Monday, December 9, 2019

Events this week: Goldie Boldbloom, Brittany Williams, John Hildebrand, Tom Voss and Rebecca Anne Nguyen, Jeanine Basinger

Monday, December 9, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Goldie Goldbloom, author of On Division

Goldie Goldbloom, author and Chasidic mother of eight, in conversation with Marquette Professor CJ Hribal about her latest work, a deeply affecting novel of one woman's life at a moment of change, set in the world of Brooklyn's Chasidim. Cosponsored by the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center and UWM Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies. For this event, Goldbloom will be in conversation with C.J. Hribal, Professor of English at Marquette University.

In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Surie Eckstein is soon to be a great-grandmother. Her in-laws live on the first floor of their house, her daughter lives on the second. Into this life of counted blessings comes a surprise. Surie is pregnant at 57. It is an aberration, a shift in the proper order of things, and a public display of private life. Exposed, ashamed, she is unable to share the news, even with her husband. But deeper within is another secret, about her son, who died by suicide several years before. And these secrets slowly separate her from her community.

From Lily Meyer in The Chicago Reader: "In Jewish American literature, struggling not to believe is unusual. From Chaim Potok to Philip Roth to Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Jewish novelists in this country have tended to depict secular or nonpracticing Jews, some of whom reject their religion completely. Chicago writer Goldie Goldbloom, who's Hasidic and queer, takes a different approach in her quietly exceptional second novel, On Division... Her protagonist, Surie Eckstein, is a Hasidic Jew for whom there is no lapsing from faith. Surie loves God. What she struggles on are God's rules."

Tuesday, December 10, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Brittany Williams, author of Instant Loss: Eat Real, Lose Weight: How I Lost 125 Pounds

Boswell hosts an evening with Brittany Williams, author of the bestselling Instant Loss Cookbook, who chronicles her struggle with obesity and changing her relationship with food in Instant Loss: Eat Real, Lose Weight . Registration is free at, or upgrade to a purchase-with-registration option for signing line priority and a special price. Registration closes at 2 pm on December 10, but don't worry, we've got plenty of space for walk-ups at this event.

After spending a lifetime struggling with obesity, autoimmune diseases, and chronic fatigue, Williams changed her relationship with food. She cut processed and takeout foods from her diet and eliminated gluten, most grains, and sugar, all without sacrificing the flavors of the foods she loved, and quickly grew legions of fans as she shared her meal plans on

Armed with a collection of 125 all-new delicious recipes for the Instant Pot, air fryer, and more, Williams, champion for the whole foods JERF (Just Eat Real Foods) movement, shows how to make a sustainable lifestyle with kid- and family-friendly meals.

Wednesday, December 11, 7 pm, at Boswell:
John Hildebrand, author of Long Way Round: Through the Heartland by River

Inspired by tales of a mythic Round River, a circular stream where “what goes around comes around,” Wisconsin writer John Hildebrand Professor Emeritus of English at UW-Eau Claire and author of The Heart of Things: A Midwestern Almanac, sets off to rediscover his home state.

Wisconsin is in the midst of an identity crisis, torn by new political divisions and the old gulf between city and countryside. Cobbling rivers together, from the burly Mississippi to the slender wilds of Tyler Forks, Hildebrand navigates the beautiful but complicated territory of home. In once prosperous small towns, he discovers unsung heroes - lockmasters, river rats, hotelkeepers, mechanics, environmentalists, tribal leaders, and perennial mayors - struggling to keep their communities afloat.

Booklist writes: “In a narrative that is rhythmic and thoughtful, Hildebrand captures the natural beauty and idiosyncrasies of Wisconsin small towns with ease. Much like a canoe trip with an old friend, Long Way Round is an enjoyable and worthwhile read.” Here's Bill Lueders in The Isthmus with his take on the book, noting that the journey is set amidst turmoil in state and national politics.

Thursday, December 12, 2019, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Tom Voss and Rebecca Anne Nguyen, author of Where War Ends: A Combat Veteran’s 2,700-Mile Journey to Heal - Recovering from PTSD and Moral Injury through Meditation

Infantry scout-sniper Tom Voss and his sister and coauthor Rebecca Anne Nguyen share Voss’s riveting story of his on-foot journey across America, from Milwaukee to the Pacific Ocean through his burdens of moral injury, and into personal healing and advocacy.

After serving in a scout-sniper platoon in Mosul, Tom Voss came home carrying invisible wounds of war. This was not a physical injury that could heal with medication and time but a “moral injury,” a wound that eventually urged him toward suicide. Desperate for relief from the pain and guilt that haunted him, Voss embarked on a 2,700-mile journey across America.

Walk with these men as they meet other veterans, Native American healers, and spiritual teachers who appear in the most unexpected forms. At the end of their trek, Voss realizes he is just beginning his healing. He pursues meditation training and discovers sacred breathing techniques that shatter his understanding of war and himself, and move him from despair to hope. Voss’s story inspires veterans, their friends and family, and survivors of all kinds.

Monday, December 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Jeanine Basinger, author of The Movie Musical!

Leading film historian and founder of the Film Studies department at Wesleyan University Jeanine Basinger reveals, with her trademark wit and zest, the whole story of the Hollywood musical—in the most telling, most incisive, most detailed, most gorgeously illustrated book of her long and remarkable career. This event is cohosted by Milwaukee Film

Registration is requested but not required for this free event at Attendees can upgrade to a book-with-ticket option and get The Movie Musical for 20% off the regular price. For this event, Basinger will be in conversation with Milwaukee based film biographer Patrick McGilligan, whose latest book is Funny Man: Mel Brooks.

From Noah Isenberg in The New York Times Book Review: "For Basinger, one of the most acclaimed film historians of her generation, the movie musical is no mere object of study. Rather, it embodies a personal journey of sorts, beginning with childhood. In the opening pages of her sprawling chronicle, she describes how she was essentially raised on musicals from the moment she first encountered a tuxedo-clad Fred Astaire and his dance partner, Ginger Rogers, dressed in a full-length white sequin gown, gliding across the black Bakelite floor of an empty nightclub in Swing Time(1936)."

More events on the Boswell upcoming event page.

Photo credits
Jeanine Basinger: Jay Fishback

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