Monday, June 13, 2016

Events This Week: Alison Flowers, J. Ryan Stradal, Thomas Rathkamp, Paul Salsini, Toni Nealie, Zoe Zolbrod, plus Anne Basting and Larry Watson next Monday and Tuesday

Here's what's going on with Boswell this week.

Monday, June 13, at 6:00 pm,at the Milwaukee Public Library Rare Books Room, 814 W Wisconsin Ave, 2nd floor:
Alison Flowers, author of Exonoree Diaries: The Fight for Innocence, Independence, and Identity

Through intimate portraits of four exonerated prisoners, journalist Alison Flowers explores what happens to innocent people when the state flings open the jailhouse door and tosses them back, empty-handed, into the unknown. Flowers depicts the collateral damage of wrongful convictions on families and communities, challenging the deeper problem of mass incarceration in the United States. Based on Chicago Public Media WBEZ's yearlong multimedia series, a finalist for a national Online Journalism Award, this narrative piece of investigative journalism tells profoundly human stories of reclaiming one's life, overcoming adversity, and searching for purpose-at times with devastating consequences and courageous breakthroughs.

Alison Flowers is an award-winning investigative journalist who focuses on social justice and criminal justice. In 2013, she produced a multimedia series about exonerees for Chicago Public Media and NPR affiliate WBEZ. The yearlong project was a finalist for a national Online Journalism Award.

Tuesday, June 14, at 6:30 pm, at the Elm Grove Public Library, 13600 Juneau Blvd:
A book club evening with J. Ryan Stradal, author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

We’re taking our book club show out West, to the Elm Grove Public Library, that is. Join us for a night of recommendations, selection tips, research help, and discussion suggestions from Boswell booksellers Jane Glaser and Daniel Goldin, and Elm Grove Public Librarian Paulette Brooks. We'll have recommendations classic (library) and brand new (Boswell), but you'll be interested to know there's a lot of crossover. I was reviewing Ms. Brooks's list to make sure we'd have copies for sale and many of them are our favorites too!

What an honor to feature at this event the author of one of our top book club picks for this summer. Kitchens of the Great Midwest was a big and beloved Boswell bestseller in hardcover capturing the spirit of the Upper Midwest, all with a foodie twist. In his novel, J. Ryan Stradal delves into the American heartland, sweeping the vast landscapes of Lutheran church bake-offs, chili-pepper eating contests, and the opening of deer season to capture the zeitgeist of the Midwest and the rise of culinary culture. Kitchens of the Great Midwest is about the family you lose, the friends you make and the chance connections that can define a life.

Wednesday, June 15, at 7:00 pm, at Boswell
Thomas Rathkamp, author of Happy Felsch: Banished Black Sox Center Fielder

Schooled on the sandlots of Milwaukee, Chicago Black Sox center fielder Oscar “Happy” Felsch (1891–1964) was a rising star who blew a promising career for a few bucks by participating in the throwing of the 1919 World Series. On the field, Felsch was hitting his peak in 1920, the year the scandal hit the newspapers. His speed, run-producing power and defensive prowess—all attributes that might have garnered Hall of Fame consideration—earned comparisons to the great Tris Speaker. Instead, he ended up playing the fallen hero for remote baseball enclaves in Montana and Canada.

Did he really play to lose the series or just say that he did out of fear of reprisal by crooked gamblers? Was it greed or gullibility? Felsch talked about the scandal more than any of the other eight banned players. Cedarburg area SABR member Thomas Rathkamp who has covered high school sports for local newspapers and has written an online sports column for the Greenwich Village Gazette, chronicles the story, and using available source materials, weighs in on Felsch's role in this historic event.

Thursday, June 16, at 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Paul Salsini, author of The Fearless Flag Thrower of Lucca: Nine Stories of 1990s Tuscany

Welcome back to Boswell fiction writer and journalist Paul Salsini, presenting his sixth and final book in the Tuscan Series. Father Lorenzo, Ezio and Donna, Dino and Sofia, Lucia and Paolo—all the beloved characters of the fictional village of Sant’Antonio, are back with new challenges and adventures as they face the end of the twentieth century.

Paul Salsini, the son of Italian immigrants, was a writer, editor, and writing coach at The Milwaukee Journal for many years and has taught journalism at Marquette University. He has written seven works of fiction, starting with The Cielo, with the most recent being A Piazza for Sant’Antonio. His travel articles about Italy have appeared in The New York Times and elsewhere. Don't miss this celebration of the last collection of stories in the Tuscan Cycle.

Friday, June 17, at 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
An evening with Curbside Splendor authors, featuring Toni Nealie, author of The Miles Between Me, and Zoe Zolbrod, author of The Telling

Zoe Zolbrod’s The Telling is a kaleidoscopic examination of the influence of one woman's childhood sexual abuse on her identity as a mother and woman. Zoe Zolbrod remained silent about her early childhood molestation for nearly a decade. When she finally decided to tell, she wasn't sure what to expect, or what to say. A series of essays creates a patchwork of memory - Zolbrod hitchhikes with a boyfriend from one coast to another, hangs out in a strip club in Philadelphia, meets and marries her husband, and gives birth to her children. Through it all, she traces the development of her sexuality, her relationships with men, and the cultivation of her motherhood in the shadow of her childhood sexual abuse. Bolstered with research, Zolbrod argues passionately for the empowerment of sexual abuse victims and the courage it takes to talk about it.

In her debut essay collection, New Zealand native Toni Nealie examines journeys, homelands, foreignness, motherhood, and family. She details humiliating confrontations with airport security, muses on the color brown (her grandmother is Indian), and intimately investigates her grandfather's complicated and criminal past, all while hearkening home—wherever and whatever that is. Aviya Kushner, author of The Grammar of God, writes: “These lovely essays of exile and home explore the inner life—what the author calls “our internal night music.” Each piece unfolds slowly and moves to unexpected terrain, like life itself often does. This is a moving meditation on womanhood, motherhood, sisterhood, and how the self and “the other” depend on who is looking, and from which direction.”

Monday, June 20, at 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Anne Basting, co-editor of The Penelope Project: An Arts-Based Odyssey to Change Elder Care

From Anne Basting, Professor of Theatre at UWM, coordinator of the Creative Trust, and founder and president of TimeSlips Creative Storytelling, a new book about how a long-term care community engaged its residents in challenging, meaningful art-making. For this event, Basting will be joined by participants Joyce Heinrich and Rusty Tym. At Milwaukee’s Luther Manor, a team of artists from the UW-Milwaukee’s theatre department and Sojourn Theatre Company, university students, staff, residents, and volunteers traded their bingo cards for copies of The Odyssey. They embarked on a two-year project to examine this ancient story from the perspective of the hero who never left home: Penelope, wife of Odysseus. Together, the team staged a play that engaged everyone and transcended the limits not just of old age and disability but also youth, institutional regulations, and disciplinary boundaries.

And don't forget about Tuesday, June 21, when Larry Watson will be in conversation with Mitch Teich of 89.7 Milwaukee Public Radio's Lake Effect, in conjunction with the release of As Good as Gone. Here's the great write up from Jim Higgins at the Journal Sentinel.

We've got more upcoming events on our, wait for it, upcoming event page of the Boswell Books website.

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