Monday, March 11, 2013

Events This Week--Scott Stevens, Blue Balliett, John Elder Robison, Wendy Webb, B.J. Best with Charles P. Ries.

It's construction time again.Starbucks is closed this week, but barristas are giving away coffee at our store between 10 am and 4 pm (sometimes outside, sometimes inside, depending on the weather).  For events, covered nonalcoholic drinks are welcome from the various coffee shops around town. The construction folk are well aware of the special need to not make noise during our event with John Elder Robison, but understand that it is important during all our events. Let's hope for the best!

Monday, March 11, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Scott Stevens, author of Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud: Relapse and the Symptoms of Sobriety.

Stevens came to me and gave me the lowdown on his new book. I mentioned that this topic was tough to market to our core audience and that we would not have the resources to do specialized marketing. The ball was in his court. He gave me a great proposal and I said, "Let's do it. It's an important topic and I'd love to get folks into Boswell to hear more."

Here's what he had to say. Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud explains the difference between alcohol abuse and the disease of alcoholism and delves into the reasons for drinkers returning to drinking. Many, including the families and friends of alcoholics, wonder why anyone would return to the misery. 21 million are affected by the disease, and another 171 million live with or around someone with alcoholism. Stevens offers explanation why anyone would drink again after sobriety and is geared toward the drinker and his family alike. His book is a an emotional and well-documented journey along what happens during the relapse process, answering questions as to what happens in the drinker. Stevens details a biochemical root of relapse discovered by research in late 2012, four key stressors drinkers experience in recovery and three success factors in escaping relapse.

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30 pm, at the Loos Room of Centennial Hall, 733 N. Eighth St, 53233:
Blue Balliett, author of Hold Fast, as well as The Wright 3, Chasing Vermeer, The Calder Game, and The Danger Box.

As I have been collecting reference materials to promote our event with Blue Balliett at the Milwaukee Public Library, I've come across lots of wonderful reviews, such as this one in Sunday's New York Times and an earlier one in the Chicago Tribune.  Balliett's new novel about early Pearl and her family, who must live at the homeless shelter after her father's disappearance (and that's after taking an extra job at the Chicago Public Library) is touching a lot of hearts, and when you meet Blue (and you will, right?), you'll see why. After our event with her for The Danger Box at the Shorewood Public Library, I came away with how she is such a curious, engaging, and warm person. She's just the kind of author I'd like my kid to  meet one on one.

I really like this paragraph from her biography listed on the publisher website. "I was born and grew up in New York City, in a long, thin apartment near Mt. Sinai Hospital. My name has always been Blue, although it’s Elizabeth on my birth certificate. My sister and brother and I played ball, rode bikes and roller-skated on the street. I took two public buses to get to school. As a teenager, I discovered that you could hang out with friends at museums like the Metropolitan, the Frick or the Guggenheim, which were then just about free for kids, instead of going right home after school. That’s how I became so comfortable around art, and got to know two of my favorite artists -- Johannes Vermeer and Alexander Calder. Sometimes I think my books go back a long, long way."

The opportunities we get as kids can go a long way to molding our adult characters, don't you think? Maybe that's the best argument I can think of to see you at the library on Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 13, 7 pm, at Boswell:
John Elder Robison, author of Raising Cubby: A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives, plus Look Me in the Eye and Be Different.

This event is co-sponsored by Autism Speaks, which is preparing for their big fundraiser, Walk Now for Autism Speaks, on Saturday, April 6, at the Bradley Center.  Please visit their information if you'd like registration information. In addition, Autism Speaks will have a table at our event.

"When John Elder Robison had his first child with his first wife, whom he called Little Bear, he considered calling his son the suitably tough “Thugwald”, but they settled on Jack, nicknamed 'Cubby.' I’m sure you’re not surprised that the entire family was diagnosed with Asperger’s, leading to a lot of misunderstandings, particularly as Cubby also had some OCD issues. The story moves from self-named Wondrous Dada and his tall tales, to a boy obsessed with playing Yu-Gi-Oh!, and finally a teenager investigated by ATF and prosecuted by the local DA for setting off explosions, culminating in a heated courtroom battle. It is the gently twisted journey that is Raising Cubby, always insightful, often hilarious, and sometimes awe-inspiring."
--Me, quoting myself. Is that ridiculous or what?

I also put Mel's recommendation in our email newsletter, but I should add it here too.

"What do you get when you cross two Aspergians with 100 grams of potentially explosive chemicals? One heck of an insightful parenting and self-discovery memoir. Robison's latest is tender and true, yet reads like your favorite uncle's yarn at a family party. When it comes to parenting and Asperger's (and most things electrical, European automotive, and engineering), we're lucky to have Robison's horse-sense in print. Don't miss his hilarious and informative event at Boswell Book Company on Wednesday, March 13th at 7 PM!!"
--Mel Morrow, Boswell Book Company

Thursday, March 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Wendy Webb, author of The Fate of Mercy Alban and The Tale of Halcyon Crane.

First let's start with another rec.

"After the unexpected death of her mother, Adele, Grace Alban returns to the elegant family mansion set on the shores of Lake Superior. Grace is stunned to discover, among her mother's possessions, a packet of love letters written by her father's best friend to Adele, setting off a chain of shocking revelations that hold the secrets behind the Alban family curse. Haunted passageways, a lost manuscript, Celtic spells and an eerie ghostly intruder are expertly woven into this gripping Midwestern Gothic tale of murder, romance, intrigue, and unexpected redemption. Readers will be captivated from beginning to end!"
--Jane Glaser, Boswell Book Company

Since I quoted from Blue Balliett's bio about her childhood, I thought I'd continue the theme and offer a paragraph from Webb's. "When Wendy was about eleven years old, her school librarian recommended that she read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. It changed her life. After she was finished reading that book, which remains among her favorites to this day, something just clicked. She knew what she was meant to do with her life—write novels like that one. It was more than a wish; it felt as though she had found her calling."

Another Wrinkle in Time fan! I'll have to tell Jannis.

Saturday, March 16, 2 pm, at Boswell:
B.J. Best, author of But Princess is in Another Castle, and Charles P. Ries, author of Girl Friend and Other Mysteries of Love.

B.J. Best is the author of two previous books of poetry: Birds of Wisconsin =and State Sonnets ( He is also the author of three chapbooks from Centennial Press, most recently the prose poem collection Drag: Twenty Short Poems about Smoking.

Here's a bit about his new book. "The color, noise, and often cryptic images of classic video games set the prose poems in B.J. Best’s But Our Princess Is in Another Castle in motion, but the poems soar far beyond their nostalgic springboards. And while Mario, Pac-Man, and pioneer families forsaken on The Oregon Trail populate these pixelated landscapes, this book translates the games and plays them in the real world, so an Asteroid becomes just one more star shot with lost love, Space Invaders might have communist sympathies, and God is just as bad at Tetris as the rest of us. Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, the book’s levels explore how our past virtual lives can inform our present actual ones. A coming-of-age narrative turned love story turned philo­sophical journey, But Our Princess Is in Another Castle deftly combines two mediums into vivid poems as lyrical as they are imaginative."

Charles P. Ries’ poems, short stories, interviews, and reviews have appeared in over two hundred print and electronic publications and he is author of six books of poetry. In addition to being a founding member of the Lake Shore Surf Club, he is also a world-traveler who studied Sufism in North Africa, and worked with the Dalai Lama.

And I quote: "Girl Friend and Other Mysteries of Love is a meditation on the ebb and flow of love in these changing times. The screw-ups, suck-ups, epiphanies, black holes, celestial awakenings, and confusions of the thing considered mystical to some, and impossible to others. Told from the perspective of a middle-aged lover-in-training, these poems have all the joy and all the pain and all the wonder, but resonate through eyes that have traveled a few miles down that sometimes-lonesome highway of romance."

No comments: