Monday, July 18, 2011

What's Going on This Week at Boswell--July 18-24, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 6:30 at Milwaukee Public Library's Krug Rare Books Room, located at 814 West Wisconsin Avenue:

Here's a little quiz to see if you need to attend this talk, in order to wear your cheesehead hat with confidence.
1. How much does it cost to be a dairy farmer?  See page 118.
2. Milk was the the largest source of gross income for Wisconsin farms in 1927, comprising 52%.  What was number two?  See page 47.
3. What scientific breakthrough in the 1950s made keeping bulls obsolete on Wisconsin dairy farms? See page 55.

Wednesday, July 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Rebecca Makkai, author of The Borrower.

Speaking of librarians, Makkai's Lucy Hull is a children's librarian with a problem, in that she has inadvertently kidnapped one of her patrons.  While trying to figure out what to do, her Russian father has given her a cryptic task which involves driving to Pittsburgh.  On the way, one of her potential beaus (he's written a symphony that unfortunately bears resemblance to the Mr. Clean jingle) has tracked her down, and is hoping to hang out with her at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

And all the while there is Ian Drake, a book-obsessed young boy, over-protected by his parents (no wizards allowed), and thirsting for knowledge. And Lucy as well as Ian, know that books can save our lives. So does Ms. Makkai, who has filled her story with references to beloved novels for both adults and kids.  And so does Sara Nelson, who recommends that book on O Magazine's summer reading list.

Thursday, July 21, 7 pm, at Boswell:
John Duffy, author of The Available Parent: Readical Optism for Raising Teens and Tweens. Note: a sign language interpreter is scheduled to be at this event.

What happens to a family when hugs are placed by silence, and greetings by slammed doors?  Dr. John Duffy, a Chicago-based clinical psychologist and life coach, proposes a program that can turn this around, replacing fear-based control with radical optimsm. Much of Duffy's strategy has to do with adjusting the parent's behavior, eliminating such ineffective strategies such as snooping, judging, smothering, coddling, bribery, and "good cop, bad cop."

Just one more note for today.  Our friend John came by, touting Roberto Bolaño's recent collection, Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003. In particular, he was very excited about Bolaño's notes on "The Bookseller" and in particular, the bookseller he was most connected to, Pilar Pages-petit. Can you imagine having a name Pages-petit? Could you do anything but be a bookseller or a librarian?

As Jonathan Lethem said in the New York Times, "Bolaño has proven that literature can do anything."  Makkai's Lucy Hull knows that too. Now of course with Mr. B deceased, that should be "had."  But that said, more people ought to aim for that.

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