Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday Event Post: Meg Choi, James Benn, and the Hartford Avenue Poets.

It's Labor Day, and that means we're Open 10 am to 5 pm.

Tuesday, Sepember 3, 7 pm:
Our In-Store Lit Group discussion of Ragtime, with two folks from the Milwaukee Rep talking about their production at 7:30. The Rep production opens September 17 at the Quadracci Powerhouse.

Friday, September 6, 7 pm:
Meg Choi, author of The Way Out.

Meg Choi (Song-Hae Kim) has authored eleven nonfiction books in Korean; one of them, Aim for Harvard Instead of SNU (Seoul National University), was a bestseller in Korea. Based on her own experiences as a child during the Korean War, Choi’s debut novel offers a sobering glimpse into life on both sides of the DMZ. We meet 10-year-old Mia as her country falls into war, and we return with her 35 years later as she hopes to find her family.

“I was envious of the war orphans who could go to school while I couldn’t,” Meg Choi says of her childhood. During the Korean War, she and her family fled North Korea as refugees. Living in Pusan, and with her mother in poor health, Meg became primary caretaker to her younger siblings. She was only seven years old. She was photographed by a U.S. soldier with a baby on her back and the warm kindness shown to her by the solider touched her heart.

Having never forgotten the kindness shown to her, she longed to find and thank that soldier once she came to America. For several decades now Choi has lived here, but hasn’t yet found the soldier who instilled in her such love and hope. She would ask any veteran of the Korean War, “Were you stationed in Pusan around 1952?” She wants to tell the story before it's too late.

Saturday, Sepember 7, 2 pm:
James Benn, author of A Blind Goddess (on sale September 3).

James Benn’s newest Billy Boyle mystery, A Blind Goddess, turns an eye to a rarely explored subject: racial politics within the US Army during WWII. Publishers Weekly wrote "The superior plot and thoughtful presentation of institutional racism directed against American soldiers about to risk their lives for their country make this one of Benn's best." And Library Journal writes "Boyle steps carefully through the minefields of racism, espionage, and child abduction until the three cases intersect in a volatile, whirlwind finale."

It is now March of 1944 and Lieutenant Billy Boyle, now Captain Boyle, is looking forward to his R&R after a dangerous mission in Italy. But, when a personal request from an old friend pops up at the same time, he feels compelled to assist. A member of an African American battalion is facing the gallows after having been arrested for a crime he almost certainly didn’t commit. Billy’s childhood friend knows that the situation won’t be taken seriously by the upper echelon, so it comes down to him to find out what really happened.

Billy is waylaid, however, when a British accountant is murdered and he is assigned the case by intelligence agent Major Cosgrove. A maddening situation as he isn’t allowed to interrogate certain key witnesses and others helping in the case continue to be sent away. In a twist, the investigation takes place in and around the village where the African American unit is stationed, so Billy presses his luck in order to solve both mysteries—and save more than one innocent life.

If you are one of the many folks who take Anne's advice on mysteries, this is definitely one not to miss.

Sunday, September 8, 2 pm:
The Hartford Avenue Poets, presenting Masquerades and Misdemeanors.

This collective of poets has been meeting and writing for years on Milwaukee's East Side. The launch event of their new collection, Masquerades & Misdemeanors will feature readings by members Thomas J. Erickson, Mary Lux, Helen Padway, Kim Parsons, Kathleen H. Phillips, Barbara B. Prendergast, Sheryl Slocum, Marilyn L. Taylor, Phyllis Wax, Ed Werstein, and Mark Zimmermann.

And don't forget Larry Watson is appearing Tuesday, September 10, 7 pm, for his new novel, Let Him Go.

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