Monday, November 23, 2020

Boswell events - two graphic memoirs and a book about Thanksgiving - Merrill Markoe, Denise Kiernan, Jim Terry

Tuesday, November 24, 7 pm
Merrill Markoe, author of We Saw Scenery: The Early Diaries of Merrill Markoe
in conversation with Mimi Pond for a virtual event

Merrill Markoe, the multiple Emmy-winning writer of Late Show with David Letterman joins us for a conversation with fellow graphic memoirist Mimi Pond about We Saw Scenery. Markoe also won a Writer's Guild award for her writing/performing work on HBO's Not Necessarily the News. In addition to her other books, her cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker. Register here for this event. Ask for your signed bookplate.

Markoe unearths her treasured diaries, long kept under lock and key, to illustrate the hilarious story of her preteen and teen years and how she came to realize that her secret power was her humor. Wielding her layered and comically absurd style, Markoe takes readers back through her time as a Girl Scout, where she learned that “scouting” was really more about learning housewifery skills, to her earliest crushes on uniquely awful boys and her growing obsession with television.

Perfect for fans of Roz Chast, Allie Brosh, and Lynda Barry, We Saw Scenery is a laugh-out-loud story of a girl growing up, told from the perspective of the woman she became, and it will speak to all who wanted to understand themselves in the midst of their own maturing. The Washington Post writes that Markoe "taps into not only the challenges of a girl growing up in the 1960s, but also Markoe’s special ability to use traditions and American consumerist culture as fuel for her absurdist humor."

Wednesday, November 25, 2 pm
Denise Kiernan, author of We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace 
In conversation with Joseph D'Agnese for a virtual event

Join us for a special pre-Thanksgiving Holiday event featuring Denise Kiernan, the author of The Girls of Atomic City and The Last Castle, which was the subject of a sold-out event at the Pabst Mansion. She'll be in conversation with her sometimes collaborator and always husband Joseph D'Agnese for a chat about her brand new book, which offers a new way to look at and understand American history through the story of giving thanks. Register for the event here. Ask for your signed bookplate. 

From Ancient Rome through 21st-century America, Kiernan brings us a biography of an idea: gratitude, as a compelling human instinct and a global concept, more than just a mere holiday. Spanning centuries, We Gather Together is anchored amid the strife of the Civil War, and driven by the fascinating story of Sarah Josepha Hale, a widowed mother with no formal schooling who became one of the 19th century’s most influential tastemakers and who campaigned for decades to make real an annual day of thanks. Check out the custom Zoomsgiving Zoom backgrounds over on Kiernan's website page, a Guide to Zoomsgiving

From Brenda Wineapple in her Wall Street Journal review: "Sarah Hale had died in 1879 at 90; she didn’t live to see her dream of a national holiday enshrined in law. Doubtless, though, she’d have been thrilled by Ms. Kiernan’s tribute to her and thanksgivings, great and small, religious and secular, civic and personal. For she would understand that whether this year’s Thanksgiving takes place in person with family or in front of a computer, gratitude can surely bring grace, even in troubled times."

Monday, November 30, 7 pm
Jim Terry, author of Come Home, Indio: A Memoir
a virtual event

Boswell Book Company and Lion’s Tooth present an evening with graphic memoirist Jim Terry for a conversation about his honest book which chronicles his attempts to fit in with the Ho-Chunk community of his Native American family in Wisconsin and his schoolmates in the Chicago suburbs. Terry's comic book work has been seen in The Crow: Skinning the Wolves, Sundowners, and Vampriella. Register here for this event. Ask for your signed bookplate, while supplies last. Copies also available at Lion's Tooth.

Jim Terry grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. His mother was a Native American from the Ho-Chunk nation of Wisconsin, and his father was an Irish American jazz musician from Chicago. In his memoir, we are invited to walk through his life as he struggles to find security and comfort in an often hostile environment. Terry tries in vain to fit in and eventually turns to alcohol to provide an escape from increasing loneliness and alienation. Terry also shares with the reader in exquisite detail the process by which he finds hope and gets sober, as well as the powerful experience of finding something to believe in and to belong to at the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance at Standing Rock.

From Booklist's starred review: "The art serves the story incredibly well; nuanced and skillfully drawn, the expressive illustrations are very high contrast and so heavily inked they can feel oppressive at times, effectively heightening the deep emotional current throughout. While the panels are frequently tight and cramped early in the story, the final chapters are far more expansive and imbued with possibility. An exceptionally well-told story with no easy answers but an ending that will inspire." Listen to Jim Terry to talk to Alison Stewart on WNYC's All of It show.

More on the Boswell Books upcoming event page

Photo credit of Denise Kiernan is Mallory Cash.

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