I spent today at the UWM Women's Leadership Conference at the Pfister. Definitely the dynamo of the day was Bonnie St. John, co-author of the book, How Great Women Lead: A Mother-Daughter Adventure into the Lives of Women Shaping the World (Center Street). Being that I wasn't paying too much attention to the details of St. John's work, I missed that Darcy Deane is St. John's daughter, which struck a chord with a lot of attendees. It also helped that the author is so personable, and a medalist in the Paralympics to boot (in skiing). So the truth is that I ran out of books! I promised to write a recommendation for her, which unlike Brian Williams, Joan Lunden, Debbie Macomber, and Jeannette Walls (what a combo!), would not praise her writing but would speak to her ability to sell books at conferences. Boy did people love her!
The book that everyone was talking about, of course was Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Random House), by Cheryl Sandberg. Sandberg is COO of Facebook and was formerly Google's head of global online sales. If you look at our sales page, you'll see glowing quotes from folks like Jeffrey Immelt of GE, Condoleeza Rice, Jim Collins of Good to Great, and the list goes on. Time magazine reported on their own front-page cover profile on their blog, while Maureen Corrigan on NPR offers softer praise, but links to all the naysayers.
During the sessions, I spent the day processing emails (of course) and confirming events. The last few weeks have brought us a lot of great news, including events with local favorite Dean Jensen (June 13), Jeannette Walls (June 20), Chuck Klosterman (July 18), and a farther out ticketed event that we'll be hosting with the UWM Bookstore on far-off October 12 with another Chuck, this one Palahniuk. We also worked out a date for David Sedaris, and I think we have the logistics down on that one too, for Sunday, May 26.
I am thrilled about these bookings, but I'm almost as excited when we come up with a nice author pairing, as we did for two Wisconsin writers, Andrea Lochte and Dale Kushner on May 16 or the Wisconsin nonfiction pairing of Jerome Pohlen's Oddball Wisconsin (new edition) with Ron Faiola's Wisconsin Supper Clubs (from the documentary) on May 2. Making that work takes a lot of juggling, signing off, approvals, and the like, but those joint conversations with questions from the audience can be electric.
And then I walked over to The Soup House for lunch (sweet
potato with red pepper for Sharon, Ivan's tikka masala for me) and
worked on the details for our event co-sponsored by the Soup House on
Friday, June 14. I'm still working on getting all the details (involves
Dan, Wayne, and their friend Chris, reading from their new works), but
it's an event I've wanted to somehow put together since the day we
opened because...soup samples will be served. I feel like Laverne and
Shirley making my dreams come true.
The day was filled with slippery slopes beyond selling out of one book. We had left several boxes of books still at Boswell, so I went back and got them. Then I ran down to Hide House to pick up another author's books. Yet another author whom we expected to sign was not really able to do so, and worst of all, in my tiredness, I posted a blog that wasn't yet ready for primetime. Whoops and apologies.
Tomorrow's another day, and one in which we host B.J. Best and Charles P. Ries at 2 pm.