Sunday, January 25, 2015

What's Selling Around These Parts?: Annotated Boswell Boswell Lists for the Week Ending January 24, 2015.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
3. The Big Seven, by Jim Harrison
4. Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant
5. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
6. Etto and Otto and Russell and James, by Emma Hooper
7. Honeydew, by Edith Pearlman
8. The First Bad Man, by Miranda July
9. You Have to F*cking Eat, by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Owen Bronsman
10. The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

For those who wonder if the magic behind a Gone Girl can be duplicated, Riverhead's The Girl on the Train has left the station and is barreling down towards sustained bestsellerdom. It has a combination of indie enthusiasm and chain/internet support. Read more about it in The Wall Street Journal article from Jennifer Maloney. It has the elusive word of mouth that every breakout book is looking for.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Reputation Economy, by Michael Fertik
2. Seventh Generation Earth Ethics, by Patty Loew
3. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
4. Deep Down Dark, by Hector Tobar
5. The Kindness Diaries, by Leon Logothetis
6. Cam't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
7. Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham
8. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
9. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
10. The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore

It's interesting that the three books that were pretty much consistently outselling everything for us at Christmas (All The Light We Cannot See, Being Mortal, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) are now the three #1s on the hardcover New York Times Bestseller List. Irritatingly enough, Roz Chast is still banished to a rarely printed graphic fiction/nonfiction list, while a book like Humans of New York, which is also all basically graphic, is nonfiction.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, by Lesley Kagen
2. The Undertaking of Tess, by Lesley Kagen
3. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
4. A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki
5. The Crane Wife, by Patrick Ness
6. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
7. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
8. The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
9. The Martian, by Andy Weir
10. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent

The Crane Wife was one of Jen's holiday gift picks in hardcover and her enthusiasm continues for it in paperback. Her rec: "A story about a beautiful, loving crane and a violent, greedy volcano. Or a story about George, the crane he saves and Kumiko, the mysterious woman George falls in love with. Or a story that starts at the beginning of another story's ending. In his storytelling, Patrick Ness has taken a Japanese myth, mixed it with The Decemberists song "The Crane Wife 1 and 2" and created a beautiful tapestry. It’s an ancient story magically woven into a modern setting full of primal human emotions, a story that does not truly end." And the reissue of Monsters of Men, now with a new short story, is on our kids' list this week.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The New Jim Crow, by Michale Alexander
2. Indian Nations of Wisconsin, by Patty Loew
3. Great Ships on the Great Lakes, by Catherine Green
4. Claudia: Misguided Spirit, by Pamela Hendricks Frauschi
5. Christianity without God, by Daniel Maguire
6. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
7. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
8. How to Eat, by Thich Nhat Hanh
9. Zealot, by Reza Aslan
10. The Men Who United the States, by Simon Winchester

Out week selling books for the Wisconsin History tour at the Milwaukee Public Library accounted for a number of bestsellers. The most fascinating pop was for Great Ships of the Great Lakes. Though the talk was on the subject, the book sold was not written by the speaker, but attendees bought it anyway. Patty Loew led the pack, being that she did two talks, one for Indian Nations of Wisconsin at the library, and another for Seventh Generation Earth Ethics at the Urban Ecology Center, but folks bought both books at both events.

Books for Kids:
1. Cris Plata, by Maia Surdam
2. The Boy in the Black Suit (event 4/13 at East Library)
3. All Kinds of Kisses, by Nancy Tafuri
4. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom, by Lynda Blackmon Lowery
5. Firefight (The Reckoners V2), by Brandon Sanderson
6. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
7. The Book with no Pictures, by B.J. Novak
8. Crankenstein Valentine, by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Dan Santat
9. Star Wars Light Saber Thumb Wrestling
10. Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking V3), by Patrick Ness

As we mentioned recently, many successful picture books with a strong character lead to spinoffs focusing on Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Halloween (with optional books about Mom, Dad, Easter, and the first day of school). Since the original Crankenstein was Halloween themed, that leaves Crankenstein Valentine and the likely to come, Crankenstein's Holiday Gift. While these holiday spinoffs don't always get trade reviews, the original had a very nice Kirkus: " Each setting reveals sly comic elements that both kids and their grown-ups will appreciate. Readers will laugh out loud at the monster's seemingly over-the-top reactions and relate to the many tantrum-provoking situations." Read the rest of the review here.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Mike Fischer reviews Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923, by R.F. Foster, a book about how the Irish people coalesced around a more conservative Catholic bent for a free Ireland after dabbling with such out there concepts such as socialism and feminism. "Everyone could be against the English and for Ireland, without examining too closely what 'Ireland' actually meant. Only after 1916, Foster writes, would 'feminism, socialism, secularism and various forms of pluralism get "discounted,' as Irish society and politics became increasingly Catholic and conservative."

Christi Clancy reviews Melissa Falcon Fields' What Burns Away, a novel about a woman with a pretty good life who reconnects with an old lover on Facebook. "Don't" screams Clancy, but as happens in most stories, she does. Clancy writes: "What Burns Away is that rare mix of well-written literary fiction with the suspense of a spy novel. Falcon Field asks hard questions about aging, innocence, loyalty and the importance of place, while keeping us on the edge of our seat." Fields is coming to Boswell to talk about and read from What Burns Away on Tuesday, March 3, 7 pm.

Reviewed by Jim Higgins is Scott Blackwood's, See How Small, the story (inspired by a true event) of the brutal murder of three teenage girls at an ice cream shop in Austin, Texas, and the haunting aftermath, as lived by many of the folks touched by the incident. Higgins writes: "magine a Tom Waits album, circa Mule Variations, filled with songs about the unsolved murders of three girls haunting and unhinging people in a Texas town, half of them sung by Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies. That would make a fine soundtrack for reading Scott Blackwood's novel See How Small. The murder of four teenagers in an Austin, Texas, yogurt shop in 1991, still unsolved, inspired Blackwood's novel, but this slender book is not In Cold Blood. It also is not The Lovely Bones,"though some trade reviewers have been quick to link the two novels because the spirits of dead girls speak in both books." Blackwood appears at Boswell on Thursday, February 5, 7 pm.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Here's What's Going on at Boswell This Week--Lesley Kagen, Patty Loew, Pamela Hendricks Frautschi, plus The Wisconsin History Tour at MPL.

Monday, January 19, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Our rescheduled event with Lesley Kagen, author of The Resurrection of Tess Blessing

In this poignant novel, 49-year-old Tess sets forth on a mission to complete her final “to-do” list before what she’s sure will be her impending death after she is diagnosed with breast cancer, never thinking that she may have to stick around to deal with her handiwork. Among the things Tess feels she must do before her impending death to cancer are making peace with her estranged sister, saying goodbye to her mother’s long-kept ashes that she keeps in the garage, rescuing her daughter from the grip of an eating disorder, helping her son grow-up, and reigniting the spark in her marriage.

Grace, the story’s narrator, aids Tess on her quest and lends the story its most brilliant elements: subtle magical realism and deep psychological complexity. Is Grace an “imaginary friend,” guardian angel, or a part of Tess who knows better than she? Readers will love this heartwarming, humorous, and slightly magical redemptive story about second chances and realizing what—and who—is really important, before it’s too late.

Restaurateur, actress, voice-over artist and author of several novels, including the bestselling Whistling in the Dark, Lesley Kagen lives in Cedarburg.

Tuesday, January 20, 7 pm, at the Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center, 1500 E. Park Place: A Ticketed Urban Ecology Center Event with Patty Loew, author of Seventh Generation Earth Ethics: Native Voices of Wisconsin Tickets are $10 ($5 for UEC members).

Patty Loew, enrolled member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, chronicles toils and triumphs of caring for the earth from Wisconsin’s Native American Communities, and the philosophy that drives them. Seventh Generation Earth Ethics: Native Voices of Wisconsin profiles a dozen influential members from Wisconsin’s Indian Nations each of whom employ the “Seventh Generation Philosophy” to make environmental decisions based upon how those decisions will impact the land for seven generations to come, some 240 years into the future.

Loew is a professor in the department of life sciences communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and affiliated faculty with the American Indian studies program. Dr. Loew donates 100% of the royalties she would otherwise receive as author of Indian Nations of Wisconsin to the Wisconsin Indian Education Association for scholarships.

Wednesday, January 21, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Milwaukeean Pamela Hendricks Frautschi, author of Claudia: Misguided Spirit

Pamela Hendricks Frautschi, a resident and activist of Milwaukee’s Eastside for fifty years, is currently president of Eastside Milwaukee Community Council (EMCC). The owner of Dance Spectrum in Shorewood for fifteen years, she taught in UWM’s Dance Department, and in public schools in Wauwatosa, Middleton, and Milwaukee.

Her new memoir, Claudia: Misguided Spirit, chronicles the troubled relationship between siblings where one's choice to follow enlightenment created tension for the rest of the family.

And don't forget:

Now on display at Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI through January 29th, the exhibit is located in the 1st floor hallway of Central Library between the Media Room and the main Reading Room.

The Wisconsin History Tour exhibit features:

--Local history photos and stories --Shipwrecks in the deep of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior --History of the Wisconsin Historical Society --National collections of acclaim, right here in Wisconsin --Portraits of the Ho-Chunk Nation --A Civil War soldier’s letters home --Collections that have become Curators’ Favorites --Histories behind Wisconsin Historical Society's historic sites and museums

Here's a list of events. But don't go today; all branches are closed except for the Martin Luther King Library, which has special programming.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What's Selling at One Little Corner of Milwuakee? Boswell's Annotated Bestseller Lists for the Week Ending January 17, 2015.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. The First Bad Man, by Miranda July
3. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
4. Lila, by Marilynne Robinson
5. Honeydew, by Edith Pearlman
6. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
7. Lydia's Party, by Margaret Hawkins (event for paperback 1/28)
8. Redeployment, by Phil Klay
9. The Bishop's Wife, by Ivie Mette Harrison
10. Outline, by Rachel Cusk

Hooray for new blood! While Anthony Doerr continues to dominate fiction (he's #1 on The New York Times as well), a bunch of January releases dominate the list, starting with another Scribner release, The First Bad Man, from Miranda July. The actress/filmmaker hasn't had a book since her successful short story collection (which I loved, but that was back when I read a lot) No One Belongs Here More Than You. Read this Portland Oregonian review/profile which says the book celebrates her "Portland stripper days."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Digital Destiny, by Shawn Dubravac
2. Moving the Needle, by Joe Sweeney
3. The Kindness Diaries, by Leon Logothetis
4. Is There Life After Football, by James Holstein, Richard Jones and George Koonce, Jr.
5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
6. Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
7. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast
8. How to Tie a Scarf, from Potter Style
9. America's Bitter Pill, by Steven Brill
10. The Keillor Reader, by Garrison Keillor

Events dominate the list (with a corporate order for the new Dubravac) with many 2013 favorites taking up the second half of the list. I am fascinated to still see nice movement for The Keillor Reader as I thought our resurgence of signed copies was more of a gift thing (we still have a few left). I am also fascinated by the pop for How to Tie a Scarf on our impulse table, which started at the holidays and continues into January. It's so old-school Crown, the kind of book they would have published way back when they were an independent publisher. Of course I can't remember any examples, but maybe they will come to me later.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Istanbul Passage, by Joseph Kanon (event 3/11)
2. Doc, by Mary Doria Russell (event 3/5)
3. The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy
4. Mount, by Carol Emshwiller
5. The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
6. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
7. The Hollow Land, by Jane Gardam
8. The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, by Lesley Kagen (event 1/19)
9. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
10. The Undertaking of Tess, by Lesley Kagen (see above)

Periodically Anne and I will pick upcoming author's books for book club discussion and you can see why, as the books are our top sellers this week. Joseph Kanon is coming for Leaving Berlin; the mystery group discusses Istanbul Passage on 2/23. Mary Doria Russell is coming for Epitaph; the in-store lit group discusses Doc on February 2. Now we just have to get a great science fiction for Jason so his group can discuss a backlist title.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Sundown, by Judith Harway
2. The Boys on the Porch, by June Nilssen Eastvold
3. Riverwest, by Tom Tolan
4. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
5. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
6. How to Sit, by Thich Nhat Hanh
7. Danubia, by Simon Winder
8. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett
9. Networking is a Contact Sport, by Joe Sweeney
10. A Little History of Literature, by John Sutherland

Hey, I wasn't even paying attention to John Sutherland's A Little History of Literature, which I read in hardcover. Here's an amusing column from Malcolm Forbes in The Daily Beast, who notes that Sutherland argues that "Luxembourg, Monaco, and even the multi-national European Union would be unable to create epic literature." The United States is also missing its great epic, perhaps having come to the table to late in the age of literature. I read Sutherland's book too long ago to remember his string of reasoning; you'll have to find out for yourself.

Books for Kids:
1. The Hollow Earth, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
2. The Bone Quill, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
3. Looking for Alaska, tenth anniversary edition, by John Green
4. The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds (event 4/13 at East Library)
5. Once Upon an Alphabet, by Oliver Jeffers
6. Before After, by Mathias Arégui and Anne-Margot Ramstein
7. All the Right Places, by Jennifer Niven
8. A Perfectly Messed-up Story, by Patrick McDonnell
9. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, by Katherine RUndell
10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid V9: The Long Haul, by Jeff Kinney

Yes, you're probably wondering where is The Book of Beasts, the third volume in the Hollow Earth series, which came out in the UK last summer. I've been told that it's scheduled for this summer. And I should also note that it's another upcoming event book that we are reading for in-store lit group. We've never read a young-adult novel, so we're going with The Boy in the Black Suit for March 2 (7 pm), with the event following on April 13, this time at the new East Library.

In the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews the new story collection by Megan Mayhem Bergman. He writes: "The title she chose, Almost Famous Women, correctly describes the Q score of the historical figures in her book. But Bergman fictionalizes their lives — often as seen by a sister, admirer or lover — as too wild and too intense to be forgotten. The stories revolve around such folks as Daisy and Violet Hilton, Butterfly McQueen, and Joe Carstairs.

Speaking of Carole Barrowman (and we were, as her books were on our kids' bestseller list), her new mystery column is out. This month's featured titles:
--The Unquiet Dead, by Ausma Zehana Khan, the first in a series of novels about two Muslim detectives in Canada investigating a war criminal. This is definitely Barrowman's pick for the month. It's "exceptional."
--The Bishop's Wife, by Mette Ivie Harrison, a novel about Sister Wallheim, who is indeed the mother of five and wife of an LDS bishop.
--The Devil You Know, by Elisabeth de Mariaffi, is about a rookie journalist with panic attacks charged with investigating the disappearance of some young girls.

And Chris Foran reviews Driving the King, the new novel from Ravi Howard, the author of Like Trees, Walking. Set in 1945 Birmingham, the story's jumping-off point is when Nat King Cole is attacked by a group of White men onstage and Nat Weary, the man who stops the assault. Foran writes: " In an easygoing style, with Weary as his guide, Howard pokes into under-viewed corners of the fight (for civil rights) while never losing sight of the humanity of both the cause and its effects."

Plus, a piece from the Associated Press about Haruki Murakami's website, Mr. Murakami's Place, where he is taking questions through January 31. Only one caveat: it's in Japanese. Get out your translator app!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Daniel Outreaches to Jewish Organizations with Three Upcoming Events with Boris Fishman, Joseph Kanon, and Judith Claire Mitchell.

Many of you are wondering why I am not blogging as much this January. There's always a lot on our plate after Christmas, but this year it just seems like I am completely booked doing other stuff from morning to night. I'd like to blame the computer issues, and sure, I spent several hours yesterday reconfiguring my backup software, for example, but it still seems like a cheap excuse.

One thing I've been doing is getting the word out on upcoming events. For example, we have these three upcoming events that have appeal to Jewish audiences. And hey, while I'm doing that, I might as well also turn it into a blog.

On Thursday, February 26, UWM Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies presents an appearance by Boris Fishman, author of the acclaimed first novel, A Replacement Life. This novel, written by a Russian immigrant, is about Slava Gelman, a journalist who wants to be “a writer”, who is roped into a scheme to forge documents so that his relatives and their friends can apply for Holocaust restitution.

Of A Replacement Life, Joyce Carol Oates offered this praise: “A Replacement Life is a memorable debut by a wonderfully gifted young writer. In tracing the adventures of a ’curator of suffering’ who forges Holocaust restitution claims for his grandfather and his grandfather’s Russian immigrant neighbors in South Brooklyn, Boris Fishman has written a beautifully nuanced, tender, and often very funny novel about conscience and familial loyalty that will linger long in the memory.” Fishman was featured on the front-page New York Times Book Review, where Patricia T. O’Connor wrote “Is there room in American fiction for another brilliant young émigré writer? There had better be, because here he is. Boris Fishman’s first novel, A Replacement Life, is bold, ambitious and wickedly smart.” .

On Wednesday, March 11, we present acclaimed novelist Joseph Kanon, whose latest book is Leaving Berlin. Kanon, a former publishing executive, whose most famous novel, The Good German, was made into a feature film, returns to that nether land that is Berlin after World War II. The city has been divided into zones, and a blockade has left much of the city struggling. Arriving back after 15 years in the United States is Alex Meier, a noted writer, half-Jewish, with socialist leanings, who fled when the Nazis rose to power but left America when the rise of communist witch hunts started pointing at him and the government asked him to name names.

He’s been invited back by the Socialist Germans to be an artist in residence, but what they don’t know is that he’s been recruited by Americans to funnel information, in return for amnesty. What the Germans also don’t know is that the Russians have their own intelligence system and their not sharing information, nor have they made clear that German POWs are being used as slave labor in uranium mines. Things get more complicated when Alex hooks up with Irene, an old flame, now an actress, who is also having an affair with a Russian bigwig. He’s also asked to rat out his publisher, Aaron Stein, when the Russians have him arrested for treason? Oh, and did we mention that Irene’s brother shows up, having escaped from the slave camp, dying of radiation poisoning? Alex Meier finds being a spy is a bit more difficult than he hoped. Great intellectual espionage for Alan Furst fans. And I should note that while Joseph Kanon is not Jewish, his wife is. More in this article.

On Wednesday, April 1, UW-Madison professor Judith Claire Mitchell comes to Boswell for her new novel, A Reunion of Ghosts. Set in the late 1990s (and going back a century), three sisters in their forties have made a suicide pact, a family tradition that goes back to their great grandmother, wife of the Jewish Nobel prize winning scientist who developed the poisonous gas that was used first in World War I and then in the Nazi death chambers. Judith Claire Mitchell talks about how her tendency to infuse dark and serious subjects with humor might be in part due to her Jewish heritage in this profile.

Now you wouldn’t think that a novel like this would win the hearts of so many readers, but it has, starting with our own Jen Steele. She writes: “"The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations." These are the words that the Alter sisters live by. It has become their motto and this conviction becomes part of the reason they have chosen to die at their own hands on December 31st, 1999. Lady, Vee and Delph Alter have written a suicide note together, which is more than a "goodbye, world" note; it's also a family history. You see, the Alter sisters are descendants of Lenz Otto Alter and Iris Emanuel Alter. Lenz was a chemist and the creator of the poison gas that was first used in WWI. Iris was the first woman to earn a PhD in chemistry and the first in the family to commit suicide. A Reunion of Ghosts is a captivating chronicle of a family and the weight of consequences, which grows heavier with time. It's the quirky, dark comedy, family saga you'll want to read.”

I a happy to note that none of which are on a Friday evening, which sometimes confounds my plans of cultural outreach (like, for example, Steven Pinker last fall or David Treuer (his father was a Holocaust survivor) on February 20. But don't worry, I'm doing Native American outreach for his new novel, Prudence (see another post).

Oh, and congratulations to former David Bezmozgis and Stuart Rojstaczer, both winners of a National Jewish Book Award (for fiction and debut fiction, respectively), both of whom appeared at Boswell for events co-sponsored by the Stahl Center in 2014.

Monday, January 12, 2015

What's Happening at Boswell This Week: Judith Harway, George Koonce, Jr., Richard Jones, James Holstein (the three are together), Jill Nilssen Eastvold, Leon Logothetis, plus Lesley Kagen Next Monday and Tickets on Sale for Erik Larson.

Here's what's going on this week (plus one announcement for a March event)!

Tuesday, January 13, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Judith Harway, author of Sundown: A Daughter's Memoir of Alzheimer's Care.

Harway, an Associate Professor of Writing at MIAD, has written an unblinking account of the ravages and redemption of caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Sundown tallies the losses of dementia, examines the restructuring of relationships at the end of life, and affirms the power of storytelling to both preserve and shape memory. Unfolding in the no-man’s land between the needs of an aging population and the market-driven realities of the American healthcare system, with over five million Americans currently suffering from Alzheimer’s, this is terrain we cannot afford to ignore.

In the words of Tom Hlavacek, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, “Judith Harway gives us a loving, nuanced and immensely readable perspective on the journey she and her family traveled with her mother and Alzheimer's disease. Full of wisdom, insight, heartache, and moments of laughter and tears, Sundown is a testament to an extraordinary mother and an important addition to the body of literature on Alzheimer's and caregiving.”

Judith Harway's other works include The Memory Box and All That is Left, two collections of poetry. Her work has been published in dozens of literary magazines, and has earned fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board, the MacDowell Colony, and the Hambidge Center

Wednesday, January 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
George E. Koonce, Jr., James A. Holstein, and Richard S. Jones, authors of Is There Life After Football?: Surviving the NFL.

Is There Life After Football? draws upon the experiences of hundreds of former players as they describe their lives after their football days are over. It also
incorporates stories about their playing careers, even before entering the NFL, to provide context for understanding their current situations. The authors begin with an analysis of the bubble-like conditions of privilege that NFL players experience while playing, conditions that often leave players unprepared for the real world once they retire and must manage their own lives.

Is There Life After Football? also examines the key issues affecting former NFL players in retirement: social isolation, financial concerns, inadequate career planning, psychological challenges, and physical injuries. From players who make reckless and unsustainable financial investments during their very few high-earning years, to players who struggle to form personal and professional relationships outside of football, the stories in the book put
a very human face on the realities of the world of professional football. George Koonce Jr., a former NFL player himself, weaves in his own story throughout, explaining the challenges and setbacks he encountered and decisions that helped him succeed as an NFL Director of Player Development, PhD student, and university administrator after leaving the sport.

From Booklist: "While this is a rigorous and scholarly study, the authors present their findings in a very accessible manner, weaving narratives from hundreds of interviews together with information gleaned from direct observation, previous research, and stories in the media. A timely exploration that will be of interest to football fans looking to better understand the complex culture of the NFL."

James A. Holstein and Richard S. Jones are both Sociology Professors at Marquette University. George E. Koonce, Jr. is currently Vice President of Advancement at Marian University, after positions at UWM, Marquette, and of course the Green Bay Packers.

Thursday, January 15, 7 pm, at Boswell:
June Nilssen Eastvold, author of The Boys on the Porch, an allegory.

When a company of homeless men took up residence on the portico at the University Lutheran Church in Seattle, all hell broke loose. Neighbors, realtors, health professionals, the bishop's office, the business community, the daycare staff, irate parents and the ecumenical community began to divide around the question, "Who is our neighbor?" The Boys on the Porch address the middle-class material values that block the mysterious transformational work of the spirit.

It is a drama that is based on Eastvold's years as a minister and social activist. It took place in the early 1990s in Seattle, Washington. But as Eastvold notes, "it's a dram that is being repeated, with different twists and turns in the story line, in every city, and even in small towns, in this country."

Jill Nilssen Eastvold was one of the first women to be ordained by the Lutheran Chruch in America in 1970. During her forty years of ministry, she has served on the commission of 70, elected to design the newly-formed Eveangelical Luteran Chruch in America, and worked as campus pastor at UWM, where she founded the Gamaliel Chair for Peace and Justice. She currently lives in Port Washington.

Saturday, January 17, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Leon Logothetis, author of The Kindness Diaries

Follow the inspirational journey of a former stockbroker who leaves his unfulfilling desk job in search of a meaningful life. He sets out from Los Angeles on a vintage motorbike, determined to circumnavigate the globe surviving only on the kindness of strangers. Incredibly, he makes his way across the U.S., through Europe, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and finally to Canada and back to the Hollywood sign, by asking strangers for shelter, food, and gas. Again and again, he’s won over by the generosity of humanity, from the homeless man who shares his blanket to the poor farmer who helps him with his broken down bike, and the HIV-positive mother who takes him in and feeds him. At each stop, he finds a way to give back to these unsuspecting
Good Samaritans in life-changing ways, by rebuilding their homes, paying for their schooling, and leaving behind gifts big and small. The Kindness Diaries will introduce you to a world of adventure, renew your faith in the bonds that connect people, and inspire you to accept and generate kindness in your own life.

TV host, producer, author, and traveler Leon Logothetis is in the midst of a cross-country tour to spread the word about the power of kindness. And part of the tour involves the golden ticket campaign in that one event attendee will win said ticket, redeemable for a $100 American Express gift certificate. And yes, if you already have a copy of The Amazing Adventure of a Nobody, this is an updated edition of that book.

Monday, January 19, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Our rescheduled event with Lesley Kagen, author of The Resurrection of Tess Blessing.
Snow, snow, go away. Come again on a day we don't have an event.

In Lesley Kagen's latest novel, 49-year-old Tess sets forth on a mission to complete her final "to-do" list before what she’s sure will be her impending death after she is diagnosed with breast cancer, never thinking that she may have to stick around to deal with her handiwork.

Among the things Tess feels she must do before her impending death to cancer are making peace with her estranged sister, saying goodbye to her mother’s long-kept ashes that she keeps in the garage, rescuing her daughter from the grip of an eating disorder, helping her son grow-up, and reigniting the spark in her marriage. Grace, the story’s narrator, aids Tess on her quest and lends the story its most brilliant elements: subtle magical realism and deep psychological complexity. Is Grace an imaginary friend, guardian angel, or a part of Tess who knows better than she? This is a heartwarming, humorous, and slightly magical redemptive story about second chances and realizing what—and who—is really important, before it’s too late.

Don't forget, the previous ebook novella, The Undertaking of Tess, is also available in paperback form.

Tickets now on sale!
Tuesday, March 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
A ticketed event with Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.
$30 ticket includes admission for one and a copy of Dead Wake.

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic Greyhounds and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship--the fastest then in service--could outrun any threat.

 Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the"Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small - hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more - all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history. '

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.

Our first email went out last week and we've already sold over fifty tickets. Don't forget, Larson is also the guest speaker at the Wauwatosa Library Leadership Lunch on March 25. Tickets available soon. Info should be available on this web page but if it's not updated soon, contact the library. And don't forget, if you are attending the lunch, it's polite to buy the book from Little Read Book in Wauwatosa.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Boswell Bestsellers for the Week Ending January 10, 2015

Yes, I've been on blog hiatus, but it's one of those things where the only way I could clean up my close to 1000 email backlog was by taking it on full throttle. It's a little better now, but still not where I want it to be. Someday, someday.

The second thing I wanted to note is that we are scheduled for inventory tonight at 5 pm, so Boswell is closing early. We're open 10 am to 5 pm instead of our normal 6 pm closing time. It's great that we'll probably have the best weather of the week, but a little unfortunate that it comes during the Packers-Cowboys game, when most of you will be staying home or will be riveted to a bar stool. But life can be like that. We're still grateful for a warm, dry December.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
2. The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters
3. Reployment, by Phil Klay
4. Honeydew, by Edith Pearlman
5. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

A new exciting book to sell! Edith Pearlman's first book of stories published by a "major" was featured on the front page of The New York Times Book Review. Laura Van Der Berg calls Honeydew "a majestic, fleet-footed new collection."

And did you hear that Redeployment's Phil Klay will be one of the last guests on The Colbert Report?

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
2. Seventh Generation Earth Ethics, by Patty Loew (appearing at the Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center January 20)
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
4. This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein
5. The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore

Both have far surpassed what we've sold of Jill Lepore in the past, but this week The Secret History of Wonder Woman edged passed sales of The Book of Ages, Lepore's previous book about Ben Franklin's sister. As Audrew Bilger said in her San Francisco Chronicle review, "Suffering Sappho!

Paperback Fiction:
1. Oedipius at Colonus, by Sophocles, translated by David Mulroy
2. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
3. The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, by Lesley Kagen (rescheduled at Boswell for January 19)
4. Doc, by Mary Doria Russell
5. Badlands, by Thomas Biel

We're gearing up for our visit with Mary Doria Russell for Epitaph by trying to get folks to read Doc beforehand. We've got two aggressive hand-sellers in the store in Jason and Anne, plus the in-store book club reading Doc on February 2.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
2. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
3. What We See When We Read, by Peter Mendelsund
4. The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
5. Worth Fighting For, by Rory Fanning

Dwight Garner wrote in The New York Times that "like a TED talk or a lesser Alain de Botton book, Peter Mendelsund’s What We See When We Read is friendly and shyly philosophical, filled with news you can almost use" by which he seemed to mean that he didn't really like the book until page 200, when he started to get into it.

Books for Kids:
1. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
2. Sisters, by Raina Telgemeier
3. Goodnight Moon board book, by Margaret Wise Brown
4. Squirrels on Skis, by J. Hamilton Ray, with illustrations by Pascal Lemaitre
5. Love Monster board book, by Rachel Bright

The Love Monster is a slightly hairy creature trying to fit in with the other residents of Cutesville. If this book exploded beyond Valentine's Day, maybe we'd get to 100 copies, something that Goodnight Moon does most years at Boswell. And Love Monster shows that for most books, the path is from hardcover picture book to board book, not paperback. And then you spin off to a Christmas book, Love Monster: The Perfect Present? There will likely be a paperback, but that will likely be an early chapter book. And then a Halloween book. And then a first-day-at-school book.  But we'll always love the original Love Monster the best.

This week in the Journal Sentinel, the print edition has Chris Vognar's review of Fire Shut Up in My Bones and a profile of Patton Oswalt's Silver Screen Fiend, both already enjoying recommendations from Boswellians. Jim Higgins reviews The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord. "Lord has created a complex universe here. Her opening chapter fills in some background for people who haven't read The Best of All Possible Worlds" but Higgins seems to really think you need to read that book first.