.

Located in a three-story brick building near downtown Minneapolis, Open Book is a center for literature, housing the Loft Literary Center, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, a café and nonprofit publisher Milkweed Editions. Milkweed sells books and has published around 350 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, receiving many national and local awards and recognitions. The Loft Literary Center helps writers advance, with classes, readings, presentations and the new Minneapolis-wide book festival Wordplay in spring. As for the Center for Book Arts, classes on calligraphy, binding, papermaking and more explore the artistry of books.

Take young readers to Wild Rumpus for a memorable literary experience. Along with many books, organized by subject, you’ll find plenty of animals in store. You can pet a chinchilla and sit for a book reading, and if you buy a Wild Rumpus canvas tote bag and bring it with you, you receive a 20 percent discount.

Wild Rumpus

Eat My Words and Midway Used and Rare Books specialize in used, rare, out-of-circulation books. If you’re searching for a particular edition, these are the places to look. Eat My Words also has monthly open-mic nights, occasional concerts and book signings. Other literary events in the Twin Cities area include SubText Books’ various book clubs, including one for cookbooks and one called “Books and Bars,” while Next Chapter Booksellers (formerly Common Good Books) hosts regular readings and monthly books clubs, too.

For more literary events, check Moon Palace Books’ calendar. The Minneapolis book store hosts concerts, readings, trivia nights, different book clubs and more interactive events. Inside is Geek Love Café, a spot for wine, pizza, salad and breakfast food. Moon Palace actively speaks out against inequality, much like another local store, Boneshaker Books, which operates with a highly motivated volunteer staff that is passionate about social justice. In an effort to also be environmentally friendly, they even deliver books to locals by bicycle, conserving energy. How cute is that?

Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction & Uncle Edgar’s Mystery Bookstores are a two-in-one location for lovers of science fiction and mystery. (Uncle Hugo’s gets credit as the oldest independent science fiction bookstore in America.) For more mystery, there’s also Once Upon a Crime. It has author events most weeks and a charmingly tucked-away southwest Minneapolis storefront.

Birchbark Books & Native Arts celebrates the Native population by selling jewelry and other handmade goods in addition to books by indigenous makers. Throughout the store, they focus on local authors and creators. Another local favorite is Magers & Quinn Booksellers, a large store in a walkable location in Uptown Minneapolis. It has every book genre you can think of, and you can add to their collection by bringing your used books to sell for cash or trade, too.

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