Monday, March 14, 2022

Four events, including one in person and one school visit - Kelly Weill with Doug Gordon, Oliver Milman with Sue Stuart-Smith, Marc Brown with Elmbrook Schools, and Ellen Bravo and Larry Miller with Tony Baez

Here's what's happening this week: 

Tuesday, March 15, 7 pm
In Conversation with Doug Gordon for a virtual event

Journalist and author Kelly Weill joins us for a virtual conversation about her new book of reporting from America’s fringes: Off the Edge, a book that tells a powerful story about belief, exploring how we arrived at this moment of polarized realities, and explaining what needs to happen so that we might all return to the same spinning globe. In conversation with WPR Host and Producer Doug Gordon. This event is cosponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio. 

Since 2015, there has been a spectacular boom in a nearly two-hundred-year-old delusion - the idea that we all live on a flat plane, under a solid dome, ringed by an impossible wall of ice. It is the ultimate in conspiracy theories, a wholesale rejection of everything we know to be true about the world in which we live. Where did this idea come from? Weill draws a straight line from today’s conspiratorial moment back to the early days of Flat Earth theory in the 1830s, showing the human impulses behind divergences in belief. Faced with a complicated world out of our individual control, we naturally seek patterns to explain the inexplicable. The only difference between then and now? Social media. And, powered by Facebook and YouTube algorithms, the Flat Earth movement is growing.

Here’s a recommendation from Boswellian Chris Lee: “It’s weird! It’s wild! It’s full of cranks and cooks, utopians and grifters (and recently, Nazis. Yikes.). It’s the flat earth movement, and it’s back, baby! Kelly Weill’s fantastic book traces the history of flat earth, from utopian English communes to a cabin in the California desert to its resurgence online, and it’s totally not what you think it is. How has such an absurdly stupid, baldly false idea become a pet cause of pro athletes, white supremacists, and a fast-growing number of otherwise average normies? Weill offers an insightful examination of the way conspiracies untether believers from the reality. What a great book - a fascinating hidden history story and an investigation of a subset that sheds eye-opening light on the ways fringe ideas can take hold of entire cultures.”

Kelly Weill is a journalist at the Daily Beast, where she covers extremism, disinformation, and the internet. She has discussed Flat Earth and other digital fringes on ABC's Nightline, CNN, Al Jazeera, and other national and international news outlets. Doug Gordon is host of WPR’s show BETA.

Wednesday, March 16, 2 pm
Oliver Milman, author of The Insect Crisis: The Fall of the Tiny Empires That Run the World
in Conversation with Sue Stuart-Smith for a virtual event
Register here for this event. The first 30 people to preorder a copy will get a signed bookplate and a special packet of lavender seeds.

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center and Boswell present an afternoon virtual event with journalist Oliver Milman, talking about his new book, a devastating examination of how collapsing insect populations worldwide threaten everything from wild birds to the food on our plate. For this event, Milman will be in conversation with Sue Stuart-Smith, author of The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature.

From ants scurrying under leaf litter to bees able to fly higher than Mount Kilimanjaro, insects are everywhere. Three out of every four of our planet’s known animal species are insects. In The Insect Crisis, acclaimed journalist Oliver Milman dives into the torrent of recent evidence that suggests this kaleidoscopic group of creatures is suffering the greatest existential crisis in its remarkable 400-million-year history. What is causing the collapse of the insect world? Why does this alarming decline pose such a threat to us? And what can be done to stem the loss of the miniature empires that hold aloft life as we know it?

By connecting butterfly and bee, moth and beetle from across the globe, the full scope of loss renders a portrait of a crisis that threatens to upend the workings of our collective history. Part warning, part celebration of the incredible variety of insects, The Insect Crisis is a wake-up call for us all. Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts, says, "The Insect Crisis is elegantly written, admirably nuanced, and terrifyingly important."

The New York Times calls the book "gripping, sobering and important," and notes that "Milman has an ear for a good quote and a knack for explaining scientific research." The Guardian also has a great review, concluding that, "As much as a crisis of pesticides and habitat loss, the insect crisis seems one of indifference, of our failure to appreciate what is at our feet. It’s here that the book’s power lies, for once you read it you cannot fail to notice the butterfly underfoot."

Oliver Milman is a British journalist and the environment correspondent at the Guardian. Sue Stuart-Smith is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author of The Well Gardened Mind, named gardening book of the year by The Sunday Times.

Thursday, March 17, 9:30 am
Marc Brown, author of Believe in Yourself: What We Learned from Arthur for a virtual school visit.
Register below for this event.

Elmbrook School District will host a virtual school visit featuring Marc Brown, creator of the beloved Arthur Adventure book series, for a presentation about his latest, Believe in Yourself: What We Learned from Arthur. As the award-winning Arthur TV series reaches its twenty-fifth anniversary, what better way to celebrate America's favorite aardvark than this collection of life lessons? Cosponsored by Boswell.

This school visit presentation is open to the public. Click here to visit the registration page in order to sign up to view the event. For those not associated with one of the schools, simply choose "Other" in the drop-down menu when prompted to choose a school. 

Join Arthur and his friends as they share the funniest and most heartfelt moments from the longest-running children's  television show in US history and classic book series created by master storyteller Marc Brown. This treasure trove of quotes  and life lessons is divided into five sections that will inspire readers of all ages to listen to their hearts, work together, have an original point of view, and most of all, to believe in themselves! With more than 60 pieces of all-new artwork, this book is a perfect keepsake for superfans young and old as well as those just being introduced to this beloved character.

Marc Brown's Arthur Adventure book series has over 160 million Arthur books in print. He also is the executive producer of Arthur on PBS. 

Friday, March 18, 6:30 pm
Ellen Bravo and Larry Miller, authors of Standing Up: Tales of Struggle
in Conversation with Tony Baez in-person at Boswell Book Company
Register for this event here. Registration is required to attend this event in-person at Boswell, and capacity is limited. 

Boswell presents an evening with Ellen Bravo and Larry Miller, authors of Standing Up: Tales of Struggle. For this event, Bravo and Miller will be in conversation with activist, educator, and musician Tony Baez. This event is cosponsored by Wisconsin AFL-CIO and 9to5. Order a copy of the book here. 

Please Note: Masks are encouraged for this event.

In Standing Up, Ellen Bravo and Larry Miller have taken inspiration from their five decades organizing for labor and social justice to craft a novel about the people who clean bloody hospital sheets, forge parts for sewer pipes, arrange flights, or process checks, all while caring for kids, holding relationships together, and wrestling with multiple forms of oppression. It is about the people we see every day but do not know their names, their joys, or their sorrows. The novel shares the moments when people realize that oppression is not normal or inevitable, that change is possible, and that they can be part of that change.

From Gloria Steinem, "writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer: So much fiction is about escape and fantasy, but these powerful Tales of Struggle will enrich our real and daily lives." And from Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance: "Great storytelling about standing up to injustice, filled with hope and powered by love and human interdependence. We see the anatomy of stand-ups: courage bolstered by support, where we tell each other, 'Yes, you can,' and tell our oppressors, 'No, you won’t.'"

Ellen Bravo is a lifelong activist, former director of 9to5 (the group that inspired the movie), and co-founder of Family Values @ Work, a network of state coalitions working for family-friendly policies. Bravo is the award-winning writer of three non-fiction books, the most recent being Taking on the Big Boys and the novel Again and Again. Among her commendations is a Ford Foundation Visionary award. 

Photo credits
Kelly Weill by Scott Heins
Oliver Milman by Lyndal Stewart

More on the Boswell upcoming events page. Thanks to Rachel for putting this together (Daniel)

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