Monday, May 16, 2022

Six (no, seven!) events this week! Chloé Cooper Jones (virtual cohost), Dana Suskind (in-person cosponsorship at USM), Raffi Berg (virtual cosponsorship), Francisco Goldman (virtual cosponsorship), Amor Towles (in-person cosponsorship at Pabst Theater), Daniel James Brown (virtual multi-store), and Steve Almond (hybrid event)

Monday, May 16, 6:30 pm - virtual
Chloé Cooper Jones, author of Easy Beauty: A Memoir
in conversation with Sally Haldorson for a virtual event - click here to register! 

Boswell Book Company and Porchlight Book Company present an evening with journalist, professor, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Chloé Cooper Jones for a conversation about Easy Beauty, her groundbreaking memoir about disability, motherhood, and a journey to far-flung places in search of a new way of seeing and being seen. In conversation with Sally Haldorson, Managing Director of Porchlight Book Company, our cohost for this event.

Chloé Cooper Jones’s bold, revealing book is an account of moving through the world in a body that looks different than most. Jones learned early on to factor “pain calculations” into every situation. Born with a rare congenital condition called sacral agenesis which affects both her stature and gait, her pain is physical. But there is also the pain of being judged and pitied for her appearance, of being dismissed as "less than." Jones set off on a journey across the globe, reclaiming the spaces she’d been denied, and denied herself. With emotional depth, spiky intelligence, passion, and humor, Cooper Jones offers us that rare thing - a memoir that has the power to make you see the world and your place in it with new eyes.

Kate Tuttle called Easy Beauty "gorgeous" and "vividly alive" in The New York Times.  And from Emily Dzuiban in Booklist: "A profound, impressive, and wiser-than-wise contemplation of the way Jones is viewed by others, her own collusion in those views, and whether any of this can be shifted. She shares her ultimate answer - yes - in superlative writing, rendering complex emotion and unparalleled insight in skillfully precise language."

Chloé Cooper Jones was a finalist for a 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing, and her work has appeared in publications including GQ, VICE, and New York magazine. Her writing has been selected for both The Best American Travel Writing and The Best American Sports Writing.

Tuesday, May 17, 12 pm - virtual cosponsorship
Register here for this event, hosted by the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

Berg tells the complete, never-before-heard, gripping tale of a top-secret and often hazardous operation based at a luxury resort that saw the secret evacuation of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who had been languishing in refugee camps, and the spiriting of them to Israel

Kirkus Reviews
 writes: "Berg's account of the operation - remarkable due to its duration, execution, and success - reads like a spy novel." And Publishers Weekly called Red Sea Spies "outstanding" and "well-researched."

Also on Tuesday, May 17, 7 pm
Dana Suskind, author of Parent Nation: Unlocking Every Child's Potential, Fulfilling Society's Promise
in-person at University School of Milwaukee, 2100 W Fairy Chasm Road

REDgen and USM present an evening featuring Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medical Center Dana Suskind for a conversation about her book, Parent Nation. Suskind, an early childhood development specialist, changes the way we think about the practical importance of the parent-child bond.

Weaving together neuroscience, strategies for parents and policy prescriptions with powerful stories of adversity and hope, Suskind offers a revelatory new look at early childhood and the often-unrecognized essentials for optimal brain development that parents are in the best position to deliver. From Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: "A manifesto, and a handbook, for what we as individuals and as a society are morally called to do for all kids to thrive. Required reading for anyone who has ever loved a child."

Suskind talked to Contemporary Pediatrics about her new book: "Understanding the complexities of what is needed to safeguard the promise of every child’s promise is my life’s work. And while most parents want the same thing - to help their children get off to the best possible start, so that they may grow into happy, healthy adults, the real world gets in the way. We erect barriers in the path of far too many mothers and fathers - from mundane issues like irregular work hours that complicate childcare to profound structural problems like the systemic racism that holds back sizable portions of our population. These barriers limit the time and energy parents can devote to the brain development of their children. And I see the consequences in my clinic, in my research studies, and in the world around me."

Dana Suskind is Founder and Co-Director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program, and Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. Suskind is author of Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain. She is a member of the American Academic of Pediatrics and a Fellow for the Council on Early Childhood and an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s Too Small to Fail initiative.

Wednesday, May 18, 7 pm - virtual
Francisco Goldman, author of Monkey Boy
in conversation with Rachel Buff for a virtual event - so click here and reserve your spot nowMonkey Boy is now available in paperback right here. We are also still stocking the novel in hardcover (click here), Ask for your signed bookplate.

The UWM Stahl Center for Jewish Studies, UWM’s Culture and Communities, and Boswell Book Company present a virtual event featuring author Francisco Goldman for the paperback publication of his novel Monkey Boy. And late-breaking news - Monkey Boy was just named a Pulitzer Prize finalist!

In Monkey Boy, readers meet Francisco Goldberg, a middle-aged writer grappling with the challenges of family and love, legacies of violence and war, and growing up as the son of immigrants - a Guatemalan Catholic mother and a Russian Jewish father - in a predominantly white, working-class Boston suburb. Told in an irresistibly funny, tender, and passionate voice, this extraordinary portrait of family explores the pressures of living between worlds. Auto-fictional in the spirit of early Philip Roth and Saul Bellow, Monkey Boy is an expansive and deeply insightful story of living outside the dominant culture in a conservative 1950s America.

James Wood wrote at length about Monkey Boy in The New Yorker, just one of its rave reviews. He sees it in the tradition of autofiction that harkens back to Saul Bellow and Marcel Proust, and connects the dots to Goldman's first novel, The Long Night of White Chickens, which received the PEN/Faulkner Prize. From the essay: "The density of the memory, the playing over present and past, the essayistic space made for an ongoing political dimension, along with an insistent optimism - all these are characteristic of the novel as a whole, and of Goldman’s feel for a kind of narrative phrasing that allows an ideally sauntering and shifting perspective."

Francisco Goldman has published four previous novels and two books of nonfiction. The Long Night ofWhite Chickens was awarded the American Academy’s Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. The Interior Circuit was named by The Los Angeles Times one of 10 best books of the year. Say Her Name won the Prix Femina étranger.

Also on Wednesday, May 18, 8 pm
Amor Towles, author of The Lincoln Highway
in-person at Pabst Theater - Tickets start at $29.50, available now on the Pabst Theater Group website – ticket does not include a book. Click right here to buy your tickets today!

Pabst Theater presents an evening featuring Amor Towles, the bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility and master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction returns with a stylish and propulsive novel set in 1950s America. More reasons to attend this in-person event on Friday's blog.

The New York Times Book Review calls The Lincoln Highway: "Wise and wildly entertaining...permeated with light, wit, youth." In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His parents deceased and the family farm foreclosed on, Emmett's intends to head for California with his little brother to start over. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden's car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett's future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction - to the City of New York.

Amor Towles graduated from Yale and received an MA from Stanford University. His new novel, The Lincoln Highway, debuted at number one on The New York Times bestseller list, and was a Today Show Read with Jenna Book Club Pick, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2021.

Friday, May 20, 7 pm - virtual
Daniel James Brown, author of Facing the Mountain: An Inspiring Story of Japanese American Patriots in World War II 
in conversation with Tom Ikeda for a virtual event - click right here to register now.

Available in paperback here, or in hardcover here. Either way, be sure to ask for your signed bookplate!

Boswell Book Company, in partnership with Anderson’s Bookshops and Left Bank Books, presents a virtual event with Daniel James Brown, author of the nonfiction phenomenon The Boys in the Boat, for an evening about his latest, Facing the Mountain, a gripping World War II saga of patriotism and courage that tells the story of the special Japanese American Army unit that overcame brutal odds in Europe. In conversation with Tom Ikeda, former executive director of Densho.

They came from across the continent and Hawaii. Their parents taught them to embrace both their Japanese heritage and the ways of America. They faced bigotry, yet they believed in their bright futures as American citizens. But within days of Pearl Harbor, the FBI was ransacking their houses and locking up their fathers. And within months many would themselves be living behind barbed wire. Facing the Mountain is an unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe. Based on extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, it portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese-American families and their sons, who volunteered for 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany, and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible.

From NPR: "Facing the Mountain is more than just the story of a group of young men whose valor helped save a country that spurned them, it’s a fascinating, expertly written look at selfless heroes who emerged from one of the darkest periods of American history - soldiers the likes of which this country may never see again."

Daniel James Brown is the author of The Boys in the Boat, The Indifferent Stars Above, and Under aFlaming Sky. Tom Ikeda is the former executive director of Densho, a Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing Japanese American history and promoting social justice and equity.

Monday, May 23, 6:30 pm - in person
Steve Almond, author of All the Secrets of the World
in conversation with Mary Louise Schumacher, in-person at Boswell Book Company - click here to register for either in-person or virtual! 

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 (you may also know her from her stint as arts critic at the Journal Sentinel)  Mary Louise Schumacher, who studied under Almond. How great is that?

It's 1981 in Sacramento, and thirteen-year-old Lorena Saenz has just been paired with Jenny Stallworth for the science fair by a teacher hoping to unite two girls from starkly different worlds. Lorena begins to spend time at the Stallworth residence and finds herself seduced, not just by Jenny but her parents: Rosemary, her glamorous, needy mother, and Marcus, a scorpiologist who recognizes Lorena’s passion for learning and her confused desires. When Lorena’s troubled older brother, Tony, picks her up at the Stallworth mansion late one night, he and Marcus exchange tense words - an encounter that draws the Saenz family into the dark heart of America’s criminal justice system. To uncover the truth, Lorena must embark on an unforgiving odyssey into the desert and through the gates of a religious cult in Mexico. As she stalks a fate guided by forces beyond her reckoning, shocking secrets explode into view.

One of LitHub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2022, Almond’s novel is winning raves. Here's Zack Ruskin in The San Francisco Chronicle: "As a veteran of the nonfiction scene, it’s perhaps no surprise that a writer who once published a best-selling book about being obsessed with candy (Candyfreak) would populate his first full-length foray into fiction with a cast of characters that includes an elusive scorpion biologist, a well-mustachioed detective and first lady Nancy Reagan’s personal astrologer. Known to some for his work as a co-host on the 'Dear Sugars' podcast, Almond manages to channel the empathy intrinsic to that long-running advice program into the characters that make this novel a breathtaking success."

Steve Almond is author of eleven books of fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His essays and reviews have been published in venues ranging from The New York Times Magazine to Ploughshares to Poets & Writers, and his short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and Best American Mysteries

One last note about All the Secrets of the World. It's published by Zando Press, one of two high-profile publishing programs that were started by talented editors who were formerly at Penguin Random House - the other is the revived Spiegel + Grau. Molly Stern, formerly of Viking and Crown (where she edited the Obamas), has taken her model with Sarah Jessica Parker curating a publishing list (duplicated at Zando) and expanded it to Gillian Flynn, John Legend, and Lena Waithe. More about Zando here.

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