Monday, July 15, 2019

This week: Historian Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, David Bell's airborn thriller, Linda Godfrey and Tea Krulos talk monsters, Chuck Klosterman and Doug Gordon talk pop culture, Sari Solden and Michelle Frank talk ADHD, South African sister story with Bianca Marais, Carson Vaughan and Larry Watson talk zoo story crisis.

It's time for the I can't seem to get things together to re-set the blog post of weekly events so I'm going to cut and paste the website. I try not to do this too often!

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, author of The Ideas that Made America: A Brief History
Monday, July 15, 7 pm, at Boswell
University of Wisconsin’s Merle Curti Professor of History, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen shows 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.
The Ideas That Made America traces how Americans have addressed the issues and events of their time and place, whether the Civil War, the Great Depression, or the culture wars of today. 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.
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. He holds a PhD from Brandeis University and a BA from University of Rochester.
Why you should come - It's summer school! Don't let your brain atrophy in the heat.

David Bell, author of Layover, in conversation with Erica Ruth Neubauer
Tuesday, July 16, 7 pm, at Boswell
David Bell, the author of Somebody’s Daughter and the author Suspense Magazine calls “one of the brightest and best crime fiction writers of our time,” visits for a conversation about his latest with Milwaukee crime critic Erica Ruth Neubauer.
Bell’s Layover is a high-concept novel of psychological suspense about a chance meeting with a woman in an airport that sends a man on a pulse-pounding quest for the truth. Joshua takes the same flights every week, his life a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During a layover, he meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger who kisses him passionately, lamenting that they’ll never see each other again.
When Morgan disappears in the crowd, Joshua is shocked to see her face on a nearby TV. She is a missing person. What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, secrets, and deceit that Riley Sager, bestselling author of The Last Time I Lied, calls, “a terrifically tense thriller with a femme fatale who will keep you guessing until the very end. The perfect airplane read!”
David Bell is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of thrillers like Somebody’s Daughter andCemetery Girl. He is Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University, where he directs the MFA program. Erica Ruth Neubauer is a Milwaukee-based writer and crime fiction critic whose writing has appeared inLos Angeles Review of BooksCrimespree Magazine, and other more.

Why you should come: We're doing a mystery galley giveaway. Everybody gets to pick a new-release advance reading copy from two shelves of mystery, thriller, and true crime selections. Buy a copy of Layover and you can pick a second book.

Linda S Godfrey, author of I Know What I Saw: Modern-Day Encounters with Monsters of New Urban Legend and Ancient Lore, in conversation with Tea Krulos
Wednesday, July 17, 7 pm, at Boswell
One of America’s foremost authorities on modern-day monsters, Linda S Godfrey haunts Boswell with her latest work, chatting with Milwaukee author Tea Krulos about ancient myths and indigenous legends that have informed modern sightings of walking wolves, dire dogs, deer people, and other strange beasts in rural America.
Wisconsin’s own Godfrey asks which came first, the myth or the monster? The monsters of ancient mythology, folklore, and more contemporary urban legend have long captured the popular imagination. Godfrey has interviewed countless eyewitnesses to strange phenomena and explores uncanny encounters with werewolves, goatmen, Bigfoot, and more.
Godfrey has found it often unclear whether sightings are simply mistaken animals, hoaxes, or coincidence. Are the creatures real, or are they entirely other-world? Godfrey’s search for answers will fascinate casual observers and enthusiasts alike as she discusses what Publishers Weekly calls, “a striking collection of cryptozoological creatures and fantastical folklore from North America.... This quirky, deeply researched guide will be a great resource for monster hunters.”
Linda S Godfrey is author of more than a dozen books, including The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin’s WerewolfMonsters Among Us, and Weird Wisconsin. She has appeared on MonsterQuestInside Edition, and Coast to Coast AM. Tea Krulos is the Milwaukee-based author of Monster Hunters: On the Trail With Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators and Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement.

Why you should come: Wisconsin is paranormal-central - you never know who or what will attend an event at Boswell.

New Venue! Chuck Klosterman, author of Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction, in conversation with Doug Gordon
Thursday, July 18, 7:00 pm, at The Back Room at Colectivo Coffee, 2211 N Prospect Ave
Klostermaniacs rejoice. Boswell Book Company presents special evening with beloved cultural critic Chuck Klosterman, author of But What If We’re Wrong? and Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, with his latest, a razor-sharp, hilarious collection of “fictional nonfiction” - stories so true they had to be wrapped in fiction for our own protection. He’ll chat with Doug Gordon, host of WPR’s BETA. Cosponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio. Do note that this event has been moved from its previous location. All tickets already purchased will be honored at The Back Room  - you will not need to exchange your tickets.
Tickets cost $27, and include admission to the event and an autographed copy of Raised in Captivity. Available at
Advance reviews of Klosterman’s latest have been raves. Kirkus calls it a “crisp collection of imaginative snippits,” and, “a colorful, somewhat wicked collection of stories that are touching as often as they are laugh-out-loud funny.” Publishers Weekly says, “No matter the topic, Klosterman’s gimlet eye and trenchant prose bedazzle.” And Boswell’s Chris Lee says, “A collection of bite sized stories with twist endings like O’Henry’s on acid, Raised in Captivity is the best book Klosterman has written yet.”
Raised in Captivity is ceaselessly inventive, hostile to corniness in all its forms, and mean only to the things that really deserve it. Klosterman’s wildly entertaining and mind-bending stories are microdoses of straight dope, a fever graph of our deepest unvoiced hopes, fears, and preoccupations. A man flying first class discovers a puma in the lavatory. A band wrestles with new-found fame when its song becomes a white supremacist anthem. A man sees a whale struck by lightning and knows that everything about his life has to change.
Funny, wise, and weird, these stories converge in one of the most original and exciting collections in recent memory, one that marks a cosmic leap forward for one of our most consistently interesting writers, the man The Los Angeles Times says, “has a knack for holding up a magical high-def mirror to American pop culture.”
Chuck Klosterman is author of eight nonfiction books, including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, I Wear the Black Hat, and Killing Yourself to Live, and the novels Downtown Owl and The Visible Man. He has written for The New York TimesEsquire, and ESPN and served as the Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine. Klosterman appeared as himself in the documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits and was a founder of Grantland.

Why you should come - all attendees will get a coupon for $5 off a $10 or more purchase at Boswell on their next visit. You know you're going to have a good time with Chuck Klosterman.

Thursday, July 18, 7 pm, at Boswell
Psychotherapist Solden and Wisconsin native Frank, a clinical psychologist, offer this radical guide to cultivating individual strengths, honoring neurodiversity, and learning to communicate with confidence and clarity for any woman with ADHD who wants to live boldly.
Solden and Frank offer the first guided workbook for women with ADHD designed to break the cycle of negative self-talk and shame-based narratives that stem from the common and limiting belief that brain differences are character flaws. Their groundbreaking approach blends traditional treatment with contemporary treatment methods like acceptance and commitment therapy to help you untangle the beliefs that keep women from reaching their potential in life.
Edward Hallowell, coauthor of Driven to Distraction, says, “Solden, for years the great pioneer in working with women and ADHD, has now teamed up with Michelle Frank to create this dynamic, valuable workbook that will help women embolden themselves to break out of whatever self-imposed exiles they may have lived in and soar to the heights they deserve and will love.”
Psychotherapist Sari Solden is author of Women with Attention Deficit Disorder and Journeys Through ADDulthood. She serves on the professional advisory board of the Attention Deficit Disorder Association and is a past recipient of their award for outstanding service by a helping professional. Michelle Frank is a clinical psychologist from Wisconsin and serves as Vice President of the board of the Attention Deficit Disorder Association. She speaks nationally on issues related to ADHD, neurodiversity, and women’s empowerment.

Why you should come: You've had breaking the cycle of negative self-talk on your to-do list for a long time.

Bianca Marais, author of If You Want To Make God Laugh
Friday, July 19, 2 pm, at Boswell
Author of the beloved Hum If You Don’t Know the Words visits with her new novel, an unforgettable story of women in post-Apartheid South Africa. Please register for this free event at
In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, a seventeen-year-old pregnant girl lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Across the country, a wealthy socialite is suffering a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. Their stories converge, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past.
As the three complicated lives become inextricably linked, what follows is a mesmerizing look at family and identity that asks: How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves? Boswellian Jenny Chou says, “Set in South Africa during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, there’s no question that If You Want to Make God Laugh tells a heart wrenching story, but it’s also exactly the kind of thought-provoking book that stays with me long after turning the last page. The writing is so lovely I could blanket the sky with the stars this book deserves. Don’t miss this one!”
As a bonus for this event, we'll be giving out $5 gift cards to ten lucky attendees. No purchase necessary, but you must register in advance and then attend the event to qualify for this drawing.
South Africa native Bianca Marais is author of Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and teaches creative writing at University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. Before writing, she started a corporate training company and volunteered with Cotlands, where she assisted care workers in Soweto with providing aid for HIV/AIDS orphans.

Why you should come: Marais is a delight!

Carson Vaughan, author of Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream, in conversation with Larry Waston
Monday, July 22, 7 pm, at Boswell
Journalist Carson Vaughan, a native Nebraskan, chats about his book with former Marquette Professor Larry Watson. Zoo Nebraska is the true story of small-town politics and community perseverance and of decent people and questionable choices.
Royal, Nebraska, population eighty-one. The church, high school, and post office stand abandoned. But for nearly twenty years, there was a zoo, seven acres that rose from local peculiarity to key tourist attraction to devastating tragedy, which all began with one man.
When Dick Haskin’s plans to assist primatologist Dian Fossey in Rwanda were cut short by her murder, Haskin returned to his hometown with Reuben, an adolescent chimp, and transformed a trailer home into the Midwest Primate Center. As the tourist trade multiplied, so did the inhabitants of what would become Zoo Nebraska, the unlikeliest boon to Royal’s economy in generations and, eventually, the source of a power struggle that would lead to the tragic implosion of Dick Haskin’s dream.
Carson Vaughan is a freelance journalist from Nebraska whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, theNew York Times, the Atlantic, and many other publications. Larry Watson is author of Montana 1948As Good as Gone, and several other books. He taught writing and literature at UW-Stevens Point and Marquette University.

Why you should come: Show your cornhusker pride!

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