Monday, September 21, 2015

What a Week! Michelle Weldon Monday, Alex Brunkhorst Thursday, Katherine Applegate Friday, Trisha Yearwood Saturday, Marco Politi Sunday, and Celeste Ng Next Mondy.

Here's what's happening at Boswell this week.

Monday, September 21, at Boswell:
Michelle Weldon, author of Escape Points: A Memoir.

I can't say it better than this excerpt from a profile by Heidi Stevens at the Chicago Tribune:

"We hear so much about single mothers and so little from them. I've been one, and it's an oddly isolating role. You know there are many, many others just like you, but you're not sure where to find them — not in a support group sort of way, just in a hear-their-voices sort of way. That's part of the reason Michele Weldon decided to write Escape Points, her new book about raising three sons after their father left."

"I didn't write another memoir because I think I'm so utterly fascinating," Weldon told me. "I just found that my experiences were not voiced in the media landscape." Weldon, who lives in Oak Park, previously wrote 1999's I Closed My Eyes: Revelations of a Battered Woman, about living with the domestic violence wrought by her ex-husband, the father of her three sons."

"Escape Points is about life after the split: nurturing three boys (now 26, 24 and 21) who live and breathe competitive high school wrestling; battling cancer; working as a professor at Northwestern University; and participating as a leader with the OpEd Project, a nonprofit that aims to broaden the diversity of voices in the media. The book is so refreshing and true that I found myself choking back tears before I even finished the preface." Read the rest of Stevens's profile here.

Wednesday, September 24, at Boswell:
Alex Brunkhorst, author of The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine.

From Brunkhorst's website, a little more about her writing life and inspiration for the boook: "I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and childhood was spent pretty much like any other kid’s childhood. I loved playing tennis, swimming, and listening to music. And I was always a veracious reader. Nancy Drew mysteries were my early books of choice, and later I devoured everything from commercial fiction to the classics. I don’t know if it was all that reading, but I always had a super vivid imagination. "

"I went to an all-girls Catholic high school (Divine Savior Holy Angel) in Milwaukee and it was then that I met a teacher, Mr. Grandy, who first noticed my talent for writing. I did what any other high schooler would do though – I ignored his advice to pursue writing and instead studied economics at Georgetown University, determined to work on Wall Street."

"After three years working in finance, I moved to Los Angeles, a city I had only visited once, on little more than a whim. Once I got there, I decided that my lifelong dream of working in finance wasn’t agreeing with me, and I begged my way into United Talent Agency, where I started in the mailroom and then worked for the head of the TV Literary Department."

"Soon after, inspired by the creativity around me in Hollywood, I finally took Mr. Grandy’s advice and began writing – a short story for an ex-boyfriend that turned into the novel The Mating Season, which was published by St. Martin’s Press. At this point I decided I needed a more 'author-friendly' occupation, so I started working in high-end real estate, and I eventually founded the popular website on luxury living."

"The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine was inspired by many of my friends who, unlike me, live truly gilded lives, and my crush on a boy I only saw on Sundays." More about the book here.

Friday, September 25, 6:30 pm, at Boswell:
Katherine Applegate, author of Crenshaw.

First up, a little more about the book from me: "Jackson’s family has fallen on hard times. His dad can’t work regularly since his MS diagnosis and his mom lost her job teaching music and struggles with three part-time positions. His little sister can’t really remember the last time they were homeless and lived in the minivan, but Jackson can. And what with the food rationing and the upcoming yard sale, when they’ve been asked to put all but a few of their possessions up for sale, Jackson knows in his heart that something is wrong again. And that’s when he spots a giant black and white cat, first surfing, and then taking a bubble bath. It’s the imaginary friend from back when he was in first grade, but why has Crenshaw returned? A-pplegate has written a tale that captures what it’s like to be a kid in this situation. It’s poignant and philosophical, a great jumping-off point to serious discussion, and softened with moments of goofy humor." (Daniel Goldin)

Katherine Applegate is the author of The One and Only Ivan. For her new book, we are sponsoring a food drive with The Hunger Task Force. While supplies last, folks who donate food will get a Crenshaw "I donated" sticker. Please ask for yours at the front desk.

Here's Applegate talking to Rocco Staino at School Library Journal about Crenshaw: "I am so in love with this book. It was a labor of love. It was a very long, extended labor, with a long gestation period, but I am thrilled [with] how it turned out. It is about two different things. It is about a little boy, Jackson, who is going through some really tough economic problems. His family is classic American working poor, working several jobs and not making ends meet. He is a very bright, astute kid who knows that his parents are having trouble, even though they are trying to shield him from it."

"In the middle of all this, an old imaginary friend returns. His name is Crenshaw. He spent some time with Jackson when he was five years old. To have Crenshaw return when Jackson is almost 11 is a little unnerving. However, it doesn’t really matter if your friend is imaginary [if] he [is] a good friend."

Saturday, September 26, 1 pm, at Boswell:
A ticketed signing with Trisha Yearwood, author of Trisha's Table.

Here's our news about Trisha Yearwood. "Country music superstar, Trisha Yearwood is quickly becoming the next big lifestyle maven with three New York Times best-selling cookbooks, host of an Emmy award-winning Food Network show, as well as new lines of cookware and furniture."

200 tickets are available to meet and have copies of Trisha's Table signed on Saturday, September 26, 2015, 1 pm. In order to make sure Yearwood can meet as many fans as possible in a limited amount of time, she will only sign copies of Trisha's Table.

We're so excited to have Trisha Yearwood for a signing at Boswell, while she is in Milwaukee performing on September 25 and 26 at BMO Harris Bradley Center. with the Garth Brooks World Tour. Thanks to our partner, FM106.1 for helping promote this event.

Sunday, September 27, 3 pm:
Marco Politi, author of Pope Francis Among the Wolves: The Inside Story of a Revolution.

Could the timing be better for a visit from Marco Politi with all the attention from Pope Francis's first visit to the United States. This week The Wall Street Journal's Francis X. Rocca talked about the divided church: "The stakes are high. If the pope lays the emphasis on his social agenda and his efforts to draw fallen-away Catholics back into the fold, he might appeal to a younger generation that is key to revitalizing the church. But he then risks demoralizing and alienating a core of believers who have remained stalwarts and have sustained the church during half a century of upheaval. According to Marco Politi, author of Pope Francis Among the Wolves, the trip is crucial because of the influence the U.S. has on issues the pope is prioritizing, from the environment to human trafficking. But it also matters because the pope will be meeting with a divided church, where conservative bishops and lay people are resisting his liberalizing moves on family issues."

From the publisher: "Marco Politi takes us deep inside the power struggle roiling the Roman Curia and the Catholic Church worldwide, beginning with Benedict XVI, the pope who famously resigned in 2013, and intensifying with the contested and unexpected election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, now known as Pope Francis. Politi's account balances the perspectives of Pope Francis's supporters, Benedict's sympathizers, members of the Catholic laity." I should note that The Wall Street Journal's take on laity and the authors are not exactly the same.

From Christine Amanpaour, CNN correspondent: "Marco Politi is a writer for our times, with his insight, access, and wisdom about an intriguing pontiff. Few people can dig up the nuggets and jewels about such important papal matters, and what Politi knows and serves up to his readers cannot be missed. Pope Francis Among the Wolves is surely another of Politi's 'must-reads." Here's a conversation with Politi on Amanpour's blog.

Monday, September 28, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You.

Let's start with a recommendation from Jane Glaser: "Set against the social fabric of 1970's small town Ohio, this is a complex portrait of a Chinese American family living through the tragic death of their beloved 16-year-old daughter. As parents and siblings search for truth, they face coming to terms with the regret of 'never' honestly sharing their unrealistic ambitions for and deep resentments of each other. Is it too late for this shattered family to repair itself if they are willing to pick up the pieces? Beautifully written debut novel, with exceptionally moving character development that will provoke a variety of reader reactions. Perfect book club reading!"

Bubbling below the bestseller lists for months in hardcover, Everything I Never Told You exploded in paperback. We've got a full day planned with the Celeste Ng. She'll be appearing on Morning Blend, then will talk to high school students at Nicolet High School (we've been told they love the book!) and then will talk to college students at Mount Mary University. That's a free event at Steimke Hall at 2 pm. We've set this event up but the bookseller at the event will be Barnes and Noble College Stores. You are welcome to bring your book from home or purchase a copy at their event.

And then there's our event at Boswell at 7. Bring your friends. Bring your family. Read the book with your teenage kids and bring them too - Everything I Never Told you won an Alex Award from the American Library Association. And don't forget that this event is cosponsored by our friends at OCA-WI.

More links:
--Arun Rath talked to Ng on All Things Considered
--Clea Simon reviewed the book in The Boston Globe
--A review/profile from Héctor Tobar in the Los Angeles Times.

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