Monday, January 9, 2017

Event preview: Nick Petrie in conversation with Jon Jordan, Emily Fridlund in conversation with me, Kevin Henkes, and Clinton Kelly, which is ticketed

It's a clean sweep this week, as I've read all the books we're featuring at events this week. It's harder to do than you think.

Tuesday, January 10, 7:00 pm at Boswell:
Nick Petrie author of Burning Bright, in conversation with Crimespree's Jon Jordan

From Daniel: "Peter Ash is still on the run from his PTSD, but this time he’s in the redwoods wilderness of Northern California. Escaping from from a bear, he finds an investigative reporter hiding from a surprisingly violent group of government agents, who started pursuing her after the sudden death of her mom, an academic researcher in technology. Do they think that her mother passed info to daughter, and will they bother to let her live if they get it? Ash is always up for a challenge, and it doesn’t hurt that an attraction is brewing between our couple on the run. Burning Bright may not have the gritty Milwaukee setting of his first novel, The Drifter, but it makes up for it in thrills. It’s a heart-stopping chase, filled with all the paranoia that ensues in this age of the easily hacked and traced. "

We have had so much fun hand-selling The Drifter this past year and it's great to see that Burning Bright is building on the succcess of the previous novel featuring Peter Ash. At Murder and Mayhem, The Drifter was our bestselling book, what with half the coordinators of the program talking it up. It's such a great start to a series, and though Peter Ash titles will take place all over the country (and perhaps outside of it), book #1 in the series will always be right here in Milwaukee.

Burning Bright is featured on Entertainment Weekly's Must List this week. And David Martindale in the Fort Worth Star Telegram had great things to say about the new book: "The first quarter of the book is a roller-coaster adventure in an almost literal sense, a fast and dangerous chase that begins with a zip-line ride from tree to tree and ends with a wild auto pileup and shootout along a desolate forest road. It’s what Peter thinks of as 'a pretty interesting day.'

Nick Petrie will be at Boswell for the launch on Tuesday, January 10, 7 pm, where he'll be in conversation with Crimespree Magazine's Jon Jordan. After he does some touring, he'll be back to do two more library events, on Friday, January 20, 6:30 pm, at Greendale's Hose Tower, and Saturday, January 21, 1 pm, at the Whitefish Bay Library. He'll be at our friends at Books and Company in Oconomowoc on Thursday, January 19, 7 pm.

Friday, January 13, 7:00 pm at Boswell:
Emily Fridlund author of History of Wolves in conversation with Boswell's Daniel Goldin

Daniel Goldin writes: "In a small town in the Minnesota North Woods, Linda stumbles through high school (or maybe middle school). Her parents are refugees from a commune and are not particularly great at socializing. At school, Linda’s teacher is fired for possessing inappropriate materials. The rumor is that he also was spending time with a classmate, but it’s not like Linda is ever going to spend the real story. The only people she spends time with is her neighbors, who hire her to take care of her son Paul. He’s an odd kid, but he and Linda bond, which only makes things tougher when Linda figures out what’s going on with the family. This is a coming-of-age novel that ponders how a kid can make sense of the world in the face of trauma. The moody wilderness setting could easily be Wisconsin as much as Minnesota, and this is the kind of book that makes me wish that Midwesterners had more of a regional sensibility, like Southerners, so that we would cheer on great fiction writers like Fridlund, whose only sin is that they are writing on the other side of a river."

From Megan Hustad in The New York Times Book Review: "It is not giving away too much to reveal that after ratcheting up the tension, Fridlund does not take readers to the sunless place many might guess — a warren of child pornographers deep in the woods, an inconvenient hole in the ice. That I was relieved at the slow-motion tragedy that does unfold is testimony to Fridlund’s daring. An artful story of sexual awakening and identity formation turns more stomach-churning; child sacrifice takes many forms, and sometimes the act doesn’t require bloodshed but simply adults too wedded to their ideals."

Emily Fridlund has had her fiction has appeared in a variety of journals, including Boston Review, Zyzzyva, and Five Chapters. She holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. Fridlund’s story Catapult was a finalist for the Noemi Book Award for Fiction and the Tartts First Fiction Award. The opening chapter of History of Wolves won the 2013 McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Fiction.

Should be a great event. Join us! One last pitch: a profile in Bookselling This Week, from the American Booksellers Association.

Saturday, January 14, 2:00 pm at Boswell:
Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes comes to Boswell for Egg.

Kevin Henkes picture books have taken a bit of a turn towards the metaphorical, what with Waiting and now Egg. Kirkus Reviews also noticed the connection between the two books: "In Waiting, he used white space to great effect to give the figurines space as their attention was directed outward, to the moon, the stars, the wind. Here, pages are framed, and some are divided into four or 16 squares, which then open to full-page spreads depicting surprise, wonder, and newfound companionship. The frames and boxes complement the idea of containment in eggs, especially of the something enclosed in that fourth egg. When the four friends float off into the sunset, the sun itself morphs into an egg shape, with a hint of a new surprise in their lives. Another stunner from Henkes, who is able to evoke so much with few words and such seemingly simple illustrations."

What I love about these books are the sense of wonder they inspire, returning me, even as an adult, to my childhood. And I love the panel designs, which remind me of my favorite comics strips. They so remind me of some of my very favorite Sunday strips from Peanuts, no less. I might be off base here, but if you don't believe me, maybe you should check your memory by rereading some old collections.

More raving from School Library Journal: "Fans of Henkes will delight in his use of line, simple forms, and a gentle palette, all of which clearly portray feelings, depict action, and suggest character. The concise text and straightforward illustrations, however, belie a more complicated tale. Is it simply a story of waiting--perhaps one of friendship? Or does it suggest the cyclical nature of young choosing their actions and flying out into the world? This is a book that readers will want to pore over and talk about and read again and again."

We're so excited to be hosting Mr. Henkes, but please note, there are signing restrictions for this event. To enter the signing line you must purchase a copy of Egg. There are also no posed photos, videos, or flash photography.

Saturday, January 14, 7:00 pm, at Boswell
A ticketed evening with Clinton Kelly, author of I Hate Everyone, Except You

Daniel's take: "Though he’d already been exposed to the glamourous world of television hosting when he fronted a short-lived, upmarket QVC spinoff, life truly changed for magazine editor Clinton Kelly when he auditioned for a makeover reality show called What Not to Wear. Now as one of the moderator of The Chew, the hit television show, Kelly has moved from clothes to cooking and crafts. But whatever he’s talking about, Clinton Kelly has a wicked sense of humor and that all comes out in I Hate Everyone, Except You, a new collection of autobiographical pieces that touch on his blended family upbringing on Long Island, singleton New York adventures, life with his always understanding husband Damon, and of course a little small screen gossip. There are a few fictional pieces (featuring characters named Clayton and Chetley) and while some details can be a little racy, it’s nothing more than you’d catch on an average episode of Will and Grace. There’s a lot of funny stuff in here and a number of pieces are quite moving. If you’re a fan, you won’t be disappointed."

From Amy Scribner at Bookpage: "No matter how you know Kelly, you will know him infinitely better after reading I Hate Everyone, Except You, his hilarious, wise and revealing new memoir. It seems no topic is off-limits for Kelly (except his beloved grandma), who grew up gawky and gay on Long Island. He writes warmly of his family, including his stepfather, who gamely took on him and his sister when he married their mom. He recalls his time on What Not to Wear with just the right dash of gossip, and writes candidly about meeting his future husband, psychologist Damon Bayles."

Tickets are $26 and include admission to the event and a copy of I Hate Everyone, Except You. On the night of the event only, an $18 Boswell gift card is available in lieu of the book (though why you're not taking the book is beyond me). Kelly will personalize your copy of I Hate Everyone, Except You, will sign books brought from home, and will pose for photos.

In addition to their website, you can purchase your ticket at Brown Paper Tickets or by phone at 800-838-3006. And if you need us to help, come to the store and we'll walk you through registration.

Photo credits!
Emily Fridlund: Doug Knutson
Kevin Henkes: Michael Corpora
Clinton Kelly: Heidi Gutman

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