Novel Ideas Hosts Michael Perry Book Signing

“I do my writing in a tiny bedroom overlooking Main Street in the village of New Auburn, Wisconsin. Population:  485. Eleven streets. One four-legged silver water tower. Seasons here are extreme. We complain about the heat and brag about the cold. Summer is for stock cars and softball. Winter is for Friday-night fish fries. And snowmobiles. After a good blizzard, you’ll hear their Doppler snarl all through the dark, and down at the bar, sleds will outnumber cars.”

This paragraph – a poignant and relatable few sentences for any Wisconsinite (especially us rural Wisconsinites) – appears at the onset of Michael Perry’s best-selling memoir Population:  485.

I read the memoir in college while sharing a dorm room with Jennifer, a nursing major coincidentally from New Auburn. She loved Law & Order SVU, country music, and Nicholas Sparks novels. She knew of Perry, saw him out and about when she visited home. “Yeah, he wrote this about my hometown,” she said, passing it to me.

After I read the book, I was concerned she didn’t understand what a big deal it was, how eloquently, humorously, and reverently Perry depicted rural Wisconsin. He’s a damn good writer and not only did Wisconsin take notice, so did The New York Times. I was proud, and learned a valuable lesson in the early days of my writing education – I don’t have to write about exotic lands and make-believe characters to impress, entice readers. The country found interest in this man’s story about his life in Wisconsin.

Since then Perry has published two more popular memoirs:  Truck:  A Love Story and Coop:  A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting. And he recently released New York Times Bestseller Visiting Tom, about an eccentric New Auburn resident who drives oxen and owns a homemade canon.

On Thursday at 6 pm, Perry will visit Novel Ideas Bookstore in Baileys Harbor to celebrate and discuss Visiting Tom. He will sign copies of his books, which are all available for purchase – though there is a limited supply, so call ahead (920.839.1300) to reserve a copy.

To learn more about Perry, visit