Well, all I can say is that I'm happy that we don't have an event tonight, what with another snowfall.
Tuesday, February 18, 7 pm, at Boswell.
Ilsa Bick, author of White Space.
Before she became a writer of teen fiction, Ilsa J. Bick was a forensic psychiatrist who worked with children and adolescents. Through the dystopian thrillers she now creates, Bick still manages to address complex psychological issues affecting young people.
In a 2011 essay, titled “The Monsters in Us All: In Defense of YA Literature,” Bick wrote “….many, many children do live in hell. …if you do want to know about some kids like that, talk to a very wise librarian I met a few weeks ago at ALA. She works in Anaheim, and the population she serves lives with violence, gangs, drugs, rape, incest ... Know what those kids like to read? They devour contemporary novels that accurately depict their reality. And you know why? Because, in those novels, the kids triumph. They find a way out of hell. These books are quite hopeful because the teens in them do succeed where their parents and society have failed. These novels are journeys of growth from and through darkness toward the light.”
Bick’s books aim to do just that, such as in The Sin Eater’s Confession, which explores the emotional life of a young gay man serving as a medic in Afghanistan and the bigotry he faced back home in his small Wisconsin hometown that led to his being falsely accused of a brutal murder. Her newest novel, White Space, is the first in a new YA trilogy in the mind-bending tradition of The Matrix and Inception: where realities are fluid and nightmares live in a lost world between the lines.
Ilsa J. Bick is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of The Ashes trilogy, Draw the Dark, Drowning Instinct, and The Sin-Eater’s Confession. Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, a film scholar, former Air Force major, and an award-winning, bestselling author of short stories, e-books, and novels.
Wednesday, February 19, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Sheila Turnage, author of The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing.
When Miss Lana makes an accidental bid at the Tupelo auction and winds up the mortified owner of an old inn, she doesn't realize there's a ghost in the fine print. Naturally, Desperado Detective Agency (aka Mo and Dale) opens a paranormal division to solve the mystery of the ghost's identity. They've got to figure out who the ghost is so they can interview it for their history assignment (extra credit). But Mo and Dale start to realize that the Inn isn't the only haunted place in Tupelo Landing. As Mo and Dale handily track down the truth about the ghost (with some help from the new kid in town), they discover the truth about a great many other people, too.
A laugh out loud, ghostly, Southern mystery that can be enjoyed by readers visiting Tupelo Landing for the first time, as well as those who are old friends of Mo and Dale.
Sheila Turnage is the author of New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor winning novel, Three Times Lucky, as well as a guidebook called Haunted Inns of the Southeast. She lives in North Carolina.
From Boswellian Hannah Johnson-Breimeier: "In this sequel to Newberry Honor Book, Three Times Lucky, rising sixth graders Mo LeBeau and her best friend Dale are back in action with a new mystery to solve for the Desperado Detective Agency. When the old decrepit inn in Tupelo Landing goes up for sale and Miss Lana accidentally buys it in auction, the unread fine print indicates a ghost is in residence. Mo and Dale set out to find out just who this ghost is. Is it untrustworthy Harm Crenshaw, their newest classmate, a saboteur who doesn't want the inn renovated, or a bona fide ghost? Mo LeBeau is one of my all-time favorite characters and she has captivated me again in The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing."
More on The Boswellians blog post, "Sheila Turnage, you say? YAAAAAY!"
Thursday, February 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Hainey, author of After Visiting Friends.
“Searing and unforgettable...memoir writing at its best"—San Francisco Chronicle
Michael Hainey had just turned six when his uncle knocked on his family's back door one morning with the tragic news: Bob Hainey, Michael's father, was found alone near his car on Chicago's North Side, dead, of an apparent heart attack. Thirty-five years old, a young assistant copy desk chief at the Chicago Sun-Times, Bob was a bright and shining star in the competitive, hard-living world of newspapers, one that involved booze-soaked nights that bled into dawn. And then suddenly he was gone, leaving behind a young widow, two sons, a fractured family—and questions surrounding the mysterious nature of his death that would obsess Michael throughout adolescence and long into adulthood.
Finally, roughly his father's age when he died, and a seasoned reporter himself, Michael set out to learn what happened that night. Died "after visiting friends," the obituaries said. But the details beyond that were inconsistent. What friends? Where? At the heart of his quest is Michael's all-too-silent, opaque mother, a woman of great courage and tenacity—and a steely determination not to look back. Prodding and cajoling his relatives, and working through a network of his father's buddies who abide by an honor code of silence and secrecy, Michael sees beyond the long-held myths and ultimately reconciles the father he'd imagined with the one he comes to know—and in the journey discovers new truths about his mother.
From Boswellian Jannis Mindel: "After Michael Hainey's father dies, the then 6-year-old is given no explanation. That lack of explanation left a gaping hole inside the author that lead him on a journey of discovery, no matter the pain it caused. After Visiting Friends is part memoir and part detective story, as Hainey uncovers bitter truths about his father's past. Haunting, fascinating and elegiac, I thoroughly enjoyed this book."
Michael Hainey is the deputy editor of GQ. He was born in Chicago and now lives in Manhattan.
Previewing next Monday:
Monday, February 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Gina Frangello, author of A Life in Men, with opening author Robert Vaughan, author of Addicts and Basements.
“A life in Men is a vivid, devastating, and ferocious novel that captures a woman’s whole life in a world torn apart by terrorism and alienation…A story of love, passion, and friendship that will rock readers to the core.”—Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River
The friendship between Mary and Nix had endured since childhood, a seemingly unbreakable bond, until the mid-1980s, when the two young women reunited for a summer vacation in Greece. It was a trip instigated by Nix, who had just learned that Mary had been diagnosed with a disease that would inevitably cut her life short. Nix, a free spirit by nature, was determined that Mary have the vacation of a lifetime, but by the time their visit to Greece was over, the ties between them had unraveled, and when they said goodbye, it was for the last time.
Three years later, Mary returns to Europe to try to understand what went wrong, in the process meeting the first of many men she will spend time with and travel with throughout the world. Through them she experiences not just a sexual awakening but a spiritual and emotional awakening that allows her to understand how the past and the future are connected, and to appreciate how important it is that she live her life to the fullest.
Gina Frangello is a cofounder of Other Voices Books and the fiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. She is also the author of one previous novel and a collection of short stories. She lives in Chicago.
Opening for Frangello will be Milwaukee's own Robert Vaughan, whose first full-length book, Addicts and Basements, has just been published. Vaughan was a finalist for the 2012 Micro-Fiction Awards, and another of his pieces was a finalist for the 2013 Gertrude Stein Award. In addition to his writing, he is the senior flash editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazines, and leads writing roundtables at Red Oak Writing.
Hope to see you at one of this week's events.