Monday, July 8, 2019

Boswell events this week - BA Shapiro (two events!), Mark Hertzberg on Frank Lloyd Wright, Ed Block on Jon Hassler, Bud Selig with Tom Haudricourt, Anne Emerson's Doodle Art and Poetry, Live Through This Tour with Mary Miller, Juliet Escoria, Elizabeth Ellen, Amanda McNeil, Beatriz Williams at the Lynden, Summer School with Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

Summerfest is over and that means a busy week of programming!

Monday, July 8, 2 pm, at Boswell:
6:30 pm at Elm Grove Library, 13600 Juneau Blvd Book Club Presentations, featuring BA Shapiro, author of The Collector’s Apprentice, with recommendations from Daniel Goldin

Boswell presents two presentations featuring book club recommendations from Boswell’s proprietor Daniel Goldin and a fascinating talk by BA Shapiro, author of The Art Forger and The Muralist. At the 6:30 program, Daniel will be joined by Elm Grove Library’s Noah Weckwerth. We'll both be presenting some great options, either for your book club or to read on your own.

Shapiro will talk about her latest, The Collector’s Apprentice, a clever, complex tale of art fraud, scandal, and revenge that opens a window into the mystery and glamour of the art world of Paris in the 1920s. The story is based on the creation of the Barnes Collection, with Edwin Bradley being a fictionalization of Barnes and Pauline Mertens inspired by his assistant, Violette de Mazia. To add to the tension, Shapiro added a flim-flamming art collector - he's already destroyed the reputation of Pauline (now going by the name of Vivienne) - can he con the art world once again under a new identity?

Here's our recommendation from Boswellian Kay Wosewick: "Dive into the rapidly evolving art world of the 1920s with BA Shapiro’s latest book. The Paris art scene is vividly drawn with the likes of Henri Matisse and Gertrude Stein. Better yet, complex ideas about influences and confluences within the remarkable Post-Impressionist art world are folded seamlessly into the dialogue. You’ll be swept into a quiet tale of intrigue starring a rather traumatized young lady from Europe, a savvy con artist from America, and a wealthy American amassing a huge collection of contemporary European art. The story will take you for a couple of unexpected spins before letting you go well satisfied."

Tuesday, July 9, 6 pm, Central Library Krug Rare Books Room, 814 W Wisconsin Ave Mark Hertzberg, author of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Penwern: A Summer Estate

Hertzberg, former Director of Photography of Racine Journal Times, documents one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s lesser known but no less beautiful summer estates. This noted photojournalist also serves on the board of directors of the Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin Tourism Heritage Program.

Frank Lloyd Wright is best known for his urban and suburban houses. Lesser known are the more than 40 summer ‘cottages’ he designed in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario, many with a rustic feel and are not as easily recognized as Wright’s prolific year-round domestic designs. Among them is a stunning estate on Delavan Lake in southern Wisconsin called Penwern.

Commissioned by Chicago capitalist Fred B. Jones around 1900, Penwern has received both national and state recognition. The home’s current stewards have dedicated themselves to restoring the estate to Wright’s vision, ensuring its future. With beautiful color photographs, plus vintage black and white pictures and original Wright drawings, Hertzberg transports readers back to the glory days of gracious living and entertaining on the lake.

Listen to Hertzberg discuss Frank Lloyd Wright's Penwern on Wisconsin Public Radio's Central Time.

Wednesday, July 10, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Ed Block, author of Jon Hassler: Voice of the Heartland: A Critical Appraisal of his Work

Wisconsin native and Marquette Professor Emeritus discusses the first book-length study of the life and work of Jon Hassler, author of Staggerford and North of Hope, considered one Minnesota’s most beloved writers in the twentieth century.

Block offers a biographical sketch that recounts Jon Hassler's Catholic education and career as a teacher in a succession of towns in central Minnesota. He also focuses on the novels and short stories Hassler crafted from experiences and his own fertile imagination as well as stories based on the personal relationships he nurtured, sustained, and sometimes lost over time.

Hassler’s small-town roots and the sensitivity he developed as a teacher to the aspirations and frustrations of youth both contribute to his gently satiric but deeply humane renderings of middle American life. Block invited Hassler to read at Marquette, and the two corresponded for years.

Thursday, July 11, 7 pm, at Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts at 19805 W Capitol Dr:
Bud Selig, author of For the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League Baseball, in conversation with Tom Haudricourt

Boswell Book Company, Oconomowoc’s Books and Company, and the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts present Bud Selig, longtime Commissioner of Major League Baseball, to discuss his new book, which provides an unprecedented look inside professional baseball today.

Registration is free at VIP tickets, which include a copy of For the Good of the Game and entry to the signing line after the talk, cost $28.99 plus tax and ticket fee are also available.

From Jim Higgins at the Journal Sentinel: "Die-hard Milwaukee baseball fans already know the shape of Selig's life. Born in Milwaukee, he became a passionate Milwaukee Braves fan, fought unsuccessfully to keep that team in town before ownership moved it to Atlanta, then led the campaign that brought baseball back to Milwaukee in the form of the Brewers. After the owners pushed Fay Vincent out, Selig became the de facto king of baseball in the hours between Robin Yount's 2,999th and 3,000th hits. He was in charge of MLB for 8,174 days, 'and very few of them were smooth days,' he points out."

We are getting fascinating questions about this event. Is it the same talk he would have given before the book came out? No, it's a conversation with Tom Haudricourt, acclaimed Journal Sentinel sportswriter. Is there much about Washington High School in the book? No, I guess that's for another memoir. He really focuses on his time in baseball.

Also on Thursday, July 11, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Anne Emerson, author of Doodle Love

Milwaukee native and Edgewood Orchard Galleries founder Anne Emerson comes to Boswell to celebrate the joy and love that dogs can bring into our lives with her debut picture book. We should note that Emerson didn't just grow up in Milwaukee, but just blocks away from the store. She went on to open Edgewood Orchard Galleries in 1969 with her mother, and it is now one of the most acclaimed galleries in the state. She also runs a very popular literary program, Write On, in Door County. Anne received the Wisconsin Governor’s Award for her work promoting the arts in education.

Doodle Love tells a tale in rhyme about Stella and Tiller, two Australian Labradoodles who are best friends. Emerson explores the many breeds of dogs most commonly bred with poodles to get doodles. Her book explores the joy and love dogs can bring into our lives, portraying them in rich watercolor paintings. Note that this is positioned as a kids book, and while we do expect to have some kids at the event, this talk is targeted to adults, notably Doodle Lovers.

Sharon Auberle, former Door County Poet Laureate, says “Emerson’s happy-go-lucky text combines brilliantly with Molly Johnson’s endearing paintings in this delightful tale. Stella and Tiller will capture your heart as they dance through their day, and the pure joy of life with these Doodles will have you smiling on every page. And, quite possibly, long after!”

Updated info: Mary Miller has had to bow out of Saturday's group reading.

Saturday, July 13, 6 pm, at Boswell:
Mary Miller, author of Biloxi, Juliet Escoria, author of Juliet the Maniac, Elizabeth Ellen, author of Saul Stories, and Amanda McNeil

For this event, I think of Amanda McNeil as our cohost, a Milwaukee-based writer whose work has appeared in The Fix, Hobart, and Witch Craft Magazine. While the Live Through This tour is making several stops, McNeil is only joining the gang for this leg.

Mary Miller, also the author of The Last Days of California and two story collections, is a former James A Michener Fellow in Fiction and John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Her latest is Biloxi, which transports readers to this delightfully wry, unapologetic corner of the south - Biloxi, Mississippi - to tell a tender, gritty tale of middle age and the unexpected turns a life can take. Earning starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, and with, as Joyce Carol Oates writes for New York Review of Books, her “sociologist’s eye for the mundane and revealing,” Biloxi confirms Miller’s position as one of our most gifted, perceptive writers.

Juliet Escoria is the author of the poetry collection Witch Hunt and the story collection Black Cloud. Juliet the Maniac, voted by Bustle and Nylon as a most anticipated novel of 2019, is a portrait of a young teenager’s fight toward understanding and recovering from mental illness. Escoria’s work is shockingly honest, funny, and heartfelt as it brilliantly captures the intimate triumph of a girl’s struggle to become the woman she knows she can be. She's definitely featured in Chris's corner.

Elizabeth Ellen’s Saul Stories is the collection which includes her Pushcart Prize-winning story “Teen Culture,” first published in American Short Fiction. It’s a linked collection that explores the relationships between a forty-year-old female artist, her teenaged daughter, and her daughter's friends that wonders what it means to be a woman, an artist, and a mother, all at once. As Scott McClanahan, author of Crapalachia, says, Elizabeth Ellen is, “simply one of the best writers alive.” McClanahan is also a fan of Escoria, by the way.

Saturday evenings in summer? Seems like a tricky time to schedule a reading. But when we were told that there was some slight flexibility but it would then not include Mary Miller, this seemed the only way to schedule. I so enjoyed Biloxi, which reminded me of classic Algonquin writers like Jill McCorkle and Clyde Edgerton.

Sunday, July 14, 2 pm reception, 2:30 pm talk, at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd:
Beatriz Williams, author of The Golden Hour

The Lynden Sculpture Garden’s Women’s Speakers Series presents an afternoon with Beatriz Williams, author of nine historical novels such as The Summer Wives and A Hundred Summers, with her latest, an epic of espionage, love, and sacrifice, set against a shocking true crime and the rise and fall of a legendary royal couple. The Women's Speaker Series loves to feature writers with an interesting backstory - did you know that Williams received an MBA from Columbia University and spent several years as a corporate consultant?

Tickets cost $31, $26 members and include an autographed copy of The Golden Hour, light refreshments, and admission to the sculpture garden; come early to stroll the grounds! Purchase online, at, or by phone, at (414) 446-8794. Please note that after Friday, you can only register by phone. This event produced by Milwaukee Reads.

Williams's latest novel is about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and like many historical novels, she uses an everyday woman (fictional) to offer perspective. The result is a top-notch historical, with romance and thrills to boot.

From the starred Booklist: "When journalist Lulu Randolph arrives in Nassau in 1941 and gains the favor of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, she quickly learns that beneath the surface of the Windsors' court in this tropical paradise - where the duke is serving as governor - lies a quagmire of espionage, scurrilous financial dealings, and possible treason. Lulu also finds herself swept into a romance with the charming Benedict Thorpe, a British scientist who she realizes is involved in dealings considerably more serious than botany, which lead to his mysterious disappearance...Williams' latest is moving, well-researched, and compulsively readable to the very last page."

We've been working on trying to host Beatriz Williams for a year and a half, after several of us heard her speak at a bookseller conference. She also did a Skype conversation with a Lynden-affiliated book club and everyone was delighted. I think you too will be delighted by this event.

Preview - Monday, July 15, 7 pm, at Boswell: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, author of The Ideas that Made America: A Brief History

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti and Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches US intellectual and cultural history. In her talk, based on her new book, Ratner-Rosenhagen will show how ideas have been major forces in American history, driving movements such as transcendentalism, Social Darwinism, conservatism, and postmodernism.

Long before the United States was a nation, it was a set of ideas, projected onto the New World by European explorers with centuries of belief and thought in tow. From this foundation of expectation and experience, America and American thought grew in turn, enriched by the bounties of the Enlightenment, the philosophies of liberty and individuality, the tenets of religion, and the doctrines of republicanism and democracy. Spanning a variety of disciplines, from religion, philosophy, and political thought, to cultural criticism, social theory, and the arts, this introduction to American thought considers how notions about freedom and belonging, the market and morality, and even truth, have commanded generations of Americans and been the cause of fierce debate.

I call this our summer school series. Hope you'll come out for a little Osher-style educating in the evening. Please note, however, that I have not gotten permission from Osher to make this comparison. But you know what I mean.

More event into here.

Photo credits:
--BA Shapiro credit Lynn Wayne
--Bud Selig credit Scott Paulus
--Juliet Escoria credit Saja Montague
--Mary Miller credit Tanya Sazanski

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