Monday, October 5, 2015

Come one, come all!

The day is swiftly approaching, the time is at hand, the book is awaiting your investigation — and what a book it is! 
Please join us for a fun and friendly conversation about the twists and turns of the Cooke family drama as seen through the pages of Karen Joy Fowler’s book, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. 
Mark your calendar for ONE WEEK FROM TODAY --- 6:15pm, Monday, October 12 --- and prepare to dig into the ups, down, and turn arounds in our book of the month!

Monday, September 28, 2015

October Fun --- The Purple Onion Bookclub is back in action!

Someone once wrote something about happy and unhappy families and the theory that while happy families were all alike, unhappy families were all unhappy in their own way. 
In other words, every unhappy family is unique. In the case of the Cooke family who populate the pages of the book, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, this is quite true.
Without giving away the ending, let’s just say that the Cooke family unhappiness is manifested in a truly surprising and utterly unique way. 
Pick up this book, fearless readers, and discover the uniqueness of the Cooke family today!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What fun, what joy, what bliss it is, to get together and talk like this!
Although our numbers may have been a bit small, our Purple Onion Bookclub get together was fun for all!
We talked about Where No Gods Came by Sheila O'Connor, talked about point of view, setting, time, place, and narrator. 
We talked about what kinds of books attract our attention, talked about what sorts of stories fire our imagination.
We will be taking a short break to soak up the summer sun, but never fear, Purple Onion fun will be back just in time for the new school year!
With a new location (on the main floor of the sun-drenched Starbucks graced, cozy, friendly, student center in the heart of the Hamline campus), and a book that will surely be on the desks of most Hamline students and faculty (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler), we will be ready to rock and roll and talk character, theme, time, place, and tone! 
Will you???

Monday, May 4, 2015


One week from today,
we shall be gathering to talk
about the wonderful prose of Sheila O'Connor,
author of our Purple Onion Bookclub pick of the month!
Please say you will join us,
we would love to have you,
just go to Facebook
and RSVP!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

May Purple Onion Bookclub

Greetings from the Purple Onion Bookclub, sponsored by the Hamline Bookstore! 

Please join us this May as we dive into the compelling story of Faina McCoy, a young girl caught in a perilous scheme of elaborate lies created for her own harrowing system of survival in the outstanding book, Where No Gods Came, by Hamline professor, Sheila O’Connor. 

We will be gathering on Monday, May 11, from 6:15-7pm, at Gingko Coffeehouse, across the street from the Hamline Bookstore. 

All are welcome to attend our informal and interactive discussions, and to participate and/or observe as much or as little as you like. 

Please feel free to share this invitation with all of your book loving friends and family and then send us a quick Facebook RSVP!  

May is almost here!

The reviews are in… Where No Gods Came is the perfect spring time read!

"Written with precision and perception, this is a highly recommended work from a writer to watch." Library Journal

Grab a copy today and dive into the warm and wonderful prose of local author, Sheila O'Connor, and then join us on Monday, May 11, at Gingko's Coffeehouse, across the street from the Hamline Bookstore, for an informal chat about this book and others by the author.

MAY is almost here!

Grab your copy of Where No Gods Came by Sheila O’Connor and start reading ASAP!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

for your poetic reading enjoyment, here is a little
 Purple Onion haiku about our latest get together :-)

Open Bookclub night
meets acoustic open mike.
Thoughts, opinions shared.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fractures and fairy tales and feasts and beasts and more!
Please join us this Monday for feedback galore
on the tall tales spun anew in Mr. Koertge's free verse collection
of twisted Grimm tales and dancing girls with many directions!

Hope to see you all this coming Monday!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Fractured Fairy Tales!

Rainy days making you feel a little Grimm?

Grab a copy of Ron Koertge’s Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses from the Hamline Bookstore today!

Read the Koertge flavored retold tales of Grimm dramas, damsels and divas, then join your fellow book lovers for a rollicking gab session about fractured fairy tales at the April Purple Onion Bookclub meeting!

*Mention the Purple Onion Bookclub at the Hamline Bookstore for a 20% discount on the text.*

Join the excitement of the Purple Onion Bookclub at Gingko Coffeehouse, Monday, April 13, 6:15-7pm. No need to RSVP - everyone is always welcome!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Greetings from the Purple Onion Bookclub, sponsored by the Hamline Bookstore! 
Spring has sprung and April has almost begun which means it is time for our next bookclub pick
Please join us on Monday, April 13, 6:15-7pm at Gingko Coffeehouse as we dive into the text of Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses, by poet and Hamline MFAC Professor, Ron Koertge. 
This terrific collection of twenty twisted fairy tales, based on the Brothers Grimm originals, is a free verse medley of witty, sly, and sometimes scary snippets of warnings and wisdoms. 
Pick up a copy today at the Hamline Bookstore, and receive 20% off simply by mentioning the Purple Onion Bookclub.
Everyone is welcome to attend our fun and friendly book club discussions. The conversation progresses organically, allowing everyone a chance to participate and/or observe as much or as little as they like. There is no need to RSVP in advance. 
If you have questions or would like to suggest a local author to read for our next club meeting, please feel free to let us know by replying to this post.
See you in April to talk twisted fairy tales!

*Note: All ages are always welcome to our Purple Onion Bookclub gatherings, however, this book does contain some adult language and imagery, and some parts may be inappropriate for young teens and children. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Important Purple Onion Bookclub Date Update!

Alert! Alert! My calendar was on the fritz as I penned the latest post… the date for our April book club fun is Monday, April 13 (NOT April 9 as mentioned in the previous post!)

I do apologize for any confusion!

All of our Purple Onion Book Club gatherings will be held on the second Monday of each month (at 6:15pm at the wonderful Gingko Coffeehouse across the street from the Hamline Bookstore on Snelling Ave in St Paul), so when in doubt about the date, go with the second Monday of the month.

Now log off and head over to the Hamline University Bookstore to pick up your copy of Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge. If you mention this blog, you will receive 20% off!

Happy reading, Purple Onioners!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Trail of Breadcrumbs…

Purple Onion Book Clubbers! What a great evening of fun conversation we had at our Purple Onion Book Club March meeting talking all about Breadcrumbs by the wonderful Anne Ursu!

We chit-chatted about story elements, dug into writing techniques, compared and contrasted forms of fiction and had a smashing good time overall.

With laughter and energy, we shared coffee and tea as we talked about all sorts of books, in genres ranging from mystery to history to fantasy.

We are excited for next month when we shall discuss the delights of tight writing and twisted fiction in Ron Koertge's collection of seriously fractured fairy tales, Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses

Grab a copy today and mark the date on your calendar ---> 6:15pm, Monday, April 9 at Gingko Coffeehouse.

See you there and then!

Sunday, March 8, 2015


The Purple Onion Book Club is thrilled to announce the arrival of a new set of fantastic Hamline related reads for spring of 2015!

First up in the spring lineup is Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu. Ms. Ursu is a member of the Hamline MFAC faulty and a prolific author of books for children, young adults, and adults.

Here are a few highlights about the book from a conversation between Ms. Ursu and NPR as posted on the NPR Backseat Book Club’s website (

Author Anne Ursu grew up in Minnesota, where she loved playing in the snow as a child, and Ursu told NPR's Michele Norris that Breadcrumbs was inspired in large part by her own "snow coated" memories of growing up in Minnesota: 
"When you're a kid and you look out the window and it's snowing and that seems so magical and the world just becomes something else, something other. Everything is quiet, and it feels like it's almost your kingdom to go out and conquer."

Navigating the wintery world of Breadcrumbs are best friends Hazel and Jack, fifth-graders in a working-class Minneapolis neighborhood. Adopted as a baby from India, Hazel feels like an outsider, especially after her parents split up and she's forced to attend a new school. Meanwhile, Jack is facing his own family challenges, and the two friends begin to drift apart.

Their all-too-familiar problems are given a supernatural twist when Jack disappears, supposedly lured into the forest by a woman in white. It's up to Hazel to brave the wintry woods and find her friend.

Hazel gains indispensable wisdom, and better yet, she learns how to access — and generate — an everyday magic. As Ursu says, as Hazel abandons her belief in "childlike" happy endings for understanding the real world, she learns that "magic might not come and save the day but magic can be created with memories, with a friendship ... that is the real happy ending."

Breadcrumbs pays homage to the fairy tales Ursu loved as a child. 
The book is based on Hans Christian Andersen's fable The Snow Queen, which features a woman in white who inspired Jadis the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

For a transcript of the whole interview, please go to:

We are excited to talk about Breadcrumbs with you, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts, opinions, comments, and insights at our upcoming Purple Onion Book Club March meeting!

Please join us as we follow the trail of Hazel and Jack and others in this magical and mystical Minnesota based tale mirroring many of the elements of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Snow Queen" at 6:15pm, Monday, March 9 at Gingko Coffeehouse! 

All of our Purple Onion Book Club discussions are active and interactive, progressing organically and allowing everyone a chance to chime in as much or as little as they like.

No need to RSVP and no worries about age restrictions or fees. The Purple Onion Book Club is open to all ages and is entirely free!

We hope to see you there and then!

PS Stay tuned to this blog for a recap of the fun later this week, and for more information about our upcoming books and meetings too!

Friday, March 6, 2015


The Purple Onion Book Club kicked off in October of 2013 with Bob Dylan's Chronicles and Tarantula.  We compared the history cited in Dylan's autobiography with the history of the building and shared our opinions of both Dylan's music and his writing style. 

Since then, The Purple Onion Book Club has read works by Hamline University Faculty authors John Brandon and Nancy Holland, as well as Alumni author Mindy Mejia's breakout novel, The Dragon Keeper.  Our most famous authors include Kate DiCamillo and William Kent Krueger.  Mr. Krueger was kind enough to join us for our discussion of Ordinary Grace, a sidestep from his usual serial mystery work. 

Through it all, one thing remains.  The Purple Onion Book Club is all about local writing.  The Twin Cities have so much to offer, including many amazing authors!