Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Bloomsday, and Other One-Day Books

So I get on the bus yesterday, and the bus driver looks at me and says, "Hey, bookstore guy. What day is tomorrow?"

"Uhhhhh, Wednesday? That would be Martin Hintz." Yes, tonight (Wednesday) is Martin Hintz talking about Forgotten Tales of Wisconsin. It's from History Press. It's a very nice package, and many of the stories are rare enough that I hadn't heard them for. See you at 7. But I digress.

"No, what happens tomorrow?" The bus driver knows the answer, and that isn't it. It comes to me.

"It's Bloomsday," I rather quietly reply, just in case he's referring to something to do with the World Cup.

Yes, that's it! The driver mentions Kathleen Dunn's show on Wisconsin Public Radio, and then I think about whether this the guy who called me on the carpet last year for not celebrating Bloomsday?

Ha! I can only thank Jim Higgins at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a display idea to tie in Bloomsday, which is of course today (June 16th), the day when Ulysses takes place. Another aside, we have the Gabler, the revised, and the annotated editions. The piece was on books that take place in one day. Alas, we weren't able to stock every book--can you believe that David Lodge's The British Museum is Falling Down is currently unavailable?

But back to the bus ride. Our exchange inspired the bus driver to offer a quiz to all passengers, a free copy of Ulysses to anyone who could answer three simple questions about the books opening. If he asks, I think the answers are "Latin, it's a mass, and it takes place outside of Dublin." I'm not positive; thought I did read Dubliners and Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, I've never read Ulysses. Maybe next year. But probably not Finnegan's Wake, even though it's on the table, taking place, as it does, in one night.

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