Monday, April 24, 2017

Event Alert: Jen Sincero, Donna Seaman, Jo Piazza, Liam, Robin Hoffman, Liam Callanan, Eugenia Cheng, Amy Goldstein. Alas, Kristin Hannah is sold out.

Here's what's happening.


Tuesday, April 25, 7:00 pm at Boswell:
A ticketed event with Jen Sincero, author of You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth

Cosponsored by WWBIC, the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation.

Jen Sincero is a bestselling author, success coach, and motivational speaker who has spent over a decade traveling the world helping people transform their lives and their bank accounts via her public appearances, private sessions, coaching seminars, and her books, including the bestselling book, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. And now comes the perfect sequel to this bestselling phenomenon, You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth.

You Are a Badass at Making Money is a step-by-step guide to helping people overcome their blocks, push past their fears, and start making the kind of money they’ve never made before. Sincero herself went from living in a converted garage to traveling the world in 5-star luxury in a matter of years, and knows all too well the layers of BS one can get wrapped up in around money, as well as what it takes to dig your way out. She goes in-depth on how powerful our thoughts are and how our bank accounts are mirrors for our beliefs about money. Written in the same style as her bestselling book You Are a Badass, You Are a Badass at Making Money combines entertaining essays with life-changing concepts. Sincero boils all her wisdom down into manageable, bite-sized tips so her readers can put them into practice and get real results.

Tickets are $27 and include admission to the event and a copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money. On the night of the event only, an $19 Boswell gift card is available in lieu of the book. Sincero will personalize your copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money, will sign books brought from home, and will pose for photos. Tickets can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets or by phone at 800-838-3006.

Jen Sincero is a bestselling author, success coach and motivational cattle prod who has helped countless people transform their personal and professional lives via her seminars, public appearances, newsletters, products and books.

Alas, our April 26 event with Kristin Hannah for the paperback edition of The Nightingale is sold out. That said, we should have signed copies available after the event. Boswell is also selling books for UWM's event with Chris Albani at the Hefter Center, 3271 N Lake Dr. Details here.

Thursday, April 27, 7 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.

These women fought to be treated the same as male artists, to be judged by their work, not their gender or appearance. In brilliant, compassionate prose, Seaman reveals what drove them, how they worked, and how they were perceived by others in a world where women were subjects—not makers—of art. Featuring stunning examples of the artists’ work, 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.

Chicagoan Donna Seaman has degrees in the fine arts and English. An editor at Booklist, she reviews books for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, among others. She has written bio-critical essays for the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature and American Writers, and has published in TriQuarterly and Creative Nonfiction. Seaman created, hosted, and produced Open Books, a radio program about outstanding books and writers and the art of reading.

Friday, April 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Jo Piazza, author of How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents about Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage.

Marriage is hard. That is what a newly-engaged and slightly terrified Jo Piazza heard over and over again. And as she began planning her wedding, she realized that American marriage traditions focus more on the dress, the guests, and the menu than they do on how the heck anyone can make a real, lasting, joy-filled commitment to their significant other. What comes after the whirlwind romance and fairy-tale wedding?

Readers will follow Jo and her husband Nick through their first year of marriage as they explore the world uncovering the rituals, customs, and traditions of other cultures, unlocking important nuggets of wisdom along the way. Her spirit, curiosity, and humor are unflagging throughout. They hike Kilimanjaro, get sex tips from an Orthodox Jewish scholar, as well as Ayahuasca rituals in Peru, along with many other adventures in a grand experiment to change the way we look at marriage and surviving its first year.

Jo Piazza is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of the novel The Knockoff. She is the managing editor of Yahoo Travel and is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, New York magazine, and Slate. She is also the author of Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money; Love Rehab: A Novel in Twelve Steps; and If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission. And while Piazza isn’t from Milwaukee, she did marry in!

Saturday, April 29, 10:00 am, at Boswell:
Independent Bookstore Day, featuring a special assortment of book-themed items for sale.

Saturday, April 29, 11:00 am, at Boswell:
A special storytime featuring the work of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, beloved writer of picture books for kids and memoirs for adults.

Joining us at this special storytime is Robin Hoffman, the founder of the Children's Book Connection in 1981. She joined Scholastic Book Fairs in 1992 and leads the booktalk and podcast programs, as well as serving on the selection committee, helping educators and families share books with children of all ages.

Saturday, April 29, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Eighth Anniversary Celebration with Liam Callanan, contributor to My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop, in conversation with Daniel Goldin

This updated edition, published for the first time in paperback, includes all-new essays to celebrate eight additional stores. My Bookstore is the enthusiastic, heartfelt, sometimes humorous tribute by 92 known authors to their favorite independent bookstores.

In My Bookstore our favorite writers-from Elin Hilderbrand, to John Grisham, to Ann Patchett-express their adoration and admiration for their favorite bookstores and booksellers. Boswell’s Daniel Goldin and Liam Callanan will discuss eight years of bookstore collaboration. And Callanan will also preview his April 2018 novel, Paris by the Book, yes, a year in advance.

Liam Callanan is the author of The Cloud Atlas, All Saints, and Listen: Stories. Additionally, he serves in the English department at UWM and was previously the chair as well as coordinator of its Ph.D. program in Creative Writing.

Sunday, April 30, 3:00 pm, at Boswell:
Eugenia Cheng, author of Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics.

Imagine something small enough to fit in your head but too large to fit in the world-or even the universe. What would you call it? And what would it be? How about...infinity?

In Beyond Infinity, musician, chef, and mathematician Eugenia Cheng answers this question by taking readers on a startling journey from math at its most elemental to its loftiest abstractions. Beginning with the classic thought experiment of Hilbert's hotel-the place where you can (almost) always find a room, if you don't mind being moved from room to room over the course of the night-she explores the wild and woolly world of the infinitely large and the infinitely small. Along the way she considers weighty questions like why some numbers are uncountable or why infinity plus one is not the same as one plus infinity. She finds insight in some unlikely examples: planning a dinner party for 7 billion people using a chessboard, making a chicken-sandwich sandwich, and creating infinite cookies from a finite ball of dough all tell you more about math than you could have imagined.

An irresistible book on the universe's biggest possible topic, Beyond Infinity will beguile and bewitch you, and show all of us how one little symbol can hold the biggest idea of all. About the Author: Eugenia Cheng is the author of How to Bake Pi, in addition to being a Scientist in Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Sheffield. She has appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and has been featured in The New York Times. 

Monday, May 1, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Amy Goldstein, author of Janesville: An American Story

Cosponsored by Community Advocates Public Policy Institute

Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post reporter delivers an intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors assembly plant in Janesville and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.

This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory closes but it's not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.

Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville where the nation's oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America's biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, and job re-trainers to show why it's so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.

Amy Goldstein has been a staff writer for thirty years at The Washington Post, where much of her work has focused on social policy. Among her awards, she shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. She has been a fellow at Harvard University at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Janesville: An American Story is her first book.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Boswell's annotated bestsellers for the week ending April 22, 2017

Here's a week in review at Boswell, via book sales.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
2. Earthy Remains, by Donna Leon
3. The Fix, by David Baldacci
4. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
5. Fallout, by Sara Paretsky (event 5/11 at Golda Meir Library, please register)
6. The Perfect Stranger, by Megan Miranda
7. One Perfect Lie, by Lisa Scottoline
8. City of Friends, by Joanna Trollope
9. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
10. The Women in the Castle, by Amor Towles

I wish I were a buyer so I'd know the backstory on why City of Friends, the latest Joanna Trollope is being imported by IPG instead of being published by an American House. I did find this story on the Macmillan site discussing Trollope's UK move from Transworld (a Bertelsman company) to Pan Macmillan, but why didn't one of the American subsidiaries take her on? It's not for us to know. Meanwhile, enjoy this video profile of Trollope and the new book, which is about a woman who loses her job and falls back on her old friends to see her through.


Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. This Fight Is Our Fight, by Elizabeth Warren
2. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
3. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein (event at Boswell Mon 5/1, 7 pm, with Community Advocates)
4. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, by Alyssa Mastromonaco
5. Shattered, by Jonathan Allen
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. American Spirit, by David McCullough
8. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
9. Prince Charles, by Sally Bedell Smith
10. The Gatekeepers, by Charles Whipple

It's nice when everything comes together, isn't it? David Grann's new book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, arrived in stores just as the film adaptation of The Lost City of Z opened at the Downer Theater down the block. Of the new book, Boswellian Tim McCarthy wrote: "Reading this book was like watching a train wreck - I couldn't have been at once more horrified and also transfixed." Laurie Hertz in the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote: "It is superbly done — meticulously researched, well-written — but it is hard to be entertained by a story of such unmitigated evil." Of the film, you can read Richard Brody's review/profile in The New Yorker.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Pleasantville, by Attica Locke
2. Death Goes Overboard, by David S. Pederson
3. Black Water Rising, by Attica Locke
4. The Cutting Season, by Attica Locke
5. Death Comes Darkly, by David S. Pederson
6. Half a Reason to Die, by Chip Duncan
7. LaRose, by Louise Erdrich
8. Our Man in Havana, by Graham Greene
9. Cold Pastoral, by Rebecca Dunham
10. All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda

You may think that our entire store has become a mystery specialty store from our fiction bestsellers, but I should note that Half a Reason to Die from Chip Duncan is actually a collection of short stories inspired by his travels and Cold Pastoral is a collection of poems inspired by environmental disasters. Both could be great mystery titles, could they not? For the latter, I can see the dead body laying in the field. But at the top was our Saturday duo of Attica Locke in the day and local David S. Pederson at night. At her Delta Memorial Endowment Fund Luncheon that featured Pleasantville (signed paperbacks available), she hinted at the subject of her next book coming in September, Bluebird, Bluebird, a new series about a Texas Ranger. And next year's DMEF speaker is already set, Natalie Baszile, the author of Queen Sugar.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Your First Year, by Todd Whitaker
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. Screenwise, by Devorah Heitner
4. Find a Way, by Diana Nyad
5. Wisconsin Literary Luminaries, by Jim Higgins (event WFB Library, Wed 5/10, 6:30 pm)
6. White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg
7. My Bookstore, edtied by Ronald Rice (event at Boswell, Sat 4/29, 7 pm with Liam Callanan and me)
8. Dark Money, by Jane Meyer
9. American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin
10. On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder

Here's more about My Bookstore. The new edition keeps all the essays of stores that have closed (like the much-missed Next Chapter in Mequon), but also includes new essays about:
--Full Circle Bookstore, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
--Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, New York
--R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut
--Munro's in Victoria, British Columia
--Writer's Block Bookstore in Winter Park, Florida (Orlando)
--Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kansas (Kansas City)
--Charis Books and More in Atlanta, Georgia
--Moe's Books in Berkeley, California

We'll celebrate our eighth anniversary, including a little toast.

Books for Kids:
1. Hello?, by Liza Wimer
2. Maybe a Fox, by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
3. Rulers of the Playground, by Joseph Kuefler
4. Outlaws of Time #1: The Legend of Sam Miracle, by N.D. Wilson
5. Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri
6. Pax, by Sara Pennypacker, with illustrations by Jon Klassen
7. Almost Everything Book, by Julie Morstad
8. Jack and the Geniuses, by Bill Nye
9. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox, with illustrations by Helen Oxenbury
10. Baby Animals, from Workman

Here's a little more about the Outlaws of Time series from N.D. Wilson, who recently came to Milwaukee to visit area schools. Of volume one, now in paperback, The Legend of Sam Miracle, the Publisher calls this "Back to the Future meets Holes" and goes on to describe it as: "a fantasy-adventure trilogy about a misfit twelve-year-old with a dangerous destiny to fulfill, a mystical time walker who is sent to protect him, and a maniacal villain with a deadly vendetta that began two hundred years ago in the heart of the Old West." Booklist wrote: "Wilson's novels are always a treat, and this first in a series is no exception, as it introduces a wide world of incredible magic." Expect to see more N.D. Wilson on next week's list, including the sequel, The Song of Glory and Ghost. We also have some signed copies.

From Journal Sentinel book editor Jim Higgins comes his take on Elizabeth Strout's Anything Is Possible, which goes on sale this Tuesday. Tickets for the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch (which include a book) are close to being sold out and this review should close out sales. Higgins writes: "Characters mentioned briefly in Lucy Barton" such as Mississippi Mary Mumford, come to the forefront in this new book, set largely in the fictional Illinois town of Amgash and neighboring communities. Neither novel nor linked story collection strikes me as adequate terms to describe this book's ingenious structure, in which characters reappear in each other's stories. In a few cases, we experience remarkable encounters from different points of view in different stories."

Last chance to register! Well, almost.

Also in the Journal Sentinel TapBooks section, Erin Kogler reviews Min Kym's Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung, which she notes may remind Milwaukeeans of Frank Almond's loss of his Stradivarius in 2014, only with quite a different ending. In the book, "Kym offers a rare glimpse into the life of the soloist in the orchestra world as she excels in her field, from finding the right teachers to working with conductors, orchestras and orchestra leaders." Also note that Kogler's other gig is Director of Communications for the Milwaukee Symphony. Talk about a great match of reviewer and subject!

Two additional reviews are in the print edition. John Reinan's review of The One Cent Magenta, originally published in the Star Tribune, is the story of a stamp that sold for nearly 9.5 million dollars lays it out: "New York Times reporter James Barron takes the reader into Stamp World, an exclusive and eccentric land whose inhabitants vie for prestige with a fierce and somewhat musty gentility that has largely managed to withstand the onslaught of new, vulgar money." Sarah Laskow's notes in The New York Times Book Review that this quest is more about a search for rare treasures than an indication that stamp collecting still holds allure. Alas, it ain't what it was when I was in grade school and a good third of us had collections.

And originally published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is Courtney Linder's review of the breakout novel from Kayla Rae Whitaker. Linder writes (and I include some bonus words that didn't make it into the print review): "The Animators is a quick read, with delightful language and quirky characters that are difficult to forget long after finishing the last few pages. It fills a literary gap, which has been waiting for a tale of millennial female friendship and love without tacky genre borders or stereotypes."

Monday, April 17, 2017

Events: Devorah Heitner at USM, poet Rebecca Dunham, Megan Miranda in conversation with Ruth Jordan, Chip Duncan, Joseph Kuefler and cupcakes, David Pederson, and next week, Jen Sincero

Here's what's happening.

Monday, April 17, 6:30 pm, at University School Milwaukee, 2100 E Fairy Chasm Rd, River Hills:
Boswell is selling books for Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World

Devorah Heitner, PhD is the founder and director of Raising Digital Natives, a resource for parents and schools seeking advice on how to help children thrive in a world of digital connectedness.

Many parents feel that their kids are addicted, detached, or distracted because of their digital devices. Media expert Devorah Heitner, however, believes that technology offers huge potential to our children—if parents help them. Screenwise offers a realistic and optimistic perspective on how to thoughtfully guide kids in the digital age. Using the foundation of their own values and experiences, parents and educators can learn about the digital world to help set kids up for a lifetime of success in a world fueled by technology.

This is part of USM’s speaker series. This event will be held in Mellowes Hall at the Upper School. Registration is requested.

Tuesday, April 18, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Rebecca Dunham, author of Cold Pastoral: Poems

Rebecca Dunham is the Creative Writing Program Coordinator and Professor of English at UWM. Her collection Glass Armonica was winner of Milkweed Editions' 2013 Lindquist and Vennum Prize. Dunham is also author of The Flight Cage and The Miniature Room, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize.

Cold Pastoral is a searing, urgent collection of poems that brings the lyric and documentary together in unparalleled ways—unmasking and examining the specter of man-made disaster. The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Hurricane Katrina. The Flint water crisis. Thousands dead, lives destroyed, and a natural world imperiled by human choices.

Wednesday, April 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Megan Miranda, author of The Perfect Stanger
This event is cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine

Megan Miranda, bestselling author of All the Missing Girls visits Boswell for her second novel of suspense, The Perfect Stranger. She will be in conversation with Crimespree Magazine's Ruth Jordan, who has received the Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America for her contributions to the field.

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Thursday, April 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Chip Duncan, author of Half a Reason to Die

Chip Duncan is a Milwaukee-based writer and documentary filmmaker with a penchant for overseas assignments. His professional journeys have taken him to many extraordinary places including Afghanistan, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Myanmar. His previous work includes Enough to Go Around: Searching for Hope in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Darfur, as well as numerous films broadcast worldwide.

Half a Reason to Die is a collection of eight original short stories based on real life events in the author’s life as a writer and documentary filmmaker. The stories span the globe, from meeting a military doctor in Afghanistan to speaking with a homeless Vietnam vet. First person narratives supplied by storytellers with journalistic backgrounds provide a unifying thread that runs throughout the collection.

Friday, April 21, 4:00 pm, at Boswell:
Joseph Kuefler, author of Rulers of the Playground featuring dirt cupcakes from Miss Cupcake

Joseph Kuefler, the author-illustrator of Beyond the Pond, visits Boswell with a stunning picture book about friendship and kindness on the playground, and in life, in Rulers of the Playground. We'll have dirt cupcakes for the first 36 kids who attend the event. If there are any left after the talk, adults are also invited to bite into a delicious, gummy wormed cupcake.

One morning, Jonah decided to become ruler of the playground. Everyone pinkie promised to obey Jonah’s rules. Everyone except for Lennox, because she wanted to rule the playground, too.

This hilariously deadpan tale of playground politics has received great reviews, here’s what Boswellian Jen has to offer, “Jonah and Lennox both want to be rulers of the playground. However, the other kids aren't too thrilled with the Rulers, especially Augustine and her dog, Sir Hamilton Humphrey. Lines are drawn, pinkie promises are made, and sides are taken in this delightful new picture book by Joseph Kuefler.”

Saturday, April 22, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
David S. Pederson, author of Death Goes Overboard

Join us in welcoming back to Boswell David S. Pederson, author of Death Comes Darkly, for his second mystery based in Milwaukee, Death Goes Overboard.

Gregor Slavinsky went overboard. Or did he? He was murdered. Or was he? It's up to Detective Heath Barrington and his partner, police officer Alan Keyes, to find out as they search for clues and a missing twenty-five thousand dollars aboard an old lake steamer and throughout 1947 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They are up against gangsters, con artists, and a very seductive Grant Riker, a fellow policeman who could come between Heath and Alan, upsetting their romance. The three of them race the clock to find the truth amidst lies, secrets, and possible scandal, while riding the waves of a potential love triangle.

Tuesday, April 25, 7:00 pm at Boswell:
A ticketed event with Jen Sincero, author of You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth
This event is cosponsored by WWBIC: Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation

Jen Sincero is a bestselling author, success coach, and motivational speaker who has spent over a decade traveling the world helping people transform their lives and their bank accounts via her public appearances, private sessions, coaching seminars, and her books, including the bestselling book, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. And now comes the perfect sequel to this bestselling phenomenon, You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth.

You Are a Badass at Making Money is a step-by-step guide to helping people overcome their blocks, push past their fears, and start making the kind of money they’ve never made before. Sincero goes in-depth on how powerful our thoughts are and how our bank accounts are mirrors for our beliefs about money. Sincero boils all her wisdom down into manageable, bite-sized tips so her readers can put them into practice and get real results.

Tickets are $27 and include admission to the event and a copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money. On the night of the event only, an $19 Boswell gift card is available in lieu of the book. Sincero will personalize your copy of You Are a Badass at Making Money, will sign books brought from home, and will pose for photos. Tickets can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets or by phone at 800-838-3006.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Boswell annotated bestsellers, week ending April 15, 2017

Boswell is open 10 am to 5 pm on Easter Sunday.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
2. Earthly Remains V26, by Donna Leon
3. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
4. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
5. The Hearts of Men, by Nickolas Butler
6. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
7. Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
8. Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay
9. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
10. Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid

At book #26, you'd think Donna Leon's series would be showing its age. But Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times Book Review wrote: "When she’s writing about her beloved Venice, Donna Leon can do no wrong. And Earthy Remains, her new mystery featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, is one of her best. It’s also one of her saddest, dealing as it does with the seemingly unstoppable polluting of the great lagoon. 'We’ve poisoned it all, killed it all,' mourns Davide Casati, the aged caretaker of the house on the island of Sant’Erasmo where Brunetti is taking a medical leave for job-induced stress."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Wealth Can't Wait, by David Osborn
2. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
3. Halleluhjah Anyway, by Anne Lamott
4. Moth Presents All These Wonders, edited by Catherine Burns
5. Dear Ijeawele, by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
6. King Solomon's Table, by Joan Nathan
7. Convergernce, by Peter Watson
8. Prince Charles, by Sally Bedell Smith
9. The Great Unknown, by Marcus Du Sautoy
10. Waiting to Listen, by Andrew Forsthoefel

From Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times: "A wonderful new book, The Moth Presents: All These Wonders — which takes its title from a thrilling account by the NASA scientist Cathy Olkin of last-minute emergency repairs made to the New Horizons spacecraft as it traveled three billion miles to get a close-up of Pluto — gathers 45 stories from the last two decades. Some are heartbreakingly sad; some laugh-out-loud funny; some momentous and tragic; almost all of them resonant or surprising. They are stories that attest to the startling varieties and travails of human experience, and the shared threads of love, loss, fear and kindness that connect us."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Arrow: The Dark Archer, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
2. The Nest, by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (signed copies available)
3. The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton
4. The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware
5. The Improbability of Love, by Hannah Rothschild
6. The Little Red Chairs, by Edna O'Brien (In Store Lit Group 5/1)
7. Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
8. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
9. The Light of Paris, by Eleanor Brown
10. Britt-Marie Was Here, by Fredrik Backman

It's book club presentation season! Saturday's talk with Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney boosted sales of a number of titles on our new book club flier, including The Excellent Lombards, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Light of Paris. As Jane noted, now I don't have to worry about this until August (or maybe September). Of The Woman in Cabin 10, Variety recently reported that Hillary Seitz has been signed to do the movie adaptation for CBS Films. Of the book, Ginny Greene in the Star Tribune wrote: "Cabin 10 just may do to cruise vacations what Jaws did to ocean swimming. You’ll be afraid to go out on the water."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Live and Let Live, by Evelyn M. Perry
3. The Pleasure of the Text, by Roland Barthes
4. Dark Money, by Jane Mayer
5. You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
6. Brick Through the Window, by Steven Nodine, Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll, David Luhrssen
7. Radical Hope, by Jonathan Lear
8. Secreenwise, by Devorah Heitner (event at USM 4/17)
9. White Trash, by Nancy Isenberg
10. How to Be Alive, by Colin Beavan

Jane Mayer's Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right continues to resonate with its paperback release. Here's Mayer talking to Jack Holmes at Esquire about Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Tarik Moody, a Riverwest resident, takes to Evelyn M. Perry about Live and Let Live on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.

Here's Devorah Heitner interviewed on Austin360's parenting blog. And don't forget about University School of Milwaukee's event with Devorah Heitner tomorrow. Register here.

Books for Kids:
1. Just Fly Away, by Andrew McCarthy
2. Green Pants, by Kenneth Kraegel
3. Bone Quill V2, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
4. The Book of Beasts V2, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
5. The Forgetting Spell V2, by Lauren Myracle
6. The Star Thief, by Lindsey Becker
7. The Conjuror V1, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
8. Night of the Twisters, by Ivy Ruck
9. Hollow Earth V1, by John and Carole E. Barrowman
10. Wishing Day V1, by Lauren Myracle
11. Wishing Day V1 (cloth), by Lauren Myracle
12. Song of Delphine, by Kenneth Kraegel
13. Oh, Ick, by Joy Masoff and Jessica Garrett
14. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
15. Life on Mars, by Jon Agee

This week has a lot of event programming factored into our bestseller list. Lauren Myracle visited three schools but didn't have a public event so we didn't talk much about her series Wishing Day. In volume 1, Natasha gets three wishes after her 13th birthday. In the second book, The Forgetting Spell, sister Darya approaches her 13th birthday and her own three wishes. Publishers Weekly wrote: "Though there are more questions than answers by the novel's end (the book is first in a planned trilogy), Myracle leaves readers with the powerful idea that wishing is more about appreciating what one already has than about getting what one wants." And yes, we have signed copies.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, we've got a couple of bonus book reviews that expanded beyond the TapBooks page. Washington Post reporter Amy Goldstein's Janesville is covered by Jim Higgins. The story focuses on the GM plant closing and what happened to the people. Higgins observes that retraining is not always what one hopes: "She recounts determined middle-age parents doing their tech-school homework at night side by side with their school-age children — and landing jobs, after graduation, that pay $12 an hour. One of her book's saddest stories is of a factory worker, laid off after 13 years, who graduated at the top of her Blackhawk class in criminal justice studies and landed a job as a correctional officer at the Rock County Jail. But marital and other stresses and a bad decision lead her to take her own life. Like Matthew Desmond's Evicted, Goldstein's Janesville offers many reminders that many working Americans are only one or two bad breaks and decisions away from disaster." Amy Goldstein at Boswell on May 1, 7 pm, cosponsored by Community Advocates Public Policy Institute.

You've seen My Two Elaines show up on our bestseller list for several months. Now Jim Higgins reviews Martin J. Schreiber's memoir of caring for his wife after her Alzheimer's diagnosis. Says Higgins: "Schreiber, a former Wisconsin governor, opened many eyes when he shared his caregiving story with Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Johnson in December 2015. My Two Elaines expands on the primary theme of that article: the corrosive effect of loneliness on the caregiver, which can lead to poorer health and quality of life for both spouses. Figuratively speaking, his book reminds other caregivers to put their own oxygen masks on first, so they can truly be present for their spouses."

And finally, a profile of Nay Tait Fraser's Mending the Earth in Milwaukee, which is available at Woodland Pattern and several area nature centers. It is both a memoir and a how-to guide to natural landscaping.

Mike Fischer reviews A Grace Paley Reader, a new collection of stories, essays and poetry, edited by Kevin Bowen and Nora Paley. Fischer notes: "In his marvelous introduction, fellow short-story master George Saunders describes Paley as 'one of the great writers of voice of the last century' because of her uncanny ability to channel “the dynamic energy of human thought” as experienced by her characters."

Carole E. Barrowman's Paging Through Mysteries offers three new suggestions:

--On The Good Byline, Jill Orr's story of a library assistant in a small town who is asked to write an obituary about her best friend: "Fresh and funny, romantic and sunny, Orr’s book checked three genre boxes for me: a smart cozy series, a Southern small town setting, and, my favorite, a newspaper mystery."

--"Lori Rader-Day’s psychological mystery, The Day I Died, has a pitch-perfect prologue and the rest of the novel never hits a false note. In her prologue, Rader-Day’s narrator, Anna Winger, describes the day she died, teasing just enough detail to keep the event echoing across the pages as Anna investigates a troubling disappearance of a boy and his mother from a small Indiana town." Note that Lori Rader-Day will be at MobCraft Brewery on Thursday, June 8 with David Krugler and Nick Petrie. Register here for the taproom tour at 7. The event follows at 7:45.


--Judith Flanders has a British series about a book editor, the latest of which is A Cast of Vultures. Barrowman notes that heroine Samantha Clair "is the kind of witty well-read woman I love to hang with...a cheeky observer of the world." The new book has Clair trying to figure out the death of her upstairs neighbor.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Secrets of the book club talks. Our new yellow book club flier is now available (plus if you're reading this before Saturday, we'll be giving at talk at Boswell with Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney on April 15, 2 pm.

It's a new season of book club picks. Jane and I spent hours hashing out what to add to our flier, which we use not just as a handout and display in the store, but as a guide for our presentations to area groups. We're launching the new list on Saturday, April 15, 2 pm, at Boswell for book club afternoon with Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest.

We last switched over our titles in January, but this is more of a major shift, with fully half the titles changing from our last handout. In addition, we have an insert of six titles coming out in June and July to keep an eye on. And because an insert only printed on one side looked naked, the back half has six upcoming events that are great tie ins for book clubs.

Apples and Oranges

I generally use the previous newsletter to lay out the new one, but at least in some cases, that meant moving around the titles that were staying to create new themes. Two books I had to include together were Ann Patchett's Commonwealth and Jane Hamilton's The Excellent Lombards, for several reasons.
--Each novel draws on the authors' own stories
--The authors are close friends and each was an early reader of the other's book
--The obvious fruit connection. I love the idea of matching jackets--I'm a big fan of the Patchett jacket, and can you imagine how great Hamilton's would have looked with apples? And in a boxed set, right?

Love Jane Hamilton? She'll be in conversation with Sheryl Sandberg at the Pabst on Monday, June 5, 7 pm. Sandberg's new book is Option B. Ticket link!

What to Read After Ove

It seemed like our flier was becoming one big Ove ouvre. But nothing got added to this season's list that I would put in that category, so we'd probably recommend Helen Simonson's The Summer Before the War and Phaedra Patrick's The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. Fortunately, we have a "What to read after A Man Called Ove" table to satisfy your cravings.

World War II Mania

While I think every book club has read or will read Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See and Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, (alas, our event with Hannah is sold out, but we'll have signed copies after the event) one could probably spend the whole year reading World War II historicals. Currently on our checklists:

--Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly (also on the national bestseller lists)
--Everyone Brave is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave
--They Were Like Family to Me, by Helen Maryles Shankman
--The Improbability of Love, by Hannah Rothschild

If you, like many book clubs, include hardcovers (we don't think it's fair to your members who buy physical books in bookstores, and why are you surprised?), Jessica Shattuck's The Women in the Castle is a clear addition, the latest of HarperCollins's books in the Lead Read program to break out.

What Do These Books Have in Common?

I was taken by the similarities between The Improbability of Love and Elizabeth McKenzie's The Portable Veblen. Both touch on how children must overcome the legacy of their parents, both have semi-supernatural elements (talking paintings and squirrels) and both touch on the excesses of capitalism. I think they would be interesting to read in succession like we did for our In Store Lit Group.

STEM Reading

Jumping off of The Portable Veblen, there are a number of titles that touch on the sciences.

Added onto our Hidden Figures recommendation is one new nonfiction book, Lab Girl, recently awarded a National Book Critics Circle Award, and one novel, Vinegar Girl.

A book club could do a whole year of science reading. Why not consider Lauren Redniss's Radiocative, her graphic biography about Marie and Pierre Curie?

Award winners

 Adding to its award basket, Matthew Desmond's Evicted just won the Pulitzer Prize. How cool is that?

I wondered whether we would keep Paul Beatty's The Sellout on our list, but being that the In-Store Lit Group had a very positive reaction to the book, we decided to keep it going another season.

What's the In Store Lit Group Reading?

Our May 1 selection is The Little Red Chairs, by Edna O'Brien. I've never read her and being that this newest book has gotten some of the best reviews of her career (and she's 85!), I felt intellectually bereft.

One new novel that I'm very excited to suggest to book clubs is Homegoing, the first novel  from Yaa Gyasi that won the John Leonard Prize. I won't be at our program on June 5, as I'll be working our Sheryl Sandberg event at the Pabst Theater. So I used this opportunity to put in a title I'd already read. Plus Sharon, who likely will be working that evening, did read it and liked it as much as I did. Homegoing is on sale in paperback May 2.

New Staff Favorites

Two staff favorites had good hardcover sales and so we decided to aim for the stars with a book cluib pitch. I haven't read either, but they are certainly on my "hope to read soon" list.

--Spill Simmer Falter Wither, by Sara Baume. We had a great event for her in hardcover, and Anne turned out to be a huge fan. It works great as an Irish book and as a dog book, and a number of people have compared the book to a grown-up version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

--Father's Day, by Simon Van Booy. Van Booy's newest is up to three reads in store, and it's a total embarrassment that I am not one of those reads. It's never too late, right? It's inspired by Van Booy's own life (of sorts), in that it is about a young girl who is taken in by her uncle, so in a way it plays upon Van Booy's life a young widower. He's now remarried, by the way, and her family story inspired The Illusion of Separateness. On sale April 25.

Also added is The Light of Paris, by Eleanor Brown because...we always have to have at least one recommendation set in Paris.

Our June/July picks. Think of them as late adds for spring or an early preview for our fall.
--Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson (on sale May 30)
--As Good As Gone, by Larry Watson (pub date June 13)
--Hero of the Empire, by Candice Millard (on sale May 30)
--Miss Jane, by Brad Watson (pub date July 11)
--News of the World, by Paulette Jiles
--They May Not Mean To, But They Do, by Cathleen Schine

We also have a list of events that have reading group suggestions attached.

All, this, plus Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, the author of The Nest. Pick up your pastel yellow book club flier at Boswell, and why not attend our presentation on Saturday, April 15, 2 pm? We have been told it's very entertaining.