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Amy Timberlake, author of One Came Home, at the St. Francis Public Library
Thursday May 16, at 6:30 pm
The St. Francis Public Library is located at 4230 S. Nicholson Ave., in St. Francis.
One Came Home is set in the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, where young Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly.
But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn't, her older sister Agatha flees, running off with a pack of "pigeoners" trailing the passenger pigeon migration. And when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body--wearing Agatha's blue-green ball gown--everyone assumes the worst. Except Georgie. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down (and coffined) before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister. She will track every last clue and shred of evidence to bring Agatha home. Yet even with resolute determination and her trusty Springfield single-shot, Georgie is not prepared for what she faces on the western frontier.
About the Author: Amy Timberlake won the Golden Kite Award for her picture book The Dirty Cowboy. Her first novel for children, That Girl Lucy Moon, was named a Bank Street Best Children's Book, an Amelia Bloomer Book, and the winner of the Friends of American Writers Literary Award. Timberlake has also worked as a book reviewer, columnist, and children's bookseller.
Dale Kushner, author of The Conditions of Love
Thursday May 16, at 7:00 pm
(Appearing with Andrea Lochen, author of The Repeat Year)
At once fable and realistic story, The Conditions of Love is a book about emotional and physical survival, tracing the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her parents' abandonment, her need to break from society's limitations, and her overwhelming desire for spiritual and erotic love.
In 1953, ten-year-old Eunice lives in the backwaters of Wisconsin with her outrageously narcissistic mother, a "manicureeste" and movie star worshipper. Abandoned by her father as an infant, Eunice worries that she will become a misfit like her mother. When her mother's lover, the devoted Sam, moves in, Eunice imagines her life will finally become normal. But her hope dissolves when Sam gets kicked out, and she is again alone with her mother. A freak storm sends Eunice away from all things familiar, and rescued by the shaman-like Rose, Eunice's odyssey continues with a stay in a hermit's shack and ends with a passionate love affair with an older man. Through her capacity to redefine herself, reject bitterness and keep her heart open, she survives, and flourishes.
About the Author: Dale M. Kushner graduated the Vermont College MFA Program in Creative Writing, and founded The Writer's Place, a literary center in Madison, Wisconsin, where she currently lives. She is a recipient of a Wisconsin Arts Board Grant in the Literary Arts, a fellowship at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. Her work has been widely published in literary journals and her most recent poetry book, More Alive Than Lions Roaring, was a finalist for The May Swenson Poetry Award at Utah State Press, The Prairie Schooner Book Competition, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize at University of Utah Press and The Tupelo Prize. This is her first novel.
Andrea Lochen, author of The Repeat Year
Thursday May 16, at 7:00 pm
Appearing with Dale Kushner, author of The Conditions of Love
Everyone has days, weeks, even months they wish they could do over--but what about an entire year? After living through the worst twelve months of her life, intensive care nurse Olive Watson is given a second chance to relive her past and attempt to discover where she went wrong...
After a year of hardships, including a messy breakup with her longtime boyfriend Phil, the prospect of her mother's remarriage, and heartbreaking patient losses at the hospital, Olive is ready to start fresh. But when she wakes up in her ex-boyfriend's bed on New Year's Day 2011—a day she has already lived—Olive's world is turned upside down. Shouldering a year of memories that no one else can recall, even Olive begins to question herself--until she discovers that she is not alone. Upon crossing paths with Sherry Witan, an experienced "repeater," Olive learns that she has the chance to rewrite her future. Given the opportunity of a lifetime, Olive has to decide what she really wants. Should she make different choices, or accept her life as she knows it, flaws and all?
About the Author: Andrea Lochen earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. While there, she won a Hopwood Novel Award for a draft of The Repeat Year. She currently lives in suburban Milwaukee with her husband and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha.
Jenny Benjamin, author of This Most Amazing
Friday May 17, at 7:00 pm
This Most Amazing wonders what would happen if you could live the life of another person, while you sleep. When Dahlia, a poetry teacher in present day Italy, begins to dream about the life of Vincenzo, an Italian soldier in 1797 who deserts Napoleon’s army, she slowly discovers the ways in which her life could still be connected to his fate.
While Dahlia grapples with the new state of her relationship with a boyfriend back home in the United States, Vincenzo copes with his father’s death and his memories from war. When he is imprisoned for his desertion and asked to paint a beautiful woman’s portrait, Vincenzo begins to hope for the future. But, this assignment could save him, or bring him more swiftly to his death. And can Dahlia, trapped in his future, help him?
About the Author: Jenny Benjamin is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer whose poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines in addition to educational curriculum for classrooms. In 2011 she won the Wisconsin Regional Writers' Association First Chapters Contest and was selected as a semifinalist for the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society Big Read Award. This Most Amazing is her first novel.
Harilyn Rousso, author of Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back
Monday May 20, at 7:00 pm
This event is being co-sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy of Southeast Wisconsin, Disability Rights Wisconsin and Independence First
“I've known Harilyn Rousso as a powerful activist and gifted artist, but with this revelatory book, she becomes something even rarer: a storyteller who conveys her uniqueness and so helps us to discover our own. Don’t Call Me Inspirational is irresistible to read, honest, insightful, and universal.”—Gloria Steinem
In her empowering, and at times confrontational memoir, Rousso, who has cerebral palsy, describes overcoming the prejudice against disability—not overcoming disability. She addresses the often absurd and ignorant attitudes of strangers, friends, and family—as well as her own prejudice toward her disabled body—and portrays the healing effects of intimacy and creativity, as well as her involvement with the disability rights community. She intimately reveals herself with honesty and humor and measures her personal growth as she goes from “passing” to embracing and claiming her disability as a source of pride, positive identity, and rebellion.
About the Author: Harilyn Rousso is a disability activist, feminist, psychotherapist, writer, and painter. She is the President of Disabilities Unlimited Consulting Services, founder of the Networking Project for Disabled Women and Girls, and co-editor of Double Jeopardy: Addressing Gender Equity in Special Education and author of Disabled, Female, and Proud!.
Barry Wightman, author of Pepperland
Tuesday May 21, at 7:00 pm
Pepper Porter is on an improbable journey to rock ‘n’ roll stardom when his long-gone girlfriend reappears. Sooz, a subversively brilliant computer whiz, has crafted an algorithm that “will forever change the direction of all human communications,” fuel the birth of the personal computer and the Internet. But there’s trouble looming as Sooz is on the lam from the FBI—she’s ex-Weather Underground—radical and revolutionary. . Falling in love with Pepper, she asks—do you want to play your little rock 'n’ roll songs or change the world? He says—both.
A ‘70s rock and roll race through the heartland of America and a love letter to the power of new-fangled computers and the importance of a guitar pick: Pepperland is about missing information, missing people, missing guitars, paranoia, Q & A, brothers, revolution, Agents of the Federal Government, IBM, Hugh Hefner, a Dark Stranger, love, death and the search for it amidst the wreckage of recession-wracked, entropically rundown mid-seventies America.
About the Author: Barry Wightman is Fiction Editor for Hunger Mountain, a journal for the arts based in Vermont. He is an award-winning essayist who has contributed work to WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio and reviews books for publications in Chicago, Milwaukee and Washington D.C., including the Washington Independent Review of Books. Wightman is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and plays in a rock ‘n’ roll band, The Outta State Plates.
Douglas Foster, author of After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Wednesday May 22, at 7:00 pm
“What a pleasant surprise to encounter a book that actually looks beyond the surface... Foster gives us a portrait of a vibrant nation, full of contrasts and contradictions."—Martin Rubin, Los Angeles Times
A brutally honest expose, After Mandela provides a sobering portrait of a country caught between a democratic future and a political meltdown.
Recent works have focused primarily on Nelson Mandela's transcendent story. But Douglas Foster, a leading South Africa authority with early, unprecedented access to President Zuma and to the next generation in the Mandela family, traces the nation's entire post-apartheid arc, from its celebrated beginnings under "Madiba" to Thabo Mbeki's tumultuous rule to the ferocious battle between Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. Foster tells this story not only from the point of view of the emerging black elite but also, drawing on hundreds of rare interviews over a six-year period, from the perspectives of ordinary citizens, including an HIV-infected teenager living outside Johannesburg and a homeless orphan in Cape Town. This is the long-awaited, revisionist account of a country whose recent history has been not just neglected but largely ignored by the West.
About the Author: Douglas Foster, an associate professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, is a contributor to The Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, and Smithsonian. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Ru Freeman, author of On Sal Mal Lane
Thursday May 23, at 7:00 pm
For those who loved Kiran Desai’s Booker Prize-winning novel The Inheritance of Loss, and Khaled Hosseini’s Kite Runner, a novel that Cheryl Strayed calls “Piercingly intelligent and shatter-your-heart profound… a riveting, important, beauty of a book.”
The Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009) claimed tens of thousands of lives and pitted friends, neighbors, colleagues, and lovers against one another: Tamils and Sinhalese, Buddhist and Catholic and Hindu, rich and poor. In Ru Freeman’s stunning new novel, On Sal Mal Lane, we are transported to a quiet street in Colombo in the years leading up to the deadliest conflict in Sri Lankan history. The children growing up on Sal Mal Lane fill their days with cricket matches, romantic crushes, and small rivalries. But the tremors of civil war are mounting, and the conflict threatens to engulf them all. In a heart-rending novel poised between the past and the future, the innocence of the children—a beloved sister and her over-protective siblings, a rejected son and his twin sisters, two very different brothers—contrasts sharply with the petty prejudices of the adults charged with their care.
In Ru Freeman’s masterful hands, On Sal Mal Lane, a story of what was lost to a country and her people, becomes a resounding cry for reconciliation.
About the Author: Ru Freeman is the author of A Disobedient Girl, which was a finalist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and has been translated into seven languages. She is an activist and journalist whose work appears internationally. She calls both Sri Lanka and America home.
David Sedaris, author of Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
Sunday May 26, at 2:00 pm
This is a free reading/signing, but space is limited. We expect to fill up early, but will arrange for an overflow signing line outside. Please check here or call the store for updates.
From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, a new book of essays taking his readers on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist's shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.
About the Author: David Sedaris, who has been called "the preeminent humorist of his generation" (Entertainment Weekly) is author of numerous #1 New York Times bestselling books, including When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Holidays on Ice. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Public Radio International's This American Life. He lives in England.
Mary Hutchings Reed, author of Warming Up
Tuesday May 28, at 7:00 pm
"A well-written, endearing book that surprises."—Kirkus Reviews
Approaching forty, unemployed but well-off, talented but unknown, functional but depressed, former musical actress Cecilia Morrison reluctantly seeks therapy. Although she once won leading roles, Cecilia now can't bring herself to audition for parts. In the end it's not therapy, but a runaway teenager who changes her life when he cons her out of sixty bucks.
Warming Up was shortlisted for the 2011 William Wisdom-William Faulkner Prize for the Novel. Ten percent of the author's proceeds are donated to The Night Ministry, which provides temporary housing, transitional living, and parenting services to Chicago's homeless youth.
About the Author: Mary Hutchings Reed is a novelist and playwright in Chicago, where she works as a lawyer specializing in entertainment and media law. Her fiction has appeared in ARS Medica, The Ligourian, and The Tampa Review. Her musical, Fairways, has been produced three times in the Chicago area since its premiere in 2006. In addition to Warming Up, Reed is also the author of the novel Courting Kathleen Hannigan.
Alex Grecian, author of The Black Country, in conversation with Jon Jordan, editor of Crimespree Magazine
Wednesday May 29, at 7:00 pm
“Outstanding. If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands for this, Wilkie Collins surely is.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
Grecian cleverly blends historical fiction with the contemporary fascination with forensic crime investigation techniques when Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad returns in The Black Country, sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, The Yard.
Set in the British Midlands, called “Black Country,” by its inhabitants and with good reason – bad things can happen there. When three members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village – and a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest – the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard’s new Murder Squad. Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith, soon realize that they’ve stepped into something much more bizarre and complicated than they thought. The villagers have very intense, intertwined histories. Everybody bears a secret. Superstitions abound, especially a local legend about a monster that some of them claim they’ve seen. Added to that, a flu outbreak is killing off some of the inhabitants…and the village itself is slowing sinking into the mines below it.
About the Author: Alex Grecian is the national bestselling author of The Yard and the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and son.
Along with his wife, Ruth, Jon Jordan is publisher and editor of CrimeSpree Magazine and an organizer of the annual Murder and Mayhem in Muskego held each November. Solo, Jon is also author of the interview book, Interrogations. He served as host of Bouchercon 2011 in St. Louis.
ADDITIONAL CONFIRMED AUTHOR APPEARANCES
Tuesday, June 4, 7pm - Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, author of Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted and Sexy Feminism: A Girl's Guide to Love, Success, and Style
Thursday, June 6, 7pm - Ridley Pearson, author of Choke Point, at the Whitefish Bay Library
Thursday, June 6, 7pm - David Rhodes, author of Jewelweed and Driftless
Monday, June 10, 7pm - R. Clifton Spargo, author of Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald
Tuesday, June 11, 7pm - Monte Reel, author of Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure that Took the World by Storm
Wednesday, June 12, 7pm - Lauren Conrad. Tickets include a copy of the book, and a $2 donation to Children's Hospital. For more information about this event, or to buy tickets, click here.
Thursday, June 13, 4pm - David Nirenberg, author of Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition, co-sponsored by the Sam & Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies
Thursday, June 13, 7pm - Dean Jensen, author of Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus
Saturday, June 15, 7pm - Jim Gaffigan, author of Dad is Fat
Monday, June 17, 7pm - Sarumathi Jayaraman, author of Behind the Kitchen Door
Wednesday, June 19, 7pm - Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars, with Ethan Rutherford, author of The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories
Thursday, June 20, 7pm - Jeanette Walls, author of The Silver Star and The Glass Castle
Monday, June 24, 7pm - Edward Teal McClelland, author of Nothin' But Blue Skies: The Heydey, Hard Times, and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland
Sunday, June 23, 7pm - Sahar Delijani, author of Children of the Jacaranda Tree
Wednesday, June 26, 7pm - Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
Saturday, July 6, 7pm - Sam Tracy, author of Bicycle!: A Repair & Maintenance Manifesto
Thursday, July 18, 7pm - Chuck Klosterman, author of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)
Tuesday, July 23, 7pm - Theron Humphrey and Maddie, author and star of Maddie on Things: A Super Serious Project about Dogs & Physics
Wednesday, July 24, 7pm - B.A. Shapiro, author of The Art Forger
Wednesday, August 21, 7pm - Toby Barlow, author of Babayaga and Sharp Teeth