Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Three events this week - Gail Tsukiyama with Jane Hamilton on July 14, Christina Schwarz with Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin on July 15, Charles Hagner on birding with Schlitz Audubon's Don Quintenz on July 16

This week at Boswell!

Tuesday, July 14, 7:00 pm:  Gail Tsukiyama, author of The Color of Air, in conversation with Jane Hamilton for a virtual event

When we heard that there was a new Gail Tsukiyama novel, we didn't know what to expect. The author left her longtime home at St. Martin's Press for  HarperVia, the new imprint under the auspices of Publisher Judith Curr, Executive Editor Juan Mila, and Associate Publisher Tara Parsons. Would they tour her or not? We stressed and stressed - until of course we realized we would definitely not get on the tour, because there wouldn't be a tour.

So we were thrilled (yes, a rollercoaster of emotions) when we were offered a virtual event with Tsukiyama, winner of  Academy of American Poets Award and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award. And we knew exactly who we'd propose for a conversation partner - Tsukiyama's long-time friend Jane Hamilton (The Book of Ruth, The Excellent Lombards, and every wonderful novel in between), who brought Tsukiyama to Milwaukee for A Hundred Flowers, in conjunction with a residency at Ragdale. The Color of Air is the story of a Japanese-American family set against the backdrop of Hawaii's sugar plantations.

Long-time Boswellian Jane Glaser considers Tsukiyama's The Samurai's Garden to be one of her favorite contemporary novels of all time. She offers this praise for The Color of Air: "Bestselling author Gail Tsukiyama gifts readers with a beautifully rendered story set against the backdrop of 1935 Hawaii as the tremors of the Mauna Loa volcano threaten the community of Hilo, whose livelihood depends on fishing and the sugar cane plantations. Despite the anticipated danger, the people of Hilo are planning a celebration to welcome home a native son from Chicago, where he studied and became a doctor, a first for his family of Japanese descent. Daniel's return not only brings together a joyous gathering, but the reunion also sets off a chain of events where long-buried secrets and moral dilemmas emerge, endangering the relationships of a close-knit town during a time of impending natural disaster. Yet, under the pen of an extraordinary storyteller, Ms. Tsukiyama creates a remarkably soulful portrait of richly drawn characters who, in the face of uncertain times, shows the strength, wisdom, forgiveness, and enduring love that will embrace the heart of every reader. Destined to be one of my favorite books of 2020!"

This event will be broadcast via Zoom, and registration is required. Register today for tonight's event. And purchase your copy of The Color of Air from Boswell from now through at least July 21 for 20% off list price. After the event, we'll link to the recorded event here, as long as nothing goes awry!

Wednesday, July 15, 7:00 pm
Christina Schwarz, author of Bonnie
in conversation with Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin for a virtual event

In the days of in-person events, two events in a market could make sense, even if they were targeted to the same general audience. But when Lisa and I were both offered an event with former Metro Milwaukeean Christina Schwarz (author of The Edge of the Earth and the #1 bestseller Drowning Ruth) for her fifth novel Bonnie, we decided to join forces and do the event together, sort of a virtual version of our events at the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center. You can buy the book at either Boswell or Books & Company. And yes, I want to call this program something like Readings from Oconomowaukee. Still working on that, but I really like the Oconomowaukee part.

We were told that Bonnie vividly evokes the perennially fascinating true crime love affair of Bonnie and Clyde and were promised a book that was a suspenseful, gorgeously detailed fictional portrait of Bonnie Parker, one of the world's most enigmatic woman. And having read the book, that's a fair assessment. One of the fun things about our dual conversation (this is the first time Lisa and I have done this) is that we got to have a book discussion beforehand, where we traded reflections about the novel.

Schwarz did a lot of research on Bonnie, visiting many of the towns portrayed in the book. She's created a Bonnie who is driven less by boredom (the raison d'etre of Arthur Penn's film version) than by thwarted ambition. Bonnie Parker's poetry is an important part of the story. One of the things I also noted about the story is how mothers and motherhood drives so much of the story - both Bonnie and Clyde are obsessed with their moms, and their crime sprees are often detoured by parental visits. For Lisa, the story's plot arc is almost completely driven by cars and guns. And you know where that got them. But we don't want to give everything away - we've got plenty more questions for Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, read Elizabeth Brundage's review in The New York Times.

This event will be broadcast via Zoom, and registration is required. Click this link to register right here today! And purchase your copy of Bonnie from Boswell for 20% off list price (or you can buy it at Books & Company here), at least through July 22. After the event, if all goes well, you should be able to watch the interview here.

Thursday, July 16, 7:00 pm
Charles Hagner, author of American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, in conversation with Don Quintenz for a virtual event. Cosponsored by Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

A tremendous addition to our birding section was Charles Hagner's American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds in Wisconsin. It took us a while to schedule an event (we had two in the works before COVID-19) and even longer for us to convert to virtual, but we're thrilled to have a great virtual program planned with Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. Thanks to former bookseller turned Schlitz Audubon Marketing and Communications Director Nancy Quinn for having pivot patience!

For this event, State Director of Bird City Wisconsin and former Editor in Chief of BirdWatching magazine, Charles Hagner chats about the wonderful wildlife of Wisconsin’s skies depicted in his latest work with Don Quintenz, Senior Ecologist at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. Filled with gorgeous color images, this new field guide (the format is Audubon-esque, with its flexi cover) is the perfect companion for anyone wanting to learn more about the natural history and diversity of the state's birds and when and where to see them. Hagner is also Board Chair of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. Alas, I don't think Field Guide to Bats of Wisconsin is in the works. Do imaginary books need to be italicized? Discuss.

With more than 15,000 interior lakes and bordering both Lake Superior to the north and Lake Michigan to the east, Wisconsin is famous as a place to observe waterbirds of all types. It also has expansive forested areas, plains, and farmlands providing ideal habitats for hummingbirds, raptors, warblers, sparrows and more. And with nine national wildlife refuges, two national parks, and more than three million acres of IBAs (Important Bird Areas), Wisconsin is truly a great state for birds and birders.

Broadcast via Zoom, registration is required. Click right here to register today! American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin is on sale at Boswell for 10% off list price through at least July 23. And don't forget, if all goes well, we'll have a link to Hagner's talk right here afterwards. As for all the books, we have free sidewalk pickup (it's a shipping option on our website) or $4 media mail shipping in state, $6 nationally. We have signed bookplates for Tsukiyama and Schwarz.

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