Monday, November 12, 2012

What's Happening At (and with) Boswell This Week? Julie Pandl, Jonathan Odell, Jeff Kinney, Hans Weyandt and Liam Callanan, Samir El-Youssef, Jennifer Chiaverini, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Robert Tanzilo, and yes, Sherman Alexie!

Please note that for all these events, if we are at an outside venue, they are a co-sponsor of the event! Once again, I've embedded video clips when possible. They do not always show up on the feed so to view them, you have to jump to the Blogger post, by clicking on the header.

Monday, November 12, 7 pm, at Boswell, including a slides:
Robert Tanzilo, author of Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses.

Which is the only Milwaukee Public School clad in Cream City brick that was never covered in paint? What school has fairy tale tiles from the esteemed firm of Eschweiler and  Eschweiler? And which high school was so needed that the students had previously been studying in barracks? The answers are all in Tanzilo's new book, Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses.

The average MPS school is over sixty years old. One of the interesting things about the Milwaukee Public Schools is that while majestic and seemingly singular on first glance, many were built using sets of plans. Neeskara, originally called Nee-Ska-Ra (named after a spring) was built using plans from Guy E. Wiley, staff architect for MPS. Fernwood in Bay View, and Townshend Street School, on Sherman and Fond Du Lac, also used those plans.

Of course when one sets a goal of finding a video for every event, one isn't always successful. The closest thing to my taste was a a Schoolhouse Rock video. So maybe you haven't watched "Interjection" lately. Though I know the song well, I now feel like I should watch an hour of Bug Bunny cartoons. Honestly, the other links stick a little closer to subject.


Tuesday, November 13, 7 pm, at Centennial Hall at Milwaukee Public Library,
733 North Eighth Street, co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Public Library and Wisconsin Public Radio.
Sherman Alexie, author of Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories.

What an honor to be co-sponsoring the return of Mr. Alexie to Milwaukee, which until now was the largest event we hosted in the Boswell space. The new book is a best-of of Alexie's short fiction, including new stories as well. Donna Seaman at Booklist called them both "big hearted" and "comfort zone destroying." It's fascinating that one writer can provoke two such different reactions but if you've read Alexie, you'll know it to be true.

After 12 books of poetry, two screenplays, and nine works of fiction, Sherman Alexie has developed the kind of enthusiastic following that we think has outgrown our store capacity. Our solution was either to ticket or to move it to a larger venue. Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall is the best of all worlds, many more seats for a venue that can still keep the event free. Now if we don't get 500 people, we might move the next event, should we get one, back into the store, unless a film is made of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and then we won't be able to find a space big enough.

If you've never heard Alexie before, maybe you need convincing. His charisma shines through, even in the Time magazine's "Ten Questions for Sherman Alexie."


Also on Tuesday, November 13, 7 pm, at Patched Works,
13330 Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove 53122:
Jennifer Chiaverini, author of The Giving Quilt.

For any of you who have not yet celebrated Quiltsgiving, I should explain that it is a holiday period after Thanksgiving where quilters give back to the community. In Elm Creek Manor, that means stitching quilts for Project Linus, an actual charity that provides blankets to the poor.  So Sylvia (the matriarch, if you don't know) leads a special session of quilt camp. New friends are made, and of course new dilemmas are faced.

This video was created for The Quilter's Homecoming, but it's really about the entire series, including her motivations for writing about the craft. 

And here's another program going on at Patched Works. Inspired by Jennifer Chiaverini's "Quiltsgiving", Patched Works will be presenting "100 Quilts in 100 Hours" to benefit Project Linus. While we're always an official drop-off site for the program, we're hoping to spread the joy of the season by collecting 100 or more quilts to donate to the organization for children in need. To get into the spirit of things, those individuals dropping of a new, completed quilt will receive a $5 gift card to Patched Works. Quilts can be dropped off during store hours on November 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th but make sure to stop in early to see fabrics from the 2012 Quilting Treasures Project Linus line. With Snoopy, Woodstock and Linus in print, you're sure to be motivated to create a loving quilt for charity this Christmas season!


And don't forget about Tuesday, November 13, 7 pm, at the Elm Grove Library,
13600 Juneau Boulevard  Elm Grove 53122:
Shauna Singh Baldwin, author of The Selector of Souls.

Are you experiencing déjà vu? No, we hosted an event with Ms. Baldwin last Friday at Boswell. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Elm Grove Library. Space is limited at this event and reservations are requested. Please call 262-782-6717. We'll be selling books at this event, but it will involve running back and forth between our two Elm Grove events. I can't think of anything more fun than that.

One of the strange things about Youtube is there really isn't the equivalent high-profile product for audio archives so you wind up with these weird audio interviews with filler visuals. Here's Baldwin's interview about The Selector of Souls on the interview show Bookbits.

Yes, we're going back and forth between the two Elm Grove events to sell books!


Wednesday, November 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
"Writing for Peace" with Samir El-Youssef, author of The Illusion of Return.
co-sponsored by the Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM.

From The Independent, written during the publication of The Illusion of Return: "Samir El-youssef was born in 1965 and lived in a Lebanese refugee camp until the age of 10, before moving to a village and then the city of Sidon. He emigrated to Cyprus in 1989 and London in 1990, where he studied political philosophy and contributed to many English and Arabic newspapers and magazines. He has published two collections of stories in Arabic, Domestic Affairs and Afternoon of Silence, and a novel called Pentonville Road. His English novella "The Day the Beast Got Thirsty" appears in Gaza Blues (2004) alongside stories by the Israeli writer Etgar Keret. In 2005, he was awarded the PEN Tucholsky award for promoting peace and freedom of speech in the Middle East."

The Stahl Center serves the UWM campus and the Milwaukee community with courses and public events covering a wide variety of topics in the field of Jewish Studies. Our courses range in time from the biblical period to the present, and embrace disciplines throughout the humanities and social sciences, including history, literature, theatre, film, cultural studies, Hebrew language, and religion. UWM offers a major and minor in Jewish Studies.

I do not have an appropriate video, but here is a link to an interesting interview with El-Youssef in The Independent from several years ago.


Thursday, November 15, 4 pm, at Boswell:
We have tickets left for our special signing with Jeff Kinney, author of The Third Wheel: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Volume 7.

Due to the limited time constraints, Mr. Kinney can sign one copy of a book from home for each copy bought of a Diary of a Wimpy Kid bought from Boswell. There are also photo restrictions. A full-blown Jeff Kinney experience is being sponsored by Oconomowoc's Books and Company later in the evening. Please contact them for details.

It's so odd to still be able to access all of Borders' old promotional videos, but this one of Jeff Kinney recommending titles is quite interesting. Because Kinney generally does not speak at large events, this is your chance to pretend to be in his audience. And what great selections!


Thursday, November 15, 7 pm, at Boswell:
A Celebration of Bookselling with Hans Weyandt, author of Read This: Handpicked Favorites from America's Indie Bookstores,
Liam Callanan, contributor to My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop.
plus Stacie Williams and Stefan Moorehead of Unabridged Bookstore in Chicago.

It's a dual celebration of books about bookstores and booksellers. Started as a blog post, Hans Weyandt's Read This took on a momentum that can only be called steroidian. We've had folks from out of town using Read This as a national guide to bookstores, the way other folks visit baseball stadiums.

And now that My Bookstore is out, bibliophiles will have both a Fodors and Frommers to complement their journey. Ron Rice compiled essays from authors such as Ann Patchett, Ron Rash, Louise Erdrich, Abraham Verghese, Jill McCorkle, Laurie King, Dave Eggers, Ian Frazier, Peter Gey Mameve Medwed, Tom Robbins and more (many more!) on why they love their local bookstore. And the Milwaukee area is represented not just by Liam Callanan's essay on Boswell, but also by Lesley Kagen's piece on the late Next Chapter in Mequon. 

Here's a great interview with Hans in The Rumpus. Just one of the questions...

Rumpus: Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried was the most frequently listed book in Read This!. Do you think part of that is because it was unique?

Weyandt: Yes, it was, and is totally different. All the time I’ll see blurbs where writers are compared to Cormac McCarthy or Flannery O’Connor or whoever. Any time a writer has his own voice, he’s the one who everyone else is compared to. But that doesn’t work! Because part of what makes those writers remain relevant is that, even though others try to sound like them, they just can’t do it.

Read the rest of the interview here. I found what I thought was a video, but it was a robot reading what appeared to be promotional copy. Have you ever come across something like this? It's quite creepy. It feels like it's done to drive hits for search engine placement.


Friday, November 16, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Book Club Night featuring Jonathan Odell, author of The Healing
with a short presentation of book club favorites from Daniel, including selections from Anne and Jane.

The Healing has earned comparisons to both The Help and Kitchen House. Kirkus noted: "Odell stirs lyricism and sentiment into a well-researched epic of slavery and emancipation that will endear itself to the spirituality inclined."

Mr. Odell has posted excerpts from his video with Mrs. Willie Turner, a 91-year-old African American midwife. It's a pretty long piece, but might spark your interest in the book.


Saturday, November 17, 2 pm, at the Shorewood Public Library,
3920 N. Murray Ave., Shorewood 53211:
Julie Pandl, author of Memoir of the Sunday Brunch.

Yesterday Jim Higgins interviewed Pandl in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Memoir of the Sunday Brunch, and her experience with self-publishing. Pandl, as you know, was able to find an agent who was able to find her a publisher for her comic novel about working with her dad at Pandl's in Bayside.

"When she dropped off her first batch of books at Milwaukee's Boswell Book Company, she had an epiphany. She looked around the bookstore and thought, 'There are a ton of books here. . . . How am I going to get people to pick up mine?' In that moment, Pandl said, she grasped 'on the most basic level' that people have a choice, and 'you have to make them choose yours.' She also realized that booksellers are in the business to make money, so a writer needs to 'find a way to make it worth their while to have your book in their store.'" Read the rest of the story here.

We found a video diary of Julie's first reading at Boswell. "Wasn't this Schwartz at one time, a participant inquires?" Yes, yes it was.

That should be enough to keep you busy. Hope to see you at one of this week's fine events!

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