Monday, August 10, 2015

What's Happening at Boswell this Week--Christine Sneed on Tuesday, Jenna Blum at the Lynden Wednesday, Mary Pat Kelly on Friday afternoon, plus Alexander Walker and Emmett J.P. Lundberg on Friday Evening (and a Preview of Richard Kadrey Next Monday).

Tuesday, August 11, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Christine Sneed, author of Paris, He Said.

We welcome back Christine Sneed for her third visit to Boswell, following Little Known Facts and the story collection Portraits of a Few People I've Made Cry, winner of the Grace Paley Prize and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Time Book Prize.

I'm going to let Boswellian Sharon Nagel give you the scoop on this one: "You know the adage – Be careful what you wish for? I was reminded of this saying while reading Christine Sneed’s latest novel. Jayne is a young women struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan. She dreams of being an artist, but is too busy working two jobs to pursue this fantasy. She enters into an affair with a wealthy, older Frenchman who fortunately owns several galleries. He offers her the opportunity of a lifetime when he invites to live with him in Paris, covers all of her expenses, and allows her the time to paint. This seems like the ideal situation – Laurent is handsome and charming, and he denies her nothing. However, he is also seeing other women. Jayne must decide if becoming a successful artist is worth the choices that she has to make. A most romantic and enjoyable read that will transport the reader to Paris, at least in his or her imagination."

The Chicago Tribune also weighs in, with this review from Carol Memmott: "Sneed allows readers to revel in Paris' celebrated light while walking its wide boulevards and cobblestone streets. If you love the City of Light or have always wanted to travel there, Paris, He Said is worth a visit. You'll come for the story but stay for Sneed's painterly homage to the city's art and culture."

As for the Paris theme, we're hoping to have a French treat at the event, probably macarons. Hope to see you there, mon ami.

Wednesday, August 12, 7 pm reception, 7:30 pm talk, at the Lynden Sculpture Garden:
A Ticketed Event with Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers.

The latest event for the Women's Speaker Series, presented by Milwaukee Reads, is Jenna Blum, appearing for the 10th anniversary of the paperback publication of Those Who Save Us. It's the story of Trudy, a Minnesota professor, whose past haunts her (there's an incriminating picture of her, her mom, and a Nazi officer) and she decides to find out exactly what was her family story before an American soldier liberated them.

Blum's novel was a word-of-mouth bestseller, helped along first by hand-selling at independent bookstores, and taken to the next level by the late Borders, that did a good job breaking out novels in paperback. She followed that up with The Stormchasers, and was also included in an anthology called Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion. Coincidentally the editor of this anthology is Melanie Benjamin, who previously appeared at the Women's Speaker Series.

Tickets are $25, $22 for Lynden members, and include admission to the event and grounds, a copy of Those Who Save Us, and light refreshments provided by MKELocalicious. The event is also cosponsored by Bronze Optical. The Lynden Sculpture Garden is at 2145 W. Brown Deer Rd. just west of I43.

Friday, August 14, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Irish Fest Preview with Mary Pat Kelly author of Of Irish Blood.

Irish Fest actually begins on Thursday, August 13, but I was thinking it's a preview before the Friday festivities start at 4 pm. As you may know, there are a lot of writers at Irish Fest at the Literary Corner in the Cultural Village, which is sponsored by Wauwatosa's Little Read Book. 2015's highlights are:

--Ann O'Farrell, author of Roisin's Song, Norah's Children, Michael, Going Home
--Tony MacCaulay, author of Paper Boy, Bread Boy, and All Growed Up
--David M. Quinn, author of Steel Shamrocks, It May Be Forever, Leviathan's Master
--Greg McVicker, author of Through the Eyes of a Belfast Child
--Derek Mulveen, author of Oisin the Brave - Moon Adventure, Oisin the Brave - Robot Island
--Pamela Ford, author of To Ride a White Horse.

And we're hosting an afternoon preview event featuring Mary Pat Kelly, author of two historicals, Galway Bay and its sequel, Of Irish Blood, who is also featured at the Fest. Here's the publisher's take: "It's 1903. Nora Kelly, twenty-four, is talented, outspoken, progressive, and climbing the ladder of opportunity, until she falls for an attractive but dangerous man who sends her running back to the Old World her family had fled. Nora takes on Paris, mixing with couturiers, artists, and 'les femmes Americaines' of the Left Bank such as Gertrude Stein and Sylvia Beach. But when she stumbles into the centuries-old College des Irlandais, a good-looking scholar, an unconventional priest, and Ireland's revolutionary women challenge Nora to honor her Irish blood and join the struggle to free Ireland."

Friday, August 14, 7 pm, at Boswell
Alexander Walker and Emmett J.P. Lundberg, editors and contributors to Finding Masculinity: Female to Male Transition in Adulthood.

I'm pretty sure that both Alexander Walker and Emmett J.P. Lundberg are from Wisconsin from my correspondence, but only Lundberg specifically refers to his cheesehead roots in his bio. That said, they are both in town to discuss their anthology, Finding Masculinity, which they call stories, but I would say are personal essays. "Stories" sound fictional to me, despite the explosion of story telling, from The Moth on the national stage to Ex Fabula locally.

But I digress. Finding Masculinity examines the many facets of life that transition impacts; transitioning on the job, emotional and spiritual growth, family, navigating the medical community, as well as romantic relationships. The authors (or perhaps its the publisher) specifically call this a "small cross section" but it seems pretty diverse to me. In addition to their writing, Walker works in special education and Lundberg is a filmmaker who has won accolades for his web series, Brothers, which is also about transgender men.

Monday, August 17, 7 pm, at Boswell
Richard Kadrey, author of Killing Pretty

One exciting project this past weekend was finding skeletons for our upcoming ticketed event with Christopher Moore for Secondhand Souls, his sequel to A Dirty Job. In addition to some large skeletons for our front window, we bought some smaller ones, skeleton garland, so to speak.  And since Richard Kadrey's Killing Pretty finds Sandman Slim fighting Death, it seemed appropriate to have a skeleton corner.

Yes, Sandman Slim is sort of noir means fantasy. In Killing Pretty, per the publisher, "someone has tried to kill Death ripping the heart right out of him or rather, the body he's inhabiting. So Death wants Sandman Slim's help, because the man who can beat Lucifer and the old gods at their own game is the only one who can solve the murder of someone who can't die."

Here's an interesting piece on Richard Kadrey's novels from Jason Heller in Entertainment Weekly, on the release of his previous novel: ", Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series is pitched right over the plate of urban fantasy. His sixth and latest Sandman Slim novel, The Getaway God, came out last week, and like the five installments that precede it, the book runs down the urban-fantasy checklist with aplomb. But even as it satisfies the demands of the genre, it twists them into clever counteroffers and sly subversions—to the point where being a fan of urban fantasy isn’t a prerequisite for enjoyment. This is urban fantasy writ large."

I'm not exactly sure if Charlaine Harris is the right match (though maybe, they are both writing in the urban fantasy genre), but you Jim Butcher fans should come out for this, as I think the likelihood of us ever getting Jim Butcher is not great if I can't get a crowd for Kadrey. And just saying, a really huge event might attract the eye of Neil Gaiman. A bookseller can dream, right?

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