We have another full week of exciting events, starting with Brandon Mull tonight (Monday, March 26) at Boswell, 7 pm. We've heard from a lot of schools that students love the Fablehaven series. Last year Mull started a new series with Beyonders: A World Without Heroes. The story starts when Jason enters the land of Lyrian through a hippopotamus's gullet. Really!
In the second installment, Seeds of Rebellion, Jason returns to find fellow Beyonder Rachel and help Prince Galloran fight the evil Gandor. Mull's variation on such classics as Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia has gotten great reviews from the staples of children's reviewing, such as Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, and Voice of Youth Advocates.
Our store event follows three school visits, which is a record for us for one day with an author. It was hard to believe that when Mull set up his own school tours, he would schedule as many as five schools into one day. Talk about heroic! And not just for kids either. Here's Susan Carpenter writing about the series in the Los Angeles Times. Carpenter notes "Mull elevates the genre, pairing humorous and imaginative scenarios with intelligence and well-written dialogue in a story that quickly involves Jason in a scheme to depose Lyria's evil emperor."
On Tuesday, March 27, we're hosting Carol Anshaw, author of the acclaimed novel, Carry the One. This #1 Indie Next Pick has been getting great reviews everywhere. It's the story of a wedding party that inadvertently (well, perhaps a little advertently, as there were some drugs involved) hit a young girl while traveling at night, with the reprecussions of her death following the characters for the next quarter century.
The focus of the story are three Chicago siblings, Carmen, and Nick. The children of an unpleasant artist and his obedient wife, the three kids would probably have problems even without this trauma in their life. Carmen, the oldest, is passionate and idealistic about various causes, and thus is blindsided when her husband leaves her for their baby sitter. Alice, a budding artist, falls in love with Carmen's sister-in-law, but is abandoned for men and Hollywood, leaving her with a bit of a hole in her heart. But the gapingist hole is reserved for Nick, whose girlfriend was driving the car and wound up spending years in prison. His scientific skills are no match for his need for self-medicating drugs. It ain't a pretty downward spiral.
Carmela Ciuraru writes in USA Today that "Carol Anshaw is one of those authors who should be a household name (in literature-loving homes, anyway). There's a good chance that her latest novel, Carry the One, will make it happen. It's her fourth work of fiction, and although her 1992 debut, Aquamarine, arguably remains her best novel, the more plot-driven Carry the One has great potential to bring her work to a wider readership."
I'm sad to note that Anshaw's backlist is now print on demand. While still on returnable trade terms, the printing process left us with not enough time to bring it in before our event. My advice to you? Start with Carry the One, and then move onto Aquamarine aftewards. Apologies in advance.
On Wednesday, March 28, 7 pm, we feature Benjamin Busch, author of the memoir Dust to Dust. You've read my thoughts on the book in a recent blog post. You may know him as the son of acclaimed author Frederick Busch. You may know him as police officer Anthony Colicchio on The Wire. Or you might just discover him here in the pages of his book.
Here's a bit from his Star Tribune profile: "Busch's personal history is a twisting path with the strength of his connection to the natural world running through it like a stream. His boyhood memories are peppered with long days spent digging trenches, building forts and exploring the forests beyond his childhood homes. He pursued even the objects he was warned from -- including water and bees -- his natural and indefatigable curiosity winning out over caution and safety."
And note that our own (well, can't we claim her a bit?) Christi Clancy will be opening this reading a piece that was first published in The New York Times. An alum of the UWM Creative Writing graduate program, Clancy is currently teaching at Beloit College.
And finally, on Thursday, March 29, 7:30 pm, we head over to UWM's Hefter Center on Lake Drive for the Boudreaux Reading. This year's featured speaker is Chase Twichell, author of the recent book of poetry, Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been. This volume features the best of Twichell's six volumes of poetry, covering thirty years of writing.
To quote: "A longtime student of Zen Buddhism, Twichell probes how the self changes over time and how the perception of self affects the history and meaning of our lives. Her poems exhibit a deep and urgent love of the natural world amidst ecological decimation, while also delving into childhood memories and the surprise and nourishment that come from radical shifts in perception."