Monday, September 24, 2018

Boswell's Eventolution: Robert Shellow with Dean Strang, Kelly O'Connor McNees at Lynden, Tommy Orange with Kimberly Blaeser, Lori Rader-Day with Carole E. Barrowman, Scott Bruce on Hell, John Flanagan at Oak Creek Public Library, William Kent Krueger, Sarah Anne Carter at Milwaukee Art Museum, John Gurda at Centennial Hall, and Hank Green in conversation with Dessa at UWM

Monday, September 24, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Robert Shellow, editor of The Harvest of American Racism: The Political Meaning of Violence in the Summer of 1967, in conversation with Dean Strang

Robert Shellow, who led the team of social scientists researching the root causes of 1967’s violent protests for the Kerner Commision, will be in conversation with Dean Strang, discussing the first publication of the Harvest report after a half-century of being buried for political reasons. This event is cohosted by Wisconsin Justice Initiative.

In response to violent demonstrations that rocked cities across the US, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, commonly known as the Kerner Commission, was formed. The Commission employed social scientists to research the root causes of the disturbances, including the role that law enforcement played. An early draft of the analysis, which uncovered political causes for unrest, was delivered in November of 1967. The team of researchers was fired, and the controversial report remained buried at the LBJ Presidential Library until now.

Robert Shellow was principal social scientist and Research Director for the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Kerner Commission). He later directed the Pilot District Project, an experimental police-community relations program for the Washington, DC, Department of Public Safety.

Dean Strang is a criminal defense lawyer in Madison and author of Worse Than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror and a new book on America’s largest mass trial, to be published by the University of Wisconsin Press this winter.

Monday, September 24, 7:00 PM reception, 7:30 talk, at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd:
Kelly O'Connor McNees, author of Undiscovered Country: A Novel Inspired by the Lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok

Boswell is pleased to cosponsor the Lynden Sculpture Garden’s Women’s Speaker Series, welcoming Kelly O’Connor McNees with her latest novel, Undiscovered Country. This series curated by Milwaukee Reads.

Tickets for this event are $30, $25 for Lynden members, and include admission to the event and sculpture garden, a copy of Undiscovered Country, and light refreshments. For tickets, go to or call (414) 446-8794.

In 1932, reporter Lorena “Hick” Hickok starts each day with a front page byline and finishes it swigging bourbon. But an assignment to write a feature on FDR’s wife Eleanor turns Hick’s independent life on its ear. Soon her work and secret entanglement with the new first lady will take her from New York and Washington to Scotts Run, West Virginia, where impoverished coal miners’ families fear the New Deal’s promised hope will pass them by. Together, Eleanor and Hick imagine how the new town of Arthurdale could change the fate of hundreds of lives.

Undiscovered Country artfully mixes fact and fiction to portray the intense relationship between this unlikely pair. Inspired by the more than three thousand letters Hick and Eleanor exchanged over a span of thirty years, McNees tells this story through Hick’s tough, tender, and unforgettable voice. A remarkable portrait of Depression-era America, this novel tells the poignant story of how a love that was forced to remain hidden nevertheless changed history.

Chicago-based Kelly O’Connor McNees is the author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, The Island of Doves, and In Need of a Good Wife, a finalist for the 2013 Willa Award. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Toast, and Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology.

Tuesday, September 25, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Tommy Orange, author of There There, in conversation with UWM’s Kimberly Blaeser

We're thrilled to welcome Orange to Boswell, where he'll be in conversation with UWM Professor of English and American Indian Studies Kimberly Blaeser. This event is cosponsored by Electa Quinney Institute. Registration is free, or upgrade to a book-with-ticket for only $22, including tax, including ticket fee. That's 20% off the price of There There, and we'll guarantee a first edition copy. Tickets are at

From Boswell's Tim McCarthy: "The novel has 12 characters who eventually come together at the Big Oakland Powwow, people so diverse and also deeply intertwined, sometimes in ways they don't even know; but Dene seems central. He's won a project grant to document long ignored stories from Oakland Indians on video, with no director's agenda, just letting the 'content control the vision;' and that's exactly how I see this novel, as the characters' stories, told forcefully. They are often frightening and confusing, but with moments of revelation and clarity and power. They feel true, not crafted to turn out the way you or I would want. The people sometimes survive, sometimes don't, and for some we're not even sure at the end. This book is a brilliantly written, unflinching look at life as it is and the constant battle to find a sense of place."

Tommy Orange is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angels Camp, California. Kimberly Blaeser is a poet, critic, essayist, playwright, and fiction writer, as well as Professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A former Poet Laureate for Wisconsin, she teaches Creative Writing, Native American Literature, and American Nature Writing.

Wednesday, September 26, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Lori Rader-Day, author of Under a Dark Sky, in conversation with Carole Barrowman

Boswell and Crimespree Magazine are happy to cohost Lori Rader-Day for a conversation about her creepy, chaotic new novel with Carole E. Barrowman, novelist book critic, and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Alverno College.

Boswell's Daniel Goldin offers this recommendation: "On the weekend of her anniversary, Eden Wallace heads to a dark park in rural Michigan. Despite her fear of the dark, it seems like a great remember her husband Dix, who had planned this celebration before his untimely death. On arriving, she learns that she’s actually sharing the guest house with six millennials, celebrating their own anniversary, only they seem to be spatting more than celebration. The next morning, one of them is dead, and Eden finds herself both amateur detective and suspect. Even more disturbing, her stay is leading to more disturbing revelations about her husband’s life and death. Under a Dark Sky offers a confessional psychological suspense tone wrapped around a classic locked-room plotline. There are a lot of twists in this compelling story, so you’ll want to pay attention."

Bestselling novelist Jeffery Deaver is also a fan: "A brilliant concept, brilliantly told! Under a Dark Sky is a novel that you simply can’t put down. Populated by living, breathing characters and filled with fresh prose and sharp dialogue, we thrill to spend a harrowing, yet redemptive, get-away with our wonderful protagonist, Eden Wallace. I guarantee this book will resonate with you. Because, let’s face it, aren’t we all afraid of the dark?"

Chicago-based Lori Rader-Day’s debut mystery, The Black Hour, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her second novel, Little Pretty Things, received a starred review from Booklist and was named a 2015 “most arresting crime novel” by Kirkus Reviews. Carole E. Barrowman is Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing Studies at Alverno College, crime fiction columnist for the Journal Sentinel, and coauthor of several books with her brother, including the Hollow Earth series.

Bonus event listing: Thursday, September 27, 6:30 pm, at The Pfister Hotel
Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Here I Am
As part of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation annual campaign kickoff celebration.

Boswell will be there selling books or you can bring yours from home to be signed. Tickets are $18 and include admission and light refreshments. More information on the Federation website.

Thursday, September 27, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Scott G. Bruce, author of The Penguin Book of Hell

Cohosted by Boswell and UWM’s Department of Art History, Fordham Professor of History Scott G. Bruce exhumes 3,000 years of visions of Hell, from the ancient Near East to modern America.

From the Hebrew Bible’s shadowy realm of Sheol to twenty-first-century visions of Hell on earth, The Penguin Book of Hell takes us through three thousand years of eternal damnation. Along the way, you’ll take a ferry ride with Aeneas to Hades, across the river Acheron, meet the Devil as imagined by a twelfth-century Irish monk, a monster with a thousand giant hands, wander the nine circles of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, in which gluttons, liars, heretics, murderers, and hypocrites are made to endure crime-appropriate torture, and witness the debates that raged in Victorian England when new scientific advances cast doubt on the idea of an eternal hereafter.

Drawing upon religious poetry, epics, theological treatises, stories of miracles, and accounts of saints’ lives, this fascinating volume of hellscapes illuminates how Hell has long haunted us, in both life and death.

Scott G. Bruce is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Undead and author of three books about the monks of the abbey of Cluny. He was formerly the director of the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. And yes, he worked his way through college as a grave digger.

Friday, September 28, 6:00 PM, at Oak Creek Public Library, 8040 S Sixth St in Drexel Town Center:
John Flanagan, author of The Red Fox Clan.

Cohosted by Boswell, Australian author of adventure John Flanagan brings the world of Ranger’s Apprentice to Oak Creek Public Library. Please register for this event right here.

The Red Fox Clan continues the story of fan favorite characters Will and Maddie. Picking up where The Royal Ranger: A New Beginning left off, this installment follows young apprentice Maddie and student-turned-master Will Treaty, as the time has come for the next generation to assume the mantle and become protectors of the kingdom of Araluen. This captivating series is perfect for fans of Tolkien, Redwall, and Game of Thrones!

After a successful career in advertising and television, John Flanagan began writing a series of short stories for his son to encourage him to read. Those stories eventually became the Ranger’s Apprentice series, which, along with the companion series Brotherband, have sold millions of copies and made readers of kids the world over.

Saturday, September 29, 3:00 PM, at Boswell:
William Kent Krueger, author of Desolation Mountain.

Boswell and Crimespree Magazine welcome back Edgar award-winning William Kent Krueger for an afternoon of mountaintop mystery and adventure with Desolation Mountain, Krueger’s latest installment in his bestselling Cork O’Conner series.

Here's a recommendation of Desolation Mountain from Boswellian Kay Wosewick: "Where has WK Krueger been all my life?! Cork, the central character in this and many other Krueger books, lives in a small town in northern Minnesota near a large reservation, doing double duty as owner of a burger joint and as a private investigator. A popular, liberal Minnesota Senator is on her way to meet with locals about a controversial mining proposal when her plane goes down on the reservation. Rez occupants, including Cork, are among the first to arrive on the scene to search for survivors, but they are chased away as officials quickly cordon off the crash area. By the next day, the town is besieged by the media as well as a variety of investigative groups, some with obvious affiliations (FBI), but others not readily identifiable. There are no survivors, and pilot error is officially ruled as cause of the crash. Despite the ruling, secretive investigations continue, and soon several of the rez folks who were first to arrive at the crash site disappear. Cork, of course, has his own investigation underway. Great pacing, a venerable setting, puzzling motives, and soulfully crafted characters who I’d love to meet make for fantastic reading, and a firm plan to read the first book in Krueger’s series starring Cork."

And here's Ginny Greene in the Star Tribune: "Krueger’s taut storytelling and intricate plots almost always center on a topic in the news, a compelling hook he’s researched well and has wrapped his tale around. His debut, Iron Lake, dealt with corruption in Indian casinos. In Sulphur Springs, it was the border drug cartels. Windigo Island took on the trafficking of Indian girls along Lake Superior’s boat docks and stretched to the oil fields of North Dakota. Bring on No. 18, Krueger. We’re waiting for our next Cork O’Connor rush."

William Kent Krueger is the award-winning author of 17 Cork O’Connor novels, including Tamarack County and Windigo Island, as well as Ordinary Grace, winner of the 2014 Edgar Award for best novel. He lives in the Twin Cities.

Sunday, September 30, 2:00 PM, at Milwaukee Art Museum's Lubar Auditorium:
Sarah Anne Carter, author of Object Lessons: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Learned to Make Sense of the Material World

Cosponsored by Milwaukee Art Museum, Chipstone Foundation, and Boswell, Sarah Anne Carter takes us from the Museum’s Lubar Auditorium to a nineteenth-century world where ideas were taught with objects. This event is free with Museum admission or membership.

For modern scholars, an "object lesson" is simply a timeworn metaphor used to describe any sort of reasoning from concrete to abstract. Object lessons helped children to learn about the world through their senses, touching and seeing rather than memorizing and repeating. Carter argues that object lessons taught Americans how to comprehend the information in things, from a type-metal fragment to a whalebone sample, and offers the object lesson as a tool for contemporary scholars to interpret the meanings of nineteenth-century material, cultural, and intellectual life.

Sarah Anne Carter is Curator and Director of Research at the Chipstone Foundation. She has published, lectured, and taught courses on material culture, museum practice, and American cultural history. At Chipstone, Carter has collaboratively curated many exhibitions, including Mrs. M. ---- 's Cabinet, and directs Chipstone's Think Tank Program.

Monday, October 1, 6:00 PM, at Milwaukee Public Library’s Loos Room at Centennial Hall, 733 N Eighth St:
John Gurda, author of Milwaukee: A City Built on Water

Milwaukee’s preeminent historian appears with his latest book, expanding upon his popular PBS Milwaukee documentary to relate the mucky history of the waters that gave Milwaukee life. This event is free and open to the public, no registration required.

Gurda explores the city’s complicated connection with its most precious resource and greatest challenge. Generations of people, from a Potawatomi chief to fur traders and fishermen, settled on the small spit of land known as Jones Island. Learn how Milwaukee’s unique water composition creates its distinct cream-colored bricks, visit Wisconsin’s first waterparks, and see how city leaders transformed the Milwaukee River, once described as a “vast sewer” with an “odorous tide,” into today’s lively and lovely Riverwalk.

John Gurda is a Milwaukee-born writer who has been studying his hometown since 1972. He is the author of twenty-one books, including histories of Milwaukee-area neighborhoods, churches, and industries. He is also a photographer, lecturer, and local history columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Gurda is an eight-time winner of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Award of Merit.

Monday, October 1, 7:00 PM, at UWM Student Union Wisconsin Room, 2200 E Kenwood Blvd:
A Ticketed Event with Hank Green, author of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, in conversation with Dessa

Join Hank Green and special guest Dessa on tour in support of Hank's debut novel An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. In this multimedia event, Hank and Dessa will talk about their books, answer audience questions, perform live music, and more. All tickets include an autographed copy of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.

Tickets are available at for $30, including all taxes and fees. ID required for meet and greet. Dessa's new book, My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love, will also be available for sale at the show. Please note there is no public signing for this event. Mr. Green will not be able to personalize, sign memorabilia, or pose for pictures. Note that VIP tickets are sold out for this event.

This is Tim McCarthy's week! Here's his recommendation for An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: "23-year-old April May is walking home on a New York City sidewalk at 3:00 am when she looks up to suddenly find a huge, impressive, armored robot sculpture standing directly in her path. April's a bit jaded by seeing so much in New York that's remarkable, but this is different, strange enough to make her immediately call her irritated friend Andy out to film her with the statue, which she affectionately names Carl.

"Within hours of launching their video, it's clear that Carl's impact will be extraordinary, and April was the first to see him. I love Green's sharp, natural dialog, his clever but nonthreatening use of math and science and music, and how April talks to us directly about her steep, deeply human learning curve. She's openly confused about the allure and cost of instant fame, and about hateful divisions growing from fear. She's equally clear about the ultimate beauty of people who unite against ugliness. This will be a fast, fun, thought provoking read for adults of any age."

Specially priced tickets for UWM Students, Faculty, and Staff are available at the UWM Box Office. ID required. This event is cosponsored by the UWM Student Union and UWM Student Involvement.

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