Monday, October 28, 2019

Events this week - Martha Brosio, Krista Eastman and J Tyler Friedman, Jon M Sweeney, Cynthia Anderson with Jamilo Maalim, Carol Anderson with Jane Hamilton, Aaron Cohen with DJ Eric Blowtorch

Monday, October 28, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Martha Brosio, author of The Last Ten Days - Academia, Dementia, and the Choice to Die: A Loving Memoir of Richard A Brosio, PhD

Milwaukee-based author Martha Brosio visits Boswell with her heartrending memoir of love, scholarship, dignity, courage, and the choices one is forced to make when given the devastating diagnosis of a terminal illness. Cosponsored by University of Michigan Club of Milwaukee - The Last Ten Days is their book club choice book.

Spanning sixty years, Brosio recounts the story of her life with her husband, Richard, a scholar and college professor. From teenage sweethearts who went their separate ways after high school, to reconnecting and marriage, Martha and Richard enjoyed a vibrant life together until tragedy struck, when Richard was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a type of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

Determined to have a dignified death at the time and in the manner of his own choosing, Richard hastened his death two years after his diagnosis by voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, seeking only palliative and hospice care until the end. Brosio’s book highlights Richard’s teaching, writing, and their life together. Sad, yet inspirational, it is a joyful celebration of their lives together. Martha Brosio is an author from Milwaukee. She graduated from the University of Michigan.

Tuesday, October 29, 7 pm, at Boswell:
with Krista Eastman, author of The Painted Forest, and J Tyler Friedman, author of Among the Wonders of the Dells: Photography, Place, Tourism

Madison-based Krista Eastman's writing has earned recognition from Best American Essays and appeared in The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, and New Letters. J Tyler Friedman, who specializes in the philosophy of art, is Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Together they present The Mythic Midwest: Wisconsin Dells and Beyond.

Eastman reads from her book, which Poets & Writers named one of the best literary nonfiction debuts of 2019. The Painted Forest is an oft-surprising collection of essays that explores the myths we make about who we are and where we’re from, uncovering strange and little-known “home places” - not only the picturesque hills and valleys of the author’s childhood in rural Wisconsin, but also tourist towns throughout the under-imagined and overly-caricatured Midwest.

Friedman, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, presents his comprehensive photographic history of the Dells. Spanning the earliest extant photos of the area to the works of contemporary photographers, including many new and never-before-seen photographs, Friedman presents the interplay of art and tourism that has made the Dells what they are today in a volume sure to delight history enthusiasts and seasonal vacationers alike.

Wednesday, October 30, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jon M Sweeney, author of St. Francis of Assisi: His Life, Teachings, and Practice

Jon M Sweeney is a scholar and author as well as a biographer of St. Francis and translator of his writings. He is author of over thirty books, including The Pope Who Quit, and The Pope's Cat. On this evening, cohosted by Eat, Drink, and Be Catholic, Sweeney offers an introduction to St. Francis's life and teachings of faith.

St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most venerated Christian figures. His profound teachings, deep love of nature, and commitment to simplicity have resonated with generations of followers. Sweeney offers a simple and universal introduction to Francis’s life, his key teachings, and the spiritual practices that enriched his faith and the lives of those who follow his legacy.

Sweeney is one of the most popular interpreters of St. Francis, and draws attention to the emphasis placed on the importance of living a simple, truthful life, making Francis’s spiritual practices just as impactful and relevant in the modern day as they were centuries ago. St. Francis is the perfect guide for anyone looking to learn more about the saint or hoping to incorporate his wisdom into their own spiritual lives.

Thursday, October 31, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Cynthia Anderson, author of Home Now: How 6000 Refugees Transformed an American Town, in conversation with Jamilo Maalim

Author and journalist Cynthia Anderson tells the moving story of the refugees in Lewiston, Maine, a chronicle of struggle, transformation, and who belongs in America. She'll be in conversation with Jamilo Maalim, who is featured in the book. Cosponsored by Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

Over the past 15 years, Lewiston, Maine has improbably become one of the most Muslim towns in America. About 6,000 of the city's 36,000 inhabitants are African refugees and asylum seekers, many of them Somali. Anderson takes the reader deep into the lives of both immigrants and lifelong Mainers: a single Muslim mom, an anti-Islamist activist, a Congolese asylum seeker, a Somali community leader. Their lives unfold in these pages as anti-immigrant sentiment rises across the US and national realities collide with those in Lewiston. Home Now gives a poignant account of America's evolving relationship with religion and race, and provides a sensitive refutation of the idea that we'd be better off without change.

From Booklist: "Along with even-handed reporting and sympathetic characterizations, Anderson weaves in personal anecdotes and updates about her mother, a Lewiston exile considering a homecoming. Topics range from trick-or-treating and soccer championships to acts of anti-Muslim terrorism and female genital mutilation. There are happy endings, horror stories, unresolved issues, and joyous breakthroughs. Readers will find lots to think about."

Now Friday, November 1, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Carol Anshaw, author of Right After the Weather, in conversation with Jane Hamilton

Carol Anshaw is the author of Carry the One and Aquamarine. She has received the Ferro-Grumley Award, the Carl Sandburg Award, and a National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. For this event, she'll be in conversation with Wisconsin's beloved writer Jane Hamilton.

Fall of 2016. Cate’s conspiracy theorist ex-husband is camped out in her spare bedroom as she attempts to settle into a serious relationship and get financially solvent working in Chicago’s theater community. Her yoga instructor best friend is Cate’s model for what adulthood looks like. Then Cate finds strangers assaulting her friend and is forced to take fast, spontaneous action. Cate learns the violence she is capable of, and overnight, her world has changed.

From Connie Ogle in Newsday: "...what happens when a traumatic event changes things forever? How do we move forward when the ground under our feet shifts with every step? Anshaw examines that question with her typical intelligence, compassion and insight in Right After the Weather, her fifth novel. She explored similar issues in her terrific Carry the One, in which a group of siblings and their friends are involved in a fatal traffic accident on the night of a wedding. Here, she expands her scope, not focusing merely on the aftermath of a single, terrible incident, but letting it play out against a bigger, existential threat."

Saturday, November 2, 6 pm, at Boswell:
Aaron Cohen, author of Move on Up: Chicago Soul Music and Black Cultural Power, with DJ Eric Blowtorch

Aaron Cohen, who teaches at City Colleges of Chicago and is author of Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace, now tells the remarkable story of the explosion of soul music in Chicago. The evening will also feature soul records spun by Cohen and DJ Eric Blowtorch.

Chicago’s place in the history of soul music is rock solid, but for Chicagoans, soul music in its heyday was more than just a series of hits: it was a marker and a source of black empowerment. Soul music and black-owned businesses thrived together as record producers and song-writers broadcasted optimism for black America’s future through their sophisticated, jazz-inspired productions.

Soul music also accompanied the rise of African American advertisers and the campaign of Chicago’s first black mayor. This empowerment was set in stark relief by the social unrest roiling in Chicago and across the nation: as Chicago’s homegrown record labels produced rising stars singing songs of progress and freedom, Chicago’s black middle class faced limited economic opportunities and deep-seated segregation, all against a backdrop of nationwide deindustrialization. Cohen shows us how soul music became the voice of inspiration and change for a city in turmoil.

Over at Chicago Magazine, Mark Guarino breaks down some of the lessons of Cohen's book.

More upcoming events on the Boswell upcoming events page.

Photo credits
Jon M Sweeney by Maurice Wolf
Cynthia Anderson by Sally Pasley Vargas

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