Monday, April 18, 2016

Events This Week: Jessica Knoll, Meg Jones, David Howell, Michele Wucker, Elizabeth Crane, plus we're the booksellers for the hot tickets with Jason Reynolds and David Sedaris.

Here's what's happening at Boswell this week.

Monday, April 18, 6:30 pm, at the Milwaukee Public Library Rare Books Room:
Meg Jones, author of World War II Milwaukee.

If you haven't been to the Rare Books Room, it's on the 2nd floor of Central Library, and it's quite the special place to hear a talk. The Milwaukee Public Library presents Meg Jones, a reporter at the Journal Sentinel who specializes in military and veterans issues, for a talk on her recent World War II Milwaukee. And let me assure you, it will be a great talk!

Milwaukee played a special role in World War II, from the equipment made my Milwaukee-area companies to the photos of journalist Dickey Chapelle that brought the war home. As Lake Effect notes: "Jones framed the book based on her knowledge of a Milwaukee captain of the USS Arizona at the beginning of the war, and the role Douglas Macarthur played in commanding the USS Missouri and his signature on the Armistice with Wisconsin Made pens." Parker Pens were made in Janesville, but hey, that's close enough.

Tuesday, April 19, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jessica Knoll, author of Luckiest Girl Alive, in conversation with Carole E. Barrowman.

Ani FaNelli has it all. The perfect magazine job. The perfect fiancee. The perfect condo in Brooklyn. The wedding's going to be perfect.

There's only one hitch, and that's the documentary that's being planned for that thing that happened when she was in prep school in Bryn Mawr. It's a messy business indeed, but hey, she's gotten through it all, and now she's absolutely perfect.

Jessica Knoll tells the story, alternating with Ani telling of her current life with that of her times at Bradley School. As Entertainment Weekly wrote about the book, it's sort of a reverse of Gone Girl, where a likable character becomes more monstrous as the layers are revealed. Ani (or TiFani, in prep school) starts out pretty awful and then gets at least somewhat humanized.

It's really hard to stop reading Knoll's novel. I was literally gulping it down. And of course some of the incidents take on more resonance, as Knoll revealed details behind the sexual assault incident that is one of the pivots of the story. Read more in The New York Times.

Wednesday, April 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Michele Wucker, author of The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore

Please join us for an event with Guggenheim Fellow and author of Lockout and Why the Cocks Fight, Michele Wucker, discussing her latest book, The Gray Rhino, which draws on her extensive background in policy formation and crisis management, as well as in-depth interviews with leaders from around the world, to explain how significant crises can be recognized and countered strategically.

From Publishers Weekly: "Wucker introduces a variation on risk analyst Nassim Nicholas Talebas concept of the black swan, a term for outlier events that are hard to anticipate and harder to plan for. This book looks, instead, at events that should have been predicted, like the 2008 financial crisis. Enter the gray rhino, aa highly probable, high-impact threat: something we ought to see coming.a Wucker believes that the problem is systemic: the political and financial world rewards short-term thinking, and itas difficult for institutions to pivot quickly when necessary."

Michele Wucker is also at an event at the University Club on April 19, in conversation with Willie Wade and Ken Hanson. This event is ticketed: $30 for University Club members and $35 for nonmembers. Details on their website.

Thursday, April 21, 7 pm, at Boswell:
David Howell, author of The Descent into Happiness: A Bicycling Journey across the Northern Tier

Boswell Book Company and Ben's Cycles and Fitness are proud to present an event with Milwaukee’s own David Howell, Professor in the Humanities Department at MSOE, talking about and signing copies of his latest, a memoir about his cross-country, solo, self-supported bicycle ride from Seattle to Milwaukee titled The Decent into Happiness: A Bicycling Journey over the Cascades and Rockies and across the Great Plains.

For more info, visit Ben's Blog, where there's an interview with Howell: "His wife of 20-some years, Sue, bought him a Salsa Vaya, and he set about making the trip in the summer of 2015. He said he was able to find a deep sense of empathy on the bike trip, not because of the bicycle, but because the bicycle slows everything down enough to pay attention to others."

Friday, April 22, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Elizabeth Crane, author of The History of Great Things.

Please join us at Boswell for a reading and signing with Elizabeth Crane, author of The History of Great Things, a witty and irresistible story of a mother and daughter regarding each other through the looking glass of time, grief, and forgiveness. Intimately connected and not connected enough, The History of Great Things will make readers laugh and cry and wonder how we become the adults we always knew we should—even if we’re not always adults our parents understand.

Maddie Crum reviewed the book for The Huffington Post. She starts: "The first person everyone meets is her mother. Whatever else may follow, she’s there from the start, and her presence, or absence, looms. It’s a truth that sounds throughout literature, not to mention psychotherapy — your mother is accountable for your neuroses, your ambitions, your wants and your fears. That’s the case, at least, for Betsy Crane, one of the two narrators in Elizabeth Crane’s inventive new novel, The History of Great Things. The other narrator, as it were, is her mother, Lois."

Saturday, April 23, 11:30 am, at the Italian Community Center:
A ticketed lunch with Jason Reynolds, author of The Boy in the Black Suit and the about-to-be released As Brave as You. Tickets available by calling (414) 640-2654 or email Tickets do not include a book.

We're selling books for the Delta Memorial Fund on Saturday, April 23, 11:30 am. This is their annual luncheon honoring scholarship winners. They always bring in a great speaker, and this year is no exception.

Jim Higgins talked with Jason Reynolds in advance of the book's release. Here's his profile in the Journal Sentinel. Just a taste: "Family and friends have inspired many of his stories. The Boy in the Black Suit, about a teen who goes to work in the neighborhood funeral home after his mother dies of cancer, grew out of his own experience of having lost multiple family members early in life. 'I realized nobody was actually talking to young people about how to grieve and how to cope and what to do with loss,' he said." As Brave As You, a novel for middle-grade readers that will be published May 3, riffs on his relationship with his older brother and a blind grandfather. 'I try to create characters people want to sit with, even if nothing is happening,' Reynolds said."

Saturday, April 23, 8 pm, at the Riverside Theater:
A ticketed talk/reading with David Sedaris.
Tickets are available at the Pabst/Riverside box office. More on their webiste.

Joanne Weintraub profiled Sedaris in the Sunday Journal Sentinel. She writes: "'I've pretty much done everything in my life the opposite of the way he's said I should,' Sedaris notes. Still, he's planning to visit his dad in Raleigh on this reading tour, along with his scattered siblings, one of whom is actress Amy Sedaris. He generally gets to the States twice a year and tries to catch up with 'everyone in my address book,' he says. Sedaris's mother died several years ago. He's written touchingly of her death from lung cancer, which convinced him to give up smoking."

We'll have books for sale in the lobby, and yes, a signing will follow. In addition to Sedaris's many books, we'll also have his personal recommendation, Jill Leovy's Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America. Leovy's book was recently shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Please note that Ms. Leovy is not in attendance, but there's nothing like a rec from David Sedaris when he's on tour.

Once again, please note that a book does not come with a ticket to this event.

Monday, April 25, 7 pm, at Boswell:
A ticketed signing with Felicia Day, author of You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).

We're counting down the clock to the signing with Felicia Day. We're not sure if there will be a ticket cutoff, but right now we're at least going to 500 slots and there's still one left for you. While Day is not talking, the signing format will allow every fan to meet Day, get a signed book and photo. And in a rare treat, Day will also sign one piece of memorabilia.

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