Monday, June 17, 2013

What's Happening at Boswell This Week? Jeannette Walls, Peter Heller, Jeremy Scahill, Michael Harvey, Saru Jayaraman and More.

What's going on this week at Boswell? I'm glad you asked.

Monday, June 17, 7 pm, at Boswell
Saru Jayarman, author of Beyond the Kitchen Door.
This event is co-sponsored by 9to5, Wisconsin Jobs United, and Hawks Quindel.

Blending personal narrative and investigative journalism, Behind the Kitchen Door is an exploration of the political, economic, and moral implications of dining out. Jayaraman shows us that the quality of the food that arrives at our restaurant tables depends not only on the sourcing of the ingredients. Our meals benefit from the attention and skill of the people who chop, grill, saute, and serve.

Saru Jayaraman, along with displaced World Trade Center worker, co-founded Restaurant Opportunities Center United in New York. ROC has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants called COLORS. A graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Jayaraman also co-edited The New Urban Immigrant Workforce.

Tuesday, June 18, 7 pm, at the Brookfield Public Library
an encore performance with Barry Wightman, author of Pepperland
The Brookfield Public Library, 1900 N. Calhoun Road, 53005.

Wednesday, June 19, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars.

Hig has survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead; he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life--something like his old life--exists beyond the airport. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return--not enough fuel to get him home--following the trail of the static-broken voice on the radio. But what he encounters and what he must face--in the people he meets, and in himself--is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.

Narrated by a man who is part warrior and part dreamer, a hunter with a great shot and a heart that refuses to harden, The Dog Stars is both savagely funny and achingly sad, a breathtaking story about what it means to be human.

Our rec from Stacie: "In the years immediately after a worldwide pandemic decimates the human population, and the earth is struggling to survive continued climate shifts, a man and his dog shore up at an airport, subsisting on scrounged goods, the occasional deer, and vegetables from a garden plot. But Hig and Jasper are not alone. Their precarious existence is kept secure by a combination of regular flyovers Hig does in his Cessna and the armed assistance of Bangley, a crotchety fellow survivor who isn't afraid to take out any wanderers he perceives to be a threat. When one more tragedy strikes, Hig will have to choose whether to stay put, or move on, in a world without a future. A poetic narrative of grief, loss, survival, and hope, it's a companion read to Cormac McCarthy's hypnotic The Road, the kind where days after finishing it, my chest still aches."

Opening for Heller will be Ethan Rutherford, author of The Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories.

“This is a flat-out beautiful book of stories. Who would ever guess that the Iraq War could be echoed in summer camp, or that the first ill-fated Confederate submarine would have an unforgettable crew, or that Ethan Rutherford’s imagination could accommodate the psychology of men and boys, in groups and in isolation, and of the girls and women who have observed them? The tonal range moves from laugh-out-loud funny to snowed-in somber. Whatever the tone and subject, the stories’ excellence is never in doubt. Not all books of stories are page-turners, but this one is.” —Charles Baxter, author of National Book Award finalist The Feast of Love and Gryphon

Thursday, June 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jeannette Walls, author of novels The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, and memoir The Glass Castle, which has been a New York Times bestseller for over five years. This event is co-sponsored by 89.7 WUWM, Milwaukee Public Radio.

It is 1970 in a small town in California. "Bean" Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who "found something wrong with every place she ever lived," takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that's been in Charlotte's family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town--a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister--inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it's Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.

Friday, June 21, 5:30 pm, at Boswell
Film discussion of Dirty Wars, opening at the Downer Theatre, sponsored by Peace Action Wisconsin. Jeremy Scahill will not be present at this event. For information on his appearance, see below.

Friday, June 21, 7:30 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Harvey, author of The Innocence Game and The Chicago Way.

Three young Northwestern University students—selected for the exclusive “innocence” seminar at the school’s esteemed journalism school—plan to spend their summer learning how to free the falsely accused from prison. But when one of the student receives an anonymous note with a bloodstained scrap of a shirt belonging to the victim of a fourteen-year-old murder, they wind up searching for the real killer. As they piece together the case, they’re drawn into a web of deceit, learning how far the guilty will go to frame the innocent and becoming entangled in the corrupt underbelly of the Chicago police department.

Michael Harvey is the author of several mystery novels, including The Chicago Way and We All Fall Down. He is an adjunct professor at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Michael Harvey is also a documentary producer and co-creator, producer and executive producer of A&E’s forensic series, Cold Case Files. His investigative journalism and documentary work have won multiple news Emmys and CableACE awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination. And if that isn’t enough, he also owns an Irish bar in Chicago, The Hidden Shamrock

There is no Jeremy Scahill event at Boswell. While scheduled for Saturday at 2 pm, his studio changed his schedule and sent him off to another city.

Sunday, June 23, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Sahar Delijani, author of Children of the Jacaranda Tree.

Set in post-revolutionary Iran from 1983 to 2011, this debut novel follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers, some related by blood, others brought together by the tide of history that washes over their lives. Finally, years later, it is the next generation that is left with the burden of the past and their country's tenuous future as a new wave of protest and political strife begins.

From Kirkus Reviews: "Delijani falls back on her family’s personal experience to write this searing and somber slice-of-life novel, centered around children whose parents were singled out for persecution by the Iranian government, and scores a win with her grittiness and uncompromising realism."

Like the character in her novel, Sahar Delijani was born in Tehran's Evin Prison in 1983 and grew up in California, where she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work has been published in a broad spectrum of literary journals and publications, including Perigee, Border Hopping, and Berkeley Poetry Review, and she was for a time a regular contributor to Iran-Emrooz (Iran of Today) Political and Cultural Journal.

and coming up next week:

Monday, June 24, 7 pm, at Boswell
Edward McClelland, author of Nothin' but Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland

In the years during and after World War II, thanks to natural advantages and a welcoming culture, the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region became the “arsenal of democracy”—the greatest manufacturing center in the world. Decades of unprecedented prosperity followed, memorably punctuated by riots, strikes, burning rivers, and oil embargoes. A vibrant, quintessentially American character bloomed in the region’s cities, suburbs, and backwaters. But the innovation and industry that defined the Rust Belt also helped to hasten its demise. The jobs drifted elsewhere, and many of the people soon followed suit.

Nothin’ But Blue Skies is the story of how the country's industrial heartland grew, boomed, bottomed, and hopes to be reborn. Through a propulsive blend of storytelling and reportage, celebrated writer McClelland delivers the rise, fall, and revival of the Rust Belt and its people.

Chicago-based writer Edward McClelland’s books include Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President and The Third Coast: Sailors, Strippers, Fisherman, Folksingers, Long-Haired Ojibway Painters, and God-Save-the-Queen Monarchists of the Great Lakes. He has also written for The New York Times, Slate, The Nation, and other publications.

Last minute update: McClelland's talk is going to be taped for C-Span. Let's make sure Milwaukee looks like it can get out a crowd for serious nonfiction, not to guilt you into it or anything.

And mark your calendars for two more great events next week--Nathan Rabin on Tuesday, June 25, and Andrew Sean Greer with Benjamin Lytal on Wednesday, June 26, both at 7 pm, both at Boswell. After that, we take a short beginning of Summerfest event break.

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