Monday, February 18, 2019

Events; Michael W Twitty, Susan Angel Miller, Lizzy Mason, Stephen Savage, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, Jennifer Harvey, Andy Rash, Chris Jones

Tuesday, February 19, 4:00 pm, at UWM Golda Meir Library, Fourth floor conference Center, 2311 E Hartford Ave:
Michael W Twitty, author of The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South 

The UWM Stahl Center for Jewish Studies features a panel discussion featuring Michael Twitty, along with Portia Cobb, Jennifer Jordan, and Shahanna McKinney Baldon,

Moderated by Kyle Cherek, host of Wisconsin Foodie. Free and open to the public, no registration required. Cosponsored by UWM’s Stahl Center for Jewish Studies and Boswell.

Here's a little more about Twitty's book: Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who owns it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty takes readers to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern cuisine.

From the tobacco and rice farms of colonial times to plantation kitchens and backbreaking cotton fields, Twitty tells his family story through the foods that enabled his ancestors' survival across three centuries. He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests, and historical documents, and travels from Civil War battlefields in Virginia to synagogues in Alabama to Black-owned organic farms in Georgia.

Twitty's talk at the Milwaukee Public Library Mitchell Street branch on Monday, February 18, 6:30, is fully registered, but there's likely a waiting list line at the event.

Tuesday, February 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Susan Angel Miller, author of Permission to Thrive: My Journey from Grief to Growth

Milwaukee author and speaker Susan Angel Miller tells the story of her family’s journey through illness and loss in order to confront death, illness, and trauma while conveying a hopeful message about personal growth in face of life’s inevitable adversities. Cosponsored by Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

Susan Angel Miller traces her extraordinary journey, which begins when her healthy fourteen-year-old daughter dies suddenly and the family's difficult decision to donate Laura's organs, saving the life of a woman with whom the Miller family would eventually cultivate an exceptional relationship.

This intensely personal story addresses the unnerving and universal topics of death, illness, and trauma while conveying a hopeful message: life-changing tragedies might be impossible to prevent or predict, but it is the response to these adversities which influences the extent and likelihood of post-traumatic emotional growth. This memorable book speaks to anyone who fears when that next bad event will occur and wonders how they will respond.

Susan Angel Miller earned degrees from the University of Michigan and Loyola, and has held leadership positions with the National Council of Jewish Women-Milwaukee Section, The Milwaukee Jewish Federation, and The Milwaukee Jewish Community Center. Angel Miller also gives presentations on empathy, post-traumatic growth (PTG), and organ donation awareness.

Wednesday, February 20, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Lizzy Mason, author of The Art of Losing, in conversation with Phoebe Dyer,

Boswell is pleased to welcome YA author Lizzy Mason for a conversation about her compelling debut novel of sisterhood, addiction, and loss with Boswell-bookseller-turned-book-publicist Phoebe Dyer. Perfect for adults and teens 14+.

On one terrible night, 17-year-old Harley Langston’s life changes forever. At a party she discovers her boyfriend, Mike, hooking up with her younger sister, Audrey. Furious, she abandons them both. When Mike drunkenly attempts to drive Audrey home, he crashes and Audrey ends up in a coma.

Now Harley is left with guilt, grief, pain and the undeniable truth that her now ex-boyfriend has a drinking problem. So it’s a surprise that she finds herself reconnecting with Raf, a neighbor and childhood friend wrestling with his own demons. At first Harley doesn’t want to get too close to him. But as her sister slowly recovers, Harley begins to see a path forward with Raf’s help that she never would have believed possible.

Critics call The Art of Losing lyrical, authentic, brave, and moving. Publishers Weekly says, “The interwoven stories of many kinds of love - between friends, sisters, and possible romantic partners - give this well-paced book a depth that makes it more than just another recovery tale.”

Lizzy Mason was until recently Director of Publicity at Bloomsbury Kids. She is now Director of Marketing and Publicity at Page Street Kids. Phoebe Dyer was a bookseller at Boswell. She is now a publicist at Bloomsbury.

Thursday, February 21, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Stephen Savage, author of The Babysitter From Another Planet

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor winning author/illustrator of Supertruck shows off his latest picture book, a story about kids who are in for a treat when their parents leave them with a babysitter who is truly out of this world.

When their parents go out for the evening, a brother and sister are left with a babysitter unlike any they’ve ever had before—an alien from another planet! But even though she seems a little strange, the kids quickly see that this babysitter can make anything fun…even brushing their teeth and doing their homework.

It’s ET meets Mary Poppins, and as soon as the babysitter from another planet is gone, the kids can’t wait for her to come back again. With sly sci-fi references from classic movies sure to produce a chuckle from knowing parents, Savage has produced a visual and verbal tour de force that School Library Journal calls a “super read-aloud selection to share one-on-one or with group, even at bedtime.”

Stephen Savage’s accolades include a New York Times Best Illustrated Book declaration for Polar Bear Night and a Geisel Honor for Supertruck. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Friday, February 22, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, author of In the Shadow of Powers: Dantès Bellegarde in Haitian Social Thought, 2nd ed.

UWM Professor Emeritus of African and African Diaspora Studies traces the history of Haiti through the life and career of his grandfather Dantès Bellegarde, one of Haiti's most influential diplomats and preeminent thinkers. Cosponsored by UWM's Department of African and African Diaspora Studies.

Throughout much of the twentieth century and even to this day, there has been a dearth of scholarship on the intellectual and political contributions of Haitians. Out of a slave rebellion, Haiti was forged as an independent nation. This should be enough to perpetuate an image of Haitians as strong and agentive people. But countries on both sides of the Atlantic were intent on sapping it of resources. More than a century of trade restrictions, the imposition of crippling fines, and, eventually, a US occupation followed. Yet even under these penalties, Haitians persisted, some becoming influential actors in the world of global politics.

First published in 1985, this second edition updates an invaluable and foundational text of the intellectual and political history of Haiti. Scholars who want to learn about the intellectual and political foundations of Haiti, its influence on other intellectuals worldwide, and its struggles against imperialism continue to find this to be an invaluable classic.

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith is a professor emeritus of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is author of Haiti: The Breached Citadel, Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World and Invisible Powers: Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture.

Saturday, February 23, 1:00, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 1100 N Astor St:
A talk and workshop with Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America and Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation 

Immanuel Presbyterian Church presents author, teacher, and speaker, Jennifer Harvey for an afternoon lecture, titled ‘Understanding Racial Identity,’ and workshop. Register here for this event. Cosponsored by Boswell. Dr. Jennifer Harvey, a sought-after speaker on the topic of racial justice, focuses much of her work on the intersection of religion, ethics, race, gender, and spirituality. This engagement with Dr. Harvey is another step in Immanuel's commitment to continuing conversation and action around the realities of racial injustice and white privilege in church and culture.

In Dear White Christians, Harvey argues for a radical shift in how justice-committed white Christians think about race with insightful historical analysis of the painful fissures that emerged among activist Christians toward the end of the Civil Rights movement. In Raising White Kids, Harvey presents an ideal resource for families, churches, educators, and communities who want to equip their children to be active and able participants in a society that is becoming one of the most radically diverse in the world while remaining full of racial tensions.

Jennifer Harvey is Professor of Religion at Drake University. Dr. Harvey also contributes to NPR, The New York Times, and Huffington Post and is ordained in the American Baptist Churches.

Saturday, February 23, 2:00 pm, at Boswell:
Andy Rash, author of The Happy Book

Milwaukee author/illustrator Andy Rash returns to Boswell for a story time and sing song fun with his latest picture book, a story about two friends who can’t escape feeling all the feels.

Camper is happy as a clam, and Clam is a happy camper. When you live in The Happy Book, the world is full of daisies and sunshine and friendship cakes. Until your best friend eats the whole cake and doesn’t save you one bite!

Moving from happiness to sadness and everything in between, Camper and Clam have a hard time finding their way back to happy. But maybe happy isn’t the goal. Maybe being a good friend is about supporting each other and feeling together. At once funny and thoughtful, The Happy Book supports social-emotional learning, a book to keep young readers company no matter how they’re feeling.

Milwaukee’s Andy Rash has illustrated for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker. He is author/illustrator of the picture books Archie, The Daredevil Penguin and Unstinky.

Monday, February 25, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Chris Jones, author of Rise Up!: Broadway and American Society from Angels in America to Hamilton, in conversation with Mark Clements

Chief theater critic and Sunday culture columnist of the Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones chats theater history with Mark Clements, Artistic Director of Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

Jones tells the story of Broadway’s renaissance, from the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, via the disaster that was Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, through the unparalleled financial, artistic and political success of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. It is the story of the embrace of risk and substance, where the theatre thrived by finally embracing the bold statement and inserting itself into the national conversation.

Chris Jones was in the theaters when and where it mattered and chronicles the era in a singularly creative way, tapping into the nexus of artistic innovation, the business of show business, new forms of audience engagement, and the political fevers that can emerge. Whether you booed or applauded for the many plays and musicals discussed in Rise Up!, there is no denying that Jones vividly captures the theatre's new clout as it attempts change American society for the better.

Chris Jones is the chief theater critic and Sunday culture columnist of The Chicago Tribune. He is author of Bigger, Brighter, Louder: 150 Years of Chicago Theater and his work has appeared often in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Variety. He was named one of the most influential theater critics in America by American Theater and is a winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. Mark Clements is an award-winning director and serves as Artistic Director of the Milwaukee Rep.

More Boswell programming on our upcoming events page.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Here are the week's reading intentions, for the period ending July 16, 2019

Here are the week's reading intentions, for the period ending July 16, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Black Leopard Red Wolf, by Marlon James
2. All the Names They Used for God, by Anjali Sachdeva
3. Circe, by Madeline Miller
4. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
5. Finding Dorothy, by Elizabeth Letts
6. Early Riser, by Jasper Fforde
7. The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer
8. The Lost Man, by Jane Harper
9. The Overstory, Richard Powers
10. The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai

Elizabeth Letts's new novel Finding Dorothy (just out this week) peels back the layers of The Wizard of Oz and finds widow of L Frank Baum trying to maneuver her way onto the MGM set where they are filming the movie. Library Journal's reviewer writes "Fans of the Oz novels or film will be enchanted" while Book Page offers: "In some ways reminiscent of Jerry Stahl's excellent I, Fatty, Letts' Finding Dorothy combines exhaustive research with expansive imagination, blending history and speculation into a seamless tapestry. It's true that Oz author L. Frank Baum's widow spent time with Judy Garland on set. And it's from this point of departure--California, not Kansas--that Letts leads us down a parallel pair of yellow brick roads."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Millennial Whisperer, by Chris Tuff
2. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
3. Not for Long, by Robert W Turner
4. Educated, by Tara Westover
5. Dreyer's English, by Benjamin Breyer
6. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
7. Mother Winter, by Sophia Shamiyev
8. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat
9. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan
10. The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis

Also new this week is Mother Winter, Sophia Shamiyev's story of trying to find the estranged mother she left behind when she emigrated to the United States from Russia. Her fans include Chris Krauss, Michelle Tea, and Eileen Myles, who wrote "Vividly awesome and truly great." Well that was truly a textual read. Paris Review's is a little more detailed: "The lyrical prose of Sophia Shalmiyev’s memoir, Mother Winter, splits open like layer after layer of an ornate matryoshka. With a mesmeric voice and scathing vulnerability, Shalmiyev peels her past down to its hollow core: the vacancy left by her absent mother. "

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin (event Tue Mar 5, 7 pm, with Lucy Tan)
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
4. The Discovery of Witches V1, by Madeline Miller
5. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris
6. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
7. Improvement, by Joan Silber
8. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
9. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
10. The Milkman, by Anna Burns

So exciting to see both An American Marriage and The Immortalists break into the top 10 paperbacks at The New York Times. And while Paris by the Book has not yet hit national lists, Liam Callanan's third novel has now hit six regional indie bestseller lists. On the other hand, several other 2018 bestsellers won't see paperback releases for some time - Circe has been delayed until September 2019 while Where the Crawdads Sing (August 2018) has no paperback scheduled and likely won't see a paperback release until 2020. Circe's success has also lifted sales of Song of Achilles, Madelijne Miller's previous novel.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
2. Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman, by Richard P Feynman
3. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
4. All the Pieces Matter, by Jonathan Abrams
5. All the Wild Hungers, by Karen Babine
6. Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari
7. Climate, by Charles Eisenstein
8. Fascism, by Madeleine Albright
9. The Cooking Gene, by Michael W Twitty (event at UWM Golda Meir Library, Tue Feb 19, 4 pm)
10. Uneasy Piece, by Patrick Sharkey

Several February 12 paperback releases make this week's top 10, most notably Born a Crime: Scenes from a South African Childhood from Trevor Noah. You probably know that one, but there's also All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of the Wire, from Jonathan Abrams. From Samantha Nelson at AV Club: "Ten years after it wrapped, The Wire is widely considered one of the best shows of all time, but Abrams presents a number of views about its impact. Did it hurt Baltimore? Portend the death of Freddie Gray? Glorify crime and violence? Like The Wire itself, All The Pieces Matter doesn’t provide much in the way of answers. But the stories Abrams tells deliver the same mix of humor and despair that made The Wire worth writing so much about."

Books for Kids:
1. A Place for Pluto, by Stef Wade
2. On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
3. Watch Us Rise, by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan
4. How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth V2, by Paul Noth
5. How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens V1, by Paul Noth
6. The Good Egg, by Jory John, with illustrations by Pete Oswald
7. Archie the Daredevil Penguin, by Andy Rash
8. Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild V6, by Dav Pilkey
9. The Trials of Morrigan Crow: Nevermoor V1, by Jessica Townsend
10. The Story of Civil Rights Hero John Lewis, by Jim Haskins, with illustrations by Aaron Boyd

It's the 2nd week of sale for Angie Thomas's On the Come Up and it's a national bestseller. Maria Russo interviewed Thomas for The New York Times: "I had this character, Bri, and I knew she had to be a rapper, but that’s all. I got the idea for the plot after The Hate U Give, when I began to deal with challenges to the novel, people trying to censor it." Variety notes that Fox bought the film rights to the new book.

Over at the Journal Sentinel Life section:

--Rasha Ali offers 17 kids books to read for Black History Month. This is from USA Today.

--Hillel Italie interviews Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf. He notes "I’ve always thought we go back to the myths when we want answers." Read the rest here in Associated Press.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Event alert: Robert W Turner on NFL players after the game is over, YA with Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan at Washington Park Library, Karen Babine on caregiving and cancer

What's going on at Boswell, in between the snowflakes. Note that Wednesday and Saturday are two days this week where no precipitation is expected.

Wednesday, February 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Robert W Turner II, author of Not For Long: The Life and Career of the NFL Athlete

Former professional football player and current Assistant Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership at George Washington University, Robert W Turner II traces the career trajectory of NFL players before and after their time in the league. Turner will read from his book and then participate in a conversation with former Wisconsin Badger and NFL running back Montee Ball.

The NFL is the most popular professional sports league in America, but for players, making it to the league is not about the promised land of fame and fortune. Turner II draws on his own experience and interviews with current and former NFL players to reveal what it means to be in the league and explain why so many struggle with life after football.

Retirees experience financial ruin, live with chronic pain, and many find themselves on the wrong side of the law. With little job security and few health and retirement benefits, Turner II argues that the fall of so many players is no accident. The NFL powerfully determines their experiences in and out of the league, and the process of becoming an elite football player leaves athletes with few marketable skills and little preparation for their first Sunday off the field.

Robert W Turner II earned a Ph.D. from City University of New York and is Assistant Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership at George Washington University. Dr. Turner played football professionally in the now defunct United States Football League, the Canadian Football League, and the National Football League.

Saturday, February 16, 3:00 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library, Washington Park Branch, 2121 N Sherman Blvd:
Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan, author of Watch Us Rise

Newbery Honoree and Coretta Scott King Award winner Renée Watson teams up with poet Ellen Hagan at MPL’s Washington Park Branch to present this YA feminist anthem about raising your voice. Perfect for adults and teens 13 and up.

Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post everything online - poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial microaggressions she experiences - and soon they go viral.

But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices, and those of other young women, to be heard in this story, which Julie Murphy, the bestselling author of Dumplin’ calls “timely, thought-provoking, and powerful… an immediate young adult classic.”

Renée Watson is the Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning author of the novels Piecing Me Together, This Side of Home, and Betty Before X, co-written with Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as the picture books Harlem's Little Blackbird and A Place Where Hurricanes Happen. Watson is founder of the nonprofit I, Too, Arts Collective. Ellen Hagan is a writer, performer, and educator. Her latest collection of poetry, Hemisphere, was published by Northwestern University Press.

Saturday, February 16, 6:00 pm, at Boswell:
Karen Babine, author of All the Wild Hungers: A Season of Cooking and Cancer

Minneapolis author Karen Babine, winner of the Minnesota Book Award, appears with her new memoir, All the Wild Hungers, an affecting chronicle of one family’s experience of illness and of a writer's culinary attempt to make sense of the inexplicable.

When her mother is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Babine can’t help but wonder: feed a fever, starve a cold, but what do you do for cancer? She commits herself to preparing her mother anything she will eat, a vegetarian diving headfirst into the unfamiliar world of bone broth and pot roast.

In these essays, Babine ponders the intimate connections between food, family, and illness. How do we seek meaning where none is to be found, and can we create it from scratch? Book Riot says, “Babine’s essays focus on food as a vehicle for handling the pain of her mother’s cancer diagnosis… her lines are like poetry - which is exactly how good food, and family, should be.”

Karen Babine is author of Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life, winner of the 2016 Minnesota Book Award for memoir/creative nonfiction, and a finalist for the Midwest Book Award and the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. She also edits Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. She holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University and a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

More on Boswell's upcoming events page.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 9, 2019 - new releases, paperback originals, Journal Sentinel Book Page (now in Life)

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 9, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
2. Good Riddance, by Elinor Lipman (Event at Boswell, Mon Mar 11, 7 pm)
3. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
4. There There, by Tommy Orange
5. The Current, by Tim Johnston
6. Kingdom of the Blind, by Louise Penny
7. Connections in Death, by JD Robb
8. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason
9. Bowlaway, by Elizabeth McCracken
10. The Lost Man, by Jane Harper

Everything's coming up Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James's new epic fantasy, which landed on February 5. Many have compared this novel to the works of George RR Martin and JRR Tolkien but Amal El-Mohtar rebuts this in this NPR review: "I understand where those comparisons come from, the publicity strategies that underly them, but they are wildly inaccurate to the experience of reading this book, which is more like if Toni Morrison had written Ovid's Metamorphoses: Painful and strange, full of bodies shifting from personhood into meat, and somehow, always, still, upsettingly beautiful. This isn't Tolkien's grief-stricken melancholy, or Martin's calculating, character-forward plot mechanics; it's horror and tragedy by way of fantasy, nothing discrete, everything penetrating everything else."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Educated, by Tara Westover
2. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
3. Dreyer's English, by Benjamin Dreyer
4. Enough to Go Around, by Chip Duncan
5. Women Rowing North, by Mary Pipher
6. Maid, by Stephanie Land
7. Age of Surveillance Capitalism, by Shoshan Zuboff
8. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
9. Never home Alone, by Rob Dunn
10. Unwinding of the MIracle, by Julie Yip Williams

The #1 Indie Bound pick for February is Stephanie Land's Maid, which is a cross between Nickel and Dimed and The Long Haul (and I think it's fair to make this comparison, since I read all three books). From Ann-Derrick Gaillot in The Nation: "Much of Maid focuses on Land’s experiences of the labor itself. There’s the physical toll - back injuries, pinched nerves, illness - plus the mental toll of her devalued and invisible toil. As she adapts to the job, the homes become their own idiosyncratic realms - the Sad House, the Porn House, the Plant House - in which Land is able to see a more personal and often pathetic side of her wealthy clients - snotty tissues, hair wads, and all. In writing about the spaces outside of her work, though, Land gives shape to the depleting anxiety and isolation that accompany motherhood in poverty for millions of Americans."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Lost Girls of Paris, by Pam Jenoff
2. The Curiosities, by Susan Gloss
3. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
4. The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez (April In-Store Lit Group selection)
5. Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday (March In-Store Lit Group Selection)
6. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan (Callanan's at Mount Mary University Mon 2/11)
7. The Orphan's Tale, by Pam Jenoff
8. The Great Gatsby, by F Scott Fitzgerald
9. Half a Reason to Die, by Chip Duncan
10. Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett

A bookseller and I were having a discussion how our top two bestsellers, The Lost Girls of Paris (signed copies available) and The Curiosities, were paperback originals, accompanied by hardcover runs, primarily for library sales. If you look at this week's New York Times bestseller list, there are several other paperback originals, including The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Josie Silver's One Day in December, Jasmine Guillory's The Proposal, and Kristine McMorris's Sold on a Monday, though these three did not do hardcover library editions. James Patterson did, however - his new collection The House Next Door is a simultaneous hard-soft. Two new titles on our list are paperback reprints - An American Marriage and The Friend. As February 5 releases, they are eligible to hit the Times list that is released next week.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. City of God, by Sara Miles
2. Permission to Thrive, by Susan Angel Miller (Event at Boswell Tue Feb 19, 7 pm)
3. Inspiring Change, by Chip Duncan (Event at Boswell Wed Mar 20, 7 pm)
4. Go Ahead in the Rain, by Hanif Abdurraqib
5. Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook, by Kristine Hansen (Event at Boswell Fri Mar 8, 7 pm)
6. The Cooking Gene, by Michael W Twitty (see below)
7. Just Kids, by Patti Smith
8. Drawdown, by Paul Hawken
9. Fascism, by Madeleine Albright
10. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan

This week's bestseller list is almost half upcoming events and would be half if we could get on Hanif Abudurraqib for Go Ahead in the Rain. We know it's a long shot. As you know, Michael W Twitty's event for The Cooking Gene at the Mitchell Street Branch of Milwaukee Public Library on Monday, February 18 is at capacity, but we're thinking there's still room at the panel discussion on February 19 at 4 pm. Also Register here for Taste of the South, also Tue Feb 19, 7 pm. I noted to Miller that Permission to Thrive has been showing up on the Milwaukee Bookscan Top 50 for several weeks in a row. Just in is Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook. Hasnen will be in conversation with Milwaukee Magazine's Carole Nicksin on March 8. You can be sure there will be more events with Hansen to follow.

Books for Kids:
1. How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth V2, by Paul Noth
2. The Friendship War, by Andrew Clements
3. How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens V1, by Paul Noth
4. The Losers Club, by Andrew Clements
5. Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan
6. The Losers Club (hardcover), by Andrew Clements
7. Pay Attention, Carter Jones, by Gary D. Schmidt
8. Unstinky, by Andy Rach
9. On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
10. Eco (in Spanish), by Pam Munoz Ryan

Andrew Clements is coming to Milwaukee on March 15, as part of the Elmbrook Schools all-district read. His new book, just out in January, is The Friendship War, about Grace, who brings her Grandfather's buttons to show and tell. From Publishers Weekly: "But after she shares some of the cache with her classmates, the show-and-tell spirals out of control, and kids schoolwide become obsessed with collecting and trading buttons." There's no public event but we can get you a signed copy.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, the new Life section (which I think is the USA Today standard) folds together several sections, including Tap. There is still a book page!

--Brian Truitt (from USA Today) reviews Golden State, the newest from Ben H Winters: "At a time in the real world when everybody seems to own their version of the truth and phrases like alternative facts are used to cover falsehoods, Golden State is, no lie, a fascinating examination that takes fidelity and correctness down a freaky Orwellian path." And we're also still recommending Underground Airlines - I recommended the book to two folks recently and they both loved it.

--Pam Jenoff's The Lost Girls of Paris is weighed in on by Tod Goldberg, also from USA Today. Alas, Goldberg is not a fan, but plenty of other critics are. Terri Schlichenmeyer in the Quad City Times called the book, "Picture perfect."

--The Associated Press's Ann Levin offers her thgouths on Antiseminism: Here and Now, by Deborah E Lipstadt. She notes: "What made her (Lipstadt's) latest book so challenging - documenting the recent resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and America, on the right and the the left - was that it was happening now." The result is "an indispensable guide to contextualizing activities as diverse as the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign, also known as BDS."

Monday, February 4, 2019

Event alert: Susan Gloss, Pam Jenoff, United We Read with Liam Callanan, Gary D. Schmidt

The temperature roller coaster continues, but compared to last week, you'll laugh at the lows. Icy streets and sidewalks are another matter. We just restocked our salt.

Wednesday, February 6, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Susan Gloss, author of The Curiosities

Susan Gloss follows up her breakout debut novel Vintage with a charming Wisconsin story of artists, inspiration, and how to reinvent your life with purpose and flair.

Nell Parker has a PhD in Art History, a loving husband named Josh, and a Craftsman bungalow in Madison. But when her pregnancy ends in the second trimester, rather than pausing to grieve, she takes a job as director of a new nonprofit and is left to manage the eccentric artists who live in the

Mansion Hill Artists’ Colony. The metal sculptor keeps everyone awake with late-night welding projects. The dreadlocked granny, known for her avant garde performance pieces, is probably dealing drugs out of the basement. Meanwhile, the art student on the third floor leads a string of bad boyfriends upstairs when she stumbles home late at night. Despite all the drama, Nell finds something akin to a family among the members of the creative community that she’s brought together. Soon, Nell is forced to decide what will bring her greater joy - the creative, inspired world she’s created, or the familiar but increasingly fragile one of her marriage.

Susan Gloss is the Madison-based author of Vintage and a graduate of Notre Dame and UW-Madison Law.

Thursday, February 7, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30, at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd:
Pam Jenoff, author of The Lost Girls of Paris

Lynden Sculpture Gardern’s Women’s Speaker Series and Milwaukee Reads present a special evening with Pam Jenoff, author of The Orphan’s Tale, speaking about her latest, The Lost Girls of Paris, a novel based on the true story of three women and a ring of female secret agents during World War II.

Tickets cost $23, $18 for Lynden members, and include a paperback copy of The Lost Girls of Paris, light refreshments, and admission to the sculpture garden - come early to stroll the grounds. Register by phone, at (414) 446-8794, or at

1946, Manhattan. Grace Healy, rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war, finds an abandoned suitcase containing photographs of a dozen different women beneath a bench at Grand Central Terminal. The suitcase belonged to Eleanor Trigg, leader of twelve women sent to Occupied Europe to aid the resistance who never returned home. Setting out to learn the truth, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother-turned-agent named Marie and her daring mission overseas.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, The Lost Girls of Paris shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood, and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

Pam Jenoff is author of The Orphan's Tale, The Diplomat’s Wife, and The Kommandant’s Girl trilogy. She holds degrees from George Washington University, Cambridge, and the University of Pennsylvania. Jenoff formerly worked for the Pentagon and State Department, and now teaches law at Rutgers.

Can't make our evening event? Pam Jenoff will also be at the JCC on February 7 at 1:00 pm. More information here.

Thursday, February 7, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
UWM Presents United We Read, featuring Molly Beckwith Gutman, Ryan Burden, Beth Vigoren, and Liam Callanan

United We Read is a monthly reading series presented by UWM’s Creative Writing Program at venues throughout the city. Students of UWM’s Creative Writing program read their work, along with UWM Professor Liam Callanan, whose latest publication is the paperback release of his novel Paris by the Book, Boswell’s bestselling hardcover novel of 2018.

Saturday, February 9, 2:00 pm, at Boswell:
Gary D Schmidt, author of Pay Attention, Carter Jones 

 Two-time Newbery Honoree Schmidt, author of The Wednesday Wars and Orbiting Jupiter, brings a new coming-of-age story to Boswell about a boy who one day finds an English butler on his doorstep. Great for adults and kids 10 and up.

Carter Jones is astonished early one morning when he finds a real English butler, bowler hat and all, on the doorstep, one who stays to help the Jones family, which is a little bit broken. Now, in addition to figuring out middle school, Carter has to adjust to the unwelcome presence of this new know-it-all adult in his life and navigate the butler's notions of decorum.

Carter is dealing with grief and anger, emotions he can’t ignore. With the help of the butler, Carter learns that a burden becomes lighter when it is shared. Sparkling with humor, this insightful and compassionate story will resonate with readers who have confronted secrets of their own.

Gary D Schmidt is author of Orbiting Jupiter, the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, and the Newbery Honor book The Wednesday Wars. He is a professor of English at Calvin College in Michigan.

Get the latest on our events (including any last-minute changes) on our upcoming events page.

photo credits
Pam Jenoff: Mindy Schwartz Sorasky
Gary D. Schmidt: Myna Anderson

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 2, 2019

Despite the snow and cold, there is still a bestseller list! This is for the week ending February 2, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Tear It Down V4, by Nick Petrie
2. Out of the Dark V4: An Orphan X Novel, by Gregg Hurwitz
3. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
4. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
5. Kingdom of the Blind V14, by Louise Penny
6. The Current, by Tim Johnston
7. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles (big paperback announcement soon)
8. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
9. The Collector's Apprentice, by B.A. Shapiro
10. Circe, by Madeline Miller (paperback just got postponed until 2020)

It appears that in mystery, readers want a good mystery. I think you'd call fully half of the top 10 hardcover fiction titles thriller-ish. One would be B.A. Shapiro's The Collector's Apprentice, out since last October. Boswellian's Kay Wosewick said, " You’ll be swept into a quiet tale of intrigue starring a rather traumatized young lady from Europe, a savvy con artist from America, and a wealthy American amassing a huge collection of contemporary European art. The story will take you for a couple of unexpected spins before letting you go well satisfied."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
2. Make Time, by Jake Knapp
3. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, by Samin Nosrat
4. Dreyer's English, by Benjamin Dreyer
5. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
6. Educated, by Tara Westover
7. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan
8. Why Religion, by Elaine Pagels
9. Maid, by Stephanie Land
10. Eat Me, by Kenny Shopskin

Just out is Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style from Benjamin Dreyer, vice president, executive managing editor and copy chief of Random House. Among his admirers is George Saunders, who wrote "A mind-blower -sure to jumpstart any writing project, just by exposing you, the writer, to Dreyer’s astonishing level of sentence-awareness.” And Amy Bloom offered this praise: "If Oscar Wilde had wanted to be helpful as well as brilliant, if E. B. White and Noël Coward had had a wonderful little boy who grew up to cherish and model clarity, the result would be Benjamin Dreyer and his frankly perfect book."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
2. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
3. The Maze at Windermere, by Gregory Black Smith
4. Burning Bright V2, by Nick Petrie
5. Snowblind V1, by Ragnar Jonasson
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
7. Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
8. The Lost Girls of Paris, by Pam Jenoff
9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris
10. Improvement, by Joan Silber

As always, I'm running late on doing our new book club flier, but one book that will definitely be added to the list is Gregory Blake Smith's The Maze at Windermere, one of my favorite novels of last year. From Zach Graham at Newsday: "The themes that resonate across the five narratives imbue the novel with grander meaning as a whole. Sandy and Franklin are classic cases of outsiders aspiring to a high society that will never accept them. Sandy and Prudy both experience eye-opening revelations with regard to race - Sandy in his romance with a black artist named Aisha and Prudy in her relationship with a slave girl named Ashes, inherited from her deceased mother. The revolutionary soldier falls in love with a Jewish woman, but their romance is undermined by her father, who will never accept the soldier because he is a gentile. Henry James becomes romantically entangled with a Jewish woman named Alice Taylor, an affair which certain Christian members of society view as taboo. Themes of racial tension, anti-Semitism, class dynamics, gender dynamics and sexual orientation saturate the novel, and Smith handles them with impressive clarity and nuance."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. American Advertising Cookbooks, by Christina Ward
2. Preservation, by Christina Ward
3. The Cooking Gene, by Michael W. Twitty (just announced that the Milwaukee Public Library event is at capacity)
4. Killers of the Flower Moon, by Michael W. Twitty
5. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke-Harris
6. Permission to Thrive, by Susan Angel Miller
7. Home Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari
8. From the Emerald Isle to the Cream City, by Carl Baehr
9. Raising White Kids, by Jennifer Harvey
10. Fascism: A Warning, by Madeleine Albright

Out now in paperback is The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity from Nadine Burke-Harris. The hardcover event with REDgen and Marquette University (and us) had over 500 attendees. Nadine Burke-Harris was just named California's first state Surgeon General by Gavin Newsom, per the Chronicle of Social Change.

Books for Kids:
1. How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth V2, by Paul Noth
2. How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens V1, by Paul Noth
3. A Curse So Dark and Lonely, by Brigid Kemmerer
4. The Girl King, by Mimi Yu
5. Imprison the Sky V2, by AC Gaughen
6. Lulu and Rock in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse with illustrations by Renée Graef
7. Max and the Midnights, by Lincoln Peirce
8. Brawl of the Wild V6, by Dav Pilkey
9. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
10. Squirm, by Carl Hiaasen

Bloomsbury Kids winds up sweeping our top five this week, between Paul Noth's school and public visits and a YA Boswell! event with Brigid Kemmerer, AC Gaughen, and Mimi Yu. Of A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Boswell's Jenny Chou wrote: "This retelling of Beauty and the Beast captured my heart from page one through powerful storytelling and refreshing new twists on a classic story." And what's particularly interesting about this story is that the heroine has Cerebral Palsy, as does the heroine in the contemporary storyline of The Maze at Windermere. Kirkus in its starred review also offered: "Refreshingly, Harper is the undisputed hero and also not the only significant character with a disability. Avoiding disability inspiration tropes, she is a fallible, well-rounded character who fights for the vulnerable and resists being labeled as such herself despite how others perceive her."

From the Journal Sentinel: --Grace Li in USA Today reviewed What We Were Promised, by Lisa Tan. It is reprinted in the Journal Sentinel in conjunction with Lucy Tan's visit to Milwaukee on February 26, where she'll be in conversation with Chloe Benjamin in The Immortalists. From Li: "What We Were Promised glows through its intimate, skillful prose. Tan’s debut is a beautiful reckoning with the ever-changing definition of 'home' – what it means to have, lose and find family again."

--Jeff Ayers from the Associated Press: "Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz takes the reader on a journey that covers a wide range of emotions from potential love to outright terror. The relentless action and detailed mission planning make the tale both clever and smart. Hurwitz continues to profile this stellar character and improve with each new installment. This novel will be remembered as one of the best thrillers of the year."

--We Cast a Shadow, by Maurice Carlos Ruffin is reviewed by Ragan Clark, also from Associated Press: "Heart-wrenching and morally ambiguous, We Cast a Shadow explores questions of justice and self-actualization. Life’s fulfillment may seem within reach only when cultural assimilation to the most extreme degree takes place. But what is the price that is paid?"

--Sharon Peters from USA Today offers a take on Stephanie Land's Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive: "Land’s resolute honesty, while acknowledging many bad choices, envy (and sometimes contempt) toward the people whose houses she cleans, makes Maid a book with much candid detail of frustrations with the limitations of programs she relied on. Still, it is a picture of the soul-robbing grind through poverty that millions live with every day."

Visit the Boswell event page for more upcoming event information, staff recommendations, and more.