Friday, July 1, 2016

It's Time to Find Waldo in Milwaukee. Here is your list of stores participating, links to other great indies, and links to the other stores in Wisconsin organizing these searches.

We've got another great July of Find Waldo Local in Milwaukee. We're partnering with 27 other local independent stores that will challenge Waldo players in their searching skill. Now that we've finalized touches, I feel we should have rated them, like golf holes. We worked hard to find stores that were kid friendly, had regular daytime hours (open at least five days a week, hopefully six), would not be driven crazy by having kids wandering around looking for Waldo (which kind of excluded restaurants), and weren't so small that you'd find Waldo in half a second. OK, we didn't fully succeed on all fronts, but the truth is that the internet has really hurt stores that sell stuff. So that's we why need to find Waldo more than ever.

We have friends all over the metro area, but we knew that we couldn't have this go twenty miles in every direction. So for the most part, the stores are bounded by Silver Spring, Oklahoma, and highway 43, though we have a few stores in Tosa Villa, as we had to include Little Read Book, the other general independent in Milwaukee County, and we'd just feel awful if everyone didn't visit our friends at Soaps and Scents.

Here are our participants!

Art Smart's Dart Mart
Address: 1695 N. Humboldt at Brady, East Side
Phone: 414-273-3278
This is Art's first time. This store is one-of-a-kind!

Beans and Barley
Address: 1901 E. North Ave, East Side
Phone: 414-278-7878
Who doesn't love wandering the aisles of Beans? They are our go-to for catering.

Board Game Barrister
Address: 5800 N Bayshore Drive, in Glendale
Phone: 414-963-2100
We've known Gordon and Alicia since they opened across from the Bay View Schwartz in 2005. They've also got locations in Greenfield and South Milwaukee, but it's the Glendale location that's a stop on Find Waldo.

Boswell Book Company
Address: 2559 N Downer Ave, East Side
Phone: 414-332-1181
That's us!

Brass Bell Music
Address: 210 W Silver Spring, Glendale
Phone: 414-963-1000
Another new addition to Waldo, I have found myself visiting more and more for microphones and cords. Todd says they are the go-to for sheet music in town, and of course I have to give a shout out whenever we do a Lil Rev event, due to their great ukulele selection. A lucky kid on our August 1 party is going to win a starter ukulele!

Community Bark (Bay View location)
Address: 2430 S. Kinnickinnic Ave
Phone: 414-306-7102
Andrew also has a location of Community Bark in Bayside, but it's the Bay View location that's part of Find Waldo.

While you're in the neighborhood, go see a film at the new Avalon and get a treat at Rocket Baby, though not on the game board, two of my favorite places in the View.

Downer True Value Hardware
Address: 2629 N. Downer Ave, East Side
Phone: 414-332-2820
Everyone should have a real hardware store on their block, right? So many have disappeared, most recently Brady Street, but Dale and his crew are incredibly helpful and sell lots of general housewares. And yes, they make keys.

Though not on this year's passport, I'm also giving a shout out to Blifford's in Riverwest.

Fischberger's Variety
Address: 2445 N Holton St, Riverwest
Phone: 414-263-1991
Talk about one of a kind! Sarah and River have a store that should be on anyone's shortlist when showing them interesting things in Milwaukee. And they are opening up a second location too. It's not on the passport but be sure to visit them at 55th and Vliet.

Fyxation Bicycle Company
Address: 2943 N Humboldt Blvd, Riverwest
Phone: 414-372-7223
This is the company store for the Fyxation Bicycle Company as well as its headquarters. I would not mind a Rishi Tea company store, if anyone is thinking about this.

Aside from restaurants and bars and excluding services (like physical therapy), the two categories of "stuff" retail that seem to be vibrant are mattresses and bicycles. The former is explored in this Freakonomics Radio podcast while the latter is featured in Fyxation in Riverwest.  Though not on the passport, a shout out to some of our other bicycle friends, Ben's Cycle (outside the game boundaries), Rainbow Jersey, The Bike Fixers, and the local multi-store Wheel and Sprocket.

Goody Gourmet's
Address: 4425 N. Oakland Ave, Shorewood
Phone: 414-906-1042
I said we had some exceptions in terms of spaces where it's hard to hide a Waldo, but hey, it's a gourmet popcorn shop, which you sort of can't pass up.

Holey Moley Doughnuts
Address: 316 N. Milwaukee Street, Third Ward
Phone: 414-308-1616
Our booksellers just had doughnuts as a treat--how could I not drop off their materials without buying some! Also a pretty small space, and the hours are tricky, as they now close when they run out of their morning batch of donuts, sometimes as early as 11 am (Saturdays). Our suggestion is to start off a day's search with a visit. Especially on a weekday, you'll find it easier to park too!

Hot Pop
Address: 201 N Water St, Third Ward
Phone: 414-273-1301
Kids will really find a lot to like in this store, with clothes, collectibles, and art in all price points.

Indulgence Chocolatiers (two locations)
Address: 4525 N Oakland Ave, Shorewood
Phone: 414-332-2749
Address: 211 S 2nd Street, Walkers Point
Phone: 414-223-0123
Milwaukee is a great chocolate town, but Indulgence really takes my favorite thing in the world to a new level. We've included two locations on the Waldo passport - there's another on North Ave in Wauwatosa. Indulgence's Julie is also president of Local First Milwaukee, so we're not just grateful for her treats, but for her service.

Other great places for local chocolate in Milwaukee - Northern Chocolate on King Drive (Fridays and Saturdays only), Kerr's in the Milwaukee Public Market (the Lisbon location is mail-order only), Red Elephant in the Third Ward, Burke's in Riverwest, and Neimann's below.

Little Monsters
Address: 2445 N Farwell Ave, East Side
Phone: 414-964-2323
Little Monsters is a very special store for kids halfway between the North and Downer shopping districts. You'll know proprietor Andie from her years at Boutique Bee on Downer. A great selection of kids clothes, toys, and impulse items.

Little Read Book
Address: 7603 W. State Street, Wauwatosa
Phone: 414-774-2665
It's worth a drive to Tosa Village for a visit to Little Read Book, a charming store, packed with books for adults and kids. You can avoid a little construction (who doesn't like adventure?) by parking in the lot west of the store on State. I parked closer to Soaps and Scents (see below) and walked down.

Nehring's Sendiks
Address: 4027 N. Oakland, Shorewood
Phone: 414-332-3140
And also on Nehring's Sendiks on Downer
Address: 2643 N. Downer, East Side
Phone: 414-962-1600
The Downer Sendiks has been completely remodeled, with new freezers. Waldo could be just about anywhere. And parking is easy at the Shorewood Sendiks garage. They're not on the game board but why not visit Nehring's other stores - Groppi in Bay View, V. Richards in Brookfield, and Nehring's in the Milwaukee Public Market?

Niemann's Candies and Ice Cream
Address: 7475 Harwood Ave, Wauwatosa
Phone: 414-774-4940
Candy and ice cream? Who wants that? Note that Niemann's opens at 11 am.

Outpost Natural Foods
Address: 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Ave, Bay View
Phone: 414-431-3377
100 E. Capitol Dr, Milwaukee, sort of between Riverwest and Shorewood
Phone: 414-961-2597
We've got two locations of Outpost participating in Find Waldo this year. Maria at the Bay View location is particularly excited about hiding Waldo!

Purple Door Ice Cream
Address: 205 S 2nd Street, Walker's Point
Phone: 414-988-2521
If you haven't yet been to Purple Door, expect to see even more interesting flavors than you see in your grocery case, but don't worry, 90% of them are kid friendly, and hey, there's not much alcohol in the other 10%. They are not on the Waldo passport but don't forget about Babe's in Bay View, which uses Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream (from Madison, as does Pizza Shuttle and Chocolate Factory) but makes their own ice cream cakes.

Red Cap Luggage and Gifts
Address: 415 E Silver Spring Dr, Whitefish Bay
Phone: 414-332-5900
Got to support an independent luggage store, and don't forget that kids need luggage too. They also have a nice assortment of backpacks for back to school.

Rushmor Records
Address: 2635 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Bay View
Phone: 414-481-6040
For the little metal head in your family?

Sydney b. (Shorewood location)
Address: 4529 N. Oakland
Phone: 414-336-9677
Kids clothes and toys! They also have a location in Mequon. And it's not on the passport, but if you haven't yet visited Ruckus and Glee on North Avenue in Wauwatosa, it's worth a trip.

Soaps and Scents
Address: 7600 Harwood, Wauwatosa
Phone: 414-771-2228
I just spent close to $50 there. Since they were on Downer, I've been a loyal shopper, following them to Mayfair and now Wauwatosa Village. Lots of things for kids too.

The Waxwing
Address: 1800 E. North Ave, East Side
The former Shorewood staple has moved to Oakland and North, just across from Beans and Barley, and is bigger than ever. Jannis's storytime (formerly at Boswell) has moved there too. And here's a modern twist - no phone but you can tweet them. In general, their hours are 11 am to 7 pm.

Not on the passport, but if you like artists collective stores, why not visit Swallow Collective in Bay View.

Winkie's Toys and Variety
Address: 629 E. Silver Spring, Whitefish Bay
Phone: 414-964-2130
Winkie's is two stores in one! Find Waldo is part of the lower level goings on, which are where most of the kid-friendly toys, crafts, and candy are.

This family fun event will take place throughout the month of July and will give players the opportunity to see, taste, and explore Milwaukee in a fun and exciting way. Then come August 1st at 4pm, players are invited to our big prize party at Boswell. Players who have collected 10 or more stamps will receive a coupon and Waldo button. Those who collect 20 or more will then be entered in the prize drawing. We'll have a few categories for folks who can't attend but for most prizes, you'll have to attend to win.

Can't find your favorite independent store on the Waldo passport? We're at the mercy of only getting 25 slots from Candlewick, the sponsor, though we're usually able to creatively squeeze a few extra on. We don't charge the stores and thus absorb the costs of the program (the prize for the drawing is voluntary) and so we don't have a ton of time and resources.

It's possible your favorite store is a multi-city chain or part of a franchise--we work with all kinds of retailers (hey, we're connected to a Starbucks!), but for this particular promotion, we're focusing on independents. That said, we know that ownership can be complicated and we might have been wrong about that too--we made at least one mistake! Maybe Boswell is owned by an international cartel! It is not, by the way. Similarly, we work with folks all over the metro area (we just today booked an amazing fall event in Greenfield) but we had to set geographical boundaries on this event.

Some stores said no, and others didn't reply to our inquiry. As I mentioned, we were looking for stores open five days a week, were kid friendly, and big enough to lose Waldo. We thought the bustle we caused in restaurants and coffee shops would drive kids crazy. But with all those caveats, it's possible we didn't know about your favorite store. So tell us!

And finally, here are the other stores in Wisconsin organizing their own Find Waldo promotions:
1. Books and Company in Oconomowoc
2. Northwind Books and Fiber in Spooner
3. Dragonwings Bookstore in Waupaca

Plus for Wisconsin Public Radio listerners, these stores on the borders of Wisconsin are participating
4. Book Bin in Northbrook IL
5. Read Between the Lynes in Woodstock IL
6. Bookends and Beginnings in Evanston IL
7. Red Balloon in St. Paul MN

Don't forget, we have lots of great Waldo books to purchase at Boswell. That's sort of the point of the whole deal for the publisher, right?

Our thanks to Teasha and Todd at Boswell for putting this together. Now go find Waldo!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The story behind our recent book club discussion of Paul Goldberg's "The Yid."

I have sort of a rule about not pitching books for reading groups while they are still in hardcover. In fact, it is one of my two golden rules about selecting books for reading groups. Wait till paperback and more people are willing to purchase the book is #1. #2, by the way, is to pick books two months ahead (or more) instead of one. If you pick your selection so close to the meeting, you're making it harder for your bookstore to have books for you, and you're also making it harder for members to read the book.

But of course every so often rules get broken and our selection of The Yid by Paul Goldberg was one of those times. I was chatting about the book with James at Picador back when it was in galley form, and honestly, I thought it would be Conrad, not me, who wound up reading it. But it wound up at the top of my pile and passed my 50-page test. By that I mean I got to page 50 and didn't want to stop reading--many books don't make it past then. I will say that I like books with Jewish themes, especially if they are a bit unconventional, and the story reminded me a bit of Michael Chabon in its over-the-top elements and dancing language, and a little like David Bezmozgis in its theatrical sensibilities (I found The Betrayers to read like a stage play, and I mean that in a good way).

I wrote a staff rec, and it went something like this: "When an ominous police vehicle arrives late at night at the door of Solomon Levinson, erstwhile star of Moscow Yiddish Theater, he figures he is doomed to prison or worse. What has he got to lose? Three dead bodies later, a plan is hatched with the help of a doctor, a black engineer (nicknamed Paul Robeson, at least when the locals are being polite), and a mysterious woman. The task? Prevent the ultimate pogrom, a plan to wipe out the Jews of the Soviet Union. Jumping back and forth in time, Paul Goldberg blends history and imagination to tell a story that’s equal parts violence and slapstick. The narrative periodically veers into dramatic staging, showing how the artificial outrageousness of the story is not much more dramatic than the absurd contradictions of the Soviet totalitarian regime – Stalin’s purge was inspired by his contention that Soviet doctors were part of a cabal that was surreptitiously killing political leaders. The Yid is a skillful mashup of Michael Chabon and Quentin Tarantino, with enough factual details to even appeal to history buffs. On finishing the story, I immediately thought of a half dozen people who’d love it, and isn’t that the mark of a great read?"

The Tarantino is the money rec, as film comparisons generally have a wider reach than comparisons to other writers. I couldn't get through describing Don Lee's Wrack and Ruin without comparing it to Sideways (the Alexander Payne film from 2004, when I still went to movies). It implies a bit of humor, a lot of violence, and a revenge fantasy setup. But that is all hearsay.

I also decided that The Yid had a decent shot at winning the first novel prize for the National Jewish Book Awards, being that I read two winners in 2014, The Betrayers and The Mathematician's Shiva. While I did not read 2015's fiction winner, Daniel Torday's The Last Flight of Poxl West, it strikes me that Goldberg's sensibility is in keeping with these other winners. Hey, I'm never right about these things, but I like to make predictions with the best of them. I certainly can't be wrong as often as Jeane Dixon was.

To my delight, we sold the book a bit. So when it turned out that Goldberg was coming to a conference in Chicago, James suggested that Goldberg come up to do an event with us. I knew my cosponsoring partner, as I'd already gotten Joel Berkowitz at the UWM Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies to read it, and he liked it as much as I did. The good news was that they were not asking me to host the event on a Friday or Saturday, when you can't get cosponsorship from Jewish Organizations. The bad news is that they were asking us to host it on the first Monday of June, when we were already scheduled for our in-store reading group. Now I already knew that I had double trouble with scheduling coming up. Labor Day is always an issue, but this year July 4th was also on a Monday. So neither wanting to give up the event nor reschedule the book club, I decided we would read The Yid, have Goldberg come talk to us for a bit, and then have the official event in the back of the store, a taped conversation between Goldberg and Berkowitz.

Now here's the thing about The Yid. I love the book but I never thought it was for everyone. To me, it's for an adventurous reader. A little knowledge of Jewish culture wouldn't hurt, and interest in theater would be good too, and tolerance for literary violence probably is helpful. I definitely could see our buyer Jason liking the book, for example.

But that was not to be. So let's say that the in-store lit group did not like it as much as A Man Called Ove. That's the problem with having someone like me who has as many reading personalities as Sybil. And yes, I also read that too. I do know there were several folks who did not attend who might have liked the book more and turned around the conversation, but as any reading group leader knows, you get the conversation you get.

Of all the characters, most of the attendees liked Frederick Lewis the best, the African American engineer from Omaha who went to the Soviet Union to escape racism, only to find that most of his new countryman could not really distinguish him from Paul Robeson (at their best) and a monkey (at their worst).

We had Goldberg come in and talk to us and I think that helped. He discussed the Yiddish productions of Shakespeare that were the rage at the time (they couldn't be seen as political), and in particular, the production of King Lear that really was produced in 1935.

We talked about Stalin's supposed plot to exterminate the Jews, just before he died. The trains were there! And we also talked about the suspicious nature of Stalin's own death, never completely settled.

Reviews on The Yid have really been great, by the way. Here is the critical reception from Janet Maslin in The New York Times, Maureen Corrigan on NPR's Fresh Air, and Glen David Gold in The Washington Post. Other raves include Kevin Nance in the Chicago Tribune and Daniel Akst in Newsday who wrote "It’s a good story, but what makes this such a terrific book is the author’s confident mastery of the world he immerses us in, the fascinating and tragic back stories he weaves with little loss of narrative momentum, and his conspiratorial relationship to the reader."

Oh, and the event went great too! Thank you Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Berkowitz (plus Ms. Dredge for setting up the taping). It really was a great evening.

For folks trying The Yid at their book club, it comes out in paperback on February 7, 2017. I would suggest scheduling it for April 2017 and afterwards.

Meanwhile, here are our next three meetings!

On Monday, July 11, 7 pm, we'll be discussing Anne Tyler's A Spool of Blue Thread. Note the date change. Science Fiction group will meet in the front of the store, In-store Lit in the back. As I've noted, Tyler's newest is outselling her last two novels published since we've been open by very large margins.

On Monday, August 1, 7 pm, we'll be discussing Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizers. You're just not part of the cultural discussion if you haven't read the Pulitzer Prize winner.

On Tuesday, September 6, 7 pm, we'll be discussing Quan Barry's She Weeps Each Time You're Born. Our bookseller Todd has been talking this up since it came out and we hosted Barry at Boswell for the hardcover. I've been suggesting that folks read The Sympathizers and She Weeps together as a unit, so I thought I'd put that suggestion into action.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Word of Mouth--books, television (or should I say video), records (or should I say music)? A post about Jennifer Keishin's Armstrong's "Seinfeldia" with a lot of asides.

As a bookseller, I have this thing about not being blindsided by books. When Emma Cline's The Girls took off, it was nice that we knew that there was a big push, and that we'd had a great early read from Sharon. Of course books still come out of left field. I'm still not sure why Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey is entrenched on the bestseller lists. I have done a number of searches and still haven't seen the article that explained what exactly broke the book out. I guess I could ask my Simon and Schuster rep, as they distribute Andrews McMeel, but it hasn't happened because every week when I look at the bestseller lists, I wonder who is pushing that book and then a minute later I get distracted by someone else. One thing I did notice - it was originally self-published, as the Createspace data is still in our system.

I guess it's human nature to not want to be the last one on the bus. If you are the kind of person who sees yourself as a trendspotter (and I guess a bookseller has to have a bit of that, even if it's a niche of a niche of trends), there's someone disappointing about being the last person to discover a book. And that's why when books explode, a lot of us rarely go back and read them if we didn't read them early.

And that's where I'm going to say that someday all of America is going to be reading Antoine Laurain. He just needs the right break. I'm excited that I just got my advance copy of French Rhapsody, coming out this fall, and hope I love it as much as I love The President's Hat and The Red Notebook.

I think this carries over into all my pop culture consumption, but it's gotten so much more difficult as options have exploded and pop culture has splintered. It took me six seasons to watch Portlandia (and decide that I like it) and being that I don't have Netflix, HBO, or Showtime (let alone Amazon Prime), there are many new touchstones that wind up being off limits.

So it's interesting to go back go back to the day when network television was still a huge chunk of the viewing pie, and a show like Seinfeld, despite the odds, could capture national consciousness. Some folks think that in a lot of ways, it was a game changer of a show, that led to the rise of small screen auteurs and the new golden age of television. And for some reason, I pride myself that I started watching early, mostly because my friend Heidi was an early obsessive and convinced me to watch not the abbreviated first season of four episodes (perhaps the smallest order for a non limited run series ever) but the second season that has the now-common non-network rhythm of 12 episodes.

I just finished reading Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything, and boy was it a great read. The book comes out July 5, but Armstrong will be detouring to Milwaukee when she comes to Chicago in September. Our event, in fact, is set for Monday, September 12, 7 pm, to be exact, and it's at Boswell. We hosted Armstrong for Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted and I remembered her family connection so we made a date for a return engagement. Alas, I tried this also with Jami Attenberg, but her family moved to Florida! Despite, this, we still love Saint Mazie, and it is currently on our book club flier and table, thanks to Jen's rec.

Seinfeldia offers a history of the show, most notably how it got from an idea over coffee to conception, bucking the odds more than once, as one network executive after another looked at it askance. One way the show was able to detour around failure, was that the show was originally shepherded by late nights and specials instead of prime time. They really found the money to create the four-episode first series by pulling it out of a Bob Hope special.

While it appears that Armstrong was not able to talk to the principal players (there's an interview list), where she shines, as in her last book, is in talking to the writers. So many of us want to know where the stories come from - it's the first questions I want to ask a writer in the question portion of their appearance. And the stories in Seinfeld were so different than what we'd seen before. And while Larry David took a lot from his own life, at one point, he was going to be squeezed dry. Every year a new group of writers came in and drew from the minutiae of their own lives (with Peter Mehlman being the only non-David writer who was close to a long-term writer) and then Mr. David Seinfelded it. I love how he'd tell a writer their idea was good, but for another show. And of course it was David's idea to have various plot strands come together at the end. It wasn't so much of a tying up as it was a collision.

The other thing Seinfeldia uncovers are all the side stories of people whose lives were changed by Seinfeld. Not just the inspiration for Kramer (Kenny Kramer, who doesn't know that?) but also the inspiration for Elaine, the real Soup Nazi, the actor who played the Soup Nazi, the real J. Peterman (who went on a speaking tour with John O'Hurley), and more.

So good! Seinfeldia is one of my summer picks. You'll definitely want to read it and if you're like me, you'll want to watch a bunch of episodes. If nothing else, you'll want to verify which character was in the most episodes (and no, it's not a family member, unlike Friends, where Ross and Rachel's mom is #1).


Music is another area where many folks pride themselves on being early to the dance. When I was young, I obsessively listened to radio, bought music, read what news I could get ahold of. I had a subscription to Billboard for years. I've talked at length about how that switch that used to get me to love music turned off. I could appreciate it, but I just couldn't obsess over it anymore.

Years ago I had a discussion with my fellow bookseller Arsen about this. I was having trouble making the leap to downloading (yes, this was before streaming); it was one too many format changes for me. But lately, the avalanche of music memoirs that we've been promoting, from Your Favorite Band is Killing Me, to Old Records Never Die to Dave Hill Doesn't Live Here Any More, had me thinking a lot about aural entertainment. I didn't read the Dave Hill book before it came out, but I found him so charming that I wound up buying the book that night and plowed through it. A lot of what I love about Hill is his delivery and demeanor - there's a spirit about him that is both self-deprecating and defeated, and can-do and conquering. Our event wasn't quite as big as I hoped for, but hey, that meant a bunch of folks at the event went out for drinks afterwards (not everyone went - it wasn't that small). And though Hill is now a long-time New Yorker, I kind of love that he still has Cleveland in his soul.

So I was thinking about that, and I was also thinking about something Eric Spitznagel talked about at his event. In the old days, you'd buy a record and you didn't always know what it sounded like. Maybe you heard the single or maybe you read a review. And sometimes you loved it and sometimes you hated it. But you'd spent your money and you only had two options - you could not listen to again and waste your money or you could listen to it twenty times, and the odds were, you'd wind up liking it.

So the craziest thing happened. In our back office, Jason plays music, sometimes on his headphones, but if nobody complains, it just comes out of his speakers. I've gotten to know Arcade Fire and the Lumineers and various other groups from his rotations. All well and good. But one day I called out to him across the room, "Hey that sounds just like Daryl Hall and John Oates!" And later on, "That sounds even more like Hall and Oates." And later on, "I think those lyrics are referring to 'Rich Girl.'" And I heard the new single and I said, "Oh, they are moving from retro to contemporary, sort of like the progression of Maroon 5. And of course I later learned that both Daryl Hall and Adam Levine gave the band early breaks. And yes, Daryl Hall's mother also heard the similarities in Mr. Hall and Mr. Fitzpatrick's vocals.

And they played and they played, and what do you know, it's like I'm 20 and I know all the lyrics to the first two Fitz and Tantrums albums. I decided to buy More Than Just a Dream, but would I download it, buy it on CD, or restart my vinyl collection. I decided I probably would have had the best experience with vinyl, but I went with the CD. I also wanted to buy a physical object (back to Eric Spitznagel's talk again) and I wanted to get it at a store. So it was nice to go into Rush Mor in Bay View and special order it from Matt, who is a regular magazine customer at Boswell (and just got back from touring Europe with his band). I promise to buy my next album at Exclusive Company, probably Songs for a Breakup, Volume 1. Probably today.

So what do you know, I actually still can obsess over pop music. It just takes six months of incessant playing instead of two listens. That impulse wasn't gone, it was just worn out. And so I'm late to the party. And I probably won't go to the party - Fitz and the Tantrums are playing at 10 pm at the Harley Davidson Roadhouse on June 29 (tomorrow, if you're reading this the day of posting). I'm not sure I can handle the crowds, and we have our own event, the Steve Raichlen sold-out dinner in Greendale that evening. But whoever is writing the lyrics seems kind of literary to me and would probably enjoy a nice independent bookstore just five-or-so minutes up Lincoln Memorial. Or if the weather isn't too humid, it's actually a pretty nice walk, if you're into that sort of thing.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Boswell Event Forecast: Celebrating the third edition of A Time of Terror, plus two events with Crimespree: Cara Black on Tuesday and Michael Harvey on Thursday, with Harvey in conversation with Ruth Jordan

Please note that the dinner at Joey Gerard's in Greendale this Wednesday is sold out. If you'd like a signed copy of Planet Smoke, they will be available on Thursday  afternoon. If you're interested in a signed copy of one of his backlist titles, we have a number of them available, but in order to make sure we get one signed for you, please order it from us by email or website. If it says "on our shelves now," it is likely we can get one signed for you.

Monday, June 27, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Fran Kaplan, Robert Samuel Smith, and Reggie Jackson,
celebrating the third edition of A Time of Terror.
This event is cosponsored by America's Black Holocaust Museum.

Please join us to hear about this award-winning memoir, the only account of a lynching ever written by a survivor, just republished in a third edition by America’s Black Holocaust Museum. Robert Smith, Fran Kaplan, and Reggie Jackson will read from the book, explain how it came to be published, and discuss its relevance for today's readers.

Dr. Robert Samuel Smith is Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Inclusion and Engagement, the Director of the Cultures and Communities Program, and Associate Professor of History at the UWM. He is author of the book Race, Labor and Civil Rights, and contributes a monthly column to Milwaukee Magazine.

Dr. Fran Kaplan serves as coordinator of the America’s Black Holocaust Museum online. She has been an educator, social worker, writer, and racial justice activist for nearly five decades. Fran has created and run nonprofit and for profit organizations that address issues from women’s health and farmworker rights to nurturing parenting, early childhood education, and peace-building.

Reggie Jackson, M.S., is Chair of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation, Head Griot (docent) of America’s Black Holocaust Museum, and protégé of Milwaukee civil rights icon James Cameron. Jackson is much sought-after as an educator and public speaker about African American history and contemporary race relations.

Tuesday, June 28, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Cara Black, author of Murder on the Quai,
co-sponsored by Crimespree Magazine and Alliance Française.

We are so excited to welcome back Cara Black for her third appearance at Boswell. For those of you anxiously awaiting the next adventure of Aimeé Leduc, mark your calendar. For those of you who have never read Leduc, this is a great place to start, as Murder on the Quai goes back to the time when Aimeé was in college. Here's Boswellian Anne's recommendation:

"In this prequel to the Aimée Leduc series, we meet the young Aimee in 1989. She is a premed student, struggling to succeed in the career that others think is right for her. We learn how she meets Rene, finds herself becoming interested in her father's work in the family detective agency, and finally how tragedy touches her life, killing her father and making her mother into a lifelong mystery. I have enjoyed this series from the start and this is a most worthwhile trip back to the beginning!" (Anne K. McMahon)

Marilyn Stasio is also a fan, highlighting Black's newest in the Crime column of The New York Times Book Review: "The case is engrossing, complete with Vichy flashbacks, but the most fun are the scenes where Aimée meets her future partners and acquires Miles Davis, her beloved bichon frisé. One caveat: For such a clotheshorse, Aimée doesn’t do nearly enough shopping."

You wouldn't know it from this delightful tote featuring the shoes of Aimeé Leduc. We're also celebrating the 25th anniversary of Soho Press with this free-with-purchase offer - the first 20 people to buy Murder on the Quai from us who mention this offer get the tote free. We've given away more than half of them, so if you want one, I'd purchase the book before our event.

Thursday, June 30, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Harvey, author of Brighton,
in conversation with Ruth Jordan of Crimespree Magazine.

Let me get this one: "Kevin and Bobby, as close as brothers, maneuver the mean streets of working-class Brighton. They are both poor, but Kevin is a smart kid and has a chance to make it. Kevin’s grandmother, who owns a cab business, is killed for her money. Tensions are going to flare – the murderer is black and this is in the height of the bussing riots. Kevin vows to kill the perpetrator, but Bobby takes the fall. Years later, Kevin is a Pulitzer-winning journalist and back in the neighborhood, only to find that Bobby is running a numbers business that the Providence mob wants a piece of. But it’s worse than that – a series of brutal murders might not just be connected to his prize-winning story, but to the messy past he’s left behind. I love the overlapping themes of justice and family that plays out on several levels. The violence is a bit gorier than you expect from my reading, but the writing is so good, and the characters are so strong that I carried on, steeled against guts pouring out and the like. You know what they say – no guts, no glory. Enjoy!" (Daniel Goldin)

Here's the clean Stephen King quote: "Helluva Boston crime novel. Helluva novel, period. If you liked The Departed, you'll like this." —Stephen King." This is when I miss King's column in Entertainment Weekly. He'd be blowing out copies of the book with a rave like this. Oh, and here's the adult quote from Stephen King: "Brighton is the f*cking bomb!"

And here is Mr. John Grisham's review. "I have enjoyed all of Michael Harvey's books, but his latest, Brighton, is his best. I couldn't stop reading."

I hear these are both very good writers and you should just listen to what they say. One person I listen to is Ruth Jordan, who along with her husband Jon, runs Crimespree Magazine, the Milwaukee-based guide to all things crime-y. Crimespree, which also runs the very popular Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee conference in November, is cosponsoring this event, and Harvey will be in conversation with Ms. Jordan.

I missed Harvey's last event at Boswell but I found his talk about The Innocence Game, a stand-alone inspired by his work on The Innocence Project, fascinating. Take a Summerfest break and come out for a whodunit happening.

And then we don't have any events for a week, until July 6. But if you're between a parade and a picnic, we're open July 4 for 10 am to 5 pm.