Thursday, June 2, 2011
Ruminating on Madison Bookstores, Present and Past, and Dean Bakopoulos, the Ex-Bookseller Who Has Written Not Just One, but Two Great Novels (and is Coming Thurs. June 9 for the Second One).
Here's my recent writeup from the NPR webiste. I might have told you 300 or so times that Susan Stamberg spoke to me about Ex Libris: the Art of Bookplates and My Korean Deli on Memorial Day, and there were some runners up, including My American Unhappiness.
"In Dean Bakopoulos' hilarious and heartfelt new novel, Zeke Pappas is head of a small nonprofit that grants funds for cultural projects in the Midwest. He also happens to be a widower who is taking care of his two orphaned nieces, an arrangement made precarious by the fact that Zeke's mom, who officially has custody, is dying of cancer, and has decreed that if Zeke isn't married by the time she passes, the kids should go to his sister-in-law. But don't worry, as Zeke's got prospects — sort of. In addition to his assistant and a local barrista, he's also interested in Sofia Coppola. At the same time, Zeke's work at Great Midwestern Humanities Initiative is under investigation by a wing of the Department of Homeland Security. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to let their biggest donor use his GMHI credit cards for sexual trysts. All this could threaten Zeke's pet project, the "Inventory of American Unhappiness," which is a sort of "This I Believe" for this distraught. This funny-sad novel seems to take elements of the author's own life (happily married, with kids) and twists them in a funhouse mirror — with delightful results."
So what celebrates bookstores more than a bookstore reading? OK, maybe buying the book at a bookstore reading. So join us on Thursday, June 9, 7 pm, and toast bookstores past, present, and future, as well as life beyond them, when all you have to do is walk in at 6:45, read a bit, answer a few questions, sign a few books and leave. Let someone else put away the chairs!
*I left out the second-hand and antiquarian bookstores, but they are all listed in my heart.
**Thanks to Arthur Plotnik for that superlative, straight from Better than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives. Plotnik is speaking on Tuesday, June 7, 7 pm, at Boswell. More on our events page.