Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins.
Jess Walter is the author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets, the National Book Award finalist The Zero, the Edgar Award-winning Citizen Vince, Land of the Blind, and the New York Times Notable Book Over Tumbled Graves. Beautiful Ruins has been named best novel of the year by Esquire and Fresh Air, and is the #1 trade paperback fiction bestseller in America, according to The New York Times.
National Book Award finalist and Edgar Award winning author Jess Walter returns with his funniest and most romantic novel yet. Hailed by critics and loved by readers, Beautiful Ruins is at once an elegiac romance, a comedy of human foibles, and an incisive meditation on our contemporary obsession with celebrity culture. Spanning fifty years, Walter’s expertly orchestrated narrative takes readers to a tiny coastal village in Italy in 1962 and to modern-day Hollywood, to London, Edinburgh, and the Pacific Northwest—as an endearingly flawed parade of intertwined characters navigate the realities of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.
Inspired by his wife’s Italian family and the small hillside villages in the Cinque Terre region, Walter imagined a village in its early 1960s La Dolce Vita glory, a place that “would make a great frame for a story about fame and how we all endeavor now to live our lives like movie stars, like celebrities, each of us an eager inner publicist managing our careers and our romances and our fragile self-images.
More about Jess Walter and Beautiful Ruins on an earlier post.
Tuesday, May 7, 6:30 pm, at Cudahy Family Library, 3500 Library Drive, 53110:
Holly Black, author of Doll Bones.
Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, The Good Neighbors graphic novel trilogy (with Ted Naifeh), and the Curse Workers series. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award.
Doll Bones is a delightfully spooky novel about a group of friends who take playing with dolls to a ghostly degree. For as long as they’ve been friends, Zach, Poppy, and Alice been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her. But they are in middle school now. Zach's father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she's been having dreams about the Queen--and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the doll is buried in her empty grave.
Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen's ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?
More from me on Holly Black and Doll Bones on an earlier post.
Tuesday, May 7, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Forties Film Night, featuring David Luhrssen, author of Mamoulian
and Paul McComas, author of Fit for a Frankenstein.
David Luhrssen is the arts and entertainment editor and film critic for the Shepherd Express and cofounder and director of the Milwaukee International Film Festival. He is the author of Hammer of the Gods: Thule Society and the Birth of Nazism and Elvis Presley: Reluctant Rebel.
Paul McComas is the award-winning author of four critically acclaimed books and the editor of two more. Fit for a Frankenstein is his first collaborative novella—and the literary debut of his co-author and longtime friend Greg Starrett.
In Mamoulian, Luhrssen not only reveals the fascinating personal story of an important yet neglected figure, but he also offers a tantalizing glimpse into the extraordinarily vibrant American film and theater industries during the twenties, thirties, and forties. Mamoulian direct the debut Broadway productions of three of the most popular shows in the history of American musical theater: Porgy and Bess (1935), Oklahoma! (1943), and Carousel (1945), and then moved into film, eventually was awarded him the prestigious D. W. Griffith Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1983 by the Directors Guild of America.
In Fit for a Frankenstein, a body snatcher and hanging survivor, Ygor stops in the village of Kotstadt to obtain a gigantic custom-made suit for his friend, the ever-menacing Frankenstein Monster. The unholy duo’s visit endangers fastidious town tailor Klaus Hauptschmidt and his effervescent teenage daughter, Gretl … and prompts hijinks of monstrous proportions!
Wednesday, May 8, 6:30 pm, at the Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N. Murray Avenue, 53211:
The Dark Days tour.
Prepare to experience romance, suspense, and a touch of darkness when publicist Alison Lisnow moderates a discussion between four of the hottest authors in paranormal teen fiction.
Elizabeth Norris, author of Unbreakable: The sequel to Elizabeth Norris’s Unraveling blends science fiction, mystery, and romance into a thrilling story YA readers won’t be able to put down. Norris briefly taught high school English and history before moving from San Diego to Manhattan. Unbreakable is her second novel.
Kiera Cass, author of The Elite: A must-read for fans of dystopian fiction, fairy tales, and reality TV. This sequel to The Selection will enchant teens who love Divergent and "The Bachelor." Kiera Cass is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, with her family. In addition to The Selection, which was a New York Times bestseller, Cass also self-published her fantasy novel, The Siren.
Aprilynne Pike, author of Life After Theft: A hauntingly clever twist on The Scarlet Pimpernel, this stand-alone novel that offers a humorous twist on ghosts and is perfect for fans of Ally Carter, Rachel Hawkins, and Kiersten White. Aprilynne Pike received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College at the age of 20. She lives in Utah with her family and works with pregnant mothers as a childbirth educator and doula.
And introducing Amy Tintera, author of Reboot: In this fast-paced dystopian thrill ride ideal for fans of The Hunger Games, a seventeen-year-old girl rises from the dead as a “Reboot” and is trained as an elite crime-fighting soldier . . . until she is given an order she refuses to obey. Amy Tintera has degrees in journalism and film. Raised in Texas, she now lives in Los Angeles.
Wednesday, May 8, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jean Thompson, author of The Humanity Project
with opening reading Wendy Wimmer.
After surviving a shooting at her high school, Linnea is packed off to live with her estranged father, Art, who doesn't quite understand how he has suddenly become responsible for raising a sullen adolescent girl. Art's neighbor, Christie, is a nurse distracted by an eccentric patient, Mrs. Foster, who has given Christie the reins to her Humanity Project, a bizarre and well-endowed charity fund. Just as mysteriously, no one seems to know where Conner, the Fosters' handyman, goes after work, but he has become the one person Linnea can confide in, perhaps because his own home life is a war zone: his father has suffered an injury and become addicted to painkillers. As these characters and many more hurtle toward their fates, the Humanity Project is born: Can you indeed pay someone to be good? At what price?
Jean Thompson is author of The Year We Left Home and City Boy, a National Book Award finalist, as well as five short story collections. Her work has been praised by Elle Magazine as "bracing and wildly intelligent writing that explores the nature of love in all its hidden and manifest dimensions.”
Opening for Thompson will be Wendy Wimmer is a 2008 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's Creative Writing master's program. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, AWP Intro to Journals and Best New American Voices. Her recent fiction publications include Blackbird, Per Contra, Paper Darts and Drunken Boat literary journals. She is currently refining a short story collection and a novel for publication by fall 2015.
Thursday, May 9, 6:30 pm, at the North Shore Library, 6800 N. Port Washington Road, 53217:
Barbara Manger and Janine Smith, author of Mary Nohl: A Lifetime in Art.
A prolific and fanciful maker who worked in a variety of media, Milwaukee-born Mary Nohl was both a mysterious figure and an iconic "outsider" artist. Mary Nohl: A Lifetime in Art, a new addition to the kid-friendly Badger Biographies series, captures her life and will capture the imagination of readers, and artists, of all ages.
Nohl, who made her home on the shores of Lake Michigan, decorated the interior of her cottage with bright colors and eye-catching figures in driftwood and glass. During her later years, her home became known as the "Witch's House" — a place of local legend known far beyond Fox Point. Though she died in 2001, Mary's legacy continues. Her art is held at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, and her home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Barbara Manger is an artist who has taught printmaking and drawing for many years. She also founded Artists Working in Education, a nonprofit Milwaukee-based organization that provides art experience for at-risk children.
Janine Smith is an award-winning book designer who owns and operates Designsmith, a graphic design company in Fox Point, Wisconsin.
Friday May 10, at 7:00 pm
Best of the Undergraduate Creative Writers, Part Two: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Mount Mary College, and Carroll University
Come hear some of the up-and-coming writers currently blooming within our own communities; featuring two undergraduate student readers from each university, as selected by their creative writing professors.
From Carroll University, our readers are Jenna Villanova and Karie Vlazny.
From Mount Mary, our readers are Barb Kolb and Megan Mattson.
And from UWM, our readers are Mary Franzen and Sam Pakarske.
And coming up next week,
Monday, May 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Without a Summer.
Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo winner for her story “For Want of a Nail.” Mary serves on the board of directors of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. A professional puppeteer and voice actor, she spent five years touring nationally with puppet theaters. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and nine manual typewriters.
Pairing a Regency love affair with fantasy and intrigue, Without a Summer is Hugo winner Kowal’s third book in the Glamourist Histories series. Kirkus Reviews calls it a “creative, elegantly crafted novel” that offers “both a broad and an intimate canvas of human weakness and virtue.” When Jane and Vincent Ellsworth, talented painters who are commissioned to create magical works of art, begin to take an interest in the romantic life of Jane’s younger sister, Melody, the timing simply isn’t perfect. Weather manipulators have forced a cold snap to linger for a long time, affecting not only the crops that finance Melody’s dowry, but also political intrigue that will involve the Ellsworths’ particular skills if an international crisis is to be averted.
The second novel in the series, Glamour in Glass, was recently nominated for a Nebula Award for Best Novel, and about the first novel, the Jane Austen Center writes “Shades of Milk and Honey could easily fit into Austen’s canon, except of course for the inclusion of magic. Kowal has captured both the style and content of an Austen novel, adding her own speculative fiction twist…hits all the high points of Austen’s dialogue and plotting while still having its own identity.” Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo winner for her story “For Want of a Nail.” Mary serves on the board of directors of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. A professional puppeteer and voice actor, she spent five years touring nationally with puppet theaters. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and nine manual typewriters.