Monday, July 22, 2019

What's happening at Boswell this week? Carson Vaughan with Larry Watson, Michael Wert on Samurai, Charles Schudson on judges, Tom Miller's fantasy series, Veronica Rueckert on women's voices, Charles Springfield's wine stylings and jazz history with Joey Grihalva

What's happening at Boswell this week?

Monday, July 22, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Carson Vaughan, author of Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream, in conversation with Larry Waston

Journalist Carson Vaughan, a native Nebraskan, chats about his book with former Marquette Professor (and author of many wonderful novels) Larry Watson. Zoo Nebraska is the true story of small-town politics and community perseverance and of decent people and questionable choices.

Royal, Nebraska, population eighty-one. The church, high school, and post office stand abandoned. But for nearly twenty years, there was a zoo, seven acres that rose from local peculiarity to key tourist attraction to devastating tragedy, which all began with one man. When Dick Haskin’s plans to assist primatologist Dian Fossey in Rwanda were cut short by her murder, Haskin returned to his hometown with Reuben, an adolescent chimp, and transformed a trailer home into the Midwest Primate Center. As the tourist trade multiplied, so did the inhabitants of what would become Zoo Nebraska, the unlikeliest boon to Royal’s economy in generations and, eventually, the source of a power struggle that would lead to the tragic implosion of Dick Haskin’s dream.

Vaughan's elevator pitch, from his interview with the Los Angeles Review of Books: "I usually tell people that it’s topically about the rise and fall of a roadside zoo in rural Nebraska, and of course I mention the chimpanzee escape to hook them. But I’ve always viewed this book as more of a community portrait, and I keep telling people that I wouldn’t have spent 10 years writing a book about Royal if I didn’t think it served as something of a simulacrum for small towns everywhere. The issues I found simmering beneath the surface of Royal and its biggest attraction — obsession, isolation, big dreams, and big failures — were themes I have come to recognize in communities across the country."

Tuesday, July 23, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Wert, author of Samurai: A Concise History

The idea of the sword-wielding samurai, beholden to a strict ethical code and trained in deadly martial arts, dominates popular conceptions of the samurai. This legacy remains with us today in the legendary Akira Kurosawa films, the shoguns of HBO's Westworld, and countless renditions of samurai history in anime, manga, and video games. Marquette University Associate Professor of East Asian History Michael Wert brings to life the history of the real samurai, both famed and ordinary, who shaped Japanese history.

The samurai controlled Japan from the fourteenth century until their demise in the mid-nineteenth century. On and off the battlefield, their story is one of adventures and intrigues, heroics and misdeeds, unlikely victories and devastating defeats. Wert traces the samurai throughout this history, exploring their roles in watershed events such as Japan's invasions of Korea at the close of the sixteenth century and the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. Wert illustrates accounts of the samurai and their commanding influence over politics, art, philosophy, and religion for centuries.

Love podcasts? Wert was recently on Historically Thinking with Al Zambone.

Wednesday, July 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Charles Benjamin Schudson, author of Independence Corrupted: How America's Judges Make Their Decisions

Former Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, Charles Benjamin Schudson explores the decision-making process of judges, going behind the bench to hear judges forging appellate decisions about life and death, multimillion-dollar damages, and priceless civil rights.

With experience as both a trial and appellate judge, Schudson knows the burdens on judges. With engaging candor, he probes judicial minds analyzing actual trials and sentencings of abortion protesters, murderers, sex predators, white supremacists, and others. Schudson exposes the financial, political, personal, and professional pressures that threaten judicial ethics and independence.

As political attacks on judges increase, Schudson calls for reforms to protect judicial independence and for vigilance to ensure justice for all. Independence Corrupted is invaluable for students and scholars, lawyers and judges, and all citizens concerned about the future of America's courts. If you'd like a taste of Schudson, here's an essay on the National Judicial College website about the practice of judge substitution.

Thursday, July 25, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Tom Miller, author of The Philosopher’s War

The Madison-based and Wauwatosa-born author returns to Boswell to talk about the second book in his thrilling adventure series that began with The Philosopher’s Flight.

The Philosopher’s War is the electrifying next chapter in Robert Weekes’s story, filled with heroic, unconventional women, thrilling covert missions, romance and, of course, plenty of aerial adventures. As a rookie Rescue and Evacuation flier on the front lines of World War I in France, Weekes came to save lives, but has no idea how far he’ll have to go to win the war.

Boswellian Olivia Schmitz offers this take: "The Philosopher's War is a thrilling historical fantasy that follows the events of The Philosopher's Flight with high-stakes conflict set in World War I. As the first male member of the elite U.S. Sigilry Corps, Robert Weekes feels pressure to prove himself, both to the more experienced Sigilwomen in their overstretched and short-handed rescue and evacuation unit on the front lines, and to a world that doesn't believe men have a place in advanced sigilry work. Think of the R&E Sigilwomen as EMTs who practice difficult, empirical magic to stabilize and fly out wounded soldiers. Things escalate for Robert when he joins others in his unit in covert operations to recover intelligence from behind enemy lines, and a conspiracy to end the Great War using sigilry unfolds. Elements of tense spy fiction and WWI history meet great fantasy world building in the second installment of the Philosopher’s series. Couldn't put it down!"

Our bookseller-at-large Kelli O'Malley is also a big fan. We've been talking it up to the Harry Potter for grownups crowd (and I should note that one member replied "Harry Potter is for grownups") and others who liked Lev Grossman's The Magicians series.

Friday, July 26, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Veronica Rueckert, author of Outspoken: Why Women’s Voices Get Silenced and How to Set Them Free

Peabody winner Veronica Rueckert, former host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time and now National Media Relations Specialist for University of Wisconsin-Madison, discusses how women can claim the power of their voices and what needs to change so they can be heard. This event will feature a musical introduction by Boswellian and instrumentalist Olivia Valenza and vocalist Amanda Schoofs. C-Span will be taping this event.

Women’s voices aren’t being heard. From the Supreme Court to the classroom, women find themselves interrupted more often than their male counterparts. A 2015 Yale University study revealed that women executives who spoke more often than their peers were rated 14% less competent, while male executives who did the same thing enjoyed a 10% competency bump. The fault lies not with women, but in a culture that seeks to silence women’s voices. From Rob Thomas's interview with Veronica Rueckert at The Cap Times: "I came in thinking that women could do more with their voices, and be encouraged to use them more. But along the way, I realized that all these women hate their voices, and have been forced into these negative relationships with their voices. They’re told they’re “wrong,” and if you did it “right,” people would hear you. And that’s toxic."

Saturday, July 27, 6 pm, at Boswell:
Charles Springfield, author of The Less Is More Approach to Wine, in conversation with Vivian L King

Spend a delicious evening with certified sommelier and wine educator Charles Springfield, who offers a digestible serving of wine education, sprinkled liberally with generous pinches of entertainment, that will take you a journey from the origins of wine thousands of years ago to the present day. Let us know you're coming for this grapey good evening - RSVP right here today!

When equipped with the proper information, wine lovers can feel confident and empowered to make decisions that are better suited for their own personal enjoyment - not what someone else tells them they should or should not like or drink. Springfield offers an ideal guide for anyone getting into wine for the first time or people who've worked with wine for some time and want to deepen their understanding.

Springfield wants to make wine accessible, approachable and fun, both with his book, his wine classes, and his food and wine pairing events. He is part of a growing number of wine intellectuals and leaders of the new school in wine education throughout the United States that want to democratize wine for the enjoyment of the masses. You can get a taste of Springfield through his web series Maneuvering Wine with Style.

Monday, July 29, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Joey Grihalva, author of Milwaukee Jazz

Milwaukee music and cultural critic Joey Grihalva takes us on a jazz odyssey through his hometown, illuminating the histories and influence of local luminaries. This special evening will also feature songs performed by Milwaukee singer and author of the book’s foreword, Adekola Adedapo.

Milwaukee's jazz scene has forever stood in the shadow of Chicago's illustrious institution, but it stands strong. The Cream City has produced a wealth of talent, attracted top-notch transplants, and hosted legends like Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Billie Holiday, and Wynton Marsalis. From the heyday of the 1940s and 1950s to the renaissance of the 1970s, from the streets to the classrooms, grand ballrooms to outdoor festivals, from swing to bebop, smoky bars to dimly lit clubs like the Flame, Thelma's Back Door, and the Jazz Gallery, Grihalva chronicles how Milwaukee has been a hotbed of improvised music, providing a noteworthy contribution to the story of jazz in America.

Joey Grihalva is a Milwaukee writer whose work has appeared in Urban Milwaukee and Wisconsin Gazette, and he is a feature writer for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. A Milwaukee native, Grihalva holds degrees from University of Minnesota and Concordia University Montreal. Adekola Adedapo (at right) is a vocalist based in Milwaukee and Coordinator of Multicultural Programs at Alverno College.

More on the Boswell upcoming events page.

Photo credits:
Tom Miller credit Abigail Carlin

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