Monday, August 31, 2015

What's Happening at Boswell This Week? Jennifer Posh on Milwaukee Tuesday, James Longhorst on Bike Battles at Ben's on Wednesday, Ellen Bravo's First Novel on Thursday, and Wisconsin Lutheran Freshman John Plaski on Saturday Evening.

I recently did a short spot on a book podcast where the host asked me what the bestselling fiction, nonfiction, and self-help/human potential books were in our store the previous week She asked me if I preferred Cream City or Brew City as a nickname. Not being from San Francisco, I do not look disparagingly upon nicknames, though I consider MKE an abbreviation, not a nickname*. So I said that I like Cream City**, but I noted it did not stand for the abundance of milk production in Wisconsin but for the distinctive color of the bricks that were used on buildings in the late 19th, early 20th century. I'm sure you're already guessing that this did not make it on the air

Which leads into Tuesday, September 1, 7 pm, at Boswell
Jennifer Posh, author of 100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die.

Blogger, freelancer, lead copywriter at VISIT Milwaukee, and local author, Jennifer Posh, is coming to Boswell for an exciting evening talk and signing of her latest, 100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die, an insider’s perspective on everything about the city’s most famous attractions, from brewery tours to lively lakefront festivals—there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

Jim Stingl in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote: "100 Things To Do In Milwaukee Before You Die doesn't stray too far from the done-that favorites — brewery tours, museums, frozen custard, local sports teams, the Safe House. But it does create urgency by reminding us that you have to remain alive to enjoy these attractions. Well, except for No. 76, spending time with notable Milwaukeeans at Forest Home Cemetery." He goes on to critique other bucket lists. I'm sad to hear that you can no longer haggle with the pepperoni-cannoli guy, as he passed away three years ago because I'm very curious to taste pepperoni-cannoli, though I'm suspecting it was two different things in the same booth or cart.

Here's Posh's VISIT Milwaukee blog. Her latest post is on State Fair. I haven't gone in a few years so I missed the 25-cent birthday cake milk.

Wednesday, September 2, 6:30 pm, at Ben's Cycle
James Longhurst,, author of Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road.

Ben's Cycle and Fitness on Lincoln Ave. has been around since 1928. Started by Ben Hanoski, it's now run by his grandson Vince. I'm always excited about a different place in Milwaukee to cosponsor a book event, and why not a bike shop?

 Boswellian Todd Wellman might bicycle to Ben's to sell books to this event if he didn't also have to bring the books. His recommendation: "Read Bike Battles to be enlightened about the flip-flopping importance of the bicycle in the US since the late 19th century. Longhurst carefully documents various 'battles' for the road and, by the end, claims that transportation in common spaces is the most important, not what people drive (sic): cars or bikes. What does he think about skateboarders, though?"

Want another take? Leave it to Grant Petersen (Just Ride) to bring in Mr. Toad in his review of Bike Battles in The Wall Street Journal: "In all of literature, there is no greater example of the spell cars cast than in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (1908). Toad’s giving Moley and Ratty a ride in his fancy new horse-drawn cart when a motorcar passes, scaring the horse and toppling the cart and passengers. Toad watches the car disappear down the road and exclaims: 'O what a flowery track lies spread before me, henceforth! What dust-clouds shall spring up behind me as I speed on my reckless way! What carts I shall fling carelessly into the ditch in the wake of my magnificent onset!' Substitute bikes for carts and parked cars for ditches and you nicely explain why cyclists regard motorists as Toads."

Thursday, September 3, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Ellen Bravo, author of Again and Again.

Here's Ellen Bravo talking about the inspiration for her new novel, Again and Again: "My friend 'Carol,' a school principal, got the call at lunch time just as she was leaving for the hustle-bustle of the cafeteria. The caller identified himself as an investigative reporter who’d tracked Carol down because she’d been good friends in college with a woman raped by a fellow student. That guy had gotten off scot free and was now a candidate for the U.S. Congress. It was up to Carol to stop him, the reporter insisted. The reporter happened to be from a Republican news outlet; the candidate was a Democrat."

"None of that mattered to Carol. She cared only about what her friend wanted her to do. “No way am I reliving that,” the friend told her. End of story. No expose. The guy went on to win the Congressional seat."

"As Carol was telling me this story, I couldn’t help but think, what it if were a lot more complicated? What if the woman wasn’t a school principal but an activist against sexual assault and exposing rapists was a big part of what her organization did? What if the candidate was a pro-choice Republican supported by feminist groups because they badly needed bipartisan support on women’s issues? What if the woman who’d been raped by this guy was the activist’s roommate in college and she’d actually walked in on the assault? What if the then budding activist had pushed her roommate to file a complaint and the process had gone really badly? And what if this woman’s husband today was a political consultant in need of a boost to his career, who’d just been assigned the campaign of the conservative Democratic opponent in this Senate race?"

"That’s how Again and Again became the story of Deborah Borenstein, a woman whose decision could determine control of the Senate, the course of a friendship and the fate of a marriage." More on Bravo's website.

Join Bravo, former director of 9to5 and now executive director of Family Values @ Work, as she talks about and reads from her new novel.

Saturday, September 5, 7 pm, at Boswell:
James Plaski, author of Gods in Oslo.

Wisconsin Lutheran freshman John Plaski, is coming to Boswell to present, read from, and sign copies of his debut novel, Gods in Oslo. Filled with heroes, legends, and mystery, Gods in Oslo is a gripping and imaginative tale where secrets become reality and the main character’s world turns upside down.

In John Plaski’s debut, Gods in Oslo, people are dying in Europe. They were not ordinary people, though. They had secret lives and unbelievable abilities. The murderers had stronger, stranger powers. All of them, attackers and victims, belong to Olympus: an organization built with myths, heroes, and legends. Three agents stole a list of names and disappeared. Who are they? There’s FoxGemini, a faceless monster; HiberniaRex, an altered assassin; and PsycheSpecter, an icy truth-seeker. These three are killing their comrades. Now, after a full year of terror, the traitors have entered Oslo. Three agents are their next targets: Marc, a scarred veteran; Claire, a fiery warrior; and Kaitlin, a unique case shrouded in secret. The fight, from the anonymous streets to the frigid North, will unveil the past and darken the future for everybody involved.

Tuesday, September 8, 7 pm, at Boswell
Bradley Beaulieu, author of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai: The Song of Shattered Sands: Book One.

Bradley Beaulieu is the author of the Lays of Anuskaya Trilogy. His novels have garnered many accolades, including a Gemmell Morningstar Award nomination and Debut of the Year by Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist. Now his first book is coming out from DAW, a new fantasy series that is inspired by The Arabian Nights.

In the city of Sharakhai, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape by a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall of the cruel, immortal Kings of Sharakhai. Then on the holy night when the powerful yet wretched creatures known as the Asirim wander the city and take tribute in order to protect the Kings, one of them tells Çeda the origin of their dark bargain. And this dangerous secret may be the very key she needs to throw off the iron grip the Kings have had over Sharakhai…

From fantasy giant Robin Hobb: “Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is the gateway to what promises to be an intricate and exotic tale. The characters are well defined and have lives and histories that extend past the boundaries of the plot. The culture is well fleshed out and traditional gender roles are exploded. Çeda and Emre share a relationship seldom explored in fantasy, one that will be tried to the utmost as similar ideals provoke them to explore different paths. I expect that this universe will continue to expand in Beaulieu’s skillful prose. Wise readers will hop on this train now, as the journey promises to be breathtaking.”

Hope to see you at one of our upcoming events. And don't forget, we're open special Labor Day hours of 10 am to 5 pm.

*See previous post, where I proclaim San Francisco the city with no acceptable nickname.

**The slightly exposed cream city brick chimney in our kittchen. Yes, that's a potholder for the book Kitchen Mysteries, by Hervé This.

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