Monday, July 16, 2018

Boswell Bugle-Milwaukeean Update: Tara Bogart, Ottessa Moshfegh, Richard Ratay, Thomas Frank, Tayari Jones, Anna-Lisa Cox, Dan Kaufman

Boswell Bugle-Milwaukeean Update: Tara Bogart, Ottessa Moshfegh, Richard Ratay, Thomas Frank, Tayari Jones, Anna-Lisa Cox, Dan Kaufman

Tuesday, July 17, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Tara Bogart, author of A Modern Hair Study

Photographer and Milwaukee native Tara Bogart, whose work was featured in May 2017 at Lawrence University’s Hoffmaster Gallery, visits Boswell with her book of portraits featuring young women photographed from behind that allow the viewer to contemplate details that make each woman an individual.

In 2011, during a visit to Paris' Bibliothèque nationale, Tara Bogart saw the photograph Marie Laurent (1865) by Nadar and was immediately intrigued. The photograph, taken from behind, was of a young woman whose hair was held up by an ornate clip. Bogart couldn’t stop thinking about what that image would look like today. Five months later, she began the series that became A Modern Hair Study.

"While certain ideals are often relevant to different generations,” Bogart says, “the ways in which women adorn and modify themselves often indicate the struggles of a young adult with their own ideology and individuality. After photographing these young women, I can imagine these struggles are timeless."

Tara Bogart has exhibited work at the The Portrait Society Gallery and The Charles Allis Art Museum in Milwaukee, and Hous Projects and Aperture in New York. Her work is in the J. Crew Art Collection and the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris.

Wedenesday, July 18, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Ottessa Moshfegh, author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, in conversation with Wisconsin Public Radio's Doug Gordon

Boswell and Wisconsin Public Radio present PEN/Hemingway Award winning author Ottessa Moshfegh in conversation with WPR’s Doug Gordon. Moshfegh’s new novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, is the shocking, tender story of a woman’s efforts to sustain a state of deep hibernation over the course of a year on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Here's Chris Lee from Boswell with his recommendation of My Year of Rest and Relaxation: "A woman can give the whole world the finger just as well as any Angry Young Man™. Summer, 2000, NYC, a brand new century full of glossy optimism. On the Upper East Side, though, one woman wants nothing to do with it. Beautiful, blonde, educated, and rich with inheritance money, she's loathe to go outside and wants only to watch her Whoopie Goldberg tapes, self-medicate, and sleep. It's a book about detachment, alienation, grief, anger, heritage, and surviving by any means what should be a life of privilege and means. Oh, yeah, and it's amazing. Moshfegh's writing feels, to me, maybe a little reminiscent of the cool, detached ache of early Bret Easton Ellis, but that's just a touchstone - her voice is all her own, raw, flip, tender, cruel, and just barely a little, tiny bit hopeful all at once."

Walton Mayumba offers his take in the Los Angeles Times: "With our faces and fingers buried in screens, the narrator’s project would be harder to pull off in 2018. I suspect, however, that if I tuned out, logged off and spent more hours deeply asleep, I might gain renewed clarity, insights similar to the narrator’s unfussy, lucid realizations upon awakening from her final detoxifying rest. Moshfegh’s strange and captivating novel suggests that sleep may be the only thing we humans have for recharging our souls and reawakening our sensibilities in the discovery and creation of beauty."

Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from New England. Eileen, her first novel, was shortlisted for the NBCC Award and the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. She is also the author of Homesick for Another World and McGlue, a novella. Her stories have been published in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Granta, and have earned her a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, the Plimpton Discovery Prize, and an NEA grant.

Thursday, July 19, 6:30 pm, at Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N Murray Ave:
Thomas Frank, author of Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society

Thomas Frank, the acclaimed political analyist, historian, journalist, and author of Listen, Liberal! and What’s the Matter with Kansas? offers this scathing collection of commentary on our cruel times. Cohosted by Shorewood Public Library and Boswell Book Company, who will be on hand to sell copies of Frank’s books.

What does a middle-class democracy look like when it comes apart? After forty years of economic triumph, are America’s winners convinced they owe nothing to the rest of the country? With his sharp eye for detail, Frank takes us on a wide-ranging tour through America, showing us a society in the late stages of disintegration and describing the worlds of both the winners and the losers, sprawling mansion districts juxtaposed against fast-food lives.

From the starred Publishers Weekly review: "He attacks many juicy targets, including the callous interpersonal psychology of rich people; the faux-folksiness of fast-food restaurants that pay starvation wages; journalism’s plunge, led by conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart, into fake news and mindless caricature; the defunding of the humanities at universities and academics’ defense of those fields as incubators of business acumen; reactions to Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln that lionized its depiction of political corruption as bipartisan 'compromise' to which real-life politicians should aspire; and the George W. Bush Presidential Library’s efforts to gloss over war, Hurricane Katrina, and economic collapse...'"

Thomas Frank is a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and Harper's, the founding editor of The Baffler, and the author of Pity the Billionaire and The Wrecking Crew. He writes regularly for The Guardian.

Thursday, July 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Richard Ratay, author of Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip

Richard Ratay road trips to Boswell from his home in Menomonee Falls to reminisce about the golden age of family road trips, a halcyon era that culminated in the latter part of the twentieth century, before portable DVD players, iPods, and Google Maps.

Part pop history and part whimsical memoir in the spirit of National Lampoon's Vacation, Don’t Make Me Pull Over! is a rousing ride-along through the days when families didn’t so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and Ratay experienced them all, from noogie-happy older brothers and disappointing souvenir situations to dealing with a dad who didn’t believe in bathroom breaks.

Here's a recommendation of Don't Make Me Pull Over from Boswell's Kay Wosewick: "Unlike author Richard Ratay’s father, my dad was the quiet type. When my brother and I fought in the car, my dad would slam on the brakes and bring the car very quickly to a full stop no matter what kind of road we were on (often it was Route 66; since we never were rear-ended, I assume he checked the rear-view mirror first). Other than that, Ratay’s memories of his childhood vacations in large, lumbering automobiles align very closely with mine. If you traveled in cars for days, even weeks at a time with your family when you were young, this book is bound to bring back fond, funny, frustrating, and maybe even fearful-in-hindsight memories - it certainly did for me."

Richard Ratay was the last of four kids raised by two mostly attentive parents in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism and has worked as an award-winning advertising copywriter for twenty-five years. Ratay lives in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, with his wife, sons, and two excitable rescue dogs.

Friday, July 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage, in conversation with Jim Higgins, Book Editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Please register for this event here - we're near capacity.

Join us for an evening with bestselling author Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage and Silver Sparrow. Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined.

From Tori Latham at The Atlantic: "It is this sort of intimacy that Tayari Jones so searchingly explores in her new novel, An American Marriage, which follows the wrongful imprisonment of a young black man named Roy, and its impact on him and on his new wife Celestial. Jones shifts from the first-person narration provided by these two protagonists to letters they send each other while Roy is in prison. She then returns to their firsthand accounts, adding in a third narrator - Andre, a childhood friend of Celestial’s and a college friend of Roy’s. The variation in these perspectives serves an important purpose: It offers up myriad means of understanding the novel’s complicated central relationship, and lets every character speak for themselves, giving each an opportunity to capture the reader’s allegiance."

This event is free and is likely to be at capacity. Please register at Attendees who register will get early entry if we reach or come close to capacity, priority on the signing line, and a 20% discount on An American Marriage on the night of the event.

Monday, July 23, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Anna-Lisa Cox, author of The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America's Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality

Anna-Lisa Cox appears at Boswell with her breakout history of the long-hidden stories of America's black pioneers, the frontier they settled, and their fight for the heart of the nation. This groundbreaking work reveals America's Northwest Territory - the wild region that would become present-day Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

When black settlers Keziah and Charles Grier started clearing their frontier land in 1818, they were just looking to build a better life, but soon the Griers became early Underground Railroad conductors, joining fellow pioneers to confront the growing tyranny of bondage and injustice. Cox tells the stories of the Griers and others like them: the lost history of the nation's first Great Migration.

Black pioneers made a stand for equality and freedom, and their success made them the targets of racist backlash. Political and armed battles ensued, tearing apart families and communities long before the Civil War. These settlers were inspired by the belief that all men are created equal and a brighter future was possible.

Anna-Lisa Cox is an award-winning historian and author of A Stronger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith. Currently a fellow at Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, she helped create two exhibits based on original research at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, including one on black pioneers.

Tuesday, July 24, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Dan Kaufman, author of The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics

Wisconsin native Dan Kaufman chronicles one of the most dramatic political upheavals in the country. The Fall of Wisconsin is a searing account of how the state’s progressive tradition was undone and turned into a model for national conservatives.

For more than a century, Wisconsin has been known for its progressive ideas and government. It famously served as a "laboratory of democracy," a cradle of the labor and environmental movements, and birthplace of the Wisconsin Idea, championing expertise in service of the common good. But following a Republican sweep of the state’s government in 2010, the state went red for the first time in three decades in the 2016 presidential election.

Laws protecting voting rights, labor unions, the environment, and public education have been rapidly dismantled. The Fall of Wisconsin is a deeply reported, neither sentimental nor despairing, account of the remarkable efforts of citizens fighting to reclaim Wisconsin’s progressive legacy against tremendous odds.

Originally from Wisconsin, Dan Kaufman has written for The New York Times and The New Yorker. Can't make our event? Dan Kaufman will be at Books and Company in Oconomowoc on Wednesday, July 25, 2 pm. More here.

Our most-updated events schedule is at

No comments: