Monday, July 31, 2017

Event alert: Edward Kelsey Moore, Kevin Abing, Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg, and Fred Van Lente

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

Tuesday, August 1, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Edward Kelsey Moore, author of The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues

From the author of the bestselling The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, comes an exuberant and poignant new novel of passions, family, and forgiveness.

When a late-in-life love affair blooms between Mr. Forrest Payne, the owner of the Pink Slipper Gentleman’s Club, and Miss Beatrice Jordan, famous for stationing herself outside the club and yelling warnings of eternal damnation at the departing patrons, their wedding brings a legend to town. Mr. El Walker, the great guitar bluesman, gives a command performance in Plainview, Indiana, a place he’d sworn he’d never set foot in again.

From Amanda St. Amand in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "It’s risky, sometimes, to pick up a book when it’s the second in a series and you didn’t read the first one. With Edward Kelsey Moore’s The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues, even though Clarice, Odette and Barbara Jean are unknown quantities, Moore quickly makes even new readers feel at home." She goes on to note: "Moore makes these women real - and really funny."

Edward Kelsey Moore's short fiction has appeared in Indiana Review, African American Review, and Inkwell. His short story “Grandma and the Elusive Fifth Crucifix” was selected as an audience favorite on Chicago Public Radio’s Stories on Stage series.

Thursday, August 3, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Kevin Abing, author of A Crowded Hour: Milwaukee During the Great War, 1917-1918

A Crowded Hour: Milwaukee During the Great War examines the social, political, and economic challenges that scarred and dramatically changed the city during and after World War I. Pro-war patriots considered Milwaukee's loyalties doubly suspect because of its large German-American population and strong Socialist Party. Consequently, Milwaukeeans endured intense efforts, some bordering on the paranoid or absurd, to enforce 100 percent Americanism and redeem the city's reputation. But the hand-wringing was unnecessary, as city residents exceeded every government wartime demand.

Other developments heightened the intensity of this "crowded hour." Simmering ethnic tensions and skyrocketing inflation, as well as lofty questions regarding the meaning of American citizenship or the impact of a growing government bureaucracy, affected every aspect of people's lives. Patriotic women stepped into male-dominated occupations to meet labor demands; at war's end, many reluctantly returned to traditional gender roles. Furthermore, the war advanced three long-debated social crusades: women's suffrage, prohibition, and anti-prostitution/venereal disease efforts. Capping things off, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic killed more than 1,100 Milwaukeeans and 50 million people world-wide.

Kevin Abing was born and raised on a farm in Southwest Wisconsin. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from Marquette University in Milwaukee and has worked as an archivist at the Milwaukee County Historical Society for nearly ten years.

Friday, August 4, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg, authors of Better Together

Better Together is a sweet, informative ode to families, both animal and human. Each spread starts with a single animal, all alone. Then a gatefold opens to reveal that the single animal is actually one of many, working together to solve a problem, from hunger to safety, to feeling lonely. At the end, we see how human families come together in similar ways to care for their little ones. Careful readers will be delighted to see that every animal mentioned in the book is hidden somewhere in the last image. The very last spread offers interesting facts about the animals in the book, including the collective nouns for each. Jared Schorr's bright, lively cut-paper illustrations and an unexpected freshness round out a very satisfying package.

Barbara M. Joosse has written books for children for more than 30 years including Mama, Do You Love Me, Wally Wants a Hug, and Loveable Dragon.

Anneke Lisberg is a licensed zoologist who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. This is her first book for children.

Here's where your Swiss friends can buy Better Together.

Sunday, August 6, 3:00 pm, at Boswell:
Fred Van Lente, author of Ten Dead Comedians: A Murder Mystery
This event is cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine

A brilliant debut that is both an homage to the Golden Age of Mystery and a thoroughly contemporary show-business satire.

As the story opens, nine comedians of various acclaim are summoned to the island retreat of legendary Hollywood funnyman Dustin Walker. The group includes a former late-night TV host, a washed-up improv instructor, a ridiculously wealthy “blue collar” comic, and a past-her-prime Vegas icon. All nine arrive via boat to find that every building on the island is completely deserted. Marooned without cell phone service or Wi-Fi signals, they soon find themselves being murdered one by one. But who is doing the killing, and why?

A darkly clever take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and other classics of the genre, Ten Dead Comedians is a marvel of literary ventriloquism, with hilarious comic monologues in the voice of every suspect. It’s also an ingeniously plotted puzzler with a twist you’ll never see coming!

Here's Dave Richards in the Criminal Elemant blog writing about Ten Dead Comedians: "When a comedian bombs on stage, it's said that 'they're dying.' There's even a classic quote that states, 'Dying is easy, comedy is hard.' So there's a natural connection between the worlds of comedy and murderous crime fiction. In his debut novel, Ten Dead Comedians, Fred Van Lente draws upon that connection to create a captivating, hilarious, and overall fun murder mystery/satire. What makes the novel truly engaging, however, is the superb character development of his cast."

Here's a great profile of Quirk Books and Jason Rakulak, the publisher, in The New York Times. Talk about truth in advertising!

Fred Van Lente is the #1 New York Times best-selling writer of the comics Odd Is on Our Side, and Action Philosophers, as well as many comic books, including a recent reboot of everyone's favorite Canadian team of super heroes, Alpha Flight*. He also co-authored the graphic novel Cowboys and Aliens, which was made into a film starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

*My favorites being Poutina, who can drown her enemies in delicious gravy, and Hudson Bai, whose inpenetrable force field resembles a classic point blanket.

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