Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Event Post--Daryl Brown, Mary Gordon, Melissa de la Cruz, Stuart Rojstaczer, Patricia Polacco, Betsy Woodman, Miki Knezevic, Tom Angleberger, and next week, Alternative Waffle Maker Daniel Shumski.

Let's be frank. I'll never get through documenting this week without cribbing from our press release.

Monday September 8, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Daryl Brown, co-author of Inside the Godfather: Never Before Told Stories of James Brown by His Inner Circle.

Please join us as we welcome Daryl Brown, co-author of Inside the Godfather (also known as My Father the Godfather), to Boswell. If you think you know the soul truth about James Brown, think again. Who better to tell us the inside stories than artist, songwriter, musician, and produce Daryl Brown, son of the legendary James Brown. Daryl played on countless James Brown hits and toured with him extensively.

The Godfather of Soul may be the most misunderstood man in the last century. Confusion emerges as a consequence of the complexities in his life. His contributions toward modern music pale in comparison to the indispensable role he played in modern history. James Brown lifted all races toward the ideals of equality and opportunity. Tragically, while he had the ability to calm the storms of social turmoil, his personal life was a perpetual tempest. Inside the Godfather brings together, for the first time, those from Brown’s inner circle. They will correct the distortions of the past and provide for the reader a clear understanding of the brilliance and generosity that was Mr. Dynamite. 

Tuesday September 9, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Mary Gordon, author of The Liar’s Wife: Four Novellas

Legendary author Mary Gordon, who penned The Love of My Youth and Circling My Mother, is coming to Boswell for her latest, The Liar’s Wife: Four Novellas. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to meet Mary Gordon as she introduces Milwaukee to the book that has already garnered praise as “emotionally engaging and smoothly flowing” (The New York Times Book Review), “vivid and richly imagined” (Chicago Sun-Times), and “entrancing” (Los Angeles Times).

The beloved author is at her storytelling best: four wonderful novellas of Americans abroad and Europeans in America. In these tales of relationships at home and abroad, both historical and contemporary, we meet the ferocious Simone Weil during her final days as a transplant to New York City; a vulnerable American grad student who escapes to Italy after her first, compromising love affair; the charming Irish liar of the title novella, who gets more out of life than most of us; and an American high school kid meeting Thomas Mann. These stories dazzle on the surface, with beautifully rendered settings and vistas, and dig deep psychologically. At every turn Gordon reveals in her characters' interactions those crucial flashes of understanding that change lives forever. So richly developed it is hard to believe they fit into novella-sized packages, these tales carry us away both as individual stories and as a larger, book-length experience of Gordon's mastery and human sympathy.

“The virtuosic Gordon presents a quartet of enfolding novellas that examine the revelations and paradoxes of cross-cultural encounters and relationships between mentors and protégés….The sheer bliss of reading Gordon’s consummate prose is deepened by her stunning insights into moral tangles and abrupt comprehension as she mixes the comic and the profound in her considerations of innocence and defilement, self-sacrifice and greatness, insularity and the bracing tussle of the world….Beloved and much-honored, Gordon is at her captivating finest in a book primed to catch fire.” —Booklist

We've had great word of mouth on this upcoming event, with customers emailing their friends to make sure they know about the evening. Ms. Gordon was once the featured speaker at the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch. And I have to say, I'm quite taken with that mauve dust jacket.

Wednesday, September 10, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Stuart Rojstaczer, author of The Mathematician’s Shiva

Milwaukee-born geophysics-professor-turned-author, Stuart Rojstaczer, returns to the East Side for a reading and signing of his debut novel, The Mathematician’s Shiva, a comic, bittersweet bildungsroman of middle-age set in Wisconsin, which takes on the Jewish Eastern European immigrant experience following the combined darkness of World War II and Stalinism evocative of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated. This event is co-sponsored by the UWM Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies.

Alexander “Sasha” Karnokovitch and his family would like to mourn the passing of his mother, Rachela, with modesty and dignity. But Rachela, a famous Polish émigré mathematician and professor at the University of Wisconsin, is rumored to have solved the million-dollar Navier-Stokes Millennium Prize problem. Rumor also has it that she spitefully took the solution to her grave. To Sasha’s chagrin, a ragtag group of socially challenged mathematicians arrives in Madison and crashes the shiva, vowing to do whatever it takes to find the solution—even if it means prying up the floorboards for Rachela’s notes. Sasha must do his best to keep these geniuses in check, keep his patchwork family happy, and figure out who he is now that he no longer exists in relief against his mother’s towering presence—all at the same time.

Novelist Jonathan Eviston offers this praise: “The Mathematician's Shiva is a brilliant and compelling family saga full of warmth, pathos, history, and humor, not to mention a cast of delightfully quirky characters, and a math lesson or two; all together, a winning equation! When Rojstaczer writes about mathematics, you'd think he was writing about poetry.”

For many years, he was a professor of geophysics at Duke University, which is why The Mathematician's Shiva might appeal to folks who are enjoying our academic novel table.

Wednesday, September 10, 6:30 pm (note tim) at the Oak Creek Library, 8620 South Howell Avenue:
Melissa de la Cruz, author of Vampires of Manhattan: The New Blue Bloods Coven

Melissa de la Cruz appears for the first book in the New Blue Bloods Coven series, Vampires of Manhattan. Ten years after The Coven’s battle with Lucifer, the Blue Bloods are older, cooler, sexier, and in more danger than ever before! They call this genre new adult, which we sort of explain by saying they are teen novels with sex.

On the island of Manhattan lurks a secret society of the city’s most wealthy, beautiful, and powerful people; they are the Blue Bloods and they are vampires. Vampires of Manhattan takes place ten years after the Blue Bloods defeated the enemy in the Great War. To celebrate a new era of prosperity, the irresistibly charming and handsome leader of the Blue Bloods, Oliver Hazard-Perry, throws a Four Hundred Year Ball with all of society in attendance. And then, all hell breaks loose. Booklist writes that "Fans will be plenty satisfied by this dishy, Gossip Girl-style story and eager for further installments."

De la Cruz has written a number of novels for young adults over the years, after a career as a fashion and beauty editor. For directions or other questions, contact the Oak Creek Library at (414) 764-4400.

Thursday, September 11, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Patricia Polacco, author and illustrator of  Fiona’s Lace

Bestselling author of The Keeping Quilt and The Blessing Cup, Patricia Polacco, returns to Boswell (she was last here in 2009) for Fiona’s Lace, a gorgeous picture book and heartwarming immigration story great for ages 4 and up. After escaping the difficult times in Ireland and moving to Chicago, an Irish family stays together with the help of Fiona’s talent for making one-of-a-kind lace.

Fiona’s family finds work in domestic service to pay back their passage, and at night Fiona turns tangles of thread into a fine, glorious lace. Then when the family is separated, it is the lace that Fiona’s parents follow to find her and her sister and bring the family back together. And it is the lace that will always provide Fiona with memories of Ireland and of her mother’s words: “In your heart your true home resides, and it will always be with you as long as you remember those you love.” This generational story from the family of Patricia Polacco’s Irish father brims with the same warmth and heart as the classic The Keeping Quilt and The Blessing Cup, which Kirkus Reviews called “deeply affecting” in a starred review, and embraces the comfort of family commitment and togetherness for which Patricia Polacco’s books are known.

Everybody has their own favorite Patricia Polacco story. Among the favorites I've heard mentioned by our customers have been My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, Thunder Cake, and Pink and Say. Our experience is that Polacco tends to draw adults (like librarians and teachers) more than kids, but kids are still welcome. And my other experience is that the crowd will likely be in tears at least once.

Friday, September 12, 2 pm (note time), at Boswell:
Betsy Woodman, author of Emeralds Included: A Jana Bibi Adventure

Join us as we welcome Betsy Woodman, appearing for the third volume in her cross-cultural Jana Bibi Series, Emeralds Included. Jana Bibi saved the town from a government dam in Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes and foiled an international bird-smuggling ring in Love Potion Number 10, but in Emeralds Included, Jana faces her biggest challenges yet: preparing for her son’s arrival and planning a wedding in the upside-down town of Hamara Nagar!

Betsy Woodman spent ten formative years in India and studied in France and Zambia. A graduate of Smith College, she earned a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Brandeis University. She has edited history books and been a frequent book reviewer, and was a writer/editor for Experiencing War, the award-winning radio documentary series for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

In the third installment of the Jana Bibi Series, Betsy Woodman takes us back to the Jolly Grant house for the arrival of Jana’s son, Jack, from Scotland, and his Hungarian bride-to-be, Katarina Esterhazy. The whole gang is excited to welcome their international visitors—and Jana is determined to repair the house to Jack’s high standards and those of her grandfather, from whom she inherited the eccentric building. But this puts a strain on Jana, both emotionally and financially, and she risks her most prized and valuable possession—the (surprisingly real!) emeralds she got from the Treasure Emporium—to help her through it.

This is part of a series of collaborations with Elizabeth Berg, who is championing under-appreciated authors through a series of events in Oak Park, Illinois on Saturday evenings. We are lucky enough to be able to work with Berg and add on a Friday event. We always have requests for daytime events, and we think Woodman really fits the bill.

Friday, September 12, 7 pm, at Boswell: Madison Author Miki Knezevic, author of Behind God's Back: A Serbian Female Physician's Journey through Two World Wars and the Communist Era in the Balkans.

Yes, the novel's title reads more like a memoir, but it's fiction. The author grew up in Milwaukee. Miki Knezevic is visiting for her 20th century historical novel, Behind God’s Back. An enticing story of life in Europe and particularly in Belgrade between 1914 and l962, Knezevic integrates history, travel, family life, and a love story from the perspective of Serbian physician Desa Jovanovic, who survives the bombing of Belgrade by the Austrians to France to move on to Tunisia and Macedonia, before returning finally to Belgrade.

Kirkus Reviews writes that “In this ambitious novel, Knezevic fleshes out the often confusing political, religious and economic history of the Balkans while detailing Desa's journey from child to wife, mother and doctor…Not only is this book a vivid description of the history of the era, but a deeply felt saga of love and emotions.”

Miki Knezevic is a product of Milwaukee Public Schools and Marquette University. For the last 25 years, she and a partner have been writing ESL textbooks for McGraw-Hill, and now lives in Madison.

Sunday, September 14, 11 am:
Don't forget about Story Time with Jannis:

Grab you favorite hat and come on down to Story Time with Jannis! This month, Jannis is reading Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won, as well as Jon Klassen’s This Is Not My Hat. Hats off to September, and hooray for a Story Time great for ages 18 months and up! And don't forget that Jon Klassen, the author of This is not my Hat, comes to Boswell on October 21 with Mac Barnett.

Sunday, September 14, 3 pm (note time), at Boswell:
Tom Angleberger, author of Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus: An Origami Yoda Book

Please join us for an exciting talk (and origami demo!) with the author of the bestselling Origami Yoda Series, Tom Angleberger, for his latest and final book in the series, Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus, great for ages 8 and up!

After successfully fighting to save their field trip in Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue!, Tommy and the gang prepare for a well-earned day of fun and adventure in Washington, DC…but of course it won't be that easy! This trip to the nation's capital will be full of shifting alliances and betrayals, carsickness and sugar rushes. Trouble starts even before the buses leave school, when Principal Rabbski decrees the field trip an “origami-free zone.” Dwight secretly folds a Yoda from a Fruit Roll-Up, but will Fruitigami Yoda be a match for Harvey's sour, hate-filled pickle of darkness? Astronaut ice cream, a supersonic plane, a Johnny Appleseed sighting, and a near arrest are just some of the clues in the sweetest, stookiest, biggest, and craziest Origami Yoda case file yet.

Tom Angleberger is also the author of Horton Halfpott and Fake Mustache, both Edgar Award nominees, and The Qwikpick Papers. The Origami Yoda series, starting with The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, has charmed children and adults alike. This should be a very fun afternoon.

Sneak peek at next week!

Monday, September 15, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Daniel Shumski, author of Will It Waffle?: 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron

Join us as we welcome Daniel Shumski, the founder of and author of the exciting new book, Will It Waffle?: 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron, where he’ll be talking waffles and waffle-izing your favorite recipes, sharing samples, and signing copies of this unique and fun book!

Helping with our presentation will be Julie Pandl, author of Memoir of the Sunday Brunch.

How many great ideas begin with a nagging thought in the middle of the night that should disappear by morning, but don’t? For Daniel Shumski, it was: Will it waffle? Hundreds of hours, countless messes, and 53 perfected recipes later, that answer is a resounding: Yes, it will! Steak? Yes! Pizza? Yes! Apple pie? Emphatically yes. And that's the beauty of being a waffle iron chef—waffling food other than waffles is not just a novelty but an innovation that leads to a great end product, all while giving the cook the bonus pleasure of doing something cool, fun, and vaguely nerdy (or giving a reluctant eater—your child, say—a great reason to dig in). Waffled bacon reaches perfect crispness without burned edges, cooks super fast in the two-sided heat source, and leaves behind just the right amount of fat to waffle some eggs. Waffled Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Pressed Potato and Cheese Pierogi, and Waffled Meatballs all end up with dimples just right for trapping their delicious sauces. A waffle iron turns leftover mac ‘n’ cheese into Revitalized Macaroni and Cheese, which is like a decadent version of a grilled cheese sandwich with its golden, buttery, slightly crisp exterior and soft, melty, cheesy interior.

Hope to see you at one of this week's events!

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