Having just send out our email newsletter yesterday, I'm loathe to re-recap everything again the next day when I can just link to it and leave it at that. Instead, I'm going to give you some extra details on each event that I might not have had time, space, or inclination to include.
Monday, March 3, 7 pm, at Boswell
Lorrie Moore, author of Bark.
Any regular reader to the blog would know that Moore is coming, considering that I've talked about it in the last three posts!
I've had an interesting conversation back and forth with a critic, calling me out on saying you shouldn't judge an unthemed collection on its collective merit, and he's absolutely right. That said, what I was trying to note was that while both Moore's writing style, subject matter, and underlying themes have changed over the years, the later stories in Birds of America and the early stories in Bark are not really that far apart in when they were written.
More from Connie Ogle in the Miami Herald.
Even more from Holly Silva in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. If we were in St. Louis, our event would be most likely cancelled, due to weather. While it's been a tough winter, it could have been worse. The current storm (nicknamed "Titan" by that storm-namin' Weather channel) is the latest to just graze us, saving its fury for locales further south.
Our in-store lit group has been bumped to Tuesday, March 4. We're reading Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers. I'm still reading it, in fact.
Wednesday, March 5, 6:30 pm, at the Hales Corners Library, 5885 S 116th St, Hales Corners, WI 53130:
Joelle Charbonneau, author of Independent Study.
We had a wonderful event with Joelle Charbonneau for the The Testing, the first book in this dystopian series. This time we're doing a day of school events with the author too, and it turns out a number of teachers are big fans of this series.
Hales Corners is located right off Highway 100. If you're heading south, it's a right on Janesville Road to 116th Street. Charbonneau will also be signing at Mystery One earlier in the day. It was originally set for 5-6 pm but we've asked it to be moved up, as getting from Mystery One to the Hales Corners Library during rush hour in a half hour is a difficult task.
The Boswellians who are serious series readers have told me that book two in a trilogy can be really tough to pull off, though now-at-HarperCollins Stacie said she thought the second installment was better than the first. The problem is that you need to get from here to there, so there's a lot of a focus on the travel route. The reviewer at Kirkus says as much, but still is hot for the volume three, which comes out later this spring.
Thursday, March 6, 7 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall, 733 N. Eighth Street 53233:
Charles Krauthammer, author of Things that Matter.
1. Doors open at 6 pm. Hey, it's cold out there!
2. There is a surface lot across Wisconsin Avenue with a flat $5 charge, plus both street and garage parking nearby. There are also lots on Michigan and a close garage at MacArthur Square, and hey, if you belong to the Wisconsin Club...
3. Unlike some of our other events, Dr. Krauthammer will be signing on stage after the event. In order to make sure everyone can get there book signed afterwards, he is not able to personalize.
4. We are assuming that this is an event that could reach capacity. The library will close the doors at 700 attendees. I would suggest arriving by 6:30 pm.
5. We expect to have signed copies at the bookstore after the event. You can reserve one here.
Friday, March 7, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Parker, author of All I Have in This World, and Murray Farish, author of Inappropriate Behavior: Stories.
Liam Callanan will be introducing this event.
Both Michael Parker and C.J. Hribal teach with Liam Callanan at the Warren Wilson MFA program for writing. Because it's a low-residency program, they are able to get folks who teach full time at other places. While a lot of writers get to know each other at places like AWP conferences and retreats like Ragdale, I have noticed that some of the strongest bonds form at these low-res programs, as there is less writer overload (AWP) and you're likely to see fellow writers again (unlike retreats).
As you can see from this 2012 Publishers Weekly survey, Warren Wilson College is the top-rated low residency MFA program in the country.
So that's how Michael Parker got here. Murray Farish, who teaches at University of St. Louis, was planning to go on a midwest tour and we thought they'd match up well together. While publishers sometimes come to us with a ready-made pairing or trio of authors, you have to make sure everyone is on board when the bookstore does it. In this case, the authors both agreed and it was set.
But I digress, as usual. We're a little before pub date on All I Have in this World, so all we have our the advance reviews. Publishers Weekly called his newest "stylish" and "engaging." And while the Kirkus reviewer had quibbles, he or she still called it "smart writing." Can I just note that I've heard that it is now grammatically acceptable to use "they" and "them" when gender is either unknown or out of traditional boundaries? I may start doing this, except it will bring back old memories of my third grade teacher twisting my nose. I'm saving that one for my memoir.
Murray Farish's Inappropriate Behavior is a Midwest Connections pick. Kirkus called it "edgy writing in an unnerving collection of short fiction" while Publishers Weekly notes that "Farish is at his best—and in the case of the “The Passage,” he’s masterful—in the stories in which the cracks are just beginning to form in the facade of normal life." And Derek Harmening goes into more detail on the Curbside Splendor blog.
Saturday, March 8, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Denise Mina, author of The Red Road.
So Carole, a fellow Glaswegian, comes into Boswell this week and says she's looking forward to Denise Mina. The thing here is she says "My-nah" and we'd been saying "MEE-nah." We're going to double check on that one. I don't want to flub the introudction.
Then I'm at a grocery store getting some Brussels sprouts with Sriracha glaze and while it's not as good as the dish I had in Delancey (see the Seattle blog post), it leads to a conversation with Ruth, who also told me that she's very excited about Saturday's event.
So there you have it, two experts who are super-excited about Denise Mina, perhaps the next mystery writer you haven't read you whom you should start. Since The Red Road is an Alex Morrow novel, we're suggesting that if you don't want to jump in with the new one, you should try Still Midnight, the first in that series.
Allan Massie in The Scotsman says that Denise Mina is so good, you'll want to read The Red Road twice.
Barry Forshaw in the (UK) Independent calls her "one of the finest practitioners of the criminal art" as well as "a social commentator of perception and humanity."
Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times says "If anyone can make you root for the murderer, it’s Denise Mina, whose defiantly unsentimental novels are less concerned with personal guilt than with the social evils that create criminals and the predators who nurture them."
We have a lot of mystery events coming up in the next two weeks, so I've decided to rank them on a squeamish-osity scale.
Very low squeamish level: Joanne Fluke on Tuesday, March 18, 7 pm
Modest squeamish level: Cara Black on Wednesday, March 12, 7 pm
Decent squeaming level: Denise Mina
I think she's still out-squeamished by Murray Farish, but until he has a mystery, he doesn't get to go on the scale.
Sunday, March 9, 11 am, at Boswell:
Storytime with Jannis, featuring Peter Brown's Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.
These storytimes have proven to be quite popular. Start practicing your roar.
Sunday, March 9, 2 pm, at the Milwaukee Public Library's Rare Books Room, 807 W. Wisconsin Ave. 53233:
Paul Geenen, author of Civil Rights Activism in Milwaukee.
Note: we originally listed the time as 3 pm. My apologies.
This is a repeat of our previous in-store event, now at a reasonable temperature.
Event preview for next week--mark your calendars for Kathy and Brendan Reichs at the Shorewood Public Library on Tuesday, March 11, 6:30 pm, for an event featuring Exposure, the latest in their popular Virals series.