Monday, June 24, 2019

Events this week - Deborah Harkness, Scholastic Read-A-Palooza, Dean Strang with Mitch Teich, Rochelle Melander with Jeanette Hurt

Here's what's going on this week at Boswell.

Monday, June 24, 7 pm, at Boswell
Dean A Strang, author of Keep the Wretches in Order: America's Biggest Mass Trial, the Rise of the Justice Department, and the Fall of the IWW, in conversation with WUWM's Mitch Teich

Madison attorney Dean A Strang returns to Boswell with his latest book, a sharp legal history of the largest mass trial in US history. Cosponsored by Wisconsin Justice Initiative. This will also be WUWM Lake Effect Executive Producer and Host Mitch Teich's last conversation at Boswell before he leaves to be the General Manager at North Country Public Radio in New York.

Dean Strang analyzes the fragility of the American criminal justice system as he details United States v. Haywood et al, the fascinating case that had a major role in shaping the modern Justice Department. Before World War I, the government reaction to labor dissent had been local, ad hoc, and quasi-military. When the United States entered the conflict in 1917, the Department of Justice embarked on a sweeping new effort - replacing gunmen with lawyers. Soon, the department systematically targeted the nation’s most radical and innovative union, the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies.

In the first legal history of this federal trial, Strang shows how the case laid the groundwork for a fundamentally different strategy to stifle radical threats and had a major role in shaping the modern Justice Department. As the trial unfolded, it became an exercise of raw force, raising serious questions about its legitimacy and revealing the fragility of a criminal justice system under great external pressure.

Dean A Strang is a criminal defense lawyer in Madison and teaches at the University of Virginia School of Law. He is the author of Worse than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror. Mitch Teich is the new station manager of North Country Public Radio in  Canton, New York. Until recently, he was executive producer of WUWM's Lake Effect.

Tuesday, June 25, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Rochelle Melander, author of Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination, and Increase Productivity, in converastion with Jeannette Hurt

Milwaukee-based Rochelle Melander, book coach, teacher, and author of ten books, including the National Novel Writing Month guide, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It), turns every obstacle you face into quests, offering the perfect productivity solution. This event cosponsored by Red Oak Writing.

Melander offers creatives an opportunity to tackle their most common creative problems by turning them into quests. These short adventures challenge readers to investigate their life and habits to discover and use their own best practices.

Instead of playing someone else’s game, creatives will design their own game, create a playbook, define the rewards, and reap them all. Adopt a secret identity, recruit allies, identify villains, and celebrate epic wins by using a gameful approach to shaping creative life. Completing these quests won’t be a chore. Instead, Melander helps creatives relish investigating life, play with the possibilities, and maybe even have some fun along the way.

Rochelle Melander is a Milwaukee-based writing coach, teacher, and author. She is Founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop for children and teens in Milwaukee. She interviews authors and publishing professionals on her blog, at the Write Now! Mastermind class, and in her podcast, Business Boosting Books.

Wednesday, June 26, 7 pm, at Boswell Deborah Harkness, author of Time’s Convert:
Deborah Harkness, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches visits us with her latest novel about what it takes to become a vampire.

Please register for this free event at harknessmke.bpt.me, or upgrade to a book-with-registration option for $19, which includes a paperback copy of Time's Convert, signing line priority, and all taxes and fees.

A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time's Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history and a love affair that will bridge centuries.

A Discovery of Witches was made into a television series starring Teresa Palmer, Matthew Goode, Edward Bluemel, Louise Brealey, Malin Buska, Aiysha Hart, Owen Teale, Alex Kingston, and Valarie Pettiford. It aired on Sky One in the UK last fall and debuted on AMC in April. It just finished its run, but do not fear - the production has been renewed for two more seasons. If you just discovered the All Souls Trilogy via television or streaming, it's time to read the books, which, of course, are even better.

Deborah Harkness is the New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life. A history professor at the University of Southern California, Harkness has received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships.

Friday, June 28, 3-5 pm, at Boswell:
Scholastic Read-A-Palooza, featuring Dog Man and Clifford the Big Red Dog

Boswell hosts a Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Celebration! There will be activities for young readers and giveaways of goodies like stickers, temporary tattoos, and more. Plus, we’ll have a visit from (costume characters) Dog Man and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Great for kids and adults. We’ll also have a Summer Reading Give Back donation box to collect donations of new children’s books for Next Door Foundation.

Those who wish to attend this free event are asked to register at readapaloozamke.bpt.me.

Scholastic Read-A-Palooza is a nationwide effort to unite kids, parents, educators, public librarians, community partners, and booksellers in a movement to get books to kids in need during the summer, keeping every child reading.

Milwaukee’s Next Door Foundation supports the intellectual, physical, and emotional development of children by partnering with their families for success in school and the community.

Saturday, June 29, All Day, on Downer Ave:
Downer Classic Bike Races

Historic Downer Avenue is home to one of the most famous urban criterium courses in the country, The Cafe Hollander Downer Classic Pro Criterium. Global in reach and extremely local in flavor, this promises to be one of the highlights of cycling in Wisconsin this summer. The full day of racing also features a popular kids’ race, a Belgian Beer Festival, the famous Ben’s Cyclery Super Prime, as well as a full slate of racing all afternoon and evening.

Boswell will be open during our normal Saturday hours, 10 am – 9 pm, on the day of the races, though please note that the race course runs directly in front of the store. While the sidewalks will be open to foot traffic, the street will be closed.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending June 22, 2019

Boswell bestsellers, week ending June 22, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Girl in the Rearview Mirror, by Kelsey Rae Dimberg
2. City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilberg
3. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
4. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
5. Recursion, by Blake Crouch
6. Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan
7. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
8. Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner
9. FKA USA, by Reed King
10. Murder in Bel-Air V19, by Cara Black

Though Blake Crouch is probably best known to readers for his breakout Dark Matter, he also wrote the books that became the Wayward Pines series. Now he's back with Recursion, a twisty speculative thriller that posits that it is possible to plant false memories in a person. As he told Mary Louise Kelly on NPR's Morning Edition: "I came across this article about two MIT scientists who were implanting false memories in the brains of mice and actually tricking these poor mice into believing they had experienced a reality that they never experienced. And when I read this, I thought, this is my book." Recursion is also on our time travel table, but I've heard it's only time travel of a sort, so I'm adding a caveat.

Hardcover Nonficition:
1. Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro
2. Dark Fantastic, by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas
3. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
4. Elderhood, by Louise Aronson
5. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
6. Educated, by Tara Westover
7. Underland, by Robert McFarlane
8. Anthony Bourdain Remembered, by CNN
9. Upheaval, by Jared Diamond
10. The Witch's Book of Self Care, by Arin Murphy-Hoscock

It's always nice to see a book sell off our staff rec shelf. Witches, as I'm sure you've heard, are hot again, what with Deborah Harkness coming to Boswell on Wednesday (register here) for A Discovery of Witches and Augusten Burroughs coming out with Toil and Trouble in October. But what got The Witch's Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit onto our bestseller list was that someone bought it off the rec shelf on Saturday and walked over to Starbucks. It caught the eye of a barista (with a slightly different title that we figured out) and she bought a copy too. It's got a four on GoodReads (yes, I know that's Amazon, but I just can't find an NPR piece to link to).

I also wanted to call attention to an interesting book, whose sales pop was for a conference appearance. The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. Thomas teaches at University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. I think a number of our customers would find the thesis of interest, and I'm excited to say we have a few signed copies.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
2. The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
3. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
4. Vintage 1954, by Celeste Ng
5. Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton
6. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
7. The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey
8. The Clockmaker's Daughter, by Kate Morton
9. Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce
10. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

It's another week of having read eight of the top ten titles, with all of the said eight having been reported on either here or in our events blog. That's not to say I won't have more to say, but I'll turn to Kate Morton's The Clockmaker's Daughter, which I don't think we've discussed since it was in hardcover. Nice to see it selling even with Jane on summer sabbatical. They call the genre country house goth, and this time, the dark house in question is Birchwood Manor, with two stories told 100 years apart. The hardcover jacket treatment focused on the clock, but the paperback says no, it's all about the daughter. Here's a nice Kirkus review.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Writing Fiction, 10th edition, by Janet Burroway
2. A Socialist Defector, by Victor Grossman
3. A Suffragette in America, by Sylvia Parkhurst, edited by Katherine Connelly
4. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
5. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
6. One Summer, by Bill Bryson
7. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
8. Wildflowers of Wisconsin, by Stan Tekiela
9. Little Book of Restorative Justice, by Howard Zehr
10. Damn the Old Tinderbox, by Matthew Prigge

No new sales pops here, just events holding down our top three, and a number of perennials, including Wildflowers of Wisconsin, which is literally a perennial about perennials. Several books had sales at the Evicted Mobile Design Box book fair on Friday, including Evicted and Just Mercy on the paperback list and Educated on the hardcover list. Ben Austen's High Risers would have made the top ten if we hadn't sold out. If only we'd brought one more. Info about the Evicted Mobile Design Box here

Books for Kids:
1. Lulu and Rock in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renee Graef
2. Sweeping Up the Heart, by Kevin Henkes
3. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, by Fred Rogers, edited by Luke Flowers
4. Trees, by Socho Piotr
5. The Wicked King, by Holly Black
6. A Piglet Named Mercy, by Kate DiCamillo
7. Squirm, by Carl Hiaasen
8. Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jared Schusterman
9. You Are Light, by Aaron Bucker
10. Thunderhead: Volume 2 of Schythe, by Neal Schusterman

I thought we'd see nice summer sales for Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, a great keepsake from a visit to town, so it's nice to see the book at #1. We just saw the second book in the series, Lulu and Rocky in Detroit, and having just visited Detroit in April, I'm excited about this one for our Michigan neighbors.

The Journal Sentinel book page is on vacation this week - it's planning a trip to Summerfest.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What does Humphrey Bogart have to do with Kelsey Rae Dimberg's Girl in the Rearview Mirror

While we love whenever our customers have a book come out, it's particularly exciting to see a debut from a Friend of Boswell at a major house. And Girl in the Rearview Mirror is just that, a novel won at a competitive auction by William Morrow and published today. So what indeed does Humphrey Bogart have to do with Kelsey Rae Dimberg's debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror? After all, the story is set in contemporary Phoenix, and the main character is a nanny, about as far from the actor well known for his role as Sam Spade in the adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's classic noir novel, The Maltese Falcon.

As Dimberg tells Jim Higgins in Sunday's Journal Sentinel, "Girl in the Rearview Mirror has roots in classic noir films that Dimberg came to love while she was in graduate school at the University of San Francisco. Back then, she was writing traditional literary fiction, including what she called 'my sad guy novel,' full of emotion and angst. But after seeing a noir double bill in 2009 - Dimberg thinks it was While the City Sleeps and Shakedown — she plunged into that cinematic genre. Soon she was writing, for fun, the novel that became Girl in the Rearview Mirror.

Dimberg also told Higgins that she made her protagonist a nanny because who else knows the secrets of a family so well, with no real commitment to keep them secret? A nanny is also a great job for someone running away, and that fits Girl squarely in between the genres of noir mystery and psychological suspense. We've got the detective equivalent (as we've noted, there are less and less classic private investigators to star in novels but no shortage of other professions to fill the bill) in the nanny, trying to unravel what's going on in this family. But like many psychological suspense characters, our hero is also not completely trustworthy. She's got her own secrets, and she's withholding them from the reader.

Katherine Nintzel at William Morrow offered these thoughts on why she acquired the book in a letter to booksellers and other early readers: "The first thing that gripped me about Girl in the Rearview Mirror was the voice. I saw it from the first page, and I hope you do too: Kelsey Rae Dimberg is a writer working in a classic noir space, but bringing a real modern angle to it."

Like many protagonists in novels that straddle the psychological suspense genre (which generally includes any novel that has Girl in the title), our protagonist is running away from something and is not exactly trustworthy. But unlike some antiheroes that are trying to cause trouble, Finn inadvertently finds herself in the thick of a conspiracy and would like nothing more than for it to go away. Her fumbling only makes it worse.

Girl in the Rearview Mirror is getting some great reviews around the country, like this stunner from Jay Strafford in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star: "As Dimberg reveals the secrets and lies that animate her tale, and as a river of death runs through it, even the most astute readers of suspense fiction will find themselves engulfed by multiple stunners, including an explosive and unforeseen conclusion. Dimberg, who holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of San Francisco and is a former editor-in-chief of Lux, the literary magazine of Barrett Honors College of Arizona State, set out to write a novel that places morality - or its absence - at the heart of the story. She succeeds with verve and intensity - and her initial effort foreshadows a brilliant future."

As I mentioned, we've had some great reads on Girl in the Rearview Mirror as well. Here's Boswellian Tim McCarthy's take: "I was absorbed by this novel, by its quick start and strong pace, and I like the way Dimberg uses politics as the context for people's lives without letting political issues become a distraction. The characters are well developed, Finn having a bold determination to find the truth mixed with a lot of self doubt. Her mutual attraction with Amabel's father Philip is a subtle but important element of the story, never becoming a nanny stereotype. Above all, the tragedies and the suspense moved me. Deeply. I truly look forward to Dimberg's next work!"

Here's my silly elevator pitch: It's like Noir moved from San Francisco to Phoenix because of the cheaper cost of living.

The book is on sale today. We gave Dimberg a sneak peek at the books piled on our shelving cart. She also signed preorders. Our event is this Thursday, June 20, 7 pm, now cohosted by Crimespree magazine. Here's our debut novelist on Morning Blendwhere she talks about how the book took eight years to write. I'm sure you'll be charmed and want to come out and see her on Thursday. Why not get your book signed* and take a photo with Dimberg and Humphrey Bogart? And if you're from out of town and want a signed first edition, we can get that done for you as well. Here's the order link.

If you are reading this post from metro Chicago, Madison, or Phoenix, Dimberg is visiting your area too. Here's her schedule.

Chalkboard credit - Rose Camara

*It's 20% off, through at least June 24.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Event alert: Dani Shapiro, Kelsey Rae Dimberg, Victor Grossman, Janet Galloway, Charlotte Sullivan Wild

Here's what's going on at Boswell this week.

Monday, June 17, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Victor Grossman, author of A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee

Journalist and author Victor Grossman appears at Boswell to discuss his autobiography, which recounts the circumstances that impelled him to flee a military prison sentence during the icy pressures of the McCarthy Era. Cosponsored by the Milwaukee Turners.

While a US Army draftee stationed in Europe, Grossman, born Stephen Wechsler, left his barracks in Bavaria one August day in 1952, and, in a panic, swam across the Danube River from the Austrian U.S. Zone to the Soviet Zone. Fate (ie, the Soviets) landed him in East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic. There he remained, observer and participant, husband and father, as he watched the rise and successes, the travails, and the eventual demise of the GDR socialist experiment.

A Socialist Defector is the story, told in rare, personal detail, of an activist and writer who grew up in the U.S. free-market economy, spent thirty-eight years in the GDR’s nationally owned, centrally administered economy, and continues to survive, given whatever the market can bear in today’s united Germany. Journalist, traveling lecturer, and the only person in the world to hold diplomas from both Harvard and the Karl Marx University, Grossman offers insightful, often ironic, reflections and reminiscences, comparing the good and bad sides of life in all three of the societies he has known.

Tuesday, June 18, 7 pm, at Boswell: Dani Shapiro, author of of Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, in conversation with Boswell's Daniel Goldin

Acclaimed memoirist Dani Shapiro, author of Hourglass, Devotion, and Slow Motion, is coming to Boswell for her New York Times bestselling book Inheritance. Cosponsored by the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM and the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

Registration is free at shapiromke.bpt.me through June 17 or upgrade to a registration-with-book option for $26.35, including taxes and fees. The upgrade will get you first on the signing line.

Inheritance is an emotional detective story that begins when Shapiro receives the results of a DNA test and notes that some of her relatives don't match up. Her entire history, the life she had lived, crumbled beneath her. From Sandee Brawarsky's notes in Jewish Week: "For the reader, there’s a sense of suspense in Shapiro’s unraveling of details, even as she is thrown by her discovery and plagued by urgent questions about why her parents didn’t tell her - and how much they actually understood or how much they buried the truth in their own ways."

Barbara Spindel continues the thread The Christian Science Monitor: "Eventually Shapiro arrives at the belief that her mother and father had known but had buried the truth and settled on deep, shared denial. These days, of course, assisted reproductive technologies are out in the open. Still, as sites like Ancestry and 23andMe gain popularity, more people will receive results that shock them to the core."

Wednesday, June 19, 7 pm, at Boswell: Janet Burroway, author of the tenth edition of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, in conversation with Kim Suhr

Janet Burroway, Distinguished Professor Emerita at Florida State University and author of the most widely used creative writing text in America, visits for a conversation with Red Oak Writing Director Kim Suhr about the Tenth Edition of Writing Fiction. This book has been selling very strongly since we announced this event!

A creative writer’s shelf should hold at least three essential books: a dictionary, a style guide, and Writing Fiction. For more than 30 years, Burroway’s classic has helped hundreds of thousands of students learn the craft. Burroway offers a master class that calls on us to renew our love of storytelling and celebrate the skill of writing well. There is a very good chance that one of your favorite authors learned the craft with Writing Fiction.

The new edition continues to provide advice that is practical, comprehensive, and flexible. Moving from freewriting to final revision, Burroway, who has also written eight novels, plays, and numerous essyas, addresses “showing not telling,” characterization, dialogue, atmosphere, plot, imagery, and point of view, with examples and quotations that feature a wide and diverse range of today’s best-known authors. Thanks to Red Oak Writing for cosponsoring this event.

Thursday, June 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Book launch for Kelsey Rae Dimberg, author of Girl in the Rearview Mirror

Milwaukee author Kelsey Rae Dimberg appears at Boswell with her debut thriller about the young nanny for a prominent political family who gets drawn into a web of deadly lies, including her own. This event is cosponsored by Crimespree magazine.

They are Phoenix’s First Family: the son of the sitting Senator, destined to step into his father’s seat, his wife, the stylish and elegant director of Phoenix’s fine arts museum, and their four-year-old daughter Amabel, beautiful, precocious, and beloved. Finn Hunt eagerly agrees to nanny for Amabel, thinking she’s lucked into the job of a lifetime. But when a young woman approaches Finn, claiming a connection with Philip and asking Finn to pass on a message, Finn becomes caught up in a web of deceit with the senate seat at its center. And Finn, too, has a background she has kept hidden, but under the hot Phoenix sun, everything is about to be laid bare.

From Jim Higgins's profile of Dimberg in Sunday's Journal Sentinel, where she discusses making important decisions about the story: "'I'm going to write this crime novel. It's going to be all these little tropes from noir," she said, remembering her decision. She resolved to play fair with readers: 'I don't like it in novels when it's just the narrator's lying,' she said. Dimberg ended up using index cards to remind herself what Finn did and didn't know, and what other characters were doing, 'so I could keep track of everybody's timeline,' she said."

Kelsey Rae Dimberg received an MFA from the University of San Francisco and studied at Barrett Honors College of Arizona State University, where she was editor-in-chief of the literary magazine, Lux. She is a graduate of Homestead High School in Mequon. Girl in the Rearview Mirror is her first novel.

Saturday, June 22, 11 am, at Boswell:
Saturday Storytime with Charlotte Sullivan Wild, author of The Amazing Idea of You

Boswell hosts a Saturday morning storytime with Charlotte Sullivan Wild, Regional Advisor for the Southwest Texas chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, who will read and present her new picture book. Perfect for children and adults.

The Amazing Idea of You celebrates the glorious potential in living things and in every child. Fans of Emily Winfield Martin will delight in this loving, gorgeously illustrated story. Hidden within a tiny seed is the idea of a beautiful, towering tree. In a nest, curled inside an egg, waits the idea of a bird, of the songs she’ll sing and the skies she’ll fly. Tadpoles, caterpillars, and waddling goslings all hold the promise of leaps, brilliant colors, and migrations. Yet nothing compares to the promise of a child. This gorgeous, lyrical picture book celebrating new life is perfect for any child, parent, or parents-to-be.

Saturday, June 22, 2019, 3:30 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library Central Library, Community Room 1, 814 W Wisconsin Ave: Katherine Connelly, author of A Suffragette in America: Reflections on Prisoners, Pickets and Political Change

Milwaukee Public Library presents editor Katherine Connelly to discuss her latest work, a collection of English Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst’s writing and reflections on a year spent in Milwaukee during the early 20th century. Connelly did research at the Milwaukee Public Library in putting together A Suffragette in America.

Published for the first time, this book by leading English militant suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst details her tours of America in 1911 and 1912. Unlike other suffragette leaders, who spent their time in the States among the social elite, Pankhurst went right to the heart of America’s social problems. She visited striking laundry workers in New York and female prisoners in Philadelphia and Chicago, and grappled firsthand with shocking racism in Nashville.

Pankhurst biographer Katherine Connelly gathers and curates Pankhurst’s writing from the year-long visit, in which she reveals her shock at the darkness hidden in American life and draws parallels to her experiences of imprisonment and misogyny in her own country. Writer, activist, and Sylvia Pankhurst’s granddaughter Helen Pankhurst says, “This volume affords new insights into her life and work by placing the text in the turbulent political context in which it was written. It is an important contribution to history.”


Next week sneak peek - Monday, June 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Dean A Strang, author of Keep the Wretches in Order: America's Biggest Mass Trial, the Rise of the Justice Department, and the Fall of the IWW, in conversation with WUWM's Mitch Teich

Madison criminal defense attorney attorney Dean A Strang returns to Boswell with his latest book, a sharp legal history of the largest mass trial in US history. Cosponsored by Wisconsin Justice Initiative. This will also be WUWM Lake Effect Executive Producer and Host Mitch Teich's last conversation at Boswell before he leaves for New York's North Country Public Radio.

Dean Strang, also author of Worse Than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror, analyzes the fragility of the American criminal justice system as he details United States v. Haywood et al, the fascinating case that had a major role in shaping the modern Justice Department. Before World War I, the government reaction to labor dissent had been local, ad hoc, and quasi-military. When the United States entered the conflict in 1917, the Department of Justice embarked on a sweeping new effort - replacing gunmen with lawyers. Soon, the department systematically targeted the nation’s most radical and innovative union, the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies.

In the first legal history of this federal trial, Strang shows how the case laid the groundwork for a fundamentally different strategy to stifle radical threats and had a major role in shaping the modern Justice Department. As the trial unfolded, it became an exercise of raw force, raising serious questions about its legitimacy and revealing the fragility of a criminal justice system under great external pressure.

More events on our upcoming event page.

Photo credits!
Dani Shapiro - Michael Maren
Janet Burroway - Mary Stephan

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending June 15, 2019

Here are the Boswell weekly bestsellers for the period ending June 15, 2019. Happy Father's Day!

Hardcover Fiction:
1. City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. Murder in Bel-Air V19, by Cara Black
3. Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane
4. Circe, by Madeline Miller
5. Recursion, by Blake Crouch
6. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
7. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
8. Fall; or Dodge in Hell, by Neal Stephenson
9. The Sentence Is Death V2, by Anthony Horowitz
10. Resistance Women, by Jennifer Chiaverni

We were lucky enough to host Elizabeth Gilbert for her previous novel, The Signature of All Things. I always like to throw in that I read and liked Gilbert's 2000 novel, Stern Men, back when none of you knew who she was. But today's story is about City of Girls, her latest novel winning praise from many reviewers, including Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly (about to go monthly), who wrote that “Gilbert stays true to her pledge that she won’t let her protagonist’s sexuality be her downfall, like so many literary heroines before her. That may be the most radical thing about a novel that otherwise revels in the old-fashioned pleasures of storytelling - the right to fall down rabbit holes, and still find your own wonderland.”

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Second Mountain, by David Brooks
2. Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered, by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Harstark
3. The Pioneers, by David McCullough
4. Educated, by Tara Westover
5. The First Wave, by Alex Kershaw
6. Cocktail Codex, by Alex Day
7. Vegetables Unleashed, by Jose Andres
8. The Making of a Justice, by John Paul Stevens
9. Songs of America, by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw
10. Spying on the South, by Tony Horwitz

There's still an imprint called Caliber at Penguin - who knew? I thought it used to be through Berkley, but it's Dutton Caliber that published Alex Kershaw's The First Wave: The D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II. Does this scream Father's Day or what? I thought I had a nice Wall Street Journal review for the book but it's for The Liberator. But Publishers Weekly's reviewer writes: "Kershaw is at his evocative best describing the chaos, courage, and carnage of combat, vividly portraying the bravery of the “greatest generation.” Even readers well-read on the subject will enjoy this perspective."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
2. The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton (Books and Beer Book Club, Mon Jun 17, Cafe Hollander)
3. Vintage 1954, by Antoine Laurain
4. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
5. There There, by Tommy Orange
6. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
7. The Collector's Apprentice, by B.A. Shapiro (events at Boswell and Elm Grove Library, Mon July 8, 2 and 6:30 pm respectively)
8. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
9. The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
10. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

This week's tally - I've read eight of the top ten. This is usually the only category where I have good numbers! This leaves me with nothing to talk about, because I've recently done features on The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creeks. Hope 'bout if I call out the paperback release of The Great Believers? I usually like keeping the hardcover jacket and tweaking it a little - in this case making the orange tones more yellow, but in this case, it feels a little washed out to me. Yes, I think about color every waking minute. I am very excited about my new olive green jacket*. Here's a conversation on WCAI radio (Cape Cod - it's actually part of WGBH) with Rebecca Makkai in conversation with Christopher Castellani, the author of another Daniel favorite, Leading Men.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Healing the Thyroid with Ayurveda, by Marianne Teitelbaum
2. Writing Fiction, 10th edition, by Janet Burroway (event at Boswell Wed June 19, 7 pm)
3. Last Call, by Daniel Okrent
4. One Summer, by Bill Bryson
5. A Brotherhood of Spies, by Monte Reel
6. Amity and Prosperity, by Eliza Griswold
7. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan
8. Milwaukee Anthology, edited by Justin Kern
9. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte
10. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan

Here's a paperback at Jason's new favorite price point, $18 - Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, it's about a Pennsylvania woman who fights back when she realizes that the pets and domestic animals, and then children are getting sick in her town after fracking begins nearby. From Jennifer Szalai's review in The New York Times: "...The social effects of fracking start to look truly pernicious, as the environmental fallout and the influx of money splinter a community, thereby dismantling its willingness and ability to act in a way that transcends the cynicism of individual interests."

Books for Kids:
1. Because, by Mo Willems, with illustrations by Amber Ren
2. The Story of Civil Rights Hero John Lewis, by Jim Haskins, with illustrations by Aaron Boyd
3. Don't Let Them Disappear, by Chelsea Clinton, with illustrations by Gianna Marino
4. Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri
5. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, by Jeff Kinney
6. Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life, by James Dean and Kimberly Dean
7. Restart, by Gordon Korman
8. High Five, by Adam Rubin, with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri
9. Finale, volume 3 of Carnivale, by Stephanie Garber
10. Bold and Brave, by Kirsten Gillibrand, with illustrations by Maira Kalman

Following up her Start Now!, Chelsea Clinton profiles some animals facing extinction in Don't Let Them Disappear. From School Library Journal: "Those familiar with her past works will recognize the format: a collection of factual blurbs rather than one long narrative. A spread is devoted to each animal, always accompanied by a short explanatory paragraph. The text may be sparse, but there is not one wasted word." Kirkus notes that Clinton controversially supports zoos. The line is always changing.

Jim Higgins profiles Kelsey Rae Dimberg's Girl in the Rearview Mirror in today's Journal Sentinel: "Girl in the Rearview Mirror has roots in classic noir films that Dimberg came to love while she was in graduate school at the University of San Francisco. Back then, she was writing traditional literary fiction, including what she called 'my sad guy novel,' full of emotion and angst. But after seeing a noir double bill in 2009 - Dimberg thinks it was While the City Sleeps and Shakedown — she plunged into that cinematic genre." On sale June 18!

From USA Today comes Emily Gray Tedrowe's take on the earlier-profiled Elizabeth Gilbert's City of Girls: "Whether in her unconventional household or her unconventional relationships, this character never ceases to hold our interest. City of Girls rewards Elizabeth Gilbert’s many devoted fans with a novel that provokes delight as well as thought."

Barbara VandenBurgh of the Arizona Republic, who works with Changing Hands on their First Draft Book Club, reviews Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: "Immigrant narratives and queer sexual awakenings are not unfamiliar literary fodder, even together; look at last year’s excellent America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo. But On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is irreducible by such easy categorization. There is no diagrammable plot here, no villains, no clear conflict. Vuong is pushing the boundaries of the novel form, reshaping the definition to fit the contours of his restless poetic exploration, using language to capture consciousness and being."

*It is very difficult to find a traditional jacket that is neither bomber nor athletic nor outdoors inspired. I'm also not a huge fan of elastic waists and cuffs, though I do have a very nice leaf green jacket that has both of these things, and it's such a nice color that I forgive it. I had two non-elastic, relatively lightweight (enough with the nylon and down already) ones I had kept forever (the gray one had a somewhat noticeable stain on it and the black one, with a subtle red plaid, had a rip that I'd attempted to sew up), but eventually it happened; I left one and then the other behind when I went out to a restaurant and by the time I remembered them, they was gone (on two separate occasions). Don't be smug - I know this has happened to you too, but more likely with an umbrella or gloves. This is another reason I like cold weather - you always go back to get your coat if you forget it.

Friday, June 14, 2019

As heard on Lake Effect - Summer reading with Mitch Teich

Today I'm saying goodbye to Mitch Teich at WUWM's Lake Effect. We're so excited for him for his new gig as station manager at North Country Public Radio, but so sad that we he won't be here in Milwaukee.*

We've still got some opportunities to say goodbye. There's a Lake Effect on location in Cedarburg this coming Wednesday, June 19 (registration is still open) and Mitch will be in conversation for the last time at Boswell on Monday, June 24, 7 pm, with Dean A Strang, author of Keep the Wretches in Order: America's Biggest Mass Trial, the Rise of the Justice Department, and the Fall of the IWW.

But another last has just aired with Mitch, our last book conversation. Mitch invited me to talk about summer reading, and I came up with a list of books I'd read that I thought might work well. But I couldn't think of a good hook for the talk. And then I came up with the idea of the idea of tying in the books to Milwaukee summer activities. Now I'm going to answer your questions before you ask them.

Why nothing for Summerfest? I didn't really think of the theme until the last minute. Otherwise I would have made sure I read a music-related novel. I read a lot of them. But I haven't read anything lately. There were a number of other festivals where I similarly just didn't have the right book, like Polish Fest. And there were several that worked for multiple celebrations. Vintage 1954 is a wonderful book for Bastille Days but since one of the four protagonists works at Harley Davidson, it also might have worked for the Milwaukee Harley Davidson Rally on Labor Day weekend.

Why no Pridefest? No Juneteenth Day? I didn't know when the program would air, and thought these holidays would have been over by the time the segment was featured.

Their intro: "Have you assembled your summer beach reads yet? While there's lots to do in Milwaukee during the summer, there’s always time to read. Daniel Goldin, of Boswell Book Company, put together a list of books perfect for the wide ranging festivals and activities the city has to offer all summer."

Here's what I did come up with

For Germanfest: Resistance Women, by Jennifer Chiaverini

For the Northwestern Mutual Life agents meeting: If She Wakes, by Michael Koryta

For Bastille Days: Vintage 1954, by Antoine Laurain

For the JCC Summer Festival: Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro (event at Boswell, Tuesday, June 18, 7 pm - register here)

For Zoo a la Carte: Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl

For Wisconsin State Fair: Biloxi, by Mary Miller (at Boswell, Saturday, July 11, 6 pm, with Juliet Escoria, Elizabeth Ellen, and Amanda McNeil)

For Irish Fest: Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane

For the Black Arts Festival: Patsy, by Nicole Dennis-Benn

For the Democratic National Convention and the year of planning going on: Girl In the Rearview Mirror, by Kelsey Rae Dimberg (at Boswell Thursday, June 20, 7 pm)

For Maker's Faire: Sweeping Up the Heart, by Kevin Henkes

For the Downer Avenue Classic/Tour of America's Dairyland: The World's Fastest Man, by Michael Kranish

I've read and enjoyed all these books, except for The World's Fastest Man, which was Mitch's pick. Listen to the whole segment here.

The great news is that we'll be continuing the book segments on Lake Effect with Bonnie North. Much thanks for letting me gab about books!