Good intentions and an "A" for effort add up to second place for everybody else in town. The Hungry Mind virtually owns this category with its venerable and continually ambitious bookstore/culture empire in St. Paul, yearly playing host to dozens of readings by literary fat cats, blockbuster flyweights, shy locals, fierce obscurities, and first-time novelists alike. From Hillary Clinton to Jon Krakauer and E. Annie Proulx, everybody comes here eventually. And whether the author commands an audience of three or 300, the Hungry Mind's digs near Macalester College give it plenty of flexibility: The big draws pack 'em in at the campus chapel across the street, while everybody else does their thing right there in the back of the store, smack-dab in the middle of the literature section.


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