2018 Holiday Book Talk Preview

Posted Nov 29, 2018

Need some knowledgeable advice on what books to buy this holiday season? Love the Shorewood Public Library and want to support it with your holiday shopping?

Attend the annual Holiday Book Talk with Daniel Goldin from independent bookstore Boswell Book Company on Saturday, December 8, at 11:00 a.m. in the Village Center. This free event is sponsored by the Friends of the Shorewood Library. A portion of Boswell's sales from the event will be given to the Friends to help support the library's programs and collection.

I recently had a chance to ask Daniel about how he plans his annual talk at Shorewood Library, and what he has in store for us this year.

Anne O'Meara Stillwell: How do you choose the books you feature in the book talk?

Daniel Goldin: It's a combination of things. I look at what Boswell booksellers are reading, what publishers are pushing, and what critics are saying. I also look at the books themselves: Do I have anything interesting to say about this? Do I think there will be people in the audience who are interested in this particular book?

AOS: What genres and ages do you cover?

DG: For the Shorewood talk, I include some picture books and middle grade, and this year I'll be bringing a few young adult titles, too. I know, for example, that the right narrative nonfiction works, but for example, it's hard to interest folks in science fiction and fantasy. And I don't take along too many gift books because they are heavy, more likely to get damaged and generally don't do as well offsite. But there are always exceptions and this year will feature a couple I think are worth it.

AOS: Can you tell us one fiction book you are recommending this season?

DG: The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason. There is nothing like straightforward, particularly well-written historical fiction to appeal to a wide ranging group of people. The fact that it's set in World War I and is about a surgeon makes it like a combination of two super popular books: A Gentleman in Moscow and Cutting for Stone.

AOS: What about a nonfiction recommendation?

DG: This has definitely been a fiction year for me. So much of what I've read in nonfiction has been too something: too niche, too dry, too lowbrow, too partisan. So much of what I read comes with a caveat asterisk.

One book that I wound up liking far more than I expected was Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out from Josh Noel. It's the story of Goose Island Brewery. It is great for beer lovers but also a fascinating look at what happens when you sell a business. It's sort of the collision of three corporate cultures, as at the same time Goose Island was being bought by Anheuser Busch (big-time marketing hubris), they were in turn being swallowed by InBev, which had been gobbled up by 3G Capital (zero-cost planning, cut, cut, cut, to get more money flowing to the billionaire investors). But not to scare away craft fans and home brewers - the book is super beery.

AOS: Any new books with Wisconsin connections that you recommend?

DG: There are so many good new books! I would have to say Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee by Barbara Joosse with illustrations by Renée Graef. It's just really a celebration of the area, but there's so much interesting detail from Renée. Barbara really thought this through, not just Mad-Lib-ing a regional children's book.

To hear more of Daniel's 2018 book recommendations, and pick up a copy of the books recommended here, join us on Saturday, December 8 for the Holiday Book Talk! We hope to see you there.

- Submitted by Anne O’Meara Stillwell

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