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A Cudahy Family Library Event with Jory John and Mac Barnett, authors of The Terrible Two
Tuesday February 3, at 6:30 pm
Please join us at the Cudahy Family Library, located at 3500 Library Avenue, for a terrific event with Jory John and Mac Barnett, who will discuss and sign copies of their new book great for ages eight and up, The Terrible Two, the tale of two wily pranksters that Jeff Kinney (Wimpy Kid) calls "a double helping of fun and mischief" and Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) calls "Hilarious."
Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game. It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud. In The Terrible Two, bestselling authors and friends Mac Barnett and Jory John have created a series that has its roots in classic middle-grade literature yet feels fresh and new at the same time.
"The Terrible Two are my kind of kids. And what’s more, they’re kids’ kind of kids."
–Annie Barrows, author of the Ivy & Bean series
Jory John Bio: Jory John is a writer, editor, and journalist. He is coauthor of the bestselling All My Friends Are Dead.
Mac Barnett Bio: Mac Barnett is a New York Times bestselling author of books for children, including Extra Yarn, which won a 2013 Caldecott Honor, and Battle Bunny.
Scott Blackwood, author of See How Small, for a reading and signing with local author and opening reader Michael Larson
Thursday February 5, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome Whiting Writers’ Award and AWP Prize for the novel recipient and author of We Agreed to Meet Just Here and The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Scott Blackwood, who will read from and sign copies of his latest novel based on true events, See How Small, a riveting novel about the aftermath of the brutal murder of three teenage girls in a Texas town.
One late autumn evening in a Texas town, two strangers walk into an ice cream shop shortly before closing time. They bind up the three teenage girls who are working the counter, set fire to the shop, and disappear. See How Small tells the stories of the survivors—family, witnesses, and suspects—who must endure in the wake of atrocity. Justice remains elusive in their world, human connection tenuous. Hovering above the aftermath of their deaths are the three girls. They watch over the town and make occasional visitations, trying to connect with and prod to life those they left behind. "See how small a thing it is that keeps us apart," they say. A master of compression and lyrical precision, Scott Blackwood has surpassed himself with this haunting, beautiful, and enormously powerful new novel.
"In a story line based on an actual event, three teenage girls (two sisters and their friend) are brutally murdered and then set on fire in an ice-cream shop in Austin, Texas…Both sad and dispassionate, the novel has much to say about the mysteries of the human psyche, the far-reaching effects of violence, and the disparate ways grief works on people." —Booklist
"Horrible deaths of the innocent, and the various means and tactics by which the living manage to go on in the aftermath of unsolved horror, form the heart of Scott Blackwood’s haunted and haunting novel, See How Small. His prose is crisp and his narrative approach is fresh and inventive, calmly pushing forward, with characters rendered so convincingly you think about sending cards of condolence or calling with advice on the investigation." —Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone and The Maid’s Version
Our opening reader for this event is local author Michael Larson, doctoral candidate in fiction at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who will read from his short story "Harvest," published in the Colorado Review.
About the Author: Scott Blackwood is the author of two previous books of fiction, In the Shadow of Our House and We Agreed to Meet Just Here, and the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, the AWP Prize for the novel, and The Texas Institute of Letters Award for best work of fiction. He’s also the author of The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volumes I & II, two works of narrative nonfiction featured in NPR’s Weekend Edition, Sound Opinions, and in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Rolling Stone, among others. A former Dobie Paisano Fellow and long-time resident of Austin, Texas, Blackwood now lives in Chicago and teaches fiction writing in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University.
It’s Story Time with Boswellian Jannis!
Sunday February 8, at 11:00 am
Waddle on down to Boswell for Story Time! This month, Boswellian Jannis will read Have You Seen My New Blue Socks by Eve Bunting, and other selections on a duck theme. Perfect for ages 18 months and up, this month’s Story Time is sure to quack you up!
A Greenfield Public Library Event with Amanda Hocking, author of Frostfire
Monday February 9, at 6:30 pm
Please join us at the Greenfield Public Library for a fantastic event with Amanda Hocking, who will discuss and sign copies of her new book great for ages thirteen and up, Frostfire, the first in her new series The Kanin Chronicles, which returns readers to the troll world of her Trylle trilogy for a new adventure with tracker Bryn Aven, outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes. The Greenfield Public Library is located at 5310 W. Layton Avenue in Greenfield.
Frostfire is the first book in a magical new YA series from The New York Times bestselling author and self-publishing success story Amanda Hocking. Capturing the imaginations of readers and aspiring writers everywhere, Amanda garnered national media attention by selling millions of copies of her self-published novels, and landing major publishing and film deals for her bestselling Trylle trilogy. Now, she invites readers back to the beloved world of the Trylle with Frostfire, book one of the new Kanin Chronicles series. With beloved characters making cameo appearances and a new heroine readers can’t help but root for, the series explores the treacherous but beautiful world that was only hinted at in the Trylle trilogy.
Bryn Aven has never fit into Kanin society. Her blond hair and blue eyes set her apart as an outsider—a half-blood unable to hold a respectable rank. But she’s determined to prove herself as a loyal protector of the kingdom she loves. Her dream is to become a member of the King’s elite guard, and she’s not going to let anything stand in her way…not even her growing feelings for her boss, Ridley Dresden. A relationship between them is strictly forbidden, but Bryn can’t fight her attraction to him. And she’s beginning to think he feels it too. Meanwhile, there’s an attack on the kingdom—one that will test Bryn’s strength like never before. Finally, she has the chance to confront Konstantin Black, the traitor who tried to kill her father years ago. It’s up to Bryn to put a stop to him before he strikes again. But is she willing to risk everything to protect a kingdom that doesn’t accept her for who she really is? And when her mission brings her closer to Ridley, will she be able to deny her heart?
About the Author: Amanda Hocking is The New York Times bestselling author of the Trylle and Watersong series and a lifelong Minnesotan. She made headlines by selling more than a million copies of her books, primarily in eBook format.
A Talk with Music by Local Musicians John Nicholson and Lil’ Rev, authors of Fiddle Tunes for Ukulele
Thursday February 12, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for a unique evening with local musicians Lil’ Rev and John Nicholson, who will discuss and play selections from their latest book of old-time fiddle tunes arranged for ukulele, Fiddle Tunes for Ukulele.
Take a journey back in time with folk masters Lil’ Rev and John Nicholson in this delightful collection of old-time fiddle tunes arranged for ukulele. Southern string band, bluegrass, and hillbilly music are covered as well as song forms such as reels, jigs, blues, rags, hornpipes, polkas, and more. Featuring a variety of ukulele picking styles, each exciting instrumental piece in this songbook is carefully arranged for solo ukulele in standard notation and tablature. Chord grids are also included so you can play along with others or with your own string band. Playing level varies from very easy to very advanced, so there's something inside for everyone, and something for everyone to aspire to! This unique collection also includes historical notes, rare photos, and access to full-band audio backing tracks for play-along fun!
Lil Rev Bio: Lil’ Rev (Marc Revenson) has been called a "Wisconsin treasure," (Ann Schmid, UWM Folk Center). Born and raised in Milwaukee, Lil’ Rev was voted "Best Folk Singer" by WAMI in 2004 and inducted into the Old-Time Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003. In addition to ukulele, he plays guitar, harmonica, mandolin, and banjo, and is a songwriter and music historian who teaches and tours nationwide.
John Nicholson Bio: John Nicholson is a great Milwaukee-based finger-picker, strumming maniac, and all around stellar musician equally adept on guitar, banjo, tiple, mandolin, jaw harp, and ukulele. He has taught at the prestigious Milwaukee Irish Festival Summer School, University of Wisconsin Adult Education, Wheatland Traditional Music Camp, and Ear Full of Fiddle, among others. He is one half of the high-energy Milwaukee-based Celtic, American, old-time, bluegrass, Cajun, and blues music band, Frogwater.
Paul Fischer, author of A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extra-ordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power
Monday February 16, at 7:00 pm
Award-winning film producer, Paul Fischer, is coming to Boswell for a talk and signing of his timely debut nonfiction thriller, A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extra-ordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power, the extraordinary true story of Kim Jong-Il’s 1978 kidnapping of the gold couple of South Korean cinema, the movies they made, and their escape, billed as The Orphan Master’s Son meets Argo. Boswellian Jason says: "Paul Fischer does an exemplary job doing his research and making this book addictably readable…" and Boswellian Daniel says: "Fischer has constructed a fascinating account, at once horrifying and absurd, of one of the strangest incidents in a particularly strange country’s history, which is also surprisingly timely, for political junkies, film buffs, or anyone who wants a great read."
Before becoming the world’s most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda and its film studios. Conceiving every movie made, he acted as producer and screenwriter. Despite this control, he was underwhelmed by the available talent and took drastic steps, ordering the kidnapping of Choi Eun-Hee (Madam Choi)—South Korea’s most famous actress—and her ex-husband Shin Sang-Ok, the country’s most famous filmmaker. Madam Choi vanished first. When Shin went to Hong Kong to investigate, he was attacked and woke up wrapped in plastic sheeting aboard a ship bound for North Korea. Madam Choi lived in isolated luxury, allowed only to attend the Dear Leader’s dinner parties. Shin, meanwhile, tried to escape, was sent to prison camp, and "re-educated." After four years he cracked, pledging loyalty. Reunited with Choi at the first party he attends, it is announced that the couple will remarry and act as the Dear Leader’s film advisors. Together they made seven films, in the process gaining Kim Jong-Il’s trust. While pretending to research a film in Vienna, they flee to the U.S. embassy and are swept to safety. A nonfiction thriller packed with tension, passion, and politics, A Kim Jong-Il Production offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea’s history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed, intensely stage-managed country it remains today.
About the Author: Paul Fischer is a film producer who studied social sciences at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris and film at the University of Southern California and the New York Film Academy. Paul’s first feature film, the documentary Radioman, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Doc NYC festival and was released to critical and commercial acclaim. A Kim Jong-Il Production is his first book.
Wisconsinite Quan Barry, author of She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, for a reading and signing with local author and opening reader Steph Kilen
Tuesday February 17, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome award-winning author and professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Quan Barry, who will read from and sign copies of her stunning debut novel, She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, the tumultuous history of modern Vietnam as experienced by a young girl born under mysterious circumstances a few years before reunification—and with the otherworldly ability to hear the voices of the dead.
At the peak of the war in Vietnam, a baby girl is born on the night of the full moon along the Song Ma River. This is Rabbit, who will journey away from her destroyed village with a makeshift family thrown together by war. Here is a Vietnam we've never encountered before: through Rabbit's inexplicable but radiant intuition, we are privy to an intimate version of history, from the days of French Indochina and the World War II rubber plantations through the chaos of postwar reunification. With its use of magical realism—Rabbit's ability to "hear" the dead—the novel reconstructs a turbulent historical period through a painterly human lens. This luminous fiction debut is the moving story of one woman's struggle to unearth the true history of Vietnam while simultaneously carving out a place for herself within it.
Here’s what Boswellian Todd had to say about the book: "Barry reveals a Vietnamese people who are easy to imagine as characters in a post-apocalyptic novel a la The Road—except the sting is that these are images of people from our past, those who survived war and being carted about their country. Spanning 30 years, the novel features an artful narrator who poetically reveals the landscape while unwinding the life of Rabbit: daughter, friend, lover, ghost-whisperer, and more to those around her. It’s easy to revel in Barry’s language and story—lingering on description like it was dessert, attending scenes that coalesce as footage of a life of endless searching for what calls."
"Quan Barry’s She Weeps Each Time You’re Born is lyrical, luminous, and suspenseful all at once. Rabbit’s experience of wartime and reconciliation in Vietnam is one that I haven’t yet encountered in fiction, and it is rendered with shocking clarity and pathos on the page. Like Rabbit’s Goddess of Mercy, who has many manifestations, this is a Vietnam of myriad faces, myriad aspects, beautiful and terrible all at once." —Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones
Our opening reader for this event is local author Steph Kilen, winner of Phoebe’s 2014 Fiction Contest, who will read from her award-winning story, "Pie Girl."
About the Author: Born in Saigon and raised on Boston's north shore, Quan Barry is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of four poetry books; her third book, Water Puppets, won the AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize and was a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received two NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in such journals as The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Ms., and The New Yorker. Barry lives in Wisconsin.
Local Author Brittany Cavallaro, author of Girl-King
Thursday February 19, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for an exciting event with UWM PhD candidate and local author, Brittany Cavallaro, who will read from and sign copies of her latest collection of poems, Girl-King, which explore themes of femininity, power, sexuality, and marginalia throughout history.
The poems in Brittany Cavallaro's Girl-King are whispered from behind a series of masks, those of victim and aggressor, nineteenth-century madam and reluctant magician's girl, of truck-stop Persephone and frustrated Tudor scholar. This "expanse of girls, expanding still" chase each other through history, disappearing in an Illinois cornfield only to reemerge on the dissection table of a Scottish artist-anatomist. But these poems are not just interested in historical narrative: they peer, too, at the past’s marginalia, at its blank pages as well as its scrawls and dashes. Always, they return to the dark, indelicate question of power and sexuality, of who can rule the city where no one is from. These girls search for the connection between "alive and will stay that way," between each dying star and the emptiness that can collapse everything.
About the Author: Brittany Cavallaro’s poems have appeared in AGNI, Gettysburg Review, Tin House, the Best New Poets anthology, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded the Milofsky Prize in Creative Writing. Recently, she is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference as well as fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is currently a PhD student.
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater presents Stephen Wade, author/performer of The Beautiful Music All Around Us
Friday February 20, at 3:00 pm
Please join us for a talk and some music by Stephen Wade, the Grammy-nominated star of the one-man show The Beautiful Music All Around Us. A perfect piece for the heartland, lovers of folk music, bluegrass, history, long-lost melodies, and true Americana will revel in Stephen Wade’s one-man show, The Beautiful Music All Around Us, based on his award-winning book—a 504-page study that showcases nearly two decades of research in which he tracked down the communities, families, and performers connected with early Library of Congress field recordings across the American South, including the Southern Appalachians, Mississippi Delta, and the Great Plains. This iconic, enduring music, recorded in the ‘30s and ‘40s, brings to life those everyday people—prisoners, cowboys, farmers, and housewives—who poignantly captured the American experience. The Beautiful Music All Around Us runs in The Rep's Stackner Cabaret January 16-March 15, 2015.
About the Artist: Musician and author Stephen Wade has spent nearly his entire life in study of American folk-life, uniting the twin strands of scholarship and the creative arts. Growing up in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s, Wade was exposed to a number of vernacular musicians who had moved north to the city from the Mississippi Delta and the Southern Appalachians. By the late 1970s, he developed Banjo Dancing, a theatrical performance combining storytelling, traditional music, and percussive dance, one of the longest-running, off-Broadway shows in the nation. A recipient of the Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur award, Wade’s has also received the Joseph Jefferson award for his work. Wade’s folksong commentaries have aired on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He is the author of The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience and Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition on Smithsonian Folkways, which was nominated for a Grammy.
David Treuer, author of Prudence
Friday February 20, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome the son of an Ojibwe Indian mother and an Austrian Jewish father who fled the Holocaust, David Treuer, who will read from and sign copies of his latest novel, Prudence, which pushes the boundaries of identity as it crosses boundaries of race, gender, and sexual orientation to tell a haunting story of love, loss, and desire in World War II-era America in the vein of classics like Atonement and The English Patient. This event is co-sponsored by UWM's American Indian Student Services.
On a sweltering day in August 1942, Frankie Washburn returns to his family’s rustic Minnesota resort for one last visit before he joins the war as a bombardier, headed for the darkened skies over Europe. Awaiting him at the Pines are those he’s about to leave behind: his hovering mother; the distant father to whom he’s been a disappointment; the Indian caretaker who’s been more of a father to him than his own; and Billy, the childhood friend who over the years has become something much more intimate. But before the homecoming can be celebrated, the search for a German soldier, escaped from the POW camp across the river, explodes in a shocking act of violence, with consequences that will reverberate years into the future for all of them and that will shape how each of them makes sense of their lives. With Prudence, Treuer delivers his most ambitious and captivating novel yet. Powerful and wholly original, it’s a story of desire and loss and the search for connection in a riven world; of race and class in a supposedly more innocent era. Most profoundly, it’s about the secrets we choose to keep, the ones we can’t help but tell, and who—and how—we’re allowed to love.
"A wondrous and mesmerizing narrative—intricate, seductive, and wholly gratifying." —Toni Morrison
About the Author: David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. The author of three previous novels and two books of nonfiction, he has also written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Slate, and The Washington Post, among others. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology and teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. David Treuer lived—on and off—in Milwaukee from 1996 to 1999, east-side and west-side. He was lucky enough to get his very first teaching job at UWM. He wrote much of his second novel (an urban tale) while living in Milwaukee. And he is very excited to come back to a city that remains very close to his heart.
Emily Gray Tedrowe, author of Blue Stars
Tuesday February 24, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is excited to present an evening with Chicago author, Emily Gray Tedrowe, who will read from and sign copies of her latest novel, Blue Stars, an extraordinary story about ordinary people, based on Tedrowe’s brother’s service as a Marine in the Iraq War, and a graceful and gritty portrayal of what it’s like for the women whose husbands and sons have been deployed to Iraq.
Blue Stars brings to life the realities of the modern day home front: how to get through the daily challenges of motherhood and holding down a job while bearing the stress and uncertainty of war, when everything can change in an instant. It tells the story of Ellen, a Midwestern literature professor, who is drawn into the Iraq war when her legal ward Michael enlists as a Marine; and of Lacey, a proud Army wife who struggles to pay the bills and keep things going for her son while her husband is also deployed. Ellen and Lacey cope with the fear and stress of a loved one at war while trying to get by in a society that often ignores or misunderstands what war means to women today. An exploration of the bonds of family and the limits of fidelity, Blue Stars tells the story of life on the home front in the twenty-first century.
"A strikingly nuanced portrait of military family life...If you’ve ever wondered what happens when wounded service members return, read this book." —Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone
About the Author: Emily Gray Tedrowe is the author of Commuters: A Novel, which was named a Best New Paperback by Entertainment Weekly. Her short fiction has been published in the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, Fifty-Two Stories, and Other Voices. Originally from New York City, Emily now lives in Chicago with her husband and daughters.
Robert Sabuda, author of The Dragon and the Knight
Wednesday February 25, at 5:30 pm at MIAD
Boswell Book Company is proud to be the bookseller of note for an upcoming talk on The Art and Science of Paper Engineering with award-winning paper engineer and children’s book creator, Robert Sabuda, who will discuss and sign copies of his latest book, The Dragon and the Knight, in the 4th floor Gallery of MIAD, located 273 E. Erie. Doors open at 5:30, the talk begins at 6:00 pm, and the signing and reception begin at 7:00 pm. To attend this free event, please register by emailing Carol Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of your favorite fairy tale characters come together in this original pop-up masterpiece, from expert craftsman Robert Sabuda. In this brand-new pop-up adventure, a Dragon and a Knight race through a fairy tale treasury, visiting the worlds of all of your favorite stories—from Rapunzel to Aladdin, to Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs, and more! With characters that literally pop right off the pages, this tour de force will have readers young and old speeding through the book to see just how this chase will end! Robert Sabuda has created a unique pop-up experience, bringing readers into a story via a 3-D journey. It’s a true masterpiece from the master!
About the Author: Robert Sabuda is one of the most innovative and inventive children’s book creators and is known worldwide for his amazing pop-up paper engineering. His books include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, The Winter’s Tale, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, to name but a few, have garnered numerous awards and have made The New York Times bestseller lists on many occasions. He lives in New York City.
Boris Fishman, author of A Replacement Life
Thursday February 26, at 7:00 pm
Fulbright scholar and celebrated journalist, Boris Fishman, is coming to Boswell to read from, discuss, and sign copies of his highly acclaimed literary debut novel, A Replacement Life, in which a failed journalist is asked to do the unthinkable: forge Holocaust restitution claims for older Russian Jews in Brooklyn, New York. This event is co-sponsored by the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM.
Yevgeny Gelman, grandfather of Slava Gelman, "didn’t suffer in the exact way" he needs to have suffered to qualify for the restitution the German government has been paying out to Holocaust survivors. But suffer he has—as a Jew in the war; as a second-class citizen in the USSR; as an immigrant to America. So? Isn’t his grandson a "writer?" High-minded Slava wants to put this immigrant scraping behind him. Only, the American Dream is not panning out for him—Century, the legendary magazine where he works as a researcher, wants nothing greater from him. Slava wants to be a correct, blameless American—but he wants to be a lionized writer even more. Slava’s turn as the Forger of South Brooklyn teaches him that not every fact is the truth, and not every lie a falsehood. It takes more than law-abiding to become an American; it takes the same self-reinvention in which his people excel. Intoxicated and unmoored by his inventions, Slava risks exposure. Cornered, he commits an irrevocable act that finally grants him a sense of home in America, but not before collecting a price from his family.
"A memorable debut by a wonderfully gifted young writer… Boris Fishman has written a beautifully nuanced, tender, and often very funny novel about conscience and familial loyalty that will linger long in the memory." —Joyce Carol Oates
"Boris Fishman fearlessly tackles the grandest subjects, among them the nature of honor and the transferability of suffering. That he succeeds this well, and with so much style and grace, marks him as a writer not only to watch but envy." —Tom Bissell
About the Author: Boris Fishman was born in Belarus and immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. He is the editor of Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier, and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, the London Review of Books, and other publications. He lives in New York City. A Replacement Life is his first novel.
Bridget Birdsall, author of Double Exposure
Sunday March 1, at 3:00 pm
We’re honored to welcome to the Boswell stage Madison author Bridget Birdsall, who will discuss and sign copies of her stunning young adult novel great for ages thirteen and up, Double Exposure, which brings to light complex gender issues, teenage insecurities, and overcoming all obstacles.
Fifteen-year-old Alyx Atlas was raised as a boy, yet she knows something others don’t. She’s a girl. And after her dad dies, it becomes painfully obvious that she must prove it now—to herself and to the world. Born with ambiguous genitalia, Alyx has always felt a little different. But it’s after she sustains a terrible beating behind a 7-Eleven that she and her mother pack up their belongings and move from California to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to start a new life—and Alyx begins over again, this time as a girl.
"Told in clear, straightforward prose, this riveting story of Alyx, and the gauntlet she has to run in order to discover who she truly is, shines a brilliant light on the truth that we are all queer in some way. All of us. In Double Exposure, Bridget Birdsall has given us a story that is courageous, intense, and full of heart. It’s a score from the outside, and everyone who reads it wins!" —Kathi Appelt, author of the Newbery Honor winner The Underneath, Keeper, and The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
About the Author: Bridget Birdsall is an author, artist, educator, and inspirational speaker. Despite dyslexic challenges, Bridget made a midlife decision to pursue her dream of writing books that touch hearts, especially those of young people. She earned her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College and now teaches creative, contemplative, and business writing skills throughout the Midwest. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, is the author of Ordinary Angels, and is known as a writer willing to tackle tough topics. Birdsall lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Melissa Falcon Field, author of What Burns Away
Tuesday March 3, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is proud to present Madison author Melissa Falcon Field, who will read from and sign copies of her brilliant debut, What Burns Away, in which a depressed new mom transplanted from Connecticut to Madison, Wisconsin, gives in to her latent teenage-arsonist fantasies and her first love.
Upon relocating to snowy Madison with a distant physician husband, New England native Claire Spruce is besieged by a dark past when her first love finds her again. Breaking decades of silence, old flame Dean offers an intoxicating, reckless escape from motherhood’s monotony. Enchanted by his return, while yearning for her own mislaid identity, she agrees to repay a favor that could incinerate her marriage and her child’s well-being. What Burns Away is a story of loyalty, family and the realization that the past is nearly always waiting for us in the future.
"What Burns Away is a study of safety, loyalty, and heart. But it’s also the story of what happens when those things run up against boredom, when they gaze in the smoky glass of lost mirrors and see soulful shadows of passion, freedom, and risk. A new mom’s fiery first love is back, and he challenges all she's built for herself, revealing the fragility of suburban dreams—I mean nightmares. In scorching prose, Melissa Falcon Field reminds us that when trouble flies out to the far reaches of the solar system, we’d best not forget it’s coming back.” —Bill Roorbach, author of The Remedy for Love and Life Among Giants
About the Author: Melissa Falcon Field received her MFA in Creative Writing at Texas State University, where she received the Katherine Anne Porter Writer-in-Residence Award two years consecutively. She has been a professor of fiction and nonfiction writing at Texas State University. She grew up in Connecticut, and she lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her family.
Thanhhà Lại, author of Inside Out & Back Again and Listen, Slowly
Wednesday March 4, at 6:30 pm
Please join us as we welcome to Boswell the Newbery Honor and National Book Award winning-author of Inside Out & Back Again, Thanhhà Lại, who will discuss and sign copies of her latest young adult novel great for ages 8 and up, Listen, Slowly, an irresistibly charming and emotionally poignant tale of Mai, a twelve-year-old Vietnamese American Laguna Beach girl, who discovers that home is not found on a map but is instead made up of the people she surrounds herself with and who she calls family.
Mai has been shipped off to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is traveling there to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents think this trip is a great opportunity for her to learn more about her roots. But Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place Mai wants to be during vacation. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn’t know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive this trip, Mai will be forced to find the balance between her two completely different worlds.
"This book is at once funny, thoughtful, and stunningly engaging. I loved, loved, loved it! Can’t wait for my own daughter—and every reader who is lucky enough to get their hands on it—to step inside Mai’s two, very different, worlds." —Jacqueline Woodson, author of the National Book Award-winning Brown Girl Dreaming
About the Author: Thanhhà Lại is The New York Times bestselling author of Inside Out & Back Again, her debut verse novel, which won both a National Book Award and a Newbery Honor. Born in Vietnam, she now lives in New York with her family.
Mary Doria Russell, author of Epitaph: A Novel of the O. K. Corral
Thursday March 5, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for an exciting event with delightful Mary Doria Russell, the bestselling, award-winning author of The Sparrow, as she reads from, discusses, and signs copies of her latest, Epitaph: A Novel of the O. K. Corral, a richly detailed and meticulously researched historical novel that continues the story she began in Doc, following Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday to Tombstone, Arizona, and to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
A deeply divided nation. Vicious politics. A shamelessly partisan media. A president loathed by half the populace. Smuggling and gang warfare along the Mexican border. Armed citizens willing to stand their ground and take law into their own hands...that was America in 1881. All those forces came to bear on the afternoon of October 26th when Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers faced off against the Clantons and the McLaurys in Tombstone, Arizona. It should have been a simple misdemeanor arrest. Thirty seconds and thirty bullets later, three officers were wounded and three citizens lay dead in the dirt. Wyatt Earp was the last man standing, the only one unscathed. The lies began before the smoke cleared, but the gunfight at the O.K. Corral would soon become central to American beliefs about the Old West.
Epitaph tells Wyatt’s real story, unearthing the Homeric tragedy buried under 130 years of mythology, misrepresentation, and sheer indifference to fact. Epic and intimate, this novel gives voice to the real men and women whose lives were changed forever by those fatal 30 seconds in Tombstone. At its heart is the woman behind the myth: Josephine Sarah Marcus, who loved Wyatt Earp for forty-nine years and who carefully chipped away at the truth until she had crafted the heroic legend that would become the epitaph her husband deserved.
About the Author: Mary Doria Russell is the author of The Sparrow, considered a classic of speculative fiction and its sequel, Children of God, which, combined, have won eight regional, national and international awards. Her third novel, A Thread of Grace, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and her fourth novel, Dreamers of the Day, was nominated for the 2008 IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize. Her fifth novel, Doc, was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She holds a Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology and previously taught human gross anatomy. She lives in Lyndhurst, Ohio.
Ted Sanders, author of The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly
Friday March 6, at 6:30 pm
Get your weekend off to a magical start at Boswell Book Company, where the award-winning author of No Animals We Could Name, Ted Sanders, will be talking about and signing copies of the first book in his debut middle grade fantasy adventure series, The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly, a classic epic fantasy with a science fiction twist perfect for ages 9 and up!
From the moment Horace F. Andrews sees the sign from the bus—a sign with his own name on it—everything changes. The sighting leads him underground, to the House of Answers, a hidden warehouse full of mysterious objects. But there, he finds only questions. What is this curious place? Who are the strange, secretive people who entrust him with a rare and immensely powerful gift? And what is he to do with it? When Horace finds the Box of Promises in the curio shop, he quickly discovers that ordinary-looking objects can hold extraordinary power. From the enormous, sinister man shadowing him to the gradual mastery of his newfound abilities to his encounters with Chloe—a girl who has an astonishing talent of her own—Horace follows a path that puts the pair in the middle of a centuries-old conflict between two warring factions in which every decision they make could have disastrous consequences.
"An epic adventure of self-discovery, magic, tragedy, and blurred lines of loyalty." —Kirkus
"A wildly original adventure." —Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil
About the Author: Ted Sanders is the author of the short story collection No Animals We Could Name, winner of the 2011 Bakeless Prize for Fiction. His stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including the Southern Review and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories anthology. He lives with his family in Urbana, Illinois.
Local Author Gina Cilento, author of Mitzi Boo & Mia, Too: Go to England
Saturday March 7, at 2:00 pm
Keep Calm and Carry On—to Boswell for a talk and signing with local author and tennis pro, Gina Cilento, who will debut the first book in her Mitzi Boo & Mia, Too series, Go to England, a unique traveldogue in which adorable English Bulldog sisters Mitzi Boo and Mia guide readers on a sightseeing adventure across England, great for kids of all ages!
Two English Bulldogs—the charismatic and ever-stylish Mitzi Boo and her even-keeled sister, Mia—journey to England after landing their first assignment for World Travel Magazine. From Stonehenge to Buckingham Palace, the two traipse across England desperate to see the Queen, sampling local cuisine, and working through sibling rivalry. Appealing to travel lovers, animal enthusiasts, and kids of all ages, Mitzi Boo & Mia, Too: Go to England is a humorous, off-beat approach to sibling stories, travelogues, and fundraising, with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every book goes to help fight against animal cruelty.
About the Author: Wisconsin born and raised, Gina Cilento has always been passionate about the wellbeing of animals: one of her lifelong dreams is to open a sanctuary for unwanted and abused animals of all kinds. For two decades, Gina has played tennis professionally in Oregon and Wisconsin. Still teaching and playing competitively, she’s found joy in reviving her art background as the author of Mitzi Boo & Mia, Too: Go to England, starring her two English Bulldogs, Mitzi and Mia.
Cat Warren, author of What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World
Tuesday March 10, at 7:00 pm
Help us welcome to the Boswell stage professor and journalist, Cat Warren, who will discuss and sign copies of her new book, What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World, a firsthand exploration of the extraordinary abilities and surprising, sometimes life-saving talents of "working dogs"—pups who can sniff out drugs, find explosives, even locate the dead—as told through the experiences of a journalist and her intrepid canine companion, which The New York Times calls "a fascinating, deeply reported journey into the...amazing things dogs can do with their noses."
There are thousands of working dogs all over the US and beyond with incredible abilities—they can find missing people, detect drugs and bombs, pinpoint unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers, or even find drowning victims more than two hundred feet below the surface of a lake. These abilities may seem magical or mysterious, but author Cat Warren shows the science, the rigorous training, and the skilled handling that underlie these creatures’ amazing abilities. Cat Warren is a university professor and journalist who had tried everything she could think of to harness her dog Solo’s boundless energy and enthusiasm...until a behavior coach suggested she try training him to be a “working dog.” What started out as a hobby soon became a calling, as Warren was introduced to the hidden universe of dogs who do this essential work and the handlers who train them.
"What the Dog Knows is a fascinating, deeply reported journey into scent, death, forensics and the amazing things dogs can do with their noses: sniffing out graves, truffles, bedbugs, maybe even cancer. But it’s also a moving story of how one woman transformed her troubled dog into a loving companion and an asset to society, all while stumbling on the beauty of life in their searches for death." — Rebecca Skloot, New York Times Book Review
About the Author: Cat Warren is an associate professor at North Carolina State University, where she teaches science journalism, editing, and reporting courses. She lives with her husband and her German shepherds, Solo and Coda, in Durham, North Carolina.
Joseph Kanon, author of Istanbul Passage and Leaving Berlin
Wednesday March 11, at 7:00 pm
Joseph Kanon, the bestselling author of Istanbul Passage—called a "fast-moving thinking [person]’s thriller" by The Wall Street Journal—is coming to Boswell to read from and sign copies of his latest "compelling, intellectually charged period piece" (Kirkus), Leaving Berlin, a sweeping, atmospheric novel of postwar East Berlin, a city caught between political idealism and the harsh realities of Soviet occupation.
Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment—to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? Betrayal? Survival? Murder? Filled with intrigue, and the moral ambiguity of conflicted loyalties, Joseph Kanon’s new novel, Leaving Berlin, is a compelling thriller and a love story that brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life.
"A pleasure from start to finish, blending literary finesse with action, this atmospheric historical thriller will appeal not only to Kanon’s many fans but to those who enjoy Alan Furst, Philip Kerr, and other masters of wartime and postwar espionage fiction." —Library Journal
"Another compelling, intellectually charged period piece by Kanon, who works in the shadows of fear as well as anyone now writing." —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author: Joseph Kanon is the author of seven novels including Leaving Berlin; Los Alamos, which won the Edgar Award for best first novel; The Good German, which was made into a film with George Clooney and Cate Blanchett; Stardust; The Prodigal Spy; Istanbul Passage; and Alibi, which earned Kanon the Hammett Award of the International Association of Crime Writers. He is also a recipient of The Anne Frank Human Writers Award for his writing on the aftermath of the Holocaust. Before becoming a full-time writer, Kanon was a book-publishing executive. He lives in New York City.
A Frank L. Weyenberg Library Event with Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival and Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule
Thursday March 12, at 6:30 pm
Please join us at the Frank L. Weyenberg Library (located at 11345 N. Cedarburg Road in Mequon) for an evening with beloved Madison author, Jennifer Chiaverini, who will read from and discuss her latest historical novel, Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, which treats readers to the inner life of Julia Grant, beloved as a Civil War general’s wife and the First Lady, yet grappled with her profound and complex relationship with the slave who was her namesake—until she forged a proud identity of her own.
In 1844, Missouri belle Julia Dent met dazzling horseman Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant. Four years passed before their parents permitted them to wed, and the groom’s abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony. Since childhood, Julia owned as a slave another Julia, known as Jule. Jule guarded her mistress’s closely held twin secrets: she had perilously poor vision but was gifted with prophetic sight. So it was that Jule became Julia’s eyes to the world. And what a world it was, marked by gathering clouds of war. The Grants vowed never to be separated, but as Ulysses rose through the ranks—becoming general in chief of the Union Army—so did the stakes of their pact. During the war, Julia would travel, often in the company of Jule and the four Grant children, facing unreliable transportation and certain danger to be at her husband’s side.
Yet Julia and Jule saw two different wars. While Julia spoke out for women—Union and Confederate—she continued to hold Jule as a slave behind Union lines. Upon the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Jule claimed her freedom and rose to prominence as a businesswoman in her own right, taking the honorary title Madame. The two women’s paths continued to cross throughout the Grants’ White House years in Washington, DC, and later in New York City, the site of Grant’s Tomb. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule is the first novel to chronicle this singular relationship, bound by sight and shadow.
About the Author: Jennifer Chiaverini is The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincon’s Dressmaker, The Spymistress, Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival, and the Elm Creek Quilt series. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Obert Skye, author of Witherwood Reform School
Friday March 13, at 6:30 pm
We’re excited to welcome bestselling author of the Leven Thumps series, Pillage series, and Creature from My Closet series author and illustrator, Obert Skye, who will talk about and sign copies of Witherwood Reform School, the debut of his fast-paced new adventure series in which Charlotte and Tobias are trapped within a creepy reform school and entangled in its dark secrets. Perfect for fans (ages 9 and up!) of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark & Grimm.
After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, gravy, and a jar of tadpoles, siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggars find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Sinister mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures and kids are locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger—especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control. If only their amnesiac father would recover. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood—and ultimately save themselves.
About the Author: Obert Skye is the author and illustrator of the Creature from My Closet series: Wonkenstein, Potterwookiee, Pinocula, and Katfish. He has also written the bestselling children’s fantasy adventure series Leven Thumps, and the Pillage series. He currently lives indoors and near a thin, winding road with his family.
Wisconsinite Gavin Schmitt, author of The Milwaukee Mafia: A Mobsters in the Heartland
Saturday March 14, at 2:00 pm
Please join us for an exciting event with Wisconsinite, research enthusiast, and Images of America author, Gavin Schmitt, who will talk about and sign copies of his latest groundbreaking work, The Milwaukee Mafia: Mobsters in the Heartland, the long-awaited history drawing from thousands of police reports, nearly a million confidential FBI pages, and years of meticulous research to shed light on the dark history of Milwaukee’s criminal underworld. For more information, check out the Facebook Event page.
Milwaukee’s Sicilian underworld is something few people speak about in polite company, and even fewer people speak about with any authority. Everyone in Milwaukee has a friend of a friend who knows something, but they only have one piece of a giant puzzle. The secret society known as the Milwaukee Mafia has done an excellent job of keeping its murders, members, and mishaps out of books. Until now. From the time Vito Guardalabene arrived from Italy in the early 1900s, until the days the Mob controlled the Teamsters union, Milwaukee was a city of murder and mayhem. Gavin Schmitt relies on previously unseen police reports, FBI investigative notes, coroner’s records, newspaper articles, family lore, and more to bring to light an era of Milwaukee’s history that has been largely undocumented and shrouded in myth.
Crime historian Thomas Hunt (DiCarlo: Buffalo’s First Family of Crime) calls The Milwaukee Mafia "comprehensive and entertaining," and "a long overdue assessment of the substantial role of Milwaukee underworld figures in the evolution of American organized crime," and The Mob and the City author C. Alexander Hortis calls Schmitt "an excellent researcher."
About the Author: Gavin Schmitt has been a life-long resident of Wisconsin, and has written about the Midwest’s dark history for many years. He has been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including Informer, and interviewed on the radio. He is the author of Images of America: Milwaukee Mafia (a pictorial companion), Images of America: Neenah, and Images of America: Kaukauna.
Local Author Phillip C. Naylor, author of North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present
Monday March 16, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is proud to welcome Marquette Professor of History and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of North African Studies, Phillip C. Naylor, for a talk and signing of the revised edition of his latest book, North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present, the most comprehensive history of North Africa to date, covering the Paleolithic period to the current "North African Spring" uprisings and everything in between.
North Africa has been a vital crossroads throughout history, serving as a connection between Africa, Asia, and Europe. Paradoxically, however, the region’s historical significance has been chronically underestimated. In a book that may lead scholars to reimagine the concept of Western civilization, incorporating the role North African peoples played in shaping "the West," Phillip Naylor describes a locale whose transcultural heritage serves as a crucial hinge, politically, economically, and socially. Ideal for novices and specialists alike, North Africa begins with an acknowledgment that defining this area has presented challenges throughout history. Naylor’s survey encompasses the Paleolithic period and early Egyptian cultures, leading readers through the pharonic dynasties, the conflicts with Rome and Carthage, the rise of Islam, the growth of the Ottoman Empire, European incursions, and the postcolonial prospects for Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Western Sahara. Emphasizing the importance of encounters and interactions among civilizations, North Africa maps a prominent future for scholarship about this pivotal region. Now with a new afterword that surveys the "North African Spring" uprisings that roiled the region from 2011 to 2013, this is the most comprehensive history of North Africa to date, with accessible, in-depth chapters covering the pre-Islamic period through colonization and independence.
About the Author: Phillip C. Naylor is a Professor of History at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he has directed the Western Civilization program. His previous books include The Historical Dictionary of Algeria and France and Algeria: A History of Decolonization and Transformation. Professor Naylor is publications officer of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS) and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of North African Studies and a recipient of the Reverend John P. Raynor, S.J., Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.
Two Events with J. A. White, author of The Thickety: The Whispering Trees
Wednesday March 18, 4:00 pm at the Elm Grove Public Library, and 6:30 pm at Boswell Book Company
Please join us for two events with J. A. White, author of The Thickety: A Path Begins: 4:00 pm in the Community Room at Elm Grove Public Library (located in the basement at 13600 Juneau Blvd. in Elm Grove), and 6:30 pm at Boswell Book Company on Downer Avenue. At both events, J. A. White will discuss and sign copies of the next book in his critically acclaimed middle grade fantasy series perfect for ages 10 and up, The Thickety: The Whispering Trees, in which Kara and her little brother, Taff, are led deep into the Thickety by a strange guide and must decide if they are trudging toward freedom or bumbling down a dark and wicked path.
After Kara Westfall’s village turns on her for practicing witchcraft, she and her brother, Taff, flee to the one place they know they won’t be followed: the Thickety. Only this time the Forest Demon, Sordyr, is intent on keeping them there. Sordyr is not the Thickety’s only danger: unknown magic lurks behind every twist and shadow of the path. And then Kara and Taff discover Mary Kettle, an infamous witch with an unspeakable past—she is everything their village fears about magic. When Mary shows them the path leading out of the Thickety guarded by Imogen, a creature more monster than human, Kara is hesitant to trust her. But then she offers to help Kara learn to cast magic without a grimoire…and this could be Kara and Taff’s only chance to escape…or the first step down a dark and wicked path.
About the Author: J. A. White is the author of The Thickety: A Path Begins, a writer for the book trailer production company Escape Goat, as well as an elementary school teacher. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and three sons.
Stewart O’Nan, author of West of Sunset
Friday March 20, at 7:00 pm
Bestselling author of fourteen novels including Emily, Alone and Last Night at the Lobster, Stewart O’Nan is coming to Boswell to read from and discuss his latest novel, West of Sunset, a gorgeously written, sympathetic, and deeply personal portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald, a wonderful portrayal of one of the golden ages of Hollywood, and perhaps O’Nan’s finest novel yet.
By the late 1930s, F. Scott Fitzgerald had fallen out of the public eye and into harder times. It is this period that critically acclaimed novelist Stewart O’Nan brings vividly to life in West of Sunset. With incredible grace and subtlety, and with striking flashbacks to emblematic moments from Fitzgerald’s past, from his boyhood to his first love affair to his various adventures with Zelda, the meticulously researched West of Sunset is an acutely sensitive and moving portrayal of the last three years of Fitzgerald’s life when he resided in Los Angeles by himself—in poor health, struggling with alcoholism, and increasingly despondent over his declining literary reputation.
"It would appear to be a daunting task to write a biographical novel of one of our most iconic writers, yet O’Nan avoids every pitfall…[He] renders a heartbreaking portrait of an artist soldiering on in the face of personal and professional ruin…[His] convincing characterization of a man burdened by guilt and struggling to hold onto his dignity is, at once, a moving testament to grace under pressure and an intimate look at a legend." —Booklist
"O’Nan taps into primary-source material on Fitzgerald to craft a realistic piece of historical fiction…We get zinging repartee from the likes of Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and Humphrey Bogart…Fitzgerald comes across as a haunting, multifaceted, sympathetic character." —Library Journal
About the Author: Stewart O’Nan is the author of fourteen previous novels, including The Odds; Emily, Alone; A Prayer for the Dying; and Snow Angels, as well as several works of nonfiction, including, with Stephen King, the bestselling Faithful. His novel Last Night at the Lobster was a national bestseller and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He was born and raised in Pittsburgh where he lives with his family.
Richard Price, writing as Harry Brandt, author of The Whites
Saturday March 21, at 2:00 pm
Edgar Award winning beloved master of crime fiction, Richard Price, is coming to Boswell to read from and sign copies of his latest novel (under the pen name Harry Brandt), The Whites, the electrifying tale of Billy Graves, sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch, a small team of detectives charged with responding to all night-time felonies from Wall Street to Harlem, which Stephen King has dubbed "the crime novel of the year," calling it "grim, gutsy, and impossible to put down."
Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-90s, when Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a 10-year-old boy while stopping an angel-dusted berserker in the street. Branded as a cowboy by his higher-ups, for the next eighteen years Billy endured one dead-end posting after another. Now in his early forties, he has somehow survived and become a sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch, a small team of detectives charged with responding to all night-time felonies from Wall Street to Harlem. Night Watch usually acts a set-up crew for the day shift, but when Billy is called to a 4:00 a.m. fatal slashing of a man in Penn Station, his investigation of the crime moves beyond the usual handoff. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a 12-year-old boy—a brutal case with connections to the former members of the Wild Geese—the bad old days are back in Billy’s life with a vengeance, tearing apart enduring friendships forged in the urban trenches and even threatening the safety of his family. Richard Price, one of America’s most gifted novelists, has always written brilliantly about cops, criminals, and New York City. Now, with The Whites, writing as Harry Brandt, he is poised to win a huge following among all those who hunger for first-rate crime fiction.
"The Whites is the crime novel of the year—grim, gutsy, and impossible to put down. I had to read the final 100 pages in a single sitting. I began being fascinated, and ended being deeply moved. Call him Price or Brandt, he knows everything about police life, and plenty about friendship: what your friends do for you…and what they sometimes do to you." —Stephen King
"This is high-octane literature, with the best of Richard Price and his souped-up pseudonym Harry Brandt. Price/Brandt gets to the heart of those stories that everyone else refuses to tell. The Whites manages to patrol New York and deepen our sense of the city and all its dark corners." —Colum McCann
About the Author: Harry Brandt is the pen name of acclaimed novelist Richard Price, whose eight previous novels—including Clockers and Lush Life—have won universal praise for their vividly etched portrayals of urban America. He won a 2007 Edgar Award for his writing on the HBO series The Wire. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, the novelist Lorraine Adams.
A Ticketed Event with Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Tuesday March 24, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for a ticketed event with the master of narrative nonfiction, Erik Larson, who will discuss and sign copies of his latest marvelously researched book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. Tickets are $30, include admission for one and an autographed hardcover of Dead Wake, and are available on the Brown Paper Tickets website. A $22 gift card is available in lieu of the book on event night only.
On May 1, 1915, the Lusitania, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic "Greyhounds" and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship—the fastest then in service—could outrun any threat. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly in Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller, Charles Lauriat, to pioneering female architect, Theodate Pope Riddle, to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.
About the Author: Erik Larson is the author of four national bestsellers: In the Garden of Beasts, Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac’s Storm, which have collectively sold more than 5.5 million copies. His books have been published in fourteen countries.
Carson Ellis, author and illustrator of Home
Wednesday March 25, at 7:00 pm
You are cordially invited to join us as we welcome talented artist for The Decemberists and beloved illustrator, Carson Ellis, whose gorgeous artwork has adorned such modern classics as the Wildwood series and Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society, as she talks about and signs copies of her debut kids’ picture book, perfect for ages four and up, Home, a whimsical tribute to the many possibilities of home.
Home might be a house in the country, an apartment in the city, or even a shoe. Home resides on the road or in the sea, in the realm of myth, or in the space where the artist created this book. A soulful meditation on the concept of home and a visual treat that invites many return visits, this loving look at the places people live marks the picture book debut of Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of the Wildwood series and artist for the Decemberists.
"Arrestingly illustrated…Ellis, in her picture-book debut, draws with simplicity and precision, yet there are often so many fanciful details that second and third looks will come naturally…the whole effect makes the pictures seem like frameable art." —Booklist
About the Author: Carson Ellis was born in Vancouver, Canada, was raised in suburban New York, and earned a BFA in painting from the University of Montana in Missoula. Her work includes illustrations for The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket, and Dillweed’s Revenge by Florence Parry Heide. She also collaborated with her husband, Colin Meloy, on the best-selling Wildwood series. Carson Ellis lives with her family outside Portland, Oregon.
Local Author Liam Callanan, author of The Cloud Atlas, All Saints, and his latest collection Listen & Other Stories
Friday March 27, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome beloved local author and professor, Liam Callanan, who will read from and sign copies of his latest book, a collection of stories titled Listen & Other Stories, which has already earned rave reviews as “a wonderfully readable and hugely pleasurable collection” (Margo Livesey) of “lovely stories, indeed” (Alix Ohlin) that is “necessary and timeless” (Michael Parker).
Listen & Other Stories is a book where characters ask readers to do just that: listen to their stories, especially because many aren’t the type of people who often get listened to—even though they should be. These characters’ trials, missed connections, and sundry challenges are full of surprises—some good, some bad, some funny, some wise, and some all this at once. Even more surprising, there’s tenderness here and a lot of heart—which often gets the collection’s characters into a lot of trouble.
"Here is what makes these stories necessary and timeless: Liam Callanan’s incisive ability to render not just our desires and the choices we make to fulfill or thwart those desires, but the mystery behind those choices. These stories glow, backlit by the author’s generous and discriminating vision, his ability to contrast doubt and faith in our actions and interactions, all in the service of an abiding grace. And lest all of the above sound unduly serious, let me assure you: there is humor here of the most vital stripe, wherein halfway through your laughter you realize you’re laughing not only at the characters, but at your own foolish, if well-intentioned, ways." —Michael Parker, author of The Watery Part of the World
"Over and over Callanan finds that moment when a character’s past, their deepest longings, their most intimate fears, emerge from the flood-waters of daily life and stand exposed. These richly imagined and beautifully written stories transport the reader from TV studios to lonely woods, from an old convent to a new gym, from war-time Alaska to the beach at Santa Monica. The result is a wonderfully readable and hugely pleasurable collection." —Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy
About the Author: Liam Callanan is the author of the novels The Cloud Atlas, a finalist for an Edgar Award, and All Saints, a Target Bookmarked Breakout book. A frequent public radio essayist, Liam has taught at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Born in Washington, DC, and raised in Los Angeles, he now calls Wisconsin home.
Milwaukeean Mark Wisniewski, author of Watch Me Go
Tuesday April 7, at 7:00 pm
Award-winning, Milwaukee-born author, Mark Wisniewski, is coming to Boswell to read from and sign copies of his latest novel, Watch Me Go, which has been praised as "irresistible…pure, muscular storytelling" (Salman Rushdie), "[a] fabulous noir" (Daniel Woodrell), and "wonderfully raw and gritty" (Booklist). Billed as Winter’s Bone meets The Wire, Wisniewski’s Watch Me Go is an edgy, soulful meditation on the meaning of love, the injustices of hate, and the power of hope for two vulnerable New Yorkers recounting their versions of events that sent their lives spiraling out of control.
In Watch Me Go, we meet Douglas "Deesh" Sharp, who lives in the Bronx and has managed to stay on the right side of the law, in spite of the constant lures of drug-dealing friends, by hauling junk for cash to avoid the fate of former neighbors now on Rikers Island. But when he and two pals head upstate for a seemingly standard job, disposing of a sealed oil drum, Deesh is left betrayed and running for his life—the prime suspect in the murders of three white men. Meanwhile, Jan Price, a young horse jockey, is a rising star at a small racetrack in upstate New York, where her father was a local legend before his untimely death two decades earlier. As she struggles to piece together her father’s mysterious past, Jan is charmed by a wannabe horse farmer and pulled into the gritty underworld of gambling and racing. As Jan and Deesh recount the events that sent their lives spiraling out of control, they begin to understand the whole story and how each fit into it—hoping it’s enough to save Deesh’s life.
"Outstanding…Wisniewski deftly alternates perspectives and narrative threads…just what fans of literate and nuanced daylight noir will relish." —Publisher’s Weekly
"A gritty tale of mystery and desire, it breaks from the gate with power and grace and never falters. This book has legs." —Pulitzer Prize Finalist Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever
About the Author: Mark Wisniewski is an award-winning writer of fiction and poetry born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Published in Best American Short Stories, The Southern Review, Antioch Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review, he has earned a Pushcart Prize and a Tobias Wolff Award, as well as a series of prestigious fellowships. He lives with his wife in New York City.
Other Confirmed Author Appearances
Wednesday, April 8, 7:00 pm - Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, located at 2145 W. Brown Deer Road, as part of the Women’s Speaker Series, tickets are $18 for members and $22 for non-members
Thursday, April 9, 7:00 pm - Lilly J. Goren, co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America
Monday, April 13, 6:30 pm - Jason Reynolds, author of The Boy in the Black Suit at the East Library, located 2320 North Cramer Street in Milwaukee
Thursday, April 16, 7:00 pm - Shorewood Reads with Nickolas Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs at the Shorewood Public Library, located 3920 N. Murray Avenue in Shorewood
Sunday, April 19, 3:00 pm - Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil, Volume 2: A World Without Princes