Monday, October 12, 2015

Boswell This Week: Brian Selznick, Lincoln Pierce, Robert Habush, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, Richard Fords, Ashley Weaver and "Beer Bible's" Jeff Alworth.

Monday, October 12, 7 pm, at Alverno College's Pitman Theatre, 3431 S. 39th St:
Brian Selznick, author of The Marvels. This event is cosponsored by Scholastic Book Fairs.

We've been telling you this is a special event for a while, but we probably can't say it better than Carole E. Barrowman, whom I will now think of forever as "Carole Emily." She reviewed The Marvels in Sunday's Journal Sentinel. I have no choice but to reprint the opening.

"A long time ago in a land far away a young girl named Carole Emily woke one morning to her legs pocked with peculiar purple bruises and her feet as big as gourds. Doctors poked and prodded and shook their heads."

"'Have you ever?' they asked.

"'Never!' they harrumphed.

"Because in that land far away at that time long ago no one knew what sinister things stirred in Carole Emily's blood. Carole Emily needed to be watched, they said. Carole Emily needed to be studied, they insisted. And so Carole Emily went to a place where other children whose bodies were behaving mysteriously were sent.

"Carole Emily tried to be brave and strong, but her feet ached and the bedsheets itched. Then one day a wise teacher with silver hair and kind eyes sent Carole Emily a shopping bag overflowing with enchantment and wonder, mystery and adventure. For six weeks, Carole Emily survived shipwrecks and sword fights, romances and rebellions, journeys beneath the sea and to the center of the earth, and, in time, she fought off the strange illness that seized her.

"Years later when Carole Emily was all grown up with children of her own, she never forgot about the power of stories to restore a spirit and nurture a soul, but sometimes Carole Emily wished she could once again experience the childlike wonder and awe that helped heal her younger self. Then she picked up Brian Selznick's"The Marvels" (Scholastic Press), and the young Carole Emily appeared in a wave of nostalgia and awe." Read the rest of the review here.

Don't forget. We've eliminated the cost on this event. No book with ticket and no admission charge, but we're still asking for folks to register so we can get a handle on the number of attendees.

Tuesday, October 13, 6:30 pm, at Greenfield Public Library, 5310 W. Layton Ave. Lincoln Pierce, author of Big Nate: Welcome to My World.

Nate Wright’s life is just like his locker--it’s full of surprises. The monstrous Mrs. Godfrey springs a pop quiz on Nate and his grandparents. His horoscope predicts bad news for Nate’s soccer career. And worst of all, he’s forced to cut back on his beloved Cheez Doodles. It’s enough to drive any kid crazy. Luckily, Nate’s not just any kid. He’s the ultimate sixth-grade survivor. When everything’s falling apart, he finds a way to hold it together … but nobody said it would be easy. Welcome to the world of Big Nate!

Here's an interview with Lincoln Pierce in the Geek Dad column. He talks about his first comic: "My first comic strip was actually more like a comic book, and it was called Super Jimmy. I created it in 4th or 5th grade. Super Jimmy was a buck-toothed, dim-witted fellow who had somehow acquired a few random superpowers, and so naturally he made himself into a crime fighter. His costume was a purple sweatsuit that featured a yellow duck on his chest, and his cape was a terrycloth bath towel that he fastened around his neck with a safety pin."

Lincoln Peirce has been drawing the Big Nate comic strip for more than 20 years. Born in Ames, Iowa, Peirce grew up in Durham, New Hampshire. As a kid, Lincoln Pierce began creating his own strips in the sixth grade. Peirce taught high school in New York City and has created several animated pilots for Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. He now lives in Portland, Maine with his family.

Wednesday, October 14, 6 pm, at Marquette Law School's Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan Ave.: Robert Habush, author of Courtroom Avenger: The Challenges and Triumphs of Robert Habush, in conversation with cowriter Kurt Chandler and moderator Mitch Teich, of WUWM's Lake Effect. This event is open to the public, but registration is required.

Courtroom Avenger chronicles the career of Robert Habush, the well-known Milwaukee trial lawyer. Each chapter of this compelling book covers a significant trial in his career. In it you'll find: details on the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries trial, his representation of the survivors of the World Trade Center attack, and an analysis of trial strategy and commentary from Habush himself. This evening, cosponsored by The Jewish Federation, The Jewish Community Center, and Marquette Law School, features Habush with Milwaukee Magazine editor Kurt Chandler and Lake Effect's Mitch Teich, looking at some of Habush's most remarkable cases.

In Trial Magazine's review, writer Stacey E. Burke notes that Habush mastered the art of storytelling. She notes that "Habush largely focused on product liability cases before such claims were mainstream, laying the groundwork for our current ability to hold accountable companies that disregard worker and consumer safety. He was among the first trial lawyers to engage in political activism as president of The American Association for Justice - then The American Trial Lawyers Association..."

Admitted to the bar in 1961, Habush has been recognized by Best Lawyers for over twenty years, and earned a spot in the Top 25 Milwaukee Super Lawyers list for 2014. Limited free parking for this event is available.

Wednesday, October 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, authors of All American Boys.

Welcome back to Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, who first joined as at Boswell for their separately written novels When I Was the Greatest and The Gospel of Winter. I'm not sure what led to the spark that created this collaboration, only that the Gentleman's Tour they did in 2014 probably had them together quite a bit, and that led to this brainstorm. Of course since this trip, Mr. Reynolds has won the Coretta Scott King award for his novel and Brendan Kiely received raves for his first novel, including this review in the Boston Globe. "This book has been passed from bookseller to bookseller, such that we now have at least three enthusiastic reads, if not four.

My recommendation also tells you a little more about the story."Rashad Butler only wanted to stop off to get potato chips at a convenience store on his way to a party, having just finished Junior ROTC drills. But when a series of mishaps leads to him being accused of shoplifting by a convenience store clerk, a police officer takes him down and goes ballistic when he decides that he’s resisting arrest. At the same time, Quinn Collins, also on his way to the party, sees the whole thing, but he also knows who the policeman is, and it’s the older brother of his best friend, a guy who has been like a second father to him since his dad died in Iraq. While Quinn doesn’t know Rashad, he plays varsity basketball with some of his buddies. The decision that Quinn has to make isn’t simply black and white, so to speak - will loyalty outweigh his conscience? Reynolds and Kiely deftly alternate voices in this powerful novel, which shows that racism is not just about injustice, but about speaking to those injustices. Great characters, emotionally charged, and enough twists to keep from making the story overly earnest. I teared up more than once!"

Maybe you'd rather here Jacqueline Woodson's take on All American Boys: "At once timely and timeless, funny and wickedly smart, All American Boys is a beautifully written narrative about … about so many things — but most importantly - what it means to be a young man in America - across lines of race — and what it means to be a good person in America — across lines of everything.”

And from the Kirkus Review: "Reynolds and Kiely supply their protagonists with a supporting cast that prods them in all the right ways; Rashad's strict, ex-cop dad provides unexpected complexity. If the hands and agenda of the authors are evident, their passion elevates the novel beyond a needed call to action to a deeply moving experience." There's also a starred Publishers Weekly review, which you can read here.

Thursday, October 15, 7 pm, at Boswell:
A ticketed event with Richard Ford, author of Let Me Be Frank With You. Tickets are $16 and include a copy of Let Me Be Frank With You. A $10 gift card is available in lieu of the book on the night of the event only. Cosponsored by The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UWM.

About a year ago, the folks at Osher came to me and said we should collaborate together on a project. When the opportunity to host Richard Ford came along, it seemed like just the ticket. Here is a collection that follows one of the great literary protagonists of all time, Frank Bascombe, as he comes to terms with the passing of time.

You probably all know what led to his breakout novel. Ford was a well-reviewed writer who took a job with Inside Sports in the 1980s. It was going to be a competitor to the red-hot Sports Illustrated, but it failed spectacularly. But from that failure rose The Sportswriter, and the rest is history. Michiko Kakutani, in The New York Times, wrote that "Frank emerged in that lucid novel as one of the most self-conscious, self-annotating characters to make his debut in contemporary American fiction since Binx Bolling appeared in The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy, in 1961."

In Bascombe's second appearance, Independence Day, he's divorced from his wife after the death of their child, and left the sportswriting buwsiness. turning to real estate. The novel takes place over a weekend, when Frank plans to pick up his troubled teenage son and visit as many sports hall of fames as they can over two days. Things do not go as planned. Bascombe was praised as one of his generation's most eloquent voices and Independence Day became first novel to win both the PEN Faulker award and the Pulitzer Prize. He turned to Frank again in The Lay of the Land, and now returns with four connected stories set in 2012, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and Frank's own bout with prostate cancer.

Here's that great review from Maureen Corrigan, first heard on Fresh Air: "It's such a goofy title. Let Me Be Frank with You is the latest installment in the odyssey of Frank Bascombe, the New Jersey Everyman Richard Ford introduced almost 30 years ago in his novel, The Sportswriter. Two more Frank Bascombe novels followed, and now this: a brilliant collection of four interconnected short stories of about 60 pages each in which Ford is indeed 'being Frank' Bascombe with us once again, as well as being 'frank' about all sorts of touchy topics in America, such as race, politics, the economy, old age and the oblivion that awaits us all."

Saturday, October 17, 7 pm, at Greenfield Public Library Community Learning Center, 5647 Broad Street:
Ashley Weaver, author of Murder at Brightwell and Death Wears a Mask.

It's Booktoberfest! Your hosts, the Greendale Public Library and the Community Learning Center Writing Studio, welcome Ashley Weaver, a bright new voice in mystery fiction, along with Jon and Ruth Jordan, the editors of Crimespree Magazine, and impresarios of the forthcoming Murder and Mayhem conference (on Saturday, November 7). Murder at Brightwell was nominated for a Best First Novel Edgar, and the follow up is getting similar buzz, with Publishers Weekly calling it "delightful."

Following the murderous events at the Brightwell Hotel, Amory Ames is looking forward to a tranquil period of reconnecting with reformed playboy husband Milo. Amory hopes a quiet stay at their London flat will help mend their dysfunctional relationship after their unexpected reconciliation. However, she soon finds herself drawn into another investigation when Serena Barrington asks her to look into the disappearance of valuable jewelry snatched at a dinner party.

Amory agrees to help lay a trap to catch the culprit at a lavish masked ball hosted by the notorious Viscount Dunmore. But when one of the illustrious party guests is murdered, Amory is pulled back into the world of detection, enlisted by old ally Detective Inspector Jones. As she works through the suspect list, she struggles to fend off the advances of the very persistent viscount even as rumors swirl about Milo and a French film star. Once again, Amory and Milo must work together to solve a mystery where nothing is as it seems, set in the heart of 1930s society London.

This truly is a welcome home, as Ashley Weaver, before her mystery-writing career, worked at the Greendale Library.

Monday, October 19, 7 pm, at Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave. in bay View: Jeff Alworth, author of The Beer Bible.

Portland-based Jeff Alworth has been writing about beer for more than 15 years. He is the author of The Beer Tasting Toolkit, and has also written for Draft Magazine, All About Beer, and The Oregonian, as well as his popular site, Beervana.

The Beer Bible is the ultimate reader- and drinker-friendly guide to all the world’s beers. No other book of this depth and scope approaches the subject of beer?in the same way that beer lovers do—by style, just as a perfect pub menu is organized—and gets right to the pleasure of discovery, knowledge, and connoisseurship. Divided into four major families—ales, lagers, wheat beers, and tart and wild ales—there’s everything a beer drinker wants to know about the hundreds of different authentic types of brews, from bitters, bocks, and IPAs to weisses, milk stouts, lambics, and more. Each style is a chapter unto itself, delving into origins, ingredients, description and characteristics, substyles, and tasting notes, and ending with a recommended list of the beers to know in each category. Hip infographics throughout make the explanation of beer’s flavors, brewing methods, ingredients, labeling, serving, and more as immediate as it is lively.

The book is written for passionate beginners, who will love its “if you like X, try Y” feature; for intermediate beer lovers eager to go deeper; and for true geeks, who will find new information on every page. History, romance, the art of tasting, backstories and anecdotes, appropriate glassware, bitterness units, mouthfeel, and more—it’s all here. Plus a primer on pairing beer and food using the three Cs— complement, contrast, or cut. It’s the book that every beer lover will read with pleasure, and use with even more.

And what a great location for this event. Sugar Maple has 60 draft beers on tap with a "diverse and eclectic selection (that) will satisfy the discerned aficionado." Help us brew up a great evening by attending The Beer Bible event at Sugar Maple on Monday, October 19, 7 pm.

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