Sunday, September 25, 2016

Boswell Bestsellers for the week ending September 24, 2016 - Plus the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page, plus a note that we are closing slightly early tonight (Sunday)

We are closing early tonight (Sunday, September 25), at 5 pm, for a staff meeting. Here are our annotated Boswell bestsellers for the week ending September 24, 2016.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Leave Me, by Gayle Forman
2. Karolina's Twins, by Ronald H. Balson
3. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett (event is sold out)
4. Every Kind of Wanting, by Gina Frangello
5. The Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny
6. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
7. The Virginity of Famous Men, by Gina Frangello
8. The Girls, by Emma Cline
9. Razor Girl, by Carl Hiaasen
10. Mischling, by Affinity Konar

Affinity Konar's Mischling is the just-released novel about twin sisters at Auschwitz, or specifically at Josef Mengele's Zoo. It has been the priority title for Lee Boudreaux Books this fall, making the Indie Next list and getting some strong reviews out of the box, including The New York Times Book Review write up from Ruth Franklin, who wrote: "Mischling is not for everyone, not least because it is excruciating to read about such pain. I do not remember the last time I shed so many tears over a work of fiction. And it will surely offend those who still chafe at the idea of fictionalizing the Holocaust. But readers who allow themselves to fall under the spell of Konar’s exceptionally sensitive writing may well find the book unforgettable."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. My Son Wears Heels, by Julie Tarney
2. Napoleon, by Andrew Roberts
3. The Last General, by Andrew Krepinevich
4. Savior Generals, by Victor Davis Hanson
5. Paying the Price, by Sara Goldrick-Rab
6. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
7. The Making of Milwaukee, by John Gurda
8. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
9. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
10. His Final Battle, by Joseph Lelyveld

Fall hardcover books are surely working, but I'm not exactly sure whether they are driving folks into bookstores, or at least our bookstore. Hey, bulk sales help pay the bills. We had a great week of events but I guess the biggest was Julie Tarney's homecoming for My Son Wears Heels. And yes, Harry came along with his mom from New York, where they both now live. He works at a photography studio during the day and does drag at night. Here's' an interview with Julie Tarney from Emily Talapa on Radio Milwaukee.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
2. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
3. Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
4. Eileen, by Ottessa Moshfegh (in store lit group November 7)
5. Shadowy Third, by Barbara Wuest
6. A Man Called Ove, by Frfedrik Backman
7. Saving Sophie, by Ronald H. Balson
8. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George
9. Sister Carrie, by Thedoore Dreiser (in store lit group with Florentine, October 3)
10. Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes (preview with Milwaukee Rep, September 28, 2 pm)

One of the most well-reviewed novels last year was Fates and Furies, now out in paperback. It was also one of the favorites of many indie booksellers, including me. I'm glad they kept the distinctive cover. Like many (hundreds of) bookstores, we hoped to get on the paperback tour but it looks likes she's pretty much doing festivals and series. She comes pretty close though, as she's part of Lake Forest Reads on October 27 and 28, including a signing at Lake Forest Bookshop on 10/28 at 2 pm. Hey, it's only an hour away.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. One Billion Seconds, by Poppy and Geoff Spencer
2. Bats Sing Mice Giggle, by Karen Shanor
3. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
4. Black Earth, by Timothy Snyder
5. The Road to Character, by David Brooks
6. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
7. Riverwest: A Community History, by Tom Tolan
8. We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
9. Gumption, by Nick Offerman
10. Denial, by Deborah Lipstadt

Timothy Snyder's "On the Issues with Mike Gousha" event for Black Earth at Marquette University's Eckstein Hall on Wednesday, October 19 is likely sold out by now, but when you register, there is a waiting list, and they also show the interview by video in the lobby. It's still worth it to sign up if you're free at 12:15 pm. From The Atlantic, a snippet of Snyder's views on Hitler, being interviewed by Edward Delman: "He presents himself precisely as a German nationalist who is going to get the German economy going, who is going to bring Germans inside the borders of Germany. That’s how he presents himself, but that is a lie. He’s quite consciously manipulating German national sentiment to get to power and then to start the war, which he thinks will transform the Germans, as it were, from a nation into a race. So he’s aware that German nationalism is a force in the world, but he’s just using it in order to create the world that he wants, which is this world of racial struggle."

Books for Kids:
1. Child of the Civil Rights Movement, by Paula Young Shelton
2. Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan
3. Booked, by Kwame Alexander
4. White Socks Only, by Evelyn Coleman
5. Dumplin, by Julie Murphy
6. Orbiting Jupiter, by Gary D. Schmidt
7. Ghost, by Jason Reynolds
8. If I Grow Up, by Todd Strasser
9. Yummy, by G. Neri
10. Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier

As I was putting together these lists, I looked at the bestseller list for kids this week and thought, "Hey, I think this is the results of the presentation that Todd and I did at a middle-school district in August," and sure enough, it was. I talked about three of the titles inn this week's top ten, Booked, Orbiting Jupiter, and Ghost. Both Booked and Ghost are long-listed for the National Book Awards. If you are having a development day with at least 25 teachers, we might be able to do a presentation for you too.

And now, it's time for the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page. First up is Jim Higgins and his review of Death's End, the new novel by Cixin Liu. Liu, a power plant engineer, won the Hugo Award for The Three Body Problem and his newest is similarly translated by Ken Liu. Here's Higgins: "I can pull many marvels out of Death's End, the final book in Liu's mind-blowing science-fiction trilogy: space cities orbiting Jupiter, an unexpected view of our reality from inside the fourth dimension, the deliberate bursting of a star — and the tender regard of a man for a woman (and vice versa) that carries each through centuries of struggle. But, unlike the malevolent artist of the tale, I'll never be able to contain Liu's riches in a simple document. Instead, I'll simply gape in amazement at a trilogy that belongs in the pantheon with the greatest works of Arthur C. Clarke, one of Liu's self-declared precursors."

Back when I worked on the floor of the Water and Wisconsin Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, I befriended a Marquette student who was an avid reader. Now many years later he lives in Thailand, but we keep in touch and he had just sent me a note telling me what a big fan he is of Cixin Liu.

From the print edition only:

1. Laurie Hertzel profiles Elizabeth Alexander and her memoir of her husband's death, The Light of the World, originally appearing in the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. The book is now out in paperback.

2. Dan Cryer at Newsday reviews the buzzy breakout hit, The Nix, from Nathan Hill.

3. Trisha Collopy, also at the Star Tribune, has a roundup of YA. Her shortlist:
--The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
--Makoons, by Louise Erdrich
--Property of the State, by Bill Cameron
--Towers Falling, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
--Ice-Out, by Mary Casanova.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Boswell event forecast: Ronald H Balson, Gayle Forman, Poppy and Geoff Spencer, Lori Degman, Julie Tarney, Sarah Goldrick-Rab, Lil' Reb, Christine Sneed and Gina Frangello, plus Christopher Hebert next Tuesday

Wow, we've got a lot of stuff going on this week!

Monday, September 19, 7 pm at Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center:
Ronald H. Balson, author of Karolina’s Twins

The Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center is located at 6255 Santa Monica Dr in Whitefish Bay. This event is co-sponsored by the JCC and by the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center.

Ronald H. Balson took readers by storm with his critically acclaimed debut, Once We Were Brothers, and entered into their hearts with an enthralling tale of love, survival, and ultimately, the triumph of the human spirit. Now, Balson is making his hardcover debut with Karolina’s Twins and returns to the popular themes and setting that made Once We Were Brothers a national bestseller.

Inspired by true events, Karolina’s Twins is the story of a Holocaust survivor’s quest to fulfill a promise she made to a friend long ago – to return to Poland and find two sisters lost during the war. Lena Woodward enlists the help of lawyer Catherine Lockhart and her private investigator husband, Liam Taggart, in order to complete the mission, harkening back to her harrowing past in Nazi-occupied Poland. She recounts her mysterious yet fearless bond shared with her childhood friend, Karolina, in their darkest hours. But there is something about the story that is unfinished, and Lena must now come to terms with a secret spanning several decades.

Ronald H. Balson is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator, and a writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues. He is also the author of Saving Sophie.

Tuesday, September 20, 7 pm reception 7:30 pm talk:
A ticketed event with Gayle Forman, author of Leave Me at the Lynden Sculpture Garden

The Lynden Sculpture Garden is located at 2145 W Brown Deer Rd. Tickets are $30 ($25 for Lynden members) and include admission to the event, light refreshments, a copy of Leave Me, and all taxes and fees.This event is cosponsored by Milwaukee Reads and the Lynden Sculpture Garden

Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A married working mother who is so busy taking care of her husband and twins she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.

Surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves. But, as is often the case, once we get where we’re going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from herself and those she loves.

Gayle Forman is a bestselling, award-winning author of young adult novels. Leave Me is her first novel for adults. Her novel If I Stay won the 2009 NAIBA Book of the Year Award and was a 2010 Indie Choice Honor Award winner. The film adaptation of If I Stay was released in 2014. Forman is also a journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and Elle.

Tuesday, September 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Poppy and Geoff Spencer, co-authors of 1 Billion Seconds: A Fictional Memoir

Poppy and Geoff Spencer were college sweethearts who initially thought they were destined to spend their lives together—but immaturity and life got in the way. After college, neither of them had the courage, maturity, or communication skills to keep their relationship on solid ground. It took several marriages and life experiences between them to come together 32 years later and build a solid, healthy relationship.

Today, the Spencers work as relational coaches, providing practical, goal-oriented guidance to individuals, couples, and families at various levels in their relationship. The Spencers also work with healthy couples and individuals to develop strategies for their relational goals that are achievable and measurable. With the Myers-Briggs Certification, they also help people understand their personality styles and how those styles work together.

Poppy Spencer, after receiving her Master of Science degree in Art Therapy and working as a Registered Art Therapist for twelve years, she then transitioned her private Art Therapy practice into coaching. A parenting coach, a psychology professor at Ringling College of Art and Design for seven years, a certified Myers Briggs facilitator, and a Certified Professional Coach for nearly a decade, she continues to implement psychology into her coaching relationships. Geoff Spencer is a certified coach, having transitioned from a twenty-five-year career in sales and marketing of specialized technology deployed in higher education institutions. He is also a speaker, singer, and performer, having spoken in many professional venues, sung in churches and theaters, and performed in multiple community theater productions.

Wednesday, September 21, 4 pm, at Shorewood Public Library: Lori Degman, author of Norbert’s Big Dream

The Shorewood Public Library is located at 3920 N Murray Ave, just south of Capitol Dr.

Norbert is a pig with a dream. It doesn't matter if the other farm animals snicker behind his back, Norbert has always dreamed of swimming the English Channel. He's been preparing and training, and finally, he's ready for the big swim! But where exactly is the English Channel?! Will Norbert have to give up on his dreams, or will his friends come to the rescue after all? A funny story about dreaming big.

Lori Degman grew up in a northern suburb of Chicago. She then attended MacMurray College for her Bachelor’s degree, followed by National-Louis University for her Masters. She is also the author of Cock-a-Doodle-Oops and 1 Zany Zoo. She loves writing rhyming poems, song parodies, and she can even juggle!

Wednesday, September 21, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Julie Tarney, author of My Son Wears Heels: One Mom’s Journey from Clueless to Kickass

When Julie Tarney’s only child, Harry, was two years old, he told her, “Inside my head I’m a girl.” It was 1992. The Internet was no help, because there was no Internet. And bookstores had no literature for a mom scrambling to raise such an unconventional child. Terms such as transgender, gender nonconforming, and gender creative were rare or nonexistent.

Lacking a positive role model of her own, and fearful of the negative stereotype of an overbearing Jewish mother, Tarney embarked on an unexpected parenting path as Harry grew up to be a confident, happy, nonconformist adult. Harry knew who he was all along. Despite some stumbles, Tarney learned that her job was simply to let her child be his authentic self.

Julie Tarney is a board member for the It Gets Better Project, blogs for the Huffington Post’s “Queer Voices” pages, and writes for and the True Colors Fund. She volunteers for the PFLAG Safe Schools Program. A longtime resident of Shorewood, she now lives in New York City.

Thursday, September 22, 6:30 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall:
Sara Goldrick-Rab, author of Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream

This event is co-sponsored by Boswell. Centennial Hall is located at 733 N Eighth St. The event sponsor is Milwaukee Public Library and Wisconsin Hope Lab

If you are a young person, and you work hard enough, you can get a college degree and set yourself on the path to a good life, right? Not necessarily, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, and with Paying the Price, she shows in damning detail exactly why. Quite simply, college is far too expensive for many people today, and the confusing mix of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid leaves countless students without the resources they need to pay for their education.

Drawing on an unprecedented study of 3,000 young adults who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in 2008 with the support of federal aid and Pell Grants, Goldrick-Rab reveals the devastating effect of these shortfalls. Half the students in the study left college without a degree, while less than 20 percent finished within five years. The cause of their problems, time and again, was lack of money. However, America can fix this problem. Goldrick-Rab offers a range of possible solutions, from technical improvements to the financial aid application process, to a bold, public sector–focused “first degree free” program.

Sara Goldrick-Rab is coeditor of Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability and has written on education issues for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. She founded the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s first research laboratory aimed at making college affordable, and is a noted influence on the development of both federal and state higher education policies. Dr. Goldrick-Rab is professor of higher education Policy and Sociology at Temple University.

Thursday, September 22, 7 pm, at Boswell:
A talk and performance by Lil’ Rev, for the CD Claw and Hammer

Lil’ Rev grew up in Milwaukee, WI, where he still resides today. Growing up in the shadows of American Motors Corp, Briggs and Stratton, and A.O. Smith, he was inspired by the sights and sounds of an industrial powerhouse in flux. While Lil’ Rev is well known for his ukulele and harmonica stylings, he is also a seasoned multi-instrumentalist equally adept at old time banjo, flat-pick guitar, and blues mandolin.

Lil’ Rev is a Milwaukee-based songwriter, instrumentalist, storyteller, historian, educator, and interpreter of American roots music and culture. His fascination with all things ukulele and harmonica keep him busy teaching and performing all across North America. Lil’ Rev performs for schools, libraries, folk societies, festivals, music stores, concert series, house concerts, ukulele clubs, churches, temples, and just about any kind of wholesome venue you might conjure up.

Friday, September 23, 7 pm, at Boswell:
A night of Chicago-area writers, featuring Gina Frangello, author of Every Kind of Wanting and Christine Sneed, author of The Virginity of Famous Men

Every Kind of Wanting explores the complex intersection of three unique families and their bustling efforts to have a "Community Baby." Miguel could not be more different from his partner Chad, a happy-go-lucky real estate mogul from Chicago’s wealthy North Shore. When Chad’s sister, Gretchen, offers the couple an egg, their search for a surrogate leads them to Miguel’s old friend Emily, happily married to an eccentric Irish playwright, Nick, with whom she is raising two boys. Into this web falls Miguel's sister, Lina, a former addict and stripper, who begins a passionate affair with Nick while deciphering the mysteries of her past.

But every action these couples make has unforeseen consequences. As Lina faces her long-hidden demons, and the fragile friendships between Miguel and Chad and Nick and Emily begin to fray as the baby's birth draws near, a shocking turn of events—and the secret Lina's been hiding—threatens to break them apart forever.

The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed’s deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the paths they have taken thus far. In “The Prettiest Girls,” a location scout for a Hollywood film studio falls in love with a young Mexican woman who is more in love with the idea of stardom than with the older American man who takes her with him back to California. “Clear Conscience” focuses on the themes of family loyalty, divorce, motherhood, and whether “doing the right thing” is, in fact, always the right thing to do. In “Beach Vacation,” a mother realizes that her popular and coddled teenaged son has become someone she has difficulty relating to, let alone loving with the same maternal fervor that once was second nature to her. The title story, "The Virginity of Famous Men," explores family and fortune.

Long intrigued by love and loneliness, Sneed leads readers through emotional landscapes both familiar and uncharted. These probing stories are explorations of the compassionate and passionate impulses that are inherent in—and often the source of—both abiding joy and serious distress in every human life.

Christine Sneed has published the novels Paris, He Said and Little Known Facts, and the story collection Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry. She received the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, Ploughshare’s Zacharis Prize, the Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year Award, and the Society of Midland Authors Award for Best Adult Fiction of 2013. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, New England Review, and elsewhere.

Gina Frangello is the author of the Target Emerging Authors selection, A Life in Men, which was also a book club selection. She is also the author of two other books of fiction: Slut Lullabies, a Foreword Magazine Best Book of the Year finalist, and My Sister's Continent. She is the founder of Other Voices Books, has served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, the fiction editor for The Nervous Breakdown, Executive Editor for Other Voices magazine, and the faculty editor for TriQuarterly Online.

And coming next week on Tuesday, September 27, 7 pm, at Boswell: Christopher Hebert, author of Angels of Detroit, in conversation with UWM's Valerie Laken

Christopher Hebert’s new novel Angels of Detroit, delivers a kaleidoscopic of an iconic American city, of abandonment, hope, violence, and resilience—and the lives intersecting on Detroit’s margins. Once an example of American industrial might, Detroit has gone bankrupt, its streets dark, and its storefronts vacant. Miles of city blocks lie empty; saplings grow through the cracked foundations of abandoned buildings. Hebert takes an urban wasteland whose history is plagued with riots and unrest and reimagines it as an ambiguous frontier—a site of tenacity and possible hope. With razor-sharp, beguiling prose, we are drawn into the lives of multiple characters who are struggling to define their futures in this desolate landscape. Each of their desires are distinct, and their visions for a better city are on a collision course in this master plotted epic.

Multiple characters struggle to define their futures in this desolate landscape: a scrappy group of activists trying to save the city with placards and protests; a curious child who knows the blighted city as her own personal playground; an elderly great-grandmother eking out a community garden in an oil-soaked patch of dirt; a carpenter with an explosive idea of how to give the city a new start; a confused idealist who has stumbled into debt to a human trafficker; a weary corporate executive who believes she is doing right by the city she remembers at its prime.

Christopher Hebert is the author of the novel The Boiling Season, winner of the of the 2013 Friends of American Writers Award. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Five Chapters, Cimarron Review, and The Millions. Hebert is currently the Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee Libraries and lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Valerie Laken is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Laken holds advanced degrees in Creative Writing and Slavic Languages and Literatures, from the University of Michigan.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Boswell's annotated bestsellers for the week ending September 16.

Boswell's bestsellers for the week ending September 16, 2016.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
2. The Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny
3. Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer
4. The Nix, by Nathan Hill
5. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
6. Nutshell, by Ian McEwan
7. Jerusalem, by Alan Moore
8. The Nightingale, by Krisin Moore
9. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
10. The Light of Paris, by Eleanor Brown

Our ticketed event with Ann Patchett is probably going to sell out today. Don't forget that you must buy a ticket for our event - purchasing a book will not allow entry, but you can leave your book with us to get signed.

Nutshell, the newest novel from Ian McEwan that riffs on Hamlet as an embryo, has gotten some amazing reviews, such as Michiko Kakutani's in The New York Times, which she says is "a small tour de force that showcases all of Mr. McEwan’s narrative gifts of precision, authority and control, plus a new, Tom Stoppard-like delight in the sly gymnastics that words can be perform."

Not all agree. Christopher Tayler in The Financial Times writes: "All the same, the high-wire act doesn’t really come off. McEwan’s usual strengths — imaginative precision, narrative placement and control of story dynamics — can make even slim works like On Chesil Beach oddly resonant. Nutshell relies instead on pure voice and quickly collapses into a mishmash of pentameter-ridden sentences and half-baked wordplay. An uncharitable reading would see its eccentric set-up as a way of refreshing some essentially banal observations. But perhaps it’s more a case of a bored master-carpenter trying his hand at embroidery."

And of course we go back to the well of Shakespeare, because you can't be caught doing this to 20th century works (past 1923) for fear of copyright infringement. Are we ever going to see another book or play go into public domain?

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Intimidation Game, by Kimberley Strassel
2. The Upside of Inequality, by Edward Conrad
3. Seinfeldia, by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
4. City of Thorns, by Ben Rawlence
5. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
6. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
7. My Son Wears Heels, by Julie Tarney (event 9/21, 7 pm at Boswell)
8. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
9. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer
10. The Year of Voting Dangerously, by Maureen Dowd

One program that has been rising in importance for books has been university common reads. While students didn't buy the books from us, there is probably still some spin-off sales of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me, which was named UWM's Common Read for 2016-17. And at UW-Madison, the common read is Matthew Desmond's Evicted.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Arrow: The Dark Archer, by John Barrowman
2. 1984, by George Orwell
3. Cinnamon Girl, by Lawrence Kessenich
4. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
5. Walking the Dog, by Elizabeth Swados
6. These Honored Dead, by Jonathan Putnam
7. The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
8. Jade Dragon Mountain, by Elsa Hart
9. The Tiger Claw, by Shauna Singh Baldwin
10. Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies is now out in paperback. The publisher took the unusual tack of releasing it in just about a year, which is very unusual for popular book nowadays. More common is 8-10 months, and it is not unusual for a book like Hannah Rothschild's The Improbability of Love or Elizabeth Mckenzie's The Portable Veblen (with an event just scheduled at Boswell for the paperback on Monday, January 23, 7 pm ) to start out at 12 months and pretty close to pub date move up to 10. And of course the other option is three months before the film is released, which is the equivalent of "until we have to." That was the case for The Girl on the Train and seems to be in place for All the Light We Cannot See. The three months before film release seems to be contractual.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Sit Stay Heal, by Mel Miskimen
2. Reluctant Rebellions, by Shauna Singh Baldwin (event 12/12, 7 pm at Boswell)
3. Known and Strange Things, by Teju Coates
4. Camera Lucida, by Roland Barthes
5. SPQR, by Mary Beard
6. Selma of the North, by Patrick D Jones
7. LGBT Milwaukee, by Michail Takach
8. Light on Yoga, by BKS Iyengar
9. Milwaukee in the 1930s, by John D Buenker
10. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown

Shauna Singh Baldwin's first book of nonfiction, Reluctant Rebellions, is published by the Centre for Indo-Canadian Marriage at the University of Fraser Valley in British Columbia. She recently spoke to an AAUW Book Club and we were able to source some copies, but we'll have more for a Boswell event on December 12.

Here's another list where you can see the influence of course adoption at the store. The numbers are relatively small for the amount of textbooks that are sold each semester to Milwaukee-area college (and even high school) students. Most of the business at UWM has gone to the new official web store since the UWM Bookstore closed, but there are still outliers that come to the bookstore when their professor or instructor registers with us or more commonly, Woodland Pattern.

Books for Kids:
1. The Girl who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
2. The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, by Brian Farrey
3. The Witch's Boy, by Kelly Barnhill
4. Norbert's Big Dream, by Lori Degman (event 9/21, 4 pm, at Shorewood Public Library)
5. Cock a Doodle Oops, by Lori Degman
6. 1 Zany Zoo, by Lori Degman
7. The Vengekeep Prophecies, by Brian Farrey
8. Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier
9. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by JK Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
10. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson (event 10/21, 6:30 at Centennial Hall)

That three months before pub date seems to be in place even happens for relatively inexpensive YA novels, which was why The Hunger Games and its sequels had such a strange paperback release track. You also saw it for The Fault in Our Stars. I would have expected that to be the case for Eleanor and Park, but apparently an IMDb update noted that rights were returned to the author and the film is no longer in development. I know that there have been some disappointing YA adaptations but I think it would do great, as long as it was a good adaptation and didn't blow out the budget.

But that said, Brown Girl Dreaming's paperback release is October 11, just before our October 21 event for Another Brooklyn. I don't think there's a movie coming out in January, but it would be great if there was!

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Christi Clancy reviews The Virginity of Famous Men, the new collection of short stories by award-winner Christine Sneed. She writes: "You get the sense that the characters, even though they’ve been battered, haven’t given up entirely on their desire to connect with other people in a deep and sustained way. They long to get close enough to someone to ask, 'how’d you lose your virginity?' But the power in Sneed’s stories comes from what they seem to want most of all: to turn that question on themselves." Sneed appears at Boswell with Gina Frangello on Friday, September 23, 7 pm.

From Jim Higgins, book editor of the Journal Sentinel, comes a review of Fates and Traitors, the new novel from Jennifer Chiaverini. From Higgins: "Just as she does in her previous novels in this sequence, in Fates and Traitors Chiaverini depicts the constraints on women's autonomy in this era — and of how shrewdly women worked through or around those constraints. Booth's courtship of Lucy reminds us how many Confederate sympathizers lived in Washington during the war. Her book also makes clear how easy it can be for a young woman, excited by the attention of a handsome, charismatic man, to minimize the harsh notes in his personality."

Chiaverini is doing two events in Southeast Wisconsin. She's at the Menomonee Falls Library on September 24, 2 pm, with sales from Books and Company, and at the Kenosha Public Library Northside branch, 1500 27th Ave, on Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 pm.

And finally, Carole E Barrowman's Paging Through Mysteries column is back at the Journal Sentinel, with four great new mystery/thrillers highlighted.

Our current favorite Elsa Hart is touted for book number two, The White Mirror. Barrowman writes: "Hart imagines life in 18th century China with measured grace in her pacing and elegance in her prose. Her main character Li Du was once the Imperial Librarian, but was exiled and now journeys with a caravan on a path between empires of Tibet and China." You can spot Jade Dragon Mountain on this week's paperback bestseller list.

Pick #2: "Ian Hamilton’s The King of Shanghai is set in contemporary Asia, particularly the Bund in Shanghai, a storied street where the Chinese government first “permitted foreigners to live and work.” The sights and sounds of the city are palpable; however, it’s the verisimilitude of the relationships among the three main female characters (including Chinese-Canadian superhero accountant Ava Lee) that’s the most compelling aspect of the book."

Manitou Canyon is the newest "gripping" novel from Minnesota writer and Edgar winner William Kent Kreuger. Barrowman's: "Steeped in the mythology of Native American tribes of Minnesota and Wisconsin, the novel opens after one of Cork’s neighbors, a wealthy businessman, disappears during a fishing trip in the Boundary Waters."

Looking for a great read when you like George Pelecanos or Walter Mosley? Barrowman's suggestion: "Set in Atlanta in 1948, Thomas Mullen’s Darktown pits two rookie black cops against too many crooked white cops in a city where Jim Crow upholds two different versions of justice...This novel is hard to read, and even harder to put down."

Monday, September 12, 2016

Boswell's Weekly Event Calendar--Mel Miskimen, Jonathan Putnam, Ben Rawlence, Lawrence Kessenich, Kelly Barnhill, Brian Farrey, plus Ron Balson next Monday. Alas, Seinfeldia event sold out.

Here's what's going on with Boswell over the next week, event-wise.

Monday, September 12, 7 pm, at the Soup House:
Our event with Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, author of Seinfeldia, has reached capacity. We are sold out. We told you this would be popular!

Tuesday, September 13, 7 pm, at University School of Milwaukee, 2100 W Fairy Chasm Rd in River Hills:
Ben Rawlence, author of City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp.

As part of the USM Global Scholars Program, Ben Rawlence will be giving a free talk at Mellowes Hall at the University School of Milwaukee. As the Shepherd Express notes in this week's Book Preview: "In 1991, the Dadaab refugee camp was established to house up to 90,000 residents. Today, this desolate landscape in northern Kenya is home to almost half-a-million primarily Somali refugees fleeing war, terrorism, famine and climate change. Over the past quarter century, Dadaab has gained the dubious title as the world’s largest refugee camp, becoming an unstable, overcrowded and inhospitable home to citizens struggling to survive in harsh, desperate conditions."

Ian Birrell praised City of Thorns as "superb" in The Guardian: "Rawlence skilfully frames such stories within wider political currents: empty declarations at peace conferences, the shopping centre slaughter at Westgate, watching as Kenya’s invasion of Somalia ratchets up pressures while boosting profits for hideously corrupt local politicians. Although the backdrop is unremittingly bleak, the camp crackles with energy as Rawlence gives welcome insight into the reality of life for people trapped at the very bottom of global society. It is, above all, a sobering reminder of the lottery of birth."

Also on Tuesday, September 13, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jonathan Putnam, author of These Honored Dead: A Lincoln and Speed Mystery.

This event is cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine. Putnam will be introduced by Tim Hennessy.

From an attorney and amateur Lincoln scholar, here is a debut mystery featuring Joshua Speed, the enterprising second son of a wealthy plantation owner. Speed has struck out on his own, but before long, he makes a surprising and crucial new acquaintance--a freshly minted lawyer by the name of Abraham Lincoln.

When an orphaned girl from a neighboring town is found murdered and suspicion falls on her aunt, Speed makes it his mission to clear her good name. Of course, he'll need the legal expertise of his unusual new friend. Together, Lincoln and Speed fight to bring justice to their small town. But as more bodies are discovered and the investigation starts to come apart at the seams, there's one question on everyone's lips: does Lincoln have what it takes to crack his first murder case?

Wednesday, September 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Mel Miskimen, author of Sit Stay Heal: How an Underachieving Labrador Won Our Hearts and Brought Us Together.

This event is cosponsored by Waterdog Specialties, offering AKC breeding and training for Labrador Retrievers in Waukesha.

When Mel Miskimen's mother dies, her tough, retired-cop father withdraws into his sadness, and his broken grief is more than Mel can handle on her own. Enter Seamus: a rowdy, hapless Labrador devoted to chaos. In a spark of inspiration, Mel ropes her father into training the wayward hound for a local contest. As the seasons change, Mel finds herself connecting with her last surviving parent more than she'd ever dreamed. The unexpected result of their endeavor might just heal them all.

Miskimen has written a series of columns for The Huffington Post about her journey. Here's her take on dog Halloween costumes: "Remember that fairy tale about the guy who was supposed to sell the cow so the starving family could eat, but instead he traded the cow for a handful of magic beans? That’s kind of how I felt after I plunked down what was left in our joint checking account (until payday) on a doggy Halloween costume."

Watch Mel Miskimen and her dad on the Morning Blend this Wednesday. The show airs between 9 and 10 am.

Thursday, September 15, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Lawrence Kessenich, author of Cinnamon Girl.

Lawrence Kessenich is a fiction writer, poet, essayist, and editor who's been featured on the NPR program This I Believe, as well as the print spinoff, This I Believe: On Love. His short plays have produced around the country and he's now the editor of the literary magazine Ibbetson Street. Now he's drawn on his Milwaukee memories to create the novel Cinnamon Girl, set in 1969 Milwaukee.

After nearly getting his head bashed in at a demonstration at Water Tower Park, John Meyer crashes down a hillside with fellow student Tony Russo. It looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, until John meets Tony's wife, Claire, and from then on things get complicated in a very 60s way when they decide to share a house together. Then, the bombing of Cambodia leads to a national student strike and the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State. Over Claire's protests, John becomes involved in the strike. Then Tony's brother is wounded in Vietnam, bringing the war right into their living room and throwing everything up in the air.

Kessenich's poem, Becoming Bostonian, was recently featured on Garrison Keillor's The Writers Almanac.

Friday, September 16, 4 pm (note time), at Boswell:
I Love Middle Grade, featuring Kelly Barnhill, author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Brian Farrey, author of The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, and Miss Cupcake cupcakes. Both books are best for kids 8 and up. Middle grade fiction fans of all ages are welcome to attend this event.

Kelly Barnhill delivers a spellbinding tale in The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Like The Witch's Boy, this multilayered saga blends a mix of fantasy, epic adventure, and gorgeous prose. The result is a tale that's even more epic, yet also more intimate. Barnhill draws readers into an enchanted new realm, populated by a poetic swamp monster, a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, a prowling Sorrow Eater with a tiger's heart, flocks of dangerous paper birds, and oh, so much more. Kirkus Reviews offers this starred write-up: "Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and amber skin. Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick."

Brian Farrey, author of the critically-acclaimed Vengekeep Prophecies series returns with a mesmerizing middle-grade adventure, The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse. This thrilling modern fantasy turns the fairy tale trope on its head, featuring two female leads, diverse characters, and a fresh perspective on "happily ever after." Of his newest, Publishers Weekly offers this praise: " The labyrinth of characters and dilemmas expands as the novel progresses, culminating in a rewarding ending that highlights the importance of embracing emotions, curiosity, and measured choices."

Registration is requested but not required for this event on Friday, September 16, 4 pm. We're working with the always delicious Miss Cupcake on Oakland Avenue to supply you with Black Forest and Magic Moon Vanilla cupcakes and we want to make sure we have enough.

Sunday, September 18, 11 am, at Boswell: A story and activity time celebrating the 50th anniversary of Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

Join Teasha for stories, activities, and light refreshments themed around the iconic story from Bill Martin Jr., with classic artwork from Eric Carle.

Monday, September 19, at the Harold and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N Santa Monica Dr in Whitefish Bay:
Ronald H. Balson, author of Karolina's Twins.

This event is cosponsored by the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center.

Inspired by true events, Karolina's Twins is the story of a Holocaust survivor's quest to fulfill a promise she made to a friend long ago - to return to Poland and find two sisters lost during the war. Lena Woodward enlists the help of lawyer Catherine Lockhart and her private investigator husband, Liam Taggart, in order to complete the mission, harkening back to her harrowing past in Nazi-occupied Poland. jcc logoShe recounts her mysterious yet fearless bond shared with her childhood friend, Karolina, in their darkest hours. But there is something about the story that is unfinished, and Lena must now come to terms with a secret spanning several decades.

Balson's novels are historical novels that are also legal thrillers, which of course makes sense, as Balson is a Chicago-area attorney. Each novel features Each novel features Liam Taggart and Catherine Lockhart, a husband-and-wife investigation team specializing in Holocaust cases. Booklist's starred review suggested that folks who loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale should consider Balson's newest.

Want more? Here's the email newsletter we sent out today. It includes info about events through mid October, plus bookseller reviews.