Monday, February 7, 2011

Talking Up Peter Hessler's February 11th Appearance at Boswell at the UWM Chinese New Year Gala

Don't forget that Wade is appearing at the store tomorrow, which is Tuesday, February 8th, at 7 pm for his new book, It's All Relative. Very, very, very, very funny. More about Rouse, plus our Chris Bohjalian lunch on Friday at Lake Park Bistro in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel roundup yesterday. And no, we're not sold out. And we're still at the Riverside with Cesar Millan on Friday evening. And I don't think they are sold out either.

But enough about these guys--they already got their posts. I'm talking about Peter Hessler here.

I hoped to have finished Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory by now, but I'm still plowing through it. It's the third book in his China trilogy, which started with River Town and continued with Oracle Bones. I read River Town at the suggestion of my sister Claudia, the Chinese professor who is a huge fan of Hessler. She's putting together a list of essential books to understand China, and Hessler's definitely on the list.

The new book is divided into three sections. First it follows Hessler's acquisition of a driver's license, and his subsequent 7000-mile road trip across Northern China. He sees agricultural areas being abandoned for the bigger cities, and small towns turning into tourism meccas and industrial powerhouses as roads create new access for both people and business.

We're honored to be part of Hessler's tour. Not in Milwaukee? Here's the rest of his itinerary:

Monday, February 07, 2011
126 Franklin ST Brooklyn, NY 11222

Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Harvard Bookstore
1256 Massachusetts AVE Cambridge, MA 02138

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Politics and Prose
5015 Connecticut AVE NW Washington, DC 20008

Friday, February 11, 2011
Boswell Book Company--hey, that's us!
2559 N Downer Ave Milwaukee, WI 53211

Saturday, February 12, 2011
Left Bank Books
Maryville University Auditorium
650 Maryville University Dr Saint Louis, MO 63141

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
1005 West Burnside Portland, OR 97210

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Mrs. Dalloway's
2904 College Ave Berkeley, CA 94705

Saturday, February 19, 2011
Tattered Cover
2526 E Colfax AVE Denver, CO 80206

We have several events that reflect on Chinese culture this spring. As always, I'm a little off, timing-wise, as there is a big China promotion at the Milwaukee Art Museum this summer, with five concurrent exhibits. The big deal is Treasures from the Forbidden City, which starts on June 11th. More on their website.

But we had enough that I found myself in correspondence with Lorna Young of OCA-WI (Organization of Chinese Americans, Wisconsin) to see what we could do together. Together with Janet, another OCA member, we set up an event for a local writer, Nicholas Hartlep, whose new book, Going Public: Critical Race Theory & Issues of Social Justice Critical Race Theory & Issues of Social Justice. This is a co-sponsored event with OCA on Saturday, April 2nd, at 2 pm. I can't link to it as it's not in our database yet--sorry!

And we're very excited to say that Anchee Min is appearing at Boswell for the paperback of her novel, Pearl of China, on Tuesday, April 13th, at 7 pm. You will, needless to say, hear more about both of these books in the next few months.

But what about Hessler? Lorna put together a handout of our upcoming events and brought them to Chinese New Year's celebrations. And so, how could I resist an invitation to attend one of them myself last Saturday at the UWM Ballroom?

It's the Year of the Rabbit, and we celebrated with a tasty meal, including steamed brined duck, Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, Chinese cabbage with black mushrooms and soy sauce marinated beef. And I'm not sure if everyone got this, but we had a bag of candy to pass out. Preserved plums!

The festivities started with the Lion Dance, presented by Shao Lin Boxing Methods. The MCCC (Milwaukee Chinese Community Center) had a number of dance groups participate, including the children's group that danced to Wa Ha Ha, and the women's group, that did a kongfu fan dance. There were 16 performances in all.

This is the 10th year of the Chinese New Year Gala in Milwaukee. Other participating organizations in addition to the Organization of Chinese Americans include the Association of Chinese Scientists and Engineers, the Marquette CSSA, the Medical College of Wisconsin CSSA, the UWM CSSA, the Milwaukee Chinese Community Center.

And so, I think I'm now in the mood for Peter Hessler's Country Driving talk this Friday, February 11th, 7 pm, aren't you? I'm excited to say my sister is coming, as well as her husband, Les, who is a lawyer in Beijing. He's here because the country shuts down for...Chinese New Year. Happy Year of Rabbit!

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