Monday, April 30, 2018

Upcoming events: Kirk Dietrich and Manty Ellis Trio at Jazz Estate, Michael Andreasen with C.J. Hribal, Christopher Moore, Orange Hat children's book night, Denise Kiernan at Pabst Mansion, Best of the Undergraduate Writers (two nights), and Paula McLain at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center, with Books & Company

Monday, April 30, 7:00 pm, at The Jazz Estate, 2423 N Murray Ave:
Kurt Dietrich, author of Wisconsin Riffs: Jazz Profiles from the Heartland, with special guests The Manty Ellis Trio

The Jazz Estate and Boswell present a talk from Ripon College music professor Kurt Dietrich, followed by music from the Manty Ellis Trio. Admission is $5 at the door.

Although New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago are often considered the epicenters of American jazz, this extensive, upbeat compilation of jazz musician biographies details Wisconsin’s rich association with the genre since its inception in the early 1900s. Iconic musicians Bunny Berigan, Woody Herman, Les Paul, and Al Jarreau all hailed from Wisconsin, as have many other influential players, composers, and teachers. Wisconsin Riffs features these musicians side-by-side to portray a comprehensive history of jazz in Wisconsin.

Through meticulous research and more than a hundred interviews, author Kurt Dietrich has assembled a group of musicians who represent a wide range of backgrounds, ages, stylistic schools, and experiences, from leaders of swing-era big bands to legendary Wisconsin Conservatory instructors to today’s up-and-coming practitioners of contemporary jazz and jazz rock. For aspiring musicians, jazz enthusiasts, and fans of Wisconsin culture alike, Wisconsin Riffs presents a compelling, complex, and multi-layered concoction, just like jazz itself.

Kurt Dietrich is a professor of music and the Barbara Baldwin DeFrees Chair in the Performing Arts at Ripon College. He is the author of Duke’s Bones: Ellington’s Great Trombonists, as well as numerous articles for publications including Annual Review of Jazz Studies and Black Music Research Journal. As a musician, he has performed on numerous recordings.

Tuesday, May 1, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Andreasen, author of The Sea Beast Takes a Lover

Boswell is pleased to host Marquette graduate Michael Andreasen for a conversation with his Marquette mentor, C.J. Hribal, about the bewitching stories in Andreasen’s first book.

With its feet only slightly tethered to the world we know, The Sea Beast Takes a Lover explores hope, love, and loss across a series of surreal landscapes and wild metamorphoses. Just because Jenny was born without a head doesn’t mean she isn’t still annoying to her older brother, and just because the Man of the Future’s extramarital affair ends in alien abduction and network fame doesn’t mean he can’t still pine for his absent wife.

Romping through the fantastic with big-hearted ease, these playful stories cut to the core of how we navigate family, faith, and longing. Daring and deeply familiar, these stories unfold in wildly inventive worlds, using the supernatural and extraordinary to expose us at our most human.

Michael Andreasen is a graduate of Marquette University and holds a Masters degree in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, and Zoetrope: All-Story. C.J. Hribal is professor of English at Marquette University and a member of the fiction faculty at the Warren Wilson College MFA.

Wednesday, May 2, 7:00 pm, Boswell:
A ticketed event with Christopher Moore, author of Noir

The absurdly outrageous, sarcastically satiric, and always entertaining New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore returns in finest madcap form with this zany noir set on the mean streets of post-World War II San Francisco. Elisabeth Clark in Library Journal raves: " Fans of noir film and fiction will find a lot to enjoy in this loving genre tribute, and those already familiar with Moore's books will simply be in love."

Gerald Bartell's review in the San Francisco Chronicle, notes that Moore categorizes the book as "perky noir": "Perky it is, and suffused with nostalgia for San Francisco in 1947, when the action takes place - and when language and attitudes, Moore forewarns us, were not politically correct. Moore’s characters could populate a sequel to Guys and Dolls. The troupe includes Eddie Moo Shoes; Pookie O’Hara ('260 pounds of crooked cop'); and a blonde named Stilton, a.k.a. 'The Cheese,’ whom protagonist Sammy 'Two Toes' Tiffin calls 'Toots.'"

Tickets are $30 and include admission and a copy of Noir. Tickets available at In lieu of the book, an $18 Boswell gift card is available on the night of the event only.

Christopher Moore is the author of fifteen previous novels, including Secondhand Souls, Sacré Bleu, and Lamb.

Thursday, May 3, 6:00 pm, at Boswell: Orange Hat Publishing presents Reginald Walton, author of My Daddy’s Hat, Betsy Moerschel, author of Look Out Gentry!, and Amy Runte, author of Look at How Big You Are Now

Though a fairly young company, the dedicated staff of Orange Hat Publishing has combined years of experience in publishing, editing, and web and book design to contribute to the publication of more than two hundred books. Orange Hat, a family owned and operated company based in downtown Waukesha, is proud to present an evening of Children’s book authors at Boswell.

Amy Runte is an HSE Administrator and lives in Brownsville, WI with her husband and their two boys, who are being raised to value kindness and hard work. Look At How Big You Are is a story about kids growing up in the blink of an eye.

Elizabeth Moerschel was born and raised in Waukesha and went on to earn a BA and MS from Northwestern University. She taught elementary school and served on the Kenilworth District 38 Board of Education. Look Out Gentry! is based on the true story of a bull who escaped his pen, ran through flowers and fields, and wound up somewhere completely unexpected.

Reginald Walton, aka "Mister Reggie," is a speaker with the Milwaukee Boys and Girls Club and Mister Reggie Productions, and an academic adviser with Bryant and Stratton College. My Daddy’s Hat is a rhythmic, vibrant tribute to the male role models in our lives.

Friday, May 4, 7:30 pm, at the Pabst Mansion, 2000 W Wisconsin Ave:
A ticketed event with Denise Kiernan, author of The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation's Largest Home

While Denise Kiernan’s earlier event at the Pabst Mansion is sold out, she will be doing a second ticketed talk at 7:30 in the perfect setting for this history of the timeless Biltmore Estate. Tickets are $22 and include admission and a copy of The Last Castle. Purchase tickets to this 7:30 talk at

A New York Times bestseller with an "engaging narrative and array of detail” (The Wall Street Journal), the “intimate and sweeping” (Raleigh News and Observer) untold, true story behind the Biltmore Estate - the largest, grandest private residence in North America, which has seen more than 120 years of history pass by its front door. Kiernan's previous work of nonfiction, The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, was also a national bestseller and was praised by Jon Stewart as "a phenomenal story."

The story of Biltmore spans World Wars, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and generations of the famous Vanderbilt family, and features a captivating cast of real-life characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. This is the fascinating, “soaring and gorgeous” (Karen Abbott) story of how the largest house in America flourished, faltered, and ultimately endured to this day.

When Captain Frederick and Maria Pabst began construction of their new family mansion in June 1890, they could not have anticipated that it would survive and thrive into the twenty-first century as a testament to America’s Gilded Age. The Pabst Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and has been open to the public since 1978.

Friday, May 4, 7:00 pm, and Saturday, May 5, 7:00 pm, both nights at Boswell:
Best of the Undergraduate Writers

Since 2009 it has been a tradition (almost annual!) to host the Best of the Undergraduate Writers from Milwaukee area colleges and universities. This is a program that is unique to Boswell – we can’t think of another bookstore in the country that celebrates creative writing by bringing together undergraduates from multiple schools to read together in a professional setting.

Friday, May 4 features Victoria Koenig and Jennifer Fierro-Padilla from Alverno College, Kathryn Skjoldager, Kyle Battle, and Lauren Singer from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and three writers to be announced from Marquette University

Saturday, May 5 feaures Rebekah Becker and Destiny Vang from Cardinal Stritch University, Sarah Stock and Joe Messink from Carroll University, Steffon Dixon and Sennessa Soukasserm from MIAD, and Lexie Kline and Star Willis from Mount Mary University

Sunday, May 6, 3:00 pm, at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, 19805 W Capitol Dr in Brookfield:
A ticketed event with Paula McLain, author of Love and Ruin

The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center, Oconomowoc's Books & Company, and Milwaukee's Boswell Book Company present a very special afternoon with Paula McLain, the bestselling author of The Paris Wife, who returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in Love and Ruin, a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn, the fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century.

Tickets are $32.00 and include admission to the event, all taxes and fees, and a copy of Love and Ruin. The ticket link is Here's a taste from Joanne Kaufman's Wall Street Journal review last Saturday:

"In 1937, 28-year-old Martha travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a man already on his way to becoming a legend."

In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China, Key West, and especially Cuba, where Martha and Ernest make their home, their relationship and professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife, or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart - and her own.

Glamour magazine raves: “Romance, infidelity, war - Paula McLain’s powerhouse novel has it all.”

Paula McLain is The New York Times bestselling author of the novels Circling the Sun, The Paris Wife, and A Ticket to Ride, the memoir Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, and two collections of poetry. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

More on our upcoming events page.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

In honor of Bob Barry's appearance on May 9, I feel like we should count down the top tens. Consider this a count up for the week ending April 28, 2018

In honor of Bob Barry's appearance on May 9, I feel like we should count down the top tens. Consider this a count up for the week ending April 28, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer
2. Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
3. As Bright as Heaven, by Susan Meissner
4. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
5. Noir, by Christopher Moore (ticketed event 5/2. Tix here)
6. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
7. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
8. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy (ticketed event 5/8. Tix here)
9. Varina, by Charles Frazier
10. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

The book love keeps coming for Liam Callanan's Paris by the Book. It's been such a treat to hear back from customers, bookstore colleagues, friends about their reaction to this novel. From Sandy Mahaffey at the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star: "Author Liam Callanan writes beautiful, lyrical descriptions. His plot moves slowly, but for me, that was perfect. I wanted time to savor the sights, sounds and people of Paris. I went on the emotional journey as the threesome independently had sightings of Robert - a profile, the back of a head, a familiar gait—convinced he was there, wondering when he would actually approach them. As you can imagine, it is an emotional roller coaster for them, on top of the normal struggles between a single mother and two teenage daughters. The story is bittersweet, but, in the end, it is a love story - about the love of books."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Measure What Matters, by John Doerr
2. Own the Day, Own Your Life, by Aubrey Marcus
3. The Good News About Bad Behavior, by Katherine Reynolds Lewis
4. The Gift of Our Wounds, by Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Singh Kaleka
5. A Higher Loyalty, by James Comey
6. I'll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara
7. Fascism, by Madeleine Albright
8. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
9. Love and Death in the Sunshine State, by Cutter Wood
10. The Magnolia Table, by Joanna Gaines

I wouldn't be surprised if Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark jumps to #1 on the national bestseller lists, what with the arrest of a suspect in the long-unsolved Golden State Killer case. Also in the true crime genre is Love and Death in the Sunshine State, which hit the list in the wake of Cutter Wood's appearance.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Queen Sugar, by Natalie Baszile
2. From the Realm of Time V2, by Scott Douglas Prill
3. Midway, by Jenny Benjamin
4. More than a Box of Crayons, by Jenny Benjamin
5. Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
6. Beartown, by Fredrik Backman
7. Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout
8. The Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz
9. The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
10. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See

Fredrik Backman's paperbacks tend to have a life of their own and Beartown is no exception. Carol Memmott wrote in the Star Tribune: "Current fiction may have no more courageous young female character than Maya, who faces hate and threats after she comes forward about the rape. Backman writes a gritty, heart-stopping account of the sexual assault after which the novel then pivots into even more ominous territory as the town turns on her and her family."

We'd have signed copies of Queen Sugar but we sold out at Saturday's luncheon. Congrats to the Delta Memorial Endowment Fund, who had over 700 attendees at this year's luncheon. We'll have more copies on Tuesday.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Lost Milwaukee, by Carl Swanson
2. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
3. Brown Is the New White, by Steve Phillips
4. Urban Ecology, by Ken Leinbach
5. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan (event 5/17 at Schlitz Audubon. Registration info here)
6. Evicted by Matthew Desmond (JFS lunch 5/16. Tix here)
7. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
8. The Body Is Not an Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor
9. The Gulf, by Jack E. Davis
10. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann

Richard Rothstein was in town for the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute anniversary celebration and because Norton does pub date, not on-sale date and that led us to be able to get the books a little earlier than we would normally. Jared Bernstein spoke to the author of The Color of Law in The Washington Post. Signed copies available!

Books for Kids:
1. Turn this Book into a Beehive, by Lynn Brunelle
2. Better Together, by Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg
3. Sail Away Dragon V3, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Randy Cecil
4. Lovabye Dragon V1, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Randy Cecil
5. Pop Bottle Science, by Lynn Brunelle
6. Camp Out, by Lynne Brunelle
7. You Go First, by Erin Entrada Kelly
8. Hello Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly
9. Evermore Dragon V2, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Randy Cecil
10. Stick Dog Crashes a Party V8, by Tom Watson

Lynn Brunelle visited three schools to talk about Turn This Book into a Beehive. One set of educators dressed like bees for the event! Brunelle was a writer for Bill Nye the Science Guy. From the blog Literacious: "This is a fascinating book – not only for the fun facts about bees and what makes them so vital to the ecosystem, but that the book has so many amazing activities that kids can do at home with materials they can easily get ahold of."

And now to the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page!

--Mark Athitakis reviews My Patients and Other Animals: A Veterinarian's Stories of Love, Loss, and Hope. From the review of Suzy Fincham-Gray's memoir of her life as a veterinarian: "Fincham-Gray delivers each of these pets’ stories episodically, as if arranging them for her own TV series. But underlying every animal story are two human themes: Fincham- Gray’s struggle to improve her relationships with pet owners, and the way treatment is usually influenced (or walled off) by their ability to pay. One of Sweetie’s owners is disinterested and the other is financially strapped, which means Fincham- Gray has to cut tests and treatments." Originally from USA Today.

--Another memoir, from actor Jenna Fischer, is The Actor's Life: A Survivor's Guide is also review. Jane Henderson writes: "(The) frank talk and advice make up much of The Actor’s Life, along with many personal examples and stories from other actors. Fischer talked by phone from Los Angeles about her book, her own missteps and whether she has had to navigate any of the harassment issues that have plagued Hollywood." The Saint-Louis Post Dispatch has the complete interview.

--One more! Hunting El Chapo: The Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captured the World's Most-Wanted Drug Lord is written by Andrew Hogan and Douglas Century. Don Oldenberg reviews: "This may be the most authentic glimpse inside the world of El Chapo — because Hogan actually went there and did what few thought possible." From USA Today.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Event: Meg Wolitzer, Carl Swanson, Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Ken Leinbach, Cutter Wood, Jenny Benjamin, Independent Bookstore, Fox and Branch, Scott Prill, Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Singh Kaleka, Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern, and Kurt Dietrich and the Manty Ellis trio

Monday, April 23, 7:00 pm, at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, 1111 E Brown Deer Rd:
A ticketed event with Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion, in conversation with Jane Hamilton

Last chance to attend our event with Meg Wolitzer in conversation with Jane Hamilton.

From the recent Slate article by Lydia Kiesling, who noted "If we try too hard to parse the precise kind of feminism embodied by Meg Wolitzer’s new book, we risk missing its genuinely smart satire."

She continues: "A novel that more or less opens with an act of uninvited groping at a college frat party is probably fated to be received as a #MeToo book, or a “timely” book about 'our moment.' Some readers will be tempted to comb through the book to assess the correctness of its politics or the precise wave of its feminism. As one white woman who feels overrepresented in popular culture put it, 'a novel sifting through the small failures (and huge successes) of a prominent young white feminist hardly feels like a major statement about the movement. In 2018, aren’t there more vital, surprising and layered stories to tell?'" Read the rest here.

Tickets are $30 and include admission, parking, and a copy of The Female Persuasion. Tickets are available at until 2 pm. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated back to Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. While there is no gift card option for this event, don’t forget that The Female Persuasion makes a great gift, and it also would be a welcome donation to your favorite school, library, or nonprofit. We cannot guarantee that walk-up sales will be available at this time.

Tuesday, April 24, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Carl Swanson, author of Lost Milwaukee

From City Hall to the Pabst Theater, reminders of the past are part of the fabric of Milwaukee. Yet many historic treasures have been lost to time.

An overgrown stretch of the Milwaukee River was once a famous beer garden. Blocks of homes and apartments replaced the Wonderland Amusement Park. A quiet bike path now stretches where some of fastest trains in the world previously thundered. Today’s Estabrook Park was a vast mining operation, and Marquette University covers the old fairgrounds where Abraham Lincoln spoke.

From beer barons to chocolate makers, from a courthouse statue locals said resembled a drunken dancing girl to an ice cream run that led to the founding of Evinrude outboard engines, Lost Milwaukee is a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past.

Milwaukee’s Carl Swanson enjoys exploring and writing about his adopted hometown. A magazine editor and author of Faces of Railroading from Kalmbach Publishing Company, Carl studied journalism at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and photography at the Woodland School of Photography.

Tuesday, April 24, 7:00 pm, at University School of Milwaukee, 2100 W Fairy Chasm Rd:
Katherine Reynolds Lewis, author of The Good News about Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever - And What to Do about It

REDgen and USM present a talk from Katherine Reynolds Lewis, cosponsored by Boswell. In her talk, Lewis argues that the current model of parental discipline is as outdated as a rotary phone. This talk is free but registration is required. Visit for more. If you are a teacher, consider the afternoon educators talk at

Today's parents live with an exhausting reality: persistent defiance from children. About half of the current generation of children will develop a mood or behavioral disorder or a substance addiction by age eighteen. And many parents feel increasingly unable to exert any influence over their children. In our highly connected age, the all-powerful parent is largely a thing of the past.

Lewis proposes a radical solution: empathy. As she journeys from parenting seminars to neuroscience labs to schools to the homes of modern parents, Lewis documents a crisis of self-regulation, and shows how children rise to the occasion when their parents learn to trust them. You'll recognize your own family in Lewis's sensitive, realistic stories, and you'll find a path to making everyone in your home more capable, kinder, and happier, including yourself.

Katherine Reynolds Lewis is an award-winning independent journalist based in the Washington, DC, area who regularly writes for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Working Mother magazine. Her work has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a certified parent educator with the Parent Encouragement Program in Kensington, Maryland.

Wednesday, April 25, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Ken Leinbach, author of Urban Ecology: A Natural Way to Transform Kids, Parks, Cities, and the World

In 2017, Ken Leinbach’s book that explains the history and philosophy of the Urban Ecology Center was published, exclusively available through the Center. But now, in celebration of its general distribution, Boswell presents a talk from Ken Leinbach, the Urban Ecology Center’s Executive Director.

Urban Ecology is an easy guide to creating a safe neighborhood and park right where people live. This Milwaukee experiment, the story of a group of ordinary people who created something extraordinary, starts with the simplicity of getting a city kid exploring their neighborhood park. How is it that so much life, community, and opportunity can grow from this unlikely soil? It's been called a miracle. It's contagious. It's spreading. It's exciting. And it works!

The Urban Ecology Center started in 1991 with neighborhood cleanups. In 2004, their community and classroom center in Riverside Park opened, replacing a double-wide trailer. Today, the Urban Ecology Center, through its three campuses, protects and restores urban green spaces in Milwaukee while serving 77,000+ people each year.

Ken Leinbach, Executive Director of the Urban Ecology Center, is a nationally recognized science educator and leader in community-based environmental education. He is a certified high school teacher and has over 30 years of experience teaching and developing environmental science programs in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Virginia. He holds a biology degree from Antioch College, a master's degree in environmental education from Prescott College, and an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

Thursday, April 26, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Cutter Wood, author of Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Crime

When a stolen car is recovered on the Gulf Coast of Florida, it sets off a search for a missing woman, local motel owner Sabine Musil-Buehler. Three men are named persons of interest, her husband, her boyfriend, and the man who stole the car, and the residents of Anna Maria Island, with few facts to fuel their speculation, begin to fear the worst. Then, with the days passing quickly, her motel is set on fire, her boyfriend flees the county, and detectives begin digging on the beach.

Here's a recommendation from Boswell's Chris Lee for Love and Death in the Sunshine State: "Part true crime investigation, part self-interrogating memoir, this is about a man who wants to know just how deep he can go into the mind of a killer. By chance, Wood stayed overnight in a Gulf Coast hotel shortly after its owner was murdered. Listening to locals spin theories from rumors, Wood became obsessed with the case. Then the hotel burned to the ground. Wood goes beyond the evidence and spins his own theory from the truth, going beyond the evidence to examine how a relationship can go from romance to murder in this creeping, atmospheric labyrinth of literary achievement."

Cutter Wood was born in Central Pennsylvania and received his BA from Brown University, where he was awarded prizes for nonfiction and poetry. Wood completed an MFA in creative nonfiction at the University of Iowa in 2010, during which he was awarded numerous fellowships and had essays published in Harper's and other magazines.

Friday, April 27, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Jenny Benjamin, author of More than A Box of Crayons and Midway

More Than a Box of Crayons irradiates the colors of a life spent in community with nature, art, and family. Through resounding images and sonorous tones, the poems capture the simplicity of childhood, the joys and sorrows of every-day life with loved ones, and the complexities of being a woman or girl in the world.

Marquette University’s Angela Sorby writes: “Jenny Benjamin’s chapbook, More Than a Box of Crayons, blazes with color and energy. These poems fold visual images… into verbal forms. The effect is synesthetic, dazzling, emotionally charged, and ultimately deeply life-affirming.”

Midway is a haunting collection of poems that traces the seasons of loss in one woman’s life, with distinct lyrical touch and a deft ear for nuanced language. The poems are salve and song, beautifully constructed and ultimately enduring. This collection received second prize in the No Chair poetry contest.

Milwaukee-based Jenny Benjamin is the owner of her freelance writing and editing business JB Communications, LLC. Her poems have appeared in DIAGRAM, South Carolina Review, and Fulcrum. She also author of the novel This Most Amazing.

Saturday, April 28, 10:00 opening, 11:00 am concert, at Boswell:
Independent Bookstore Day, featuring a concert with Fox and Branch

Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country on the last Saturday in April. Every store is unique and independent, and every party is different. We’ll have exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Not online. No phone or web orders, no holdsies. One of each item limit per person before Noon.

Limited editions for sale include a special signed edition of Dave Eggers’s Ungrateful Mammals, a Bad Citizen graffiti stencil, Julia Child and Anthony Bourdain tea towels, a literary map of the universe print, Dragons Love Books onesie, Read with Me plush featuring Maisie and Horton the Elephant, and a special book club journal featuring inspiring-ish messages from David Sedaris, Stephen King, and more.

At 11 am, we’ll be hosting a free concert for kids with local favorites Fox and Branch, whose latest album is Wings on My Feet. It’s really true that everyone has fun at a Fox and Branch show!

Dave Fox and Will Branch have been touring with their music for two decades. In 2017, Fox and Branch toured overseas for the first time, playing to audiences in Ireland, England and Scotland. They have been honored with four Parents Choice Recommended awards.

Saturday, April 28, 4:00 pm, at Boswell:
Scott Douglas Prill, author of From the Realm of Time

From the Realm of Time continues the saga of Roman General Marcus Augustus Valerias nine years after his climactic war with the Huns, and five years after the Romans’ catastrophic defeat at Adrianople. Valerias has retired to an estate near Milan with his wife, Claire, a former queen of the kingdom in Britannia, and their two daughters. They face religious strife in the Christian community, unrest in Claire’s former kingdom due to a usurper queen, and the pending massive invasion of Britannia by the Saxons. This is an epic story of treachery, courage, war, and love, set against an important period in world history.

From Arnold Gutkowski, former Director of Menomonee Falls Public Library, USS Liberty Public Library in Grafton, and Brown Deer Public Library: “This is a strong novel full of the strength of the Roman Army, the strength of the family, and ultimately the sacrifices made to preserve the strength of civilization… You will be thrust into this gritty, powerful, also loving, and caring ancient universe in which to live by your strength and wit can be a deadly necessity.”

Saturday, April 28, 5:30 pm, at First Unitarian Society, 1342 N Astor St in Milwaukee:
Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Singh Kaleka, authors of The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate

The First Unitarian Society presents a lecture and workshop cosponsored by Boswell about The Gift of Our Wounds, a powerful story of a friendship between two men, one Sikh and one skinhead, that resulted in an outpouring of love and a mission to fight against hate.

After the Oak Creek tragedy, Arno and Pardeep worked together to start an organization called Serve 2 Unite, which works with students to create inclusive, compassionate and nonviolent climates in their schools and communities. With New York Times bestseller Robin Gaby Fisher telling Arno and Pardeep’s story, The Gift of Our Wounds is a timely reminder of the strength of the human spirit, and the courage and compassion that reside within us all.

Arno Michaelis is the author of My Life After Hate and works with Serve 2 Unite. He has appeared on media outlets including the BBC, The New York Times, and The View. Pardeep Sigh Kaleka is a first generation immigrant, a native of Punjab, India, who grew up in Milwaukee. A former police officer and educator in Milwaukee’s inner city schools, Kaleka is a therapist specializing in holistic, trauma-informed treatment.

Registration is required for participation, at Please note there is also a registration-requested workshop after this talk.

Sunday, April 29, 3:00 pm schmooze, 4:00 pm demonstration, at City Lights Brewery, 2210 W Mount Vernon Ave:
Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern, author of The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods

The Tapestry program of the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center and YJAM present a special program with Elizabeth Alpern and Jeff Yoskowitz, cofounders of Gefilteria. Their cooking demo will highlight their attempts to revive Ashkenazi cuisine. Their first cookbook includes 100-plus recipes pulled deep from the culinary histories of Eastern Europe and the diaspora community of North America, drawing inspiration from the legacies of Jewish pickle shops, bakeries, appetizing shops, dairy restaurants, delicatessens, and holiday kitchens.

Drawing inspiration from aromatic Jewish bakeries (Classic Challah with a Marble Rye Twist, Seeded Honey Rye Pull-Apart Rolls), neighborhood delis (Home-Cured Corned Beef and Pastrami, Rustic Matzo Balls, and Old World Stuffed Gefilte Fish), old-fashioned pickle shops (Crisp Garlic Dilly Beans, Ashkenazi Kimchi), and, of course, their own childhood kitchens, Yoskowitz and Alpern rediscover old-world food traditions, helping you bring simple and comforting recipes into your home.

Tickets are $15, and include admission, appetizers, a beer, and a take-home jar of pickled goodies. Register at

Liz Alpern got her start in the Jewish food world working with acclaimed cookbook author Joan Nathan. She curates and cooks for pop-up events and boutique shops. Jeffrey Yoskowitz, trained as a pickler at Adamah Foods, where he fell in love with the art of lacto-fermentation, and has worked in the food world as an entrepreneur and a consultant for small businesses. He has written on food culture for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate.

Monday, April 30, 7:00 pm, at The Jazz Estate, 2423 N Murray Ave:
Kurt Dietrich, author of Wisconsin Riffs: Jazz Profiles from the Heartland, with special guests The Manty Ellis Trio

The Jazz Estate and Boswell present a talk from Ripon College music professor Kurt Dietrich, followed by music from the Manty Ellis Trio. Admission is $5 at the door.

Although New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago are often considered the epicenters of American jazz, this extensive, upbeat compilation of jazz musician biographies details Wisconsin’s rich association with the genre since its inception in the early 1900s. Iconic musicians Bunny Berigan, Woody Herman, Les Paul, and Al Jarreau all hailed from Wisconsin, as have many other influential players, composers, and teachers. Wisconsin Riffs features these musicians side-by-side to portray a comprehensive history of jazz in Wisconsin.

Kurt Dietrich is a professor of music and the Barbara Baldwin DeFrees Chair in the Performing Arts at Ripon College. He is the author of Duke’s Bones: Ellington’s Great Trombonists, as well as numerous articles for publications including Annual Review of Jazz Studies and Black Music Research Journal. As a musician, he has performed on numerous recordings.