Lake & Island Notes                       June 2015

Apostle Islands Booksellers
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Recent Media Attention

Star Tribune: Midwest Traveler: Your Guide to a Bookstore Roadtrip

Featured Title

Voices in the Night   

by Steven Millhauser

Millhauser’s new collection of short stories may convince you of the existence of other worlds hidden just out of sight, barely contained by the expanse of our own minds. His stories reside in the borderlands of magic and realism, reminding the reader that there is always more out there, around us, and within us than we may be comfortable acknowledging. The towns he writes of, full of normal people gripped by a common desire to connect to ordinarily unreachable planes, describe the dangerous desires hidden beneath the surface of our daily lives. Decide for yourself if Bayfield could be the next town experiencing Mermaid Fever!

Featured Title

The Human Stain  

by Philip Roth

Nathan Zuckerman is back in this 2000 novel set in the academic milieu of rural New England. This time the voice is Zuckerman’s while the protagonist is Coleman Silk, the dean of faculty at Athena College. Unlike our current NAACP leader in Spokane, Silk is Black passing for White and Jewish. He is accused by two African-American students of having made racist statements. He resigns. His life begins to further unravel before he begins to take it in his own hands. Roth has revealed that the story has been drawn from true events in the life of a close friend who was the subject of a similar witch hunt at Princeton. The friend was exonerated. Perhaps, not coincidentally, the story is set in 1998 during the Clinton impeachment hearings.

Featured Title

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

This is one of those books almost everyone reads at some point in their lives. Whether you've been forced to read it at school, or you've had a look because everyone's been urging you to do so, most people have their own personal experience of reading Mockingbird. The book is about Atticus Finch, who appears as an unconventional hero and role model due to his morality rather than his physical capabilities. The theme of morals is apparent throughout the whole novel - focusing on that gut instinct of right and wrong, and distinguishes it from just following the law.

Fifty-five years after Mockingbird's publication, we are now anxiously awaiting the release of Harper Lee's novel, Go Set a Watchman. Originally written in the mid-1950s, this was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014. Will this story have the same lasting impact? We certainly can't wait to find out! Go Set a Watchman will be available for purchase on July 14th. Call or email us to pre-order your copy today.

Featured Title

Nine Stories
by J.D. Salinger

We can’t believe that in five years not a single customer has picked this up and taken it home! Maybe everyone already has it. Maybe we’re just throwbacks to an earlier time. But, these stories are timeless.
Other Links of Interest
Apostle Islands Booksellers
Bayfield, Wisconsin
Other Links of Interest
Apostle Islands Booksellers
Bayfield Visitor Bureau
In our last edition of these notes we mentioned that we were celebrating the 5th anniversary of our opening. That has caused us to reflect a bit. In April of 2010 we had some 675 square feet of open space lined with empty oak bookshelves. How to fill them? We were new to this. One of our distributors provided us with a carefully selected list designed to kick-start our collection. Huh? It must have been drawn from the sales profile of someone’s local Hallmark card shop. Useless! We resorted to our own devices. We ordered what we had liked over more than six decades of avid reading. We consulted with friends, with fellow booksellers, and with “best of” lists on the internet. Tons of boxes arrived and the shelves began to fill. Over time, with constant and erudite input from our customers, there was no more room.
Now we had a new problem. How would we find space for the new titles being released week in and week out? We had to cull the collection. But how? Books that never sold? We took a look today at our sales history. Among the books that we have had from the beginning but have never sold are these: Raymond Chandler’s The Lady in the Lake; Philip Roth’s The Human Stain; Anne Sexton’s Selected Poems; Arthur Clark’s Childhood’s End; Barbara Tuchman’s Distant Mirror; Martin Handford’s Where’s Waldo?; Jorge Amado’s Tent of Miracles; and, J. D. Salinger’s 9 Stories. That’s just to name a few. So, should we get rid of them? Not a chance! Don’t get us wrong, we have sold thousands upon thousands of similar books to our savvy clientele, but just the right person at just the right time hasn’t come along for these. It’s gut-wrenching to pull a book off the shelf and give it away.  The collection is the decor!
The other side of it is what to buy? How can we choose from the flood of new books coming off the presses? All the best sellers? The choices of sophisticated critics? What we’ve heard about or read ourselves? Customer recommendations? Publisher advertising? Walk-in, self-published authors? Well, maybe some of all of those.  We do have some rules. For instance, we don’t offer books by one or another famous author written with some unknown author. We like James Patterson, for example, but we only carry his books and not those of his factory. We don’t much like TV blowhards that write books that capitalize on their notoriety, spread more divisiveness, and line their pockets. Our apologies to their fans, but we don't carry those titles and often they fit the former category as well, anyway. We try to avoid the Several Shades-style fads, but sometimes fall victim to demand and filthy lucre. We resist books by self-published authors that sometimes really aren’t very good. We often use the “We’ll take one and see how it goes” rule.
All of us weigh-in on these momentous decisions. Ownership has its rank, of course, but so does management. Staff are especially helpful on new acquisitions in genres sometimes unfamiliar to the top tier. Our battles are polite (to a certain degree), and helpful to the sifting and winnowing process. It’s one of the great energizing pleasures of bookselling.

Remember, if you’ve lost yours,
we are your local bookstore!

All of us at AIB

Upcoming event...

An Evening with
Nickolas Butler & Benjamin Percy

An evening of small-town Wisconsin stories and post-apocalyptic America… Sound interesting?
Don't miss it!

When: Monday, June 29th at 6:30pm
Where: Bayfield Carnegie Library, 37 N. Broad Street
This event is FREE and open to the public!

“When I finished Nicolas Butler’s stellar debut novel, I thought, ‘Here’s a man who sees the saint in all of us.’ Well, his vision is only getting stronger in Beneath the Bonfire. He’s the Midwestern Bard I’ve been waiting for my whole life.” —Peter Geye, author of The Lighthouse Road

“Benjamin Percy’s The Dead Lands is a case of wonderful writing and compulsive reading. You will not come across a finer work of sustained imagination this year.
Good God, what a tale. Don’t miss it.”
—Stephen King

The authors will read an excerpt or two from their books. Discussion and  questions to follow. Apostle Islands Booksellers will have books available for purchase, and both authors are happy to sign their books.
Complimentary refreshments provided by Bayfield Carnegie Library.

What we're reading...

Lady in the Lake
by Raymond Chandler

At 44 years of age in 1932 Raymond Chandler lost his job as an oil company executive and became a mystery writer. The Big Sleep was his first novel. Farewell, My Lovely, The Little Sister, and The Long Goodbye were among his best. He stands with Dashiell Hammett and James Cain as a founder of noir-style detective fiction. His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, is the equal of Hammett’s Sam Spade. In The Lady in the Lake, Marlowe leaves his usual Los Angeles haunts and heads into the Sierra in search of a tycoon’s estranged wife. In a twisty, complicated plot he finds her and ends up with her in the worst possible circumstances. The book was produced as an experimental film (camera as protagonist) by Robert Montgomery oddly enough using a script by one Steve Fisher rather than Chandler’s own screenplay adaptation. It didn’t do so well. But, it’s a gripping book.
Childhood's End
by Arthur C. Clarke

So, there is much talk these days of the extinction of humanity. Arthur Clark began to talk of it in the 1950’s. Childhood’s End opens with the arrival of the alien Overlords and the positioning of their huge spaceships above the world’s major cities. They assume distant supervision of the earth’s international affairs (note that the setting is the height of the Cold War) and indirectly lead humanity into decades of utopia – but, it's a cold golden age lacking passion and creativity. Fifty years later the Overlords reveal themselves. Ten years after that, human children begin to exhibit telekinetic powers. Soon enough only millions children, lethargically linked in a single group mind – and our protagonist, Jan Rodricks – are left. The novel’s theme of transcendent evolution forms the basis of Clark’s Space Odyssey series. To our mind this is the best of Clark’s books.

Tent of Miracles

by Jorge Amado

Part of Amado’s series of “Bahia Novels,” this one chronicles the chaotic events that mark the arrival of Columbia University Professor Dr. James D. Levinson in Brazil with his wild tales of an obscure Bahian writer Pedro Archanjo. The book was written just after the military coup in 1964 and the story line and characters carry a carefully crafted back-story designed to avoid censorship while taking sharp jabs at the regime. The setting is the historic Pelourino neighborhood in Salvador, Bahia. Aside from the story, Amado’s reflections on Afro-Brazilian culture and racial discrimination are worth the read.

Final Thoughts...

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

Dr. Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream (1963)

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Bayfield, WI 54814
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