When Dan Waller was 35 years old, he told his wife he wanted to leave his job with a textbook publisher and become a professional poker player. Given his work history as a high school teacher and door-to-door knife salesman, she was hesitant, but eventually agreed. In “Poker, Knives & Temporary Tattoos: An Entrepreneur’s Memoir,” the Doylestown businessman tells of his successes and failures.

Growing up in small-town Adena, in coal-mining Jefferson County, Waller was a good student and an excellent athlete, earning a scholarship to Mount Union College. Married at 21, he took a job at a Cleveland Heights junior high school, but the pay was low, so he began the sales job, which was misrepresented to him as “market research.” Nevertheless, he applied himself and was successful for about a year.

A sports-related business venture failed, largely because of bad timing, and then in 1983 Waller had his big idea: temporary tattoos for college sports team spirit. Waller continues with his research into potential suppliers and customers, marketing, distribution, marathon sales trips, licensing and financing. He made some serious missteps but owns up to them. In 1992, he changed the product’s name from “Team Tattoos” to “Game Faces” and was doing business with Exxon, Taco Bell and Disney.

“Poker, Knives & Temporary Tattoos” (219 pages, softcover) costs $17 from the author’s website, danwallerbook.com.

 

'Soul of Cleveland'

The soul of Cleveland is art. It is music, poetry, architecture, parks, neighborhoods. Nina Freedlander Gibans’ “Celebrating the Soul of Cleveland” is the result of a 2015 project she and her husband, James, set in motion to commemorate their 60th wedding anniversary.

The Gibans called together a different small group of people each month for about six months and asked them to identify one thing, be it book, artwork, place or building, that struck a chord with them. They followed with a survey distributed to about 1,000 people, with questions such as “Favorite Neighborhood,” “Favorite Cleveland Hero,” “Favorite Festival” and others that asked people how they felt about Cleveland and its institutions. A public event included readings and visual presentations.

The book includes poems by Gibans and others, and photos of artwork she and James commissioned for significant anniversaries.

“Celebrating the Soul of Cleveland” (276 pages, softcover) costs $29.99 from online retailers. Nina Freedlander Gibans earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master of Arts from Western Reserve University. With her husband James, an architect who died in May, she is the author of “Cleveland Goes Modern: Design for the Home, 1930-1970,” based on a 2007 Cleveland Artists Foundation exhibition.

 

Events

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson): Irv Korman signs “The Legend of Hanukkah Harry,” about a used-camel salesman who helps provide gifts for children on each night of Hanukkah in an ancient kingdom, 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Barnes & Noble (28801 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere): Former Cavaliers player J.R. Smith and his brother Chris Smith talk about and sign their picture book “Hoopsmiths,” about two brothers who dream of playing pro basketball, 1 p.m. Sunday.

Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights): Fran and Jules Belkin, authors of “Rock This Town! Backstage in Cleveland: Stories You Never Heard & Swag You Never Saw,” tell the history of concert promoters Belkin Productions and sign their book, 1 p.m. Sunday; Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger, contributors to the children’s poetry collection “One Minute Till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You Off to Sleep” and co-authors of “From Striving to Thriving Writers,” appear at 2 p.m. Sunday. Holbrook’s “The Enemy” is the winner of the 2018 Jane Addams Peace Award for Children’s Literature.

Barnes & Noble (198 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake): TV journalist Denise Dufala joins Storytime, reading and signing her storybook “Bomba the Brave,” 2 p.m. Sunday; Michael J. Jordan signs “The Company of Demons,” a novel about the return of Cleveland’s “Torso Killer,” 6 p.m. Wednesday; David Spencer, illustrator of the children’s book “The Epic Adventures of Huggie & Stick,” signs at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Barnes & Noble (4015 Medina Road, Bath Township): Sportswriter Terry Pluto signs his newest book, “The Browns Blues: Two Decades of Utter Frustration,” 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch, 1876 S. Green Road, South Euclid): Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar talks about his memoir “Learning to Scramble,” 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Register at 216-382-4880.

Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.): Dover resident Loretta Marion joins the Nights at the Round Table Author Series, reading from “House of Ashes: A Haunted Bluffs Mystery,” about a painter who inherits her ancestral Cape Cod home and its family curse, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Register at 330-343-6123.

Stark County District Library (Perry Sippo branch, 5710 12th St. NW, Perry Township): Adriana Trigiani, author of “The Shoemaker’s Wife,” discusses her 1940s-set “Tony’s Wife,” 1 to 3 p.m. Friday. Register at 330-477-8482.

Cuyahoga County District Library (Parma-Snow branch, 2121 Snow Road): New York Daily News sports columnist Mike Lupica talks about “Blood Feud,” which continues the late Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall series, 7 p.m. Saturday. Seats may remain to see Adriana Trigiani from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday. The $25 admission includes a copy of “Tony’s Wife." Call 216-661-4240.

 

Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or lsherwin@thebeaconjournal.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.