Monday, July 4, 2022

Three events coming up! Harry Pinkus for Human Collateral, Mary Allen for The Deep Limitless Air (both in-person at Boswell), and Shelby Van Pelt (again!) (virtual this time)

Wednesday, July 6, 6:30 pm
Harry Pinkus, author of Human Collateral
in-person at Boswell Book Company - click here to register for this event.

Boswell hosts an evening featuring Milwaukee author Harry Pinkus for the first installment of his brand new thriller series, an intriguing good versus evil story where a private investigator and the FBI team up to bring down an unscrupulous mob that preys on people’s financial misfortunes.

The novel begins when a woman hires private investigator Miles Darien to track down her missingdaughter Olivia. When he finds her, she's barely alive as a result of an infection after having a kidney surgically removed. Turns out the kidney was payment for an illegal loan given by criminals who prey on people in dire financial trouble by forcing them to use their bodies as collateral.

Now, Olivia can’t seek medical care or go to the police because the criminals have threatened to kill her if she does. Miles must bring down the criminals to keep them from silencing Olivia. They join forces with the FBI to look for the syndicate behind these loans. But the syndicate is also hunting them, trying to erase any trail that would lead back to them. Who will erase who first?

Harry Pinkus attended the University of Wisconsin, and his career as a writer includes creating marketing content for both digital and print media. He is author of The Kingmaker's Redemption.

Thursday, July 7, 6:30 pm
Mary Allen, author of The Deep Limitless Air: A Memoir in Pieces
in conversation with Rochelle Melander, in-person at Boswell - click here to register.

Boswell hosts an evening featuring writing coach Mary Allen for a conversation about her new memoir, The Deep Limitless Air, with Milwaukee-based writing coach and author Rochelle Melander.

Mary Allen’s new memoir is a funny, warm, and heartbreaking book. In this tour-de-force collection of interconnected personal essays, Allen reflects on past loves, friends, life with and without family; on meditation, obsession, and insomnia; and on the humans and animals, spiritual questions and personal dilemmas that absorb her attention. With earned wisdom and light-handed spirituality, Allen poses and answers questions large and small - Will she and her father get those honeybees into their new hive while her rageful mother watches from the house? Is someone like the Wizard of Oz orchestrating her recurring dreams? How will she overcome her fears of flying and public speaking to give a speech in New York? And what is that pair of purple panties doing in the middle of the Mojave Desert where she is completely lost?

Kirkus Reviews says of Allen’s book: "Quiet, touching reflections on loss, grief, and self-discovery." And from Jo Ann Beard, author of Festival Days: "Allen's beguiling and brilliant writing will leave you exhilarated. Simply put, read this book."

Mary Allen is author of The Rooms of Heaven and has received a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship and a Paul Engle/James Michener Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in Poets and Writers, Real Simple, CNN Online, and in the anthology If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught in the University of Iowa’s nonfiction writing MFA program, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and the Rhetoric Department at the University of Iowa. Rochelle Melander is author of books including Level Up, Write-A-Thon, and Mightier than the Sword.

Monday, July 11, 7 pm
Shelby Van Pelt, author of Remarkably Bright Creatures
in conversation with Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin for a virtual event - click here to register!

Readings from Oconomowaukee presents a virtual evening with Shelby Van Pelt, author of Remarkably Bright Creatures, a charming, witty, and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus. In conversation with Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Company and Lisa Baudoin of Books & Company, our cohost for the event.

After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors - until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late.

Daniel loves this book: "If you can say one thing about widowed aquarium cleaner Tova Sullivan, the once-again-jobless Cameron Passmore, and star-aquarium-attraction Marcellus the Octopus, it’s that they’ve all had their share of misfortune. Yes, this is a story of grief, of losses both recent and in the past. But it’s also a story of found family, of hope, and of purpose. Van Pelt infuses all her characters with grace, not just the protagonists but the members of Tova’s Knit-Wit social group, Cameron’s Aunt Jeanne (who raised him after his mom disappeared), and even the elusive developer who Cameron suspects is his father. But the star of the show is probably Marcellus, whose dexterity and wisdom never fails to inspire. Why haven’t I read Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus? And while I’m asking, why haven’t you read Remarkably Bright Creatures?"

An additional note: Why are we doing this event twice? At Van Pelt's initial in-person event, we had problems with  the audio and weren't able to record it. We're also having some issues with the broadcast component of hybrid events, where people don't sign up the way they do for virtual events because it's more complicated. We're working on that!

Shelby Van Pelt's writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been featured in f(r)iction and Funny Pearls. Remarkably Bright Creatures, her debut novel, was inspired by her favorite aquarium as a child.

Photo credits:
Shelby Van Pelt by Karen Forsythe

Thanks to Rachel and Chris for putting this together.

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