Monday, March 25, 2019

Boswell happenings: Patrick McGilligan tonight, Educator Night on Wednesday, Lisa Vihos and friends on Saturday, Rabbi Abraham Skorka on Sunday at the Lux Center, plus Silvia Acevedo next Monday

Boswell happenings for this week!

Monday, March 25, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Patrick McGilligan, author of Funny Man: Mel Brooks

Milwaukee based biographer and Marquette Instructor of Digital Media and Performing Arts Partrick McGilligan, author of definitive biographies of Orson Wells and Alfred Hitchcock, delves into the life of a true legend, comedy giant Mel Brooks. Cosponsored by UWM’s Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies.

McGilligan insightfully navigates the famous funnyman’s life story, from Brooks’s childhood in Williamsburg tenements and breakthrough in early television to Hollywood and Broadway peaks (and valleys). His book offers a meditation on the Jewish immigrant culture that influenced Brooks, snapshots of the golden age of comedy, and behind the scenes revelations about the celebrated shows and films.

Chris Foran reviewed Funny Man for the Journal Sentinel: "McGilligan, a Milwaukee-based biographer whose subjects have ranged from Orson Welles to Clint Eastwood, has put together a more-bitter-than-sweet portrait of a comedian whose art is powered by jealousy, a persecution complex and, sometimes, rage."

Patrick McGilligan is author the Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane, the New York Times Notable Book Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast and the Edgar Award-nominated Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. He lives in Milwaukee and teaches at Marquette.

Wednesday, March 27, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Spring Educator Night

It’s Educator Night at Boswell! We’ve put together an informative and entertaining evening for teachers serving kids from elementary schools through high school. Boswell’s Jenny will give a short slide presentation featuring the joys of bringing in authors to your school. We’ll hear from a school librarian about how they go about putting their visits together and from a parent whose PTO does a successful and fun shopping night fundraiser. And as a special treat, our Penguin Random House reps Jill and Tim will be presenting highlights from their lists. We’ll have light refreshments and advance reading copy goodie bags for all.

Registration required for this event boswelleducatorspring19.bpt.me by Wednesday at 10 am. Let us know your school and district information in the ‘company field.’

Saturday, March 30, 4:00 pm, at Boswell: Lisa Vihos, editor of Van Gogh Dreams: Poems Inspired by the Art and Life of Vincent Van Gogh

Celebrate the birthday of one of the world’s most renowned and recognized artists (he’d be just 166 years young!) with Wisconsin poet Lisa Vihos, editor of Van Gogh Dreams, an anthology of poetry inspired by the artist who himself once said, “poetry surrounds us everywhere.”

Van Gogh Dreams is an anthology of poems by 31 poets that illuminate the life and art of Vincent van Gogh. Vihos will be joined by several anthology contributors who will read their work, including Mary Jo Balistreri, Sylvia Cavanaugh, Kathryn Gahl, Frederick Kreutz, CJ Muchala, Mara Ptacek, Paula Schulz, David Southward, and Sister Irene Zimmerman.

Lisa Vihos is author of Fan Mail from Some Flounder and three other chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in Forge, Verse Wisconsin, and Wisconsin People and Ideas and have been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Vihos is the Poetry and Arts Editor of Stoneboat Literary Journal and guest blogger for The Best American Poetry. She lives in Sheboygan and is an organizer there for 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

Sunday, March 31, 2:00 pm, at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, 7335 S Hwy 100 in Franklin:
Abraham Skorka, author of On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century

The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology presents keynote speaker Rabbi Abraham Skorka for a lecture titled ‘The Pope and the Rabbi: A Faithful Friendship.’

Admission is free of charge. Please RSVP by March 25 to Bonnie Shafrin, Director, The Lux Center, by emailing bshafrin@shsst.edu or by calling (414) 529-6966. For more information, visit luxcenter.shsst.edu.

Guided by their own religious convictions, Rabbi Skorka and Pope Francis spent years conversing about their understanding of God and of each other. For years Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Argentina, and Rabbi Abraham Skorka have promoted interreligious dialogues on faith and reason, as both sought to build bridges among Catholicism, Judaism, and the world at large. On Heaven and Earth brings together a series of conversations about various theological and worldly issues.

Abraham Skorka is an Argentine rabbi and biophysicist. He is the Rabbi of the Jewish community Benei Tikva, and a Professor of Biblical and Rabbinic Literature and Rector at the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano.

Monday, April 1, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Silvia Acevedo, writing as S Acevedo, author of God Awful Rebel

Wisconsin journalist and former reporter for Milwaukee’s WISN and WTMJ, Silvia Acevedo, writing as S Acevedo, presents the third and final installment of her mythological adventure series for YA fans, God Awful Rebel. She’ll chat with Valerie Biel, Wisconsin author of the Circle of Nine fantasy series. This event is perfect for adults and kids age 7 and up.

In God Awful Rebel, the once-banished god of love has saved the kingdom, been declared heir to Olympus, and will wed the girl of his dreams. But when three snake-haired sisters turn out to be not as dead as everyone thought, they threaten all that Cupid holds dear. Add a goddess fighting to hide the truth and ancient elementals bent on revenge, and there might not be any world left to save. The final novel in Acevedo’s God Awful trilogy deftly weaves vignettes of ancient myth into a wholly new, laugh-out-loud story for the modern age.

Silvia Acevedo is a journalist and former television news anchor covering national and international stories for CNN and local television, including Milwaukee’s WISN and WTMJ, and she’s occasionally hosted The Morning Blend. Acevedo is Assistant Regional Advisor for the Wisconsin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

More event info on our upcoming events page.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 23, 2019

Boswell bestsellers, week ending March 23, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Made-Up Man, by Joseph Scapellato
2. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
3. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
4. Circe, by Madeline Miller
5. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
6. Gingerbread, by Helen Oyeyemi
7. Parade, by Dave Eggers
8. Run Away, by Harlan Coben
9. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
10. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

Despite the paperback coming out this Tuesday, March 26, and despite ticket attendees getting a copy of the book, A Gentleman in Moscow hangs out still in our top 10 for this past week. We should note that there's a low ticket alert for this event. Don't wait another minute - purchase yours now.

Boswellian Jen Steele offers this recommendation of Gingerbread: "Helen Oyememi's latest novel is lyrical and wonderfully strange! Gingerbread is a delectable novel of family lore, talking dolls, and a curious land that you cannot find on any map. Follow the Lee Family as they navigate their way through friendships, secrets, and years of animosity with many tins of gingerbread along the way."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Food of the Italian South, by Katie Parla
2. Eat to Beat Disease, by William W Li
3. Energy Codes, by Sue Morter
4. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
5. Enough to Go Around, by Chip Duncan
6. Educated, by Tara Westover
7. Funny Man, by Patrick McGilligan (event Mon 3/25, 7 pm, at Boswell)
8. The Making of Milwaukee 4E, by John Gurda
9. Tasting Rome, by Katie Parla
10. Spearhead, by Adam Makos

Boy, Katie Parla did quite a tour for Food of the Italian South. I'm trying to find reviews, but all searches lead to information about her appearances and to preorder signed copies of the book. She did get a starred Publishers Weekly: "Food writer Parla’s knowledge and voice shine in this outstanding meditation on the food of South Italy from the Molise, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria regions. The recipes are the kind of waste-not-want-not dishes the once impoverished area is known for: a soup of chickpeas and dandelions, once considered weeds, from Calabria, and bread-stuffed peppers from Camania." We still have a few signed copies.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Woman in the Window, by AJ Finn
2. The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri
3. The Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles
4. The House of Broken Angels, by Luis Alberto Urrea (event at Boswell Mon 5/6, 7 pm)
5. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
6. The Samurai's Garden, by Gail Tsukiyama
7. The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
8. Things We Cannot Say, by Kelly Rimmer
9. Pestiferous Questions, by Margaret Rozga
10. Half a Reason to Die, by Chip Duncan

A light paperback sales week leads to some surprising inclusions, but topping all is AJ Finn's The Woman in the Window, which is also #1 nationally. So if the bad publicity on Finn affected publicity on the book, it was not noticeable. We'll see how the the second novel does. We should also note that before A Gentleman in Moscow, there was The Samurai's Garden, one of Boswellian Jane's all-time favorite books. Can you believe its 24 years old?

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Damn the Old Tinderbox, by Matthew J Prigge
2. Inspiring Change, by Chip Duncan
3. The Alliance Way, by Tina Owen-Moore
4. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
5. All Our Relations, by Winona LaDuke
6. Recovering the Sacred, by Winona LaDuke
7. Militarization of Indian Country, by Winona LaDuke (LaDuke is coming to UWM on April 11, 6 pm. Details here)
8. The Big Book of Dog Tricks for the Best Dog Ever, by Chris Perondi and Larry Kay (event at Boswell, Wed April 17, 7 pm)
9. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
10. The Cooking Gene, by Michael W Twitty

The Alliance Way, being textbook priced from Harvard Education Press, is not something we'd normally be able to stock without an event, but we have a few signed copies leftover from our event last week. Owen-Moore's new book is on bullying, and is drawn from her experience running Alliance School, an MPS charter school that "serves the needs of students in grades 9–12 who are hindered in the traditional high school environment due to harassment, intimidation, physical and/or emotional abuse, both LGBTQ and others," per Wikipedia.

Books for Kids:
1. The Friendship War, by Andrew Clements
2. Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You, by Marley Dias
3. Warrior of the Wild, by Tricia Levenseller
4. Two Karen Tales, written in Karen and English, by Lah Say
5. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
6. To Kill a Kingdom, by Alexandra Christo
7. The Skin I'm In, by Sharon Flake
8. On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
9. Under the Mesquite, by Guadlupe Garcia McCall
10. The Circle, by Mac Barnett, with illustrations by Jon Klassen

Read more about Marley Dias Gets Things Done and So Can You at the Girls Summit in the Journal Sentinel article. Dias started the 1000 Black Girl Books campaign, collecting books with Black girls as protagonists, and has since put together a collection of 12,000 books.

Lots of school orders this week - I left off the bilingual dictionaries from this list - which gives space to a trade tile with a nice pop in sales this week, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen's The Circle. The follow-up to Triangle and Square and the final entry in the shapes trilogy, the collaborators behind Extra Yarn and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (which I still always want to note they launched at Boswell), have created a hide-and-seek-saga for the ages.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, it's that time of year, Chris Foran's baseball book roundup. This year he's got eight picks.
--Special Brew: An Inside Look at the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers, by Tom Haudricourt
--K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches, by Tyler Kepner
--Great American Baseball Stories, edited by Jeff Silverman
--A Fine Team Man: Jackie Robinson and the Lives He Touched, by Joe Cox
--Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the '90s Dynasty, Bill Pennington
--Ballpark: Baseball in the American City, by Paul Goldberger
--Let's Play Two: The Life and Times of Ernie Banks, by Doug Wilson
--Now Taking the Field: Baseball’s All-Time Dream Teams for All 30 Franchises, by Tom Stone

Oline H Cogdill of Associated Press reviews Christi Daugherty's latest, A Beautiful Corpse: "As she did in The Echo Killing, Daugherty continues to delve deep into the persona of (Savannah journalist) Harper, who became a reporter because of her interest in crime, spurred by her mother’s murder when she was 12. She now uses her reporting skills to look into her mother’s still unsolved death."

From USA Today comes Heather Scott Parlington's review of Survival Math, from Mitchell S Jackson: "Through the inclusion of many voices from his life, Jackson recounts growing up black in predominantly white Portland, Oregon ('this ain’t our Eden, and won’t be, for that was never their intent.'), his family’s history of drug sales and addiction and its entanglement in the sex trade. It’s an expansive chronicle as much as his own personal story."

Monday, March 18, 2019

Event alert: Joseph Scapellato in conversation with CJ Hribal, Matthew J Prigge, Chip Duncan, Alexandra Christo and Tricia Levenseller in conversation with Kelli O'Malley, Marley Dias at Girls Summit, Patrick McGilligan

Here's what's happening this week!

Monday, March 18, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Joseph Scapellato, author of The Made-Up Man, in conversation with CJ Hribal

Marquette alum Joseph Scapellato returns to Milwaukee, this time at Boswell, for a conversation with his former writing mentor, CJ Hribal, about Scapellato’s first novel, in which existential noir meets absurd comedy.

A young man reluctantly enlists as source material for his strange uncle’s art project. Stanley had known it was a mistake to accept his uncle Lech’s offer to apartment-sit in Prague; knew it was one of Lech’s thinly veiled setups for some invasive, potentially dangerous performance art project. But whatever Lech had planned for Stanley, it would get him to Prague and maybe offer a chance to make things right with T after his failed attempt to propose.

Gabino Iglesias wrote about the book on the NPR website: "Joseph Scapellato's The Made-Up Man reminds me of a bacon-topped doughnut — a mixture of incongruent elements that somehow work well together. And like that sweet treat, Scapellato's blend of existential noir, absurdist humor, literary fiction, and surreal exploration of performance art merges into something special."

Joseph Scapellato is author of the story collection Big Lonesome, and his work has been published in Kenyon Review Online, Gulf Coast, and PANK. Scapellato is Assistant Professor of English at Bucknell University. CJ Hribal is author of The Company Car, The Clouds in Memphis, and American Beauty. He is Professor at Marquette University.

Tuesday, March 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Matthew J Prigge, author of Damn the Old Tinderbox!: Milwaukee's Palace of the West and the Fire That Defined an Era

Author of Milwaukee Mayhem and host of WMSE’s What Made Milwaukee Famous, Matthew J Prigge recalls one of the Gilded Age’s forgotten calamities, a fire among the deadliest unsolved arsons in American history and a significant chapter in the history of Milwaukee.

In the dead of an unassuming January night in 1883, Milwaukee’s Newhall House hotel was set on fire. Two hours later, the building, once among the tallest in the nation, lay in ruins and over 70 people were dead. It was a tragedy that brought global notice to Milwaukee, with daring escapes and rescues and heart-wrenching tales of victims burned to death or killed as they leapt from the burning building. From the great horror emerged an even greater string of mysteries. Who had set the fire, and who was to blame for the staggering loss of life?  Prigge searches for answers in the history of one of Milwaukee’s greatest disasters.

Matthew J Prigge’s work has appeared in Milwaukee Magazine, Urban Milwaukee, and the Shepherd Express. He won the 2013 William Best Hesseltine Award from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and the 2017 Gambrinus Prize from the Milwaukee County Historical Society. He is author of Milwaukee Mayhem and Outlaws, Rebels, and Vixens: Motion Picture Censorship in Milwaukee, 1914–1971.

Wednesday, March 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Chip Duncan, author of Inspiring Change: The Photographic Journey of Chip Duncan

Photographer, filmmaker, and author Chip Duncan presents Inspiring Change, a collection of photojournalism that captures images of people and places across the world. Cosponsored by NŌ Studios.

During the past decade, Duncan has conducted numerous visits to Afghanistan, Kenya, Colombia, Peru, and Ethiopia as well as journeys to India, Ghana, Pakistan, and Haiti. The people he’s encountered and photographed offer a rare and positive glimpse into the beauty of each individual nation and the unique cultures and faiths around the world.

Chip Duncan is author of the story collection Half a Reason to Die and Enough to Go Around: Searching for Hope in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Darfur, a book of photo essays. He’s also produced documentary films and series such as The Reagan Presidency, The Life & Death of Glaciers, and Mystic Lands, among others.

Thursday, March 21, 6:30 pm, at Boswell: A YA, Boswell! Event with Tricia Levenseller, author of Warrior of the Wild and Alexandra Christo, author of To Kill a Kingdom

Boswell is pleased to host a fantastic evening of YA fantasy with Tricia Levenseller (at left), author of Daughter of the Pirate King, and debut YA novelist Alexandra Christo, for a conversation with bookseller/librarian Kelli O’Malley. This conversation will enchant adults and teens 13+.

In Levenseller’s Warrior of the Wild, an eighteen-year-old chieftain's daughter is banished into the monster-filled wild after being betrayed and must find a way to kill her village’s oppressive deity if she ever wants to return home in this Viking-inspired standalone fantasy. School Library Journal praised Levenseller’s writing, saying that she “created a formidable female character who can take care of herself as she makes some hard decisions.”

Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom is an action-packed YA debut that pits a deadly siren princess and a siren-hunting human prince against each other as they fight to protect their kingdoms. Booklist  says, “stellar world-building and nonstop action will keep readers hooked on this twisted reimagining of The Little Mermaid." And Publishers Weekly says, “with well-crafted fight scenes and vivid descriptions, Christo has created a world of beauty and monstrosity that will draw readers in.”

Tricia Levenseller is author of Daughter of the Pirate King and its sequel Daughter of the Siren Queen. She received her degree in English language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. Alexandra Christo (at right) has a BA in creative writing and works as a copywriter in London, both of which make her sound more grown-up than she feels.

Saturday, March 23, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, at Alverno College’s Sister Joel Reed Conference Center, 3400 S 43rd St:
Featuring keynote lunch speaker Marley Dias, author of Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!

The inaugural State of Wisconsin Girls Summit 2019 brings together thought leaders, inspiring voices, and workshops to address issues facing girls in Wisconsin, including cyberbullying, poverty, social media, and mental health. The day’s activities will be designed to engage young people and adults interested in responding to these issues facing today’s girls. Featured during the program’s lunch at 12:00 pm is the inaugural Mary Ann Schwartz Academic Excellence Speaker Series Keynote by Marley Dias.

Registration is open now and costs $15 for youth (up to age 22), $35 for adults, and $25 for Alverno faculty, staff, and alumni. Visit alverno.edu/research/girlssummit.php. Food requests closed on March 15, but you can still register to attend the programs.

Marley Dias speaks about her passion for making our world a better place in an accessible guide exploring activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, and using social media for good. Dias shows kids how they can galvanize their strengths to make positive changes in their communities, while getting support from parents, teachers, and friends to turn dreams into reality.

Monday, March 25, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Patrick McGilligan, author of Funny Man: Mel Brooks

Milwaukee based biographer and Marquette Instructor of Digital Media and Performing Arts Partrick McGilligan, author of definitive biographies of Orson Wells and Alfred Hitchcock, delves into the life of a true legend, comedy giant Mel Brooks. Cosponsored by UWM’s Stahl Center for Jewish Studies.

McGilligan insightfully navigates the famous funnyman’s life story, from Brooks’s childhood in Williamsburg tenements and breakthrough in early television to Hollywood and Broadway peaks (and valleys). His book offers a meditation on the Jewish immigrant culture that influenced Brooks, snapshots of the golden age of comedy, and behind the scenes revelations about the celebrated shows and films.

Engrossing, nuanced, and poignant, Funny Man delivers a great man’s unforgettable life story and an anatomy of the American dream. McGilligan’s new work is a deeply textured and compelling biography of comedy giant and Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony-winner Mel Brooks, covering his rags-to-riches life and triumphant career in television, films, and theater. You can read about about the book in Chris Foran's Journal Sentinel review.

Patrick McGilligan is author the Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane, the New York Times Notable Book Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast and the Edgar Award-nominated Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. He lives in Milwaukee and teaches at Marquette.

More about our upcoming events here.

Photo credits:
Joseph Scapellato: Ryan LeBreton
Patrick McGilligan: William B Winburn

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 16, 2019 - plus Too Much Tuna - three meaty book reviews

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 16, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Lost Night, by Andrea Bartz
2. Good Riddance, by Elinor Lipman
3. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
4. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
5. Little Faith, by Nickolas Butler
6. The Batter's Box, by Andy Kutler
7. Circe, by Madeline Miller
8. The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See
9. There There, by Tommy Orange
10. A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult

It's been just about a year since Lisa See appeared at UWM Golda Meir Library for their annual Friends meeting and now she has a new novel, The Island of Sea Women. From Publishers Weekly: "See once again explores how culture survives and morphs in this story of a real-life Korean female diving collective... See perceptively depicts challenges faced by Koreans over the course of the 20th century, particularly homing in on the ways the haenyeo have struggled to maintain their way of life. Exposing the depths of human cruelty and resilience, See’s lush tale is a wonderful ode to a truly singular group of women."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. An American Summer, by Alex Kotlowitz
2. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
3. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
4. Educated, by Tara Westover
5. Spearhead, by Adam Makos
6. Tribe, by Sebastian Junger
7. The Source of Self Regard, by Toni Morrison
8. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
9. Women Rowing North, by Mary Pipher
10. The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace Wells

Toni Morrison's new collection of essays, The Source of Self Regard, has been selling well since its February 12 release. It's one of a sea of pink covers and has a style that I consider the design equivalent of normcore. Ericka Taylor writes on NPR: "Morrison turns her penetrating analysis on the mass movement of people across the globe, foreigners and foreignness, and what it means to be "exiled in the place one belongs." She takes on racism — in the media, society, and American literature — and examines how, step by deliberate step, nations move towards "its succubus twin fascism."

Paperback Fiction:
1. I Was Anastasia, by Ariel Lawhon
2. The Milkman, by Anna Burns
3. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
4. The Batter's Box, by Andy Kutler
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
6. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
7. The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez
8. The Tiger Flu, by Larissa Lai
9. Us Against You, by Fredrik Backman
10. A Place for Us, by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Congratulations to Anna Burns, whose novel The Milkman just received the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. From The New School for Creative Writing, here's an interview with Burns from Audrey Moraif that has a certain resonance to me: "Initially I had the idea to take a few hundred words of notes from another book I was writing at the time to start me off into a short story to send to a magazine. These notes were about reading-while-walking which I used to do a lot. People would say to me, including strangers in clubs and shops and bars and cafés, ‘You’re that girl who reads and walks!’ I would continually be startled at having this pointed out, mainly because it seemed an activity not particularly worthy of note. And also, I was surprised to be noticed doing it by so many people. I wanted to try to write something around the possible reasons why this was being pointed out to me, rather than about the activity of reading while walking itself."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Answer Is Energy, by Jarrad Hewett
2. Fly Girls, by Keith O'Brien
3. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
4. Damn the Old Tinderbox, by Matthew J Prigge (event at Boswell Tue 3/19, 7 pm)
5. Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook, by Kristine Hansen
6. Healing the Human Body with God's Remedies, by Lester Carter
7. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
8. There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz
9. From the Emerald Isle to the Cream City, by Carl Baehr
10. Milwaukee Mayhem, by Matthew J Prigge

After a bit of a lull for regional titles, we're back to four of the top 10 being Wisconsin-themed, including a St. Patrick's Day pop for From the Emerald Isle to the Cream City. Do a search, however, and you'll get a lot of St. Patrick's Day events. We're looking forward to our event on Tuesday for Damn the Old Tinderbox: Milwaukee’s Palace of the West and the Fire that Defined an Era. I was just talking to a customer whose relative died in that fire. Matthew J Prigge also has a story in Milwaukee Noir, which comes out May 7.

Books for Kids:
1. Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You, by Marley Dias
2. The School for Good and Evil V1, by Soman Chainani
3. Beautiful Oops, by Barney Saltzberg
4. Celebrate You, by Sherri Duskey Rinker with illustrations by An Kang
5. A Crystal Of Time V5: School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
6. The Friendship War, by Andrew Clements
7. Unstinky, by Andy Rash
8. Arlo Needs Glasses, by Barney Saltzberg
9. Archie the Daredevil Penguin, by Andy Rash
10. Crazy Hair Day, by Barney Saltzberg

We're thick into spring authors-in-schools season, such that nine of our top ten bestsellers are connected to school visits, and our top seller is connected to next Saturday's Girls Summit at Alverno College. Featured lunch speaker is Marley Dias, author of Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You. Registration is still open, but you can no longer order lunch.

We've also got signed copies of several of our bestsellers, including A Crystal of Time, the latest Soman Chainani, who has spoken of the series to Selena Simmons-Duffin at NPR: "'That's where I think The School for Good and Evil came from,' he says. 'It was this desire to reclaim fairy tales and give kids an alternative to Disney set in a similar fairy tale world that looked like Disney but ultimately break it all down. And show them a way of thinking beyond the Disney good and evil matrix, which I am convinced is corrupting so much of the way kids think.'" I should note, however, that we're out of signed copies of book #1.

Too Much Tuna! Three reviews with a lot of meaty information.

At the Journal Sentinel, Chris Foran reviews Mel Brooks's Funny Man: "Everybody thinks Mel Brooks is funny. Not everybody thinks Mel Brooks is a good guy to work with — or be with... McGilligan, a Milwaukee-based biographer whose subjects have ranged from Orson Welles to Clint Eastwood, has put together a more-bitter-than-sweet portrait of a comedian whose art is powered by jealousy, a persecution complex and, sometimes, rage." We're hosting McGillian on Monday, March 25 7 pm.

Originally from the Associated Press, Ann Levin reviews Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury. Of Carolyn Burke's book, Levin writes: "But with four lives to account for, Burke, the author of biographies of Edith Piaf and Mina Loy, succumbs to the temptation to stuff too much in, stringing together one quote after another from letters, articles and other sources."

Mark Athitakis review Etaf Rum's A Woman Is No Man. He offers: "Novels about the immigrant experience often turn on the psychic trauma that families endure in a new country. Etaf Rum understands that the experience can leave physical bruises, too." This was from USA Today.

Monday, March 11, 2019

We cordially invite you: Elinor Lipman, Soman Chainani, Alex Kotlowitz, Andy Kutler, Andrea Bartz, Joseph Scapellato, plus a note on Katie Parla

Here is a cordial invitation to celebrate a number of book happenings this week.

Monday, March 11, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Elinor Lipman, author of Good Riddance

Enjoy a wonderful evening at Boswell with one of our favorite authors, Elinor Lipman, in conversation with Boswell's own Daniel Goldin. Lipman is author of many novels, including The Inn at Lake Devine and On Turpentine Lane. In addition to the usual writerly talk, we'll also have a celebrity high school yearbook quiz, plus Lipman has enough yearbook stories to entertain us for hours.

This event is free, and we're so grateful to the folks who registered (now closed). Folks who registered and have not yet bought a book will get 10% off on Good Riddance the night of the event. But don't worry - you're welcome to attend even if you did not register.

Allow me to tell it like it is: "In her inheritance, Daphne Martich’s mother bequeaths her a heavily (compulsively?) annotated high school yearbook, though it’s not from when she graduated, but when she was a teacher to whom the yearbook was dedicated. Daphne, a divorcee with a yoke-tight prenup, tosses it in recycling, only there are more problems on the horizon than the unrecyclable nature of that cloth cover – her neighbor has latched onto it and has big plans to turn the source material into a documentary. Or maybe a podcast. This has the potential to blow up to be rather embarrassing to the Maritch family.

"Just to make things more complicated, Daphne’s father has fallen in love with Manhattan and decides to move into the neighborhood, another neighbor, a bit player on a popular soap opera, is sending Daphne mixed romantic messages, and let’s not even get into that prominent New Hampshire politician who wants to get to know Daphne better. Can this story possibly have a happy ending? When Lipman, a class act herself, is at the helm, you might not know how this story is going to unravel, but you know it’s going to be work out fine and be very funny along the way." (Daniel Goldin rec, and yes, that's my high school year book photo at right. Call me the Lord of Lapels.)

Mary Pols at The New York Times Book Review concurs: "Good Riddance is a caper novel, light as a feather and effortlessly charming. It will not save lives or enrich them in an enduring way (as Marie Kondo can do; two years in, my sock drawer can attest to that). But the book inspires a very specific kind of modern joy. I read it fast, in a weekend, during which I did not find my social media accounts or tidying my house nearly as diverting as what was on these pages. Being more attractive than Twitter may sound like a low bar, but in these distractible times, it feels like a genuine achievement."

Tuesday, March 12, 4:00 pm, at Boswell:
Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil #5: A Crystal of Time

Acclaimed author and screenwriter Chainani presents the fifth installment of the hit School for Good and Evil series. It’s an epic new adventure that’s perfect for adults and kids 8 and up. Swag alert - We've got really cool School for Good and Evil pop totes.

In A Crystal of Time, Sophie, Agatha, and their friends must find a way to overthrow the sinister evil that twists lies into the truth and seeks to rewrite their story. At the end of Quests for Glory, Truth had become Lies, and Lies had become the new Truth. A boy called Rhian had declared himself the true King of Camelot, forced Sophie to be his queen, and captured Tedros, Merlin, and the rest of the School for Good and Evil Quest seekers. Sophie and Agatha must save Camelot and help Tedros reclaim his rightful throne before Rhian’s lies rewrite their stories.

The School for Good and Evil has been translated into twenty-six languages around the world, was recently nominated for the Waterstones’ Children’s Prize in the UK, and Universal Studios has signed on to make the School for Good and Evil movie.

Soman Chainani studied at Harvard where he practically created his own fairy-tale major. He is an acclaimed screenwriter, a graduate of the MFA Film Program at Columbia University, and his films have played at more than 150 film festivals around the world. His writing awards include an honor from the Sun Valley Writers’ Fellowship.

Wednesday, March 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Alex Kotlowitz, author of An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago in conversation with Joy Powers

Boswell is pleased to present Alex Kotlowitz, acclaimed journalist and author of There Are No Children Here, with his richly textured, heartrending portrait of the love and death that occurs during one summer across Chicago’s most turbulent neighborhoods. Cosponsored by Community Advocates Public Policy Institute and City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention.

Registration requested at kotlowitzmke.bpt.me. We'll not hit capacity but your registration will help us put out enough chairs. Plus, folks who register by Wednesday at 10 am will get 10% off on An American Summer at the event.

Here's my take: "In his first full-length book in 15 years, journalist Alex Kotlowitz weaves together 15 narratives of the violence that poor Chicagoans must deal with every day. With the breakdown in gang control and demise of the high-rise projects (such as the Henry Horner Homes that were the setting for There Are No Children Here), violence has moved to the streets and neighborhoods. With the omnipresent and widespread cliques, the code of violence of old-time gangs has been decimated – athletes and excelling students are not given a pass, and incidents spin out of control and destroy the lives of innocent bystanders. The residents involved often have PTSD, but this trauma is not post-anything.

"An American Summer does an amazing job of showcasing these individuals, noting how many of these kids and young adults would, under other circumstances, be not just productive members of society but high-achieving ones like Marco, whose destiny teeters between two very desperate futures. Kotlowitz has written a powerful and important work of journalism and so filled with empathy and hope that it’s likely to inspire many readers to search for new answers to a long-existing problem." (Daniel Goldin)

Alex Kotlowitz is author of There Are No Children Here, his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and on This American Life, and he produced the Emmy Award-winning documentary The Interrupters. His other honors include a George Polk Award, two Peabodys, the Helen B. Bernstein Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

Joy Powers is a Producer of WUWM's Lake Effect. Previously, she was a director and producer for Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio.

Thursday, March 14, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Andy Kutler, author of The Batter’s Box: A Novel of Baseball, War, and Love

Madison native Andy Kutler swings into Boswell with his latest book of historical fiction, which tells the story of a baseball star who struggles when he returns home from World War II and asks, what drives a man to walk away from everything he cherishes?

Will Jamison, star player for the Washington Senators, enlists after the attack on Pearl Harbor. When the war ends, Jamison returns to Washington as a decorated hero burdened with a crushing guilt and harrowing memories he cannot escape. Jamison's life is consumed by an explosive temper, sleepless nights, and a gradual descent into alcoholism. He also must navigate the public stigmas of the 1940s surrounding mental illness, stigmas that often silenced those who suffered.

Historian and baseball author Bernard A. Weisberger says, “As an historian, a World War II veteran, and a devoted baseball fan, Andy Kutler's imaginative dive into the past gave me special pleasure… The Batter’s Box will richly reward any reader who enjoys a gripping and skillfully told tale."

Andy Kutler is author of The Other Side of Life, awarded a Bronze Medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards and Honorable Mention from Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Awards. His writing has appeared in Huffington Post and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Michelle Obama's appearance at the Miller High Life Theater is sold out.

Friday, March 15, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Andrea Bartz, author of The Lost Night

Milwaukee-area native Andrea Bartz chats about her debut novel, a suspenseful look back at the lives and friendships of New York’s hippest set during the financial crisis, with Mike Howard of El Dorado Games.

In 2009, Bushwick, the beguiling Edie has the world in her thrall. She and her clique treat New York like a playground. When she commits suicide at the end of a long, drunken night, no one can quite believe it. A decade later, Edie's friend Lindsay has come a long way from their drug-addled world, with a thriving career, cozy apartment, and true adult friendships. But when a chance reunion leads Lindsay to discover an unsettling video from that terrible, hazy night, she starts to wonder if Edie was actually murdered and worse, if she herself was involved. As she rifles through the past, Lindsay confronts demons of her own violent history to bring the truth to light.

Boswellian Chris Lee offers this recommendation: "Here’s a stylish noir update that offers a glimpse into the cool kid world of late-aughts NYC, a landscape of twenty-somethings searching for meaning (or something like it) in friendships, cheap lofts, and rooftop parties while the world fell apart around them, back when hipster was still a bad word. It’s a what-really-happened-back-then? thriller about a woman who unearths a video clip from her partying days which leads her to personally reopen the decade-cold case of her estranged friend’s suicide-that-was-probably-really-a-murder. The narrator flirts with unreliability (she was blacked out when said suicide-that-was-probably-really-a-murder happened), and the plotting’s just the right amount of twisty to scratch the ol’ whodunit itch. In The Lost Night, Bartz does what classic noir does best, offering a glimpse into the dark side - the unemployment and lack of prospects, the tense, strained friendships, and the drugs and oceans of Pabst - to reveal the secrets of a time and place gone by."

Andrea Bartz is a journalist and coauthor of the blog-turned-book Stuff Hipsters Hate. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and Elle. She grew up in Brookfield (Wisconsin).

That said, we did move Bartz's event from Thursday to Friday because The Lost Night was published by the same division of Penguin Random House and we had booked this event before Obama was announced.

Monday, March 18, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Joseph Scapellato, author of The Made-Up Man, in conversation with CJ Hribal

Marquette alum Joseph Scapellato returns to Milwaukee, this time at Boswell, for a conversation with his former writing mentor, CJ Hribal, about Scapellato’s first novel, in which existential noir meets absurd comedy.

A young man reluctantly enlists as source material for his strange uncle’s art project. Stanley had known it was a mistake to accept his uncle Lech’s offer to apartment-sit in Prague; knew it was one of Lech’s thinly veiled setups for some invasive, potentially dangerous performance art project. But whatever Lech had planned for Stanley, it would get him to Prague and maybe offer a chance to make things right with T after his failed attempt to propose.

Immediately and wholly immersive, Scapellato’s The Made-Up Man is a hilarious examination of art’s role in self-knowledge, a sinister send-up of self-deception, and a big-hearted investigation into the cast of characters necessary to help us finally meet ourselves. Marc Bojanowski, writing for The New York Times Book Review, says, “Scapellato’s inventive, hallucinatory prose dazzles… A timely dose of his absurdism could prove an antivenom to our problematic times.”

Joseph Scapellato is author of the story collection Big Lonesome, and his work has been published in Kenyon Review Online, Gulf Coast, and PANK. Scapellato is Assistant Professor of English at Bucknell University. CJ Hribal is Professor at Marquette University.

Please note that Katie Parla's event for Food of the Italian South: Recipes for Classic, Disappearing, and Lost Dishes at Anodyne on Saturday, March 16 is sold out. There may still be tickets to the Glorioso's signing on March 15. More info here.

More event info here.