Monday, November 17, 2008

Boswell as literary icon, also messenger bag

James Boswell, biographer and obsessive journalist, is perhaps known for his Life of Samuel Johnson. Some have called this greatest biography of all time, and you can read more about its creation in Adam Sisman’s Boswell’s Presumptuous Task.

An iconic Boswell is also known as the logo for the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops in the Milwaukee area. He represents our passion for books, and he’s also, like many a book lover, a little offbeat. Most people who see the logo in our shops and on our signage have no idea who that guy is. They also think he might be hungry; is that a sub sandwich in his other hand?

I’m a bookseller, and that makes me one part bookseller and the other part merchant. So I offer my apologies for being a little more hard-sell than some blogs. I can’t help it—I’m passionate about what I like and have the need to share it.

There’s one other piece of advice I picked up on the subject of selling from a powerful friend in publishing. Everybody’s selling something on a blog, but sometimes all they are really selling are themselves.

Not me. I’m more interested in getting the word out on our really swell Boswell messenger bag (purchase link coming soon). It’s 12x15 and fastens with Velcro. There aren't a ton of zippers and pockets, but hey, it’s only $19.50.

Here it is, modeled by fellow bookseller Amie. You may recognize her from stints at Brookfield, Shorewood, and Downer Avenue. A woman of many talents, she’s currently one of our accounting folk, but she’s still very passionate about Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and loves the new limited-run rack size edition at only $10.

The other two in this series are Everything is Illuminated from Jonathan Safran Foer, and Chabon’s Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Please come in to one of our shops and take a look. The books are an interesting mix of trade and mass market paperbacks, an upmarket take on the deluxe $9.99 thrillers that have been popping up with slightly taller trims and bigger fonts. Harper says they will be available for a year or so, and then be replaced by new titles.

Up next...what's with all these French books?


jennifer said...

It's about time!

Ms. Marx tipped me off. I have to say that I've missed reading about what you're reading. So very glad you're going to blog.


Jay Johnson said...

Those bags are genuinely swanky!

And I'm so excited that you're blogging; I know I'll be in for hours of entertaining Goldin-ian book thoughts!