Monday, April 16, 2012

What's Going on at Boswell, April 16-22, 2012--Strayed and DiCamillo and Opera and World Book Night Pre-Receptin and Herman Parish and Joseph Peterson and Will Boast and Mary A. Clare and Benjamin Cawthra.

Monday, April 16, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild : From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, and Torch.

In the recent Journal Sentinel interview, I keep trying to remember who was the event person at Schwartz who sold all those copies of Torch, only to have nobody show up at the event. I can't remember, but maybe you do!

Here's another interview, in Vogue Magazine. One excerpt:
Q. As a woman alone in the woods, you must have had times when you were afraid. How did you deal with that fear?
A. That is the number one question I’ve been asked when I talk to people about the book, and the answer is complicated. The only way to do something like this is to decide that you aren’t going to let fear rule you. Before I set out I had to really make an agreement with myself, inside myself, not be afraid. I calmed myself down—a healthy way of mind control.

Tuesday, April 17, 7 pm, at Centennial Hall, 733 N. Eighth Street:
Kate DiCamillo, author of Bink and Gollie, The Magician's Elephant, Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, and much more.

One of the biggest fans I know of Bink and Gollie (the new book, Bink and Gollie: Two for One, doesn't land until June, but this is my big opportunity to show its delightful jacket illustration) is our friend Nancy B., a regular customer who is particularly passionate about books. When she likes something, she really likes it! And boy does she like Bink and Gollie. This particular passage tickles her with abandon, regarding an argument over socks:

"The problem with Gollie," said Bink, "is that it's either Gollie's way or the highway."

"My socks and I have chosen the highway."

Here's a short excerpt from the Journal Sentinel interview with Kate DiCamillo, conducted by Mary-Liz Shaw.

Q. Your stories have a lot of magic in them, even the realistic stories. Why is magic important? Do you consider it essential to your work?
A. It's interesting because it's one of those things where . . . you don't really know what you're doing until somebody else points it out to you. It was a long time before I was aware of how much magic, overt or not, occurs in the books. I don't know where that comes from, but I know that it's one of the reasons that I love writing for kids. You get to use magic. Magic is always a possibility. The other reason I love writing for kids is because, to paraphrase Katherine Paterson (The Bridge to Terabithia), you're duty-bound to end the story with hope. I love that notion. I think hope and magic are probably connected.

The event is at Centennial Hall, which is on the side of the Milwaukee Public Library. Doors open at 6:30 pm for our 7 pm show. And the library is open till 8 pm on Tuesday, so why not stop by first and borrow a pile of books from their wonderful children's room, with decorations by Lois Ehlert?
Wednesday, April 18, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Florentine Opera Insights: Idomeneo.

Set in Crete circa 1200 BCE, the Florentine's new production of Idomeneo, this is Mozart's first opera. This production is directed by John La Bouchardiere, who is responsible for the well-received 2009 production of Semele.

We'll have an insightful talk by Corliss Phillabaum and selections from the Florentine Opera Studio. There will be two performances of the show, May 18 and 20. You can buy tickets here.

Here's a synopsis from the Metropolitan Opera.

Thursday, April 19, 6:30 pm, at Greenfield Public Library, 5310 W. Layton Ave.
Herman Parish, author of Amelia Bedelia's First Vote and many other Amelia Bedelia books.

When Amelia Bedelia runs into her principal, Mr. K., and plants the idea that students should vote on the rules, he decides that her class should be the first to come up with new ideas for running the school

From an interview with Mr. Paris, conducted by Harper Collins, on how the series started:
My aunt, Peggy Parish, would often take things literally—not continually, as Amelia Bedelia does, but enough times that one could understand how she could have come up with and sustained the character quite naturally. Peggy also drew inspiration from the class of third graders she taught. She would ask them to do something and a student would ask, “Do you mean for us to do what you said?” When Peggy thought back on her exact words, she realized that if one took them literally, then there could be a problem. She made a game of it in her class. That got her to thinking that there might be a story in those mix-ups. Read the rest of the interview here.

Don't forget that this event is at Greenfield Public Library, 5310 West Layton Avenue, and starts at 6:30 pm. The big news is that Amelia Bedelia will be attending the event and you can take a picture with her.

And while I am gone, we are hosting a reception (Thursday, April 19, 7 pm) for folks participating in World Book Night (you give out the books on Monday, April 23) . Stacie's put together a wonderful collection of local authors who will be reading from great books. This is a great time for attendees for attendees to pick up their books for distribution. For more info, contact Stacie.

Friday, April 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Joseph Peterson, author of Wanted: Elevator Man, which was published by Northern Illinois University Press, as well as Inside the Whale, which was published last fall by our friend Eric at Wicker Park Press in Chicago...

Haunted by the larger-than-life shadow of his father, a scientist who may have helped develop the atomic bomb, twenty-nine-year-old Eliot Barnes, Jr., is an apple that's fallen far from the tree. Saddled with a useless degree in literature, caged in a rundown apartment he can't afford, and embittered by his failure to live up to the future's promise, Barnes, who dreams of a corner office--an aerie roost high above the city, working with the higher-ups--begrudgingly accepts a job as an elevator man in a downtown Chicago skyscraper. Thus begins a profound but comedic meditation on failure in this life, how one comes to terms with not achieving one's dreams, the nature and origin of such dreams, and, fittingly, the meaning of the American dream itself.

Here's an interview with Peterson for his first novel, Beautiful Piece, but we'll have to order it in for you because we decided to just bring in just his two most recent novels. Boswellian Nick is a fan!

Reading with Peterson on Friday, April 20, 7 pm, Will Boast, author of Power Ballads.
Winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, we learn that real musicians don't sign autographs, date models, or fly in private jets. They spend their lives in practice rooms and basement clubs or toiling in the obscurity of coffee-shop gigs, casino jobs, and the European festival circuit. The ten linked stories in Power Ballads are devoted to this unheard virtuoso: the working musician.

Here's the playlist created for the book on the blog Largehearted Boy. Oh, and Boswellian Shane liked it!

Saturday, April 21, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Mary A. Clare, author of 100 Voices: Americans Talk About Change.

Psychologist Mary M. Clare hit the highways to survey Americans of all ages and backgrounds for their thoughts on the state of the country. Beginning with the prompt, "What does change mean to you?" this book is a journey to listen to the opinions and beliefs that stretch across a nation. Clare scribes with the hope of opening a door for dialogue across our differences, allowing each of her subjects the space to tell their stories. Each one proves compelling in itself, while showing that the concept of change is a shared hallmark of American identity.

Here's Mary at her first reading, at Annie Bloom's Books in Portland, where ex-Schwartz Bookseller (Brookfield location) Evan has worked for a number of years.

Saturday, April 21, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Benjamin Cawthra, author of  Blue Notes in Black and White: Photography and Jazz.

Associate professor of history at California State Fullerton Cawthra is in town for OAH/NCPH (I know the first part is the Organization of American Historians), which is going on at the Frontier Airlines Center from Wednesday, April 18 through Sunday, April 22. I know that Saturday night is not our usual time for events, but heck, it's a busy week and Professor Cawthra is a busy man.

Ben Ratliff reviewed this passionate treatise on jazz in The New York Times Book Review last December, where he contemplates it as "a selective and essayistic history on how the still-image camera conferred cultural legitimacy to jazz as black music, for the most part between the late 1930s and the mid-1960s. It analyzes the early photo spreads on jazz in Life magazine, as well as the writing and the layouts; the development of bebop, with its own visual code, as rendered by the jazz press; and the diverging looks of late-1950s jazz as suggested by album covers released by independent labels in New York and Los Angeles. (Shadows and cigarette smoke versus sunlight and oceanfront.) It deals at length with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, and how pictures of them on and off stage helped build or maintain their personas."

Well, that's it. It's a great lineup and hope to see you at one of these events.

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