|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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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.
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, introduced by Anne Reed, president of the Wisconsin Humane Society
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.
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.
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 story collection Come Together, Fall Apart, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, and the novel The World in Half. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Scholar, Glimmer Train, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, AGNI, and Oxford American, 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
Lily J. Goren Bio: Lilly J. Goren is Professor of Political Science and Global Studies at Carroll University, USA. She has published widely on the topic of U.S. military base closures, including The Comparative Politics of Military Base Closures and a chapter in the book The Government Taketh Away: The Politics of Pain in the United States and Canada.
Wisconsin Author John Riordan, co-author of They Are All My Family: A Daring Rescue in the Chaos of Siagon’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 Siagon’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.
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 sign copies and discuss 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.
Mary Norris, author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen
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 topics ranging from gendered pronouns to the hierarchy of punctuation, to the diminishing power of the apostrophe, explaining why it’s always "between you and me."
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.
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.
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.
Other Confirmed Author Appearances
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