Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Meandering Post that Nonetheless Highlights a Shocking Number of Prizewinners (and Finalists) Coming in the Next Two Weeks - Coretta Scott King, Pulitzer, Pulitzer, Man Booker...

As you can well imagine from looking at our schedule, the last couple of weeks have been crazy at Boswell. What you might not know from the schedule is that somehow, along with everything else, we've fit in 12 school visits, three booksellers at Heartland Fall Forum conference, preparation for the SCBWI-Wisconsin conference this coming weekend, and several offsite sales events where we were just bookseller of record so they weren't on our marketing materials.

This is probably our biggest fall ever, maybe tied for the number of events, but definitely in terms of advance preparation. If you rent a space like Alverno's Pitman Theatre, as we did for Brian Selznick's The Marvels event, there are things you don't think about, like getting an insurance certificate, and helping facilitate the catering for Scholastic's private reception. And while we would normally never be able to rent a beautiful space like that for a free event, we decided that even if we didn't make the money back in book sales, it would be worth it for the good will. Afterwards we learned that we had the biggest event on the tour to date, and by far the best sound and video system.  A big thank you to Rollie, Tonya, and Bea - not sure of anyone's spellings, so please forgive me for that!

When you have an author like Tyler Oakley (sold out!), you need to get some private security and secure wristbands - our normal line letters are not enough. There's a very, very slight chance, that more tickets to the Binge* singing, but there are absolutely no walk ups, and everybody should know that the store is closed to the general public during our event. Each attendee will be allowed one other person with them to come in the store. I'm guessing very few of our blog readers are attending, but fortunately Brown Paper Tickets allows us to write to the folks participating.

And after we've said "we're full" to I don't know how many folks this fall, a certain actor who wrote a new collection of stories asked us to figure out a way to slip him into the schedule. I really was at the point where I was ready to say no, but the publicist assured me it would be easy, and it turns out Jason loved the book. So much like Trisha Yearwood, who wanted to do a last-minute signing for Trisha's Table, we simply have to find a slot. It's not confirmed so I'm not going to say who it is. I think it's ok for me to say that our bookseller Jen had held onto her Yearwood concert ticket for 15 years. And I also should note that Yearwood and her team were as gracious as could be, and the fans were thrilled - it was completely worth it.

So I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Marlon James was awarded the Man Booker award last night for A Brief History of Seven Killings. As you may know, our original event was scheduled for last night, the night of the ceremony itself. They were fortunately able to reschedule for Sunday, November 1. Now when I said that it was one of the best reviewed books in the last year, and we told you that our bookseller Eric said it was the best book he'd read in twenty (count 'em!) years, we hoped you'd pay attention. This reminds me of the moment when we were hosting Carol Shields at the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Brookfield and she found out she'd won the Pulitzer. Memory is a funny thing - I'm pretty sure that's how it went, and I'm pretty sure I was there, but I could be wrong about everything.

So have you been paying attention to the award winners coming in the next few weeks? Tonight (October 14) we're hosting Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely for All American Boys, a book that is certain to be on our favorite novels of 2015 (I already saw it on one booksellers' list for the holiday newsletter). Earlier this year he won the ALA's Coretta Scott King award for When I Was the Greatest.

Then we are hosting not one but two former Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction. On Thursday, October 15, we have a ticketed event with Richard Ford for Let Me Be Frank With You. He was awarded the Pulitzer for Independence Day, the 2nd Frank Bascombe novel. This is sort of #4 in the trilogy. This event is ticketed.

But wait, there's more! On Friday, October 23, we've got Adam Johnson coming for Fortune Smiles, his new collection of stories. He was awarded the Pulitzer for The Orphan Master's Son. And just announced, Fortune Smiles was just announced a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. As Lois Ehlert proclaims in her new book for kids, Holey Moley!

*Not just sold out, but no signed copy requests either, alas.  But for all the other books, we should have signed copies. We'll even get a few hardcovers signed of Richard Ford and Marlon James.

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