Monday, January 25, 2016

This Week's Events: Lindsay Starck, Amy Cuddy, Jessica Chiarella, Charles P. Ries, and Nicholas Petrie (twice).

Here are the bookish events going on around town that Boswell is cosponsoring.

when: Tuesday, January 26, 5:30 reception, 6 pm talk/reading
where: Milwaukee Public Library Reading Room (1st floor)
who: Lindsay Starck
featured title: Noah's Wife, a novel.

Jane Glaser's recommendation: "This is a beautifully written story of a town whose existence is threatened by endlessly drenching rain and for whom the townspeople appear to have lost all hope. The arrival of the newly assigned minister, Noah, cannot seem to break through their despair as he begins to have his own crisis of faith. As the waters rise and threaten the viability of the town's zoo, its main tourist attraction, it is Noah's wife who leads a small band of townspeople into rescuing the animals and relocating them in the town's abandoned shops and people's houses, lending a bit of gentle humor to the story. Yet, when that effort and sandbagging can no longer hold back the advancing flood risk, the citizens, along with the animals, move to the highest point in the town, the church. Readers will fall in love with an unpredictable cast of characters who truly realize what it takes to rely on each other and ultimately come to share a renewed sense of hope as an unsinkable community!"

From Jim Higgins's profile in the Journal Sentinel, with Starck discussing her favorite childhood books: "'I had my favorite books. I was a reader who found a book I love and I would just read it over and over and over again,' said Lindsay, citing The Indian in the Cupboard as one of those favorites. She also devoured the Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley Kids books repeatedly, to the point that a children's librarian noticed and tried recommending other books to her. 'I felt a little embarrassed, and afterward I'd read Sweet Valley High in secret,' she said."

Central Library is located at 814 W. Wisconsin Ave. At this time of evening, there is usually a good amount of street parking and there is also a lot on the south side of Wisconsin. The Reading Room is on the 1st floor.

when: Wednesday, January 27, 6:30 pm
where: Whitefish Bay Library
who: Nicholas Petrie
featured title: The Drifter (part one)

Anne McMahon's recommendation for The Drifter: "This is such a great novel. The characters are unforgettable, the story is compelling, and the setting is local - an added bonus. Not to be missed!"

From Bobby Tanzilo's column, before he asks Petrie some questions: "Has a book as gripping and engaging as Nicholas Petrie's crime novel, "The Drifter," ever been written about Milwaukee? Interweaving terrorism, homelessness, veterans and Riverwest, the book is a compelling page-turner. I'm not going to recount the story here because I don't want to spoil a second of it for you, but rest assured, when you switch off your phone and pick up the book, you'll recognize the places Petrie describes in his debut novel, published by big-time publishing house, G.P. Putnam's Sons." Read the interview here.

The Whitefish Bay Public Library is located at 5420 N Marlborough Dr. in Whitefish Bay, just south of Silver Spring Drive.

when: Wednesday, January 27, 7 pm
where: Boswell
who: Jessica Chiarella
featured title: And Again

Sharon K. Nagel's recommendation for And Again: How much of a role does your body play in determining who you are? Do memories live in your skin and your nerves or just in your brain? These are the questions raised in this excellent debut novel by Jessica Chiarella. Four people with terminal illnesses are chosen for a secret and experimental procedure in which their brains and memories are transplanted into healthy bodies. Hannah is an artist with cancer, David, a congressman with a brain tumor. Connie, an actress with AIDS, and Linda, a wife and mother who has been paralyzed after a car accident. The new bodies are not only without disease, they are perfect, completely without freckles, wrinkles, tattoos, or scars. It sounds like a miracle, but all types of change require an adjustment, and all of the patients find that the transplant may not be the dream come true that they signed up for."

Here's Jessica Chiarella's profile in the Chicago Tribune. (Photo credit Shane Collins.) On how she was inspired for the idea: "Chiarella drew inspiration for the story from a variety of places — a growing interest in holistic nutrition, the search for the so-called magic pill and contemporary novels such as Never Let Me Go and Look at Me - but found a conversation with an acquaintance who had undergone gastric bypass surgery to be one spark. 'She had a very interesting perspective on it because she was getting a lot of attention that she had never gotten before,' Chiarella said. 'Her response to it was very much like, "I don't understand, am I more interesting now than before or is it because people perceive me differently?" That fed into me this idea that your body is tied into society's impression of you.'"

when: Thursday, January 28, 7 pm
where: Boswell
who: a ticketed event with Amy Cuddy, in conversation with Bonnie North.
featured title: Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges
This event is cosponsored by WUWM.

Daniel gives you the lowdown on Presence: "Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School, has won renown for her popular TED talk on how changing your body language can make a big difference in your ability to accomplish goals and lead. In her new book, she shows the steps leading to this breakthrough, starting with creating engagement and channeling anxiety into energy. She looks at the body language of power and submission, and shows there’s a tendency for women to ape the body language of passivity, generally starting sometime in middle school. The impostor syndrome plays a role into ceding positive energy, and while women are quite willing to admit to this, it turns out that in anonymous surveys, it affects men in large numbers as well. But just like smiling can make you happier (thank William James for that revelation) and yoga poses can lead to health and vitality, these power poses can lead to confidence and success. Just ask the All Blacks rugby team of New Zealand…or Wonder Woman."

From her All Things Considered interview with Lisa Mullins: "I’m more concerned that we have a lot of people in the world feeling powerless, not powerful. Recently I heard from a teacher who works with students with disabilities. He was working with a fourth grader who has selective mutism, which is an anxiety disorder that makes it very difficult for children to speak when they’re in social situations. The social threat is intense for them. So he taught [the boy] about power posing, taught him that lots of people feel like impostors, and lots of people feel scared, and slowly nudged him to speak a little bit more each day in class. He now has that student leading discussions. That’s a story that I think is amazing."

when: Friday, January 29, 6:30 pm
where: Greendale Public Library
who: Nicholas Petrie
featured title: The Drifter (part two)

Daniel's recomendation for The Drifter "When Peter Ash finds out that his former Marine buddy committed suicide, he shows up at his widow’s house to help with some home repairs. Under the crawl space, he finds a mangy dog and a mysterious suitcase filled with cash. Needless to say, the contents are much desired by another party, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Nicholas Petrie has written a compelling thriller that knows all the right moves, from the loner character to the family in peril to the multiple plot turns, but infuses a fresh twist with Peter Ash, a vet with PTSD manifested in acute claustrophobia. There’s a bit of an Elmore Leonard vibe going on here, only with everyone playing at more contemporary higher stakes. And as a bonus for locals, the Milwaukee setting is distinct, but not so over-detailed to get in the way of the nail-biting plot."

For a change of program, this event is Petrie in conversation with library director Gary Niebuhr. The Greendale Library is located just south of Grange and west of Loomis, sort of in the backyard of Southridge Mall.

when: Friday, January 29, 7 pm
where: Boswell
who: Charles P. Ries
featured title: The Fathers We Find: The Making of a Pleasant, Humble Boy

From Allison Thompson in the Sheboygan Press, discussing what the author calls a fictional memoir.: "Growing up on a mink farm on Sheboygan’s south side as one seven children gave Ries much fodder for the book. 'Five of the seven went to the convent or seminary,' he said. 'I like to say I grew up in the most Catholic family in America.'The Fathers We Find is a coming-of-age story that takes place in Sheboygan between 1950 and 1971. The narrator, Chuck, is influenced by many who cross his path while growing up. 'We don’t get to pick our fathers, but sometimes we are lucky enough to get our fathers to find us,'” he said.

From the Charles P. Ries collection at Marquette: "Ries often refers to his work as “a mash-up of the secular and the spiritual, the ordinary and the mystical.' He readily admits his early life experiences had a strong influence on his creative writing and what he hoped to accomplish through it. Ries grew up in a very devout Catholic family. Of his six siblings, five entered the convent or seminary. It was this early and deep immersion into Catholicism that would later fuel his own search for God. After college he lived in London and North Africa where he studied the mystical teachings of Islam called Sufism. In 1989 he worked with the Dalai Lama on a program that brought American religious leaders and psychotherapists together for a weeklong dialogue. It was during this same week that the Dalai Lama was awarded his Nobel Peace Prize. Ries has done extensive work with men’s groups and worked with a Jungian psychotherapist for over five years during which time he recorded five hundred dreams and learned to find the meanings in small things. He is a third degree Reiki healer, and has received advanced yoga training."

Hope to see you at one of this week's events.

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