Every month, the American Booksellers Association tabulates the Indie Next Picks for the month. This is based on reviews sent in by member booksellers. I've been in the habit of collecting reviews from booksellers since back when we were Schwartz. They are not only useful for this program, but we use them on shelf talkers, and in our newsletters.
Back when I was a buyer, I had more time to devote to this, and of course we have a lot fewer potential voters at Boswell than we did at Schwartz. That said, we still seem to get included in round ups, and for November, we had the particular joy of having two recommendations selected, from Carl and Conrad.
Here's Carl: Men in the Making: Stories, by Bruce Machart
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780156034449)
"These exceptional stories take place mostly in Texas, but they are universal in nature as the men and boys portrayed discover the tools they need to grow into the men they should be. The collection includes tales of sawmill workers, a fatherless nine-year-old boy visiting his crotchety grandpa for the first time, and an out-of-work writer. Along the way, each character finds truth, beauty, and harsh reality embodied in the people, places, and eye-opening events in their lives."
And the Conrad rec: The Prague Cemetery: A Novel, by Umberto Eco
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780547577531)
"In Eco's latest work, we follow the exploits of a split-personality secret agent and forger who traipses around 19th-century Europe involving himself in many of the key events of the day. From Garibaldi's campaign for a united Italian Republic to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair, he plants bombs, attends black masses, and forges documents playing one conspiracy against another. As always, Eco spins this all into a riveting and engrossing tale."
And no, it's just coincidence that both of our reviews are from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
It's a particularly incredible selection this month. Stacie had sent in a quote for The Marriage Plot and Jason for Zone One. Plus we had a few early reads on 1Q84, but I'm not sure if any of them came in time for the two month review deadline. Yes, two months. The January deadline is this Friday. I'm really excited about one January book (I already sent in a quote for American Dervish) that I haven't finished yet, so yes, there's more tension than ever. I did also get a quote from Jason for another January book, so who knows, we might make the list again.
The #1 book for the month is Don DeLillo's short stories, The Angel Esmeralda. You'd think Boswell would a reader on staff for him, but at least this time around, we didn't. There was probably only one galley in the back room and it disappeared pretty quickly, but either wasn't read, or one day I'll see a shelf talker up and it will be a surprise to me.
Left over from Schwartz is my preference for home-made shelf talkers. I'd been hoping to do this for other sections as well, but it's hard to get a rhythm going. There have now been four booksellers who've held the job of making shelf talkers, five if you include me. Currently Shane has the honors (pictured in our combination break room, marketing and programming office). We just bought some new colors of card stock because the pastels and earth tones we had were getting pretty boring.
I'd link you to the public Indie Next site but something's a little funky with it today. Instead, here's the preview list.
Hello. This is my blog for the Boswell Book Company, located on the East Side of Milwaukee at 2559 N. Downer Avenue at Webster Place, Milwaukee WI 53211.
Our store phone: (414) 332-1181.
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Our Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 AM-9 PM.
Sunday hours, 10 AM-6 PM