Monday, June 3, 2013

This Week's Events--David Rhodes, Ridley Pearson, Denise "Girls of Atomic City" Kiernan, Jennifer Keishin "Mary Tyler Moore" Armstrong, Poets Traci Brimhall and Paul Scott August and R. Clifton "Scott and Zelda" Spargo Next Monday.

I'm still running a bit late on the blog, but this time, the delay was due to my focusing on our email newsletter, featuring events for not just this week but next week too. I made a mathematical calculation that our open rate for the email newsletter is higher than the reach of the blog, even with our reposting events Hey, I should link the email newsletter on Facebook, and also here on the blog.

Here's what's going on this week, plus a preview for next Monday, just in case I'm late then too.

Tuesday, June 4, 7 pm, at Boswell
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, author of Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made the Mary Tyler Moore Show, as well as the co-writer of Sexy Feminism: A Girl's Guide to Love, Success, and Style.

I really, really, loved this book and if you're the kind of person who didn't go out on Saturdays so you could watch great television, or later on, stayed at home to watch marathons, this is for you. You know piled up my reading is, but I dropped everything to read this, and there was no event in the pipeline when that happened. It just turned out that Armstrong had family in Chicago such that she could add on a day and come up to MKE.

Todd VanDerWerff in the AV Club gave the book an A-. 
"The Mary Tyler Moore Show was such an important series that a book that exhaustively spells out every innovation it pioneered might become exhausting. Mary And Lou And Rhoda And Ted occasionally leaves the reader wanting more information, but in most cases, it proves an engaging, highly entertaining read of a show that set out to simply be very good and ended up rewriting TV history. For fans of the series and fans of the medium, it’s a must-read."

 Saul Austerlitz in the Boston Globe is also a fan.
"Armstrong’s history of 'Mary Tyler Moore' is warm and funny and rife with juicy details about the show’s production, but what it is, more than anything, is a group portrait of the talented, ambitious young women who maneuvered, wangled, and pleaded their way into writing for the show. It is about secretaries who transformed themselves into writers, and helped to transform Mary Richards into the closest 1970s television came to a feminist icon. Brooks had once expressed his belief that there was a world of comedy trapped inside his wife’s purse, which he could neither access nor entirely understand. But he was wise enough to recognize that limitation and bring in a team of mostly untrained female writers for Mary Tyler Moore who could.

Great trailer!

Some schmo on NPR also liked it.

Thursday, June 6,7 pm, at the Whitefish Bay Library
Ridley Pearson, author of Choke Point and The Risk Agent.

When a journalist reveals the existence of an Amsterdam-based sweatshop that employs and enslaves young girls, private security firm Rutherford Risk is hired to find it and shut it down. But with enemies around every corner, combat veteran John Knox can't tell the good from the bad. I like that this is a different spin on a thriller. The agents, Knox and his partner Grace Chu, are neither detectives nor special agents, but really corporate agents, though their mission involves collaborating with local forces. Pearson also tries to bring a bit of a sense of mission to the story, and it's a timely one too, what with all the recent tragedy in Bengladesh.

Pearson has put together a fun trailer that's also offers the exotic flavor of Amsterdam.


June 6, 7 pm, at Boswell:
David Rhodes, author of Driftless and Jewelweed.

Who can forget our wonderful event with David Rhodes? He and his wife Edna will be returning to Boswell for Jewelweed on Thursday!

From Library Journal: "At the center of this brave and inspiring new novel is Blake Bookchester, imprisoned as the story opens, though the charges against him are questionable. Aided by friends and neighbors in the small town of Words, WI--the setting of Rhodes's acclaimed 2008 novel, Driftless--the thoughtful and fundamentally decent Blake experiences a rebirth and regeneration"

From the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune: "Jewelweed is a novel of forgiveness, a generous ode to the spirit’s indefatigable longing for love." Read the rest of the review here.

And from our own Sharon K. Nagel:
"After several years away, David Rhodes comes back to the Driftless Region of Wisconsin in his skillfully wrought new novel. After serving time on a drug charge, Blake Bookchester is paroled to his hometown, to live in his father’s house, and try to get his life together. Blake struggles with his newfound freedom, his relationship with his father, the opinions of the members of his community, and the very real presence of Danielle Workhouse, the woman that he has yearned for these many years. Filled with complex and captivating characters, Jewelweed is told in flawless prose with an endlessly interesting narrative. My return to Rhodes’ world reminds me that it has been too long since my last visit"

Friday, June 7, 7 pm, spring poetry night at Boswell:
Traci Brimhall, author of Our Lady of the Ruins
with opening reader Paul Scot August.

Our FOB (friend of Boswell) Paul Scot August brought Brimhall to our attention, and August, a fine poet in his own right, who while so far sans book, is getting his poems published in some fine journals, seemed like the perfect opener.

From Publishers Weekly:
"Battlefields, childbeds, forests of wolves and hanged men, pious sailors, mysterious saints, “a warship, disarmed in the desert, waiting for the flood”: all these figures, characters and scenarios populate the busy, evocative, Barnard Prize–winning second outing from Brimhall (Rookery), whose brief, highly colored poems evoke a universe part Dylan Thomas, part saint’s legend and part Tolkien."

Paul Scot August also has a wonderful blog called "Poetry Saved My Life" which includes essays, reviews, and interviews. I like that most of our author photos are happy this week. Sometimes authors like to appear grumpy.

Saturday, June 8, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Denise Kiernan, author of The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II .

What a week! You are always asking for daytime events. Denise Kiernan is a great presenter, and what a topic. 

From Shelf Awareness:
"Created in the fall of 1942, Oak Ridge, Tenn., the secret city--also known as "Site X"--housed the factories where uranium for the first atomic bombs was enriched. Young women traveled from around the country to fill the jobs at Oak Ridge--more than 75,000 at the factories' peak. Denise Kiernan's The Girls of Atomic City is a glimpse into the strange experience of working on a project whose nature was kept from them." Read the rest of the review here. 

Our own Halley Pucker weighs in (pictured is Kiernan, not Pucker):
"A must read for histroy buffs, Kiernan tells the story of women sent to Tennesse knowing only one thing - that they were helping out their country. Unbeknownst to them was that their work was helping the United States develop atomic weaponry. The book is a great look at the importance of women during war time, and reads like a novel that the reader won't want to set down."

Here's another great trailer. Note to Simon and Schuster folks. I like these!

Coming attractions!
Monday, June 10, 7 pm, at Boswell:
R. Clifton Spargo, author of the novel Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald

From the publisher: In 1939 Scott's living in Hollywood, a virulent alcoholic and deeply in debt. Despite his relationship with gossip columnist Sheila Graham, he remains fiercely loyal to Zelda, his soulmate and muse. In an attempt to fuse together their fractured marriage, he arranges a trip to Cuba, where, after a disastrous first night in Havana, the couple runs off to a beach resort outside the city. But even in paradise, Scott and Zelda cannot escape the dangerous intensity of their relationship.

Clifton Spargo taught at Marquette for 15 years and now lives in Chicago. Whether you love Spargo or Fitzgerald, this should be a fun evening.

Our rec from Jane Glaser:
"Little biographical information exists about the 1939 vacation Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald took to Cuba in an effort to recapture the tenderness they felt for each other during the dazzling years of the Jazz Age. R. Clifton Spargo convincingly imagines this curious chapter in the marriage of one of the most fascinating couples of the 20th century with a fictional portrayal of the effects of the insanity and alcoholism that would, alternately, separate and reconcile the Fitzgeralds, but would keep them ultimately tied to each other until Scott's death in 1940. Written in descriptive prose that mirrors the elegant writing style of F. Scott Fitzgerald himself. I highly recommend this captivating story to readers who enjoyed Paula McClain's The Paris Wife and Nancy Horan's Loving Frank" 

Please don't come to me and tell me you're bored. Boswell has  enough to keep you busy this week. And I get to rest on Wednesday!

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