Monday, September 24, 2012

What's Up with Boswell this Week? Take a Deep Breath--Phil Cousineau, Tonya Hurley, Adam McOmber, James Dashner, Gail Tsukiyama with Jane Hamilton, Mary Pope Osborne with Natalie Pope Boyce, Jonathan Kozol, and J. Hoberman!

The day started with a key issue, specifically, my key wouldn’t open our receiving room. It sometimes needs a little jiggling, but no pushing or pulling could fix the problem. Amie go to work soon after me and we decided to call a locksmith, hoping we could have the problem fixed before our UPS delivery.

The locksmith came, replaced a spring, it worked, then it didn’t, then UPS came. It was that kind of day.

Once again, I’m a bit behind getting out the week’s events, but since we don’t have an author tonight, it’s not as much of an issue. Here’s what we’ve got going on.

Tuesday, September 25, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Phil Cousineau, author of The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins .

I was a fan of Wordcatcher several years ago, and so I welcomed the news that there would be a sequel in The Painted Word. Jeff Poniewaz notes in this week’s Shepherd Express that Cousineau is both a prolific writer and inveterate wanderer. Though he’s based in the San Francisco Bay area, his path crosses Milwaukee with regularity, as this is already his third visit to Boswell.

And here’s a quote from Lemony Snicket: "A mytagogue, a carrytale and a thaumaturge, Cousineau makes us Argus-eyed to the ubuntu of the aprocryphal and Gemutlichkeit it provides, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, then you definitely need this book."

I’m always curious about what shows up when I search for videos. Here’s a video review from Kenny’s Bookshop of Galway, with Desi recommending Phil’s last word book, Wordcatcher. Did I ever mention that Marilyn, a Boswell regular, actually interned at Kenny’s? (PS—Desi likes the book.)

Wednesday, September 26, 6:30, at Bay View Library, 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 53207:
Tonya Hurley, author of Ghostgirl and the new book, The Blessed.

Having found popularity with her Ghostgirl series, Tonya Hurley’s new novel, The Blessed, comes out tomorrow, and is said to take her to a new novel of popularity. It’s about three very different young women who discover that they are living avatars of saints brought together to battle an epic evil.

Here’s Hurley’s take on the story: “I’ve always wanted to write a book about martyrs. Ever since I was little, I was both fascinated and horrified by their stories and the imagery I’d seen and heard from my grandparents and in churches. Very powerful stuff–gruesome and yet glorious. Girls who decided at very young ages to stand up for what they believed in, and gave their lives to defend their beliefs rather than deny them. I didn’t want to write a theological book, but I did want to explore the commitment these girls had, their inner strength.”  Read more here.

Entertainment Weekly has the book trailer.

Wednesday, September 26, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Adam McOmber, author of The White Forest.

From Jason: “Jane Silverlake is a lost soul, when Maddy and Nathan find her. They bring her out into the wide open world of Hampstead Heath. Jane is different, however, and she can feel and hear the souls of manmade objects. Jane reveals herself to them, hoping she can trust them with her burden so she does not have to be alone with it. She is wrong, and Nathan is changed by it. His obsession leads him to the occult and then he disappears. Jane’s world begins to crumble around her. Jane’s naivetĂ© of the outside world lands her into trouble as she looks for him. Adam McOmber has delivered an ingenious, haunting tale full of mystery and dread, as we all know that nothing good can come from Jane discovering who she is and what happened to Nathan, but we all must find out for good or ill. “

Recently, McOmber was interviewed by Mary Houlihan for the Chicago Sun-Times: “Set on the moody heath and a maze of gritty London streets, it’s a story that has Masterpiece Theatre written all over it. McOmber fell in love with London during a summer abroad in college. So he knew the city well, but he also researched 19th century ideas about religion and mythology in books such as James Frazer’s The Golden Bough. The Empyrean is one of the seven levels of the medieval heaven, the place where saints and angels are said to roam.

“I love the depth of history that envelops London,” he explains. “I tried to be accurate about everything in the book so the reader would feel grounded in actual reality, and then I could go into Jane’s strange reality from there.”

Read the rest of the piece here.

Thursday, September 27, 6:30 pm, at Cudahy Family Library, 3500 Library Drive, 53110:
James Dashner, author of The Infinity Ring #1: A Mutiny in Time, and also The Maze Runner, its sequels, and the prequel, The Kill Order.

From the publisher: “Time has gone wrong, and best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste, together with the young Hystorian Riq, must use the infinity ring to travel back to one of the Great Breaks--a mutiny on the Santa Maraia--to correct history and defeat the SQ.”

This new series will feature several different authors writing installments, a la The 39 Clues. The series was developed by James Dashner, who has so many ideas floating out there that he has not one, not two, but three new books.

Dashner has written a prequel to The Maze Runner called The Kill Order, which explains how the world came to be before WICKED was formed and The Glade was built. Jason read this, and found it quite enjoyable.

And from Shadow Mountain comes the newest entry in The 13th Reality series, The Void of Mist and Thunder. In this volume, “an all-consuming void from the Fourth Dimension opens up, unleashing monsters throughout the Realities, Mister George has one last weapon at his disposal--the mysterious and powerful Karma button, which might be even more dangerous than anyone imagined.”
Here’s a trailer for The Infinity Ring.

Thursday, September 27, 7 pm, at Centennial Hall, 733 N. Eighth St., 53233:
Gail Tsukiyama, author of A Hundred Flowers, in conversation with Jane Hamilton.

Tsukiyama’s newest novel is about a family facing extraordinary times at the start of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in 1957. This special event, presented by the Milwaukee Public Library, is a conversation with Wisconsin’s own Jane Hamilton.

Here’s Alan Cheuse on A Hundred Flowers on NPR. He confesses: “I was following this family almost as though it were my own and stayed all the way to the end of their story.”

Tsukiyama obviously resonates in DC, as here’s Eugenia Zukerman in The Washington Post, who found the new novel “gripping,” exclaiming that “Tsukiyama’s ability to transform a dark and complex story into a work about human dignity and love is magical.”

Friday, September 28, 4:30 pm, at Boswell:
Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, author of The Magic Tree House 20th Anniversary Edition: Dinosaurs Before Dark, and The Magic Tree House Fact Checkers.

Can you believe that Mary Pope Osborne has been entertaining kids for twenty years with her adventures about everything from pandas to leprechauns? And her sister Natalie has been educating us with the companion fact checkers. Now both Mary and Natalie are coming to Boswell (we inherited the event from Next Chapter) to meet as many of their fans as they can. This is now a free and open-to-the-public event.

The Magic Tree House series has been translated into over twenty languages (I’m quoting Wikipedia here) and has sold over 53 million titles. Osborne has written many other books outside of the Magic Tree House series. You can read more about them here.

Fans know that due to wrist injuries, the sisters are not able to sign books, but we have a special stamp (it arrived today!) with both authors’ signatures. But you know how lots of popular authors aren’t able to pose with fans? Not Mary and Natalie, who are hoping to take a picture with every kid that comes to our event.

Saturday, September 29, 4 pm, at UWM Golda Meir Library, 2311 E. Hartford Ave., 4th floor, 53202:
Jonathan Kozol, author of Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America.
The sponsors?
Rethinking Schools
Schools and Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association
UWM Libraries
Friends of the UWM Golda Meir Library
Educators Network for Social Justice.

Kozol returns to the children he has vividly portrayed in previous books to share their fascinating journeys and unexpected victories. As Emily Bazelon recounts in Slate, Kozol has spent almost fifty years trying to change our attitudes about the treatment of poor, particularly children.

And from Stacy Teicher Khadaroo in the Christian Science Monitor: “It’s a deeply personal collection of stories about people who became his friends – stories in which the ashes are sometimes so deep it can be hard to find the fire. But that’s right where Kozol’s storytelling gifts shine through: with simple anecdotes that show the soulful humor, compassion, and wisdom that kindles progress among the survivors.”

Sunday, September 30, 1 pm, at the Downer Theatre, just north of Boswell:
J. Hoberman, author of Film After Film: Or, What Become of 21st Century Cinema?

Hoberman, acclaimed film critic best know for a long tenure at the Village Voice, is the keynote speaker of the Milwaukee Film Festival. Per the festival, “Mr. Hoberman will attend the festival to spotlight two significant films—Sans Soleil (dir. Chris Marker, France, 1983) and Inland Empire (dir. David Lynch, US, 2006)—and present the keynote address of our panels series, State of Cinema in the 21st Century: Film After Film. Co-presented by UW-Milwaukee’s Center for 21st Century Studies, this talk will explore the shifting contexts and future of film and film criticism in a post-9/11 world.”

Visit the Milwaukee Film website for more information.

So the day ended, surprisingly enough with a key issue. Amie came to me and realized she had lost her keys, either in the store or along Downer Avenue. We spent close to an hour searching for them, deciding in the end, that we would assume that they had disappeared to a place where they wouldn’t be found by someone who might then break into the bookstore. I had to think that; how else was I going to sleep tonight?

And we were right—about 15 minutes later, Amie came back and found them in her jacket that she had worn in the morning, but had left on the hook at the end of the day.

Until tomorrow!

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