Monday, May 21, 2012

What's Going On This Week at Boswell? Nichols, Bybee, Abu-Jaber, Park, Jones, McBee, and Merens.

Monday, May 21, 7 pm, at Boswell:
John Nichols, author or Uprising, The S Word, The Death and Life of American Journalism, and contributor to It Started in Wisconsin, with
journalist Roger Bybee.

Nichols has spent the last few months criss-crossing the country speaking about his book Uprising: Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street. We've had fairly regular inquiries from customers, wondering when he'd be in Milwaukee to talk about the book. I told everyone that we'd let them know, wherever he wound up speaking. Well, it wound up being right here at Boswell.

Our opening speaker is Roger Bybee, journalist and contributor to It Started in Wisconsin, a collection for which Nichols wrote the introduction.  I'm happy to say that Bybee will also be introducing Nichols, particularly since 1) he is a friend of Boswell and 2) he was instrumental in helping us get this set up.

Tuesday, May 22, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Birds of Paradise, Crescent, The Language of Baklava, Origin, and Arabian Jazz, reading with
Samuel Park, author of This Burns my Heart, and Shakespeare's Sonnets.

Birds of Paradise, Abu-Jaber's novel about a Miami family fractured by their daughter running away from home, has been winning fans since its 2011 hardcover publication. Publishers Weekly noted that  "Abu-Jaber's effortless prose, fully fleshed characters, and a setting that reflects the adversity in her protagonists' lives come together in a satisfying and timely story."

Here's an NPR piece about Crescent, Abu-Jaber's 2003 novel about an Iraqi-American woman who falls in love with an Iraqi emigre, set in the Iranian neighbhoroods of Los Angeles. And regardingtay Origin, the 2007 literary thriller set in the Syracuse chill, Terry Miller Shannon of The Book Reporter blog notes "The author's descriptive powers put the reader into the freezing winter of Syracuse and into Lena's mind as well. The chill pervades the plot with a sense of icy, creepy foreboding that is hard to shake."

Also in paperback is Samuel Park's novel about a Korean woman's attempt to make something of her life after a bad marital choice in This Burns my Heart. Donna Marchetti offered this praise in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Trapped in servitude and a loveless marriage, Soo-Ja longs for Yul (Daniel's note: the man she didn't marry) and rues her choice. Their paths cross periodically over the years, until events force Soo-Ja, Min and Yul to face some truths about themselves and their decisions. Park's nuanced writing evokes unsettled, postwar South Korea quite well, but his portrayal of the complex, infuriating Soo-Ja is timeless.

And thanks to the Journal Sentinel, for spreading the word in Sunday's Cue section about Tuesday and Wednesday's events.

Wednesday, May 23, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Tayari Jones, author of The Silver Sparrow, Leaving Atlanta, and The Untelling, with opening reader Ann Stewart McBee.

Have I said everything I wanted to say about this event last Saturday in the blog? Well, here is Michele Norris's interview with Jones on All Things Considered. An excerpt: "It's funny, when it comes to memoir, we want to catch the author in a lie. When we read fiction, we want to catch the author telling the truth. I would like to say that my father is not a bigamist."

Thursday, May 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Ben Merens, host of "At Issue" and author of the audio book People are Dying to be Heard.

While many talk show hosts just talk, even while interacting with callers, Wisconsin Public Radio's Ben Merens would note that listening is an even more important skill. In this CD, and in his previous release, Unitasking, Merens offers a playbook for personal and professional success.

Chapters (or should I say "cuts") include relationships, my mom, co-workers, strangers, a student's life, and staying in the moment.

Want to listen to Merens? He's now on 3 to 5 pm on Wisconsin Public Radio. You can listen to any of the programs in his audio archive right here.

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