Monday, September 26, 2022

Five events this week: Tom Perotta (virtual), Toya Wolfe (in-person at Boswell), Matt Cain (virtual), Andrew Sean Greer (ticketed event at Boswell), Jeanée Sacken (in-person at Shorewood Public Library)

Tuesday, September 27, 7 pm
Tom Perrotta, author of Tracy Flick Can’t Win
in conversation with Daniel Goldin for a virtual event - click here to register

We’re pleased to host a virtual evening featuring Tom Perrotta for a chat about his latest, Tracy Flick Can’t Win, his Election sequel that offers a sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect reflection on our current moment. In conversation with Boswell proprietor Daniel Goldin, who has read all ten of Perrotta's novels and story collections.

It's 2017 and Tracy Flick is the hardworking assistant principal at a New Jersey high school. Still ambitious but feeling stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job. But is she really a shoo-in for the principal job? Is the superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President's wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can't she ever get what she deserves?

Flick fans and newcomers alike will love this compelling novel chronicling the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time. From The New York Times: "Even more piercing than its predecessor... With a lyric, polyphonic intensity, [Perrotta] poses a question to the class: What have we learned?" And from Esquire: "Told with Perrotta’s piercing wit, wisdom, and exquisite insight into human folly, Tracy’s second act delivers acerbic insight about frustrated ambition."

Tom Perrotta is author of ten works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into critically acclaimed movies, and The Leftovers and Mrs. Fletcher, which were both adapted into HBO series.

Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 pm
Toya Wolfe, author of Last Summer on State Street
in-person at Boswell - click here to register

Boswell hosts an evening featuring novelist Toya Wolfe with her debut, Last Summer on State Street, a striking coming-of-age novel of friendship, community, and resilience, set in Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes where Wolfe grew up. Great for fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Brit Bennett. This is one of Daniel's top 10 books of 2022.

Felicia 'Fe Fe' Stevens lives with her family in a high-rise that’s next to be torn down by the Chicago Housing Authority. Along with the devout Precious Brown and Stacia Buchanan, daughter of a Gangster Disciple Queen-Pin, Fe Fe forms a tentative trio with whom she carves out a simple life of Double Dutch and innocence. But when Fe Fe welcomes a mysterious new friend into their fold, the dynamics shift, upending the lives of all four girls. As their beloved neighborhood falls down, so do their friendships and the structures of the four girls’ families. Decades later, Fe Fe tries to make sense of the grief and fraught bonds that still haunt her and attempts to reclaim the love that never left.

Profound, reverent, and uplifting, Last Summer on State Street explores the risk of connection against the backdrop of racist institutions, the restorative power of knowing and claiming one’s own past, and those defining relationships which form the heartbeat of our lives. Interweaving moments of reckoning and sustaining grace, debut author Toya Wolfe has crafted an era-defining story of finding a home - both in one’s history and in one’s self.

Toya Wolfe earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, and her writing has appeared in African Voices, Chicago Journal, Chicago Reader, and more. She is the recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston-Bessie Head Fiction Award, the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation Short Story Competition, and the Betty Shifflett/John Schultz Short Story Award.

Thursday, September 29, 2 pm
Matt Cain, author of The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle: An Uplifting and Unforgettable Story of Love and Second Chances
in conversation with Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin for a virtual event - click here to register

September’s Readings from Oconomowaukee is pleased to reach across the pond once again for an afternoon with British author Matt Cain and his latest novel, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle. Perfect for fans of Fredrik Backman and TJ Klune, this humorous, life-affirming, and charmingly wise novel tells the story of how the forced retirement of a shy, closeted postman in northern England creates a second chance with his lost love, as he learns to embrace his true self, connect with his community, and finally experience his life’s great adventure.

And be sure to order your copy of The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle now, too! Click here to order from Boswell. Alternatively, click here and order from Books & Company.

Every day, Albert Entwistle makes his way through the streets of his small English town, delivering letters and parcels and returning greetings with a quick wave and a “how do?” Everyone on his route knows Albert, or thinks they do - a man of quiet routines, content to live alone with his cat, Gracie. Three months before his sixty-fifth birthday, Albert receives a letter from the Royal Mail thanking him for decades of service and stating that he is being forced into retirement. At once, Albert’s simple life unravels. So, rather than continue his lonely existence, Albert forms a brave plan to start truly living, to be honest about who he is, and to find George, the man with whom he spent one perfect spring and summer long ago.

The early praise for this one is outstanding. From Sir Ian McKellen, "This rollicking romance entrapped me! True in its detail and its scope, it is amusing yet heart-breaking." And from The Sun: "Albert is the most delicious character and you'll be with him every step of the way."

Matt Cain is an author and commentator on LGBT+ issues. As a journalist, he was Channel 4's first Culture Editor, Editor-In-Chief of Attitude magazine, and won Diversity in Media's Journalist Of the Year award. Cain is an ambassador for Manchester Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust, plus a patron of LGBT+ History Month.

Friday, September 30, 6:30 pm
Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less Is Lost
in conversation with Liam Callanan, In-Person at Boswell - click here to register

Boswell hosts Andrew Sean Greer, who visits with his new novel, Less Is Lost, a follow-up to his Pulitzer-winning book Less. In this novel, the lovably awkward author Arthur Less returns for an unforgettable road trip across America. David Sedaris calls it "wildly, painfully funny." Greer appears in conversation with Milwaukee's Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book.

This is a ticketed event, and each ticket costs $23.20 (20% off the list price) plus tax and ticket fee. Each ticket includes admission for one to the event and a copy of Less Is Lost, available for pick up at the event. This event is cosponsored by Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library, and $5 from each ticket will be donated to the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation. So purchase your tickets now! 

For Arthur Less, life is going surprisingly well: he is a moderately accomplished novelist in a steady relationship with his partner. But nothing good lasts: the death of an old lover and a sudden financial crisis has Less running away from his problems yet again as he accepts a series of literary gigs that send him on a zigzagging adventure across the US. With all of the irrepressible wit and musicality that made Less a bestseller, Less Is Lost is a profound and joyous novel about the enigma of life in America, the riddle of love, and the stories we tell along the way.

Early praise for Greer's latest is glowing. How about this, from Booker-winner Marlon James: "Only Arthur Less could be both frustratingly stuck, yet on the move. Let loose, yet totally lost. Full of wit, but without a clue. And while he runs from himself, finds himself at the same time. Put all of that on a wild road trip through a wilder America, and you end up with something hilarious, affecting, and unforgettable." And then there's this, from Circe author Madeline Miller: "It is a deep pleasure to return to the adventures of Arthur Less and his beloved Freddy. Greer is a brilliant storyteller as always, and the joyfulness of this book is a balm. I loved reading it." And if that's not enough, how about this amazing profile in The New York Times and this enthusiastic review in The New Yorker. Greer and Callanan are both writers of wit and charm - can you imagine them together?

Andrew Sean Greer is author of six works of fiction, including The Confessions of Max Tivoli and The Story of a Marriage. He has taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop, been a New York Public Library Cullman Center Fellow, and been a recipient of a NEA grant and Guggenheim Fellowship. Liam Callanan is Professor of English at UWM and author of three novels.

Monday, October 3, 6:30 pm
Jeannée Sacken, author of Double Exposure
In-Person at Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N Murray Ave - click here for more info

Shorewood Public Library presents an evening with Jeannée Sacken for Double Exposure, the sequel to her American Writing Awards Book of the Year, Behind the Lens.

Seasoned war photojournalist Annie Hawkins is under investigation for an incident that happened six months earlier in Afghanistan. Her best friend's daughter is still missing, apparently with her Taliban boyfriend. Her own daughter is fundraising to rebuild the Wad Qol Secondary School for Girls and expects Annie to deliver the money. To make matters worse, she and the love of her life are no longer speaking. When Annie returns to Afghanistan to cover peace talks between the government and the Taliban, she takes a side trip to Wad Qol, where she discovers that not everyone wants the new school. Sabotage delays construction, and when a worker ends up dead, it's clear the militants are to blame. It's also obvious that they know exactly where Annie is.

Love in Provence author Patricia Sands says: "Fast-moving, unpredictable, and at times heart-stopping. Sacken’s prose is brilliant." And Maggie Smith, author of Truth and Other Lies, says Double Exposure is full of: "smart narration, nuanced characters, and thought-provoking situations reminiscent of Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns."

Jeannée Sacken is an author and photojournalist who travels the world documenting the lives of women and children. A former English professor, she lives in Shorewood and is currently President of the Friends of the Shorewood Public Library. 

Photo credits
Tom Perotta by Beowulf Sheehan
Andrew Sean Greer by Kaliel Roberts
Liam Callanan by Patrick Manning

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