Sunday, April 8, 2018

Author alert: Kwame Alexander, Susan Meissner, Emily St. John Mandel, Lora Hyler, Rebecca L. Brown, Dorothy Marcic

Monday, April 9, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Kwame Alexander, author of Rebound, accompanied by musician Randy Preston

We'll take registrations until 2 pm at or until we reach capacity. If we reach capacity, priority will be given to folks who have pre-registered. If you haven’t seen Alexander perform before, be prepared to be blown away. Note that Alexander’s latest novel is recommended to readers ten and up.

Before Josh and Jordan Bell, the heroes of The Crossover, were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz-music-worshiping basketball star his sons look up to. Rebound goes back in time to one pivotal summer when young Charlie is sent to stay with his grandparents where he discovers basketball and learns more about his family's past.

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the bestselling author of 24 books, including Booked, Out of Wonder, and the YA novel Solo. Alexander is the host of the literary variety/talk show, Bookish, which airs on Facebook Watch.

Monday, April 9, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30 talk, at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd in River Hills:
A ticketed event with Susan Meissner, author of As Bright as Heaven

The Women’s Speaker Series, produced by Milwaukee Reads, presents Susan Meissner, the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean. Meissner's new novel, set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, features a family reborn through loss and love. Tickets for this event are $30, $25 for members, and include admission to the event, refreshments from MKE Localicious, and a copy of As Bright as Heaven. 

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters - Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa - a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without, and what they are willing to do about it.

Tuesday, April 10, 10 am and 7:00 pm, at Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N Murray Ave:
Shorewood Reads presents Emily St John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, in conversation with Lauren Fox (10 am) and Daniel Goldin (7 pm)

Shorewood Reads is a season-long celebration of literature, focusing on Station Eleven, which chronicles the exploits of a traveling Shakespearean theatre troupe and a ragtag orchestra attempting to bring culture and hope to small communities that have survived a horrendous flu pandemic. The novel was a National Book Award finalist, PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, and winner of the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Book Award.

Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end. Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. When they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band's existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.

Emily St. John Mandel was born in British Columbia. In addition to her four novels, she has written for The Millions, and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2013 and Venice Noir.

Thursday, April 12, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Lora Hyler, author of The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes

In this first novel for kids eight and up, the seventh graders of Windsor Middle School are excited to start the new school year in their Advanced Science classroom. They'll work on CRISPR-Cas9, a new gene editing technology that is exciting scientists the world over.

But Marty's got a secret. His grandmother had superpowers - she aided Martin Luther King, Jr. among others - and now he’s starting to develop them too. Despite a promise to his grandmother to keep his powers in check, he starts testing his powers with his best friend Christopher. Then, Marty begins falling for Aisha, the cute curly-haired girl in his advanced science classroom, who has a superpower of her own.

But problems are afoot. There’s a high-tech drone hovering around the neighborhood, piloted by international goons. They awaken the annoying school bully, Wade, to his own superpowers and convince him to steal valuable CRISPR-Cas9 data. Marty, Christopher, and Aisha band together to stop the theft of the technology at their beloved International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Who will win? International goons or the superhero team of Advanced Science 303?

Glendale-based Lora Hyler is a former radio news journalist, and corporate communications manager. She owns Hyler Communications, a public relations and marketing firm founded in 2001.

Friday, April 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Rebecca L. Brown, author of Flying at Night

While she was growing up, Piper’s father, Lance ‘the Silver Eagle’ Whitman, became a national hero piloting a plane through an emergency landing. But at home, he was a controlling and overbearing presence in her life, raining emotional and verbal abuse upon the entire family. It’s no surprise, then, that as an adult, Piper has poured all of her energy into creating a warm and loving home for her own family, while catering to her son Fred’s ever-growing idiosyncrasies.

Then Lance has a heart attack, leaving him with a brain injury - and dependent upon Piper for his care - just before tests confirm Piper’s suspicions that Fred is on the autism spectrum.

Flying at Night gives voice to Fred, trying to find his place in a world that doesn’t quite understand him; to Lance, who’s lost what made him the man he was, for better and worse; and to Piper, while desperately trying to navigate the shifting landscape around her, watches as her son and father start to connect.

Former Milwaukeean Rebecca L. Brown lives with her family in Madison. Flying at Night is her first novel, and she is currently at work on her next one.

Monday, April 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Dorothy Marcic, author of With One Shot: Family Murder and a Search for Justice

From noted playwright, theatrical producer, and Waukesha native Dorothy Marcic comes a true crime story from her own life. The victim’s lonely widow confessed to the coldblooded murder. But Marcic suspected a more sinister tale at the heart of her beloved uncle’s violent death.

The brutal murder of LaVerne Stordock, a respected family man and former police detective, shocked his Wisconsin community. On the surface, the case seemed closed with the confession of Stordock’s wife, Suzanne. But the trail of secrets and lies that began with his death did not end with his widow’s insanity plea.In 2014, Marcic embarked on a two-year mission to uncover the truth. In the bestselling tradition of Ann Rule and M. William Phelps, With One Shot tells a tale of unmet justice and the truth behind a shocking family tragedy.

Dorothy Marcic is a playwright and theatrical producer whose productions include SISTAS, which has been running Off Broadway for six years. An adjunct professor at Columbia University, Marcic was formerly a Fulbright Scholar at University of Economics in Prague and a professor at Vanderbilt University. Her other books include Understanding Management and Respect: Women and Popular Music.

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