Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 event season begins - Jacqueline Houtman on Bayard Rustin, Wednesday, January 8, at Boswell, plus Nick Petrie preview

We're easing into event season. With all the storms in late January and February, it feels like we have less touring authors this winter, or perhaps we just didn't get on the tour lists. But April is already looking pretty packed.

Monday, January 6, 7 pm: The In-Store Lit Group discusses Stephen Markley's Ohio

I am currently reading Ohio, a novel that Chris hasn't talking about since he read it in advance form close to two years ago. The problem is that now when I want to bring something up with Chris, the data files have been replaced by 100 more novels. Ohio had great reviews and won the GLIBA Great Lakes Great Reads prize for fiction.

Here's Dan Chaon on Ohio, writing in The New York Times Book Review: "Markley [does] some extraordinary things with the structure of the book . . . Casual details suddenly take on new surprising significance. There's real pleasure in this hopscotching narrative: with each new point of view, a clearer sense of the hidden story emerges as the reader slowly pieces together some shocking revelations . . . The most moving parts of the book are those that step back and let the events and the actions speak for themselves, as when one character (the shy bookish one from high school) recalls his first tours in Afghanistan. The beautifully precise details are all the more vivid for their lack of accompanying commentary. The real core of this earnestly ambitious debut lies not in its sweeping statements but in its smaller moments, in its respectful and bighearted renderings of damaged and thwarted lives. It's the human scale that most descriptively reveals the truth about the world we're living in."

While I'm not expecting you to pick up and finish a 500-page book over the weekend, it happens. I should also note that we've sold 100 copies of Ohio, so some of you may have already the book and are interested in sharing thoughts. Our in-store book clubs do not have registration, and do not require membership of any sort.

Wednesday, January 8, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Jacqueline Houtman, author of Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington

Madison author chronicles the life of Bayard Rustin for young readers, depicting his life of nonviolent activism and resistance. Great for adults and kids 13 and up. Voted a Best Book of 2019 by School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews, Houtman’s biography tells the story of one of the most influential activists of our time, an early advocate for African Americans and for gay rights.

I've always wondered if this book is a new edition of Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist, which was published by Quakerpress. I assume it is! A School Library Journal piece notes how Quaker doctrine influenced Rustin, who in turn influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. They note how King had applied for a gun permit and had an armed bodyguard; The authors note: "For Rustin, getting rid of the guns was necessary to safeguard the lives of those in the movement. Rustin convinced Dr. King of the same, and the great civil rights leader soon devoted himself to nonviolence."

Troublemaker for Justice is appropriate for all ages, but targeted to younger readers. See you on Wednesday. Houtman is also visiting area schools.

And just around the corner - Monday, January 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Nick Petrie, author of The Wild One, in conversation with Bonnie North

Peter Ash goes to Iceland! So much drama. Will it pack as much punch when we get to "Peter Ash goes to the Quad Cities!"? I promise that is not the setting for #6, but still, he could have a knockout battle on the funicular.

We're excited because The Wild One is Petrie's first starred Publishers Weekly review. That reviewer called #5 a "kinetic, breathless masterpiece." And here's Booklist: "Readers of earlier Ash novels recognize the setup for a wild ride; this novel delivers it times four. The trail leads to Iceland, letting Petrie display his gift for vivid, visceral prose. Cliffs are "caked in wind-sculpted white." A big guy has "a voice like an idling bulldozer." There are some mighty fights, one with a touch of comedy when Ash defeats a quartet of killers with a hardback novel; he muses, 'Can't do that with a paperback.'"

And here's a rave from Robert Crais: "If you're not already on the Peter Ash train, jump aboard now. The Wild One is a beautifully written novel, rich with deep, complex characters, full-throttle action, and a superbly realized setting. Nick Petrie is doing headliner work."

Once again, Petrie will be in conversation with Bonnie North. Plus our first buyers get a Nick Petrie ice scraper.

More on the upcoming events page.

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