Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Boswell Eventorama: Dean Robbins Tuesday, Gavriel Savit Wednesday, David Mulroy Thursday, Dave Reidy with Valerie Laken Friday, Grace Helbig ticketed signing Saturday.

Tuesday, February 2, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Dean Robbins, author of Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass

Two friends, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, get together for tea and conversation. They recount their similar stories fighting to win rights for women and African Americans. The premise of this particular exchange between the two is based on a statue in their hometown of Rochester, New York, which shows the two friends having tea.

This is Madison writer Dean Robbins' first day of school visits, followed with a public event. We're hosting two more schools on February 16. If you're interested in getting on the distribution list for these school opportunities, please contact Todd.

From Kirkus: "The two were friends, and in his imagined scenario, Robbins deftly moves between her objectives and words to those of Douglass. He gives a basic introduction to what society expected of women and how African-Americans were denied rights."

Wednesday, February 3, 7 pm
Gavriel Savit, author of Anna and the Swallow Man.

Here's a write up from Boswellian Jen Steele: "Professor Lania and his daughter, Anna, lived a happy charming life. Professor Lania teaches linguistics and Anna has grown up speaking many languages. Her father had many friends from all over the world and she enjoyed (was proud of?) being able to talk to them in their native tongues. But in 1939 in Poland, when Anna was in her seventh year, she learned that 'War is a heavy word in every language.' When the Germans arrived, their first mission was to target all the intellectuals and academics of the city of Krakow. She knew her father had to go, but never guessed he would not be coming back. Anna was left alone with nowhere to go, until the day she met a mysterious man who, like her, could speak many languages. Together, they embarked on a journey across Poland. During their travels, the Swallow Man taught Anna many things; most importantly the language of 'Road' and how to survive this new life of theirs. Anna and the Swallow Man is a historical novel filled with magic and suspense!"

From Shelf Awareness, here's a write up from Karin Snelson: "Savit's novel, with its wise, philosophical narrator, has the classic feel and elegant, precise language of a book that's been around forever. Amidst a riveting survival story of brutal cold, hunger and chilling narrow escapes are musings on the power of words and the power of silence, the value of truth and the necessity of lies, the horrors of war, the resilience of people, love, death, the keen intuition of children, living with uncertainty. Alongside the purposeful detachment that comes with the storyteller's voice, though, is real, edge-of-seat suspense and powerful emotion. The details of Swallow Man's true identity - Is he the Polish bogeyman Boruta? Is he really a magical being? Is he a 'brilliant, beautiful deception?' - don't ultimately matter because, as the Swallow Man tells Anna, 'questions are far more valuable than answers.'"

Thursday, February 4, 7 pm, at Boswell:
David Mulroy, translator of Aeschylus's Agamemnon.

Agamemnon, King of Argos, returns to Greece a victor in the Trojan War. He has brought with him the seer Cassandra as his war-prize and concubine. Awaiting him is his vengeful wife Clytemnestra, who is angry at Agamemnon’s sacrifice of their daughter Iphigeneia to the gods, jealous of Cassandra, and guilty of taking a lover herself. The events that unfold catch everyone in a bloody net, including their absent son Orestes. Aeschylus (525–456 BC) was the first of the three great tragic dramatists of ancient Greece, a forerunner of Sophocles and Euripides. His early tragedies were largely choral pageants with minimal plots. In Agamemnon, choral songs still predominate, but Aeschylus infuses them with such dramatic feeling that the spectator or reader is constantly spellbound.

Translator David Mulroy, professor emeritus of classics at UWM, brings this ancient tragedy to life for modern readers and audiences. Using end rhyme and strict metrics, he combines the buoyant lyricism of the Greek text with a faithful rendering of its meaning in lucid English. You can here more about Mulroy, the book, and the translation process by listening to his interview with Bonnie North on WUWM's Lake Effect.

Friday, February 5, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Dave Reidy, author of The Voiceover Artist, in conversation with UWM's Valerie Laken.

Simon Davies suffers a crippling stutter inherited from his father. At the age of seven, he decides to stop speaking completely, eventually rendering his vocal cords useless from atrophy. Unable to speak, Simon finds solace in the voices piping through his bedside radio. Eighteen years later, Simon rebuilds his voice and learns to mostly manage his stutter with a series of subtle tics he s developed to loosen his vocal cords. He moves to Chicago and pursues his lifelong dream of becoming a voice on the radio voiceover artist. Meanwhile, his younger brother Connor, in every way more confident and charming than Simon, attempts to take his prodigious talent for improv comedy from the barroom stages of Chicago to the television studios of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Coming out of his years of silence, Simon seeks to balance his relationship with his brother, forcing Connor to examine what brotherhood and success mean to him.

Here's a few lines from the very interesting Kirkus Review: "As a voice-over artist might say in a commercial: you get all this and more! With the story summarized, the novel’s busyness shows. Reidy is restless, moving from narrator to narrator; nearly all the major characters get his or her own section, all in first person (except, shrewdly, for a chapter about Simon before he found his voice, narrated in third). As a result, the novel often feels like it’s stopping and starting; halfway in, readers may think the main narrative hasn’t even begun. But the voices and characters themselves are rich and varied—a reminder that plot, slavishly tended to, can result in stuffy prose. Here, Reidy has fun, and isn’t that sometimes the raison d’être for clear, familiar premises? The more solid the outline, the more fun it is to color outside of it."

I should also note that Katie Jesse of the People's Books Story Hour will be taping the event for replay on Riverwest Radio. It's sort of like a Riverwest take on Chapter a Day. You can read more about this podcast here.

Saturday, February 6, 2 pm, at Boswell: A ticketed signing with Grace Helbig, author of Grace and Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It.

Grace Helbig doesn't want to tell anyone how they should dress, how they should do their hair or makeup, or even which dog poop bags to purchasebecause surprisingly, Target has numerous options for that too! While Grace doesn't claim to be stylish or polished, she is very self-aware and perceptive. Trendy? She'd rather have fun trying. She loves fashion as much as the next lady, man, or French bulldog, but telling others how they should look doesn't suit her. Instead, with Grace & Style, Grace takes us into her closet and shares her silly and practical approach to stylewhich obviously includes an entire chapter on sweatpants. One part parody, one part fashion fun, and one part personal experience, Grace's latest guide to life as a woman in America today is more H&M than Chanel. So tighten your Banana Republic belt a few notches and learn how to pretend and convince everyone around you that you've got style and grace!

Tickets are $21 and are available via phone (1-800-838-3006) or through the Brown Paper Tickets website, event #2487975: You can also call 800-838-3006. Each ticket includes all tax and fees, admission for one to the signing line, a photograph with the author, and one autographed copy of her new book, Grace & Style. Alas, no personalizations or inscriptions, and Ms. Helbig will not sign memorabilia. And while you can accompany the ticket holder on the signing line, only the ticketed attendee will meet the author.

You probably want to visit the Grace Helbig channel on Youtube now, don't you?

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