Monday, November 16, 2015

Boswell Event Post: Renée Rosen, Joelle Charbonneau, Timothy Whealon, Greil Marcus, James K. Nelsen, Allen Eskens, and Chris Van Allsburg!

Monday, November 16, 7 pm (reception), 7:30 (talk), at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Road in River Hills:
Renée Rosen, author of What the Lady Wants and now White Collar Girl, with a book club presentation from Daniel Goldin and Jane Glaser.

After our wonderful event with Renee Rosen last year at Boswell, we thought it would be a great idea to switch it up and suggested her as a featured author for the Women's Speaker Series at the Lynden Sculpture Garden. Produced by Milwaukee Reads, the series offers a reception beforehand, featuring wine and refreshments from MKE Localicious, with a chance for attendees to meet the author informally.

Rosen's newest features another Chicago icon, the Chicago Tribune. Beth Golay of Books and Whatnot reviewed the book. She writes: "It begins in 1955 Chicago as Jordan Walsh arrives for her first day as a society writer at the Chicago Tribune. Walsh is replacing the latest in a long line of society writers who had aspirations of becoming the next Nellie Bly, only to realize their false disillusion in a man’s world, and leave to marry said men of the world." But Walsh, from a long line of editors, is not to be dissuaded, and finds a source at Mayor Daley's office willing to feed her tips. On a troubling note, her brother at the Chicago Sun-Times is killed while working on a story. Was he murdered?" In conclusion, Golay notes that "At 419 pages, White Collar Girl is not a quick read. In fact, it’s perfect for those who like to dive into period pieces like The Chaperone and The Paris Wife. It has enough grit to keep a reader engaged and turning those pages to the bittersweet end."

As part of our book club evening, we'll start things off with a presentation from Jane Glaser and myself, discussing some of the great new paperback reads for fall. You can register at the Lynden Sculpture Garden site, or by calling (414) 446-8794. Admission is $22, or $18 for Lynden members, and includes a copy of White Collar Girl.

Wednesday, November 18, 6:30 pm, at East Library, 2320 N. Cramer St., across from Beans and Barley:
Joelle Charbonneau, author of The Testing Trilogy and the just-released Need.

We're pleased to welcome back Joelle Charbonneau to Milwaukee for her latest book, a speculative YA thriller called Need. Charbonneau's Testing trilogy proved to be quite popular, and this event caps a day of school visits. As a teacher of theater and voice, Charbonneau does wonderful presentations - if you are an educator interested in hosting the author for a future visit, why not come see this presentation with some of your students and see how good she is.

 Here's a little more about the book. One by one, the teens in Nottawa, Wisconsin join the newest, hottest networking site and answer one question: What do you need? A new iPhone? Backstage tickets to a concert? In exchange for a seemingly minor task, the NEED site will fulfill your request. Everyone is doing it. So why shouldn't you?

Kaylee Dunham knows what she needs --a kidney for her sick brother. She doesn’t believe a social networking site can help, but it couldn’t hurt to try. Or could it? After making her request, Kaylee starts to realize the price that will have to be paid for her need to be met. The demands the site makes on users in exchange for their desires are escalating and so is the body count. Will Kaylee be able to unravel the mystery of who created the NEED network—and pull the plug before it destroys them all?

 More reason to read it first. You'll be in the know, as Bill Block's Merced Media is developing the book into a film. More in Variety. And here's the book trailer, featured in Entertainment Weekly.

Thursday, November 19, 5 pm (reception), 6 pm (talk) at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Ave.:
Timothy Whealon, author of In Pursuit of Beauty: The Interiors of Timothy Whealon.

The friends of the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum cordially invite you an evening with Timothy Whealon, Mr. Whealon's design philosophy finds its roots in classicism; however, he approaches each project with a fresh, 21st Century eye that makes them both modern and timeless. He layers items from different periods and cultures, artfully mixing the pristine and the patinated. Each interior is unique, often incorporating custom pieces specific to the client and the environment. His work is enhanced by both his extensive knowledge of the international art and antiques market and by his team of skilled artists and craftsmen who adhere to Mr. Whealon's commitment to quality and attention to detail.

Here's a profile of Timothy Whealon in Hadley Court, featuring some of his beautiful interiors.

Admission to this event is $20, or $15 for Friends of Villa Terrace members. It includes the reception and program. Copies of In Pursuit of Beauty will be available for sale at the talk.

Friday, November 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
James K. Nelsen, author of Educating Milwaukee:  How One City's History of Segregation and Struggle Shaped Its Schools.

Here's my take on Educating Milwaukee: "Over the last fifty years, Milwaukee has seen great change. Per Nelsen, it’s lost 80% of its manufacturing jobs while absorbing many poor African Americans into its population, at one point having the second largest increase among major cities. How does one keep a public education system stable, holding onto middle class students (mostly white, but also black) in the face of changes in educational theory, the increased costs of special education, and the rise of charter schools and vouchers, in the midst of a very segregated urban area.

"Nelsen chronicles the various solutions of busing, school choice, magnet schools, charter schools, and vouchers, noting that even among African Americans, there has been a split between integrationists and nationalists. Do you make a school better in a bad neighborhood by making it competitive, or do you focus on serving the neighborhood? In some ways, it’s as much about economic segregation as racial segregation, with the middle classes voting with their feet if their child’s school experience isn’t the equal of the best suburbs. And some of our policies have clearly led to a lose-lose situation: kids traveling long distances to go to bad schools. It’s easy to be a critic, but Nelsen shows how one reformer after another has struggled with success. For what might be a dry topic, Nelsen does a great job keeping it interesting, and aside from his clear unhappiness with private vouchers, stays about as impartial as you can get, considering how polarizing education policy can be."

James K. Nelsen is a high school social studies teacher at Golda Meir School.

 Friday, November 20, 8 pm, at Alverno College's Wehr Hall:
Greil Marcus, author of The History of Rock and Roll in Ten Songs, with Jon Langford and Sally Timms of The Mekons,

Greil Marcus’ The History of Rock and Roll in Ten Songs omits almost every iconic performer and ignores the over-explained and the obvious. Instead, in a daring stroke, Greil selects ten songs recorded between 1956 and 2008, and then proceeds to dramatize how each embodies rock ’n’ roll as the animating force of our lives. Greil Marcus is at the forefront of the first generation of rock critics, the baby boomers who around 1965 invented the genre from scratch, but none of his peers can rival his imposing body of work, including his four major books, Mystery Train, Lipstick Traces, Invisible Republic, and The Shape of Things to Come. Rock legends Jon Langford and Sally Timms (the Mekons) join Greil in the conversation and perform each of the Ten Songs (including "To Know Him Is to Love Him," "Money (That’s What I Want)," and "In The Still of The Night."  Tickets for this event are $30, and are available here.

 The History of Rock and Roll in Ten Songs, and the just released Real Life Rock: The Complete Top Ten Columns, 1986-2014. And yes, Marcus will sign books.
Boswell will be selling Greil Marcus's books at this event, including

 Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee:
Saturday, November 21, 1 pm (activities), 2 pm (talk), at
Chris Van Allsburg, author of The Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition.

All Aboard! Celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Polar Express with a visit from the author and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg. Before and after the author presentation, take part in Van Allsburg-inspired art stations including an art activity led by Artists Working in Education (A.W.E.) and model trains presented by the Lionel Railroad Club of Milwaukee.

Who doesn't know the story of The Polar Express? But for three if you out there who missed it, here's the scoop: "Onee Christmas Eve many years ago, a boy lies in bed, listening hard for the bells of Santa’s sleigh, which he has been told by a friend do not exist. Later that night he hears not bells but a very different sound. He looks out his window and is astounded to see a steam engine parked in front of his house! The conductor invites him to board the Polar Express, a train filled with children on their way to the North Pole.

"The train takes the children to the center of the city, where Santa and the elves have gathered for the giving of the first gift of Christmas. The boy is chosen to receive this first gift. Knowing that he can choose anything in the world, he decides on a simple gift: one silver bell from Santa’s sleigh. Santa cuts a bell from a reindeer’s harness and the delighted boy slips it into his bathrobe pocket as the clock strikes midnight and the reindeer pull the sleigh into the sky.

"When the children return to the train, the boy realizes the bell has fallen through a hole in his pocket. Heartbroken, he is returned to his home. In the morning, his little sister finds one small box with the boy’s name on it among the presents. Inside is the silver bell! The boy and his sister are enchanted by its beautiful sound, but their parents cannot hear it. The boy continues to believe in the spirit of Christmas and is able to hear the sweet ringing of the bell even as an adult."

Please be aware of signing restrictions on this event. You may bring up to two books from home to be signed, with purchase of a new book, with a limit of four books signed per person. Mr. Van Allsburg will personalize, but there are no inscriptions (messages), posed photos, or signing of memorabilia.

Saturday, November 22, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Allen Eksens, author of The Life We Bury and The Guise of Another.

Last year it was particularly exciting to have hosted two nominees for the Giller Prize. This year the award we hit the mark on was the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. First Ashley Weaver, nominated for Murder at the Brightwell, came to Milwaukee, and now it's Allen Eskens turn. The Life We Bury was not only a finalist for the Edgar as best debut, but also was shortlisted for the Barry Award for best paperback original, as well as the Minnesota Book Award.

In its starred review, Publishers Weekly called The Guise of Another "equally compelling." Here's the setup: "Toiling away in the fraud unit while a grand jury investigates charges that he stole drug money, Rupert happens upon a case that he believes could return him to the department's good graces: a man who faked his death 15 years earlier in a boat accident off Coney Island has just died for real in a Minnesota car crash. Rupert wants to know who James Putnam really was and why he staged the coverup.

How does he do it? Well Eskens been a criminal defense attorney for twenty years. He honed his creative writing skills through the MFA program at Minnesota State University as well as classes at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

 Boswellian Anne McMahon is a fan of The Life We Bury, having hand-sold over 50 copies of that book to grateful readers. The mystery book club is reading The Guise of Another the following Monday. Please note the author will not be at the Monday event!

 Edgar winner William Kent Krueger writes that "Allen Eskens (photo credit David Dinsmore) has conjured up a marvelously black spirit of a novel. It s a taut, intelligent, heart-ripping story that explores the darkest places in the human psyche. After each unexpected twist, you ll tell yourself things can t get any worse. And then they do."

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