Monday, March 18, 2019

Event alert: Joseph Scapellato in conversation with CJ Hribal, Matthew J Prigge, Chip Duncan, Alexandra Christo and Tricia Levenseller in conversation with Kelli O'Malley, Marley Dias at Girls Summit, Patrick McGilligan

Here's what's happening this week!

Monday, March 18, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Joseph Scapellato, author of The Made-Up Man, in conversation with CJ Hribal

Marquette alum Joseph Scapellato returns to Milwaukee, this time at Boswell, for a conversation with his former writing mentor, CJ Hribal, about Scapellato’s first novel, in which existential noir meets absurd comedy.

A young man reluctantly enlists as source material for his strange uncle’s art project. Stanley had known it was a mistake to accept his uncle Lech’s offer to apartment-sit in Prague; knew it was one of Lech’s thinly veiled setups for some invasive, potentially dangerous performance art project. But whatever Lech had planned for Stanley, it would get him to Prague and maybe offer a chance to make things right with T after his failed attempt to propose.

Gabino Iglesias wrote about the book on the NPR website: "Joseph Scapellato's The Made-Up Man reminds me of a bacon-topped doughnut — a mixture of incongruent elements that somehow work well together. And like that sweet treat, Scapellato's blend of existential noir, absurdist humor, literary fiction, and surreal exploration of performance art merges into something special."

Joseph Scapellato is author of the story collection Big Lonesome, and his work has been published in Kenyon Review Online, Gulf Coast, and PANK. Scapellato is Assistant Professor of English at Bucknell University. CJ Hribal is author of The Company Car, The Clouds in Memphis, and American Beauty. He is Professor at Marquette University.

Tuesday, March 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Matthew J Prigge, author of Damn the Old Tinderbox!: Milwaukee's Palace of the West and the Fire That Defined an Era

Author of Milwaukee Mayhem and host of WMSE’s What Made Milwaukee Famous, Matthew J Prigge recalls one of the Gilded Age’s forgotten calamities, a fire among the deadliest unsolved arsons in American history and a significant chapter in the history of Milwaukee.

In the dead of an unassuming January night in 1883, Milwaukee’s Newhall House hotel was set on fire. Two hours later, the building, once among the tallest in the nation, lay in ruins and over 70 people were dead. It was a tragedy that brought global notice to Milwaukee, with daring escapes and rescues and heart-wrenching tales of victims burned to death or killed as they leapt from the burning building. From the great horror emerged an even greater string of mysteries. Who had set the fire, and who was to blame for the staggering loss of life?  Prigge searches for answers in the history of one of Milwaukee’s greatest disasters.

Matthew J Prigge’s work has appeared in Milwaukee Magazine, Urban Milwaukee, and the Shepherd Express. He won the 2013 William Best Hesseltine Award from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and the 2017 Gambrinus Prize from the Milwaukee County Historical Society. He is author of Milwaukee Mayhem and Outlaws, Rebels, and Vixens: Motion Picture Censorship in Milwaukee, 1914–1971.

Wednesday, March 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Chip Duncan, author of Inspiring Change: The Photographic Journey of Chip Duncan

Photographer, filmmaker, and author Chip Duncan presents Inspiring Change, a collection of photojournalism that captures images of people and places across the world. Cosponsored by NŌ Studios.

During the past decade, Duncan has conducted numerous visits to Afghanistan, Kenya, Colombia, Peru, and Ethiopia as well as journeys to India, Ghana, Pakistan, and Haiti. The people he’s encountered and photographed offer a rare and positive glimpse into the beauty of each individual nation and the unique cultures and faiths around the world.

Chip Duncan is author of the story collection Half a Reason to Die and Enough to Go Around: Searching for Hope in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Darfur, a book of photo essays. He’s also produced documentary films and series such as The Reagan Presidency, The Life & Death of Glaciers, and Mystic Lands, among others.

Thursday, March 21, 6:30 pm, at Boswell: A YA, Boswell! Event with Tricia Levenseller, author of Warrior of the Wild and Alexandra Christo, author of To Kill a Kingdom

Boswell is pleased to host a fantastic evening of YA fantasy with Tricia Levenseller (at left), author of Daughter of the Pirate King, and debut YA novelist Alexandra Christo, for a conversation with bookseller/librarian Kelli O’Malley. This conversation will enchant adults and teens 13+.

In Levenseller’s Warrior of the Wild, an eighteen-year-old chieftain's daughter is banished into the monster-filled wild after being betrayed and must find a way to kill her village’s oppressive deity if she ever wants to return home in this Viking-inspired standalone fantasy. School Library Journal praised Levenseller’s writing, saying that she “created a formidable female character who can take care of herself as she makes some hard decisions.”

Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom is an action-packed YA debut that pits a deadly siren princess and a siren-hunting human prince against each other as they fight to protect their kingdoms. Booklist  says, “stellar world-building and nonstop action will keep readers hooked on this twisted reimagining of The Little Mermaid." And Publishers Weekly says, “with well-crafted fight scenes and vivid descriptions, Christo has created a world of beauty and monstrosity that will draw readers in.”

Tricia Levenseller is author of Daughter of the Pirate King and its sequel Daughter of the Siren Queen. She received her degree in English language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. Alexandra Christo (at right) has a BA in creative writing and works as a copywriter in London, both of which make her sound more grown-up than she feels.

Saturday, March 23, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, at Alverno College’s Sister Joel Reed Conference Center, 3400 S 43rd St:
Featuring keynote lunch speaker Marley Dias, author of Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!

The inaugural State of Wisconsin Girls Summit 2019 brings together thought leaders, inspiring voices, and workshops to address issues facing girls in Wisconsin, including cyberbullying, poverty, social media, and mental health. The day’s activities will be designed to engage young people and adults interested in responding to these issues facing today’s girls. Featured during the program’s lunch at 12:00 pm is the inaugural Mary Ann Schwartz Academic Excellence Speaker Series Keynote by Marley Dias.

Registration is open now and costs $15 for youth (up to age 22), $35 for adults, and $25 for Alverno faculty, staff, and alumni. Visit Food requests closed on March 15, but you can still register to attend the programs.

Marley Dias speaks about her passion for making our world a better place in an accessible guide exploring activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, and using social media for good. Dias shows kids how they can galvanize their strengths to make positive changes in their communities, while getting support from parents, teachers, and friends to turn dreams into reality.

Monday, March 25, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Patrick McGilligan, author of Funny Man: Mel Brooks

Milwaukee based biographer and Marquette Instructor of Digital Media and Performing Arts Partrick McGilligan, author of definitive biographies of Orson Wells and Alfred Hitchcock, delves into the life of a true legend, comedy giant Mel Brooks. Cosponsored by UWM’s Stahl Center for Jewish Studies.

McGilligan insightfully navigates the famous funnyman’s life story, from Brooks’s childhood in Williamsburg tenements and breakthrough in early television to Hollywood and Broadway peaks (and valleys). His book offers a meditation on the Jewish immigrant culture that influenced Brooks, snapshots of the golden age of comedy, and behind the scenes revelations about the celebrated shows and films.

Engrossing, nuanced, and poignant, Funny Man delivers a great man’s unforgettable life story and an anatomy of the American dream. McGilligan’s new work is a deeply textured and compelling biography of comedy giant and Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony-winner Mel Brooks, covering his rags-to-riches life and triumphant career in television, films, and theater. You can read about about the book in Chris Foran's Journal Sentinel review.

Patrick McGilligan is author the Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane, the New York Times Notable Book Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast and the Edgar Award-nominated Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. He lives in Milwaukee and teaches at Marquette.

More about our upcoming events here.

Photo credits:
Joseph Scapellato: Ryan LeBreton
Patrick McGilligan: William B Winburn

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 16, 2019 - plus Too Much Tuna - three meaty book reviews

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 16, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Lost Night, by Andrea Bartz
2. Good Riddance, by Elinor Lipman
3. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
4. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
5. Little Faith, by Nickolas Butler
6. The Batter's Box, by Andy Kutler
7. Circe, by Madeline Miller
8. The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See
9. There There, by Tommy Orange
10. A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult

It's been just about a year since Lisa See appeared at UWM Golda Meir Library for their annual Friends meeting and now she has a new novel, The Island of Sea Women. From Publishers Weekly: "See once again explores how culture survives and morphs in this story of a real-life Korean female diving collective... See perceptively depicts challenges faced by Koreans over the course of the 20th century, particularly homing in on the ways the haenyeo have struggled to maintain their way of life. Exposing the depths of human cruelty and resilience, See’s lush tale is a wonderful ode to a truly singular group of women."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. An American Summer, by Alex Kotlowitz
2. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
3. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
4. Educated, by Tara Westover
5. Spearhead, by Adam Makos
6. Tribe, by Sebastian Junger
7. The Source of Self Regard, by Toni Morrison
8. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
9. Women Rowing North, by Mary Pipher
10. The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace Wells

Toni Morrison's new collection of essays, The Source of Self Regard, has been selling well since its February 12 release. It's one of a sea of pink covers and has a style that I consider the design equivalent of normcore. Ericka Taylor writes on NPR: "Morrison turns her penetrating analysis on the mass movement of people across the globe, foreigners and foreignness, and what it means to be "exiled in the place one belongs." She takes on racism — in the media, society, and American literature — and examines how, step by deliberate step, nations move towards "its succubus twin fascism."

Paperback Fiction:
1. I Was Anastasia, by Ariel Lawhon
2. The Milkman, by Anna Burns
3. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
4. The Batter's Box, by Andy Kutler
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
6. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
7. The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez
8. The Tiger Flu, by Larissa Lai
9. Us Against You, by Fredrik Backman
10. A Place for Us, by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Congratulations to Anna Burns, whose novel The Milkman just received the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. From The New School for Creative Writing, here's an interview with Burns from Audrey Moraif that has a certain resonance to me: "Initially I had the idea to take a few hundred words of notes from another book I was writing at the time to start me off into a short story to send to a magazine. These notes were about reading-while-walking which I used to do a lot. People would say to me, including strangers in clubs and shops and bars and cafés, ‘You’re that girl who reads and walks!’ I would continually be startled at having this pointed out, mainly because it seemed an activity not particularly worthy of note. And also, I was surprised to be noticed doing it by so many people. I wanted to try to write something around the possible reasons why this was being pointed out to me, rather than about the activity of reading while walking itself."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Answer Is Energy, by Jarrad Hewett
2. Fly Girls, by Keith O'Brien
3. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
4. Damn the Old Tinderbox, by Matthew J Prigge (event at Boswell Tue 3/19, 7 pm)
5. Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook, by Kristine Hansen
6. Healing the Human Body with God's Remedies, by Lester Carter
7. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
8. There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz
9. From the Emerald Isle to the Cream City, by Carl Baehr
10. Milwaukee Mayhem, by Matthew J Prigge

After a bit of a lull for regional titles, we're back to four of the top 10 being Wisconsin-themed, including a St. Patrick's Day pop for From the Emerald Isle to the Cream City. Do a search, however, and you'll get a lot of St. Patrick's Day events. We're looking forward to our event on Tuesday for Damn the Old Tinderbox: Milwaukee’s Palace of the West and the Fire that Defined an Era. I was just talking to a customer whose relative died in that fire. Matthew J Prigge also has a story in Milwaukee Noir, which comes out May 7.

Books for Kids:
1. Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You, by Marley Dias
2. The School for Good and Evil V1, by Soman Chainani
3. Beautiful Oops, by Barney Saltzberg
4. Celebrate You, by Sherri Duskey Rinker with illustrations by An Kang
5. A Crystal Of Time V5: School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
6. The Friendship War, by Andrew Clements
7. Unstinky, by Andy Rash
8. Arlo Needs Glasses, by Barney Saltzberg
9. Archie the Daredevil Penguin, by Andy Rash
10. Crazy Hair Day, by Barney Saltzberg

We're thick into spring authors-in-schools season, such that nine of our top ten bestsellers are connected to school visits, and our top seller is connected to next Saturday's Girls Summit at Alverno College. Featured lunch speaker is Marley Dias, author of Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You. Registration is still open, but you can no longer order lunch.

We've also got signed copies of several of our bestsellers, including A Crystal of Time, the latest Soman Chainani, who has spoken of the series to Selena Simmons-Duffin at NPR: "'That's where I think The School for Good and Evil came from,' he says. 'It was this desire to reclaim fairy tales and give kids an alternative to Disney set in a similar fairy tale world that looked like Disney but ultimately break it all down. And show them a way of thinking beyond the Disney good and evil matrix, which I am convinced is corrupting so much of the way kids think.'" I should note, however, that we're out of signed copies of book #1.

Too Much Tuna! Three reviews with a lot of meaty information.

At the Journal Sentinel, Chris Foran reviews Mel Brooks's Funny Man: "Everybody thinks Mel Brooks is funny. Not everybody thinks Mel Brooks is a good guy to work with — or be with... McGilligan, a Milwaukee-based biographer whose subjects have ranged from Orson Welles to Clint Eastwood, has put together a more-bitter-than-sweet portrait of a comedian whose art is powered by jealousy, a persecution complex and, sometimes, rage." We're hosting McGillian on Monday, March 25 7 pm.

Originally from the Associated Press, Ann Levin reviews Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury. Of Carolyn Burke's book, Levin writes: "But with four lives to account for, Burke, the author of biographies of Edith Piaf and Mina Loy, succumbs to the temptation to stuff too much in, stringing together one quote after another from letters, articles and other sources."

Mark Athitakis review Etaf Rum's A Woman Is No Man. He offers: "Novels about the immigrant experience often turn on the psychic trauma that families endure in a new country. Etaf Rum understands that the experience can leave physical bruises, too." This was from USA Today.

Monday, March 11, 2019

We cordially invite you: Elinor Lipman, Soman Chainani, Alex Kotlowitz, Andy Kutler, Andrea Bartz, Joseph Scapellato, plus a note on Katie Parla

Here is a cordial invitation to celebrate a number of book happenings this week.

Monday, March 11, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Elinor Lipman, author of Good Riddance

Enjoy a wonderful evening at Boswell with one of our favorite authors, Elinor Lipman, in conversation with Boswell's own Daniel Goldin. Lipman is author of many novels, including The Inn at Lake Devine and On Turpentine Lane. In addition to the usual writerly talk, we'll also have a celebrity high school yearbook quiz, plus Lipman has enough yearbook stories to entertain us for hours.

This event is free, and we're so grateful to the folks who registered (now closed). Folks who registered and have not yet bought a book will get 10% off on Good Riddance the night of the event. But don't worry - you're welcome to attend even if you did not register.

Allow me to tell it like it is: "In her inheritance, Daphne Martich’s mother bequeaths her a heavily (compulsively?) annotated high school yearbook, though it’s not from when she graduated, but when she was a teacher to whom the yearbook was dedicated. Daphne, a divorcee with a yoke-tight prenup, tosses it in recycling, only there are more problems on the horizon than the unrecyclable nature of that cloth cover – her neighbor has latched onto it and has big plans to turn the source material into a documentary. Or maybe a podcast. This has the potential to blow up to be rather embarrassing to the Maritch family.

"Just to make things more complicated, Daphne’s father has fallen in love with Manhattan and decides to move into the neighborhood, another neighbor, a bit player on a popular soap opera, is sending Daphne mixed romantic messages, and let’s not even get into that prominent New Hampshire politician who wants to get to know Daphne better. Can this story possibly have a happy ending? When Lipman, a class act herself, is at the helm, you might not know how this story is going to unravel, but you know it’s going to be work out fine and be very funny along the way." (Daniel Goldin rec, and yes, that's my high school year book photo at right. Call me the Lord of Lapels.)

Mary Pols at The New York Times Book Review concurs: "Good Riddance is a caper novel, light as a feather and effortlessly charming. It will not save lives or enrich them in an enduring way (as Marie Kondo can do; two years in, my sock drawer can attest to that). But the book inspires a very specific kind of modern joy. I read it fast, in a weekend, during which I did not find my social media accounts or tidying my house nearly as diverting as what was on these pages. Being more attractive than Twitter may sound like a low bar, but in these distractible times, it feels like a genuine achievement."

Tuesday, March 12, 4:00 pm, at Boswell:
Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil #5: A Crystal of Time

Acclaimed author and screenwriter Chainani presents the fifth installment of the hit School for Good and Evil series. It’s an epic new adventure that’s perfect for adults and kids 8 and up. Swag alert - We've got really cool School for Good and Evil pop totes.

In A Crystal of Time, Sophie, Agatha, and their friends must find a way to overthrow the sinister evil that twists lies into the truth and seeks to rewrite their story. At the end of Quests for Glory, Truth had become Lies, and Lies had become the new Truth. A boy called Rhian had declared himself the true King of Camelot, forced Sophie to be his queen, and captured Tedros, Merlin, and the rest of the School for Good and Evil Quest seekers. Sophie and Agatha must save Camelot and help Tedros reclaim his rightful throne before Rhian’s lies rewrite their stories.

The School for Good and Evil has been translated into twenty-six languages around the world, was recently nominated for the Waterstones’ Children’s Prize in the UK, and Universal Studios has signed on to make the School for Good and Evil movie.

Soman Chainani studied at Harvard where he practically created his own fairy-tale major. He is an acclaimed screenwriter, a graduate of the MFA Film Program at Columbia University, and his films have played at more than 150 film festivals around the world. His writing awards include an honor from the Sun Valley Writers’ Fellowship.

Wednesday, March 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Alex Kotlowitz, author of An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago in conversation with Joy Powers

Boswell is pleased to present Alex Kotlowitz, acclaimed journalist and author of There Are No Children Here, with his richly textured, heartrending portrait of the love and death that occurs during one summer across Chicago’s most turbulent neighborhoods. Cosponsored by Community Advocates Public Policy Institute and City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention.

Registration requested at We'll not hit capacity but your registration will help us put out enough chairs. Plus, folks who register by Wednesday at 10 am will get 10% off on An American Summer at the event.

Here's my take: "In his first full-length book in 15 years, journalist Alex Kotlowitz weaves together 15 narratives of the violence that poor Chicagoans must deal with every day. With the breakdown in gang control and demise of the high-rise projects (such as the Henry Horner Homes that were the setting for There Are No Children Here), violence has moved to the streets and neighborhoods. With the omnipresent and widespread cliques, the code of violence of old-time gangs has been decimated – athletes and excelling students are not given a pass, and incidents spin out of control and destroy the lives of innocent bystanders. The residents involved often have PTSD, but this trauma is not post-anything.

"An American Summer does an amazing job of showcasing these individuals, noting how many of these kids and young adults would, under other circumstances, be not just productive members of society but high-achieving ones like Marco, whose destiny teeters between two very desperate futures. Kotlowitz has written a powerful and important work of journalism and so filled with empathy and hope that it’s likely to inspire many readers to search for new answers to a long-existing problem." (Daniel Goldin)

Alex Kotlowitz is author of There Are No Children Here, his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and on This American Life, and he produced the Emmy Award-winning documentary The Interrupters. His other honors include a George Polk Award, two Peabodys, the Helen B. Bernstein Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

Joy Powers is a Producer of WUWM's Lake Effect. Previously, she was a director and producer for Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio.

Thursday, March 14, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Andy Kutler, author of The Batter’s Box: A Novel of Baseball, War, and Love

Madison native Andy Kutler swings into Boswell with his latest book of historical fiction, which tells the story of a baseball star who struggles when he returns home from World War II and asks, what drives a man to walk away from everything he cherishes?

Will Jamison, star player for the Washington Senators, enlists after the attack on Pearl Harbor. When the war ends, Jamison returns to Washington as a decorated hero burdened with a crushing guilt and harrowing memories he cannot escape. Jamison's life is consumed by an explosive temper, sleepless nights, and a gradual descent into alcoholism. He also must navigate the public stigmas of the 1940s surrounding mental illness, stigmas that often silenced those who suffered.

Historian and baseball author Bernard A. Weisberger says, “As an historian, a World War II veteran, and a devoted baseball fan, Andy Kutler's imaginative dive into the past gave me special pleasure… The Batter’s Box will richly reward any reader who enjoys a gripping and skillfully told tale."

Andy Kutler is author of The Other Side of Life, awarded a Bronze Medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards and Honorable Mention from Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Awards. His writing has appeared in Huffington Post and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Michelle Obama's appearance at the Miller High Life Theater is sold out.

Friday, March 15, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Andrea Bartz, author of The Lost Night

Milwaukee-area native Andrea Bartz chats about her debut novel, a suspenseful look back at the lives and friendships of New York’s hippest set during the financial crisis, with Mike Howard of El Dorado Games.

In 2009, Bushwick, the beguiling Edie has the world in her thrall. She and her clique treat New York like a playground. When she commits suicide at the end of a long, drunken night, no one can quite believe it. A decade later, Edie's friend Lindsay has come a long way from their drug-addled world, with a thriving career, cozy apartment, and true adult friendships. But when a chance reunion leads Lindsay to discover an unsettling video from that terrible, hazy night, she starts to wonder if Edie was actually murdered and worse, if she herself was involved. As she rifles through the past, Lindsay confronts demons of her own violent history to bring the truth to light.

Boswellian Chris Lee offers this recommendation: "Here’s a stylish noir update that offers a glimpse into the cool kid world of late-aughts NYC, a landscape of twenty-somethings searching for meaning (or something like it) in friendships, cheap lofts, and rooftop parties while the world fell apart around them, back when hipster was still a bad word. It’s a what-really-happened-back-then? thriller about a woman who unearths a video clip from her partying days which leads her to personally reopen the decade-cold case of her estranged friend’s suicide-that-was-probably-really-a-murder. The narrator flirts with unreliability (she was blacked out when said suicide-that-was-probably-really-a-murder happened), and the plotting’s just the right amount of twisty to scratch the ol’ whodunit itch. In The Lost Night, Bartz does what classic noir does best, offering a glimpse into the dark side - the unemployment and lack of prospects, the tense, strained friendships, and the drugs and oceans of Pabst - to reveal the secrets of a time and place gone by."

Andrea Bartz is a journalist and coauthor of the blog-turned-book Stuff Hipsters Hate. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and Elle. She grew up in Brookfield (Wisconsin).

That said, we did move Bartz's event from Thursday to Friday because The Lost Night was published by the same division of Penguin Random House and we had booked this event before Obama was announced.

Monday, March 18, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Joseph Scapellato, author of The Made-Up Man, in conversation with CJ Hribal

Marquette alum Joseph Scapellato returns to Milwaukee, this time at Boswell, for a conversation with his former writing mentor, CJ Hribal, about Scapellato’s first novel, in which existential noir meets absurd comedy.

A young man reluctantly enlists as source material for his strange uncle’s art project. Stanley had known it was a mistake to accept his uncle Lech’s offer to apartment-sit in Prague; knew it was one of Lech’s thinly veiled setups for some invasive, potentially dangerous performance art project. But whatever Lech had planned for Stanley, it would get him to Prague and maybe offer a chance to make things right with T after his failed attempt to propose.

Immediately and wholly immersive, Scapellato’s The Made-Up Man is a hilarious examination of art’s role in self-knowledge, a sinister send-up of self-deception, and a big-hearted investigation into the cast of characters necessary to help us finally meet ourselves. Marc Bojanowski, writing for The New York Times Book Review, says, “Scapellato’s inventive, hallucinatory prose dazzles… A timely dose of his absurdism could prove an antivenom to our problematic times.”

Joseph Scapellato is author of the story collection Big Lonesome, and his work has been published in Kenyon Review Online, Gulf Coast, and PANK. Scapellato is Assistant Professor of English at Bucknell University. CJ Hribal is Professor at Marquette University.

Please note that Katie Parla's event for Food of the Italian South: Recipes for Classic, Disappearing, and Lost Dishes at Anodyne on Saturday, March 16 is sold out. There may still be tickets to the Glorioso's signing on March 15. More info here.

More event info here.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Boswell bestsellers - when it comes to publishing, it's the first week of spring - week ending March 9, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 9, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Little Faith, by Nickolas Butler
2. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
3. The River, by Peter Heller
4. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
5. Noir, by Christopher Moore
6. Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli
7. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
8. Gingerbread, by Helen Oyeyemi
9. Lives Laid Away V2, by Stephen Mack Jones
10. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

Our buyer Jason has said that March 5's release schedule was the official first day of spring. Among the new arrivals that made the top ten are Daisy Jones and the Six (#1 Indie Next pick for March), Gingerbread (with a rec from Jen) and The River, the newest novel from Peter Heller (who visited Boswell for The Dog Star). Tod Goldberg in USA Today writes: "Few people have the luck to die 'in the prime of life,' Peter Heller writes early on in his poetic and unnerving wilderness thriller The River, out today. It’s an unusual observation in a book filled with them, but it could also be a thesis statement for a novel ultimately about surviving the worst the world of man and nature has to offer. If you’re coming face to face with the dead end of things, it’s likely better to be young and filled with optimism instead of old and sick; at least then it’s a fair fight. But who wants to die young if you lose?"

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Crash Test Girl, by Kari Byron
2. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
3. Educated, by Tara Westover
4. Women Rowing North, by Mary Pipher
5. Spearhead, by Adam Makos
6. An American Summer, by Alex Kotlowitz (register for March 13 event here)
7. The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells
8. The Threat, by Andrew McCabe
9. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean

One new book making the rounds of Boswell booksellers (well, two so far) is The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming from New York Magazine Deputy Managing Editor David Wallace-Wells. From Jennifer Szalai in The New York Times: "More than halfway through The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells addresses the reader directly, commending anyone who has 'made it this far' for being 'brave.' After all, the previous pages of his book have depicted in meticulous and terrifying detail the possible future that awaits the planet should we continue to add carbon to the atmosphere and fail to arrest global warming. Floods, pestilence, famines, wildfires: What he calls the 'elements of climate chaos' are veritably biblical in scope."

Paperback Fiction:
1. August Snow, by Stephen Mack Jones
2. The House of Broken Angels, by Luis Alberto Urrea
3. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
4. The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez
5. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
6. We're All in This Together, by Amy Jones
7. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney
8. The Only Story, by Julian Barnes
9. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
10. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

It was In-Store Lit Group week (we read Asymmetry, hope to do a blog post about this soon) and the next three selections all hit the top ten. The Friend, the National Book Award winner from Sigrid Nunez, is our April 1 selection, we're discussing Luis Alberto Urrea's The House of Broken Angels on May 6 at a special time of 6 pm, and the June selection (formerly May, it was bumped) is Amy Jones's We're All in This Together. The book originally came out in 2016. Liz Harmer in The Globe and Mail wrote: "The novel recalls Jonathan Franzen in The Corrections, or an ensemble TV dramedy you can't stop watching: both serious about family and lighthearted, both packed with details but not choking on them."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook, by Kristine Hansen
2. Networked News, Racial Divides, by Sue Robinson
3. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
4. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
5. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
6. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
7. Fly Girls, by Keith O'Brien
8. People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn
9. Triumph of Christianity, by Bart D. Ehrman
10. Who We Are and How We Got Here, by David Reich

What a week! Among the programs we hosted this week are two on this week's top ten for paperback nonfiction - Keith O'Brien's Fly Girls (signed copies available) and Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook on Friday. Hansen will continue to do more programs for this book in April if you missed her. For folks who missed the terrific program with Bonnie North and Keith O'Brien on Wednesday (we know some of you had a conflict with Ash Wednesday), we're hoping that Lake Effect will have a program on Fly Girls soon. Maureen McCarthy notes in the Star Tribune: "Female pilots may have gotten their first chances because of their gender, but they wanted to show what they could do in spite of it. They were greeted with smirks and shrugs."

Books for Kids:
1. Unstinky, by Andy Rash
2. The Happy Book, by Andy Rash
3. Archie the Daredevil Penguin, by Andy Rash
4. Klawde V1, by Johnny Marciano
5. Klawde V2 Enemies, by Johnny Marciano
6. A Girl in Pieces, by Kathleen Glasgow
7. School for Good and Evil: Crystal of Time V5, by Soman Chainani (event Tue 3/12, 4 pm)
8. On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
9. Celebrate You, by Sherri Dusky Rinker
10. Frog and Toad Storybook Favorites, by Arnold Lobel

At this point, it seems like Sophie and Agatha might have graduated from School for Good and Evil, but there's simply too much 'independent study' to graduate. Per the publisher, in The Crystal of Time, "A false king has claimed the throne of Camelot, sentenced Tedros to death, and forced Sophie to be his queen. Only Agatha manages to escape. Now Agatha and the students at the School for Good and Evil must find a way to restore Tedros to his throne and save Camelot . . . before all of their fairy tales come to a lethal end."

At the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins talks about Alex Kotlowitz's An American Summer. He sets the stage: "During the summer of 2013, 172 people were killed in Chicago, with another 793 wounded by gunfire, according to Kotlowitz. The author of 'There Are No Children Here' spent that summer reporting the stories and backstories of victims and shooters and their mothers and girlfriends, social workers and retired gang leaders. Nearly everyone profiled in this book could be said to be suffering from PTSD, including a Chicago Tribune overnight police reporter who tweets from crime scenes." Register for our event on March 13 here.

Eliot Schrefer reviews The Last Romantics, the new novel from Tara Conklin, originally from USA Today: "The year is 2079, and elderly poet Fiona Skinner is giving a reading. A young woman in the audience asks a provocative question about one of Skinner’s most important works: 'I want to know, for my mother. Who was your inspiration?' The poet has avoided that question for years, because the truth is too difficult. Now she’s finally ready to answer, to face the painful memories of her family life"

Following up on Meg Jones's earlier story, the Journal Sentinel reprints George Petras's review of Spearhead:An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II : "If 60 years of B-grade war movies have taught us anything, it’s that tanks are unstoppable lumbering behemoths with frightening firepower that terrorize a battlefield. But what’s it really like to climb into a tank and take it into war?" Also from USA Today.

Monday, March 4, 2019

The late-ish Boswell bestsellers for the week ending Tuesday, March 2, 2019

Just a little bit late - the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending March 2, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. What We Were Promised, by Lucy Tan
2. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
3. The Border V3: The Power of the Dog, by Don Winslow
4. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
5. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
6. Kingdom of the Blind V14, by Louise Penny
7. Circe, by Madeline Miller
8. A Gentleman in Moscw, by Amor Towles (buy tickets to April 3 event here)
9. The Immortalists hardcover, by Chloe Benjamin
10. Good Riddance, by Elinor Lipman (register for March 11 event here)

Don Winslow's The Border is the third in his Power of the Dog Trilogy, which began in 2005. Lloyd Sachs in the Chicago Tribune writes: "No fiction writer has been more dogged in exposing America's war on drugs as a farce, holding not only the cartels but also their bureaucratic enablers north of the border accountable for crimes ranging from the impoverishment of huge swaths of Mexico to the cold-blooded murder of journalists."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Educated, by Tara Westover
2. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
3. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, by Eric Idle
4. Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
5. The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page
6. Five Ingredients, by Jamie Oliver
7. The Threat, by Andrew McCabe
8. The Source of Self Regard, by Toni Morrison
9. You Are a Badass Every Day, by Jen Sincero
10. Cook's Illustrated Meat Book, by America's Test Kitchen

The publisher says that New Yorker contributor Patrick Radden Keefe's Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland is a "stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions." On Fresh Air, Maureen Corrigan said of the book: "All the while I was reading Say Nothing, I kept thinking of Common Ground, J. Anthony Lukas' Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Boston school desegregation battles of the 1970s. That's about the highest compliment I can pay to any work of reportorial non-fiction."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
2. Have You Met Nora?, by Nicole Blades
3. I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around, by Ann Garvin
4. Omari, by Frank Lewis
5. Thunder Beneath Us, by Nicole Blades
6. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
7. On Maggie's Watch, by Ann Wertz Garvin
8. The Dog Year, by Ann Garvin
9. The Lost Girls of Paris, by Pam Jenoff
10. The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez

This year at the Women's Leadership Conference, our big sales were for two novelists - Ann Garvin, whose most recent book is I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around, and Have You Met Nora, from Nicole Blades. Sonali Dev, a novelist whose forthcoming novel is Pride Prejudice and Other Flavors (out March 7) wrote about Blades's novel in Booktrib: "I can’t remember the last time a novel swept me up into a life and a world so very different from my own while also making me question so very much about myself. But Nicole Blades‘ Have You Met Nora? is just that book."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Rise Up, by Chris Jones
2. Raising White Kids, by Jennifer Harvey
3. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
4. Permission to Thrive, by Susan Angel Miller
5. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
6. Just Kids, by Patti Smith
7. Dear White Christians, by Jennifer Harvey
8. Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook, by Kristine Hansen (event Fri Mar 8, 7 pm, at Boswell)
9. Kid Gloves, by Lucy Knisley
10. White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo

Every Monday we do an event blog that highlights our programming from that day to eight days out. We post a link on Facebook that we then usually boost. Well last week our boost was rejected for political reasons. So strange - our programming consisted of novelists Lucy Tan and Chloe Benjamin, a bonus shout-out to Nickolas Butler, and Christopher Jones's theater history. We appealed and were told if we were going to do political posts, we had jump through some extra steps. Well, you know what happened - Facebook's robot gatekeepers decided a book called Rise Up was something other than it actually was. Even directions have politics. We have some signed copies of Rise Up!: Broadway and American Society from Angels in America to Hamilton available.

Books for Kids:
1. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin
2. Miles Morales: Spider Man, by Jason Reynolds
3. The Babysitter from Another Planet, by Stephen Savage
4. Crunchy Not Sweet, by Amy Ward
5. Supertruck, by Stephen Savage
6. Little Tug, by Stephen Savage
7. Brawl of the Wild V6, by Dav Pilkey
8. On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
9. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse and Renee Graef
10. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls V1, by Elena Favilli

Crunchy Not Sweet is a new picture book from Amy Ward, published by Milwaukee-based Kwil Publishing. From the publisher: "What does an adventurous, red-eyed tree frog do when he suddenly finds his diet of squishy, mushy worms BORING? He sets off exploring Not afraid to try new foods, Little Tree Dude tastes a banana (too mushy ), a berry (too sweet ), and even a nut (no way to crack it). What will this famished frog find to eat? "Zipping and flipping a dark spot zooms by..." What is it? Something crunchy, not sweet, and the perfect frog treat."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins talks to Nickolas Butler about his third novel, Little Faith, of which Higgins notes: "Eau Claire novelist Butler blends a sweet situation - a grandfather’s love for his grandson - with a divisive religious conflict that could have life-altering consequences for that child." Butler observes that all his novels are about friendship.

From Anika Reed at USA Today: Some stories of shattered life are told from the view of the rock, delving into the force that cracked the plane. Others reveal that the proverbial rock was just the final breaking point of a long-splintered piece of glass. Anissa Gray’s debut novel, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, examines those cracks in the familial glass, giving readers a gripping and sharp story about what it takes to hold a family together when everything is falling apart."

Also from USA Today, this time from Erin Jensen: "In her latest book, psychologist Lisa Damour examines a weight plaguing some girls and young women. Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls looks at forces that cause affliction, such as relationships with other girls, school and the culture." One tidbit: "There are also a range of stressors that girls uniquely face, and that’s really what I unpack chapter by chapter in the book."