Wednesday, February 1, 7:00 pm at Boswell
Lesley Kagen, author of The Mutual Admiration Society
FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa Tessie Finley, she’s in over her head. PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.
Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society, as if dealing with the tragic drowning of her beloved father, showering tender loving care on her sweet but weird younger sister, Birdie, and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie Cue Ball Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood, particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to homes. And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life.
Lesley Kagen is an actress, voice-over talent, speaker, and award-winning bestselling author of eight novels, including Whistling in the Dark and The Resurrection of Tess Blessing. Her work has been translated into seven languages. Read more about Kagen on her webpage.
Thursday, February 2, 7:00 pm at Boswell
Lloyd Sachs, author of T Bone Burnett: A Life in Pursuit, with special guest John Sieger (at right)
T Bone Burnett is a unique, astonishingly prolific music producer, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and soundtrack visionary. Renowned as a studio maven with the Midas touch, Burnett is known for lifting artists to their greatest heights, as he did with Raising Sand, the multiple Grammy Award-winning album by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, as well as acclaimed albums by Los Lobos, the Wallflowers, B. B. King, and Elvis Costello. Burnett virtually invented Americana with his hugely successful roots-based soundtrack for the Coen Brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Outspoken in his contempt for the entertainment industry, Burnett has nevertheless received many of its highest honors, including Grammy Awards and an Academy Award.
Read more about the book in this piece in the Chicago Sun-Times.
A nationally known voice on popular culture, Lloyd Sachs has written about pop music and jazz for many publications, including Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, and JazzTimes. He was a longtime music columnist and award-winning editorial writer at the Chicago Sun-Times and a senior editor at No Depression.
John Sieger (at left) has written songs for over twenty artists, including Dwight Yoakam, The Bodeans and Jerry Harrison. Recently John collaborated with guitar phenom, Greg Koch, producing over 70 songs, some of which are found on his latest release, A Walk In The Park and Greg’s disc, Plays Well With Others. Sieger contributes a regular column in Urban Milwaukee called Sieger On Songs, where he gets to rhapsodize about his favorite songs. He also has a monthly segment on WUWM’s Lake Effect called The Monthly Beatdown, featuring him and a guest performing his songs.
Saturday, February 4, 2:00 pm at Boswell
Michael Tisserand, author of Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White, which is shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.
In the tradition of Schulz and Peanuts, an epic and revelatory biography of Krazy Kat creator George Herriman explores the turbulent time and place from which he emerged and the deep secret he explored through his art.
The creator of the greatest comic strip in history finally gets his due in an eye-opening biography that lays bare the truth about his art, his heritage, and his life on America’s color line. A native of nineteenth-century New Orleans, George Herriman came of age as an illustrator, journalist, and cartoonist in the boomtown of Los Angeles and the wild metropolis of New York. Appearing in the biggest newspapers of the early twentieth century, including those owned by William Randolph Hearst, Herriman’s Krazy Kat cartoons quickly propelled him to fame. Although fitfully popular with readers of the period, his work has been widely credited with elevating cartoons from daily amusements to anarchic art.
Drawing on exhaustive original research into Herriman’s family history, interviews with surviving friends and family, and deep analysis of the artist’s work and surviving written records, Tisserand brings this little-understood figure to vivid life, paying homage to a visionary artist who helped shape modern culture.
Michael Tisserand is the author of The Kingdom of Zydeco, which won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music writing, and the Hurricane Katrina memoir Sugarcane Academy. He served as editor of Gambit Weekly, New Orleans’ alternative newsweekly.
Monday, February 6, 7:00 pm at Boswell:
Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her mother's suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance and the subsequent cover-up will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: what if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
We've had no less than four enthusiastic reads on The Mothers, and the book has sparked much conversation among booksellers. Such a great book club discussion book. In fact, Boswells In-store Lit Group is discussiung the book at 6. If you've read the book, you're welcome to joing us, though be aware that we'll be revealing a lot of spoilers at this pre-event.
Here's Alexandra Alter's profile in The New York Times.
Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Jezebel. She is one of the National Book Foundation's 2016 5 Under 35 honorees.
February Top Shelf: Why I Am Not a Feminist
9 hours ago