Monday, March 27, 2017

This week with Boswell: Events with Boris Fishman, Greg Pearson, Jami Attenberg, Donna Seaman, Evelyn M. Perry, and Michelle Brafman

This week's events are bookended by events with two of our favorite converseation partners.

Monday, March 27, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Boris Fishman, author of Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo, in conversation with Joel Berkowitz of the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies.

Maya Shulman and Alex Rubin met in 1992, when she was a Ukrainian exchange student with “a devil in [her] head” about becoming a chef instead of a medical worker, and he the coddled son of Russian immigrants wanting to toe the water of a less predictable life.

Twenty years later, Maya Rubin is a medical worker in suburban New Jersey, and Alex his father’s second in the family business. The great dislocation of their lives is their eight-year-old son Max—adopted from two teenagers in Montana despite Alex’s view that adopted children are second-class.

Searching for answers to their eccentric son, Maya convinces Alex to embark on a cross-country trip to Montana to track down Max’s birth parents—the first drive west of New Jersey of their American lives. Maya is illuminated by the journey, her own erstwhile wildness summoned for a reckoning by the unsparing landscape, with seismic consequences for herself and her family.

Boris Fishman is the author of the novel A Replacement Life, which was chosen as The New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the Sophie Brody Medal from the American Library Association. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.

Joel Berkowitz is Director of the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM, the cosponsor of this event. Berkowitz is also Professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at UWM.

Tuesday, March 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Greg Pearson, author of Maybe Next Year: Long-Suffering Sports Fans and the Teams That Never Deliver.

Sports fans are a devoted bunch. They sit in the wind and the cold of December or the sizzling sun of August, watching their team slip ever further from the playoffs, only to come back for more next year. What keeps them going?

Maybe Next Year highlights more than 100 fans as they talk about their devotion to the teams they love and how we overcome the discouraging seasons, let alone the lousy decades. Of the 23 teams mentioned, the Chicago Cubs are included, whose fans waited 108 years before a World Series win.

About the Author: Greg Pearson has worked in newspapers for four decades, including 23 years at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He has also written Fenway Fanatics, a look at die-hard Boston Red Sox fans.

Wednesday, March 29, 7:00 pm, at Boswell
Jami Attenberg, author of All Grown Up in conversation with Wendy McClure

Who is Andrea Bern? When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say: she’s a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it’s what she leaves unsaid - she’s alone, a drinker, a former artist, and the captain of the sinking ship that is her flesh - that feels the most true.  But when Andrea’s niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters.

Jami Attenberg is author of five novels, including The Middlesteins and Saint Mazie. She has contributed essays about sex, urban life, and food to The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian.

Wendy McClure is an author, a columnist, and a children’s book editor. She is the author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie, which won the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for nonfiction in 2011, and a historical fiction series for children, Wanderville. 

Thursday, March 30, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Donna Seaman, author of Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists.

Who hasn’t wondered where - aside from Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo - all the women artists are? In many art books, they’ve been marginalized with cold efficiency, summarily dismissed in the captions of group photographs with the phrase “identity unknown” while each male is named.

Donna Seaman brings to dazzling life seven of these forgotten artists, among the best of their day, including Gertrude Abercrombie, Lois Mailou Jones, Lenore Tawney, and Christina Ramberg. These women fought to be treated the same as male artists, to be judged by their work, not their gender or appearance. Identity Unknown speaks to women’s neglected place in history and the challenges they face to be taken as seriously as men no matter what their chosen field.

Donna Seaman is an editor at Booklist, and a book reviewer for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.. She has written bio-critical essays for the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature and American Writers, and has published in TriQuarterly and Creative Nonfiction.

Friday, March 31, 7:00 pm at Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E Locust
Evelyn M. Perry, author of Live and Let Live: Diversity, Conflict, and Community in an Integrated Neighborhood.

While conventional wisdom asserts that residential racial and economic integration holds great promise for reducing inequality in the United States, Americans are demonstrably not very good at living with difference. Perry's analysis of the multiethnic, mixed-income Milwaukee community of Riverwest, where residents maintain relative stability without insisting on conformity, advances our understanding of why and how neighborhoods matter.

In response to the myriad urban quantitative assessments, Perry examines the impacts of neighborhood diversity using more than three years of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews. Her in-depth examination of life "on the block" expands our understanding of the mechanisms by which neighborhoods shape the perceptions, behaviors, and opportunities of those who live in them. Perry challenges researchers' assumptions about what "good" communities look like and what well-regulated communities want. Live and Let Live shifts the conventional scholarly focus from "What can integration do?" to "How is integration done?"

Evelyn M. Perry is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rhodes College.This event is cosponsored by Woodland Pattern Book Center.

Sunday, April 2, 4:30 pm, at Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N Santa Monica Blvd:
Michelle Brafman, author of Bertrand Court, in conversation with Judaic Education Director of the Jewish Community Center.

Bertrand Court is a captivating novel told in story form, intertwining seventeen luminous narratives about the secrets of a cast of politicos, filmmakers, and housewives, all tied to a suburban Washington, DC, cul-de-sac. Linked through bloodlines and grocery lines, they respond to life's bruises by grabbing power, sex, or the family silver. As they atone and forgive, they unmask the love and truth that hop white picket fences.

Michelle Brafman is also the author of the novel Washing the Dead. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Slate, Tablet, and The Washington Post. This event is cosponsored by the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

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