Patty Yumi Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace.
I first met Patty Yumi Cottrell... Strike that. I first got to recognize Patty Yumi Cottrell as a barista at Colectivo, though I think it was still Alterra then. But it was when she was browsing in the bookstore that we first chatted. I love that when you spot someone in a different context, it gives you license to say hello. "Don't I know you from...?"
It was kind of thrilling when I got to know Cottrell in another context, through her first published novel. And what a novel it is. Sorry to Disrupt the Peace was published last week by McSweeneys, and even before publication it was a book to look out for from Buzzfeed. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review and called the novel "stellar."
Here's my rec: "When Helen Moran hears that her brother has died at his own hand, she leaves her social services job in New York to come home to her family. But it’s not that easy. Helen hasn’t been home in close to five years and has a fractured relationship with her adoptive parents, and now she’s determined to figure out exactly why her brother (they are both Korean but not blood siblings) pulled the trigger. She may call herself Sister Reliable, but Helen is anything but, especially as a narrator. Hypersensitive to details, Helen is unable to connect the dots, and the continuous misses create a powerfully hypnotic narrative of estrangement." (Daniel Goldin)
McSweeneys is a well-respected publisher but it doesn't have the heft of a Knopf or Riverhead that can get all the major book reviewers to feature a key title on pub week. I think you'll be seeing stellar reviews of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, but many will be well after our event. And then you'll say, "Oh, yeah, Daniel told me to go to see that author." And then I hope you'll say, "Why don't I listen to him more often?"
Patty Yumi Cottrell, now a certified Los Angeleno, has had work appear in Bomb, Gulf Coast, and Black Warrior Review. And yes, we're serving Colectivo Coffee at this event.
Tuesday, March 21, 1:00 pm, at Boswell:
Renée Rosen, author of Windy City Blues.
I first remember hearing about Renee Rosen at a rep night (that thing we do that sometimes makes the store close early, as happened on Sunday). Our Macmillan rep Anne was telling us about a YA novel she really liked, called Every Crooked Pot.
Much like many adult novelists turn to YA, Rosen's second work was historical fiction, set in the world of the Chicago Mob. Dollface came out in 2013 and once again we had a sales rep singing its praises. But it wasn't until Ms. Rosen tackled my sweet spot, department stores, that my head was turned. What the Lady Wants, a novel about Marshall Field and his unusual family life, wound up getting multiple reads at Boswell, and went on to be a big hit. This was followed up by White Collar Girl, which we cosponsored at the Lynden Sculpture Garden.
For her newest novel, Windy City Blues, we teamed up with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UWM. What I knew is that Rosen always has a great program that shows how she drew from real life events to create her historical fiction. And I know Osher attendees well enough to know that they would love her presentation. And they love daytime events. And we find that we can get a lot of Chicago authors to Milwaukee if we have them take the Hiawatha train up. The only problem is that they can't get back the same night. The only late return train is on Saturday, when we don't host many authors at night. (Note: as I say that, I noticed that we have at least four upcoming Saturday night events. Go figure!)
Yes I read this too! My rec noted that "the story not only weaves in Chicago music history but the beginning of the Civil Rights movement in Chicago. I recommend it as a compelling story with appealing characters and lots of historical detail." As I noted above, this event is cosponsored by UWM's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The event is free. Let us know if you want more weekday afternoon events.
Wednesday, March 22, 7 pm, at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, 1111 E Brown Deer Rd:
Dan Egan, author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes.
Congratulations to Dan Egan, who had the bestselling book in the Milwaukee metro his first week of sale, according to Bookscan. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is also getting great reviews, including yesterday's rave from John Hildebrand in the Journal Sentinel: "In his marvelous new book "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes," Dan Egan shows the lakes as a single ecosystem in which we are the keystone species, the one with the heaviest footprint, the scariest thing around. That’s quite a charge considering the cast of grotesques to enter the Great Lakes in the past century — sea lamprey, toad-faced round goby, zebra and quagga mussels, bighead carp — except that we, inadvertently, let them through the door."
The book is going to continue to get attention around the country, as Egan promotes the book at appearances. I was randomly searching for interesting stories and learned that Egan will be appearing in Cleveland in June, and then noted that Suzanne DeGaetano at Mac's Books included it as one of the books to look out for this year in a Cleveland Plain Dealer article. I guess it's not surprising that Great Lakes cities are jumping on this first--here's a great review from Eva Holland in The Globe and Mail, Canada's Toronto-based national newspaper.
Egan will be appearing at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center to discuss the book on Wednesday. Admission is free with your Schlitz Audubon membership or admission to the grounds ($8 adults). While the grounds normally close at 5, there will be a Great Lakes hike starting at 6 pm.
A ticketed signing with TLC's "Long Island Medium," Theresa Caputo, author of Good Grief: Heal Your Soul, Honor Your Loved Ones, and Learn to Live Again
Here's what you need to know.
1. Tickets are $25.99, plus taxes and fees.
2. You get a signed copy of Good Grief and a photo with Theresa.
3 There is no personalization or inscriptions, no signing of backlist, no books from home.
4. There is no presentation. The program is at the Riverside Theater. Click here to buy tickets to Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience.
5. Can someone wait in line with you? Yes, even if we close the doors to the general public, we will allow one companion to wait with you.
6. You can bring a gift for Theresa. It must be unwrapped or in clear plastic.
7. There are no readings. You can apply to be on the reading waiting list here.
Monday, March 27, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Boris Fishman, author of Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo, in conversation with Joel Berkowitz
Joel Berkowitz, director of the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM is one of my favorite partners to work with and not just because his events always bring a good crowd of enthusiastic attendees. No, it's also because he is a passionate about fiction in a way that makes a bookseller's heart glow. His enthusiasm is also addictive, and I couldn't help but read Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo once we had the event in place.
Let me explain this one: "In Fishman's second novel, Alex and Maya are two Eastern European Jewish immigrants, one who came over from the former Soviet Union as a child, the other an adult exchange student who left the Ukraine as an adult. As they are not able to conceive children and decide to adopt. Only the Montana-born child they adopted is now, at eight, sort of going feral, running away to hide in streams and forests. And so they decide to head back to the birth parents to try to figure out what's going on. It's a very different take on an immigrant story and cultural identity, as well as a road novel, and at least for Maya, a tale of midlife awakening. It's one of those books that alternately caresses, tickles, and occasionally punches you."(Daniel Goldin)
Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo has won raves from Steven G. Kellman at the San Francisco Chronicle, who wrote that "his second novel is a fresh, unpredictable departure from his first. Max may or may not do rodeo, but from now on expect Boris Fishman to do anything." And Cathleen Schine in The New York Times Book Review wrote: "Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo is a novel about finding the right words for what was once foreign but is no longer. It is suffused with sadness as well as humor, with hope as well as weary despair, and Fishman describes the turmoil of family, parenthood and cultural emotion with urgent, sly detachment. His language has the originality and imagination of someone who comes to English with unexpected thoughts and rhythms in his head, and he is, simply, a joy to read."
This event is sponsored by the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM, where he is also a Professor of Foreign Languages and Literature.
There are a few other events this week where Boswell is selling books.
Friday, March 24, 4 pm, at Marquette's Cudahy Hall, Room 001, 1313 W Wisconsin Ave: Joseph Scapellato, author of Big Lonesome: Stories. This Marquette grad's work was hailed by Claire Vay Watkins as "hailed by Claire Vaye Watkins as "Wallace Stegner on peyote, Nathaniel West in a sweat lodge, Larry McMurtry on a vision quest." Here's an interview with Scappelato in Necessary Fiction.
Saturday, March 25, 6:30 pm, at Preservation Hall, 740 Lake Ave, in Racine: Naomi Shihab Nye as part of Deb Marett's 15 Minutes of Fame event, tying in to her art exhibit. $5 admission. Additional speakers include Nick Demske, Timothy Westbrook, Paul Willis, Olu Sijuwade, Travis DuPriest and Thea Kovak. More about the project here.
Please note that Thursday's talk with Thomas Buergenthal at the Marquette Law School is full.
We've got lots more events to tell you about on the upcoming events page of the Boswell website.
And don't forget to open tomorrow's email newsletter, with important information about an upcoming event going on sale. You can sign up for it here.