Monday, May 14, 2012

What's Happening at Boswell, May 14-20, 2012. It's a Spiritual Cornucopia.

As I look at this week's events, I see a trend of spiritual fulfillment. We've got three folks who've been to Seminary, and two other writers setting their inner compass through music and food.

Monday, May 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Dylan Hicks, author of the novel Boarded Windows.

Shifting between the seventies and the nineties, Boarded Windows is a postmodern orphan story that explores the fallibility of memory and the weight of our social and cultural inheritance.

It's center is Wade Salem, a drug dealing, record collecting, under-employed country musician making his way through the Minneapolis counterculture. Here's an excerpt from an audio profile on Minnesota Public Radio:

"The novel also catches the mood of Minneapolis in the early 1990s, with part of the story set against the great Halloween blizzard of 1991. And as a story based on questionable memories, Boarded Windows doesn't follow a traditional narrative arc.This attracted rock writer Greil Marcus, who has long followed Hicks' work as a writer and a musician.

"'It's one thing to find your own voice, it's another to create your own language, and I think that's what Dylan does,' Marcus said. Marcus says Hicks has a tremendous talent for creating really uncomfortable situations for his characters.

"'Kind of skin-crawlingly uncomfortable, but he can do the same for the reader. He can make the reader feel what his characters are feeling. Maybe more than they want to,' Marcus said. Read the rest of the piece here.

Tuesday, May 15, 7 pm, at Boswell:
John T. Edge, author of The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America's Best Restaurants on Wheels with guest food truck, The Fast Foodie.

It's food truck night! Five-time James Beard award nominee John T. Edge, who writes the United Tastes column for The New York Times, and has been included in Best American Food Writing seven times, is crazy about food trucks. His obsessively researched book offers stories from the front lines of food trucks across the nation, including 150 recipes for you to make at home (or in your truck.)

Joining us will be Fast Foodie with their Globacos (that's global tacos, for those whose brains are on vibrate). Their dishes have flavors that roam from Korea to Puerto Rico and Jamaica, in a dance with Mexican tradition. Here's their menu.

In searching for some interesting links, I've pieced together some of Edge's other tour cities, as well as Edge's food diary in the Huffington Post. Here are some of Mr. Edge's other stops coming up.

Wednesday, May 16, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 7 pm:
The Minnesota Historical Society's Mill City Museum.

Saturday, May 19, Birmingham, Alabama, 10 am:
Pepper Place Saturday Market

Monday, May 21, Bellingham, Washington 7 pm:
Village Books in Fairhaven.

Tuesday, May 22, Portland, Oregon, 6 pm:
The Bunk Bar.

Wednesday, May 23, San Francisco, California, 6 pm:
Omnivore Books on Food.

Tuesday, May 29, Nashville, Tennessee, 6:30 pm:
Parnassus Books.

Edge will be on The Morning Blend on Tuesday. More info here. Click on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 16, 7 pm, at the Urban Ecology Center, 1500 E. Park Place:
Tom Montgomery Fate, author of Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild.

Written from a little cabin in the Michigan woods and a house in the suburbs in Chicago, Cabin Fever is a seasonal primer that engages in a serious yet irreverant conversation about Thoreau's relevance in the modern age. Kirkus calls this "quiet, beautifully written reflections on nature and the mindful life, laced with the thoughts and writings of Thoreau."

This event is free for UEC members, $5 for nonmembers.

Here's a book trailer for Cabin Fever:

Tom Montgomery Fate is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and the Chicago Theological Seminary. Note how this week has got a spiritual angle to it.

Thursday, May 17, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Harold Eppley, author of the novel Ash Wednesday.

I should mention up front that Eppley, who has written several books with his wife, writing coach Rochelle Melander, is also an ordained Lutheran pastor (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America synod, corrected from earlier synod synapse error). But don't assume this is a sweet Jan Karon novel--it's time to get your Brit on, as we're talking satire here.

This tale about a congregation in Western Pennsylvania features a conservative church secretary who finds out her son is gay and her boss is hiding his alcoholism, while another pastor sexual indiscretions threaten to topple his career.

Here's an interview with Eppley, conducted by Dorothy Moyers, head of the Dustin Public Library, Dustin, Pennsylvania, with apologies to librarians everywhere.

Saturday, May 19, 2 pm, at Boswell:
David C. Couper, former Madison Chief of Police, and author of Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption, and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation's Police.

So I was running our periodic book fair at St. John's on the Lake when a man came up to me and said, "Do you have the book Arrested Development?" And yes, it turned out to be the author, David Couper himself, who with his wife, came to town to see the Milwaukee Ballet production of "Peter Pan.

This is our second event in the last few months about improving police forces, but this is a very different kind of book from David M. Kennedy's Don't Shoot. For one thing, this is written by a retired policeman himself and his focus is more on diversifying and retraining the force itself. Here's what Neil Heinen has to say about Couper in this month's Madison magazine:

"Give me the top five reasons Madison is a terrific city. I’ll wait. Now, how many of you have one of the best police departments in the world on your list? Interesting. Among other assets that make Madison a great place to live is a diverse group of cops who are highly educated, well-trained, patient, compassionate and even-tempered. We have one person in particular to thank for it: former chief David Couper."

After retiring from the force, Couper became an ordained Episcopal minister.

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