St. Paul landmark shuts down; Ruminator Review journal to be revived
Ruminator Bookstore, known as Hungry Mind from 1970-2000, ceased operations at the end of July. Unable to negotiate a new lease with its landlord, Macalester College, the 34 year-old nationally renowned Grand Avenue landmark held a going out-of-business sale and a wake to celebrate its 34 years of service to the community of readers and writers.

The literary magazine Ruminator Review, published by the store’s owners, will be emerging from a nine-month hiatus with the September/October issue.

From the website:
"’Independent’ is an important word here at Ruminator: We like ideas that stand on their own better than ones that have been processed to fit a particular market. We like to explore and support the edges of new concepts that challenge the status quo and writing that takes us well beyond the commonplace into a fresh understanding of human experience. We like the bioregional picture, the critical point of view. We are committed to resisting those who would limit curious minds, either in the courts or in corporate boardrooms. (It should come as no surprise that we prefer baseball on grass to baseball on Astroturf.)”

“Locally owned and community-based, Ruminator is a creative partnership composed of an independent bookstore, a quarterly book review, and a book publisher.”

“The store was founded in St. Paul in 1970 as Hungry Mind. In July of 1972, we became Macalester College's bookstore and moved into the building we occupy today. In the early 1980s, founder and owner David Unowsky joined with store owners across the country to raise independent bookselling to a new level of professionalism. He became a member of the American Booksellers Association and helped create the Upper Midwest Booksellers Association.”

“Out of this fertile literary environment emerged the Hungry Mind Review, a critical journal that has established itself as one of the country's most important independent book review magazines. Cofounded in 1986 by Unowsky and St. Paul writer Bart Schneider, the magazine focuses on new fiction, nonfiction, children's books, and poetry that might not otherwise receive critical attention. Published under the auspices of Macalester College, the review is distributed in more than 400 bookstores throughout North America and Canada, and has an expanding base of subscribers in the United States and abroad. In commissioning incisive reviews, provocative essays, and exclusive interviews with writers, the current editor, Margaret Todd Maitland, has helped solidify the magazine's reputation as a major literary voice and as a trendsetter in addressing touchstone subjects of national importance.”

“In the early 1990s, Unowsky and several other people dedicated to the Minnesota literary scene met at a Minneapolis restaurant for breakfast. During that gathering, they decided to launch Hungry Mind Press. Formed in response to the increasing number of mergers among New York publishing houses, the press holds as its mission the publication of politically and socially relevant books that represent diverse voices. Under the leadership of Pearl Kilbride, Ruminator Books Press has garnered rave reviews of its literary fiction and nonfiction titles in such notable venues as Publishers Weekly, the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, and the New Yorker.”

“In 2000, Hungry Mind announced its plans for a name change. After careful consideration, Unowsky had decided that selling the name "Hungry Mind" could actually bolster the store and ensure its future. The new name, "Ruminator," was chosen from hundreds of suggestions submitted by customers and fans from around the country.”

“Today, the bookstore at 1648 Grand Avenue strives to be an intellectual oasis. Books from small, independent publishers and university presses are well represented in our inventory. Our commitment and dedication to the ever-changing needs of our community sustain the spirit of Ruminator staff members. We thank our customers for their continued support.”