Monday, May 23, 2022

Events aplenty - Steve Almond (in-person and broadcast), Jonathan Lee (virtual), Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris (virtual), Emma Straub (in-person ticketed)

Here's what's happening!

Monday, May 23, 6:30 pm - in person at Boswell and broadcast
Steve Almond, author of All the Secrets of the World
in conversation with Mary Louise Schumacher

Boswell presents an evening with novelist, short story writer, and essayist Steve Almond, author of books such as Candyfreak and The Evil B.B. Chow, for an evening featuring his new novel, All the Secrets of the World. For this event, Almond will be in conversation with independent journalist, critic, and filmmaker Mary Louise Schumacher.

Registration for the in-person event is closed, but walk-up registration is available. Broadcast registration is still open here.

From Doug Gordon's Beta show on Wisconsin Public Radio: "All the Secrets of the World is a propulsive narrative about two teenage girls whose friendship pulls their very different families into a web of secrets and lies. Almond tackles a range of subjects in the book, including astronomy, scorpion biology, tabloid journalism and FBI interrogation techniques. And the book is a shapeshifter, morphing from one genre to another to yet another."

From Zack Ruskin in the San Francisco Chronicle: "For those who recall Colum McCann’s brilliant Let the Great World Spin, a similar (albeit entirely original) approach and payoff are employed. Whereas McCann built a fictional ensemble cast around the real-life exploits of acrobat Philippe Petit, Almond channels the inner monologue of (Nancy) Reagan, who dwells on the recent assassination attempt of her husband as she frets over crime headlines and consults an astrologer for advice on what actions to take. Almond then contrasts those imagined forays into the former first lady’s mind with another character’s harrowing journey into the heart of America’s criminal justice system, offering one of many ways in which his novel rightfully earns its lofty title."

All the Secrets of the World has been optioned to be adapted for television by Jon Feldman. More here.

Tuesday, May 24, 7 pm - virtual
Jonathan Lee, author of The Great Mistake
in conversation with Chris Lee
Register here for this event.

Boswell hosts a virtual evening featuring Jonathan Lee, author of The New York Times best book of the year High Dive, for a conversation about his latest novel, coming out in paperback this spring, about the forgotten (and murdered!) man once known as the Father of Great New York. In conversation with Chris Lee of Boswell, who declared The Great Mistake one of his top 5 books of the past year.

Make no mistake, Chris Lee has a lot of reasons why you should tune into this virtual event: "There’s one thing you’ve gotta have in any book to really care about it, right? A bit of heart. Well, for all of the amazing writing about the city and the murder mystery and the past, The Great Mistake has at its beating heart the story of a restless, creative man determined to shape history while at the same time being bound by the moral code of his day. Here is a man who wants so much and the only real question is, what will he decide he wants the most?" Read more on The Boswellians blog. 

From Alex Preston in The Guardian: "Jonathan Lee’s The Great Mistake is a novel so comprehensively steeped in American literary history that it comes as something of a surprise to find that its author is a fortysomething from Surrey. It’s as if Lee, whose three superb earlier novels include a reimagining of the IRA bombing of the Grand hotel in Brighton, has distilled more than a century of American letters into a single book."

From Mandana Chaffa in The Chicago Review of Books: "There’s a special resonance in reading this book as an immigrant, because in a sense, Green was also an immigrant to New York, striving to create a space of his own, to become what he couldn’t become elsewhere. As much as Green’s achievements reveal a tremendous love for New York, so too this novel feels like a love letter to the city. It would be easy to recommend The Great Mistake for its confident, well-researched and impeccably crafted take on a singular individual who had so much to do with the creation of New York City as we know it. The parks, the museums, the library, so many aspects of shared public resources which give this city life and attempt to balance the wide rift between the excessively wealthy and the rest of us. But you should really read this book for Lee’s exquisite prose, his poetic shadings of a life and a time in which so much was possible."

Thursday, May 26, 5 pm - virtual
Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris, author and illustrator of The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza
Register here for this event.

Boswell Book Company joins forces with independent bookstores across America to present a virtual event featuring New York Times bestselling author Mac Barnett and Caldecott Honor award-winning illustrator Shawn Harris, creators of The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza, an action-packed, hysterical graphic novel.

Something terrible is happening in the skies! Rats are eating the MOON! There's only one hero for the job, a bold and fearsome beast bioengineered in a secret lab to be the moon's savior and Earth's last hope! And that hero is… a cat. A cat who will be blasted into space! But, along the way, will the first cat in space ever have the chance to grab a slice?

From Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books: "Barnett is cruising comfortably in his usual lane of quirky humor, and Harris matches the absurdity with cleverly composed illustrations that balance visual humor with narrative necessity. The First Cat in Space remains silent with a permanently grumpy expression, but his warrior posturing proves his heroism; LOZ is a bundle of nervous and, eventually, victorious energy."

From Booklist: "Harris' thick-lined cartoon artwork adds undeniable grandeur and beauty to the settings of an otherwise goofy affair, and the character design is endearing, especially the laconic First Cat ('Meow'), who ventures to the moon with all the air of Washington crossing the Delaware. A definite winner in the age of Dog Man."

Thursday, May 26, 7 pm - ticketed and in person at Elm Grove Woman's Club
Emma Straub, author of This Time Tomorrow
in conversation with Noah Weckwerth 

Boswell Book Company and Friends of Elm Grove Public Library are pleased to present a special Elm Grove Reads event with Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers and All Adults Here, for a presentation of her new novel, This Time Tomorrow, a book that combines her trademark charm and wit with a moving father-daughter story and a playful twist on the idea of time travel. In conversation with Noah Weckwerth of the Elm Grove Public Library.

This is a ticketed event - click here to purchase your tickets today! Tickets cost $28 plus tax and fee, and include admission and a copy of This Time Tomorrow. A portion of sales are donated back to the Elm Grove Public Library.

Emma Straub talked to Tonya Mosely on NPR's Fresh Air today. When asked about the surfeit of stories about time travel, she replied, "Well, I - you know, I don't - I can't speak to, you know, like, the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse. That sort of thing is above my pay grade. But what I do know is that I am one of several writers I know who are mothers of small children who have written time travels during the pandemic. And I think it's because the past few years have been so wildly unsettling for all of us that some of us, who happened to be novelists, started looking for a way out or an explanation or some comfort. I certainly know that thinking about this book and writing this book and experience - the experience of writing it felt to me like true time travel and just a much, much-needed escape."

From Barbara VanDenburgh in USA Today: "The millennial midlife crisis has arrived. Yes, while you’ve been cracking jokes about avocado toast, the eldest millennials have quietly, and with great dread, entered their 40s. Given that they can’t afford homes, never mind sports cars, what’s a millennial’s midlife crisis look like? In Emma Straub’s winning new novel This Time Tomorrow, it looks a little like the movies they grew up on, with a dash of time travel to spice up the existential dread."

Everything you could possible want to know about This Time Tomorrow is on the Boswell & Books blog of last Friday.

More programs on the Boswell upcoming events page.

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