Monday, April 27, 2015

Boswell Events for the Week of April 27: Jessica Hagy, Benjamin Percy, Charlie Scheips, Bruce Hillman, Paul Koudounaris, Undergraduate Writers, Independent Bookstore Day. See Below for Some Offsite Locations.

Monday, April 27, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jessica Hagy, author of The Art of War Visualized: The Sun Tzu Classic in Charts and Graphs, a presentation followed by a conversation with Mitch Teich of Milwaukee Public Radio's Lake Effect.

It’s the perfect meeting of minds. One, a general whose epigrammatic lessons on strategy offer timeless insight and wisdom. And the other, a visual thinker whose succinct diagrams and charts give readers a fresh way of looking at life’s challenges and opportunities. A Bronze Age/Information Age marriage of Sun Tzu and Jessica Hagy, The Art of War Visualized is an inspired mash-up, a work that completely reenergizes the perennial bestseller and makes it accessible to a new generation of students, entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists, seekers, lovers of games and game theory, and anyone else who knows the value of seeking guidance for the future in the teachings of the past. It’s as if Sun Tzu got a 21st-century do-over.

Hagy, author and illustrator of How to be Interesting, is a cutting-edge thinker whose language-comprising circles, arrows,and lines and the well-chosen word or two-makes her an ideal philosopher for our ever-more-visual culture. Her charts and diagrams are deceptively simple, often funny, and always thought-provoking. She knows how to communicate not only ideas but the complex process of thinking itself, complete with its twists and surprises. For The Art of War Visualized, she presents her vision in evocative ink-brush art and bold typography. The result is page after page in which each passage of the completecanonical text is visually interpreted in a singular diagram, chart, or other illustration-transforming, reenergizing, and making the classic dazzlingly accessible for a new generation of readers.

Our evening tonight, April 27, 7 pm, consists of Hagy’s presentation, followed by a conversation with Mitch Teich of Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect. Get inspired!

Tuesday, April 28, 7 pm at Boswell:
Bruce J. Hillman, author of The Man Who Stalked Einstein: How Nazi Scientist Philipp Lenard Changed the Course of History.

The Man Who Stalked Einstein highlights a little-known but important story about the antagonistic relationship between Albert Einstein and Philipp Lenard that changed the course of history and still influences the science of today.

Einstein and Lenard were opposites in virtually every way. That both men were brilliant scientists and Nobel laureates with opposing views about what constituted important, believable science made some degree of conflict inevitable. Lenard’s experimental physics and Einstein’s theoretical physics represent two opposing schools of thought that came into conflict throughout Europe. However, the enmity that each felt for the other was based on much more than their science. It was personal.

Lenard was so consumed by his own narcissism, his envy of Einstein’s fame, and his hatred for Jews that he sacrificed the integrity of his science and his personal reputation among the community of scientists on the altar of his personal prejudices. For nearly fifteen years, Lenard had led the opposition that finally forced Einstein to flee his native Germany. Driven by professional disagreement, intense envy over the public’s adoration of Einstein, and virulent anti-Semitism, Lenard unrelentingly harassed Einstein and publicly denigrated his theory of relativity.

In The Man Who Stalked Einstein, Bruce J. Hillman, MD, Professor and former Chair of Radiology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, traces the convergence of influences and events that turned Lenard from a productive and highly respected scientist to a man consumed by racial hatred and an early supporter of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.

Wednesday, April 29, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Benjamin Percy, author of The Dead Lands.

It's always a treat when former Marquette professor Benjamin Percy returns to Milwaukee. His newest book is The Dead Lands, a darkly reimagined Lewis and Clark saga told in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. And speaking of Stephen King, he calls The Dead Lands “a case of wonderful writing and compulsive reading,” asserting that “[y]ou will not come across a finer work of sustained imagination this year. Good God, what a tale. Don’t miss it.” That’s high praise, indeed!

Benjamin Percy’s new thriller, The Dead Lands is a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga in which a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders. Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon. Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

Boswellian Sharon Nagel is a fan. She writes: "Ben Percy’s last novel Red Moon may have seemed like it was part of a trend of werewolf stories. However, he took it a step further and created a social commentary on civilization. Werewolves were living openly amongst humans and even running for political office. Percy’s latest book appears to follow the fashion of post-apocalyptic worlds, but again, he elevates the genre with something more, along with his sharp and captivating writing, a retelling of the Lewis and Clark saga. Mina Clark and Lewis Meriwether set out for the west in a bold attempt to connect with survivors of the devastating flu and rebuild their nation."

In this Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, critic Carole E. Barrowman offers this praise: "Elegiac descriptions and poetic details morph into high-energy action scenes as the travelers battle mutants with their limited arsenal and Lewis' strange magic. Most quests end with the travelers wondering if the journey was worth it. If you ask me, it certainly was." And it's worth attending our event with Percy (photo credit Jen Percy) on Wednesday, April 29, 7 pm.

Thursday, April 30, 5 pm (reception), 6 pm (talk) at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum:
A ticketed event with Charlie Scheips, author of Elsie De Wolfe's Paris: Frivolity Before the Storm.

The Friends of the Villa Terrace present Charlie Scheips, discussing and signing copies of his latest gorgeous book, Elsie de Wolfe’s Paris. The reception begins at 5 pm, followed by the presentation at 6 pm, and a signing immediately after.  Admission is $20 (our apologies on a previous typo) with admission going to the Friends to continue their work and this fine decorating series. The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is located at 2220 N. Terrace Avenue in Milwaukee, several blocks southeast of Boswell.

The American decorator Elsie de Wolfe (1858-1950) was the international set’s preeminent hostess in Paris during the interwar years. She had a legendary villa in Versailles, where in the late 1930s she held two fabulous parties-her Circus Balls-that marked the end of the social scene that her friend Cole Porter perfectly captured in his songs, as the clouds of war swept through Europe. Charlie Scheips tells the story of these glamorous parties using a wealth of previously unpublished photographs and introducing a large cast of aristocrats, beauties, politicians, fashion designers, movie stars, moguls, artists, caterers, florists, party planners, and decorators in a landmark work of social history and a poignant vision of a vanished world.

Gotham magazine writes: “Scheips utilizes 170 black-and-white and color images-some previously unpublished-to visually illuminate his fascinating narrative of this peerless woman's life, one that intersected with some of the most colorful and important characters of the day on both sides of the Atlantic, including Elsa Maxwell, William Randolph Hearst, Cecil Beaton, Janet Flanner, Gertrude Stein, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The tome culminates with de Wolfe’s final grand fête, the second Circus Ball, which defined the glamour and decadence of international society before the lights went out all over Europe.”

Shorewood-bred Charlie Scheips is a curator, art advisor, artist, writer, and cultural historian who has curated exhibitions in the United States and Europe. He has contributed to Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, and was the founding director of the Condé Nast Archive in New York. Your chance to hear Scheips is Thursday, April 30, starting at 5 pm.

Please note our event with Sandy Tolan has been rescheduled to Monday, May 11, 7 pm, at Boswell.

Friday, May 1, 6 pm, at the Walkers Point Center for the Arts:
Paul Koudounaris, author of Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us

In Western society, death is usually medicalized and taboo, and the dead are strictly separated from the living, while in much of the rest of the world, and for much of human history, death has commonly been far more integrated into peoples’ daily existence, with human remains kept as much a reminder of life, memento vitae, as of death, memento mori.

With Memento Mori's remarkable color photographs taken at more than 250 sites in thirty countries over a decade, Koudounaris, whose previous works The Empire of Death and Heavenly Bodies focused on European traditions, presents a thought-provoking examination of how human remains are used in decorative, commemorative, or devotional contexts around the world today.

From Bolivia’s “festival of the little pug-nosed ones,” where skulls are festooned with flowers and given cigarettes to smoke and beanie hats to protect them from the weather, to Indonesia’s burial caves, where human remains are prominently displayed, to visits with Indonesian families who dress mummies and include them in their household routines, the book’s photographs affirm life while confronting the specter of death. A gifted narrator, Koudounaris vividly recounts the stories and traditions that lie behind the macabre pictures—including naturally preserved Buddhist monks in Thailand, memorials to genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda, the Chauchilla necropolis in Peru, and Europe’s great ossuaries—reminding us that our own lives are, and forever will be, linked to those of the dead in an endless cycle.

Paul Koudounaris received his doctorate from the art history department at UCLA. His previous books include The Empire of Death, a cultural history of ossuaries and charnel houses, and Heavenly Bodies, a study of lavishly decorated Baroque skeletons originally from the Roman Catacombs. Join Koudounaris at The Walker's Point Center for the Arts, located at 836 South Fifth Street in Milwaukee. Our thanks to Howard Leu and Christina Ward for their help on this event.

Friday, May 1, 7 pm, at Boswell:
The Best of the Undergraduate Readers, Part 1: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Marquette University.

We've asked the creative writing professors at Marquette and UWM for their best undergraduate writers to read at a program of Boswell. We've been holding this periodically since 2009, when it was part of our grand opening ceremonies. Here are this year's readers.

From Marquette:

Sarah Smithy is a junior Digital Media student at Marquette University. She grew up just outside Milwaukee in the city of Waukesha. Sarah enjoys writing, reading and all other leisurely activities. After graduation, Sarah wants to work in the film and television industry.

Alexandra Whittaker is a senior journalism and Writing-Intensive English double major at Marquette. She has interned for InStyle, Elle, The Wall Street Journal, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Woman’s Day. She has also freelanced for USA Today, and Women’s Wear Daily during New York Fashion Week. Whittaker is from Naperville, Illinois.

Michael Welch is a junior with Writing Intensive English and Public Relations major at Marquette University. He also serves as an editor for the Marquette Literary Review. A native of Chicago, he is planning on applying for graduate school after graduation.

Krystin Kantenwein is a senior Writing-Intensive English student at Marquette University. She lives in the Chicago suburb of Fox Lake, Illinois. Krystin enjoys hiking, photography, and hanging out with friends. After graduation, Krystin plans to attend Concordia University Chicago for a Masters in School Counseling. And to learn how to cook something other than oatmeal.

This is not the easiest event to put together logisitically, but goodness, is it rewarding! If you're planning your evening on Friday, May 1, each budding author reads for up to ten minutes. And who knows? Maybe they'll be back when their books are released.

From UWM:

Valerie Vinyard studies Secondary English Education at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. She lives and works in Waukesha, as a tutor and a nanny. She has had her work published in local undergraduate literary magazines such as Furrow and The Windy Hill Review, where she also served as an editor. Besides teaching and writing, she is an amateur photographer, trombonist, and hoop-dancer.

Ashanti Anderson is a junior psychology major attending University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Through UWM's domestic exchange program, Ashanti is visiting from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, where she will return in May to launch a music-based summer program funded by Keds and TMI (a agency) to improve literacy amongst urban high school students. When not engaging in her own creative processes, whether writing poetry or essays or painting, Ashanti studies the psychological effects of creativity on the brain.

Matthew Farr grew up in Oak Creek. He currently attends UW-Milwaukee, and upon graduating he plans on hiking across America. His poetry can be found online or in print at Verse Wisconsin, Shepherd Express, and Furrow.

Amber Scarborough is graduating form UWM in May with a major in creative writing. Her favorite novel is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and when's not writing, she loves watching cat videos, perfecting her winged eyeliner and log rolling. She'd like to thank her parents and friends for always supporting her. She also wants to give a huge thank you to her professor Liam Callanan for nominating her. Amber hopes to continue studying literature in the UK this coming fall.

Saturday, May 2, Independent Bookstore Day!

Inspired by Comic Book Day and National Record Store Day, Independent Bookstore Day was the brainchild of several California booksellers, most notably Pete Mulvihill at Green Apple Books. I know that he would say hear that there were many people involved in putting this together, and there really were, most notably Hut Landon, the executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, but nobody I have seen has been more of an evangelist for the cause than Mulvihill.

And all of us are rewarded with the results. This year's Independent Bookstore Day has an amazing selection of one-of-a-kind limited edition offerings for sale, only at independent bookstores, on May 2, with no pre-orders, web orders, phone orders, or holds. We're celebrating the day old school--arrive here, wait in line, and make your purchase. And yes, there will be quantity restrictions on the items as well.

Among the items for sale:
--An archive quality Chris Ware print
--An Literary Map of the Seas print
--A Guess How Much I Love You bunsie onesie. It's a bunny, get it?
--New collected essays from Roxane Gay
--A boxed set of our favorite book-themed novels
--Two sets of dish towels, one sweet and the other salty
--Christopher Moore throx. If you read his novels, you know what these are.
--the Margaret Atwood wood stencil (pictured)
--A joke collection illustrated by your favorite children's book artists
--Stephen King and Ally Brosh posters
and that's not all.

Can 't wait for the date? Why not get the limited-edition Roz Chast tote to get you in the mood? It's available in red or blue.

At 11 am, Jannis will be presenting a special book-themed storytime. And don't forget, May's regularly scheduled storytime has moved to Sunday, May 3, 11 am. So take your pick, Saturday or Sunday. Both will feature books, rhymes, finger play, and fun! (Please mark your calendar - no storytime on Mother's Day (May 10).

At 2 pm, Sharon has organized a critics vs. authors book-themed quiz game.

And at 7 pm, we'll be hosting Best of the Undergraduate Writers, part two:
--MIAD: Michelle Sharp and Krista Toms.
--Cardinal Stritch University: Emlyn Dornemann and Raveen Lemon.
--Carroll University: Taylor Belmer and Cory Widmayer.
--Alverno College: Celeste Johnson and Jennifer Fazal

Sunday, May 3, 11 am, at Boswell: Join Jannis for storytime. This week we feature Lion Lion, written by Miriam Busch and with illustrations by Larry Day, and other books about animals

Here's a little about the book. A little boy is looking for Lion. Lion is looking for lunch. And so our story begins. But look closely. . . . In this tale, nothing is quite as it seems Children will delight in this classic picture book with a mischievous twist.

Monday, May 4, 6:30 pm, at the Whitefish Bay Library:
Blue Balliett, author of Pieces and Players.

Blue Balliett is the award-winning author of the bestselling novels The Wright 3, The Calder Game, The Danger Box, and Hold Fast. Her debut novel, Chasing Vermeer received an Edgar Award, a Book Sense Book of the Year Award, and was named a New York Times notable book of the year. Now she's back with Pieces and Players, which brings together some of Balliet's most beloved characters.

Thirteen extremely valuable pieces of art have been stolen from one of the most secretive museums in the world. A Vermeer has vanished. A Manet is missing. And nobody has any idea where they and the other eleven artworks might be…or who might have stolen them. Calder, Petra, and Tommy are no strangers to heists and puzzles. Now they’ve been matched with two new sleuths: Zoomy, a very small boy with very thick glasses, and Early, a girl who treasures words…and has a word or two to say about the missing treasure. The kids have been drawn in by the very mysterious Mrs. Sharpe, who may be playing her own kind of game with the clues. And it’s not just Mrs. Sharpe who’s acting suspiciously—there’s a ghost who mingles with the guards in the museum, a cat who acts like a spy, and bystanders in black jackets who keep popping up. With Pieces and Players, you have all the ingredients for a fantastic mystery sure to delight readers 8 and up!

Kirkus Reviews writes: “Juggling multiple pieces of art and multiple suspect players, Balliett again deftly merges mystery, art, and friendship into another perplexing puzzler.” The Whitefish Bay Library is located at 5420 N Marlborough Drive, just south of Winkie's on Silver Spring. For more information, contact the library at (414) 964-4380.

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