Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Display tour: Adriana Trigiani's Festival lettorario, Downer Classic Bicycle Race, what to read after Evicted, EW's best of the half year 2017, and First Stage 2017-2018 tie-in books

Display #1: Festival letteratorio

In conjunction with our July 12 Boswell-and-Books-and-Company sponsored ticketed event with Adriana Trigiani at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts on Wednesday, July 12, we put together a display of books with Italian settings. Of course the recent runaway bestseller was Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend and its sequels, but it wasn't that long ago that everyone was reading Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins.

Today is the release day for Trigiani's newest, Kiss Carlo. In USA Today, Patty Rhule wrote: "If this plot sounds as contrived as a Doris Day-Rock Hudson screwball comedy, it is. But at a time when crass seems to trump class in popular culture, Kiss Carlo may be just what we need, a warmhearted romp that’s a welcome escape from novels about girls who are gone/on a train/tattooed." Tickets still available.

Display #2: Bicycle Race

Downer Avenue's annual ISCorp Otto Wenz Downer Classic Bicycle Race is this Saturday, June 24. We often have a themed table to celebrate the start of biking season. I asked Jason about the trend with bicycle books, observing that there weren't as many recent titles in the category that I've seen in last years, and he concurred that it was down. It's possibly a function of overpublishing.

Right now, the most-demanded book at our wholesaler with keyword bicycle is a Swedish memoir titled The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love, by Per J. Andersson. And Library Journal wrote: " Part biography, part travelog, and part love story, this book will appeal to the optimistic, the romantic, and the armchair traveler. This is a story of human connection that spans continents, class, and race."

In addition to books, we also have bike-related cards, journals, bells, and tools.

Display #3: What to read after Evicted

With Matthew Desmond's Evicted winning so many prizes, being so readable, and also set in Milwaukee, many readers just can't get enough, so we added a what to read after Evicted table. It's also helping me get ready for a talk on this very subject that I am giving at Osher in October. Evicted is Osher's Big Read.

Some of the books we're recommending are obvious, such as Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Schaffer's $2.00 a Day, which Matthew Desmond himself has been recommended. Others are classics such as Alex Kotlowitz's There Are No Children Here. I'm hoping to do a complete blog on this later in the year. I've still got several great books to read, because I want to read every book on my presentation list, as opposed to the display list.

Display #4: Entertainment Weekly's best of 2017, so far

I love year-end lists, both because they are fun, and also because they also sell books, so how could we pass up a half-year list?The magazine's picks, of which I've read two:
--Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
--Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
--Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
--Chemistry, by Weike Wang
--The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
--Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout
--The Rules Do Not Apply, by Ariel Levy
--The Animators, by Kayla Rae Whitaker
--The Fact of the Body, by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
--My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Feris

Display #5: First Stage's 2017-2018 season

We just got catalogs for the 2017-2018 First Stage schedule, and as always, almost all the plays have book tie-ins. The schedule opens with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on October 6, based on the film, which in turn is based on Ian Fleming's novel. Yes, that Ian Fleming. That's at the Todd Wehr Theater. Over at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center is Spookley the Square Pumpkin, opening October 1, but that book, by Joe Troiano, appears not to be available from Sterling at the moment.

Other highlights include Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, opening January 12, 2018 at the Todd Wehr, and Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat, which is at the Todd Wehr starting January 21. Pick up a schedule!

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