Monday, December 4, 2017

Events this week: the wonders of anesthesiology, Mexican Wisconsinites, North Woods canoe journals, saving the books in World War II, a holiday party with Elizabeth Berg

Here's what's going on this week with Boswell:

Tuesday, December 5, 12 pm, at Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 W Watertown Plank Rd, Room M2050:
Henry Jay Przybylo, author of Counting Backwards: A Doctor's Notes on Anesthesia.

The MCW Medical Humanities Program in the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the Medical College of Wisconsin presents a special lunchtime talk from anesthesiologist Henry Jay Przybylo, author of new book praised by Kirkus Reviews as "a fascinating tour of a mystifying, unnerving, yet precious medical necessity."

Henry Jay Przybylo, MD is an associate professor of anesthesiology at Northwestern University School of Medicine. He has administered anesthesia more than 30,000 times in his career. As he also has an MFA in creative writing from Goucher College, he's the perfect person to write about one of the most extraordinary, unexplored corners of the medical world.

For many of the 40 million Americans who undergo anesthesia each year, it is the source of great fear and fascination. From the famous first demonstration of anesthesia in the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1846 to today's routine procedure that controls anxiety, memory formation, pain relief, and more, anesthesia has come a long way. In Counting Backwards, Przybylo delivers an unforgettable account of the procedure's daily dramas and fundamental mysteries.

Want to know why we can't eat before anesthesia? Listen to Przybylo talk to Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air.

Please note: This event is free and open to the public. Check with the lobby receptionist for directions to Room M2050. Complimentary parking is available at the lot on the east side of 87 St.

Tuesday, December 5, 6 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library Mitchell St Branch, 906 W Historic Mitchell St:
Sergio M. González, author of Mexicans in Wisconsin.

Sergio M. González is a doctoral candidate in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of History with research interests in American labor, immigration, and working class history. His research investigates Milwaukee's Latino community throughout the twentieth century, focusing on the role of religion in creating interethnic and intraethnic communities, organizations, and social justice movements.

From agricultural and factory workers to renowned writers and musicians, the Mexican immigrants who have made their homes in Wisconsin over the past century have become a significant and diverse part of this state's cultural and economic history. Coming from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, the earliest Mexican immigrants traveled north in search of better economic opportunities and relief from the violence and economic turmoil of the Mexican Revolution.

As Mexican immigration has grown to the present day, these families have become integral members of Wisconsin communities, building businesses, support systems, and religious institutions. But their experience has also been riddled with challenges, as they have fought for adequate working conditions, access to education, and acceptance amid widespread prejudice. In this concise history, learn the fascinating stories of this vibrant and resilient immigrant population.

Listen to González talk to Jan Miyasaki on Madison's WORT radio.

Wednesday, December 6, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Martha Greene Phillips, author of Border Country: Northwoods Canoe Journals of Howard Greene, 1906-1916.

Decades before Sigurd Olson or Calvin Rutstrum began documenting the wild life of the upper Midwest, Howard Greene's journals opened a window into a world at once familiar and strange, the wilderness caught on the verge of becoming the North Woods we know today. Introduced and annotated by Greene's daughter, Madison-area resident Martha Greene Phillips, these journals offer a keen eye for detail and an abiding interest in the natural world.

It all started in 1906, when this Milwaukee businessman set out with his young sons and some friends to canoe and camp in the north woods of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Canada. Howard Greene and his friends made numerous journeys over the years, each detailed in remarkable, handmade journals and documented in hundreds of large-format photographs. Reproduced here with a large selection of photographs and maps, these journals convey readers into a riverine world of outdoor adventure - a northland wilderness and way of life that were, even as Howard Greene charted their genuine charms, already vanishing.

Gerard Helferich writes in The Wall Street Journal: "What the journals lack in literary flair they make up for in immediacy, transporting us to a time when canoes were fashioned of wood, tents were sewn from canvas and human beings were innocent of world war. Greene manages to do what every writer hopes to achieve—to hook us with his narrative, introduce us to a vicarious world and make us care about his characters. Immersed in Greene’s loving detail, we take a seat around the campfire."

Thursday, December 7, 7 pm, at Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N Santa Monica Blvd:
David E. Fishman, author of The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis.

The Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center's Tapestry program presents David E. Fishman, who teaches at New York's Jewish Theological Seminary. This event is cosponsored by Boswell and The Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center.

The Book Smugglers is the nearly unbelievable story of ghetto residents who rescued thousands of rare books and manuscripts - first from the Nazis and then from the Soviets - by hiding them on their bodies, burying them in bunkers, and smuggling them across borders. It is a tale of heroism and resistance, of friendship and romance, and of unwavering devotion - including the readiness to risk one's life - to literature and art. And it is entirely true.

Based on Jewish, German, and Soviet documents, including diaries, letters, memoirs, and the author's interviews with several of the story's participants, The Book Smugglers chronicles the daring activities of a group of poets turned partisans and scholars turned smugglers in Vilna, called The Jerusalem of Lithuania.

From James MacGowan in The Toronto Star: 'The Nazis,' Fishman explains in The Book Smugglers, 'sought not only to murder the Jews but also to obliterate their culture.' They also wanted to prove the depravity of the Jewish race, which involved collating thousands of rare Jewish books and documents and shipping them off to Germany, where they would be catalogued and analyzed."

Friday, December 8, 7 pm, at Boswell:
A Holiday Party with Elizabeth Berg, author of The Story of Arthur Truluv.

Join us for a Holiday party celebration with bestselling novelist and founder of the Writing Matters reading series Elizabeth Berg. Festive refreshments, including cosponsor Beans and Barley's favorite holiday cookies and Boswell's favorite, mini poppyseed cupcakes. Bring your favorite beverage from one of the area coffee shops.

The Story of Arthur Truluv is a moving novel about three people who have lost the person they love most, and must find their way back to happiness. Arthur, a widower, meets Maddy, an angry and friendless teenage girl, while visiting his late wife at the cemetery, where he goes every day for lunch. Against all odds, the two strike up a friendship that pulls them out of a serious rut. They band together with Arthur's nosy neighbor Lucille, to create lives that are truly worth living.

From Patty Rhule at USA Today: "Truluv is a novel for these contentious times. We could all use a bit of Arthur's ego-free understanding and forgiveness of fellow human beings. When the inevitable happens in this heartwarming novel, good luck convincing yourself that the lump in your throat is just a sympathy response to one of Gordon’s hairballs."

Join us for this special event with a beloved author!

Sunday, December 10, 4 to 8 pm, at Boswell:
It's the annual Maryland Avenue Montessori school fundraiser and pajama party!

Join us for an evening of Holiday book fun! During this time, shoppers will have the ability to purchase some great holiday books, all while helping out the Maryland Ave Montessori School. A portion of designated proceeds (in lieu of Boswell Benefits) will be donated back for school classroom use. If you are a school that would like to host an event like this in the future, contact me at

More upcoming events on the Boswell website.

Photo credits!
Henry Jay Przybylo: Barb Levant
Elizabeth Berg: Teresa Crawford

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