Monday, October 10, 2011

What's Going on This Week at Boswell (and Thereabouts), October 10-14, 2011

Here's what's going on this week.  I'm going to paraphrase in quotes.  I don't exactly know whom I'm quoting, sort of, but not quite Stacie in the press release, who in turn quoted someone else.  This is the way these things go.

Monday, October 10, 7 pm, at Boswell:
David M. Kennedy author of Don’t Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the end of Violence in Inner-City America, in a conversation with Milwaukee’s Chief of Police, Edward A. Flynn.

This was a crazy week to book. At one point, it was even crazier.* David M. Kennedy was originally scheduled to visit Milwaukee on Wednesday, but I couldn't figure out how to juggle events around to make it happen. We even tried to place him at the Milwaukee Public Library and Marquette University (if we weren't going to do him in store, it seemed to make the most sense to host Kennedy somewhere near downtown), but could not get that to work. In the end, Bloomsbury added a day to his tour, as they felt that with Chief of Police Flynn, we'd get a good crowd and some press.

"Don’t Shoot is the result of David Kennedy’s years “riding with beat cops, hanging with gang members, and sitting on stoops with grandmothers.” While America’s homicide rate plummets, the rate of death and incarceration for black men continues to rise. Observing the drastic misunderstandings on all sides as racialized anger and distrust was spiraling out of control in communities already suffering from poverty, fear and great instability, Kennedy pioneered a massive intervention of sorts. Beginning in Boston, this then-unknown criminologist worked with gang members and police to cut youth homicide by two-thirds and move a community towards a more effective approach to a serious problem.

"David Kennedy has been featured in the New Yorker and on 60 Minutes. He is the director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control, a professor of criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and co-chair of the National Network for Safe Communities. His crime-fighting strategies have been refined and deployed in over seventy cities."

Tuesday, October 11, 6:30 pm, at the North Shore Library in Glendale:
Lauren Oliver, author of Liesl and** Po, Before I Fall, and Delirium.

Last week a customer rushed into Centennial Hall for Stacy Schiff at about 7:20 and noted to me, "I went to the bookstore."  These are things that not just customers, but we as booksellers have to be careful about.  Just one slip in writing or editing and one of our attendees is off to the wrong place at the wrong time. I don't think we ever accidentally listed Schiff as being anywhere but Centennial Hall, but it's possible that it got picked up by someone and didn't give the location. In the last week, one paper (e or print, I won't say) left off the ticket for Katz (in the end, no complaints) and we had the time wrong for one of our events in one of the 35 ways we promote them (email, blog, print ad, print calendar, signage, website) and someone showed up late.  Four of us actually proofed this piece and didn't catch it. In the end, nothing else is going to be done at Boswell if we over proof everything--like an small business, there will very occasionally be an error. One hopes it's infrequent and causes a minimum of complication.

Oh yes, Lauren Oliver...

"Lauren Oliver captivated readers with her first novel, the groundbreaking Before I Fall, and followed that up with Delirium, the first in a dystopian trilogy, set in a world where love is declared a disease. Now we present her middle grade debut, Liesl & Po, a novel that has already won praise from Newbery Medalist Rebecca Stead, who calls this "a gorgeous story--timeless and magical."

"Locked in a tiny attic bedroom by her cruel stepmother, Liesl's only friends are the shadows and the mice. Lonely and grieving for her recently deceased father, Liesl is surprised one evening by Po and Bundle, a ghost and his pet who suddenly materialize in her room. The trio becomes fast friends, and it is because of Po that Liesl is able to escape from her attic room and embark on an extraordinary journey filled with fateful coincidences, narrow escapes, and a box containing the most powerful magic in the world.

Lauren Oliver was previously an editorial assistant at a publishing company in New York. A graduate of the University of Chicago and the MFA Program at New York University, she is now a full-time writer. She lives in Brooklyn, New York."

Our buyer Amie is a big fan of Liesl and Po.  And Delirium is now available in a special edition hardcover. North Shore Library is one of our library partners, which is, if not the closest venue, is certainly in the flightpath of many of our customers, being just north of Bayshore at 6800 North Port Washington Road.

Wednesday, October 12, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Florentine Opera presents Opera Insights: Turandot.

It's our new season of Opera Insights. Our contact Elizabeth has moved on to a position that she's excited about in the world of nonprofits, so we're no working with Lisa and Sarah, who preformed two years ago at Boswell with...the Florentine Opera Studio (just Sarah)!

Professor emeritus Corliss Phillabaum and the Florentine Opera Studio (pictured left!) present a sneak peak into their new production of "Turandot", an informative and entertaining lecture paired with short selections.  Think of this as a literary wine and chocolate tasting. We have the expectation that after the sampling, you'll want a crate of each.  And that metaphor is meant to send you to the Florentine's ticket sales."

About "Turandot" - A battle of wits turns to true love as a valiant hero risks his life to win the heart of an icy princess. Audience favorite Renzo Zulian returns to the Florentine Opera as Calaf to perform the show-stopping aria, "Nessun Dorma," and soprano Lise Lindstrom makes her Florentine Opera debut in the title role, admist global critical acclaim for her portrayal of Princess Turandot in venues such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and Italy's La Scala."

More on the Florentine Opera here.

Thursday, October 13, 4 pm, Cudahy Family Library
James Howe, author of Addie on the Inside, The Misfits, and Bunnicula.

"The Gang of Five is back in Addie on the Inside, this second companion to the inspirational novel, The Misfits, which gave rise to the national movement known as No Name-Calling Week, observed by thousands of schools annually.

"Addie Carle, the only girl in the Gang of Five, is outspoken, opinionated, and sometimes...just a bit obnoxious. But as seventh grade progresses, Addie's not so sure anymore about who she is. It seems her tough exterior is just a little too tough, and that doesn't help her deal with the turmoil she feels on the inside as she faces the pains of growing up. And the best part is the story is told completely in verse!

"James Howe is the author of more than eighty acclaimed and beloved books for teenagers and children. His books include The Misfits, Totally Joe, The Watcher, and the bestselling Bunnicula and its many sequels."

Cudahy Family Library is on 3500 Library Drive, just south of Layton and west of Packard. Coming from the neighborhoods or suburbs contiguous to the store? Take Lincoln Memorial to the Hoan and make a left at Layton into Cudahy. Heading north instead of south? Next Chapter is also hosting Howe at 4:30 on Wednesday, October 12.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Thursday, October 13, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Wendy Call, author of No Word for Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy in a bilingual presentation

It was my idea to promote this as a bilingual event, but in the heat of it being October, particularly packed with events, and big ones at that, I think I haven't done the kind of Spanish-language outreach I'd hoped for. The number of languages that Ms. Call uses will depend on the crowd.

"For two years, Wendy Call was a fellow with the Institute of Current World Affairs, living and studying on the Mexican Isthmus. Her time there led to a deep and abiding respect for the history and culture of the villages that occupy the region. Returning to Southern Mexico over the years, Call continued to study the effects of globalization on the villages she had come to know, doing so with passion and compassion, sense and sensitivity, interest and intellect. The result is No Word for Welcome, garnering high praise from such literary luminaries as Sandra Cisneros and Philip Lopate.

"In this graceful, detailed narrative, Call invites the reader into the homes and lives of the Mexican people who populate the much-fought-over isthmus connecting the Yucatan Peninsula to the rest of the country. Both farmland and fishery, the “little waist” of Mexico has witnessed destruction of its forests and agricultural losses to development, in the wake of an increasingly global economy. Remarkably, perhaps even because of their lifelong battle with balancing growth and preservation, the people of the Tehuantepec isthmus may have some of the clearest insight into how to rectify the very imbalances that threaten their way of life.

"Wendy Call is a writer, editor, translator, and teacher of creative writing. Her nonfiction writing and her translations (from Spanish) of poetry and fiction have appeared in more than fifty magazines and literary journals, and in several anthologies. She is also co-editor, with Mark Kramer, of Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide, an anthology of nonfiction writing that is used as a core text university writing courses."
And finally...

Friday, October 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Pink, artistic director of Milwaukee Ballet, presents Dialogue for Dance: Dracula.

The Milwaukee Ballet is switching things up, and having Mr. Pink speak at Boswell instead of at their studios. I certainly am hoping this will work.  I love these talks, but alas, I am at the GLIBA trade show in Dearborn, hoping to learn some bookstore tips and to meet some authors who might be convinced to visit Boswell next winter and spring..

"Join us in a free talk with Michael Pink, artistic director of Milwaukee Ballet, about his most popular work, "Dracula." The most successful ballet in recent history, "Dracula" toured through Great Britain, New Zealand and the United States to an audience of nearly one million people.

"The production itself is described as “monstrous,” “combining massive, dark and towering scenery; period costumes from Tony Award winner Lez Brotherston; Paul Pyant’s dramatic lighting effects; and Philip Feeney’s chilling score performed live by the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra.”

"Michael Pink is an international choreographer and teacher who has served as Milwaukee Ballet’s Artistic Director since 2002. A graduate of the Royal Ballet, he spent ten years dancing many leading roles with the English National Ballet. Pink has worked as repetiteur for Rudolf Nureyev at the Paris Opera and La Scala Milan, and his early choreographic work won him first place in the Ursula Moreton Choreographic Competition and the Royal Society of Arts Competition. Since then he has produced over twenty original works, including Don Quixote, Esmeralda, Aubade, as well as works for theatre and television."

More on the Milwaukee Ballet here.

*We were talking about also doing an authorless offsite on Wednesday, but in the end, the program didn't have enough registrations. My rule of thumb is that with an author with a fairly recent book who hasn't already done a number of events around town, we will sell books if they expect 30-40 people (and we have the person available), but we do get periodically asked to sell books when there is no author and the presenter just wants subject resources available. Without at least one author speaking, the sell-through is generally miniscule and has shown us there is almost never interest for this kind of thing. With an author, we'll do it if it involves effectively bringing a section that we already have in the store. If the stock needs to be ordered in, we wind up with a 5% sell through--it's a lose-lose for everyone. And without an author, the likelihood is that we'll sell a book for every 50 people. Figure out how to make that number work.

**For some reason, every time I write an ampersand, the html code for ampersand (&) appears instead.  So I apologize for the stylistic error of writing out "and."

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