Monday, June 6, 2022

Five great events coming up! Deanna Singh (in person), Paula Byrne (virtual), James Kennedy (in person), Natalie Caña (in-person), and Rajika Bhandari (in-person)

Tuesday, June 7, 6:30 pm
Deanna Singh, author of Actions Speak Louder: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Inclusive Workplace
in conversation with Shannon Sims at Milwaukee Public Library Centennial Hall, 733 N Eighth St - register here

Milwaukee author and the Founder and Chief Change Agent of Flying Elephant Deanna Singh appears at MPL’s Centennial Hall to present her new book, Actions Speak Louder, a guide to creating successful workspaces and inclusive teams. In conversation with Shannon Sims, Anchor of TMJ4 News. Presented by Milwaukee Public Library, RootedMKE, Porchlight Book Company, and Boswell.

Renowned DEI consultant Deanna Singh has led diversity trainings for a wide range of organizations, giving audiences the tools and courage to imagine, activate, and impact the world as agents of change. With her new book, she offers advice on how to train DEI leaders, guidance on how not to have conversations about race at work where they aren't warranted, and more. Designed for teams to read together, Actions Speak Louder offers a comprehensive blueprint for leaders and teams who are ready to get out of their own way, look at their surroundings with new eyes, and turn their energy into a concrete plan.

Adam Grant, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again calls Singh’s book: "A timely, practical resource on creating teams and organizations where everyone has the opportunity to succeed." Singh’s book is a step-by-step guide for managers, teams, and DEI leaders looking to create impactful, lasting change in their organization, from recruitment to retention and beyond.

Deanna Singh is an accomplished author, educator, business leader, and social justice champion. She has been recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal as one of the community’s most influential 40 Under 40 Leaders, the State of Wisconsin as a Woman Who Inspires, and by Forbes as an African American Woman Everyone Should Know. 

Wednesday, June 8, 7 pm
Paula Byrne, author of The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym
in conversation with Bill Goldstein for a virtual event - click here to register

Boswell is happy to host a virtual evening with literary biographer Paula Byrne for her new book on Barbara Pym, one of the wittiest and most observant British novelists of the late 20th century, who was often hailed as the Jane Austen of her day. In conversation with author and critic Bill Goldstein. Cosponsored by the Wisconsin Chapter of the Jane Austen Society.

The renowned biographer and author of The Real Jane Austen brings Barbara Pym back to center stage as one of the greatest English novelists: a generous, shrewdly perceptive writer and a brave woman, who only in the last years of her life was suddenly, resoundingly recognized for her genius. Pym became beloved for revealing the inner workings of domestic life so brilliantly that her friend Philip Larkin announced her the era’s own Jane Austen. But who was Barbara Pym and why was the life of this English writer - one of the greatest chroniclers of the human heart - so defined by rejection, both in her writing and in love?

Pym lived through extraordinary times. She attended Oxford in the thirties when women were the minority. She spent time in Nazi Germany, falling for a man who was close to Hitler. She made a career on the Home Front as a single working girl in London’s bedsit land. Through all of this, she wrote. Byrne’s biography is the first to make full use of Pym’s archive, and readers will be thrilled by the inclusion of new extracts from Pym’s diaries, letters, and novels. From The Guardian, which selected Byrne’s volume as Book of the Week: "Excellent… Byrne's book is the first to integrate its revelations into a cradle-to-grave biography."

Daniel's take: I just had a great conversation with Bill Goldstein about the upcoming event. We discussed how this boom-bust cycle of Pym popularity mirrors Pym's own up-down-up reputation during her lifetime. As I've mentioned before (on this blog post), Goldstein is as much a Pym expert as anyone I knew enough to ask to be a conversation partner. I love that he visited Hazel Holt and Hilary Pym in England after interviewing Holt for the publication of her biography of Pym, A Lot to Ask.

Paula Byrne was born in Birkenhead and has a PhD from the University of Liverpool, where she is a Research Fellow in English Literature. Her first book, Jane Austen and the Theatre, was short-listed for the Theatre Book Prize. She is a regular contributor to The Times Literary Supplement. Bill Goldstein is Founding Editor of the books site of The New York Times and reviews books and interviews authors for NBC's Weekend Today in New York. He is author of The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and the Year that Changed Literature.

Thursday, June 9, 6:30 pm
James Kennedy, author of Dare to Know
in-person at Boswell Book Company - register here

Boswell hosts an evening with James Kennedy, author of Dare to Know, to celebrate the paperback release of a Boswell staff favorite - a high concept, speculative novel about a death predictor who is surprised to learn that he may have died 23 minutes ago. 

Dark Matter meets Annihilation in this mind-bending and emotional speculative thriller set in a world where the exact moment of your death can be predicted - for a price. Wildly ambitious and highly immersive, this thought-provoking thriller explores the destructive power of knowledge and collapses the boundaries between reality, myth, and conspiracy as it races toward its shocking conclusion.

The Boswellians love this book! From Jason Kennedy: "I couldn’t put this book down, and I had to reread the end twice to figure out the mind melting conclusion that the author spun." From Kay Wosewick: "The story becomes mind bending, mythic, and full of rabbit holes. After about 30 minutes of rereading, I think I get it! Kennedy pulls off a wonderful trick. Then again, I could be totally wrong..." And from Jenny Chou: "Twisty, thought provoking, and delightfully quirky doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of this wild thrill ride of a novel. Set aside a day and the better part of a night, because putting your copy of Dare to Know aside won’t be an option."

Daniel's take: This is not my reading comfort zone, but I was intrigued that we had three fans on staff. We had a heated discussion about what actually happened in the story - there was definitely disagreement. I asked my fellow booksellers for a good comparison author. Jenny thought Blake Crouch, but Jason countered with Jeff VanderMeer. Fans of these two writers pay attention - could be your next favorite writer. 

More from Jenny - here's her pre-event interview with five questions for Kennedy on The Boswellians blog.

James Kennedy is the author of The Order of Odd-Fish and the founder and director of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. Before becoming a writer, he was a software engineer with a degree in physics and philosophy, subjects he continues to explore in his writing. his next novel, The Bride of the Tornado, is scheduled for spring 2023. It's being positioned as The Mist meets Twin Peaks.

Friday, June 10, 6:30 pm
Natalie Caña, author of A Proposal They Can’t Refuse
in conversation with Liz Lincoln, in-person at Boswell Book Company
Please Note: Masks are required by all audience members during this event. Speakers may be unmasked during their presentation. Click here to register for this event.

Get ready to swoon at this special evening of Wisconsin romance as we welcome Milwaukee’s Natalie Caña for a conversation about her debut romance novel, A Proposal They Can’t Refuse. An ambitious young Puerto Rican entrepreneur who can only update the family restaurant if she marries a man her abuelo has chosen – a man she absolutely cannot stand. In conversation with Milwaukee romance author Liz Lincoln.

Call it My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but make it Latinx when a Puerto Rican chef and an Irish American whiskey distiller are blackmailed into a fake relationship by their scheming octogenarian grandfathers. Kamilah Vega and Liam Kane have a problem - their grandfathers demand that they get married. If they refuse, the grandfathers will sell the building that houses both their businesses. With their futures on the line, Kamilah and Liam plan to outfox the devious duo, faking an engagement until they both get what they want. But soon, they find themselves tangled up in more than either of them bargained for.

From the starred Publishers Weekly review: "This delightful mix of food, familia, and culture will leave readers hungry for more." And from Denise Williams, author of How to Fail at Flirting: "This book bursts with humor, heat, love, and family! Caña’s characters leap off the page and into your heart. A Proposal They Can’t Refuse delivers a happily ever after where familia, food, and finding what was under our nose the whole time are at the core of the story. Natalie Caña’s debut will leave you smiling, hungry, and eager to read her next book!"

Natalie Caña writes contemporary romances that allow her to incorporate her witty sense of humor and her love for her culture. Liz Lincoln is author of the Milwaukee Dragons and Milwaukee Men at Work series.

Monday, June 13, 6:30 pm
Rajika Bhandari, author of America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility
in conversation with Elly Fishman, in-person at Boswell Book Company - click here to register

Boswell hosts an evening with Rajika Bhandari for her new memoir, America Calling, an unflinching and insightful book that explores the global appeal of a Made in America education that is a bridge to America’s successful past and to its future. In conversation with Elly Fishman, who teaches in the Journalism Department at UWM. This event is cosponsored by Education Credential Evaluators.

Growing up in middle-class India, Bhandari has seen generations of her family look westward, where an American education means status and success. But for a time, she resisted the lure of America because those who left never returned. As a young woman, however, she found herself following her heart and heading to a US university to study. When her relationship ended and Bhandari failed to move back to India as a foreign-educated woman, she found herself in a job where the personal was political. As an expert on international higher education, she has been immersed in the lives of the international students who come to America from over 200 countries, the universities that attract them, and the tangled web of immigration that a student must navigate.

America Calling is both a deeply personal story of Bhandari’s search for her place and an incisive analysis of America’s relationship with the rest of the world through the most powerful tool of diplomacy: education. At a time of growing nationalism, a turning inward, and fear of the 'other,' America Calling is ultimately a call to action to keep America’s borders - and minds - open.

Daniel's note - I enjoyed this enlightening survey/memoir, particularly when Bhandari took note of the strangeness of America compared to her homeland. I could have read a whole book on this aspect of Bhandari's story alone.

Rajika Bhandari is author of five academic books and one previous nonfiction book, and her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Diplomatic Courier, among others. Elly Fishman is the author of Refugee High: Coming of Age in America

Thanks to Rachel for writing this up!

Photo credits
Deanna Singh by Suvi Tory Photography
Bill Goldstein by Bill Hayes

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