Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bob Barry event postponed due to weather - new date is Wednesday, May 9, 7 pm

Alas, we had to postpone our event with Bob Barry tonight! The weather is a mess and Bob was driving in from quite a bit a ways. Who would have guessed that our first weather cancellation would be in April. Is this even the season anymore?

Our event for Rock 'n' Roll Radio Milwaukee is now rescheduled for Wednesday, May 9, 7 pm. We apologize for the inconvenience, but hope we kept a number of you safe at home.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Dorothy Marcic, panel discussion with Steve Ventura and Martin Bailkey, Tom Matthews, Bob Barry, Lisa See, Suzanne Leonard, David Sedaris, Meg Wolitzer

With Sunday's weather mess behind us, here's this week's book scoop. And we're hoping for calm skies and warmer temperatures.

Monday, April 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Dorothy Marcic, author of With One Shot: Family Murder and a Search for Justice

From noted playwright, theatrical producer, and Waukesha native Dorothy Marcic comes a true crime story from her own life. The victim’s lonely widow confessed to the coldblooded murder. But Marcic suspected a more sinister tale at the heart of her beloved uncle’s violent death.

The brutal murder of LaVerne "Vernie" Stordock, a respected family man and former police detective, shocked his Wisconsin community. On the surface, the case seemed closed with the confession of Stordock’s wife, Suzanne. But the trail of secrets and lies that began with his death did not end with his widow’s insanity plea.In 2014, Marcic embarked on a two-year mission to uncover the truth. In the bestselling tradition of Ann Rule and M. William Phelps, With One Shot tells a tale of unmet justice and the truth behind a shocking family tragedy.

From Amanda Finn in the Wisconsin State Journal: "Between court documents and Suzanne’s less than one year stay in a psychiatric hospital, Marcic had her doubts that she knew the truth about what happened on that night in 1970. So when Marcic’s cousin, and Stordock’s daughter Shannon Stordock Hecht, discovered Suzanne and her family were living in Tennessee in 2014, they knew they had to find them. For the next two and half years Marcic got her hands on every document, newspaper clipping and person she could find that was even remotely attached to Suzanne and LaVerne in hopes that she would find the truth."

Dorothy Marcic is a playwright and theatrical producer whose productions include SISTAS, which has been running Off Broadway for six years. An adjunct professor at Columbia University, Marcic was formerly a Fulbright Scholar at University of Economics in Prague and a professor at Vanderbilt University. Her other books include Understanding Management and Respect: Women and Popular Music.

Tuesday, April 17, 6:00 pm, at UWM Fireside Lounge (the old Kenwood Inn), 2200 E Kenwood Blvd, 3rd floor:
Steve Ventura and Martin Bailkey, coeditors of Good Food, Strong Communities: Promoting Social Justice Through Local and Regional Food Systems , along with Greg Lawless of University of Wisconsin Extension, Monica Theis of UW-Madison, and Erika Allen of Urban Growers Collective

As part of UWM Earth Week, the UWM Office of Sustainability and The UWM Food Center and Pantry present a talk, panel discussion, and reception. Authors from the book will read excerpts from their chapters with a question-and-answer period hosted by UWM students studying food systems change. The event will be bookended by a reception to share local foods with the authors and community food organizations.

Good Food, Strong Communities shares ideas and stories about efforts to improve food security in large urban areas of the United States by strengthening community food systems. It draws on five years of collaboration between a research team comprised of the University of Wisconsin, Growing Power, and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and more than 30 organizations on the front lines of this work from Boston to Cedar Rapids.

Steve Ventura is the Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is also the director of the Land Tenure Center in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Martin Bailkey has served as outreach and program coordinator for Growing Power and coproject manager of the Community and Regional Food Systems Project.

Tuesday, April 17, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Tom Matthews, author of Raising the Dad

We've really been enjoying Tom Matthews's second novel, Raising the Dad. Here's Chris Lee with more about the book: "This one's a charmer. John's marriage has cooled, his goth-leaning daughter thinks her dad a doofus, his mother's losing her marbles, and his heavy-metal washout of a brother is just out of jail, again. John's barely holding it together as-is. Then a man from his past shows up with a secret about John's long-dead father, who maybe isn't exactly so dead. With moments that are laugh-out-loud funny, cringe-inducing awkward, and oh-no gasp sad, this novel's a great story about a man who no longer knows exactly how to get by and about family bonds that will bend but, with a little luck, won't break under the strain of a world gone crazy."

From WUWM's Lake Effect: "When Matthews was 10-years-old, his father died. Years later, he had a dream where a close family friend told him his father was still alive, but due to the massive trauma, his father's personality had changed. The book explores how the protagonist and other family members process that development."

Milwaukee-based Tom Matthews wrote the Costa-Gavras film Mad City, starring Dustin Hoffman and John Travolta. And yes, it was originally set in Madison. His satirical novel Like We Care was published in 2014. Matthews’s writing has appeared in Milwaukee Magazine, Creative Screenwriting, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and he is also an essayist on Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect.

Wednesday, April 18, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Bob Barry, author of Rock 'n' Roll Radio Milwaukee: Stories from the Fifth Beatle

Bob Barry ruled Milwaukee’s airwaves in the ’60s and ’70s. The only time the Beatles performed there, Barry introduced them to the audience, and he was the only local personality who spent time in private with the Fab Four. If a band or musician came to town, he met them with a microphone, whether it was Chuck Berry, the Animals, or The Rolling Stones.

His popular “Bob Barry Calls the World” segment entertained thousands with cold calls to famous personalities, including Bob Hope, Sophia Loren, Elton John, and Cher. Through it all, Barry maintained a calm and fun-loving demeanor, even when mocked by the WOKY Chicken or nearly eaten by wolves on the air.

Packed with never-before-seen photos, this revealing memoir recalls the iconic DJ’s many celebrity encounters, his career highlights and setbacks, and the hijinks that made Milwaukee radio rock.

Bob Barry is best remembered as a legendary Milwaukee disc jockey and TV personality. During his career, he received numerous industry awards, chief among them Billboard Magazine Top 40 Air Personality of the Year in 1975. In 2001, Bob was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Thursday, April 19, 7:00 pm, at at UWM Golda Meir Library, 2311 E Hartford Ave:
Lisa See, author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

The Friends of the UWM Golda Meir Library presents an evening with Lisa See, the featured speaker of their annual meeting. Her latest, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, is a moving novel about tradition, tea farming, and the bonds between mothers and daughters. This event is free and does not require registration. Join us at the Fourth Floor Conference Center. Parking is available at the UWM Union and Klotsche Pavilion parking garages.

From Helen Simonson in The Washington Post: "Just as properly aged tea from ancient trees has both flavor and a “returning taste,” so this story balances moving on with returning home. Both Li-yan and Haley must ultimately reconcile where they come from with who they are now, and they must compromise with the flaws of family and tradition if they wish to reclaim their roots. A lush tale infused with clear-eyed compassion, this novel will inspire reflection, discussion and an overwhelming desire to drink rare Chinese tea."

Anita Felicelli in the San Francisco Chronicle writes: "The central appeal of Tea Girl is women’s relationships to their mothers and friends. See breathes life into a hidden world to which many of her readers don’t have access, just as she’s done in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Shanghai Girls and her many other Chinese historical novels. Snow Flower, for example, revealed 19th century Hunan Province, a world in which a secret script, nu shu, was developed for women, and where some young girls were paired with emotional matches that stayed with them through their lives. The hidden world there served as a resonant backdrop for a heartbreaking tale about the shifting fortunes of two friends."

In addition to her novels, Lisa See is author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. See was honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women in 2001 and was the recipient of the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award in 2003.

Friday, April 20, 2:00 pm, at UWM Curtin Hall 368, 3243 N Downer Ave:
Suzanne Leonard, author of Wife, Inc.: The Business of Marriage in the Twenty-First Century.

Boswell is selling books for Suzanne Leonard’s talk, “Rethinking the 21st Century ‘Wife-Cycle’: From Online Dating to the Campaign Trail.” Suzanne Leonard, Associate Professor of English at Simmons College, will discuss her book, Wife Inc., as well as current issues surrounding gender and media. She is also the author of Fatal Attraction, a critical study of the 1987 film, and co-editor of Fifty Hollywood Directors. She received her PhD in Literary Studies from UWM in 2005.

Of the book, Diane Negra of University College Dublin notes: "Suzanne Leonard’s brilliant, timely book elucidates the new stakes of wifehood in early 21st century culture, unpacking it as a status category, a state of risk and a mode of female labor that demands critical reflection, and the kind of fresh take that she is ideally suited to provide.”

This event is cosponsored by the Center for 21st Century Studies. More info here.

Friday, April 20, 8:00 pm, at Riverside Theater, 116 W Wisconsin Ave:
WUWM 89.7 presents David Sedaris - Tickets available here.

He's back! David Sedaris, essayist, memoirist, and English countryside trash picker upper, offers a not-to-be-missed evening. This is month 11 of the Theft by Finding Tour, and it's likely Sedaris will be previewing Calypso, his new collection of essays releasing May 29. It's already winning raves - Kirkus Reviews gives his newest a starred review: "Bad news has sharpened the author's humor, and this book is defined by a persistent, engaging bafflement over how seriously or unseriously to take life when it's increasingly filled with Trump and funerals. Sedaris at his darkest--and his best."

As always, Sedaris will be signing for fans. Boswell will be selling books in the lobby, but you are always welcome to bring your own books from home to be signed. Please note that tax and fees are extra and the ticket does not include a book.

Monday, April 23, 7:00 pm, at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, 1111 E Brown Deer Rd:
A ticketed event with Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion, in conversation with Jane Hamilton

You know that two weeks after this event you're going to be hitting your head against the wall that you didn't see Meg Wolitzer in conversation with Jane Hamilton. This is going to be a great night! Limited to 125 seats. We're more than halfway there to sellout.

Maureen Corrigan reviewed the book for NPR's Fresh Air: "The Female Persuasion also makes a strong case for critic Lionel Trilling's theory that the novel of ideas is a critical tool against overconfidence - particularly the blithe overconfidence of smart people (radical, liberal or conservative) who think they've arrived at readily satisfying solutions to political and personal questions. As Wolitzer dramatizes, life isn't that straightforward and art shouldn't be either."

And you must read this column by Michelle Dean in The New Republic: "Do young feminists really apprentice to older feminists in the way Greer latches on to Faith, these days? I’m not sure. It has often seemed to me that young women now deliberately avoid knowing much about their forebears. They dismiss the “liberal second wave” as a relic, often having little idea of what the second wave actually was or what it stood for. They think of themselves as more enlightened on any number of fronts: sexually, racially, economically. They use the word 'intersectional' often, as a way of signifying this. And because they have their own set of foundational texts so readily available on the internet—in blogs, on Twitter, on Tumblr - the desire for mentorship has somewhat receded."


Tickets are $30 and include admission, parking, and a copy of The Female Persuasion. Tickets are available at wolitzer.bpt.me. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated back to Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. While there is no gift card option for this event, don’t forget that The Female Persuasion makes a great gift for birthday, graduation, Mother's Day, do I say it, Fathers Day, and it also would be a welcome donation to your favorite school, library, or nonprofit. It's only eight months to Christmas or Hanukkah and this is your opportunity to get a book personalized.

More events on our upcoming event page. Please note the blog is proofread post-publication. Apologies in advance! And if you spot an error, let me know! -Daniel

Bestsellers from Boswell for the week ending April 14, 2018

Bestsellers from Boswell for the week ending April 14, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan (a very strong non-event week for Paris)
2. The House of Broken Angels, by Luis Alberto Urrea (Library Lunch tickets available till May 3)
3. Flying at Night, by Rebecca Brown
4. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
5. Circe, by Madeline Miller (read the rec from Jason)
6. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah (read the rec from Kay)
7. The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer (tickets for April 23 event here)
8. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
9. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
10. The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn

For all those zillions of people buying The Hidden Life of Trees, and especially for those percentage who like fiction. I think we have a book for you. Kay has been a fan of The Overstory since she got an advance copy and now the critics are chiming in. Adam Morgan in the Star Tribune wrote: "A colleague of mine once claimed that a critic’s opinions are worth less than his or her ability to convey what a book is like. If that’s true, never mind that I believe Richard Powers’ 12th novel to be a masterwork sculpted from sheer awe. Instead, know that reading The Overstory will convince you that we walk among gods every time we enter a forest."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Right-and-Wrong Stuff, by Carter Cast
2. Rising to the Challenge, by Carly Fiorina
3. Fascism, by Madeleine Albright
4. Natural Causes, by Barbara Ehrenreich
5. See What Can Be Done, by Lorrie Moore
6. Home of the Braves, by Patrick Steele
7. Recovering, by Leslie Jamison
8. Educated, by Tara Westover
9. Gift of Our Wounds, by Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Singh Kaleka (Register for event on Sat Apr 28, 5:30 pm at First Unitarian Society here)
10. Obama, by Pete Souza

So many new books popping this week! I'll highlight Barbara Ehrenreich's Natural Causes, as Lynn was telling me how interesting it was while we were on our way to work the offsite for another author. Much like Bright-Sided took on the concept of positive thinking, Ehrenreich's newest focuses on the wellness industry, and how it plays on our fear of death. Parul Sehgal wrote in The New York Times: "Her new book is blunt: Nothing in modern life prepares us for the leaving of it. We treat aging as an outrage or, worse, as a sin. In our addiction to betterment, we’ve replaced 'health' — an absence of sickness — with the amorphous 'wellness' and a flurry of overtesting, fad diets and pointless 'alternative' treatments."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel
2. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
3. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
4. Last Night in Montreal, by Emily St John Mandel
5. The Lola Quartet, by Emily St John Mandel
6. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
7. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See (event at UWM Golda Meir Library, Tue April 19, 7 pm)
8. The Singer's Gun, by Emily St John Mandel
9. Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout
10. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

Since we last talked about Elizabeth Strout's Anything Is Possible, which was the focus of last year's Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch (this year's speaker is Luis Alberto Urrea, highlighted above), the book has come out in paperback and it's also received The Story Prize. One thing I noticed about he paperback is that it's a similar jacket but the blue of the hardcover is lightened to more of a baby blue, almost pearl. I wonder what it was like to be in that meeting where they made that decision.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Tough Choices, by Carly Fiorina
2. Last Girl Standing, by Trina Robbins
3. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
4. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan (event at Schlitz Audubon May 17 - register info here)
5. Master of the Grill, by America's Test Kitchen
6. Insprialized, by Ali Maffucci
7. The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook, by Betsy Brevitz
8. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
9. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby (event at Boswell Thu May 10, 7 pm)
10. Brick Through the Window, by Nodine, Beaumont, Carroll, and Luhrssen

Cartoonist Trina Robbins had multiple books come out last year but Last Girl Standing, her memoir, was the focus of her talk at UWM last week. You'll also notice that Carly Fiorina also hit the list, in hardcover for Rising to the Challenge and paperback for Tough Choices. She was also at the UWM Union.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Rebound, by Kwame Alexander
2. The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander
3. How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens, by Paul Noth
4. The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes, by Lora Hyler
5. You Go First, by Erin Entrada Kelly
6. Sled Dog School, by Terry Lynn Johnson
7. Avalanche, by Terry Lynn Johnson
8. Lovabye Dragon, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Randy Cecil
9. Evermore Dragon, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Randy Cecil
10. Sail Away Dragon by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Randy Cecil

All ten books are connected to store or school visits and have been discussed in our upcoming events blog. You actually have to go all the way to #22 to find a title that somehow isn't connected to an author appearance somewhere. That would be Gayle Forman's latest young adult novel, I Have Lost My Way. Of the new book, the story of the friendship of three teens, Jacqueline Woodson wrote "A beautifully written love song to every young person who has ever moved through fear and found themselves on the other side." And Publishers Weekly's starred review: "Forman occasionally references the parable of the boiling frog, in which a frog in a pot of water doesn’t notice a gradual increase in temperature and is eventually cooked to death. In some ways, she performs a similar trick: readers may be so caught up in the intensity and warmth of the bond Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel form that they’re caught off guard by their story’s final act. "

Journal Sentinel's TapBooks page!

--Marion Winik reviews Meg Wolitzer's The Female Persuasion (Schlitz Audubon ticket link here). This review is from Newsday: "For those who have been eagerly awaiting Meg Wolitzer’s 10th adult novel, The Female Persuasion, the fun starts as early as the dedication page - which lists eight female literary role models and mentors, among them Rosellen Brown, Nora Ephron, Mary Gordon and the author’s mother, Hilma Wolitzer, who raised her in Syosset in the 1960s and 70s. You don’t call out your teachers by name unless you plan to do them proud. This dedication goes right to the theme of the book - mentorship and influence among women." Note: Sysosset is important because it is a town in Newsday's home base of Long Islalnd.

--Lisa Genova's latest is reviewed by Maureen Mccarthy. The review, which originally appeared in the Star Tribune, offers this praise: "Lisa Genova, the neuroscientist and author who riveted audiences with her tale of early onset dementia in Still Alice, delivers another gripping journey through a dread disease in Every Note Played. This time she trains her masterful storytelling skills on ALS as it plays out in a fractured family.

--And Another McCarthy, Matt, with two capital letters this time, offers his take on a timely memoir, first published in USA Today: "Leslie Jamison wants you to know that her new book, The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, isn’t like other redemption memoirs. Before we have the chance to roll our eyes or make assumptions, she beats us to it. 'I was wary of trotting out the tired tropes of the addictive spiral,' she writes, 'and wary of the tedious architecture and tawdry self-congratulations of a redemption story.'"

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Author alert: Kwame Alexander, Susan Meissner, Emily St. John Mandel, Lora Hyler, Rebecca L. Brown, Dorothy Marcic

Monday, April 9, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Kwame Alexander, author of Rebound, accompanied by musician Randy Preston

We'll take registrations until 2 pm at alexandermke.bpt.me or until we reach capacity. If we reach capacity, priority will be given to folks who have pre-registered. If you haven’t seen Alexander perform before, be prepared to be blown away. Note that Alexander’s latest novel is recommended to readers ten and up.

Before Josh and Jordan Bell, the heroes of The Crossover, were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz-music-worshiping basketball star his sons look up to. Rebound goes back in time to one pivotal summer when young Charlie is sent to stay with his grandparents where he discovers basketball and learns more about his family's past.

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the bestselling author of 24 books, including Booked, Out of Wonder, and the YA novel Solo. Alexander is the host of the literary variety/talk show, Bookish, which airs on Facebook Watch.

Monday, April 9, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30 talk, at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd in River Hills:
A ticketed event with Susan Meissner, author of As Bright as Heaven

The Women’s Speaker Series, produced by Milwaukee Reads, presents Susan Meissner, the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean. Meissner's new novel, set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, features a family reborn through loss and love. Tickets for this event are $30, $25 for members, and include admission to the event, refreshments from MKE Localicious, and a copy of As Bright as Heaven. 

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters - Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa - a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without, and what they are willing to do about it.

Tuesday, April 10, 10 am and 7:00 pm, at Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N Murray Ave:
Shorewood Reads presents Emily St John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, in conversation with Lauren Fox (10 am) and Daniel Goldin (7 pm)

Shorewood Reads is a season-long celebration of literature, focusing on Station Eleven, which chronicles the exploits of a traveling Shakespearean theatre troupe and a ragtag orchestra attempting to bring culture and hope to small communities that have survived a horrendous flu pandemic. The novel was a National Book Award finalist, PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, and winner of the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Book Award.

Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end. Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. When they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band's existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.

Emily St. John Mandel was born in British Columbia. In addition to her four novels, she has written for The Millions, and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2013 and Venice Noir.

Thursday, April 12, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Lora Hyler, author of The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes

In this first novel for kids eight and up, the seventh graders of Windsor Middle School are excited to start the new school year in their Advanced Science classroom. They'll work on CRISPR-Cas9, a new gene editing technology that is exciting scientists the world over.

But Marty's got a secret. His grandmother had superpowers - she aided Martin Luther King, Jr. among others - and now he’s starting to develop them too. Despite a promise to his grandmother to keep his powers in check, he starts testing his powers with his best friend Christopher. Then, Marty begins falling for Aisha, the cute curly-haired girl in his advanced science classroom, who has a superpower of her own.

But problems are afoot. There’s a high-tech drone hovering around the neighborhood, piloted by international goons. They awaken the annoying school bully, Wade, to his own superpowers and convince him to steal valuable CRISPR-Cas9 data. Marty, Christopher, and Aisha band together to stop the theft of the technology at their beloved International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Who will win? International goons or the superhero team of Advanced Science 303?

Glendale-based Lora Hyler is a former radio news journalist, and corporate communications manager. She owns Hyler Communications, a public relations and marketing firm founded in 2001.

Friday, April 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Rebecca L. Brown, author of Flying at Night

While she was growing up, Piper’s father, Lance ‘the Silver Eagle’ Whitman, became a national hero piloting a plane through an emergency landing. But at home, he was a controlling and overbearing presence in her life, raining emotional and verbal abuse upon the entire family. It’s no surprise, then, that as an adult, Piper has poured all of her energy into creating a warm and loving home for her own family, while catering to her son Fred’s ever-growing idiosyncrasies.

Then Lance has a heart attack, leaving him with a brain injury - and dependent upon Piper for his care - just before tests confirm Piper’s suspicions that Fred is on the autism spectrum.

Flying at Night gives voice to Fred, trying to find his place in a world that doesn’t quite understand him; to Lance, who’s lost what made him the man he was, for better and worse; and to Piper, while desperately trying to navigate the shifting landscape around her, watches as her son and father start to connect.

Former Milwaukeean Rebecca L. Brown lives with her family in Madison. Flying at Night is her first novel, and she is currently at work on her next one.

Monday, April 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Dorothy Marcic, author of With One Shot: Family Murder and a Search for Justice

From noted playwright, theatrical producer, and Waukesha native Dorothy Marcic comes a true crime story from her own life. The victim’s lonely widow confessed to the coldblooded murder. But Marcic suspected a more sinister tale at the heart of her beloved uncle’s violent death.

The brutal murder of LaVerne Stordock, a respected family man and former police detective, shocked his Wisconsin community. On the surface, the case seemed closed with the confession of Stordock’s wife, Suzanne. But the trail of secrets and lies that began with his death did not end with his widow’s insanity plea.In 2014, Marcic embarked on a two-year mission to uncover the truth. In the bestselling tradition of Ann Rule and M. William Phelps, With One Shot tells a tale of unmet justice and the truth behind a shocking family tragedy.

Dorothy Marcic is a playwright and theatrical producer whose productions include SISTAS, which has been running Off Broadway for six years. An adjunct professor at Columbia University, Marcic was formerly a Fulbright Scholar at University of Economics in Prague and a professor at Vanderbilt University. Her other books include Understanding Management and Respect: Women and Popular Music.

The best of the best of the bestsellers, but only at Boswell, and only for the first week of April - plus Journal Sentinel TapBooks reviews

The best of the best of the bestsellers, but only at Boswell, and only for the first week of April. So really, it's just our regular bestsellers.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
2. The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer (ticketed event in conversation with Jane Hamilton, Mon 4/23, 7 pm - tickets here)
3. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
4. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
5. The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn
6. Origin, by Dan Brown
7. Alternate Side, by Anna Quindlen
8. To Die but Once, by Jacqueline Winspear
9. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
10. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones (event coming in July)

A great week for the Penguin division of Penguin Random House with five books in the top ten. It would have been particularly embarrassing for Paris by the Book to not be #1 with the work that we put into it. Our buyer Jason noted that April 3 might be the biggest on-sale date of the spring, but the only other fiction hardcover to make our top ten was The Female Persuasion, which is in conjunction with our very exciting April 23 event. Speaking of events, keep tuned to see an announcement for Tayari Jones, as part of a midwest swing for the author in July for An American Marriage. 

Liam Callanan will be back to sign stock on April 18.

What are folks saying about Anna Quindlen's Alternate Side about a family in Manhattan with off-street parking? Sue Corbett in The New York Times calls it "exquisitely rendered." Patty Rhule in USA Today says it's not her favorite: "Quindlen’s book reads like a metaphor for our divisive times. Americans seem to live on alternate sides, scrapping any sense of unity in desperate pursuit of a parking space in the Big Apple of life."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Our Fifty-State Border Crisis, by Howard Buffett
2. Rocket Men, by Robert Kurson
3. Home of the Braves, by Patrick Steele
4. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan (paperback imminent!)
5. See What Can Be Done, by Lorrie Moore (last week's Mike Fischer review)
6. The Road to Freedom, by Timothy Snyder
7. The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
8. A Thousand Crossings, photographs by Sally Mann
9. Recovering, by Leslie Jamison
10. Skin in the Game, by Nicholas Taleb Nassim

It's not often you see a $55 photography book like A Thousand Crossings on our bestseller list but it's also not common that said photographer does an event at Boswell. Mann visited Boswell for her memoir, Hold Still, and she was in conversation with Liam Callanan (see above).

While we're not hosting Leslie Jamison for her acclaimed new memoir Recovering (here's The New York Times review), our former colleague Teasha told us that she will be coming to Eliot Bay in Seattle. That said, if you like Jamison, why not take her advice and come to Boswell for Cutter Wood's Love and Death in the Sunshine State? He'll be at Boswell on Thursday, April 26, 7 pm. She writes: "Cutter Wood subverts all our expectations for the true crime genre. He challenges what we mean by 'true,' by presenting us with feats of imagination alongside traditional reportage, and challenges how we understand 'crime' by asking us to consider the relationship between acts of extraordinary violence and the rhythms of our ordinary lives. Wood's voice is smart, curious, playful, and wholly engaging."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Hum If You Don't Know the Words, by Bianca Marais
2. No One Is coming to Save Us, by Stephanie Powell Watts (In-Store Lit Group, Mon, May 7 at Boswell)
3. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See
4. Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel (see below)
5. Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
6. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller (Literary Journeys title)
7. Light of Paris, by Eleanor Brown
8. The Little French Bistro, by Nina George
9. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Literary Journeys title)
10. The Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz

Every year on National Library Workers' Day, one of our nearby school districts celebrates with a book club discussion and this year they are doing Hum If You Don't Know the Words. If you haven't read this book, and I don't know why you haven't, you would know that a librarian is one of the heroes of the story.

The finale events of Shorewood Reads Station Eleven - Lauren Fox in conversation, April 10, 10 am, and Daniel-me in conversation with Mandel April 10, 7 pm, both at the Shorewood Public Library.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane will be our In-store Lit Group discussion title on Monday, June 4, 7 pm, at Boswell. But before that, see the great Lisa See at the UWM Golda Meir Library on Thursday, April 19, 7 pm. It's at the fourth floor conference center. Details here.

More Liam. His Paris recommendations are still up, and while you could argue about his impact on The Little French Bistro, there's no question that he drove sales of The Light of Paris, Eleanor Brown's most recent novel. They were in conversation on Friday at Tattered Cover.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. We Are All Fast Food Workers Now, by Annelise Orleck
2. They Will Inherit the Earth, by John Dear
3. We Rise to Resist, edited by Paula vW. Dáil and Betsy Wells
4. This Is an Uprising, by Mark Engler
5. The Body Is Not an Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor
6. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
7. Parallel Universes, by David B. Bohl
8. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
9. My Bookstore, edited by Ronald Rice (updated from the hardcover)
10. Urban Ecology, by Ken Leinbach (event Wed 4/25, 7 pm, at Boswell)

We sold copies of We Are All Fast Food Workers Now at a labor history conference. We talked about hosting a public event the evening before but decided we were cutting it too close. It turned out her plane came in at 10 pm so that was the right call. We ran out of books, but we'll definitely bring the book back into stock. Orleck teaches at Dartmouth, where she is friends with one of my old professors.

In Eviction news, there's a front page story in The New York Times today about the national eviction database Matthew Desmond is building. And for those who thought, because the field data was based on Milwaukee, that we are egregious in this practice, we're not even in the top ten. Must reading - here's the link.

And don''t forget, Desmond will be the featured speaker at the Jewish Family Services lunch on May 16. It's a rare chance to see Desmond. Buy your tickets here!

Books for Kids:
1. How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens, by Paul Noth (event today Sun Apr 8, 3 pm, at Boswell)
2. Hello Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly
3. Rebound, by Kwame Alexander (last chance to register for our event on Monday, April 9, 6:30 pm)
4. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, by Marlon Bundo and Jill Twiss
5. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
6. Dog Man, by Dav Pilkey
7. A Tale of Two Kitties, by Dav Pilkey
8. Piecing Me Together, by Renee Watson
9. The Explorer, by Katherine Rundell
10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kim

How is your school not working with us to bring authors? We not only work with some high-profile writers like Newbery winner Erin Entrada Kelly, author of Hello Universe (alas, her schedule is already full), but many of our featured presenters have gone on to greater acclaim. We hosted Kelly Barnhill before she won the Newbery Medal and Katherine Rundell (whose novel The Explorer shows up on our list again) before she won the Costa Prize (the same award J.K. Rowling won for her first book). Contact Jenny for more details.

You might see A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo jumping from kids to adult and back on our reporting. A lot of it has to do with how the sales rep sales it in. So we're shelving it in humor, but The New York Times is reporting it as a children's hardcover, just like the book it is parodying, Marlon Bundo's Day in the Life of the Vice President.

This week in the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page:

--Journal Sentinel editor Jim Higgins reviews Sharp: The Women who Made an Art of Having an Opinion, written by Michelle Dean. He writes: "In a happy case of it takes one to know one, Michelle Dean has delivered a penetrating book about penetrating American writers." Profiled writers range from Dorothy Parker to Janet Malcolm.

--From USA Today, Jocelyn McClurg profiles Where There's Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up. This new book from kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart "interviews survivors of trauma and tells the story of her own recovery." The complete chat is on Facebook Live.

--Matthew Price reviews The Infernal Library: On dictators, the Books They Wrote, and other Catastrophes of Literacy. Per Price, "Daniel Kaler's long march through the writings of 20th century tyrants is mind-numbing and mortifying in equal measure." Price warns "This is the danger of dictator books. They hide in plain site." This review originally appeared in Newsday.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Event alert: Liam Callanan launch with Alliance Française, John Dear at First Unitarian Society, David B. Bohl, Paul vW. Dáil and Friends, Paul Noth, Kwame Alexander, and Susan Meissner at the Lynden Sculpture Garden

What's going on? Answers below.

Tuesday, April 3, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book

This event is cosponsored by Alliance Française de Milwaukee and will feature light refreshments of a celebratory nature. Note that AF is celebrating 100 years in Milwaukee in 2018!

The Eiffel Tower is built. The balloons are ordered. Paris by the Book goes on sale tomorrow, and we're celebrating!

Here's Callanan talking to Lindsey Anderson of Milwaukee Magazine about the novel's inspiration: "I was researching an article for the Wall Street Journal about letting your kids guide you through Paris with the help of children’s books. For almost a week, my daughters did just that, until the last day, when they were so exhausted they just wanted to sit or lie down.

"We found a tiny English language bookstore, and that’s just what they did, flop down in the children’s corner of the store while we talked with the owner. It turned out that she was on the verge of closing, or selling, the business, and half-jokingly asked us if we’d like to buy the store. We half-seriously thought about it, and in the end decided we just couldn’t. But when I got home, I decided we could – that is, I could write about a fictional family who came to own a bookstore in Paris.

"Discovering the reason why, how, when took longer. Indeed, the book’s a bit of a mystery in no small part because how it would end was a mystery to me as I wrote my way through. I was surprised by the result. But when I look back at that visit to the store, the owner’s offer, I’m not sure what surprises me more – that we half-considered it, or that we didn’t take her up on the spot."

Milwaukee’s Liam Callanan is a novelist, teacher, and journalist, whose first novel, The Cloud Atlas, was a finalist for an Edgar Award. In 2017, he was awarded the George W. Hunt S.J. Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts and  Letters, which seeks to recognize the finest work of Roman Catholic intelligence and imagination. Callanan is an Associate Professor of English at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and also teaches at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers

Tuesday, April 3, 7:00 pm, at First Unitarian Society, 1342 N Astor St in Milwaukee:
John Dear, author of They Will Inherit the Earth: Peace and Nonviolence in a Time of Climate Change

This event is sponsored by Earth Justice Ministry of First Unitarian Society. Boswell will be selling books at this event. The sponsors have informed us that there is enough room for last minute registrations: Visit bit.ly/2Ec9KB5

Wednesday, April 4, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
David B. Bohl, author of Parallel Universes: The Story of Rebirth

In his new memoir, Milwaukee-based independent addiction consultant David B. Bohl reveals the inner turmoil and broad spectrum of warring emotions - shame, anger, triumph, shyness, pride - he experienced growing up as a relinquished boy. Adopted at birth by a prosperous family, Bohl battled throughout his earlier years to keep up a good front and surpass expectations as he tried desperately to fit in. Despite a life of success, he became dependent on pills and alcohol.

Not until David marries and has children of his own does he feel compelled to search for his birth parents to discover if genetics played a role in the well-being of his offspring. ‘Baby Boy Bender,’ as he was labeled in the adoption papers, had been born to a woman who struggled with alcoholism and an athlete who later died of a brain tumor.

Alcohol once controlled his life; it was his sole coping skill. But slowly he discovered that the process helped him heal. As Bohl says, “My hope is that my story and my experiences can give others the courage to find their own way and to go beyond the struggles that they may be carrying with them.”

Thursday, April 5, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Paula vW. Dáil, coeditor, and Janine Geske, Sandra Callaghan, Kathy Steffens, contributors to We Rise to Resist: Voices from a New Era in Women's Political Action

On January 21, 2017, millions of women (and men) across America marched in protest. Millions more around the world joined them in the first mass action of a new women's political resistance movement. This collection of essays and interviews presents 36 voices in this emerging movement discussing a range of topics - activism, healthcare, education, LGBTQIA issues, the environment, and other concerns that affect the political and cultural environment now and in the future.

Paula vW. Dáil, PhD is a professor emerita of Social Welfare and Public Policy. She was founding director of the Center for the Study of Poverty at Virginia Tech University and director of the Child Welfare Research and Homelessness Research Projects at Iowa State University. Widely published in the social sciences, she is the author of numerous scholarly works and general public media statements regarding social welfare and public policy issues.

Janine P. Geske, J.D. is a retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and world-wide legal authority on restorative justice. She was a Marquette University Distinguished Professor, occupying the Association of Marquette University Women's Chair in Humanistic Studies an interim dean of the Law School.

Sandra J. Callaghan, based in the Milwaukee area, is a retired union steward and unit vice-chairperson and served as president of her local school board for three years.

Kathy Steffen is an award-winning novelist based in rural Southwest Wisconsin. She speaks at writing programs across the country and teaches fiction through the University of Wisconsin Extension program.

Sunday, April 8, 3:00 pm, at Boswell:
Paul Noth, author and illustrator of How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens

Milwaukee native turned New Yorker cartoonist Noth now presents his first book for readers eight and up. This wonderfully madcap adventure, the first in a series, is full of lovable (and weird) characters and is told in a seamless blend of text and illustration.

Boswell's Daniel Goldin (this is the blog so I can say that's me!) is a fan: "Happy Conklin, Jr, is not exactly happy. His father is a scientific genius whose breakthroughs have been runaway infomercial successes. The only problem is that his evil grandma controls all the money and keeps the Hap and his family confined to two rooms in the dungeon. Because Grandma is against animal testing, she uses the Conklin kids as her guinea pigs, which is why Hap has a beard he has to shave every day, the result of an ill-conceived product called That’s One Handsome Baby. Yes, this illustrated middle-grade story involves many crazy inventions, fighting siblings, a blood-thirsty wrestler, and aliens, and it’s very, very silly. And yes, there are a few lessons here too, most notably to always read the fine print!"

Paul Noth grew up in Milwaukee. He is now a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, where his work has appeared regularly since 2004. Paul created the Emmy nominated animated series Pale Force for Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He has developed programming for Saturday Night Live, Nickelodeon, and Adult Swim, and is the creative director of a forthcoming series of educational comic books for the New York Federal Reserve Bank. His original artwork is displayed in several museums and galleries around the world.

Monday, April 9, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Kwame Alexander, author of Rebound, accompanied by musician Randy Preston

This event is now cosponsored by Stillwater Collective. Registration is requested at alexandermke.bpt.me. If we reach capacity, priority will be given to folks who have pre-registered. Alexander’s latest novel is recommended to readers ten and up.

Before Josh and Jordan Bell, the heroes of The Crossover, were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz-music-worshiping basketball star his sons look up to. Rebound goes back in time to one pivotal summer when young Charlie is sent to stay with his grandparents where he discovers basketball and learns more about his family's past.

Here's Meghan Cox Gurdon recent roundup of kids books in The Wall Street Journal. She called Rebound an affecting novel of rebirth that includes comic strips from Dawud Aynabwile.

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the bestselling author of 24 books, including Booked, Out of Wonder, and the YA novel Solo. He is the winner of the 2018 Pat Conroy Legacy Award.

Monday, April 9, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30 talk, at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd in River Hills:
Susan Meissner, author of As Bright as Heaven

The Women’s Speaker Series, produced by Milwaukee Reads, presents Susan Meissner, the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean. Meissner's new novel, set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, features a family reborn through loss and love. Tickets for this event are $30, $25 for members, and include admission to the event, refreshments from MKE Localicious, and a copy of As Bright as Heaven. Visit lyndensculpturegarden.org/susanmeissner or call (414) 446-8794 for more info.

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters - Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa - a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without, and what they are willing to do about it.

Susan Meissner is a former managing editor of a weekly newspaper and an award-winning columnist. She is the award-winning author of A Fall of Marigolds, Stars over Sunset Boulevard, and other novels.

Please see our upcoming event page for more exciting programs.