Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Displays--African Fiction, Baseball, Graduation, Birding.

Sometimes life gets in the way. I had a display blog post planned out but it seemed like every day had another deadline. Now it's done!

1. Our rep Jason wrote to me after receiving our bestseller list, asking if I had in fact replaced our Norwegian display with one featuring African writers. In fact it wasn't as simple as that--the Norwegian display took the place of the Story Prize finalists--but in fact the African voices display had gone up where the Norwegian one was. He had noted that several stores were doing this; I am nothing if not a copycat. What with Chimananda Ngozie Adichie winnin the NBCC prize, Dinaw Mengestu and Helen Oyeyemi having front page NYTBR reviews, Ishmael Beah having a high-profile first novel, and new paperbacks from Taiye Selasi (now) and Noviolet Bulawayo (forthcoming May 20th), the display just made itself.

2. I asked around about baseball themes for this year's display and Hannah immediately said, "Hank the Dog!" and that was that. There's nothing like a cute and furry mascot to get attention. I was shocked my all the national media attention Hank is getting, and the line to meet him at Miller Park was crazy. I also met at least one female dog who was all dolled up, with her human companion telling me she was dressing for a date. I don't know if they wound up getting together or not. The highest profile baseball book is George Will's A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at 100 (Crown Archetype), coming next Tuesday. We've got our own little event celebrating Wrigley's centennial, with Stuart Shea, author of the revised edition of Wrigley Field. Come hear him on Thursday, April 17, 7 pm.

3. I had already expanded our graduation cards, but it was only  when it was called to my attention that the graduation books were coming in (Jason the buyer marks "grad" in a miscellaneous field) that we decided it was time to get the display up. I should also note that we reuse display signs from year to year, but if I have a good idea, we print something knew. I don't exactly think "carpe diem" is original or anything, but I liked this cartoon of a diverse graduating class in a rainbow of robes. I guess Jason's big pick was clearly E.O. Wilson's paperback edition of Letters to a Young Scientist (Liveright).

4. It was only because my old colleague Nancy became marketing director of the Audubon Nature Center that I noticed how many bird books were out this season. We're doing events for two of them; Joel Greenberg will be at the Urban Ecology Center on Monday, March 31 for A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction (Bloomsbury),while Brian Kimberling returns to Boswell for the paperback edition of Snapper (Vintage) , a beloved collection of stories that, lo and behold, has been morphed into a novel in its paperback incarnation. I'll be writing more about that next week. Kimberling's event is Wednesday, April 16, 7 pm. Also just out is Noah Strycker's The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal about Being Human (Riverhead), from the associate editor of Birding magazine.

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