Monday, September 12, 2016

Boswell's Weekly Event Calendar--Mel Miskimen, Jonathan Putnam, Ben Rawlence, Lawrence Kessenich, Kelly Barnhill, Brian Farrey, plus Ron Balson next Monday. Alas, Seinfeldia event sold out.

Here's what's going on with Boswell over the next week, event-wise.

Monday, September 12, 7 pm, at the Soup House:
Our event with Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, author of Seinfeldia, has reached capacity. We are sold out. We told you this would be popular!

Tuesday, September 13, 7 pm, at University School of Milwaukee, 2100 W Fairy Chasm Rd in River Hills:
Ben Rawlence, author of City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp.

As part of the USM Global Scholars Program, Ben Rawlence will be giving a free talk at Mellowes Hall at the University School of Milwaukee. As the Shepherd Express notes in this week's Book Preview: "In 1991, the Dadaab refugee camp was established to house up to 90,000 residents. Today, this desolate landscape in northern Kenya is home to almost half-a-million primarily Somali refugees fleeing war, terrorism, famine and climate change. Over the past quarter century, Dadaab has gained the dubious title as the world’s largest refugee camp, becoming an unstable, overcrowded and inhospitable home to citizens struggling to survive in harsh, desperate conditions."

Ian Birrell praised City of Thorns as "superb" in The Guardian: "Rawlence skilfully frames such stories within wider political currents: empty declarations at peace conferences, the shopping centre slaughter at Westgate, watching as Kenya’s invasion of Somalia ratchets up pressures while boosting profits for hideously corrupt local politicians. Although the backdrop is unremittingly bleak, the camp crackles with energy as Rawlence gives welcome insight into the reality of life for people trapped at the very bottom of global society. It is, above all, a sobering reminder of the lottery of birth."

Also on Tuesday, September 13, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jonathan Putnam, author of These Honored Dead: A Lincoln and Speed Mystery.

This event is cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine. Putnam will be introduced by Tim Hennessy.

From an attorney and amateur Lincoln scholar, here is a debut mystery featuring Joshua Speed, the enterprising second son of a wealthy plantation owner. Speed has struck out on his own, but before long, he makes a surprising and crucial new acquaintance--a freshly minted lawyer by the name of Abraham Lincoln.

When an orphaned girl from a neighboring town is found murdered and suspicion falls on her aunt, Speed makes it his mission to clear her good name. Of course, he'll need the legal expertise of his unusual new friend. Together, Lincoln and Speed fight to bring justice to their small town. But as more bodies are discovered and the investigation starts to come apart at the seams, there's one question on everyone's lips: does Lincoln have what it takes to crack his first murder case?

Wednesday, September 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Mel Miskimen, author of Sit Stay Heal: How an Underachieving Labrador Won Our Hearts and Brought Us Together.

This event is cosponsored by Waterdog Specialties, offering AKC breeding and training for Labrador Retrievers in Waukesha.

When Mel Miskimen's mother dies, her tough, retired-cop father withdraws into his sadness, and his broken grief is more than Mel can handle on her own. Enter Seamus: a rowdy, hapless Labrador devoted to chaos. In a spark of inspiration, Mel ropes her father into training the wayward hound for a local contest. As the seasons change, Mel finds herself connecting with her last surviving parent more than she'd ever dreamed. The unexpected result of their endeavor might just heal them all.

Miskimen has written a series of columns for The Huffington Post about her journey. Here's her take on dog Halloween costumes: "Remember that fairy tale about the guy who was supposed to sell the cow so the starving family could eat, but instead he traded the cow for a handful of magic beans? That’s kind of how I felt after I plunked down what was left in our joint checking account (until payday) on a doggy Halloween costume."

Watch Mel Miskimen and her dad on the Morning Blend this Wednesday. The show airs between 9 and 10 am.

Thursday, September 15, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Lawrence Kessenich, author of Cinnamon Girl.

Lawrence Kessenich is a fiction writer, poet, essayist, and editor who's been featured on the NPR program This I Believe, as well as the print spinoff, This I Believe: On Love. His short plays have produced around the country and he's now the editor of the literary magazine Ibbetson Street. Now he's drawn on his Milwaukee memories to create the novel Cinnamon Girl, set in 1969 Milwaukee.

After nearly getting his head bashed in at a demonstration at Water Tower Park, John Meyer crashes down a hillside with fellow student Tony Russo. It looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, until John meets Tony's wife, Claire, and from then on things get complicated in a very 60s way when they decide to share a house together. Then, the bombing of Cambodia leads to a national student strike and the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State. Over Claire's protests, John becomes involved in the strike. Then Tony's brother is wounded in Vietnam, bringing the war right into their living room and throwing everything up in the air.

Kessenich's poem, Becoming Bostonian, was recently featured on Garrison Keillor's The Writers Almanac.

Friday, September 16, 4 pm (note time), at Boswell:
I Love Middle Grade, featuring Kelly Barnhill, author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Brian Farrey, author of The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, and Miss Cupcake cupcakes. Both books are best for kids 8 and up. Middle grade fiction fans of all ages are welcome to attend this event.

Kelly Barnhill delivers a spellbinding tale in The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Like The Witch's Boy, this multilayered saga blends a mix of fantasy, epic adventure, and gorgeous prose. The result is a tale that's even more epic, yet also more intimate. Barnhill draws readers into an enchanted new realm, populated by a poetic swamp monster, a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, a prowling Sorrow Eater with a tiger's heart, flocks of dangerous paper birds, and oh, so much more. Kirkus Reviews offers this starred write-up: "Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and amber skin. Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick."

Brian Farrey, author of the critically-acclaimed Vengekeep Prophecies series returns with a mesmerizing middle-grade adventure, The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse. This thrilling modern fantasy turns the fairy tale trope on its head, featuring two female leads, diverse characters, and a fresh perspective on "happily ever after." Of his newest, Publishers Weekly offers this praise: " The labyrinth of characters and dilemmas expands as the novel progresses, culminating in a rewarding ending that highlights the importance of embracing emotions, curiosity, and measured choices."

Registration is requested but not required for this event on Friday, September 16, 4 pm. We're working with the always delicious Miss Cupcake on Oakland Avenue to supply you with Black Forest and Magic Moon Vanilla cupcakes and we want to make sure we have enough.

Sunday, September 18, 11 am, at Boswell: A story and activity time celebrating the 50th anniversary of Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

Join Teasha for stories, activities, and light refreshments themed around the iconic story from Bill Martin Jr., with classic artwork from Eric Carle.

Monday, September 19, at the Harold and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N Santa Monica Dr in Whitefish Bay:
Ronald H. Balson, author of Karolina's Twins.

This event is cosponsored by the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center.

Inspired by true events, Karolina's Twins is the story of a Holocaust survivor's quest to fulfill a promise she made to a friend long ago - to return to Poland and find two sisters lost during the war. Lena Woodward enlists the help of lawyer Catherine Lockhart and her private investigator husband, Liam Taggart, in order to complete the mission, harkening back to her harrowing past in Nazi-occupied Poland. jcc logoShe recounts her mysterious yet fearless bond shared with her childhood friend, Karolina, in their darkest hours. But there is something about the story that is unfinished, and Lena must now come to terms with a secret spanning several decades.

Balson's novels are historical novels that are also legal thrillers, which of course makes sense, as Balson is a Chicago-area attorney. Each novel features Each novel features Liam Taggart and Catherine Lockhart, a husband-and-wife investigation team specializing in Holocaust cases. Booklist's starred review suggested that folks who loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale should consider Balson's newest.

Want more? Here's the email newsletter we sent out today. It includes info about events through mid October, plus bookseller reviews.

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