Saturday, April 23, 2011

Schlei in the Shepherd on Outstanding Obreht, Event Wrap Ups, New Postcards, and More on the Tee Shirts

How's this for a rave for The Tiger's Wife?

"It is with a strong mastery of storytelling that Obreht has truly earned her stripes. The Tiger's Wife is richly textured with intersecting themes: the Balkan wars and their effects on new generations in Eastern Europe, the ways myth can displace reason, sense of duty in family and occupation, and the tradition of using allegory to impart life lessons."

Speaking of Earth Day, how many of you are chiding me for not tieing in our event with Chasing Chiles author Kurt Michael Friese to Earth Day celebrations (which was yesterday)?  We had a nice turnout, partly due to the help of Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast, but with Friese's strong message, we could have done better than our 24 attendees (26 if you include the author and myself, as some bookstores do). We discussed how bookstore attendance can be all over the map.  (Other bookstores are now exclaiming, "he's complaining about 25 people?  Is he nuts?")

Just to continue our wrap up theme, we had a wonderful event with Tripp Evans, the Grant Wood historian, on Thursday.  We had 50 folks*, thanks to the effors of Joseph Pabst, Will Fellows, and the Cream City Foundation and sales were good.  No surprise, the book is not cheap ($37.50) but it is a spectacular piece of production.  Congrats to Knopf.

And congrats to Evans, who last week was awarded the Marfield Prize for writing about the arts.  Marfield will be reading at the Arts Club of Washington DC on May 11.  Let me tell you, based on the wonderful feedback we had on his talk, I declare attendance mandatory to all book and art lovers within 50 miles.  And just so I continue my "why didn't I think of that?" moments, I could have called this Iowa Week, as both Grant Wood and Kurt Michael Friese are grounded in the Hawkeye State.

Hey, isn't this supposed to be the gift post?  Well, the big news was the arrival of our new tee shirts.  We sold an unprecedented six tee shirts in one day yesterday, four of our artist tee and two of Heather Maroon Boswell.  I know six doesn't seem like a lot to you, but if you're a bookstore (or a retailer not working a tourist strip or a festival), you'll know otherwise.

Here is a photo of Jocelyn and Stacie wearing the new "The book was better" tee.  This is one in a series of shots--I call this pose "I can't believe we're wearing the same tee shirt."  The series also includes "disturbingly happy" and "photo shoot for a mid-priced department store chain."  That one disappeared from the camera, so maybe Stacie didn't like it.  I'm sad to tell her that I kept a copy on my laptop and it's carefully hidden.  Before I use it, I'll find out if she deleted it on purpose.

Yesterday both Stacie and I were wearing our new Kpolly "The Book was Better Tees" and yes, a customer came up to me at the end of the evening and said, "Is that a Kristopher Pollard?" I have never before felt at the cutting edge of anything.

We've gotten a lot of good stuff in recently, but I guess I should limit my shout out to our new Milwaukee postcards.  I never quite located the supplier for tourist postcards, and I'm sort of glad about it, since my memories about them are not spectacular.  Instead, we sourced some classic vintage postcards, including landmarks existing (the Central Library, the Gas building, the Riverside Theater, City Hall) and legendary (County Stadium, the Chicago Northwestern train depot, a functional Pabst brewery).  #1 in sales so far is "Greetings from Milwaukee."  I expect we'll be reordering that one soon.

*In the grand dreams of Mr. Pabst and myself, we imagined 75-100 attendees, but while I applaud thinking big, I know that our attendance was above the expectations of the publisher and author and everybody was very happy.  And for sales, we are now officially #1 for the book on Above the Treeline.  And some of you know what that means!

No comments: