Monday, September 28, 2015

An Eight-Day Bookish Bonanza from Boswell--Celeste Ng, P.S. Duffy, Jonathan Evison, UWM's United We Read, Andy Rash, Stuart Neville, and Marilyn Sadler.

What's going on at Boswell for that?
Monday, September 28, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You.

We are so excited about this event! From the moment I closed the advance reading copy of Everything I Never Told You, sent to me with a note from the author (we get a lot of these, but I still can't read them all, alas), I knew the book was something special. But I still thought, "Family drama in the seventies, with the interesting multi-cultural twist. I've read this story, but I've never read it quite like this, and it's told so well. This will be a wonderful small book to tell people about, my gem of a find."

The first time I got the hint that this book was going to be something more was at Book Expo. I was seated at a table with someone from Amazon's editorial department. I know, I know, strange bedfellows, and we asked each other what we were reading that we liked. I mentioned Ng's book and the other person (sorry, keeping this one nameless) got this intense look in this eye, turned to me and said "I LOVE that book." It went on to be named their #1 book of the year.

In addition to our free event at Boswell, we've helped set up an event with Ng at Mount Mary University at Steinke Hall at 2 pm. The free event is at Steinke Hall. Because we're not able to sell books on the campus of Mount Mary, we're working with the Barnes and Noble College Store there to sell books (strange bedfellows, the sequel). Of course you can bring your book from home.

And finally, here's Jane Glaser's recommendation for Everything I Never Told You: "Set against the social fabric of 1970's small town Ohio, this is a complex portrait of a Chinese American family living through the tragic death of their beloved 16-year-old daughter. As parents and siblings search for truth, they face coming to terms with the regret of 'never' honestly sharing their unrealistic ambitions for and deep resentments of each other. Is it too late for this shattered family to repair itself if they are willing to pick up the pieces? Beautifully written debut novel, with exceptionally moving character development that will provoke a variety of reader reactions. Perfect book club reading!"

Tuesday, September 29, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jonathan Evison, author of This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, in conversation with Mitch Teich.

We had a great time with Jonathan Evison for The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving when he was in conversation with Mark Krieger, who was working on a novel in progress. This time he'll be in conversation with Mitch Teich, one of our friends from Wisconsin Public Radio's Lake Effect.

From the publisher: "In This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! Jonathan Evison has crafted a bighearted novel with an endearing heroine at the helm. Through Harriet, he paints a bittersweet portrait of a postmodern everywoman, her story told with great warmth, humanity, and humor. Part dysfunctional love story, part poignant exploration of the mother-daughter relationship, nothing is what it seems in this tale of acceptance, reexamination, and forgiveness."

We've had several good reads on the new book, which also hit the Indie Next List for September. Here's Sarah Lange's recommendation for This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!: "After Harriet's husband dies, she takes his place on an Alaskan cruise. But is he really gone, and can Harriet forgive him when she finds out his secret? As her daughter joins her on the trip in another unwelcome surprise and Harriet's present story unfolds, Evison makes use of a series of smart, engaging flashbacks--this is Harriet's life, after all. Filled with charm, humor and hope, Harriet Chance will appeal to the author's many fans and those of Wally Lamb. It will also earn Evison new admirers, as there's plenty to love in this insightful, feel-good story."

Tuesday, September 29, 7 pm (reception), 7:30 pm (talk), at the Lynden Sculpture Garden:
A ticketed event with P.S. Duffy, author of The Cartographer of No Man's Land.

The Women's Speaker series at the Lynden Sculpture Garden is please to present P.K. Duffy for her most recent novel. Produced by Margy Stratton of Milwaukee Reads, the program is co-sponsored by Bronze Optical with food from MKE Localicious.  Tickets are $25 and include a copy of The Cartographer of No Man's Land, $20 for Lynden members. You can click to the ticket link or call them at (414) 446-8794.

Here's a little more from the publisher: "When his beloved brother-in-law goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly into battle. Meanwhile, at home, his son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a town torn by grief...The Cartographer of No Man s Land offers a soulful portrayal of World War I and the lives that were forever changed by it, both on the battlefield and at home."

Thursday, October 1, 7 pm, at Boswell:
United We Read, featuring UWM's Rebecca Dunham, plus graduate students Loretta McCormick, Jenni Moody, and Andrew Ruzkowski.

From the publisher, regarding Rebecca Dunham's Glass Armonica: "Winner of the 2013 Lindquist and Vennum Prize for Poetry, Dunham's stunning third collection is "lush yet septic, at once beautiful and unnerving."

Visit the UWM English department Facebook event page for more info.

Friday, October 2, 7 pm at Boswell:
Andy Rash, author of Archie the Daredevil Penguin.

Brooklyn's loss is Milwaukee's gain. Andy Rash is a wonderful kids' illustrator whose work has been showcased in Superhero School, Sea Monster's First Day, and Game Over, Pete Watson. The publisher profile: "Archie has no fear except a secret one--the ocean and the creatures that lurk in it--so he tries over and over to invent a way to fly to Iceberg Nine, where his fellow penguins are having a fish fry."

Publishers Weekly writes that "Rash illustrates the slapstick action in bold cartoons whose bright colors, clean shapes, and slightly weathered-looking backgrounds feel simultaneously contemporary and retro. Panel sequences keep the story moving brisklya during an especially nifty one, Rash uses arrow-shaped panels to trace Archieas underwater barrel rolls as he conquers his fear of swimminga and the joke-heavy dialogue should make this a read-aloud winner."

Here's my recommendation for Archie the Daredevil Penguin: "Archie is one amazing penguin! He’s tobagganed through Craggy Pass and tiptoed through the Leopard Seal Bunks. And now he is preparing for his greatest challenge yet, creating an invention to fly across to Iceberg Nine for a fish fry. As he comes up with one wild idea after another, the truth comes out that Archie can’t swim. While cartoon penguins call to mind such classics as Tennessee Tuxedo and Chilly Willy, and more contemporary icons like Mumble from Happy Feet, Archie is more like a kind-hearted Wile E. Coyote. Rash’s penguins have a charming style all their own and the dialogue is filled with droll asides that lightly addresses the fears of many kids. Fun for everyone, but if you know someone afraid of swimming, even better!"

What's another great reason to see Andy Rash? He'll draw a cool picture in your book when you get it signed, not just one of those unreadable signatures from one of those novelists we go on and on about.

Sunday, October 4, 11 am, at Boswell:
Stuart Neville, author of Those We Left Behind.

This is our second event with Mr. Neville, who previously visited for Ratlines. He's a wonderful speaker and this promises to be a great event.

Here's a little more from the publisher: "Ciaran Devine, who made Belfast headlines seven years ago as the schoolboy killer, is about to walk free. At the age of twelve, he confessed to the brutal murder of his foster father; his testimony mitigated the sentence of his older brother, Thomas, who was also found at the crime scene, covered in blood. But DCI Serena Flanagan, the only officer who could convince a young, frightened Ciaran to speak, has silently harbored doubts about his confession all this time. Ciaran's release means several things: a long-anticipated reunion with Thomas, who still wields a dangerous influence over his younger brother; the call-to-action of a man bent on revenge for his father s death; and major trouble for Ciaran s assigned probation officer. Blood has always been thicker than water for two Northern Irish brothers caught in the Belfast foster system, but a debt of past violence will be paid by not just them, but also by those they left behind."

From Carole Barrowman's review in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "In Neville's latest taut psychological thriller, Those We Left Behind, the author has stayed in Belfast but moved on, introducing new characters whose lives are just as compelling and troubled...The dread in this novel is palpable from the first pages until the heartbreaking final ones. It's Neville's best yet."

And here is Daneet Steffens in The Boston Globe: "Stuart Neville has been masterfully capturing the mean streets of Belfast in a series of thrillers, each arguably more powerful than the last. His latest, “Those We Left Behind,” in which he ups his game by about 10 notches, is a robust police procedural that also impressively plumbs his varied characters’ psychological vulnerabilities."

Monday, October 5, 4 pm (note time):
Marilyn Sadler, author of Charlie Piechart and the Missing Pizza Slice.

From the publisher: "Charlie's family of five is joined by his friend Lewis, which means that if they order a large pizza, each of them will get two slices. But can they agree on toppings? Four-sixths want nothing to do with veggies, and no one wants anchovies. Pepperoni it is. But between the pizza's arrival and its serving, one piece has gone missing."

Here's Barbara Katz's recommendation for Charlie Piechart and the Missing Pizza Slice: "It's pizza night at Charlie's house, but wait -a piece of pizza is missing! Both a mystery and a very clever look at fractions, this is a fun book that will be read over and over." Barb added that kids who don't love math shouldn't be put off by Sadler's book, but if they do love math, Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Pizza Slice will be even more fun."

And yes, we'll be having a pizza snack!

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