Visiting an independent book store is like going home. The clerks greet you by name; they stand ready to help you find a particular book of interest; they chat with you about books they like and have recently read, and they ask you how things are going in your life. Sometimes they even offer you a free cup of coffee.
Fireside Books & Gifts in West Bend is such a store. I was there this past Saturday, when the weather was wet and cold, and the day more than a little dreary. I was giving a talk and signing books. Ruth was along, and as I signed books, she browsed and sought out Christmas presents.
This was my 12th consecutive year at the store, and what a pleasure it was. Dennis Uhlig, bookseller and event organizer extraordinaire, asked people to reserve seats ahead of time for my presentation—and they did.
The chairs were filled with more folks standing in the back—thanks to Dennis’s promotional efforts. We stuck around until two-thirty, talking with people, talking about books—and chatting about how important it was to have a bookstore such as Fireside in their community.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Hard to think of anything more pleasant on a dreary day than spending time in a bookstore.
December 7, Memorial Union, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 7:00 p.m. Max Kade Institute. Stories from Wisconsin: Germans, Beer and Prohibition.
December 10, Sheboygan Falls Library, 9:30 a.m.: A brief history of Wisconsin Agriculture.
January 11 and 12, Midwest Farm Show, LaCrosse Center, LaCrosse, WI. Details to come. Speaking on both days.