Friday, March 13, 2015

In Short: Green Eggs and Ham, A Toast to the Jordans, a Short Goodbye.

a. If you follow The New York Times bestseller lists, you may think you know the bestselling book titles in America, but of late, the actual top ten, at least in the trade marketplace, are books that aren't listed, due to their age. There's been a huge Dr. Seuss promotion going on at mass merchants and those titles have completely dominated sales for the last few weeks.  The top title overall was Green Eggs and Ham, and both One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and The Cat in the Hat were in the top ten.

b. Playing catch up, I wanted to note that Friends of Boswell Jon and Ruth Jordan are being feted at the Mystery Writers of America banquet on April 29. They are receiving the Raven Award, for "outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing." Jim Higgins profiled them in February in the Journal Sentinel. Publishing Crimespree Magazine in their spare time (yes, they both hold other jobs), Jon and Ruth make Milwaukee a go-to destination for mystery writers. As Hillary Davidson says, they are "The heart and soul of the crime fiction community."

c. And finally, we're saying goodbye to two dear friends this week. As the person who makes the obituary signs, I sort of spend a little extra time with each author that passes away. Already this year we've had displays for Kent Haruf and Robert Stone, and today I put up the display for Terry Pratchett, finally taking down the P.D. James display from November. It's always tricky to determine which author or popular figure warrants a display, as we don't want the bookstore to become a mausoleum. So adios to Leonard Nimoy and Sam Simon as well, whose creations (in collaboration with others, of course) became numerous Star Trek and Simpsons books, respectively.

d. And on a personal note, I need to say goodbye to Bob Wosewick, who together with Kay, have been two of the dearest Friends of Boswell since we've opened. It started on a bit of a sour note, as the couple moved back to Milwaukee, lured in part by Harry W. Schwartz, their favorite bookstore. And as they were moving, Schwartz announced their closing. They tentatively threw in their lot with us and didn't look back, befriending more than half the Boswellians, and always up for some book discussion. When one of my colleagues threw me a surprise birthday party several years ago, Kay and Bob were two of the customers that Rebecca invited, and they came, and they celebrated.

When the news looked bad, the couple sold their house in Shorewood and relocated to a condo, and darn it if it wasn't just a block from Boswell. And over the last few months, Bob's friends and family have been making pilgrimage to Milwaukee to say goodbye, and just about every person came to the bookstore. In true Bob fashion, he finished his bucket list several days before he passed away.

Of late, every visit from Bob ended with a just-in-case hug. I'm generally not a touchy person (a quirk some use to torment me, and I'm talking to you, Aaron) but in this case, I'm grateful. (And if you think my showing The Long Goodbye is just a pun, we had recently had a conversation about  reading Raymond Chandler's novels. The title is just a coincidence.)

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