Monday, April 22, 2013

A Week of Great Events! Thomas Dyja, Fiona Maazel, Brian Kimberling, Chris Fink, Plus Don't Forget About Michael Pollan.

I am very excited to have this innovation in listing the week's events--we now include a preview of next Monday's event. Otherwise the Monday event can listed a little last minute for my taste. And now they get two listings. No more Monday prejudice, but Tuesday is rather pissed at me.

We have Elinor Lipman coming on Tuesday for the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library literary lunch. While it's too late to get tickets, the good news is that we can still get you a signed copy of one of her books. Give us a call at (414) 332-1181 if you'd like something autographed.

Monday, April 22, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Thomas Dyja, author of The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream.

Chicago-native Thomas Dyja offers a cultural history of the Windy City at midcentury and how its incredible mix of architects, politicians, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, and actors helped shape America’s culture and identity.

From the architecture of sky-grazing buildings, the tentacle-spread of fast-food chains, and the personal dramas taking place in housing projects, to the dominance of rock and roll, the roots of literature and entertainment, and beginnings of the new labor movement, Chicago’s unique intermingling of race, class, and politics ushered the unparalleled creativity and innovation that made Chicago “the third coast” in post-war America.

Dyja argues that understanding America requires understanding beyond the east and west coasts, and that it’s important to restore the central place of cities like Chicago – and their considerable contributions to our culture – to their central place in our history. It is, he says, “a crucial step towards reassembling a nation that has lost its shared sense of identity and experience.”

Rachel Shteir reviews Thomas Dyja reviews on the front page of The New York Times Book Review here.

Wednesday, April 24, 7 pm, at Boswell
Fiona Maazel, author of Woke Up Lonely, with opening reader Mollie Boutell Butler.

Fiona Maazel’s first novel, Last Last Chance, was called "moving, buoyant, and utterly true" by The New York Times Book Review. She is winner of the Bard Prize for Fiction, a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree, and a Lannan Foundation fellow.

Thurlow Dan is the charismatic founder of the Helix, a cult based on the idea that everyone is lonely and that the only way to avoid emptiness is through connection. They sponsor speed-dating, rallies, communes, and a Facebook-like website designed to prevent loneliness via oversharing. But Thurlow, camped out in his Cincinnati headquarters, is lonely. And his ex-wife, CIA covert agent Esme, is the only one he wants. Through a series of well-intentioned missteps in the name of earning back Esme’s love, Thurlow finds himself at the center of a hostage situation with nowhere to run.

Maazel takes us down the rabbit hole of what it means to be lonely in the age of the internet, in which none of us are ever truly alone. Fans of Sam Lipsyte, Jennifer Egan, Lauren Groff, and Karen Russell will find much to love in Woke Up Lonely, which is by turns comic, lacerating, heartbreaking, and wholly unpredictable.

Andrew Russeth reviews Maazel in The New York Observer.

Thursday, April 25, 7 pm, at Boswell
Brian Kimberling, author of Snapper, with opening reader Alex Picket.

Brian Kimberling grew up in southern Indiana and spent two years working as a professional birdwatcher before living in the Czech Republic, Turkey, Mexico, and now England. He received an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University in 2010.

Nathan Lochmueller studies birds, earning just enough money to live on. He drives a glitter-festooned truck, the "Gypsy Moth," and he is in love with Lola, a woman so free-spirited and mysterious she can break a man's heart with a sigh or a shrug. Around them swirls a remarkable cast of characters: the proprietor of Fast Eddie's Burgers & Beer; the genius behind "Thong Thursdays;” Uncle Dart, a Texan who brings his swagger to Indiana with profound and nearly devastating results; a snapping turtle with a taste for thumbs; a German shepherd who howls backup vocals; and the very charismatic state of Indiana itself. And at the center of it all is Nathan, creeping through the forest to observe the birds he loves and coming to terms with the accidental turns his life has taken.

A wonderful rec from Boswell's own Sharon K. Nagel:
"Snapper is a series of connected non-linear short stories about a guy named Nathan who watches birds for a living in Indiana. If that description doesn’t make your heart beat faster, read this book anyway. Brian Kimberling will change your mind about what makes for exciting and fun storytelling.

Listen to Kimberling read an excerpt of Snapper here!

Read Kimberling's essay, "What Do Birders Know?" in The New York Times.

Friday, April 26, 2:30 pm, at Cramer Hall, Marquette University, 604 N. 16th Street:
Katherine Preston, author of Out with It: How Stuttering Helped me ind My Voice.

This event is sponsored by the Milwuakee chapter of the National Stuttering Association.

A fresh, engaging account of a young woman's journey, first to find a cure for a lifelong struggle with stuttering, and ultimately to embrace the voice that has defined her character. It offers a fresh perspective on the obsession with physical perfection.

"Katherine Preston is an upbeat and inspiring example of how to deal with a problem that concerns so many and yet is acknowledged by so few. Out With It deserves the widest possible audience."
--Michael Palin, actor, author, and founder of the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children

Friday, April 26, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Chris Fink, author of Farmer's Almanac: a Work of Fction.

Chris Fink is a professor at Beloit College in Wisconsin,where he teaches literature, creative writing, and journalism. He is the editor of the Beloit Fiction Journal.

In Chris Fink’s debut work of fiction, America’s rural core is cracked open to reveal moments of stark beauty and cruelty. Farmer’s Almanac—a new Midwestern Gothic—is an imaginary handbook for rural living, as timeless and essential as its namesake. But this is no American pastoral. Fink’s vision is more Orwell than Rockwell. Not since Winesburg, Ohio has a book so thoroughly plumbed the Midwestern character. A despairing farmer milks a dead cow, a baseball phenom chooses between the diamond and the dairy barn, and in the back of the school bus, a young girl fights back against her tormentors. Farmer’s Almanac reports the news from mythical Odette County, Wisconsin, where the milk prices keep falling, and the forecast is not good.

Chris Fink interviewed by the Beloit College Terrarium!

Monday, April 29, 7:30 pm, at the Oriental Theatre:
Michael Pollan, author of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.

This event is co-sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio.

$30 tickets include a signed copy of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. A $20 Boswell gift card in lieu of book is available the night of the event only. Visit our website and follow the link to buy tickets on the Oriental Theatre website.

Michael Pollan’s books include The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, all New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to The New York Times Magazine, he is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.

From the bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma comes a kitchen-focused exploration of the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture.

Starting with the theory that “Cooking, above all, connects us,” Pollan ventures into the kitchens of others: a North Carolina barbecue pit master; a Chez Panisse-trained cook; a celebrated baker; and finally, several mad-genius "fermentos" (a tribe that includes brewers, cheese makers, and all kinds of picklers). Arguing that by giving over this practice to corporations means we weaken not only the sustainability of our communities, but also our most social relationships—the ones we have with family and friends. By reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, and learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, we can open the door to a more nourishing life.

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