Sunday, February 25, 2018

Boswell bestsellers, week ending February 24, 2018

Here are the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending February 24, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Philosopher's Flight, by Tom Miller
2. The Woman in the Water, by Charles Finch
3. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
4. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
5. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
6. Force of Nature, by Jane Harper
7. Down the River Unto the Sea, by Walter Mosley
8. The Power, by Naomi Alderman
9. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
10. Enigma Variations, by André Aciman

Kristin Hannah is totally dominating the hardcover fiction list for the last few weeks. Her new novel, The Great Alone, is set in 1970s Alaska. It's gotten many great reviews, including Kim Ode's in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Hannah has created an atmosphere of brooding paranoia and simmering violence that can set your heart racing. Anticipated plot twists unravel unexpectedly. Leni is, by all marks, the strong woman here. But she’s how many of us would be strong: in fits and starts, undone by errors of judgment and misplaced trust."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Educated, by Tara Westover
2. What Are We Doing Here?, by Marilynne Robinson
3. Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson
4. Enlightenment Now, by Steven Pinker
5. Feel Free, by Zadie Smith
6. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
7. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke Harris
8. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
9. My Canadian Boyfriend Justin Trudeau, by Carrie Parker
10. Obama, by Pete Souza

My ears first perked up about Tara Westover's Educated when I heard her on Fresh Air. There are lots of reviews too, including Dan Cryer's in Newsday: "Religious fundamentalism can also generate its own freaky hazards. In Stolen Innocence, a teenage Elissa Wall is forced into polygamy by a breakaway sect of Mormons. Tara Westover, raised by Mormons in rural Idaho, cautions that her memoir, Educated, is “not about Mormonism.” But, unquestionably, it is about what happens when religious fanatics split the world into true believers and followers of Satan."

Like The Great Alone, Celine's cover is using trending muddy brown cover palette. This replaces the green hardcover, which is always blamed for any book's last of breakout bestsellerdom.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman
2. Enigma Variations, by André Aciman
3. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
4. Beartown, by Fredrik Backman
5. The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
6. Celine, by Peter Heller
7. A Separation, by Katie Kitamura
8. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
9. Nix, by Nathan Hill
10. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck

It's nice to see several books that got a nice amount of attention in hardcover get a pop in paperback. One is Peter Heller's Celine, his third novel, which is once again something new. Here's Jason Sheehan on NPR: "Celine, the novel, by Peter Heller (of Dog Stars and The Painter) is a difficult thing to get your head around. Not the subject matter (the process of finding lost people, the complications that such things can cause) because that's rote, if handled here with an odd and engaging sort of flair. And not the subject herself, because Celine (the character) comes from a long and solid tradition of aristocratic detectives; of moneyed and over-smart and ridiculously capable persons who give up society life for what thrills might be gotten from rolling around in the gutters with the rest of us."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. It's Never Too Late to Begin Again, by Julia Cameron
2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
3. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby (event at Boswell, Thu 5/10, 7 pm)
4. The French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t, by Fabrice Midal
5. The Nature Fix, by Florence Williams
6. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, by John Baxter (part of Liam Callanan's Paris talk for Paris by the Book)
7. Wisconsin and the Civil War, by Ronald Paul Larson
8. Waking Up White, by Debby Irving
9. Runaway Inequality, by Les Leopold
10. Light on Yoga, by BKS Iyengar

One new paperback having a sales pop in paperback nonfiction is The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. This is a theory that pops up with some frequency, at the same time that we wind up doing the opposite. Jason Mark wrote in The New York Times: "You’ve probably heard a version of this before. Two centuries ago, the Romantics trumpeted the virtues of nature as the antidote to the viciousness of industrialization. In 1984, the biologist Edward O. Wilson put a scientific spin on the idea with his book Biophilia, which posited that humans possess an innate love of nature."

Books for Kids:
1. Nephilim V2, by John Barrowman and Carole E. Barrowman
2. Here We Are, by Oliver Jeffers
3. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara
4. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
5. Calvin Can't Fly, by Jennifer Berne
6. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls V1, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
7. The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers
8. Tower of Dawn, by Sarah J. Maas
9. Library of Fates, by Aditi Khorana
10. Thunderhead, by Neal Shusterman

This week's top 10 is YA heavy, which is in part accounted for by some school sales. One recent release is Thunderhead, the follow-up from Scythe by Neal Shusterman, who visited Milwaukee for his previous book (and spoke at the Shorewood Public Library). Shusterman is profiled by M.J. Franklin in Mashable: "The Arc of the Scythe series dives into a utopian world where death has been defeated. In this perfect world, a governing body called the Scythes decides who dies "but everyone accepts it because everybody knows that this order is made up of the most compassionate humans in the world." But all is not as it seems. Corruption has started to develop within the organization, and now it is up to two teens apprenticed to a scythe — Rowan and Citra — to investigate, but they soon learn that a perfect world comes with a heavy price."

Over at the Journal Sentinel TapBooks section, Jim Higgins reviews Kelly Barnhill's Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories. Here's a snippet: "In two stories, a clergyman has loving eyes for a woman who commands nature and the attention of animals around her, to the chagrin of regressive forces. Every man desires the attractive widow in the delightful 'Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch,' but she has rekindled romance with someone hairier. Quicker than most of his flock, the priest arrives at the Mirandan conclusion that love is love is love, and the comedy moves to a climax that is positively Franciscan.

"I think Jorge Luis Borges would have liked 'Elegy to Gabrielle — Patron Saint of Healers, Whores, and Righteous Thieves,' with its formally satisfying frame story. In this 17th-century tale, a healing woman and a pirate captain help each other, but also wage a turf war for control of her daughter, Gabrielle. Gabrielle becomes the next pirate captain, a Robin Hood who torments the Governor by stealing tax gold and freeing the occupants of slave ships."

Barnhill will be at the Lynden Sculpture Garden next Thursday, March 1, 7 pm reception, 7:30 talk. Tickets are $30 including admission, light refreshments, and a copy of Dreadful Young Ladies. Lynden members get in for $25. Visit or call (414) 446-8794.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Event alert: Joseph Cassara, Bhupendra O. Khatri, Kelly Barnhill, Miche Moreci

Boswell at home and on the road!

Tuesday, February 27, 7:00 pm, at Outwords Books, Gifts, and Coffee, 2710 N Murray Ave:
Joseph Cassara, author of The House of Impossible Beauties

Boswell is pleased to cosponsor a special evening with Iowa Writers Workshop grad and debut novelist Joseph Cassara, in conjunction with Outwords Books, Gifts, and Coffee. The House of Impossible Beauties is a gritty and gorgeous debut that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene of the 1980s and ’90s. The story is inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza, made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning.

This is our second collaboration with Outwords. You can purchase copies in advance at either store. On the night of the event, Outwords will have books for sale. If they run out, Boswell will have backup.

Here's what Entertainment Weekly had to say about Cassara's debut. David Canfield wrote: "The House of Impossible Beauties is a work of unrestrained passion, a novel both unabashedly queer - flamboyant and proud, built out of chosen families, pulsating with club vibes whilst clouded in the haze of trauma - and unmistakably Latin. This is not a book that boasts of inclusion on the basis of mere identity markers; rather, it’s a full-on, transporting immersion. The ensemble’s speech patterns are breathtakingly specific. The way relationships unfold consistently surprises, if only because of how rarely we see LGBTQ people of color depicted with such texture, fleshed out and funny and flawed. The book helps to fill one of adult fiction’s deeper holes. This, here, is the exciting narrative and literary potential of intersectionality, realized on the page."

Joseph Cassara was born and raised in New Jersey. He holds degrees from Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, February 28, 6:30 pm (note time), at Boswell:
Bhupendra O. Khatri M.D., author of Healthcare 911: How America's Broken Healthcare System Is Driving Doctors to Despair, Depriving Patients of Care, and Destroying Our Reputation in the World

American doctors are experiencing the worst crisis since the dawn of western medicine. They are losing their autonomy, their health, and a good part of their income. Their burnout rate has reached critical proportions. They are retiring early or leaving the field altogether. The suicide rate is rising. Essentially, doctors are dealing with their own silent killer disease - unrelenting stress. In this scenario, patients will also be losers.

In his new book - Healthcare 911: How America’s Broken Healthcare System Is Driving Doctors to Despair, Depriving Patients of Care, And Destroying Our Reputation in The World – renowned Wisconsin neurologist Bhupendra O. Khatri explains the causes and consequences of this urgent problem.

“I cannot over emphasize the seriousness of this situation,” says Khatri. “In this era of corporate takeovers, it is becoming almost impossible to maintain a private medical practice. Many physicians, who are now employees of hospital and insurance companies, are pressured to see more patients in less time, bring computers into exam rooms, and spend many hours entering complicated codes into patients’ electronic health records - all of which interfere with quality patient care.”

Bhupendra O. Khatri M.D. is the Medical Director of the Center for Neurological Disorders, one of the largest MS Centers in the US. He has won numerous awards for his compassionate care and research in the field of multiple sclerosis.

Thursday, March 1, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30 talk, at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd, River Hills:
A ticketed event with Kelly Barnhill, author of Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories

The Women’s Speaker Series, produced by Milwaukee Reads, presents Kelly Barnhill, the Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories is a stunning first collection of acclaimed short fictions, teeming with uncanny characters whose stories unfold in worlds at once strikingly human and eerily original.

Here's Jim Higgins writing about the book in the Journal Sentinel: "Gentle readers, if you like your fantasy fiction female powered, with a Minnesota accent, may I introduce you to Kelly Barnhill? Your children may already know her; Barnhill's previous books include The Girl Who Drank the Moon, which won the Newbery Medal for children's literature in 2017. Now Barnhill has magicked into being a collection for adults, Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories."

Tickets for this event are $29, $24 for members, and include admission to the event, refreshments from MKE Localicious, and a copy of Dreadful Young Ladies. Visit or call (414) 446-8794 for more info.

Minnesota’s Kelly Barnhill is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the 2017 John Newbery Medal for the year's most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. She is also the winner of the World Fantasy Award, the Parents' Choice Gold Award, and the Texas Library Association Bluebonnet Award, and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the NCTE Charlotte Huck Award, the SFWA Andre Norton Award, and the PEN/USA literary prize.

Thursday, March 6, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Moreci, author of Black Star Renegades.

The author of the acclaimed SF trilogy Roche Limit and stories for DC Comics’ Suicide Squad, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman now offers up a galaxy-hopping space adventure about a galactic kingdom bent on control and the young misfit who must find the power within before it’s too late.

From Andrew Liptak in The Verge: "Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A young man discovers that he’s destined for greater things in the galaxy, joins a mysterious, semi-religious order that act as the guardians of peace in said galaxy, and finds himself fighting an oppressive, genocidal regime bent on controlling the collective, galactic civilization. If that sounds like Star Wars, you’d be right, but it’s also the plot of comic book author Michael Moreci’s debut novel, Black Star Renegades. The book is a conspicuous tip-of-the-hat to George Lucas’ space opera franchise, and it’ll appeal to fans of Ernie Cline’s easter egg-laden novel Ready Player One."

As our friends at St. Martin's said, Black Star Renegades is a galaxy-hopping adventure that blasts its way from seedy spacer bars to sacred temples guarded by deadly creatures - all with a cast of misfit characters who have nowhere to go and nothing to lose.

Chicago-based Michael Moreci’s comics include the critically acclaimed sci-fi trilogy Roche Limit and the military horror drama Burning Fields. He's also written Suicide Squad for DC, Planet of the Apes for Boom!, and his other original titles include Curse, Hoax Hunters, ReincarNATE, and the forthcoming Black Hole Repo. As a novelist, Moreci is currently writing Spy Swap, an espionage thriller.

More upcoming events on our, wait for it, upcoming events page.

Monday, February 19, 2018

André Aciman with Suzanne Jurva, Tom Miller's Philosopher's Flight, a daytime event with Charles Finch of the Charles Lenox mysteries, and an early peek at next week's event with Joseph Cassara for his acclaimed debut, at Outwords

Here's the Boswell event calendar for this week (and an early preview for next Tuesday).

Monday, February 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name and Enigma Variations

We are thrilled to present André Aciman, the author of Call Me by Your Name, as well as the just-released paperback edition of Enigma Variations. This event is cosponsored by Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance as well as the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival. Our event will feature a conversation between Aciman and Suzanne Jurva, discussing Call Me by Your Name’s long journey (ten years) from page to screen.

Here's Aciman talking about the film in Vanity Fair: "It had taken me two whole days and five pages to capture the diffident dialogue between the two would-be lovers. But Guadagnino had distilled it in just a few minutes. They shot it three to four more times. For me, the message was clear: film cuts and trims with savage brevity, where a shrug or an intercepted glance or a nervous pause between two words can lay bare the heart in ways written prose is far more nuanced and needs more time and space on the page. But the thing is, I couldn’t write silence. I couldn’t measure pauses and breaths and the most elusive yet expressive body language." Read the whole article here.

The film version of Call Me by Your Name just won a BAFTA Award for best adapted screenplay, which was written by legendary screenwriter James Ivory. It is also nominated for three Academy Awards, for adapted screenwriter, best actor, and best picture.

André Aciman teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is the author of multiple novels, the memoir Out of Egypt, and is editor of The Proust Project. Suzanne Jurva is Director of Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance. She is also a documentary director and producer and was formerly creator of the research department at Dreamworks SKG.

Tuesday, February 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Tom Miller, author of The Philosopher’s Flight

From a Wauwatosa native turned Madison ER doctor and now debut novelist, The Philosopher’s Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art.

18-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy - an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service, a team of flying medics, Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. He hones his abilities and wins the respect of his classmates. Then he falls for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers - and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it.

From Boswell's Olivia Schmitz, a review of The Philosopher's Flight: "In a re-imagined World War I era America, the arcane science of empirical philosophy allows those skilled at it to control certain aspects of the physical world. It's thought that only women possess the natural power and prowess for philosophy, but Robert Weekes is determined to join the all-female Elite Corps of Rescue Flyers. Miller's timely story and stunning feat of world building will get you hooked, and you'll stay as Robert and his friends (incredible philosopher ladies) encounter adventure and adversity in a war-torn, challenging world. I LOVE this book!"

Tom Miller grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He graduated from Harvard University and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. While writing The Philosopher’s Flight, he worked as a travel guidebook writer, EMT, and college English instructor. He's now an emergency room doctor in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, February 21, 2:00 pm, at Boswell:
Charles Finch, author of The Woman in the Water

Enjoy a special afternoon with Charles Finch, who takes readers back to Charles Lenox’s very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London’s most brilliant detectives. In the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, Finch pits the young detective against a maniacal murderer who would give Professor Moriarty a run for his money.

London, 1850: A young Charles Lenox struggles to make a name for himself as a detective…without a single case. Scotland Yard refuses to take him seriously and his friends deride him for attempting a profession at all. But when an anonymous writer sends a letter to the paper claiming to have committed the perfect crime, and promising to kill again, Lenox is convinced that this is his chance to prove himself. You can only imagine that Lenox tries to solve the crime, only to find the stakes raised, trapping our detective hero in a desperate game of cat and mouse. Marilyn Stasio reviews The Woman in The Water in The New York Times Book Review.

Chicago-based Charles Finch is a graduate of Yale and Oxford. He is the author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, including The Inheritance and A Beautiful Blue Death, which was nominated for an Agatha Award and was named one of Library Journal’s Best Books of the year. The National Book Critics Circle just named Finch 2017 winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing for his work at the Chicago Tribune.

Tuesday, February 27, 7:00 pm, at Outwords Books, Gifts, and Coffee, 2710 N Murray Ave:
Joseph Cassara, author of The House of Impossible Beauties

Boswell is pleased to cosponsor a special evening with Iowa Writers Workshop grad and debut novelist Joseph Cassara, in conjunction with Outwords Books, Gifts, and Coffee. The House of Impossible Beauties is a gritty and gorgeous debut that follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene of the 1980s and ’90s. The story is inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza, made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning.

It’s 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city’s glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ball scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must bear the responsibility of tending to their house alone.

As mother of the house, Angel recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus’s life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction, and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient, and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences. Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness, and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit.

It is a mark of the times that The House of Impossible Beauties has been reviewed in both The Economist and The Financial Times, and excerpted in The Wall Street Journal's website. Boyd Tonkin at Financial Times wrote: "For all his immersion in the ball scene of the 1980s, Cassara never overdoes the period costumery of sequins, glitter and gold lamé. Indeed, sartorial spangles have far less appeal for Angel and her homegirls than sheer classic elegance. They come from poor immigrant homes in the Bronx. Hence 'her goal was to look like a wealthy woman with purpose.'"

Of Puerto Rican and Italian lineage, Joseph Cassara was born and raised in New Jersey. He holds degrees from Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Photo credits!
André Aciman: Sigrid Estrada
Charles Finch: Timothy Greenfield-Sande
Joseph Cassara: Amanda Kellis

Sunday, February 18, 2018

"One dollar bid, now two, now two, will you give me two? Sold!" The report on Boswell sales for the week ending February 17.

"One dollar bid, now two, now two, will you give me two? Sold!" The report on Boswell sales for the week ending February 17.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Light It Up, by Nick Petrie
2. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
3. The Glass Forest, by Cynthia Swanson
4. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
5. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
6. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
7. The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn
8. The Philosopher's Flight, by Tom Miller (event Tue 2/20, 7 pm)
9. Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday
10. The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman

Though Putnam still takes the top two, this is Simon and Schuster's week for fiction. We have three books in our top ten from the Simon division and two more from Scribner (Touchstone is under Scribner). One highlight that should have a higher placement next week is Tom Miller's The Philosopher's Flight. Miller's debut novel has gotten great reads from current bookseller Olivia S. and former bookseller Kelli. And here's a great review from Liz Bourke on the Tor website (which is not part of Simon and Schuster): "This is a measured, compelling, and well-paced novel, full of character and incident. Miller has written a very accomplished debut, and I seriously look forward to seeing what he does next."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Promise Me, Dad, by Joe Biden
2. Enlightenment Now, by Steven Pinker
3. The Deepest Well, by Nadine Burke Harris
4. Everything Happens for a Reason, by Kate Bowler
5. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
6. I Am I Am I Am, by Maggie O'Farrell
7. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
8. Obama, by Pete Souza
9. Schlitz: Brewing Art, by Paul Bialas
10. Grant, by Ron Chernow

I heard some interesting interviews this week with this week's top ten and I'm guessing that our customers heard them too, which is why they are in the top ten. Steven Pinker's had a lot of press on Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Here's Andrew Anthony in The Guardian: "It’s safe to say that few of us stop and marvel at the extraordinary progress that humankind has made in the past couple of hundred years – a mere blink of the eye in evolutionary terms. Instead we’re more likely to lament the state of the world, deplore the ravenous nature of humanity, rage at the political and financial elites and despair at the empty materialism of consumer society. What we do to combat poverty: that’s far more important than reducing inequality. But for Pinker, that’s an indulgence we can no longer afford. His book is a sustained, data-packed argument in favour of the principles promoted by the Enlightenment." I heard him talking, but now I can't find the interview I heard.

No such problem with Maggie O'Farrell, who might be known to Boswell customers by recommendations from Jane at Boswell. Terry Gross spoke to Maggie O'Farrell on Fresh Air about her memoir I Am I Am I Am: 17 Brushes with Death: "The book was inspired, in part, by O'Farrell's daughter, who was born with severe eczema and life-threatening allergies. O'Farrell says she wanted to understand what happens to people when they come back from the brink. 'These experiences always take up residence inside us,' she says. 'We're different people afterwards. We're wiser, we're a little bit sadder — but also we value what we have.'"

Paperback Fiction:
1. American Dervish, Ayad Akhtar
2. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
3. American War, by Omar El Akkad
4. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
5. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman (event Mon 2/19, 7 pm, at Boswell. Come early!)
6. Tying the Scot, by Jennifer Trethewey
7. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
8. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie (mass and trade combined)
9. The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck
10. Ru, by Kim Thúy (event Thu 2/8 7 pm, at Boswell, with Alliance Française)

When you add up the pre-event, post-event, and book club sales, you're left other books to talk about in this top ten. We had a great time with Omar El Akkad, and it was very exciting to learn that we actually set up his first high school talk for American War (signed copies available, both hardcover and paperback). In January, we similarly set up Benjamin Ludwig's first high school talk for Ginny Moon, but in that case, we have to exclude his local school. If you are a high school teacher, librarian, or principal and you'd like to get on our pitch list for school events, you should contact Jenny.

The Financial Times profiled Omar El Akkad in November. When asked what book would you give your own child to introduce them to literature, he mentioned Robert Munsch's Love You Forever. "It’s the only story I’ve ever read that I can honestly describe as timeless." Read the interview here.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Species of Species and Other Pieces, by Georges Perec
2. Mexicans in Wisconsin, by Sergio González
3. Just Kids, by Patti Smith
4. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
5. World War II Milwaukee, by Meg Jones
6. Waking Up White, by Debby Irving
7. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilklerson
8. The Devil's Bargain by Joshua Green
9. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
10. The French Art of Not Giving a Sh*t, by Fabrice Midal

If you're wondering why The Species of Species has been making regular appearances on our bestseller list, a class is reading it and well, students are still picking it up. We really don't do textbook sales, but we have a few professors and lecturers who have students read trade books and send them to Boswell to pick them up. Thank you! More about the book and author: "Georges Perec, author of the highly acclaimed Life: A User's Manual, was only forty-six when he died in 1982. Despite a tragic childhood, during which his mother was deported to Auschwitz, Perec produced some of the most entertaining essays of the age. His literary output was deliberately varied in form and style and this generous selection of Perec's non-fictional work, the first to appear in English, demonstrates his characteristic lightness of touch, wry humor, and accessibility."

Books for Kids:
1. Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire, by John August
2. Strongheart, by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann
3. The Word Collector, by Peter H. Reynolds
4. Love, by Matt de la Peña with illustrations by Loren Long
5. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
6. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
7. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
8. Little House in Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (hardcover)
9. All We Can Do Is Wait, by Richard Lawson
10. The Valensteins, by Ethan Long

It's our last hurrah for Valentine's Day books but some books will certainly live on through the rest of the year, like Matt de la Peña and Loren Long's Love. From the signed Kirkus review: " Love is at the core of family and at the back of sorrow and in the very bones of this book. If it’s possible to shout quietly, then de la Peña has mastered the technique. His lyrical prose roars with gentle (and deceptive) simplicity to uncover the everyday and unexpected places where love and sometimes pain reside, giving rise to resilience."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Barrowman's back! Here are her latest mystery picks.

Tango Down (available by special order), by Chris Knopf, which features a PI and cabinet maker. From Barrowman: "Knopf ‘s writing crackles with energy, but one of the elements I appreciate most about this series is that Knopf isn’t afraid to slow down and linger on small emotional moments. For Sam “life is an intricate waltz you have with other human beings.” Sometimes you get trampled, sometimes you don’t. Sam may be a cynic and a skeptic, but he’s not a pessimist. He keeps dancing."

A Dangerous Crossing, by Ausma Zehanat Khan, whose series protagonist is a Canadian police inspector who is also an observant Muslim. Barrowman: "The novel presents a highly personal and heartbreakingly profound view of the Syrian refugee crisis. But the dangers of the crossing and the details of life in the camps are not just backdrops for this story, they are the story, and what struck me most when I finished reading was that the shocking conspiracy Khattack and Getty uncover really is fiction."

The Innocents (available by special order) by David Putnam, starring Los Angeles Sheriff Bruno Johnson. Barrowman: "Crafted from the clay of Putnam’s own experiences in law enforcement, this series’ authenticity is undeniable. In his author’s note, Putnam describes how he went from idealizing men and women wearing the badge to experiencing a 'slow decline of that high moral expectation.'"

From USA Today, Jocelyn McClurg reviews Amy Bloom's White Houses: "Historical fiction about “forgotten women’s lives” has become a comfortably familiar, if not always scintillating, literary form. Leave it to Amy Bloom to give the genre a swift kick in the knickers with White Houses, her irresistibly audacious re-creation of the love affair between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena 'Hick' Hickok." On sale Tuesday - also has a great review from Boswell's Jen.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Presenting the Boswell Book-tastic Author Time Hour, featuring Omar El Akkad, Cynthia Swanson, John August, romance with Wisconsin RWA's Jennifer Trethewey, Sonali Dev, and Lori Handeland, plus André Aciman next Monday and co-stars Meg Jones, Bonnie North, Bobbi Dumas, and Suzanne Jurva

Presenting the Boswell Book-tastic Author Time Hour*. The special guests for this week's episodes are...

Monday, February 12, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
The Wisconsin chapter of the Romance Writers of America present an evening of romance, with Sonali Dev, author of A Distant Heart; Lori Handeland (Austin), author of Beauty and the Bounty Hunter; Jennifer Rupp, writing as Jennifer Trethewey, author of Tying the Scot; and reviewer and Read-a-Romance founder Bobbi Dumas

Meet great Midwest writers and learn the latest about America’s favorite reading genre, just in time for Valentine’s Day. And here's a swag alert - we'll have totes from Sourcebooks and car chargers from Engtangled for giveaway at this event. Alas, due to illness, Ann Voss Peterson will not be able to attend.

Founded in 1984, the Wisconsin chapter of the Romance Writers of America is a professional organization of romance authors, supporting both published and aspiring writers. They offer a chance to network with other writers, meet with agents and publishers, improve writing skills, and learn the tools to build a successful romance writing career.

Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after. Dev’s novels have been featured on Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post, and Kirkus best books lists. She won the American Library Association’s award for best romance in 2014, is a RITA Finalist and RT Reviewer Choice Award Nominee, and is a winner of the RT Seal of Excellence. Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family.

Bobbi Dumas reads, reviews, blogs and advocates for romance and women’s fiction in a variety of places, including NPR, Kirkus and her own pro-Romance event, She believes that romance novels are (mostly) by women, for women, about women and of interest to women, and offer more hope, female agency, and positive change than any other literary genre.

Lori Handeland is The New York Times bestselling author of The Nightcreature novels, The Phoenix Chronicles, and The Luchettis. A two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award, she has also written the western historical romance series Once Upon a Time in the West under the name Lori Austin. Lori lives in southern Wisconsin.

Jennifer Rupp, writing as Jennifer Trethewey, is an actor-turned-writer who has moved her performances (Renaissance Theaterworks, Comedysportz) from the stage to the page. In 2013 she traveled to Scotland for the first time, where she instantly fell for the language, humor, intense sense of pride, and breathtaking landscape. Her love for Scotland was translated into her first series of historical romance novels, the Highlanders of Balforss. The sexy, adventurous first book of the series, Tying the Scot, is now available.

Wednesday, February 14, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Omar El Akkad, author of American War , in conversation with the Journal Sentinel's Meg Jones

Boswell presents a conversation between Omar El-Akkad, the journalist and acclaimed author of American War, and Meg Jones, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter who concentrates on military and veterans’ issues. This event is free and is in conjunction with the paperback release of American War.

In a disturbingly believable near future, the need for sustainable energy has torn the United States apart. The South wants to maintain the use of fossil fuels, even though the government in The North has outlawed them. Now unmanned drones patrol the skies, and future martyrs walk the markets. For the first time in three hundred years, America is caught up in a civil war. Out of this turmoil comes Sarat Chestnut, a southern girl born into the ongoing conflict. At a displaced persons camp, a mysterious older man takes her under his wing, and while her family tries to survive, Sarat is made into a deadly instrument of war, with consequences for the entire nation.

As Michiko Kakutani wrote in The New York Times: “Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War, is an unlikely mash-up of unsparing war reporting and plot elements familiar to readers of the recent young-adult dystopian series The Hunger Games and Divergent. From these incongruous ingredients, El Akkad has fashioned a surprisingly powerful novel - one that creates as haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America.”

Omar El Akkad was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up in Doha, Qatar until he moved to Canada with his family. He is an award-winning reporter for the Globe and Mail, and has traveled around the world to cover many of the most important news stories of the last decade, including dispatches from Afghanistan, Guantànamo Bay, the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt and the Black Lives Matter movement in Missouri. He is a recipient of Canada’s National Newspaper Award for investigative reporting and the Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists, as well as three National Magazine Award honorable mentions. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, February 15, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Cynthia Swanson, author of The Glass Forest, in conversation with Bonnie North of Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect

Cynthia Swanson - author of The Bookseller, a New York Times bestseller and Indie Next Pick - returns with The Glass Forest, a literary suspense novel in which three very different women in the 1960s confront a mysterious death and disappearance. This thoughtful, tightly-wound page-turner deeply mines the turbulent decades following WWII, perfect for readers of Garth Hallberg and Emma Cline. This event is free and open to the public.

In the autumn of 1960, Angie Glass is living an idyllic life in her hometown in Door County, Wisconsin. At 21, she’s married to charming, handsome Paul and has just given birth to a baby boy. But one phone call changes her life forever. She learns that her father-in-law Henry has committed suicide and his wife Siljia is missing. Angie and Paul drop everything and fly to a small town in upstate New York. Angie thinks they’re coming to the rescue of Paul’s grief-stricken young niece, but Ruby is a composed and enigmatic 17-year-old who resists Angie’s attempts to nurture her. As Angie learns more about the complicated Glass family, staying in Henry and Silja’s eerie and ultra-modern house on the edge of the woods, she begins to question the very fabric of her own marriage.

Publishers Weekly writes that “Swanson uses exquisitely rendered characters and an intricately woven plot to explore the cultural and political fallout of WWII, as well as the changing role and limited rights of women in the mid-20th century. This intoxicating slow burn builds to a conclusion rife with a shocking reveal.”

Cynthia Swanson is bestselling author of The Bookseller, translated into a dozen languages and winner of the 2016 WILLA Award for Historical Fiction. Cynthia has published short fiction in numerous journals and been a Pushcart Prize nominee. Though she has Wisconsin roots, she now lives in Denver.

Friday, February 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
John August, author of Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire

Screenwriter and long-time-Tim-Burton collaborator John August's debut novel about a 12-year-old boy who joins a special scout team to learn how to survive in both the wilds of the forest and the magical world that lies within it. This event is cosponsored by Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance. It’s a great evening for creatives and their families.

When Arlo Finch moves to Pine Mountain, Colorado, he has no idea what's in store for him in this tiny town full of mystery and magic. When he joins the Rangers, Pine Mountain's version of the Boy Scouts, it leads him into adventures he never thought possible. Wilderness and magical powers collide throughout the beautiful, dense forest surrounding his new home, and as Arlo begins to learn the way of the Rangers, he also discovers courage, strength, and a destiny he never knew he possessed.

Boswell’s Jenny Chou is a fan. She writes: “Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire has everything middle grade readers’ love, from magic to outdoor adventure to eccentric grownups and laughs. Highly recommended for anyone who wishes they lived a bit closer to a magical forest!”

About the Author: Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, John August earned a degree in journalism from Drake University and an MFA in film from USC. As a screenwriter, his credits include Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, and Frankenweenie. In addition to his film career, he hosts a popular weekly podcast, Scriptnotes, with Craig Mazin. He also created the Writer Emergency Pack, an educational storytelling tool that was distributed to over 2,000 classrooms in partnership with non-profit literacy groups like 826LA and NaNoWriMo. John and his family live in Los Angeles.

And don't forget about next week's show, when our special guests include...
Monday, February 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name and The Enigma Variations

We are thrilled to present André Aciman, the author of Call Me by Your Name, as well as the just-released paperback edition of The Enigma Variations. This event is cosponsored by Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance as well as the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival. Our event will feature a conversation between Aciman and Suzanne Jurva, discussing Call Me by Your Name’s long journey (ten years) from page to screen. This event is going to be big so arrive early. And please note, the doors will close if we reach capacity.

Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. During the restless summer weeks, unrelenting but buried currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them and verge toward the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. André Aciman's critically acclaimed debut novel is a frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion.

The film version of Call Me by Your Name, directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, has been nominated for four Oscars including best picture, best actor (Chalamet), best adapted screenplay (James Ivory) and best original song (Sufian Stevens). The film has been also nominated for three Golden Globes, four BAFTA awards, and a SAG award. It is currently playing (as of February 12) at the Downer Theatre.

André Aciman is the author of The Enigma Variations, Eight White Nights, Harvard Square, and the memoir Out of Egypt, and is the editor of The Proust Project. He teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and lives with his wife in Manhattan.

Suzanne Jurva is Director of Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance. The creator of the research department at Dreamworks SKG, Jurva has been a feature film development executive on many Academy Award nominated and winning films, including Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln, and The Prince of Egypt. She is also an award-winning documentary director and producer.

*Alas, our house dancers, The Boswell Bookmarks, are on tour this week in Eastern Europe.