Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Readers of the Broken Wheel displays--two of them with a third to come--plus info about the contest.

We are so excited about The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend that we have put together a special display and promotion. Featured are some of our favorite novels and story collections set in bookstores. Yes, we did this display last year too, but we came up with some new ones.

But after brainstorming with Jane and Jen, also known as Team Broken Wheel, we came up with a twist. We're putting together a Readers of Boswell Book Company Recommend. Customers can submit a recommendation of their favorite book on one of our entry forms. We will select the best recommendations, based on the book and the rec itself. Please note that we are not taking any email or Facebook or Twitter recs. You have to come in the store and fill it out. And based on how many of you have wanted to have a rec shelf talker in the past, we know we'll get plenty!

Here are a few titles we're featuring:
--The Bookseller, by Mark Pryor
--Death by Coffee, b y Alex Erickson
--The Love Letter, by Cathleen Schine
--Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley
--The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, by Tom Rachman

These join some of our previous favorites:
--The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
--Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan
--The Novel Bookstore, by Laurence Cosse
--The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain
--The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
--The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
--The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

And I assure you, there are more where those came from!

At the same time, we were setting up a mini-display called Iowa Book Caucus, featuring books set in Iowa, and lo and behold, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend fit that bill too.

Included are the novels of Marilynne Robinson, Heather Gudenkauf, and several of Jane Smiley's works, most notably A Thousand Acres and her current trilogy of Some Luck, Early Warning, and The Golden Age. We've got nonfiction books like The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid and Dewey and kids books like Steve Arntson's The Trap and Jacqueline Woodson's Beneath a Meth Moon.

Of course the perfect book for this display is Corn Poll: A Novel of the Iowa Caucus, by Zachary Michael Jack, published by Ice Cube Books.

Back to Katarina Bivald's The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. Here are my two cents: "Sara the unemployed bookseller from Sweden arrives in the dying farm town of Broken Wheel to visit her beloved pen pal Amy, bonding with this woman, despite their difference in ages, over the love of books. There’s only one problem: when Sara arrives, Amy has died. The town suggests she stay in Amy’s old house anyway, and what’s a bookseller to do with time on her hands and a house full of books? I love the way Bivald plays with stock storytelling characters and plot twists in a clever way, drawing on the writerly sages of Jane Austen, Terry Pratchett, Stieg Larsson and others to move the plot along. May-December romances, misunderstood characters, separated families - the characters continue to surprise, at the same time knowing their role in the plotline. At one point Sara worries that she might be a minor character in her own story, but there’s no worrying about that. You like epistolary novels? That’s there too, in Amy’s letters to Sara. We’ve already figured out that Amy is a bibliophile’s bibliophile, but that’s the beauty of Readers of the Broken Wheel: books change the lives of everyone in the story, and that’s a moral that a bookseller can get behind." (Daniel Goldin)

Now get to Boswell, take a look at the book, and start thinking about what book you'd submit! Oh, and of course you can also vote for us as your favorite bookstore. We're excited that for the first year since we've been open, we've won Best Bookstore in Milwaukee in the Shepherd Express Reader's Poll. We won once before but that year they separated out chains, so we didn't compete with Half Price (the usual winner) and Barnes and Noble. So I guess we're getting cocky enough to think we'd have a remote chance of winning this. Oh, who cares? We like the book and if it gets more folks talking about Bivald's novel, so much the better. Here's another link to voting.

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