Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rep Night #3--Plus a Last-Minute Reminder on a Few Events

The Next Chapter folk came to Boswell Book Company for our third round of presentations from sales reps.

First up was Anne Hellman from Macmillan; she sells adult and kids books from St. Martin's, FSG, Holt and a number of other lines.

--Anne was thrilled that Mennonite in a Little Black had taken off--the publisher was out of stock and she couldn't bring a sample. It's the story of a woman who returns home to her close-knit family after a personal crisis. It's funny but not mean funny.

--Another book that Anne spoke very highly of was Michael Sandel's new Justice: What's the Right thing to do? Sandel is a renowned professor at Harvard, and we were all fascinated by this primer on ethics. To me, it sounded like what econometrics (oops, I meant economics, econometrics is a different book) is to Freakonomics, ethics is to Justice. I wasn't that thrilled with the jacket, however.

--I had a customer come in asking for memoirs, and I said, "Funny or not?" Because most of our funny ones are in humor. One addition to that might be You Can't Drink All Day if You Don't Start in the Morning, by Celia Riverbank.

--A teen book that had some buzz (caffeinated?) was The Espressologist, by Krstina Springer. A young barrista realizes you can tell a lot about folks through their coffee drink. And so a modern take on Austen's Emma is perked.

--Everybody's looking for the next Hunger Games and Anne's contribution is the YA Gril in the Arena, by Lisa Haines. It's about a world addicted to violence, and yes, it's the beginning of a series. Good reads on this.

--The Death of Bunny Munro, by Nick Cave, appears to be a hip updated Death of a Salesman. Dave at Next Chapter spoke of it highly.

In the middle spot was Tim Mooney, who represents the kids' lines of Random House, including the newly acquired Tricycle Press from Ten Speed.

--Libba Bray's Going Bovine is about a boy with Mad Cow disease who comes into contact (maybe) with a helpful angel. It's a comedy.

--In Kate Lauren's, Fallen, Luce is sent to a terrible boarding school in Georgia where she meets the mysterious Daniel, a young man with a secret. It's in the Twilight School, maybe even more chaste?

--David Diaz illustrates a new edition of the classic song Let There be Peace on Earth, at one time the anthem for Unicef. The illustrations cover the globe, and Diaz was awarded a Caldecot for previous work.

--The cautionary tale of The Book that Eats People makes particular effort to steer clear of the gory details inside, particularly if your hands have peanut butter on them. Lemony Snicket-esque?

--And Random House's contribution to Hunger Games lit is The Maze Runner, the first novel in a trilogy about a boy who wakes up plunked into a giant maze and at the center of a survivalist society. We've got to put this on our dystopian table, junior edition.

Last was John Hastie, who represents half of the Random House trade lines (Bantam, Clarkson Potter, a whole bunch of others). Books he talked about included:

--The Last Resort, by Douglas Rogers. This is the story of a family trying to hang onto their land under the increasingly corrupt Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Funny and terrifying--they are hoping to build the Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight audience. As I'm currently reading Half of a Yellow Sun and pass our cool African candle display everyday, I found this of particular interest.

--The Book of Basketball, by Bill Sammons (no, that's Simmons--thanks, Adam!) This is an everything NBA book--history, debate, invterviews, commentary. Several booksellers chimed in that Sammons is a great writer, and Jason told me that back when I picked the gift guide titles for Schwartz, this would have been one of my key sports books. I would have been very excited!

--Sweeping Up Glass, by Carolyn Wall. This is a book that had a small print from Poisoned Pen Press, but was quickly snapped up by Bantam for reprint. The book was an Indie Next pick for hardcover, but by the time it hit the list, books were no longer available. John's notes were "Dorothy Allison and Donna Tartt, and just a touch of Harper Lee." Sharon was in the middle of reading it (or so I noticed at a recent break) and seemed to be enjoying it quite a bit.

--Larousse Gastronomique has had a major redesign. We had very regular sales for years. The book looks quite spectacular now but will our customers bite on the $90 price point?

--And John still championed Await Your Reply. Between the two stores, we must have seven or eight reads. We've had some sales (and mostly very good feedback from customers). It's one that didn't take off on impact, so it makes a great hand-sell. Expect me to yap about it to you when you come in.

--One book that John loved last year in hardcover has really been selling quite well in paperback. It's Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief, an American Dickensian tale of a one-handed orphan and his "benefactor."


Big events this week!

Tuesday, November 3rd is Patricia Polacco, author of January's Sparrow and many other books. That's at 7 PM in the bookstore.

On Tuesday morning, Jeffrey Krames is appearing at the Central Library Business/Media room. The event starts at 7:30 AM. It's past the deadline for registering, but maybe there are still spots left.

Meet the Author: Jeffrey Krames
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Presented by Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library. Sponsored by The Business Journal.
Author of “The Unforced Error: Why Some Managers Get Promoted While Others Get Eliminated,” “Inside Drucker’s Brain” and more.As former publisher of a major business book company, Krames has personally edited and published more than 275 business books, including many award-winning, best-selling titles that include such business luminaries as Jack Welch, Michael Ovitz, Ross Perot, Bill Gates and more.

Location: Business/Media room, second floor of the Central Library. Coffee, juice and rolls will be served. Boswell Book Company will be there to sell books. Admission is $10. Please contact John Menzel for reservations at 414-908-0557 or by October 28th.

On November 4th, see you at Alverno College for Barbara Ehrenreich. Read the Journal Sentinel's Q&A with her in Sunday's paper.

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