Jonathan Blum with Peter Bognanni at Milkweed Books

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 7:00pm to 7:30pm
Milkweed Books
1011 Washington Ave S
Open Book, 1st Floor
Minneapolis, MN 55415
United States

Free and open to the public.

Join Milkweed Books in welcoming authors Jonathan Blum (The Usual Uncertainties, Rescue Press) and Peter Bognanni (The House of Tomorrow, Berkley).

Tuesday, November 12 | 7:00 p.m.
Milkweed Books | Open Book, 1st Floor
1011 Washington Ave, Minneapolis, 55415


The stories in The Usual Uncertainties follow characters who live at the edges of the frame—among them, a community college dropout from Miami, a couple who meet at a 7-Eleven in Los Angeles, a religious boy whose mother arranges a square dance Bar Mitzvah party for him, the director of a competitive Scrabble club, and a widowed geriatric care manager. Jonathan Blum's stories have a way of turning everyday people inside out, rendering them vulnerable and strange, the way we all appear when looked at closely enough. The unlikely heroes of The Usual Uncertainties are trying to make their way in the world in the face of struggles big and small, both ancestral and circumstantial. This collection is a compelling blend of tragic and comical, quiet and radiant.

The characters that inhabit these stories will break your heart and mend it simultaneously. A writer of immense talent and imagination, Jonathan Blum is unafraid to explore, sometimes hilariously, the most dangerous interiors of personality in ways we’ve never quite seen before. The Usual Uncertainties tackles the most primal of our human dilemmas with a vision as profound and achingly delicate as it is unforgettable. –Holiday Reinhorn, author of Big Cats

Jonathan Blum is a wonderful writer: witty and sharp, compassionate and humane, and The Usual Uncertainties is a flat-out glorious collection that manages to be both hilarious and heartbreaking, nervy and timeless. I won’t soon forget these masterful stories. –Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans


Sebastian Prendergast lives with his eccentric grandmother in a geodesic dome. His homeschooling has taught him much-but he's learned little about girls, junk food, or loud, angry music.

Then fate casts Sebastian out of the dome, and he finds a different kind of tutor in Jared Whitcomb: a chain-smoking sixteen-year-old heart transplant recipient who teaches him the ways of rebellion. Together they form a punk band and plan to take the local church talent show by storm. But when his grandmother calls him back to the futurist life she has planned for him, he must decide whether to answer the call-or start a future of his own.


?Jonathan Blum is the author of two books of fiction: The Usual Uncertainties (Rescue Press, 2019), a story collection, and Last Word (Rescue Press, 2013), a novella. Blum grew up in Miami and graduated from UCLA and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His short stories have appeared in Angels Flight • literary west, The Carolina Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Playboy, Sonora Review, and in Shanxi Literature, among others. He has taught fiction writing at The University of Iowa, Drew University, and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and is the recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, a Hawthornden fellowship in Scotland, and a grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. He has also been a guest writer at the Tianjin Binhai New Area International Writing Program in China. He lives in Los Angeles.

?Peter Bognanni is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His debut novel, The House of Tomorrow, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and the ALA Alex Award and has been adapted into a feature film. He teaches creative writing at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Learn more.