Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Taffeta Time!

The Taffeta sisters are coming to town. They will be playing at the UW campus on December 4-7. Here they are working hard on those challenging four-part harmonies. From left to right we have Kaye, Cheryl, Peggy and Donna. Believe me, these sisters have pipes. Their sister, Betty, will be on hand to play piano. If you saw their first show, or happend to catch "The Honky Tonk Angels," you'll remember Rick and Kathy. They're back, too!

"A Taffeta Christmas" features many holiday medleys, as well as memorable tunes from the 50's. They promise some gentle humor between songs, some surprise audience dignitaries, and as always, that charming hometown, Taffeta sentimentality. Watch the HTR, and this blog for more details.


Lesley Kagan, who is scheduled for a signing here on Nov. 22, shows off her ability to write local color and multi-dimensional characters in Land of a Hundred Wonders. Gibby, a twenty something, Kentucky woman, was in a car accident that killed both her parents, and left her slightly brain damaged. Her dream is to do something that will make her late mother proud, and she gets that chance when she stumbles across the mutilated body of a local politician on the beach. She is determined to find the killer, and in the course of her investigation, uncovers evidence of racism, and plenty of secrets in her small home town. Gibby suffers many indignities at the hands of unscrupulous locals who take advantage of her lack of judgement. Kagan injects just the right amount of humor, primarily though Gibby's malaprops, to keep the novel from becoming too weighty. Lesley Kagen is one of many authors who will be at the trade show I'm attending on Friday and Saturday.


Trade shows provide booksellers an opportunity to see what's new for the upcoming season, to meet other booksellers, and to attend educational seminars. I am attending a regional show, covering a five state area. The show organizers plan a number of events that allow us to meet with authors, and share casual conversation. There's a children's author breakfast, and a lunch event called "A Moveable Feast." Thirty-four authors are participating in the "Feast" this year. While we have lunch, authors move from table to table. Lots of laughs, schmoozing, and book and bookstore promoting takes place . On Friday night, there is a big fancy-pants, formal author dinner with speakers, tablecloths, waiters in black and white, and manners! I will not be attending that. Instead, I am going to grab dinner in Minneapolis with Glen and Pam, fellow booksellers from Cedarburg, Tom Maltman (The Night Birds) and Bill Meissner (Spirits in the Grass). Before dinner on Friday, there is a cocktail recpetion where approximately forty authors will be available for formal book signings.

The exhibit hall is open all day Saturday. Over five-hundred exhibits are planned. There are major publishers along with several regional houses, and some self-published authors. This is my once a year chance to catch up with Manitowoc native, Mark Knickelbine, who is working for a regional publisher called Big Earth. They specialize in Wisconsin history and nature titles. Authors spend time at their publisher's booth throughout the day, so you never know who will turn up.

Here is a partial list of authors scheduled throughout the weekend: Nancy Horan (Loving Frank), Mildred Armstrong (Little Heathens), Kate Di Camillo (Because of Winn Dixie, Tale of Despereaux), Jody Feldman (The Gollywhopper Games), Tim Dorsey (Nuclear Jellyfish, Atomic Lobster) Tony Bender ( If Every Month Were June), Jerry Apps (Old Farm), Sara Rath (Night Sisters), Ted Kooser (Valentine Poems)....more, more, more.......

Mike Perry isn't scheduled, which works out better. He lives so close to Minneapolis, that he sometimes just pops in, and since he has no show obliogations, he just wanders, and visits with everyone.

I'll try to take lots of pictures for you.