Monday, July 29, 2019

Events this week - Jazz history with Joey Grihalva and Adekola Adedapo, Lee Zacharias's Great Lakes novel, David Pederson's new mystery, Casey Cep's on the Harper Lee true crime book, Ben L Califf, Claire Lombardo next week

Monday, July 29, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Joey Grihalva, author of Milwaukee Jazz

Milwaukee music and cultural critic Joey Grihalva takes us on a jazz odyssey through his hometown, illuminating the histories and influence of local luminaries. This special evening will also feature songs performed by Milwaukee singer and author of the book’s foreword, Adekola Adedapo.

From Dave Luhrssen in Shepherd Express: "Milwaukee Jazz displays the surprisingly rich history of jazz in our city through an array of black and white photographs from the 1920s through the present. Author Joey Grihalva gathered photos of most of the prominent jazz performers with ties to the city, and drops in a few shots of national artists who played the Jazz Gallery in its original 1970s incarnation."

From the heyday of the 1940s and 1950s to the renaissance of the 1970s, from the streets to the classrooms, grand ballrooms to outdoor festivals, from swing to bebop, smoky bars to dimly lit clubs like the Flame, Thelma's Back Door, and the Jazz Gallery, Grihalva chronicles how Milwaukee has been a hotbed of improvised music, providing a noteworthy contribution to the story of jazz in America.

Joey Grihalva is a Milwaukee writer whose work has appeared in Urban Milwaukee and he is a feature writer for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. A Milwaukee native, Grihalva holds degrees from University of Minnesota and Concordia University Montreal. Adekola Adedapo is a vocalist based in Milwaukee and Coordinator of Multicultural Programs at Alverno College.

Tuesday, July 30, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Lee Zacharias, author of Across the Great Lake

Midwestern native Lee Zacharias presents her 2019 Michigan Notable Book, the story of a daughter and her father’s journey across Lake Michigan and a secret almost seventy years old.

Zacharias’s historical novel recounts the memories of Fern Halvorson, now in her eighty-fifth year, who tells the story of a childhood journey across Lake Michigan and the secret she has kept since that ill-fated voyage on a huge and powerful ship. This book was the Book Preview event for this week's Shepherd Express.

As his wife lies dying in the brutally cold winter of 1936, Henrik Halvorsen takes his daughter Fern away with him. He captains a great coal-fired vessel, the Manitou, transporting railroad cars across the icy lake. The five-year-old girl revels in the freedom of the ferry, making friends with a stowaway cat and a gentle young deckhand. The sighting of a ghost ship, though, presages danger for all aboard.

Wednesday, July 31, 7 pm, at Boswell:
David S Pederson, author of Death Takes a Bow

Wisconsin author David S Pederson returns to Boswell with the fourth installment of his mystery series starring Detective Heath Barrington. Death Checks In, his previous book in this series, is a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Finalist.

Alan Keyes takes a break from his police duties to scratch his acting itch in a local stage production. But the leading man is murdered during the opening night performance, and Alan’s partner, Detective Heath Barrington, is thrust into the limelight to find the killer. Alan soon learns the theater has a deadly past and ghostly forebodings, including a telegram that seems to have come from the beyond.

Among the large cast of suspects is Oliver Crane, the director whose finances depend on the success of this play, Jazz Monroe, Milwaukee’s sweetheart with a secret, and the handsome actor Henry Hawthorne, who has designs on Alan. When Alan seems to return Henry’s attentions, Heath must put his jealousy and insecurities aside to determine what’s real, what’s illusion, and who’s acting and who’s telling the truth before death takes a bow.

David S Pederson is the Wisconsin author of the Detective Heath Barrington mystery novels, including the 2019 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Death Checks In. Here's a great review of Death Checks In on the The Novel Approach website.

Thursday, August 1, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Casey Cep, author of Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Harper Lee biographer and true crime writer Casey Cep visits Boswell. Cep’s New York Times bestseller delves deeper than ever before into Lee’s life after Mockingbird and reveals never before seen research and information about the author’s struggles with writing, drinking, and her decades long fascination with accused murdered Reverend Willie Maxwell.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members in the 1970s who escaped justice until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier.

From Michael Lewis's review in The New York Times Book Review: "By the time I got to the section on Harper Lee, I wanted to know more about her than I’ve ever thought I wanted to know — and I didn’t start the book incurious about her. Furious Hours builds and builds until it collides with the writer who saw the power of Maxwell’s story, but for some reason was unable to harness it. It lays bare the inner life of a woman who had a world-class gift for hiding."

Can't attend our event? Cep will be at Room of One's Own in Madison on the evening of July 31 and at Book Stall in Winneta on the evening of August 1.

Thursday, August 1, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Ben L Callif, author of Organumics: An Epigenetic Re-Framing of Consciousness, Life, and Evolution

Milwaukee-based philosopher and scientist Callif appears with his book, which asks, where does consciousness fit into biology, how did life evolve, and what makes us human?

Epigenetics (‘above and beyond genetics’) is an exciting new field that suggests that genetics is not the foundation of inheritance and life. Callif walks us through the history of evolution and modern biology, the basics of genetics and genes, and the complexities of cells and inheritance, and proposes that epigenetics can provide a new perspective on identity, consciousness, and the origins of life itself.

In Organumics, living things are not discrete, isolated units (organisms). Instead, life is an inseparable and interconnected fractal that emerges through the cooperation of self-directed and self-contained individuals - organa. As an organum, we each play a vital role in the direction of evolutionary progress through our thoughts, feelings, and intentions. What we do changes who we are, and who we are influences what our descendants might one day become.

Callif received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Philosophy from Excelsior College, a bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and a master’s degree in Neuroscience from Marquette University. His current work focuses on circadian rhythms, spinal cord injury, and genetic engineering. He produces the YouTube show The Paradox Perspective.

Tuesday, August 6, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had, featuring Book Club Recommendations from Jason Gobble

Boswell hosts a book club summer celebration, featuring a talk by Chicago novelist Claire Lombardo about her sweeping debut novel and book club recommendations our Penguin Random House sales rep Jason Gobble. We've even gathered a few recommendations from the author.

Pulitzer Finalist Rebecca Makkai says, “Everything about this brilliant debut cuts deep: the humor, the wisdom, the pathos. Claire Lombardo writes like she’s been doing it for a hundred years, and like she’s been alive for a thousand.” And the Guardian says, “Outstanding… [the] literary love child of Jonathan Franzen and Anne Tyler.”

Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo’s debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. The Most Fun We Ever Had has been named a most anticipated book of the summer by O Magazine, People, Chicago Tribune, and too many more publications to list.

Joumana Khatib talked to Lombardo for The New York Times about writing the book while working for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless: "You have to approach people from a place of zero judgment and complete empathy. It taught me how to interact with any number of people: Here I was, this young kid in her 20s from the Chicago suburbs, and all of a sudden I’m thrown into trying to help a mother of three with three jobs who didn’t know where her kids would sleep that night."

More on Boswell's Upcoming Events page.

Photo credits:
Casey Cep - Kathryn Schulz
Claire Lombardo - Michael Lionstar

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