Monday, March 16, 2015

This Week's Boswell Happenings: Phillip Norman on North Africa tonight (Monday), J.A. White at Elm Grove Library (4 pm) and Boswell (6:30) on Wednesday, Stewart O'Nan on Friday (7 pm ) and Richard Price on Saturday (2 pm), Both at Boswell. Plus a Little About Mary Nohl Day at the Public Museum and Last, Last Chance to Get Erik Larson Tickets.

In the next week, we have not one but two authors whose latest books were featured on the front page of The New York Times Book Review.

Monday, March 16, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Phillip Naylor, author of North Africa:: A History from Antiquity to the Present

North Africa has been a vital crossroads throughout history, serving as a connection between Africa, Asia, and Europe. Paradoxically, however, the region's historical significance has been chronically underestimated. In a book that may lead scholars to reimagine the concept of Western civilization, incorporating the role North African peoples played in shaping "the West," Phillip Naylor describes a locale whose transcultural heritage serves as a crucial hinge, politically, economically, and socially.

Phillip C. Naylor is professor of History at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he directed the Western Civilization program. His previous books include The Historical Dictionary of Algeria and France and Algeria: A History of Decolonization and Transformation.

Wednesday, March 18, 4 pm at Elm Grove Library
Wednesday, March 18, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
J.A. White, author of The Thickety: The Whispering Trees

In the dark world of The Thickety, 12-year-old Kara lives an outcast’s life as a suspected witch. When she was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother Taff are still shunned by the people of their village who believe that nothing is more evil than magic…except, perhaps, the mysterious forest called the Thickety that covers nearly the entire island. After discovering a strange book with unspeakable powers – a book that might have belonged to their mother—Kara and Taff flee to the only place they know they won’t be followed: the Thickety. But the Thickety’s unknown magic lurks behind every twist and shadow, leading the children down a dark and wicked path. J.A. White is the writer for the book trailer production company, Escape Goat, as well as an elementary school teacher. Whether you live on the East Side or West Side of metro Milwaukee, we've got a J.A. White event for you.

A fellow who makes trailers better have a good trailer and Mr. White does. Here's the video for The Thickety: The Whispering Trees:

That's 4 pm at Elm Grove Library and 6:30 pm at Boswell. The Elm Grove Library is located at 13600 Juneau Blvd, north of Bluemound Road, east of Moorland Road. For more info, contact the -library at (262) 782-6717.

Friday, March 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Stewart O'Nan, author of West of Sunset

Today F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely revered as one of America’s greatest writers, and with recent releases of both books and movies adapting his work or re-imagining his life, his reputation has swelled to almost mythic proportions. While he and his wife Zelda were celebrities in the 1920s, by the late 1930s Fitzgerald had fallen out of the public eye and into harder times. It is this period that critically acclaimed novelist Stewart O’Nan brings vividly to life in West of Sunset.

Maureen Corrigan writes in The Washington Post review: "As he has demonstrated in Last Night at the Lobster and Emily, Alone, O’Nan is a writer alert to the courage and beauty inherent in the stories of people who simply have to keep on keeping on. What interests him about Fitzgerald’s exile in Hollywood is not so much the glitter (although Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich and other stars make appearances), nor his love affair with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham (whose blond good looks evoked the young Zelda), but rather Fitzgerald’s anxious commitment to his work as a screenwriter. Most of the movies Fitzgerald was assigned to were dreck (although there was a short stint on Gone with the Wind). Nevertheless, sitting down every day in his office or the various furnished cottages and apartments he rented in and around Hollywood, Fitzgerald fueled himself with cigarettes and Cokes (or, frequently, something more potent) as he labored to make flimsy scripts better. Fitzgerald was always a worrier, relentlessly tinkering with The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night, even after the publication of those novels. It’s that F. Scott Fitzgerald — the worn-out yet relentless craftsman — whom O’Nan compassionately evokes in West of Sunset.

Stewart O'Nan is author of many previous novels and works of nonfiction, including his collaboration with Stephen King on Faithful, their book about being a Red Sox fan.

Saturday, March 21, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Richard Price, writing as Harry Brandt, author of The Whites

Edgar Award-winning beloved master of crime fiction, Richard Price, is coming to Boswell to read from and sign copies of his latest novel (under the pen name Harry Brandt), The Whites, the electrifying tale of Billy Graves, sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch, a small team of detectives charged with responding to all night-time felonies from Wall Street to Harlem, which Stephen King has dubbed “the crime novel of the year,” calling it “grim, gutsy, and impossible to put down.”

Michael Connelly, writing about The Whites in The New York Times: "Written under the pen name Harry Brandt, his new novel, The Whites, is as much an entertaining story as it is an examination of the job of policing. It’s a job that’s difficult to do right. It’s even more difficult to do safely — especially when you try to prevent it from slowly hollowing out the holder of the badge. The novel posits a simple axiom: Those who go into darkness as a matter of course and duty bring some measure of darkness back into themselves. How to keep it from spreading like a cancer, eating at your humanity, is the police officer’s eternal struggle. It’s this struggle that Brandt places at the heart of his storytelling. Another great so-called crime novelist, Joseph Wambaugh, has said that the best crime novels aren’t about how cops work cases, they’re about how cases work cops. This holds true, with fervor, in The Whites."

Don't miss this interview with Richard Price on Fresh Air.

Tuesday, March 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Thirty tickets left for Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake.

Boswellian Anne McMahon says: "I suspect that like most people, I knew the bare facts of the Lusitania sinking. The full story as revealed by author Erik Larson is both fascinating and tragic. The depth of Larson's research is amazing and his writing ability produces history that reads like a novel. The past comes alive in a book that is a must-read."

Jim Higgins at the Journal Sentinel writes: "Larson's book is a work of carefully sourced nonfiction, not a novelization, but it has a narrative sweep and miniseries pacing that make it highly entertaining as well as informative. As Larson points out more than once, a single decision or twist of fate out of many possible turning points could have resulted in the liner arriving safely in Liverpool." Read the rest of the review here.

Don't forget, Boswell closes at 5:30 to the general public for this special event. Tickets (as 2 pm Monday) still available.

One last thing, This Saturday, March 21 is Mary Nohl Day at the Milwaukee Public Museum, celebrating the release of the new absolutely delightful picture book, In Mary's Garden, by Tina and Carson Kugler. It's free with Museum admission.

Mary Nohl Day Happenings
10 – 11 a.m.: Presentation by authors Tina and Carson Kugler and discussion by Mary Nohl historian Debra Brehmer followed by a book signing.
11 - 12:30 p.m.: MPM Art Room open for all guests – create rock art jewelry, a fish, a pet rock or a moai sculpture.
1 - 2 p.m.: Presentation by authors Tina and Carson Kugler and discussion by Brehmer followed by a book signing.
2 – 3:30 p.m.: MPM Art Room open for all guests – create rock art jewelry, a fish, a pet rock or a moai sculpture.

The first 200 families to arrive will also receive a special sketchbook! Explore the museum to listen to stories, sketch your “travels” just like Mary, learn about Mary Nohl and the book, and even create your own fantastical artworks. And if Debra Brehmer's involved, we know it's going to be a great discussion. (We're working with Brehmer on another event at the Portrait Society Gallery on May 1 for photographer Paul Koudounaris. Very exciting!)

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