Monday, October 17, 2011

What's Going on This Week? WIth Eugenides, Harbach, and a Launch Event for Our Writing Coach Pal Rochelle, The Question is "What Isn't Going On this Week?"

Today's first task was to prepare an ad for the Shepherd Express. Normally Stacie does them, but today it was my turn. As the owner, I can probably get away with a bit more silliness.  Here's my copy on Chad Harbach and Stuart Nadler's event this Thursday (October 20), which is now definitively at 7 pm. More on that later.

"Need a baseballian alternative to cursing the Cardinals? Catch Wisconsin phenom Chad Harbach belt out his stupendous novel, The Art of Fielding. Starter is Stuart Nadler, with a great story collection, The Book of Life." 

All this competition with St. Louis (didn't Green Bay just pay the Rams?) has got me thinking about asking Left Bank Books to put up their dukes.  Eh, who am I kidding? They have a fabulous event schedule, a charming storefront in a great neighborhood much like ours, plus a second location amidst the new downtown condos. They just hosted the histori-genius Candice Millard, whose new book on Garfield, Destiny of the Republic, is a hit with critics and readers alike, including our buyer Jason. Coming up on November 16 they are hosting the great and perfectly seasoned Lidia Bastianich. I'd be tempted to drive down if my dance card wasn't already full.

But that's yesterday and tomorrow.  What's happening at Boswell this week?  Glad you asked. Apologies in advance for paraphrasing.

Monday, October 17, 6:30 pm, at Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N. Murray Ave.
Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Wisdom’s Kiss.

You may know Catherine Gilbert Murdock from her novels about D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin. But Murdock also wrote a delightful fantasy novel, Princess Ben, and she returns to the genre in her new novel, Wisdom's Kiss. Told from eight (yes, eight!) points of view, not limited to Princess Wisdom, Tips the soldier, the orphaned maid Fortitude, and the dowager Duchess of Farina, Wisdom's Kiss is a clever and timeless fairy tale complete with a mysterious intelligent cat, unrequited love, a cunning villainess, and a princess who longs for adventure.

Tuesday, October 18, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Rochelle Melander, author of Write-a-thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About it).

The Write Now! Coach has been helping readers prepare for NaNoWriMo each year with a free workshop at Boswell.  Now she's got her own book, for all of you who were too busy to attend. Laying the foundation for fiction and nonfiction writers alike to write a book in less than a month (and survive), Write-A-Thon contains three sections: Training, Write-A-Thon, and Recovery. Each section utilizes introductions, brief valuable essays filled with practical tools, and just enough encouragement for the writer to press on and finish what may very well be the challenge of their life (or simply the challenge of the month).
And for those of you who are wondering why Melander suggests 26 days instead of the 30 suggested by the average month, there are several reasons:
a. There's a marathon motif going on.
b. You get four days to goof off.
c. Rumor has it that Rochelle is fond of  some ancient calendar with 14 months.

More on her website.

Wednesday, October 19, 7 pm, at Discovery World:
Dava Sobel, author of A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos, at Discovery World, 500 North Harbor Dr.

Written in Sobel’s classically elegant, compelling narrative voice, A More Perfect Heaven reveals the extraordinary people and discoveries that fired up the Copernican Revolution, and explores the eternal tensions between faith and scientific achievement. Copernicus spent over twenty years observing and writing, expanding his heliocentric theory into a secret, book-length manuscript which he refused to publish, fearing ridicule. Yet, mathematicians and scientists throughout Europe had heard about these rumors and were desperate to read it for themselves. The manuscript was eventually published in 1543, thanks to the efforts of a young, Protestant, German mathematician who sought out Copernicus as a mentor and arranged for publication of the book after two years of being mentored by the Catholic thinker. The book that “forever changed humankind’s place in the universe” was De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres).

At the heart of her new book is also a play, "And the Sun Stood Still," wherein Sobel imagines the struggles surrounding Copernicus’ scientifically-revolutionary manuscript. Dramatic readings from this play will be performed by Milwaukee-based Soulstice Theatre, whose motto is “Meaningful theatre that challenges, inspires, and entertains.”

Five dollar tickets are still available. You can buy off our website and pick up at will call, or pay at the door.

Thursday, October 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding, joins Stuart Nadler, author of The Book of Life, for a reading and talk at Boswell Book Company on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 7:00pm.

Described as "a book about baseball in the way that Moby Dick is a book about whaling*" by The Paris Review and praised for its "quiet confidence in honest storytelling" by USA Today, reviewers from The New York Times to Entertainment Weekly have found a connection to this very American novel.

When a talented Wisconsin college baseball player seriously injures a teammate, the fallout from the stray ball drastically changes the course of life for five people. Dealing with issues of love, ambition, and friendship and written in beautiful, accessible prose, The Art of Fielding is a debut novel that has been knocked out of the park for a grand slam homerun and readers are on their feet in the stands, cheering loudly.

And here's a bit on Nadler's collection. While trying to save his marriage, a father struggles to reconnect with his newly devout son. A pure-hearted artist finds his devotion cruelly tested, while his true love tries to repent for the biggest mistake of her life. Forced together on a trip from Manhattan to Rhode Island, a father and son attempt to reconnect over lobster, cigarettes, and a buried secret. And in the collection’s daring first story, an arrogant businessman begins a forbidden affair during the High Holidays. The Book of Life is an unforgettable collection of stories about faith, family, grief, love, temptation, and redemption. Written in clear, crystalline prose, these stories signal the arrival of an exciting and bold new writer.

*It was only when I started reading that I caught the inside joke that compared The Art of Fielding to Moby Dick. Better late than never.

Sunday, October 23, 12 Noon, at Boswell
Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex, and now The Marriage Plot.

Madeleine Hanna is an English major in the 80’s at a renowned university. Her senior thesis is about the Victorian “marriage plot” of the great English novels. Unfortunately, or fortunately, for her thesis and her life, Madeleine discovers semiotics—the great literary theories rooted in philosophy of language. As she deconstructs everything she thought she knew about literature (and life), she falls in tumultuous love with Leonard, a ravishingly attractive and intelligent fellow student. Meanwhile, her best friend Mitchell is embarking upon a globetrotting journey of theological and spiritual exploration, all while convinced he is Madeleine’s soulmate. Circling through the perspectives of each point in this triangle, we at once are connected to each one as though it was ourselves or a loved one whose story we are witnessing.

With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides asks the questions: “Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce?”

Three rules:
1. Get here early.
2. Only 2 backlist titles signed per customer. No dealers, please.
3. Personalization is touch and go, depending on the size of the crowd and how much time is available. Also how nice we all are.

Visit our website to order a signed copy.  Now to work on our email newsletter.  My apologies for the occasional extra spacing between paragraphs. See you at the Shorewood Library tonight in a couple of hours!

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