Indies First, brainchild of author Sherman Alexie, was a big hit last year. Piggybacking on "small business Saturday," the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Indies First was a day to celebrate independent bookstores. All over the country, more than 1,000 authors volunteered to stock shelves, run the cash register and offer recommendations.
Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo (with, she notes, the permission of Mr. Alexie) has taken that idea and run with it. And so, thanks to her, May 17 is now Indies First Storytime Day. In an open letter on the American Booksellers Association website, DiCamillo urges writers and illustrators to visit an indie bookstore on that day and read to customers. ("A story that you didn't write," she suggests.)
"The point is to show up and to read aloud, to celebrate stories and to celebrate the indies who work so hard to put our stories in the hands of readers," she said.
She will be at Chapter2 Books in Hudson, Wis., at 1 p.m. on May 17.
For more information, go to www.bookweb.org.
• You remember baseball: the crack of the bat, the sun on your head, the agony of defeat. To get in the spirit, SubText Bookstore in St. Paul will host three baseball writers. John Rosengren ("The Fight of Their Lives"), Peter Schilling Jr. ("The End of Baseball") and Bill Meissner ("Spirits in the Grass") will read at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
• St. Paul author Erin Hart's latest Nora Gavin mystery, "The Book of Killowen," is now out in paperback from Simon & Schuster. The book is a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Hart and her musician/memoirist husband, Paddy O'Brien, will be at the Carver County Library in Chanhassen at 2 p.m. Sunday, and will also read — with six other Irish writers — at a special St. Patrick's Day edition of the monthly Carol Connolly Readings for Writers at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the University Club in St. Paul.
• Owen Laukkanen lives in Vancouver but sets his mysteries in the Twin Cities. His latest, "Kill Fee," opens with these words: "It was a sunny Saturday in early April, a beautiful afternoon in downtown St. Paul, the kind of day that seemed to chase away any memory of the long Minnesota winter just passed." Oh, Laukkanen, you give us hope. He will sign books at 7 p.m. March 20 at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis. Let's hope for good weather. For him, and for us all.