Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Celebrating Aaron Boyd's illustrations: Signed copies of Luigi and the Barefoot Races, Calling the Water Drum, the Snowtoad tee, and more

With snow on the ground, it's time to celebrate the season with our special Snowtoad tee shirt, created by Boswellian Aaron Boyd. We have a limited selection of sizes at a special price of $10.*

While we're talking about Boyd, may we remind you that we also have autographed copies of several of Aaron's books.

Calling the Water Drum, written by Latisha Redding. From Kirkus: " Redding's distinguished text sensitively portrays the tragedies young Henri and Karrine have faced, and Boyd's watercolor illustrations expressively convey the love of Henris family, the perils of their sea crossing, and the range of emotions he experiences as he finds his way in New York with his uncle and friends. Moving."

Melena's Jubilee, written by Zetta Elliott. From Publishers Weekly: "Befitting the sense of grace that Melena clings to, Boyd's vibrant mixed-media images evoke the heft and poise of stained glass windows, whether showing Melena and her elders picking garden vegetables or the girl and her friends perched on the jungle gym, gazing at swirling clouds."

Luigi and the Barefoot Races, written by Dan Paley. Kirkus writes: "Boyd's bright illustrations move right along with the action and depict a multicultural community from a variety of panoramic and close-up perspectives."

Janna and the Kings, written by Patricia Smith. Winner of Lee and Low's New Voices Award. Citing Booklist: "Boyd’s bright watercolor spreads nicely interpret the characters’ emotions and sense of community."

Babu's Song, written by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen. The School Library Journal take: "Boyd’s impressionistic watercolors capture the rich colors of the countryside and the market and effectively convey the story’s emotions. Babu’s Song will resonate with a wide range of readers."

We're so excited by Mr. Boyd's next illustration for the store, but we're not officially releasing it until 2019. That said, if you follow Boyd on Facebook, you've already seen it.

*At this point, we're out of unisex (traditional cut) 3X and fitted (what was called women's or junior cut) small and XL. We only have one unisex small and 2X and multiples of the other sizes.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Boswell Celebrates Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, Wocka Wocka Wednesday (only Fozzie-themed gifts) and the rest of the week: Patrick J. Jung on Nicolet, Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook at the JCC,

Here are the Boswell happenings

Tuesday, November 27, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Patrick J. Jung, author of The Misunderstood Mission of Jean Nicolet: Uncovering the Story of the 1634 Journey

Milwaukee School of Engineering Professor of History Patrick J. Jung delves into the history of Wisconsin wanderer Jean Nicolet.

For years, schoolchildren heard the story of Jean Nicolet’s arrival in Wisconsin. But the popularized image of the hapless explorer landing with robe billowing and guns blazing, believing himself to have found a passage to China, is based on scant evidence - a false narrative perpetuated by fanciful artists’ renditions and repetition.

Recently, historians have pieced together a story that is more complicated and more interesting. Jung synthesizes the research about Nicolet and his superior Samuel de Champlain, whose diplomatic goals in the region are crucial to understanding Nicolet’s journey across the Great Lakes. Additionally, historical details about Franco-Indian relations and the search for the Northwest Passage provide a framework for understanding Nicolet’s famed mission.

Patrick J. Jung is a professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering with a Ph.D. in history and anthropology and is author of The Black Hawk War of 1832, The Nicolet Corrigenda: New France Revisited with coauthor Nancy Oestreich Lurie, and The Battle of Wisconsin Heights: Thunder on the Wisconsin.

Wednesday, November 28, 7:00 PM, at Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N Santa Monica Boulevard
A ticketed event with Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook, authors of Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious  

2017 James Beard Outstanding Chef Michael Solomonov and his business partner, Steven Cook, owners of Zahav, Federal Donuts, and other restaurants, weave together history and delicious food in this demonstration and discussion at the Harry and Rose Samson Jewish Community Center, cosponsored by the Israeli Center and Boswell.

For this event Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook will be in conversation with Kyle Cherek, host of Wisconsin Foodie.

Tickets for this event are available at $40 for one person, $60 for two, includes admission, one copy of Israeli Soul, and delicious appetizers.

For their first major book since the trailblazing Zahav, Solomonov and Cook go straight to the food of the people, the great dishes that are the soul of Israeli cuisine. Usually served from hole-in-the-wall restaurants or market stalls, these specialties have been passed down through generations. The authors scoured bustling cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and sleepy towns on mountaintops, visiting bakeries, juice carts, beaches, even weddings, to find the best recipes. Perfected for the home kitchen, recipes include falafel and pita, grilled and roasted spice-rubbed meats, stuffed vegetables, chopped vegetable salads, pastries, ice creams, and shakes.

Kyle Cherek is a culinary historian, food essayist, and host of Wisconsin Foodie, and a is also a contributor to Lake Effect on WUWM. Cherek has been awarded the Wisconsin Broadcast Association Award twice for his essays on food culture.

James Beard award-winning Michael Solomonov is the executive chef of Zahav, an Eater essential restaurant, and the 2016 Eater Chef of the Year. Steven Cook, with Solomonov, wrote Federal Donuts and the award-winning Zahav. Together, they own Zahav, Federal Donuts, and Abe Fisher restaurants.

Thursday, November 29, 4:00 PM, at UWM Lapham Hall, 3209 N Maryland Ave, Room N101:
Marcia Bjornerud, author of Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World

UWM’s Department of Geoscience presents Lawrence University Geology Chair Marcia Bjornerud for a discussion of her newest work, which explains why an awareness of Earth’s temporal rhythms is critical to our planetary survival. Cosponsored by Boswell.

Marcia Bjornerud shows how geologists chart the planet’s past and determine the pace of processes like mountain building and erosion, comparing them with the unstable rhythms of the oceans and atmosphere. These overlapping rates of change in the Earth system - some fast, some slow - demand a poly-temporal worldview, which Bjornerud calls “timefulness.” She explains why timefulness is vital in the Anthropocene, this human epoch of accelerating planetary change, and proposes sensible solutions for building a more time-literate society.

This compelling book presents a new way of thinking about our place in time, enabling us to make decisions on multigenerational timescales. The lifespan of Earth may seem unfathomable compared to the brevity of human existence, but this view of time denies our deep roots in Earth’s history and the magnitude of our effect on the planet.

Marcia Bjornerud is Walter Schober Professor of Environmental Studies and Professor of Geology and Chair of Geology at Lawrence University. She is the author of Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth and a contributing writer for Elements, The New Yorker’s science and technology blog. She lives in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Thursday, November 29, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Milwaukee Art Museum Docents, authors of Look, Write, See: Activities for Teaching Writing and Looking at Art

Join docents from Milwaukee Art Museum, including Mary ‘Peetie’ Basson, Jody Baxter, and Jee-Won Schally, as they present the book Look, Write, See, a collaborative endeavor developed to help teach writing and encourage closer looking at art. Cohosted by Milwaukee Art Museum.

Twenty activities are paired with works of art from the Milwaukee Art Museum's Collection, but each can easily be used with other works-and at other museums. The magic of these activities happens in the combination of close looking, writing, listening to what others see, and looking again. Children and adults will be amazed at what there is to find and see!

The heart of the interaction is writing that enhances an appreciation of art, and art returns the favor by enriching our understanding of writing. The beauty of these activities is that you do not need to be trained in art to enjoy and learn from it. With this book, museum goers will look more closely, think more personally, and engage in dialogue in the galleries.

Look, Write, See is a collaborative effort created by docents at Milwaukee Art Museum.

Friday, November 30, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
John Koethe, author of Walking Backwards: Poems 1966-2016

Join us for a special evening celebrating the release of the collected work of John Koethe, UWM’s Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus and Milwaukee’s own philosopher-poet, winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the Frank O’Hara Award.

Walking Backwards gathers for the first time Koethe’s award-winning body of work. These poems, always dynamic and in process, never static or complete, luxuriate in the questions that punctuate the most humdrum of routines, rendering a robust portrait of an individual: complicated, quotidian, and resounding with truth.

Pulitzer-winning poet John Ashbery said, “Solemn and playful, John Koethe’s poems lock themselves gradually but firmly into one’s memory.”

John Koethe has published eleven books of poetry. He has also published books on Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosophical skepticism, and poetry, and is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at UWM.

Saturday, December 1:
10:00 AM at West Allis Public Library, 7421 W National Ave
Noon at Cudahy Family Library, 3500 E Library Dr
2:00 PM at Greenfield Public Library, 5310 W Layton Ave
Bruce the Bear, hero of Mother Bruce and Santa Bruce

Everyone’s favorite bear is coming to Milwaukee! Bruce, the hero of Mother Bruce, is coming to town (in costume form) for the publication of Ryan T. Higgins’s picture book Santa Bruce.

Each library will have a story time, and children and adults will have a chance to pose for pictures with Bruce and get his "autograph" (custom Bear stamp). Boswell will have Higgins books for sale at each library. Please note, Higgins will not be present at these events. Perfect for adults and kids 4+.

Bruce is many things - a reluctant mother, a harangued hotelier, and an all-around magnet for chaos. But one thing Bruce is definitely not? He is not Santa Claus. But that doesn't stop the whole forest from giving him their Christmas wishes in the fourth installment of mistaken identity fun with the hilarious bear who just can't catch a break.

While Ryan T. Higgins is not appearing at these events, we should note that he received the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor for Mother Bruce. 

Saturday, December 1, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Andrea Gibson, author of Lord of the Butterflies
in conversation with Audrey Nowakowski of Lake Effect

Poet, activist, spoken-word artist, and author of stirring, introspective poetry collections such as Take Me With You and Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, Andrea Gibson appears at Boswell for a special evening in which they will speak and perform poems from their latest collection, Lord of the Butterflies.

After the performance, Gibson will be in conversation with Audrey Nowakowski, producer at WUWM's Lake Effect.

Register for free at or upgrade to a book-with-ticket option for $17, which includes admission to the event, a copy of Lord of the Butterflies, and priority on the signing line. If we are near capacity for this event, Boswell will close to the general public, so be sure to register today!

Gibson’s latest collection is a masterful showcase from the poet whose writing and performances have captured the hearts of millions. The honesty of Gibson's work makes audiences and readers feel welcome as they are. With artful, nuanced looks at gender, romance, loss, and family, Lord of the Butterflies is a new peak in Gibson’s career. Each emotion here is deft and delicate, resting inside of imagery heavy enough to sink the heart, while giving the body wings to soar.

Andrea Gibson began their career in 1999 with a break-up poem at an open mic in Boulder, Colorado. In 2008, Gibson won the first ever Woman of the World Poetry Slam. Gibson is the author of four previous books of poetry and has released seven spoken-word albums.

Audrey Nowakowski is a producer at WUWM's Lake Effect since 2014. She is a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University and has also worked at WMSE.

*It turns out there's nothing happening on Cyber Monday except our recovery from the weekend. More at Boswell's upcoming events page.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Thinking About Shopping Later Thursday, and the rest of the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending November 24, 2018

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Thinking About Shopping Later Thursday, and the rest of the Boswell bestsellers for the week ending November 24, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Fire and Blood, by George RR Martin
2. Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
3. Dear Mrs Bird, by AJ Pearce
4. There There, by Tommy Orange
5. Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje
6. The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
7. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh
8. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason
9. The Witch Elm, by Tana French
10. The Overstory, by Richard Powers

You're not going to mistake our bestseller list for the one posted at a mass merchant's book section. My guess is after the top two, there's not a lot of overlap. But my guess is that everyone had a good first week on George RR Martin's Fire and Blood: 300 Years Before a Game of Thrones, a Taryagan history from the days that dragons ruled Westeros. I'm not going to quote anyone, but fans should see it more as a Silmarillion-like fictional history book than part of the Game of Thrones saga. It is 75% new material. The Hollywood Reporter says the book reveals the truth behind a Westeros landmark.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
2. The Beastie Boys Book, by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz
3. The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis
4. Leadership, by Doris Keans Goodwin
5. Educated, by Tara Westover
6. These Truths, by Jill Lepore
7. Ruth Bader Ginsberg, by Jane Sherron de Hart
8. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, by John Gurda (signing Saturday, December 15, 2 pm)
9. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean
10. Let's Go (So We Can Get Back), by Jeff Tweedy

We've had two Ruth Bader Ginsburg books of quotations on our bestseller list this year, My Own Words, and You Can't Spell Truth without Ruth, and several tributes and children's book in past years, but Jane Sherron de Hart has a full-length biography, Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life. Julia M. Klein writes in The Forward: "Among the virtues of Jane Sherron De Hart’s magisterial and timely biography of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that it prompts reflection on what it takes - for a woman in particular - to reach the summit of professional accomplishment. Or, more precisely, what it took in that not-so-long-ago era of sex-segregated classified advertisements and other forms of gender-based discrimination."

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris
2. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
3. City of Broken Magic, by Mirah Bolender
4. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
5. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
6. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, by Kathleen Rooney
7. Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich
8. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
9. The Japanese Lover, by Isabel Allende
10. Best American Short Stories, edited by Roxane Gay

This is the second week on our bestseller lists for The Tattooist of Auschwitz. The book broke out nationally on its paperback release, following success in several other countries, but this is the first week we had very solid numbers. And while there are many big sellers where it doesn't matter how we display them, in this case, Jason and I gave it face-out piles in both new releases and the book club table plus a listing as one of the nine books of Hanukkah (we had too many ideas for eight), and that seemed to help. Here's Christine Kenneally's story in The New York Times about this historical novel.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
2. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
3. Call Them by Their True Names, by Rebecca Solnit
4. North Point Historic Districts, by Shirley Du Fresne McArthur
5. From Emerald Isle to the Cream City, by Carl Baehr (event at Boswell Friday, December 14, 2 pm)
6. The Great Influenza, by John M Barry
7. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
8. The Woman Who Smashed Codes, by Jason Fagone
9. Devotion, by Patti Smith
10. Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson

Every time I think there's no way we're going to be able to get more copies of North Point Historic Districts, the classic guide to historic homes in our neighborhood, we're able to get some more. Learn the story behind beautiful houses east of Boswell!

New to the list is The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies, written by Jason Fagone.Named one of NPR's top books of 2017. Genevieve Valentine on the NPR website called the book: "a study of the sort of extraordinary events that consume the world, and the abilities - and limits - of a few extraordinary people. Bursting with details in everything from dinner parties to spy rings, Fagone's book offers the story of a fascinating woman in perilous times, and asks some uneasy questions about the present. The Woman Who Smashed Codes may be the quietest government operation ever told; Elizebeth would probably like it that way."

Books for Kids:
1. The Tomb, by S.A. Bodeen
2. The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry, by Sean Connolly
3. The Raft, by S.A. Bodeen
4. The Compound, by S.A. Bodeen
5. Her Right Foot, by Dave Eggers, with illustrations by Shawn Harris
6. The Book of Wildly Spectacular Sports Science, by Sean Connolly
7. The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math, by Sean Connolly
8. The Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters, by Sean Connolly
9. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse with illustrations by Renée Graef
10. National Parks of the USA, by Kate Siber
11. Meltdown V13, by Jeff Kinney
12. The Snowy Nap, by Jan Brett

As you can see, we had several authors touring in the area for school visits - S.A. Bodeen for The Tomb and Sean Connolly for The Book of Ingeniously Daring Chemistry. I'm glad to see that folks are really gravitating to Kate Siber's National Parks of the USA. We were looking for an oversized book to get behind, and when our buyer Amie showed this to me, I hoped it was the one. It's full color, which means it's hard to reprint, which means that stock will disappear. We aren't sold out yet and Amie says we should be probably getting more from the next printing.

Over at the Journal Sentinel:

--From Zlati Meyer,  from USA Today: "A new book chronicles those lectures and classroom interactions. Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom is by Ariel Burger, who met the writer when he was 15, studied under him in his 20s and served as his teaching assistant in his 30s...Burger’s tone and execution are exactly what his title promises – and in keeping with the way Wiesel lived his life."

--Marion Winik reviews Elizabeth Berg's Night of Miracles, also originally from USA Today: "The characters in Elizabeth Berg’s new novel, Night of Miracles, frequently sit down to lovingly described treats fresh from the oven. Lucille Howard, 88, is a master baker and baking teacher who begins every class with samples served on a cut-crystal pedestal...As the endearing, odd-lot characters of Mason, Missouri, coalesce into new families, dessert is served: a plateful of chocolate-and-vanilla pinwheel cookies for the soul." Note that Berg will be at Books and Company on Sunday, December 9 at 3 pm. More here.

--The Associated Press offers this piece from Ann Levin on Lucia Berlin: "In 2015, the posthumous publication of the short story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women made its author Lucia Berlin a household name, at least in literary households. Now her publisher has brought out a new collection, Evening in Paradise, along with an evocative memoir, Welcome Home, that Berlin was working on when she died in 2004 at age 68. The stories, best described as autobiographical fiction, feature an interchangeable cast of characters who are stand-ins for Berlin and her entourage of friends, family and lovers."

Friday, November 23, 2018

All the books mentioned on the Boswell recommends Lake Effect segment.

All the books mentioned on the Boswell recommends Lake Effect segment.

The Beastie Boys Book, by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz
Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin
Hindsight, Justin Timberlake
Let’s Go, by Jeff Tweedy
Elevation, by Stephen King
Fox 8, by George Saunders
Sea Prayer, Khaled Hosseini
The White Darkness, by David Grann
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
My Sister the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite
National Park of the USA, by Kate Siber
My Bookstore, edited by Ron Rice
Paris by the Book, by Liam Callahan
Books and Mortar, by Gibbs M. Smith
101 Art Destinations of the USA, by Owen Phillips
The Global Economy as You’ve Never Seen It, by Thomas Ramge and Jan Schwochow
Inside the Villains, by Clotilde Perrin
Transcription, by Kate Atkinson
Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce
--I link the two books together. Both are about young women during the London Blitz.
Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
The Maze at Windermere, by Gregory Blake Smith
Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
--Why? Because the contemporary section of The Maze at Windermere eminds some of that book.
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
Hotel Silence, by Audur Ava Olafsdottir
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
--Like A Man Called Ove, this is a book where folks ask for other books that are like it. 
The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason
Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse and Renee Graef
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee: The First Sixty Years, by John Schroeder
1,000 Books to Read Before You Die, by James Mustich
Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany, by Jane Mount

Listen here to the interview.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Three of my favorite novels of 2018 on Lake Effect - The Great Believers, The Winter Soldier, Virgil Wander

Since we have no events this week, I thought I'd use the Monday blog to call your attention to interviews with three authors who wrote books that I am hand-selling this holiday season. All three appeared on WUWM's Lake Effect.

Rebecca Makkai talked to Mitch Teich about The Great Believers, her family (sort of) saga set in Chicago in the 1980s and contemporary Paris. It is framed by two art exhibitions and centers on a group of gay men in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. Reviewers have noted that while there have been many novels focused on AIDS, few of them have the sweep of The Great Believers and Makkai notes that so much of American AIDS reporting centers on New York and San Francisco. But the Boswellians who loved The Great Believers (Lynn and Chris are also fans) also were transfixed by the great writing, the compelling characters, and the Chicago-iness of the story. This book was shortlisted for the National Book Award.

Listen to Mitch Teich's interview with Rebecca Makkai here.

I don't know if I would have read The Winter Soldier if the book had been plopped on my desk without an event scheduled. It's traditional historical fiction, set on the Eastern Front of World War I, and focused on a not-particularly-well-trained surgeon who is sent to an under-resourced church-turned-mobile-hospital. But being that that event was scheduled for the date of our in-store lit group and that the event was scheduled about two months after pub date, how could we not read the book and have Mason come talk to us? It turns out that everyone is loving this book and it fills a need for traditional, well-written historical fiction. Jane helped turn me on to this - no jumping around among POV (point of view) or time, traditional themes, not to gorey for delicate readers but gorey enough to show war's toll. I like to sell this as A Gentleman in Moscow meets Cutting for Stone. And lots of readers agree - it's been in and out of stock since publication.

Mitch Teich interviews Daniel Mason on Lake Effect.

The best novel that captures small town Wisconsin in 2018 is set in Minnesota. Tim, Lynn and I are completely captivated by Virgil Wander, the story of a struggling town on Lake Superior - the mine played out, the factory closed, so down on its heels that they are playing to call their annual festival "Hard Luck Days." Virgil himself is a town clerk and runs the struggling movie theater, whose secret pleasure is screening old films from an illegal cache for his friends. Into the town comes an elderly Norwegian looking for his lost son. That son is gone, but his widow and son are there, so he sticks around, flying intricately-constructed kites on the lakefront. And his visit helps set in motion a chain of events that changes the town forever. Leif Enger's Peace Like a River captured a lot of hearts and we're hoping Virgil Wander does the same. It might not be the right time for its release - one reviewer disparaged it by comparing the book to Garrison Keillor's writing. But I liked Lake Wobegon Days just fine, so maybe that was just a swipe at flyover country.

More from WUWM's interview with Leif Enger.

We're closed on Thursday, November 22 for Thanksgiving. Open regular hours Friday through Sunday.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Pre-turkey Boswell bestsellers, week ending November 11, 2018

Pre-turkey Boswell bestsellers, week ending November 11, 2018

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Night of Miracles, by Elizabeth Berg
2. The Kinship of Secrets, by Eugenia Kim
3. Sea Prayer, by Khaled Hosseini
4. There There, by Tommy Orange
5. Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
6. The Reckoning, by John Grisham
7. In the House in the Dark of the Woods, by Laird Hunt
8. Dear Mrs Bird, by AJ Pearce
9. Fox 8, by George Saunders
10. Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami

No less than three books in our top ten are part of a national publishing trend towards short hardcover works. By this I don't mean quirky humor and reference books that go on our impulse table, but narrative works, basically a bound short story, or in the case of David Grann's White Darkness, a short essay. In addition to Khaled Hosseini's Sea Prayer and George Saunders's Fox 8, there's also Stephen King's Elevation, which already made an appearance. Inadvertently added to the list due to its small trim (it breaks the other rules of price point $20 or less and under $200 page count), is In the House in the Dark of the Woods, from Laird Hunt. It has had a great read at Boswell and good reviews too. Here's Eowyn Ivey in The New York Times: "It is tempting to seek a moral in the end. Maybe, don’t talk to strangers. Or, goodness prevails over evil. Or is this just a recasting of an old tale with modern sensibilities? But Hunt isn’t that predictable or didactic. Instead he has fashioned an edge-of-the-seat experience more akin to watching a horror movie. Don’t go in the cellar! Don’t eat that pig meat! Darkness is everywhere. And never assume you can trust the narrator."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
2. Churchill: Walking with Destiny, by Andrew Roberts
3. Bitten by the Blues, by Bruce Iglauer
4. Tommy: My Journey of a Lifetime, by Tommy Thompson and Doug Moe
5. Not a Crime to Be Poor, by Peter Edelman
6. Whose Boat Is This Boat?, by The Staff of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
7. Let's Go So We Can Get Back, by Jeff Tweedy
8. Almost Everything, by Anne Lamott
9. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
10. I Am Dynamite, by Sue Pridaux

Let's just say that a whole bunch of retailers are out of Becoming! We'll have more on Monday but it's best to add your name to the waiting list.
--Angie Thomas in Time Magazine
--Prachi Gupta in Jezebel: "More than just a memoir, Becoming seems written to take control of the narrative the public has built around her, walking the fine line of diplomacy required of first ladies while discussing the personal struggles she faced as a black woman moving into spaces that were not designed for her. It’s a self-aware, vulnerable, and often funny retelling of her life that doubles as a roadmap for women and girls who are similarly navigating unfamiliar territory, even with potentially lower stakes than the White House."

Lots of folks have asked us about Obama's book tour. Let's say we made a strong pitch but didn't make the cut. Based on how the rest of the tour was scheduled, my guess is that a date still might pop up at the Fiserv Forum.

Speaking of authors with Chicago ties who didn't come to Milwaukee, I kind of thought that Jeff Tweedy might come north for his new memoir, Let's Go So We Can Get Back: A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc, but there was only problem - he was just at the Pabst Theater six weeks ago. Steven Hyden, who has done events at Boswell in the past, writes in Uproxx: "The tone that carries through Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) — wry, prickly, self-deprecating, a touch misanthropic — will be familiar to anyone who pays attention to Tweedy’s interviews or between-song patter at shows." Here's more from NPR.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Hotel Silence, by Auður Ava Olafsdottir
2. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
3. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
4. The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens
5. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
6. Alternate Side, by Anna Quindlen
7. The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway
8. Freeze Frame Revolution, by Peter Watts
9. The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce
10. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward

New in paperback is Anna Quindlen's Alternate Side, which moves from a graphic hardcover design to a more traditional tree in front of an apartment building paperback design. While you can't really compare Quindlen's jacket treatment with Less or Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine with their paperback treatments that kept the hardcover design elements, it's interesting to note that Rachel Joyce's The Music Store, which did a ten month hard-to-soft journey (Quindlen was eight months) kept its jacket for paperback publication. Because I can't get inside the head of publishers, I can only guess - I see it as a bell curve. Hugely successful books seem more likely to keep their jackets (except maybe at one notable division of PRH, where they always change) and so do books on the unsuccessful side that are lucky to get a paperback at all. In between success and failure get the change-ups. It's just a theory.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. The Story of Act 31, by JP Leary
2. Prayers for Healing, by Owen Maggie
3. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
4. Capital Vol 1, by Karl Marx
5. Call Them by Their True Names, by Rebecca Solnit
6. 52 McGs, by Robert M. Thomas
7. Look Back and Laugh, by Liz Prince
8. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
9. A General Theory of Love, by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon
10. Hillbilly Elegy, by JD Vance

Rebecca Solnit's latest collection, Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays), hits our top ten for the first time since its paperback release on September 4. Elaine Elinson writes in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Solnit, the Bay Area journalist, historian and activist, is the author of more than 20 books, including the international bestseller Men Explain Things to Me, which inspired the creation of the pitch-perfect verb “mansplaining,” now in the popular lexicon." The book recently won the Kirkus Prize for nonfiction. More about that in this NPR story.

Books for Kids:
1. Potato Pants!, by Laurie Keller
2. Arnie the Doughnut hardcover, by Laurie Keller
3. Seeing Red V12 Whatever After, by Sarah Mlynowski
4. Fierce paperback, by Aly Reisman
5. Upside Down Magic V1, by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
6. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renée Graef
7. Fairest of All V1 Whatever After, by Sarah Mlynowski
8. Weather or Not V5, Upside Down Magic, by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
9. Meet the Latkes, by Alan Silberberg
10. Sleep My Bunny, by Rosemary Wells

Sarah Mlynowski visited area schools for her latest book Seeing Red, volume 12 in the Whatever After series. The series starts with Snow White (of course, it's a magic mirror) and each new volume entails Abby being plunked into a new fairy tale. In the latest, Abby wants to go to a sleepover but the magic mirror sends her to the world of Little Red Riding Hood instead. The next one comes out April 2019 and its called Spill the Beans. Guess where Abby goes next! This comes with a rec from Jane - several of her grandkids have loved this series.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins has compiled 88 books for holiday gift giving. Check out the list and count how many you've read, and maybe make a second list of which books you want to read. And why not a third with the books you're hoping to give as gifts.

Monday, November 12, 2018

A packed week and then a Thanksgiving break: Bruce Iglauer and the blues Monday at Boswell, Eugenia Kim in conversation with Nan Kim at Boswell on Tuesday, Elizabeth Berg at Lynden Sculpture Garden on Wednesday, Panels Comics Club presents Liz Prince at Boswell on Thursday, Allen Eskens at Boswell Saturday afternoon.

Monday, November 12, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Bruce Iglauer, author of Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story

Legendary Chicago blues producer Bruce Iglauer shares his unvarnished memoir of a life immersed in blues music and the business of the blues. This event cosponsored by Paramount Music Association.

In 1970, Bruce Iglauer walked into Florence’s Lounge in the heart of South Side Chicago and was overwhelmed by the joyous, raw blues of Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers. A year later, Iglauer produced Hound Dog’s debut album and pressed a thousand copies. From that album grew Alligator Records, the largest independent blues record label in the world.

Iglauer takes us behind the scenes, offering unforgettable stories of charismatic musicians and classic sessions, and delivering a look at what it’s like to work with the greats of the blues. It’s a vivid portrait of the extraordinary musicians and larger-than-life personalities who brought America’s music to life in the clubs of Chicago’s South and West Sides.

Bruce Iglauer is president and founder of Alligator Records and a Grammy-winning producer inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1997. Iglauer was founder of National Association of Independent Record Distributors and cofounder of Living Blues magazine. He is also a founder of the Chicago Blues Festival and codirector of the Blues Community Foundation. He received the American Association for Independent Music (A2IM) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

Tuesday, November 13, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Eugenia Kim, author of The Kinship of Secrets, in conversation with UWM’s Nan Kim

Author of The Calligrapher’s Daughter, Kim appears at Boswell with her new novel, the riveting story of two sisters, one raised in the United States, the other in South Korea, and the family that bound them together even as the Korean War kept them apart. For this event, Kim will be in conversation with Nan Kim (no relation), author of the 2016’s Memory, Reconciliation, and Reunions in South Korea: Crossing the Divide.

In 1948 Najin and Calvin Cho, with their young daughter Miran, travel from South Korea to the United States in search of new opportunities. Wary of the challenges they know will face them, Najin and Calvin make the difficult decision to leave their infant daughter, Inja, behind with their extended family. But then war breaks out in Korea, and there is no end in sight to the separation. Miran grows up in prosperous American suburbia, under the shadow of the daughter left behind, as Inja grapples in her war-torn land with ties to a family she doesn’t remember.

Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister. Eugenia Kim is author of The Calligrapher's Daughter, which won the 2009 Borders Original Voices Award, was shortlisted for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was a critics' pick by The Washington Post. She teaches at Fairfield University's Creative Writing Program.

Nan Kim is an Associate Professor of History at UWM and Director of UWM’s Public History Specialization.

Wednesday, November 14, 7:00 PM reception, 7:30 PM talk, at Lynden Sculpture Garden:
A ticketed event with Elizabeth Berg, author of Night of Miracles

The bestselling author of the beloved novel The Story of Arthur Truluv appears for the Lynden’s Women’s Speaker Series with a delightful novel about surprising friendships, community, and the small acts of kindness that can change a life. Cosponsored by Milwaukee Reads and Boswell.

Tickets cost $30, $25 for Lynden members, and each includes an autographed copy of Night of Miracles, refreshments, and admission to the sculpture garden - come early to stroll the grounds! Register at or by phone at (414) 446-8794.

Lucille is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she’s teaching baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for their son. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community, just when they need it the most. This is a heartwarming novel that reminds us that the people we come to love are often the ones we don’t expect.

Elizabeth Berg is the author of the novels Open House, an Oprah’s Book Club selection, The Dream Lover, and Tapestry of Fortunes. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. The Lynden Sculpture Garden is located at 2145 W Brown Deer Rd, just west of I-43.

Thursday, November 15, 5:30 PM, at Boswell:
Liz Prince, author of Look Back and Laugh: Journal Comics 

Cosponsored by Panels Comic Book Club, Boswell presents the award-winning indie comics darling Liz Prince and her hilarious, awkward, touching, and occasionally heartbreaking strip-a-day journey through one of the most tumultuous years of her life.

Liz Prince invites you to spend a year walking in her (Converse) shoes! Look Back and Laugh collects the 365 comic strips she drew to document every day of her life in 2016. Follow Liz through such life-changing adventures as: buying a house, moving to a new state, getting married, crippling insomnia, and as always, lots of cats, cats, cats!

Influenced by autobiographical greats like Evan Dorkin, Ariel Schrag, James Kochalka, and Jeffrey Brown, Prince’s comics mix her real-life foibles with charming cartooning and comic timing. Full of humor, pathos, and insight, these comics reveal the ups and downs that make up the glamorous micro-celebrity life of a freelance cartoonist.

Since Liz Prince began regularly contributing to the Santa Fe zine Are We There Yet?, her comics have been featured in several anthologies, five gallery shows, and she has produced two mini-comics.

Saturday, November 17, 3:00 PM, at Boswell:
Allen Eskens, author of The Shadows We Hide

Edgar Award finalist Eskens visits Boswell with his latest, the sequel to the Barry Award-winning novel The Life We Bury, a mystery that makes its way from Minneapolis to small town southern Minnesota.

Joe Talbert, Jr. has never once met his namesake. But now, working as a cub reporter in Minneapolis, he stumbles across the murder of a man named Joseph Talbert in a small town in southern Minnesota. None of the town's residents have much to say about the dead man, other than his death was long overdue. Joe discovers the dead man was a lowlife who cheated his neighbors, threatened his daughter, and squandered his wife's inheritance after she passed away.

Mired in uncertainty and plagued by his own devastated relationship with his mother, who is seeking to get back into her son's life, Joe must put together the missing pieces of his family history before his quest for discovery threatens to put him in a grave of his own.

Allen Eskens is author of The Life We Bury, The Heavens May Fall, and The Deep Dark Descending. He is the recipient of the Rosebud Award, Minnesota Book Award, and the Silver Falchion Award, and has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Thriller Award, and the Anthony Award. Eskens lives in out-state Minnesota, where he was a criminal defense attorney for 25 years.

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