Monday, May 3, 2021

Boswell's events for the week of May 3-10 - Michelle Zauner with Justin Barney, Janet Skeslien Charles with Anne Laplae (and me), Jonathan Ames with Doug Gordon, Katherine Heiny with Lisa Baudoin (and me again)

How can Boswell have so many events and not have any chairs? - the first week of May edition. All start times are Central Time.

Tuesday, May 4, 7 pm
Michelle Zauner, author of Crying in H Mart
in conversation with Justin Barney
Register for this virtual event here.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee and Boswell host Michelle Zauner, the musician known as Japanese Breakfast fame and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of her new book book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. Justin Barney is 88Nine Radio Milwaukee's Music Director.

In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. She tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of a painful adolescence and struggling with her mother’s expectations of her, and of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.

From Malavika Praseed in the Chicago Review of Books: "I came to Crying in H Mart expecting to cry (which I did), but what I did not expect was the amount of self-reflection it would cause. Zauner eschews broad platitudes and makes her work relatable, both on a cultural and personal level. She does not overexplain her Korean heritage, doesn’t provide a footnote for every morsel of food. She unpacks a difficult mother-daughter relationship without falling victim to stereotype."

From Sonia Rao in The Washington Post: "For as long as she could recall, Michelle Zauner had connected with her Korean mother, Chongmi, through their shared love of the cuisine. Chongmi would often make two meals for dinner: one Korean and the other American, for her husband. Zauner opted for the former, relishing the scalding jjigaes and immaculately crisped samgyupsal. This, Chongmi used to say, was how she knew her daughter was a 'true Korean.'"

Japanese Breakfast's new album, Jubilee, releases June 4. You can probably preorder from Exclusive Company or Rush-Mor if you still like physical stuff like we do.

Wednesday, May 5, 2 pm
Janet Skeslien Charles, author of The Paris Library
in conversation with Anne Leplae and Daniel Goldin 
Register for this virtual event here.

Alliance Française de Milwaukee and Boswell Book Company present and afternoon with New York Times bestselling author Paris-and-Montana-based Janet Skeslien Charles for a chat about The Paris Library, the #1 Indie Next Pick for February 2021. Anne Leplae is Executive Director of Alliance Française de Milwaukee.

Skeslien Charles first became interested in the incredible true story of the American Library in Paris during World War II when she worked as the program manager in htat storied institution. The Paris Library chronicles the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, using many of the people who kept the library operating, surreptitiously delivering books to the Jews who were not allowed entry. This is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for World War II historical fiction fans, as well as all of you who love all those bookstore novels and memoirs where the characters talk about books they love, 84 Charing Cross Road and its progreny.

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

From Kirkus Reviews: "The author has a clear affection for both Paris and the American Library, where she worked as a programs manager in 2010, and she integrates the stories of many of the real-life employees and patrons of the library into the story with finesse, earning the novel its own place in the pantheon of World War II fiction." It's also got the Jane G seal of approval.

Wednesday, May 5, 7 pm
Jonathan Ames, author of A Man Named Doll
in conversation with Doug Gordon 
Register for this virtual event here.

Wisconsin Public Radio and Boswell present an evening with Jonathan Ames, the creator of HBO's Bored to Death. If you love that show, and many of you do, you will enjoy Ames's latest, his first in a mystery series.

Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert, private detective living just one sheer cliff drop beneath the Hollywood sign with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George. Doll supplements his meager income working nights at a local Thai spa that offers its clients a number of special services. But when things get out-of-hand with one particularly violent patron, Doll finds himself wildly out of his depth, and then things take an even more dangerous twist when an old friend from his days as a cop shows up at his door with a bullet in his gut.

From Chris Lee's recommendation: "Just an odd fellow, his beloved dog, and a whole lot of dead bodies. This is crime fiction the way it was meant to be: sly, sad, and a little weird. And I love it. It’s also a Jonathan Ames book that feels like it was written by a Jonathan Ames character – read it as the book Ames’s Bored to Death alter ego broke out with. But then, don’t, because it’s not just a goof or some literary lark. Ames captures the soul of classic American noir with a perfect balance of violence, money, and irreverence. His Los Angeles is heir to the City of Angles as penned by Raymond Chandler and Elmore Leonard. The kind of book that reminds me why I fell in love with detective novels."

From Adam Sternbergh in The New York Times: "Crime readers may notice some superficial similarities between Doll and the kind of fabled gumshoes that Ames has long been enamored with — figures like Chandler’s Philip Marlowe or Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer, or quick-fisted pulp avatars like Parker or Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. But it quickly becomes clear that Happy owes more to the rumpled Marlowe played by Elliott Gould in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye than to any hard-boiled toughs inhabited by Humphrey Bogart."

Thursday, May 6, 7 pm
Katherine Heiny, author of Early Morning Riser
in conversation with Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin 
Register for this event here.

A shout-out to Whitefish Bay Librarian Sharon, who turned us on to Katherine Heeiny's work when she was a Boswell bookseller. Now Heiny is our latest guest in the Readings from Oconomowaukee series. She’ll chat about her latest, a wise, bighearted, boundlessly joyful novel of love, disaster, and unconventional family Lisa Baudoin of Books and Company and me.

Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan’s old girlfriends everywhere - at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away. Then any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash. Soon Jane’s life is permanently intertwined with Duncan’s, and she knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But could it be possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of Jane’s eyes? A novel that is alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, Early Morning Riser is Heiny’s most wonderful work to date.

From my recommendation: "If Heiny had stayed in the romantic comedy lane, I would have been perfectly content. But she throws a curveball when Jane gets a happy ending, only not the way she expected, and that turns out to not be the end of the story. Heiny has a rare gift for bringing characters to glorious life, warts and all. Sometimes, in the case of Jane’s mother or her neighbor’s husband Gary, perhaps all warts." (Daniel)

Cosponsorship - Thursday, Mary 6, 7 pm
The Faye Sigman Women of Valor Lecture, featuring Lauren Fox, author of Send for Me, Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans, and Elisa Albert, author of How This Night is Different
Register for this virtual event here.

The Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies presents a conversation with fiction writers Lauren Fox, Elisa Albert, and Molly Antopol. With stories and novels that have garnered significant acclaim, these authors continue to comment on the contemporary Jewish world with insight, pathos, and at times, biting wit. This virtual event will feature a lively salon-style discussion moderated by Stahl Center Deputy Director Rachel Baum and Director Joel Berkowitz.

Albert is author of The Book of Dahlia and How This Night Is Different. Antopol’s debut story collection won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. And Milwaukee’s own Lauren Fox is also author three previous novels -  Days of Awe, Still Life with Husband, and Friends Like Us.

Monday, May 10, 7 pm
Todd Lazarski, author of Spend It All
in conversation with Justin Kern 
Register for this virtual event here

Milwaukee author Todd Lazarski chats about his novel about a guy who’s an obsessive eater, half-hopeful novelist, reluctant food journalist, and football fanatic who returns home to Buffalo for maybe the last time. With Justin Kern, editor of The Milwaukee Anthology. Fry up your Buffalo wings, carve your beef on weck, and pour yourself a loganberry drink (really, it's a thing!) for slice of literary Buffalo-iana.

photo credits:
Michelle Zauner by Barbara Mrazkova
Janet Skeslien Charles by Richard Biban
Jonathan Ames by Anne Thornton
Katherine Heiny by Leila Barbaro

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