|Press release style details for our upcoming events are below. You can find a line listing of other confirmed author appearances at the bottom of the page. Tickets for events will be linked when they become available (generally the 1st of the month prior to the month of the event).
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Madison Writer Judith Claire Mitchell, author of A Reunion of Ghosts
Wednesday April 1, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is proud to welcome English Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of The Last Day of War, Judith Claire Mitchell, who will read from and sign copies of her latest novel, A Reunion of Ghosts, the shared confessional of three sisters who have decided to kill themselves at the end of the 20th century, honoring the dark legacy that has haunted their extraordinary family for decades.
In the waning days of 1999, the Alter sisters—Lady, Vee, and Delph—finalize their plans to end their lives. Their reasons are not theirs alone; they are the last in a long line of Alters who have killed themselves, beginning with their great-grandmother, the wife of a Jewish Nobel Prize-winning chemist who developed the first poison gas used in World War I and the lethal agent used in Third Reich gas chambers. The chemist himself, their son Richard, and Richard’s children all followed suit. The childless sisters also define themselves by their own bad luck. Lady, the oldest, never really resumed living after her divorce. Vee is facing cancer’s return. And Delph, the youngest, is resigned to a spinster’s life of stifled dreams. But despite their pain they love each other fiercely, and share a darkly brilliant sense of humor. As they gather in the ancestral Upper West Side apartment to close the circle of the Alter curse, an epic story about four generations of one family—inspired in part by the troubled life of German-Jewish Fritz Haber, Nobel Prize winner and inventor of chlorine gas—unfolds. A Reunion of Ghosts is a magnificent tale of fate and blood, sin and absolution; partly a memoir of sisters unified by a singular burden, partly an unflinching eulogy of those who have gone before, and above all a profound commentary on the events of the 20th century.
Here’s what Boswellian Jen has to say about A Reunion of Ghosts: "‘The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the 3rd & 4th generations.’ These are the words that the Alter sisters live by. It has become their motto and this conviction becomes part of the reason they have chosen to die at their own hands on December 31st, 1999. Lady, Vee and Delph Alter have written a suicide note together, which is more than a ‘goodbye, world’ note; it’s also a family history. You see, the Alter sisters are descendants of Lenz Otto Alter and Iris Emanuel Alter. Lenz was a chemist and the creator of the poison gas that was first used in WWI. Iris was the first woman to earn a PhD in chemistry and the first in the family to commit suicide. A Reunion of Ghosts is a captivating chronicle of a family and the weight of consequences, which grows heavier with time. It’s the quirky, dark comedy, family saga you’ll want to read!"
About the Author: Judith Claire Mitchell, the author of The Last Day of the War, is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, she currently lives in Madison with her husband, the artist Don Friedlich.
Middle Grade Mania and Teacher Appreciation Night at Boswell!
Monday April 6, at 6:30 pm
Calling all teachers and Middle Grade Maniacs!! We’re throwing a pizza party in your honor! After an introduction by Boswellian Phoebe, we’ll hear from a panel of five excellent middle-grade authors, who will talk about their books (signing copies, of course!), after we toast our favorite teachers (with shopping passes!) and indulge in pizza. Fun for ages 7 and up, you won’t want to miss this fantastic event, featuring Steve Arntson, author of The Trap; Faith Harkey, author of Genuine Sweet; Marcia Wells, author of Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery in Mayan Mexico; Greg Trine, author of Willie Maykit in Space; and special guest Stacy DeKeyser, author of One Witch at a Time.
Seattle musician Steven Arntson, author of The Wikkeling, presents his latest novel, The Trap, in which science fiction, kidnapping, and first crushes combine for a thrilling fantasy that’s Gary Schmidt meets Madeleine L’Engle.
Savvy meets Three Times Lucky in Faith Harkey’s debut novel, Genuine Sweet, a small-town Georgia tale of twelve-year-old Genuine Sweet, a hardworking but poor (and hungry!) "wish fetcher" who can grant anyone’s wishes but her own.
Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery in Mayan Mexico is the fun and fast-paced second installment of the Edgar-nominated series by Marcia Wells in which Eddie Red and his best friend Jonah must once again rely on Eddie’s drawing skills and photographic memory to uncover clues to catch a crook when Eddie’s father is falsely accused of a crime.
Adventures of Jo Schmo series and Melvin Beederman, Superhero series, Greg Trine, debuts the first book in his hilarious new series, Willie Maykit in Space, in which our stalwart hero, Willie Maykit, is stranded during a class trip to outer space, where his wits tested against the monsters of Planet Ed.
Magic beans quickly lead to danger in One Witch at a Time, the new standalone companion to The Brixen Witch by Jump the Cracks author—and our special guest for Middle Grade Mania!—Stacy DeKeyser.
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.
Women’s Speaker Series at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, featuring Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans
Wednesday April 8, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for the next Women’s Speaker Series ticketed event at the Lynden Sculpture Garden: an evening with Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans, an extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American. Tickets are $22 ($18 for members) include a copy of the book, and are available through the Lynden Sculpture Garden website. The Lynden Sculpture Garden is located at 2145 W. Brown Deer Road in River Hills. This event will begin with a reception at 7 pm (wine and refreshments provided by MKELocalicious) with the talk and signing following, and is co-sponsored by MKE Reads and Bronze Optical.
Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better. When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core. Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart. Suspenseful, wry and immediate, rich in spirit and humanity, The Book of Unknown Americans is a work of rare force and originality.
"Timely…powerful…genuinely moving…a chronicle of a beautiful Mexican teenager named Maribel Rivera and her admiring friend and neighbor, Mayor Toro. Maribel and Mayor’s star-crossed love lends this novel an emotional urgency; the story of their families gives us a visceral sense of the magnetic allure of America, and the gaps so many immigrants find here between expectations and reality. In slowly revealing the back stories behind [their] arrival in America and what they have at stake in remaining here, Henríquez gives us an intimate understanding of the sense of dislocation they experience almost daily, belonging neither here nor there, caught on the margins of the past and the future. She conveys the homesickness they feel—missing not just family and friends but also the heat and light and rhythms of the places they left behind—and their awareness of the fragility of even their most ordinary dreams of safety. The story encapsulate[s] the promises and perils of the American dream…Henríquez’s myriad gifts as a writer shine." — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
About the Author: Cristina Henríquez is the author of The Book of Unknown Americans, which was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, as well as the novel The World in Half and the story collection Come Together, Fall Apart. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and elsewhere, as well as in various anthologies. She lives in Illinois.
Local Author Lilly J. Goren, co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America
Thursday April 9, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for an evening of scholarly talk on pop culture and politics with Professor of Political Science and Global Studies at Carroll University and local author, Lilly J. Goren, who will discuss and sign copies of the latest book she co-edited, Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America, an academic approach to the popular show exploring critical investigations of issues such as gender, race, generational change, and the social movements of the 1960’s.
The chapters of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America analyze the most important dimensions explored on the show, including issues around gender, race, prejudice, the family, generational change, the social movements of the 1960s, our understanding of America’s place in the world, and the idea of work in the post-war period. Mad Men and Politics provides the reader with an understanding not only of the topics and issues that can be easily grasped while watching, but also contemplates our historical perspective of the 1960s as we consider it through the telescope of our current condition in the modern day United States.
"As savvy and incisive as Mad Men itself, Mad Men and Politics showcases excellent analyses of American political problems-including sexism, racism, inequality, consumption, and the meaning of America itself-from the 1960s to the present. Goren and Beail reveal Mad Men as a fascinating window into the underbelly of American politics, even while it provides viewers with the pleasures of glamour and nostalgia." —Elisabeth Anker, Assistant Professor of American Politics and Political Science, George Washington University, USA
"These essays provide a series of smart takes on one of the most influential series in television history. The book shows how Mad Men’s exploration of America's past provides an insight into what we are thinking today; and it deals boldly with the big issues of power, race, sex and ideas of masculinity and femininity. Reading it extends one's appreciate of the series." —Evangeline Morphos, Associate Professor, Columbia University School of the Arts Film, USA
Lilly J. Goren Bio: Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science and global studies at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Her published books include Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (co-edited with Justin Vaughn), winner of both the 2014 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Susan Koppelman Book Award and the 2014 Southwest Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Peter C. Rollins Book Award; You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: Women, Politics, and Popular Culture; and Not in My District: The Politics of Military Base Closures.
Wisconsin Author John Riordan, co-author of They Are All My Family: A Daring Rescue in the Chaos of Saigon’s Fall
Friday April 10, at 7:00 pm
In the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War in April 1975, as Americans fled and their Vietnamese allies and employees prepared for the worst, John Riordan, a young banker, the assistant manager of Citibank’s Saigon branch succeeded in rescuing 106 Vietnamese people. They were his 33 Vietnamese staff members and their families. Unable to secure exit papers for the employees, Citibank ordered Riordan to leave the country alone. Safe in Hong Kong, Riordan could not imagine leaving behind his employees and defied instructions from his superiors not to return to Saigon. But once he did make it back on the last commercial flight, his actions were daring and ingenious. Please join us as we welcome banker-turned-Wisconsin famer, John Riordan, who will discuss and sign copies of his stunning book They Are All My Family: A Daring Rescue in the Chaos of Saigon’s Fall.
In They Are All My Family, Riordan recounts in a vivid narrative how the escape was organized and carried out. He assembled all 106 of the Vietnamese people into his villa and a neighboring one telling them to keep their locations secret. A CIA contact told him that only dependents of Americans were allowed to escape on U.S. military cargo planes. Riordan repeatedly went to the processing area and claimed groups of people as his relatives, somehow managing to get through the bureaucratic shambles and to the airport fifteen times. Filling out papers in groups, using false documents, and even resorting to a bribe, he succeeded in rescuing the group. For the last round, the group drove the bank van to the airport pretending they had bundles of money to transport. Miraculously, all these gambits worked and the Citibank group made it to Guam and the Philippines, eventually reuniting at Camp Pendleton in California. All the while, Riordan assumed he had been fired for ignoring orders but once the mission was completed, his extraordinary commitment and resourcefulness won him widespread praise from senior officials. Citibank spent a million dollars to resettle the Vietnamese, offering jobs to some of the staff and their spouses. Currently a farmer committed to alternative, sustainable energy in Wisconsin, John Riordan’s story provides a compelling insight to the courage of individuals when all seemed lost. For all the tragedy of the Vietnam War, this saga is an uplifting counterpoint and a compelling piece of micro-history.
"A nail-biting account of one man’s quiet heroism in the face of impossible odds." —Kirkus Reviews
"John Riordan has provided a moving testament to the redeeming power of human decency even in one of the darkest chapters of American history. Bravo for what he accomplished and for this riveting book." — Craig R. Whitney, former Vietnam bureau chief of The New York Times
About the Author: John Riordan is a former Vice President of Citibank. After receiving his MBA from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Riordan joined the United States Army Medical Service Corps, landing in Vietnam at the end of the 1968 Tet Offensive where he was assigned to a clandestine unit, Studies and Observations Group. Riordan went on to a banking career and spent more than a decade working with Citibank with a focus on the bank’s branches in East Asia. Riordan left the banking world in 1982 to focus on real estate investments, and now owns and runs an environmental farm in Wisconsin next to some really big buffalo.
Spirited Verbal Wordplay with Lizzie Skurnick, author of That Should Be a Word: A Language Lover’s Guide to Choregasms, Povertunity, Brattling, and 250 Other Much-Needed Terms for the Modern World
Saturday April 11, at 2:00 pm
Boswell is excited to welcome Lizzie Skurnick, author, a columnist, and the editor in chief of Lizzie Skurnick Books, an imprint that brings back YA classics for teen-lit fans, who will lead the audience in a unique verbal wordplay game in the spirit of her latest book, That Should Be a Word: A Language Lover’s Guide to Choregasms, Povertunity, Brattling, and 250 Other Much-Needed Terms for the Modern World, a trenchantly witty compendium of indispensable new words to describe and help navigate the perils of modern life-derived from the popular New York Times Magazine feature of the same name.
Finally there’s a word for it: Fidgital—excessively checking one’s devices. Martyrmony—staying married out of duty. Author of the highly popular "That Should Be a Word" feature in the New York Times Magazine, Lizzie Skurnick delights word lovers with razor-sharp social commentary delivered via clever neologisms. That Should Be a Word is a compendium of 244 of Skurnick’s wittiest wordplays—more than half of them new—arranged in ingenious diagrams detailing their interrelationships.
Complete with definitions, pronunciations, usage examples, and illustrations, That Should Be a Word features words on our obsession with food: carbiter—one who asserts that someone else cannot be hungry. On social media, like twiticule—to mock someone in 140 characters. On the modern family, like brattle—to discuss one’s children at great length, which leads to words like spamily—Facebook or Twitter updates about kids—and spawntourage—a group of approaching strollers. From highlighting the profound financial anxiety of a post-recession society (bangst) to mocking the hyper-vain celebrity circle that abstains from anything of import (celebracy), That Should Be a Word delves deep into all the most humorous, and maddening, aspects of life in the 21st century.
About the Author: Lizzie Skurnick is an author, a columnist, and the editor in chief of Lizzie Skurnick Books, an imprint that brings back YA classics for teen-lit fans. She has also written ten books for teens. A contributor to NPR, The New York Times Book Review, and many other publications, she is the author of Shelf Discovery, a memoir of teen reading inspired by her "Fine Lines" column on Jezebel.com. She lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.
It’s Story Time with Boswellian Jannis, reading Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg!
Sunday April 12, at 11:00 am
The sun is out, so skip on down to Boswell for Story Time! This month, Boswellian Jannis will read Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg! by Steven Weinberg, and other selections on a spring theme. Perfect for ages 18 months and up, this month’s Story Time will be fun! fun! fun!
Mary Norris, author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen in conversation with WUWM Lake Effect's Bonnie North
Sunday April 12, at 3:00 pm
Boswell is excited to present prose goddess Mary Norris, who draws from over three decades in The New Yorker’s copy department for her fascinating debut, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, which she will autograph after discussing with WUWM Lake Effect's Bonnie North, covering topics from gendered pronouns to the hierarchy of punctuation, to the diminishing power of the apostrophe, explaining why it’s always "between you and me." See the Facebook event page for more information on this excellent event!
Drawing on wide-ranging and hilariously rendered examples (from Henry James, Emily Dickinson, and James Salter to "The Girl from Ipanema," Moby-Dick, and The Simpsons), in Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, Mary Norris expertly guides readers through the most common and confusing grammatical issues, including why we should care about spelling in the age of spell-check and autocorrect, and the hierarchy of punctuation. Although she is irreverent and blunt, Norris is never snarky or snooty in her grammatical advice. Throughout Between You & Me, Norris acknowledges the subjectivity of her work and advises readers to take a similar hands-on, case-by-case approach to language: ‘The dictionary is a wonderful thing, but you can’t let it push you around.
"A delightful mix of autobiography, New Yorker lore, and good language sense." —Ben Yagoda
"This is as entertaining as grammar can be. Very very. Read it and savor it." —Garrison Keillor
About the Author: Mary Norris began working at The New Yorker in 1978. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she lives in New York. This is her first book.
A Milwaukee Public Library East Event with Jason Reynolds, author of The Boy in the Black Suit
Monday April 13, at 6:30 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome back Jason Reynolds, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of When I Was the Greatest, for a reading and signing of his latest novel, The Boy in the Black Suit, featuring 16-year-old Matt who, reeling from disaster and loss, and looking to help out with the bills, takes a job at a funeral home where he finds unexpected generosity and grace. This event is great for ages 12 and up; the Milwaukee Public Library East branch is located at 2320 N. Cramer Street in Milwaukee.
Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. She’s got a crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.
Here’s what Boswellian Mel has to say about The Boy in the Black Suit: "At the beginning of Matt Miller’s senior year of high school, his mom dies of cancer. Then his dad is involved in a horrific accident. Rather than sit alone in his suddenly empty house, Matt takes a job at his neighbor’s business: a funeral home. A place where, suddenly, people seem to get it. It’s a hard world for young African-American men forced to grow up too fast, but in the realistic Bed-Stuy of The Boy in the Black Suit, Jason Reynolds captures the myriad tiny graces and acts of compassion that keep people going when the world seems vicious and cold—the very things that make us believe in hope and love."
About the Author: Jason Reynolds is crazy. About stories. After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, Jason Reynolds moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he’s afraid he’ll forget it all before he gets home. He is the author of the critically acclaimed and Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel When I Was the Greatest and his latest novel is The Boy in the Black Suit.
Chigozie Obioma, author of The Fishermen
Wednesday April 15, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome Chigozie Obioma, who will read from and sign copies of his debut novel, The Fishermen, in which four brothers from a Nigerian town in the mid 1990’s encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family. Kirkus calls The Fishermen a "powerful, haunting tale of grief, healing, and sibling loyalty," and Publisher’s Weekly lauds it as an "imaginative debut," assuring readers that Obioma’s "novel succeeds as a convincing modern narrative and as a majestic reimagining of timeless folklore."
Told from the point of view of nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact—both tragic and redemptive—will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers. Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fishermen never leaves Akure, but the story it tells has enormous universal appeal. Seen through the prism of one family’s destiny, this is an essential novel about Africa with all of its contradictions—economic, political, and religious—and the epic beauty of its own culture.
Here's what Boswellian Daniel has to say about The Fishermen: "...The Fishermen
becomes a story not just of one family, but of the powerful forces that
create tensions, not just in Nigeria, but in any country, where belief
and fact, loyalty and justice, all rub up against each other, creating
dangerous sparks. It’s a story that slots itself in a particular place
and time, but one which resonates and cautions like a timeless folk
"Obioma writes with gorgeous restraint reminiscent of the intricate prose in a Tolstoy novella. Every sentence delivers a precise and heartfelt blow. Hardly anyone writing today is delivering this level of intricacy, lyricism and control. Add to that, the urgency and importance of his message. It just doesn’t get better than this. Get used to the name: Obioma is here to stay." —Alexandra Fuller, author of Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
"The talented Obioma exhibits a richly nuanced understanding of culture and character…A powerful, haunting tale of grief, healing, and sibling loyalty." —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author: Chigozie Obioma was born in 1986 in Akure, Nigeria. His short stories have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review and New Madrid. He was a Fall 2012 OMI Fellow at Ledig House, New York. He has lived in Nigeria, Cyprus, and Turkey, and currently resides in the United States, where he has completed an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. The Fishermen is his first novel.
Shorewood Reads at the Shorewood Public Library featuring Wisconsin Author Nickolas Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs
Thursday April 16, at 7:00 pm
The Friends of the Shorewood Library present an event at Shorewood Library for Shorewood Reads, featuring Wisconsin author Nickolas Butler, who will read from, talk about, and sign copies of his novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, which The New York Times calls "impressively original," The Toronto Star calls "the kind of book that restores your faith in humanity," and People Magazine calls a "love letter to the open lonely American heartland" and a "must-read." Shorewood Reads is a community-wide event centered on reading one book. The Shorewood Public Library is located at 3920 N. Murray Avenue in Shorewood. This event is co-sponsored by the Shorewood Public Library.
Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town—Little Wing—and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family's land that's been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them—both then and now—fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of lovesongs and rivalries. Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world. The result is a shared memory only half-recreated, riddled with culture clashes between people who desperately wish to see themselves as the unified tribe they remember, but are confronted with how things have, in fact, changed.
Here’s what Boswellian Daniel Goldin had to say about Shotgun Lovesongs: "The push and pull of a small Midwestern town is the driving force of this wistful novel about four childhood friends who are bound together, despite their desire to strike out on their own. Kip has left to earn his fortune in Chicago, Ronny to be a rodeo cowboy in Wyoming, Beth to find herself in Minneapolis, and Lee to New York to become a rock legend. Only Henry stays behind, taking over the family farm. But each character is called back to Little Wing, Wisconsin, some to confront destiny and others to tackle demons. There’s a love triangle at the center of the story for sure, but at its heart, Shotgun Lovesongs is a gentle but still barroom friendly classic buddy novel."
And here’s what Boswellian Conrad Silverberg had to say about the book: "I plowed through this book in one day, and I’m not a fast reader. It’s not that it’s a short book, although at 320 pages, it isn’t exactly a doorstop either. And it’s not that I couldn’t put it down, I didn’t read it in one sitting, but I kept coming back to it. What it is: unsparing, no-nonsense prose, redolent of the voices of Wisconsin; a study of the vicissitudes of friendship and love, betrayal and redemption, and the magnetic draw of home; a paean to the lives of the common (and not so common) folk of our state."
About the Author: Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. His writings have appeared in: Narrative Magazine, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review Online, The Progressive, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he currently lives in Wisconsin with his family.
Wisconsinite Jennifer Morales, author of Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories
Friday April 17, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is proud to welcome Wisconsin author Jennifer Morales, who lived in Milwaukee for nearly 25 years where she served on the Milwaukee school board and the board for the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, among others. Morales will be reading from and signing copies of her debut collection of short stories focused diverse characters from Milwaukee, Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories.
When Johnquell, an African American teen, suffers a serious accident in the home of his white neighbor, Mrs. Czernicki, his community must find ways to bridge divisions between black and white, gay and straight, old and young. Set in one of the nation’s most highly segregated cities—Milwaukee, Wisconsin—Meet Me Halfway tells stories of connections in a community with a tumultuous and divided past. In nine stories told from diverse perspectives, Jennifer Morales captures a Rust Belt city’s struggle to establish a common ground and a collective vision of the future. Morales gives life to multifaceted characters—white schoolteachers and senior citizens, Latino landlords, black and Puerto Rican teens, political activists, and Vietnam vets. As their lives unfold in these stories, we learn about Johnquell’s family—his grandparents’ involvement in the local Black Panther Party, his sister’s on-again, off-again friendship with a white classmate, and his aunt’s identity crisis as she finds herself falling in love with a woman. We also meet Johnquell’s mother, Gloria, and his school friend Taquan, who is struggling to chart his own future.
"Written with a sharp eye and a warm heart, Meet Me Halfway brings us into a multicultural community where people are trying to do the right thing, even when the wrong thing happens and a child dies. Richly textured, funny, and wise." —Kelly Cherry, author of A Kind of Dream
About the Author: Jennifer Morales is a Wisconsin writer who lived in Milwaukee for nearly 25 years. She served on the Milwaukee school board from 2001 to 2009, the first Latino/a person to be elected to that office. She has served as on the editorial, research, and grantwriting staff of organizations such as 9to5 National Association of Working Women, Rethinking Schools, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education. She was a Sunday School teacher at Plymouth UCC on Milwaukee’s east side, and served on the boards of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center and the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future, and on the Wisconsin Judicial Commission. She received her BA in Modern Languages and Literatures from Beloit College in 1991 and her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University-Los Angeles in 2011.
Local Author Philip DiMeo, author of Binoculars: Masquerading as a Sighted Person
Saturday April 18, at 2:00 pm
For over fourteen years, local author Philip DiMeo, a talented cartoonist and social worker, led a double life, masquerading as a fully sighted person, while becoming blind. Please join us as we welcome Philip DiMeo for a discussion and signing of his latest book in which he reveals what it was like to hide this secret for nearly two decades, Binoculars: Masquerading as a Sighted Person. This event is co-sponsored by Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement, Inc. (ABLE) and Wisconsin Talking Books and Braille Library (WTBBL).
Despite growing diminishment of his sight, Philip DiMeo drove a car, went to college and became a social worker, a cartoonist, and a coach for two sports teams. Then his vision grew worse and a physician diagnosed him with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease with no known cure. Phil would soon be blind. In Binoculars: Masquerading as a Sighted Person, an inspirational, first person account that charts not only the progression of DiMeo’s vision loss, but the many incredible feats he accomplished, beginning at age four, when he first noticed his vision problems in sports, school and family life, but refused to give in, taking the reader on his hazardous journey not to give up his ambitions but to do all a sighted person could and more. When he can no longer pretend and must accept blindness, he finds, with the aid of his loving wife, a remedy to the problem he faces by going into training for a guide dog in which he and Ladonna, the yellow lab, become “the perfect match” who together rise to meet the new challenges ahead. In Binoculars, readers experience DiMeo’s torment and elation as he finally confronts and accepts his blindness, finding that instead of closing doors, it is the springboard to more achievements to come.
About the Author: Philip F. DiMeo is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and former cartoonist for The Post, Crossroads and the Vietnam veterans’ newspaper, The Honey Bucket. His cartoons have been featured in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He was also a social worker for Milwaukee County Children’s Protective Services. Despite the challenges presented by blindness, he hasn’t let it limit him: he is the coach of Kelly’s Bleachers, the most successful co-ed softball team in Milwaukee history. He lives in Wauwatosa, WI.
Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes
Sunday April 19, at 3:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is excited to present screenwriter and author of the beloved The School for Good and Evil series, Soman Chainani, who will read from and sign copies of the latest book in the series, A World Without Princes. After earning what they thought would be their happily ever after, Agatha makes a wish that lands she and Sophie back in the School for Good and Evil, which in their absence has become the school for boys and girls, still a perilous as ever, pitting them against an enemy from within. Perfect for ages 8 and up!
Best friends Sophie and Agatha are back in Gavaldon, living out their Happily Ever After. But all is not as happy as it seems. After Agatha—in a moment of weakness—wishes she’d chosen a different Happy Ending, the gates to the School for Good and Evil reopen and the girls return, finding the fairy-tale world different from when they left. Witches and princesses united to learn to survive without boys at the School for Girls and the exiled boys, led by Tedros, are camped at their own school in Evil’s old towers. A war is brewing between the schools, but can Agatha and Sophie restore the peace? Will Tedros make Agatha’s wish for a different Happy Ending come true—and at what cost? And whose heart does Agatha’s belong to—her best friend or her prince?
"A fairy tale like no other, complete with romance, magic, humor, and a riddle that will keep you turning pages until the end." —Ann M. Martin, author of the bestselling Babysitter’s Club series
About the Author: Soman Chainani believes in fairy tales wholeheartedly. When studying at Harvard, he practically created his own fairy-tale major. He is an acclaimed screenwriter and a graduate of the MFA Film Program at Columbia University. His films have played at more than 150 film festivals around the world, and his writing awards include an honor from the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. He lives in New York City.
Madison Writer Andrea Lochen, author of The Repeat Year, and Imaginary Things
Monday April 20, at 7:00 pm
Please join us as we welcome Madison author Andrea Lochen back to the Boswell stage, where she will read from and sign copies of her latest novel, Imaginary Things, a moving, eye-opening woman’s journey about facing the past and the power of imagination, and a must read for anyone learning how to confront their own demons.
Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents’ rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she’s lost her mind or she can see her son’s active imagination. Frightened for David’s safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon, but what she uncovers is completely unexpected—revelations about what these creatures truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood. Living right next door is Jamie Presswood, Anna’s childhood friend who has grown much more handsome and hardened than the boy she once knew—and rekindling their friendship proves easier said than done. Between the imaginary creatures stalking her son and her tumultuous relationship with David’s biological father, Anna doesn’t have room in her life, or heart for another man. But as David’s visions become more persistent and threatening, Anna must learn to differentiate between which dangers are real and which are imagined, and who she can truly trust.
"If it’s possible to write a witty modern fairy tale about a down-on-her-luck young mother, her erratic ex, and her charming four-year-old boy, Andrea Lochen has done it. Anna is not your typical overwhelmed mom, but her story feels like a friend’s. Imaginary Things reminded me again and again that the act of raising a child is a love story, a test of strength, and a thrill ride." —Susanna Daniel, author of Sea Creatures
About the Author: Andrea Lochen is the author of two novels, Imaginary Things and The Repeat Year, for which she received the Hopwood Award. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and lives in Madison with her husband.
Theatre Gigante presents a preview of Terminus
Tuesday April 22, at 7:00 pm
We’re excited to host an evening preview of Theatre Gigante’s production of Terminus, the international sensation and tour de force of poetry and drama by Irish dramatist Mark O’Rowe. This event features a series of fascinating talks: Paul Kosidowski will set the stage, if you will, speaking about the play, Mark O’Rowe, and Irish drama, followed by a talk about the Milwaukee production by Theatre Gigante’s own Mark Andersen and Isabelle Kralj, and we’ll round off the evening with a craft talk from featured Terminus actors, Megan Kaminsky and Tom Reed. We’ll have copies of both editions of Terminus for sale. The play debuts May 1st and will run through May 16th; for tickets, call Theatre Gigante: 1-800-838-3006.
Terminus is a supernatural fantasy of interlocking monologues sweeping the audience on a helter-skelter ride through the wildest parts of the imagination, our greatest hopes, and our darkest fears. Be warned—it’s not for the faint of heart!
" The language is brilliant, a vertiginous concatenation of assonance and rhyme, whose rhythm remains limber enough to let the play—and its audience—breathe…Terminus is a luridly compelling waking nightmare of Dublin as an eighth circle of hell." —The Guardian
"It’s uncomfortable and exhilarating, pared-down, but full to bursting of linguistic, emotional, and imaginative riches…It’s not just a welcome reminder of what theater can do; it feels like what theater is for." —KQED Arts
"Gritty details, grotesque flourishes and internal rhymes pour from Mark O’Rowe’s characters with a velocity to match the ferocity of his narrative in Terminus." —San Francisco Gate
A Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center with Liz Carlisle and David Oien, author and subject (respectively!) of Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America
Thursday April 23, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is proud to be the bookseller of note for an exciting event with the author and subject of Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America, Liz Carlisle and David Oien at the Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center, located 1500 E. Park Place in Milwaukee. Liz Carlisle is a protégé of Michael Pollan; Lentil Underground is the story of a little-known group of farmers who defied agribusiness by launching a unique sustainable farm-to-table food movement.
The story of the Lentil Underground begins on a 280-acre homestead rooted in America’s Great Plains: the Oien family farm. Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness told small farmers like the Oiens to "get big or get out." But twenty-seven-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand, becoming the first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils. Unlike the chemically dependent grains American farmers had been told to grow, lentils make their own fertilizer and tolerate variable climate conditions, so their farmers aren’t beholden to industrial methods. Today, Oien leads an underground network of organic farmers who work with heirloom seeds and biologically diverse farm systems. Under the brand Timeless Natural Food, their unique business-cum-movement has grown into a million-dollar enterprise that sells to Whole Foods, hundreds of independent natural foods stores, and a host of renowned restaurants. From the heart of Big Sky Country comes this inspiring story of a handful of colorful pioneers who have successfully bucked the chemically-based food chain and the entrenched power of agribusiness’s 1 percent by stubbornly banding together. Journalist and native Montanan Liz Carlisle weaves an eye-opening and richly reported narrative that will be welcomed by readers of food and farm memoirs as well as everyone concerned with the future of American agriculture and natural food in an increasingly uncertain world.
"These farmers demonstrate how to build democracy and build soils at the same time. What a deal!" —Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind
"What does it take to farm sustainably—and make a living? Liz Carlisle tells the engrossing story of the ‘audacity rich but capital poor’ Montana farmers who thought lentils were the answer and stuck with them until proved right. Anyone who dreams of starting a farm or wants to know how organic farmers can overcome the obstacles they face will be inspired by this book." —Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and author of Food Politics
About the Author: Liz Carlisle holds a BA from Harvard University and a PhD in geography from the University of California at Berkeley. Carlisle is also a country music singer-songwriter who has opened shows for Travis Tritt, LeAnn Rimes, and Sugarland. She currently lives in Berkeley, California.
UWM professor and Local Author Jennifer A. Jordan, author of Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Foods
Friday April 24, at 7:00 pm
How does an apple become an antique and a tomato an heirloom? In her latest, Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Foods, UWM professor and local author Jennifer A. Jordan examines the ways that people around the world have sought to identify and preserve old-fashioned varieties of produce. In doing so, Jordan shows that these fruits and vegetables offer a powerful emotional and physical connection to a shared genetic, cultural, and culinary past. This event is co-sponsored by the UWM Urban Studies Department.
Jordan begins with the heirloom tomato, inquiring into its botanical origins in South America and its culinary beginnings in Aztec cooking to show how the homely and homegrown tomato has since grown to be an object of wealth and taste, as well as a popular symbol of the farm-to-table and heritage foods movements. She shows how a shift in the 1940s away from open pollination resulted in a narrow range of hybrid tomato crops. But memory and the pursuit of flavor led to intense seed-saving efforts increasing in the 1970s, as local produce and seeds began to be recognized as living windows to the past. In the chapters that follow, Jordan combines lush description and thorough research as she investigates the long history of antique apples; changing tastes in turnips and related foods like kale and parsnips; the movement of vegetables and fruits around the globe in the wake of Columbus; and the poignant, perishable world of stone fruits and tropical fruit, in order to reveal the connections—the edible memories—these heirlooms offer for farmers, gardeners, chefs, diners, and home cooks. This deep culinary connection to the past influences not only the foods we grow and consume, but the ways we shape and imagine our farms, gardens, and local landscapes. From the farmers’ market to the seed bank to the neighborhood bistro, these foods offer essential keys not only to our past but also to the future of agriculture, the environment, and taste. By cultivating these edible memories, Jordan reveals, we can stay connected to a delicious heritage of historic flavors, and to the pleasures and possibilities for generations of feasts to come.
"Edible Memory deftly illustrates the power of food to create indelible, collective links to the past. Jordan’s lively prose elicits smells, sights, and even similar flavors as those that the book’s subjects worked so tirelessly to preserve. Scholars, foodies, and the general public alike will all benefit greatly from reading this thought-provoking work. " —Adam Shprintzen, author of The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921
"Edible Memory is a compelling exploration of the lure and lore of foods that have become culinary ‘heirlooms,’ especially some kinds of tomatoes, but also apples, stone fruits, even leeks, and turnips. A meticulous scholar and an incisive sociologist, Jordan writes with verve and wit throughout this beautifully nuanced study. Exploring the many varieties of culinary nostalgia, she avoids sentimentality while investigating our sometimes paradoxical yearnings for fruits and vegetables we may not even have eaten in our own lives and our curiously Proustian longings for (even) Jell-O molds and boxed cakes. Her book is an important contribution both to food studies and, more generally, to the history of taste." —Sandra M. Gilbert, author of The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity
About the Author: Jennifer A. Jordan is associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is also the author of Structures of Memory: Understanding Urban Change in Berlin and Beyond.
A Cedarburg Public Library Event with Cedarburg native Susan Scott, author of Call Me Captain: A Memoir of a Woman at Sea
Saturday April 25, at 1:30 pm
Please join us at the Cedarburg Public Library (located at W63 N589 Hanover Ave.) as we welcome registered nurse, marine biologist, and Cedarburg native, Susan Scott, who will share photos from her travels as she talks about her new memoir, Call Me Captain: A Memoir of a Woman at Sea, which will resonate with those who love the sea, whether or not they’ve sailed, anyone intrigued by animals and nature, and anyone facing tough life challenges.
Sometimes risking everything is the only way to go. And so begins writer and marine biologist Susan Scott’s new memoir, Call Me Captain: A Memoir of a Woman at Sea. As the book opens, we learn of Scott’s enviable existence—a home in Hawai’i, a prized 37-foot sailboat, and exciting international adventures—all shared with her physician husband in a marriage so intimate they called it the "Twinship." Yet, when her menopausal hormones rage and Craig grows preoccupied with triathlon training, this perfect life ends. The Twinship explodes in fights, silence, accusations, and failed counseling. With a mix of candor, humor, and wit, Scott navigates through her period of being "menopausally nuts" and her decision to sail to Palmyra Atoll. We follow Scott as she swims with manta rays, rescues baby sea turtles, bands seabirds, and corrals 10-pound coconut crabs that look like Godzillas with knife-blade claws. Call Me Captain is a modern love story, a harrowing sea tale, and a personal account of nature’s power to put life into perspective.
"Reading this memoir was like making a new friend. I think of it as Eat, Pray, Love meets Life of Pi. It would be an excellent book club selection." —Sheryl Lynch, public librarian
"Whether or not you have ever set foot upon a sailboat, you’ll find yourself rooting for Scott at every turn, smiling at her every revelation. This is storytelling at its finest." —Mark Panek, award-winning author of Hawai‘i: A Novel
About the Author: Susan Scott writes a weekly "Ocean Watch" column for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has written six books about nature in Hawaii. A registered nurse and marine biologist, Susan speaks frequently about her wildlife work, sailing trips, and her volunteer efforts in Bangladesh. A lifelong hiker, she has hiked to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, trekked to Mt. Everest base camp, and crossed Pakistan’s Baltoro Glacier to spend her 50th birthday at the base of K2. Susan is a Wisconsin native who moved to Hawaii in 1983. She lives on the windward side of Oahu with Craig and their dog Lucy.
Wisconsinite Elizabeth Crawford, author of At the Table: A Recipes and Techniques
Sunday April 26, at 3:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is excited to welcome teacher, caterer, spice seller, and Wisconsinite, Elizabeth Crawford, who will discuss and sign copies of her new cookbook, At the Table: Recipes and Techniques, in which she shares a selection of her "tried and true" favorites from 25 years in the culinary industry.
In At the Table: Recipes and Techniques, each recipe’s introduction reflects the sense of memoir, paying homage to the lessons Elizabeth Crawford has learned from her students and from cooks she’s met throughout her travels. With every dish, she places herself in the reader’s shoes, anticipating their experience level, questions, doubts, and emotional connections to food so that what could simply be a recipe becomes a narrative fueled by the dialogue between writer and cook. The fundamental philosophy behind At the Table is an understanding that food is essential for bringing people to the table, and once there, we all have the opportunity to share our hearts and ideas so that we may listen and be heard.
"I’ve had the privilege to hire and work with Elizabeth as part of our culinary program here at the Milwaukee Public Market and I am continually amazed at her knowledge, yet she always wants to interact with the students to learn from them as well. It’s such a passion that is evident in everything she does." —Jill Nickerson, Culinary Director, Milwaukee Public Market
About the Author: Wisconsinite Elizabeth Crawford is a self-taught cook in the classical French model, who is so enamored with the practice of Tai Chi that she weaves its principles into her cooking. A teacher, caterer, spice seller, consultant, and armchair anthropologist, she is currently hard at work on her next project.
Talk by Jessica Hagy, author of How to Be Interesting (in 10 Simple Steps) and The Art of War Visualized: The Sun Tzu Classic in Charts and Graphs, followed by a conversation with WUWM Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich
Monday April 27, at 7:00 pm
Join us at Boswell as we welcome cartoonist Jessica Hagy for a talk followed by a discussion with WUWM Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich about The Art of War Visualized, her illustrated adaptation of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Not only the go-to guide for military strategy, The Art of War is also the must-read book for domination in politics, business, management, tech—any office, anywhere. With 2,500 years of dust shaken off, Hagy helps readers grasp Tzu’s complex concepts using 300 charts and diagrams in her distinctive, accessible style. You don’t want to miss this singular event!
A Bronze Age/Information Age marriage of Sun Tzu and Jessica Hagy, The Art of War Visualized is an inspired mash-up and the perfect meeting of two minds. Reenergizing the perennial bestseller and making it accessible to a new generation of students, entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists, seekers, lovers of games and game theory, and anyone else who knows the value of seeking guidance for the future in teachings of the past, The Art of War Visualized is a fresh, introspective, and inspired book.
About the Author: Jessica Hagy is an artist and author of How to Be Interesting and Indexed. She is also known for her Webby Award–winning blog, Indexed, and her cartoons, which appear regularly in The New York Times. She writes widely for national publications. Ms. Hagy lives in Seattle, Washington.
Bruce J. Hillman, co-author of The Man Who Stalked Einstein: How Nazi Scientist Philipp Lenard Changed the Course of History
Tuesday April 28, at 7:00 pm
Timed to the 60th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s death, Boswell Book Company is excited to welcome prolific author Dr. Bruce J. Hillman, who will discuss and sign copies of his latest, The Man Who Stalked Einstein: How Nazi Scientist Philipp Lenard Changed the Course of History, which highlights the little-known but important story about the antagonistic relationship between Albert Einstein and Philipp Lenard that changed the course of history and still influences the science of today.
Einstein and Lenard were opposites in virtually every way. That both men were brilliant scientists and Nobel laureates with opposing views about what constituted important, believable science made some degree of conflict inevitable. Lenard’s experimental physics and Einstein’s theoretical physics represent two opposing schools of thought that came into conflict throughout Europe. However, the enmity that each felt for the other was based on much more than their science. It was personal. Lenard was so consumed by his own narcissism, his envy of Einstein’s fame, and his hatred for Jews that he sacrificed the integrity of his science and his personal reputation among the community of scientists on the altar of his personal prejudices.
For nearly fifteen years, Lenard had led the opposition that finally forced Einstein to flee his native Germany. Driven by professional disagreement, intense envy over the public’s adoration of Einstein, and virulent anti-Semitism, Lenard unrelentingly harassed Einstein and publicly denigrated his theory of relativity. The Man Who Stalked Einstein traces the convergence of influences and events that turned Lenard from a productive and highly respected scientist to a man consumed by racial hatred and an early supporter of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. Lenard and Einstein’s scientific differences sparked their heated interpersonal dispute that highlighted an era of intellectual tumult and led to the dismantling of the natural sciences in Germany. The resultant international diaspora of German natural scientists, the most accomplished scientific community of its era, had an important impact on the international scientific community that still reverberates today. Indeed, their mutual antagonism affected the direction of science long after 1933, when Einstein took flight to America and changed the history of two nations.
About the Author: Bruce J. Hillman, MD, Professor and former Chair of Radiology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, has distinguished himself as a health services researcher, clinical trialist, and author. He has published over 300 medical articles and editorials and is the author of several books, including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: How Medical Imaging is Changing Health Care. Dr. Hillman has served as Editor-in-Chief of three medical journals, including his current position with the Journal of the American College of Radiology. He was Deputy Editor of the online literary and humanities journal, Hospital Drive. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, his medical degree from the University of Rochester, and trained in radiology at Boston’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. He lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina, with his wife.
Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon, and The Dead Lands
Wednesday April 29, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for an exciting evening with the award-winning author of Red Moon, Benjamin Percy, who will read from and sign copies of his latest novel The Dead Lands, a darkly reimagined Lewis and Clark saga told in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. And speaking of Stephen King, he calls The Dead Lands “a case of wonderful writing and compulsive reading” asserting that “[y]ou will not come across a finer work of sustained imagination this year. Good God, what a tale. Don’t miss it.” That’s high praise, indeed!
Benjamin Percy’s new thriller, The Dead Lands is a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga in which a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary—the remains of St. Louis—a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders. Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon. Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.
"Benjamin Percy’s The Dead Lands is a case of wonderful writing and compulsive reading. You will not come across a finer work of sustained imagination this year. Good God, what a tale. Don’t miss it." —Stephen King
About the Author: Benjamin Percy is the author of the novels Red Moon and The Wilding, and two short story collections, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. His writing has appeared in Esquire, GQ, Time, Tin House and elsewhere. His honors include the Pushcart Prize, an NEA grant, the Plimpton Prize for Fiction, and a Whiting Award. Raised in the high desert of central Oregon, he lives in Minnesota.
A Villa Terrace Event with Charlie Scheips, author of Elsie de Wolfe’s Paris: Frivolity Before the Storm
Thursday April 30, at 5:00 pm reception and 6:00 pm presentation
Boswell Book Company invites you to join us at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum as we welcome cultural historian, curator, and author, Charlie Scheips, discussing and signing copies of his latest gorgeous book, Elsie de Wolfe’s Paris: Frivolity Before the Storm. Reception begins at 5 pm, followed by the presentation at 6 pm, and a signing immediately after. Admission is $20. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Villa Terrace. The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is located at 2220 N. Terrace Avenue in Milwaukee. Click here to read an excellent article about Charlie Scheips in Milwaukee's own M Magazine.
For every person who’s experienced the pangs of nostalgia or that fleeting moment where you felt you belonged in another time and place, Elsie de Wolfe’s Paris: Frivolity Before the Storm will be a delightful glimpse into another era. The American decorator Elsie de Wolfe (1858–1950) was the international set’s preeminent hostess in Paris during the interwar years. She had a legendary villa in Versailles, where in the late 1930s she held two fabulous parties—her Circus Balls—that marked the end of the social scene that her friend Cole Porter perfectly captured in his songs, as the clouds of war swept through Europe. Charlie Scheips tells the story of these glamorous parties using a wealth of previously unpublished photographs and introducing a large cast of aristocrats, beauties, politicians, fashion designers, movie stars, moguls, artists, caterers, florists, party planners, and decorators in a landmark work of social history and a poignant vision of a vanished world.
"Scheips utilizes 170 black-and-white and color images-some previously unpublished-to visually illuminate his fascinating narrative of this peerless woman's life, one that intersected with some of the most colorful and important characters of the day on both sides of the Atlantic, including Elsa Maxwell, William Randolph Hearst, Cecil Beaton, Janet Flanner, Gertrude Stein, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The tome culminates with de Wolfe’s final grand fête, the second Circus Ball, which defined the glamour and decadence of international society before the lights went out all over Europe." —Gotham
About the Author: Charlie Scheips is a curator, art advisor, artist, writer, and cultural historian who has curated exhibitions in the United States and Europe. He created The Art Set column, appearing weekly on Fridays, for newyorksocialdiary.com, and has contributed to Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Vanity Fair among others. He was the founding director of the Condé Nast Archive in New York. He lives in New York City.
Sandy Tolan, author of The Lemon Tree and Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land
Thursday April 30, at 7:00 pm
We’re excited to welcome journalist, USC professor, and author of The Lemon Tree, Sandy Tolan, who will discuss and sign copies of his latest book, Children of Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land, the touching story of Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, a child from a Palestinian refugee camp, who confronts an occupying army, gets an education, masters an instrument, dreams of something much bigger than himself, and then, through his charisma and persistence, inspires scores of others to work with him to make that dream real. The dream: a school to transform the lives of thousands of children—as Ramzi’s life was transformed—through music.
Musicians from all over the world came to help. A violist left the London Symphony Orchestra, in part to work with Ramzi at his new school, Al Kamandjati. An aspiring British opera singer moved to the West Bank to teach voice lessons. Daniel Barenboim, the eminent Israeli conductor, invited Ramzi to join his West Eastern Divan Orchestra, which he founded with the late Palestinian intellectual, Edward Said. Since then the two have played together frequently. Children of the Stone chronicles Ramzi’s journey—from stone thrower to music student to school founder—and shows how through his love of music he created something lasting and beautiful in a land torn by violence and war. This is a story about the power of music, first, but also about freedom and conflict, determination and vision. It’s a vivid portrait of life amid checkpoints and military occupation, a growing movement of nonviolent resistance, the prospects of musical collaboration across the Israeli–Palestinian divide, and the potential of music to help children everywhere see new possibilities for their lives.
"Eye-opening…Tolan’s exhaustive research and journalistic attention to detail shine through every page of this sweeping chronicle." —Publishers Weekly
"A resolute, heart-rending story of real change and possibility in the Palestinian-Israeli impasse." —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author: Sandy Tolan is the author of Me & Hank and The Lemon Tree. As cofounder of Homelands Productions, Tolan has produced dozens of radio documentaries for NPR and PRI. He has also written for more than forty magazines and newspapers. He was a 1993 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and an I. F. Stone Fellow at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He is an associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
It’s Story Time with Boswellian Jannis, reading Lion, Lion
Sunday May 3, at 11:00 am
Prowl on down to Boswell for Story Time! This month, Boswellian Jannis will read Lion, Lion by Miriam Busch, and other selections about lions and animals. Perfect for ages 18 months and up, this month’s Story Time will be a roaring good time!
A Ticketed Event with Neal Stephenson, author of Reamde, Snow Crash, and Seveneves
Friday June 5, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is excited to present a ticketed event with Neal Stephenson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anatham, Reamde, and Snow Crash, who will discuss and sign copies of his latest thought provoking science fiction epic, Seveneves, a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years. Tickets are $36, include taxes and fees, admission for one, and an autographed hardcover of Seveneves, and are available on Brown Paper Tickets, event #1409332. A $28 gift card is available in lieu of the book on event night only.
In Neal Stephenson’s latest science fiction epic, Seveneves, a catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space. But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain. Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.
Neal Stephenson, a writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in Seveneves, a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.
Here’s what Boswellian Jason had to say about Seveneves: “This could well be Neal Stephenson’s best work to date, equal parts Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World. An event occurs that leaves humanity on the brink of extinction with very little time on the clock to attempt to survive. Most writers would start well after the event and leave out all the important how parts, the parts readers want to know, like how does civilization continue or barring that, humanity. The leaders of Earth hatch a harsh plan to save humanity; nothing is easy and survival is not assured, but there is true heroism in the early pages of this novel as humanity has to learn to live in a foreign environment without the cozy confines of atmosphere or terra firma. To say this was a great novel does not do it justice; Stephenson creates a breathtaking take on the catastrophic ending of the world and the saving of the human race. Then he brings it full circle, leaving me completely in awe.”
About the Author: Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, the three-volume historical epic The Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Other Confirmed Author Appearances
Monday, May 4, 6:30 pm - Blue Balliett, author of Pieces and Players, at Whitefish Bay Library, located at 5420 N. Marlborough Drive
Wednesday, May 6, 7:00 pm - James Bradley, author of The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia, at Milwaukee Public Library, located at 733 N. 8th Street