Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Couple of Picks from One of Our Sales Reps, but Not for Books He Represents

There’s a lot I can’t take credit for at Boswell Book Company. After all, I moved into a space that was mostly conceived by the folks at Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, particularly Carol Grossmeyer, our store designer in those days, and John Eklund, the first manager of the Downer Avenue branch of Schwartz.

For many years a sales rep for the university presses of Harvard, Yale, and M.I.T., John remains a good friend to me, and a regular visitor of the store. We retrieved one of his brainchilds, the wooden entry display bench with slots to display books in the window on the back, from storage. They certainly have a pew quality about them, and that seems appropriate to me.

Mr. Eklund’s always been a wonderful writer, and here’s a link to his periodic blog entries in Convolutes. I like that the design he picked reminds me of his fondness for Converse sneakers.

John’s also been reviewing books for my good friends at Seminary Coop in Chicago. Here are some recent write ups he’s done:

That Mad Ache, by Francois Sagan, translated by Douglas Hofstadter.
Praise for a recent translation of a 1960’s novel by a notable French writer. Let’s just say that if Douglas Hofstadter wrote a cookbook, Mr. Eklund would host a dinner party.

The Post Office Girl, by Stefan Dweig
The Anita Brookner of Austria (that’s high praise, by the way) writes of the meeting of two very different types who discover how the other half lives.

I would normally quip that nobody is a bigger fan of the NYRB Classics, the perfect match of smart editorial and beautiful package, but I know so many folks obsessed by this series that I think we’d have to host a tournament to determine the winner.

There are new reviews to come for Seminary’s front table. I can vouch for this because I watched some being written in a nearby coffee shop. Watch for them on their blog.

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