Monday, September 1, 2008

Illinois authors congregate on the third floor

The book display on the third floor is a dud. The definition of dud, in this context, is few of the books put out for the Illinois Authors display have been checked out. Maybe the five foot poster of Illinois is just not big enough. Maybe the display is hidden back by the DVDs. Maybe there is no real reason to read a book just because the author has Illinois roots. Marketing gurus help me out!

There are titles by renown authors Sara Paretsky, Scott Turow, Saul Bellow, and then there are lesser known scribes such as Carol Anshaw, Adam Langer, and Joseph Epstein. Could it be that the style of each of the above noted authors is too different from the next? Could it be that some use Illinois as a setting and others do not? The State of Illinois Library in conjunction with the Library of Congress has created the Illinois Center for the Book. Their mission is to nurture and connect readers and writers, and honor Illinois' rich literary heritage. My thought was that this display would do the same, and perhaps remind someone of a book they have always wanted to read.

The Saturday, August 30th Chicago Tribune Books section highlighted two new crime novels set in Chicago. The headline of the article is "Chicago Stars Keep Shining: Marcus Sakey and Michael Harvey Return with 2 Terrific Windy City Crime Novels.” Both those novels Good People and The Fifth Floor are currently checked out. The Tribune headline sure beats a poster simply titled Illinois Authors.

In the next few weeks, walk past the DVD section and see where Illinois authors congregate.

Maybe a marketing guru won't be needed after all.


Anonymous said...

It's not the display that's a dud. It's just that it's all books, not DVD's! So many people tend to walk right by the book displays - except maybe for the romance paperbacks. Maybe add a few Illinois actors?

Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy ... Illinois has a lot of great authors, as you know. One who may be considered head-and-shoulders above the rest is Ray Bradbury, who lived in Waukegan as a youth. Are any of his books in your display?

Laura A. said...

I really enjoyed one of the books you mentioned, Crossing California, by Adam Langer. Set in the 1970s and early 80s, it captures the growing pains and sexual fumblings of a group of Rogers Park pre-teens and teens, as well as their sometimes clueless parents. Although I think it's a title anyone would enjoy, I think readers who came of age during that era will find it especially appealing. Langer is also the author of The Washington Story: A Novel in Five Spheres, which features some of the Crossing California characters, and Ellington Boulevard: A Novel in A-Flat.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we're too close too home. I adore Jim Butcher, whose Harry Dresden novels are set in Chicago, but I grind my teeth at least once during each book, when the author confuses Hyde Park with Lincoln Park or makes some other geographical error. Sometimes I would rather get to know a different city, like I do whenever I read Ian Rankin's Rebus novels, which are set in Edinburgh.e1

Karen Mc. said...

There's something that depresses me about a library display needing DVDs in it in order to capture peoples' interest. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned Ray Bradbury -- does Illinois inspire fantasy and sci-fi? Frederick Pohl and Gene Wolfe live here, too -- in fact Gene is a member of my church!

Illinois -- it's cooler by the lake, and cooler than you think.

Disco Stu said...

I agree with what was said about Jim Butcher. His books are extremely engaging, yet they retain almost nothing of Chicago. For example, one of his books had a scene that took place in a parking lot at Wrigley Field.

Anonymous said...

How about jazzing up the map? You know, with key cities/towns and their respective authors? Also, maybe Chicago authors would be more appealing. Just a suggestion.

cathy said...

Marketing gurus - thank you! Great suggestions and comments. Butcher, Pohl and Wolfe have now joined the party.

Anonymous said...

How about Audrey Niffenegger? Her book The Time Traveler's Wife was a big seller, and I hear it has been made into a movie.

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