Monday, December 8, 2014

This Week's Events! Kate Funk's Best Cat Ever at Boswell on Tuesday, Ludmilla Bollow at North Shore Library on Wednesday, Renée Rosen on Marshall Field on Thursday, Mark Slouka's "Brewster" on Friday.

Tuesday, December 9, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Kate Funk, author of The Best Cat Book Ever.

What do you get when combine a BFA in photography from MIAD and an unimpressed black cat? A Super-Amazing, 100% Awesome time!! Meet us at Boswell for a hilarious night with local author and MIAD graduate, Kate Funk, author of The Best Cat Book Ever, featuring her kitty sidekick, AC, dressed as a unicorn, a garden gnome, a ninja, the Abominable Snowman, and many more.

Move over Grumpy Cat—here comes the most super-amazing, 100% awesome, best cat book...ever! Do you like cats? Do you really, really like cats? Do you like cats who look like they are seriously pissed off? Do you like cats who are seriously pissed off and dressed in hilarious costumes? Are you impressed by this photographer’s ability to get her cat to pose as such things as an abominable snowman, Medusa, a jazzercise instructor, and a dinosaur? If you answered “yes” to these questions—you’re in luck, because this book has all of those things, and more.

Kate Funk lives and works in Bay View with her kitty sidekick, AC. Visit her website for more information, including where to buy her cards (like at Waxwing in Shorewood and Broadway Paper in The Third Ward).

Wednesday, December 10, 6:30 pm, at North Shore Library, 6800 North Port Washington Road:
Ludmilla Bollow, author of Lulu's Christmas Story: A True Story of Faith and Hope During the Great Depression

Christmas is eagerly awaited by Lulu, a young girl living in a small Wisconsin town during the Great Depression. Anticipation is transformed into anxiety when Daddy loses his job, doubts about Santa flicker, and that Shirley Temple doll seems further away than ever. Mama reveals her own brutal Christmas as an orphan, adding new worries. But it's Lulu's deep faith and vibrant hope that keeps her looking forward to each new day and the glorious gift of Christmas.

Bollow's event was featured in the Journal Sentinel Tap page today.

Thursday, December 11, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Renée Rosen, author of What the Lady Wants.

The night of the Great Fire, as seventeen-year-old Delia watches the flames rise and consume what was the pioneer town of Chicago, she can't imagine how much her life, her city, and her whole world are about to change. Nor can she guess that the agent of that change will not simply be the fire, but more so the man she meets that night. Leading the way in rebuilding after the fire, Marshall Field reopens his well-known dry goods store and transforms it into something the world has never seen before: a glamorous palace of a department store. He and his powerhouse coterie--including Potter Palmer and George Pullman--usher in the age of robber barons, the American royalty of their generation.

But behind the opulence, their private lives are riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness, but as their love deepens, they will stand together despite disgrace and ostracism, through an age of devastation and opportunity, when an adolescent Chicago is transformed into the gleaming White City of the Chicago's World's Fair of 1893.

Renée Rosen is the author of one other Chicago novel, Dollface, as well as Every Crooked Pot, for young adults. You can read more about What the Lady Wants in a post dedicated to What the Lady Wants. Here's a piece about the book in Crain's Chicago Business.

Friday, December 12, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Mark Slouka, author of Brewster.

The year is 1968. The world is changing, and sixteen-year-old Jon Mosher is determined to change with it. Racked by guilt over his older brother s childhood death and stuck in the dead-end town of Brewster, New York, he turns his rage into victories running track. Meanwhile, Ray Cappicciano, a rebel as gifted with his fists as Jon is with his feet, is trying to take care of his baby brother while staying out of the way of his abusive, ex-cop father. When Jon and Ray form a tight friendship, they find in each other everything they lack at home, but it s not until Ray falls in love with beautiful, headstrong Karen Dorsey that the three friends begin to dream of breaking away from Brewster for good. Freedom, however, has its price. As forces beyond their control begin to bear down on them, Jon sets off on the race of his life a race to redeem his past and save them all.

A starred Publishers Weekly review offered that " Slouka's laconic dialogue resonates with regional authenticity, his late-1960s pop culture references ring true, and the stripped-down prose style in his masterful coming-of-age novel recalls the likes of Tobias Wolff and Raymond Carver." while Booklist compared his work to Richard Russo. Brewster received an Alex Award from the American Library Association for one of the ten best teen-friendly adult novels of 2013.

And from Ron Charles in The Washington Post: "Slouka has developed an elliptical storytelling technique that might tempt you to imagine that, despite the elegance of these sentences, nothing much is happening in his novel — just sullen teens getting in scrapes and counting down the days. But that would be a misimpression that too many distracted parents and unsympathetic teachers make about such kids. Beneath the shrugs and oblique responses, their lives are riven by impossible choices, spiritual crises and — it eventually becomes clear — acts of unspeakable cruelty. Slouka’s real triumph here is capturing the amber of grief, the way love and time have crystallized these memories into something just as gorgeous as it is devastating."

Mark Slouka is also the author of Lost Lake, God's Fool, and The Visible World. 

This weekend's shopping fundraisers:
--Saturday, December 13, 10 am to 2 pm: St. Robert Bobcats Student Readings
--Sunday, December 14, 4 pm to 8 pm: Maryland Avenue Montessori Pajama Party. At each event, a portion of your designated purchase will go to these schools, in lieu of Boswell Benefits.

Oh, and we've got a little event break until Christmas. We start up again with John Eastberg's talk on Pabst Farms on December 30. And I'm going to try to start doing the event blog on the previous Friday, giving you an extra weekend to clear your schedule so you can attend every amazing event. 

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