One of the best things about having a lot of colleges within driving distance is that when professors have a book come out, you get to host them. Now it’s true that novelists can be teaching in just about any department. Look at all the great novels that come from doctors. That said, the English and Creative Writing departments seem to be a prime source for Boswell’s event schedule.
Next week we’re hosting the author of The Marrowbone Marble Company, Glenn Taylor, who teaches at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. This of course led me to peruse the Harper College site. I like looking at them with the same earnestness that I collect tchotchke from college bookstores-- notebooks and postcards and the like. It was founded in 1965…by referendum! I use an exclamation point because I don’t know what that means.
So anyway, Glenn Taylor (who was formerly M. Glenn Taylor, by the way) is coming up to the Milwaukee area to do not one, but three events in the metro. We’re hosting him at Boswell on Tuesday, June 8th, at 7 PM. Mequon’s Next Chapter has a talk/signing with him on Wednesday, June 9th (same time) and then he heads to Books & Company in Oconomowoc on Thursday (I assume it’s also 7 PM).
I go back and forth on these double events. Sometimes I worry that we're chasing the same folks (who will travel further for many events than they will just to shop). For Robin Hobb last week, we got the feeling that we could have held the event on an island twenty miles off Lake Michigan and the same incredibly supportive fan base would have followed the author there, perhaps renting a catamaran. She's so nice she could get me to read (and understand) fantasy. I'm very sad the event was scheduled during my trip to Book Expo. Here's what Hobb had to say about the trip.
On the other hand, a full court press of events means its more likely for the event to get a write up in the media. Here's the Book Preview from the Shepherd Express. And don't forget the author event roundup that Jim Higgins has been doing every Sunday in the Journal Sentinel.
I think you'll continue to see twin and triplet events, as well as some cases where we do them in succession, and visiting authors where we have exclusives. We certainly don't want you to be able to second guess us!
So what did I think of The Marrowbone Marble Company? It's a fine read, worthy of multiple events! His previous book, The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Here’s my rec that I’ve been using around the store:
“When a West Virginia man has a vision to build a marble factory, there's more that changes than his profession. Loyal Ledford has seen the future and it's integrated, and who better to help first than the beaten-up janitor, Mack Wells, particularly as he was trained as an engineer. Alas, the area around the Marrowbone Cut is filled with unsavory characters like the hot-headed Maynards and the unsavory Ball cousins, folks who are not apt to help the poor of any color when they could fill their own pockets. Ledford's also got his hands full with his wife and three kids, particularly his youngest Orb, a hemophiliac who also has a different way of looking at the world. The Marrowbone Marble Company sees the second half of the 20th century through the prism of one small town, one particularly changed by civil rights and the war on poverty.”
It’s the kind of book that I’d think Barbara Kingsolver would like—family drama wrapped up in socio-political issues.
Next Chapter also has the rec on the Indie Next list for June:
"Gripping and raw, set between the moral compass of the '40s and the social revolution of the '60s, this novel follows a West Virginia family though their turbulent relationships with war, poverty, social injustice and racial segregation. It would be hard not to call this a piece of fine art, with its classic storytelling and brilliant writing."
(All the best to Scott on the next step of his journey, as a fan of Paulo Coelho would say.)
So, pick a store and visit for an interesting (and free) reading from an author with an interesting story to tell.