Monday, September 30, 2019

Events at Boswell - David Milofsky with Dick Blau, Carol Anshaw with Jane Hamilton, Veronica Roth with Gregory B Sadler, Sarah Dahmen, Dan Kois with Liam Callanan and the Kois kids, and Craig Johnson (ticketed) -

Monday, September 30, 7 pm, at Boswell:
David Milofsky, author of A Milwaukee Inheritance, in conversation with Dick Blau

Milwaukee-raised Milofsky chats about his sixth novel with Dick Blau, Professor Emeritus of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres at UWM.

Milofsky’s novel is the story of a man who moves back to Milwaukee with his mercurial wife only to inherit a run-down duplex from his mother who, on her deathbed, extracts a promise from him not to evict the money pit’s delinquent occupants. The novel is a slow-burning, finely textured portrait of family dynamics, the secrets between generations, and the ways the shadows of the past can keep us from moving into the future.

Richard Ford says, “A Milwaukee Inheritance is, as advertised, a loving, knowing paean to the Cream City, but also to our great American middle – about which not enough can be written – and as such has its own honest inheritances in Howells, Anderson, Bellow, Gass, Oates, Dybek – all heroes, and among whom David Milofsky’s measured, poignant, plain-spoke Midwestern sentences and intelligence stand out vividly. It’s a novel that welcomes us.”

Tuesday, October 1, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Carol Anshaw, author of Right After the Weather, in conversation with Jane Hamilton

Author of New York Times bestseller Carry the One discusses her long-awaited novel exploring what happens when untested people are put to a hard test, and in its aftermath, find themselves in a newly uncertain world. She’ll chat with Jane Hamilton, Wisconsin author of The Excellent Lombards and The Book of Ruth.

Fall of 2016. Cate’s conspiracy theorist ex-husband is camped out in her spare bedroom as she attempts to settle into a serious relationship and get financially solvent working in Chicago’s theater community. Her yoga instructor best friend is Cate’s model for what adulthood looks like. Then Cate finds strangers assaulting her friend and is forced to take fast, spontaneous action. Cate learns the violence she is capable of, and overnight, her world has changed.

Anshaw’s flawed, sympathetic, and uncannily familiar characters grapple with altered relationships and identities against the backdrop of the new presidency and a country waking to a different understanding of itself. Eloquent, moving, and beautifully observed, Right After the Weather is the work of a master of exquisite prose and a wry and compassionate student of the human condition writing at the height of her considerable powers.

Wednesday, October 2, 7 pm, at Boswell
Veronica Roth, author of The End and Other Beginnings: Stories from the Future, in conversation with Gregory B Sadler

#1 New York Times bestselling Divergent author Veronica Roth visits Boswell with her masterful collection of six futuristic short stories, with two never-before-seen tales from her popular Carve the Mark universe. She’ll chat with Milwaukeean Gregory B Sadler, known as That Philosophy Guy.

Registration is free at To get in the signing line, attendees must upgrade to the book-with-registration option for $20.05, which includes admission, a copy of The End and Other Beginnings, and all taxes and fees. Roth will sign and personalize The End and Other Beginnings and will sign one book brought from home. No posed photos or inscriptions (messages). Please note, signing line upgrade is limited to 150 people. No cancellations for signing line tickets after October 1.

In Roth’s latest collection, each setting is more strange and wonderful than the last, brimming with new technologies and beings. And yet, for all the advances in these futuristic lands, the people still must confront deeply human problems. In these six short stories, Roth reaches into the unknown and draws forth something startlingly familiar and profoundly beautiful. With tales of friendship and revenge, this collection has something for new and old fans alike. Each story begins with a hope for a better end, but always ends with a better understanding of the beginning. Featuring stunning black-and-white illustrations, Roth’s latest is a book collector’s dream.

Thursday, October 3, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Sara Dahmen, author of Tinsmith 1865

Port Washington coppersmith and author visits with Tinsmith 1865, part of her Flats Junction series, the story of Marie, a Polish immigrant who heads west to the unwelcoming Dakota Territories with her tinsmith father and brothers. Dahmen will chat about her book and present some of the metalworking skills her characters need to survive. Folks who buy a copy of Tinsmith 1865 at the event will get a complimentary copper straw, while supplies last.

When her tinsmith father and brothers head West, Polish immigrant Marie Kotlarczyk has no choice but to go along. Family, after all, is family. The Dakota Territories are anything but welcoming to the Kotlarczyks, and as the months trip by, Marie must pick up the hammers she’s secretly desired but also feared. When she faces the skeptical people of Flats Town, the demands of the local Army commander, and her public failures, her inner voice grows destructive, forcing Marie to decide exactly who she is and what it means to be a woman metalsmith.

Port Washington based Sara Dahmen is one of the only female coppersmiths in the country, working as a metalsmith of vintage and modern cookware. She is Cofounder of the American Pure Metals Guild. Her novel, Widow 1881, won the Laramie Award for Western Historical Fiction and was named Fiction Book of the Year by Author's Circle.

Friday, October 4, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Joe Hill, author of Full Throttle

Presenting a special evening with Boswell favorite Joe Hill, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Strange Weather, and NOS4A2, now a hit television show on AMC. His latest is a dark and ingenious collection of thirteen compelling short stories that showcase his ability to push genre conventions to new extremes.

This event is free (really!), but registration is required. For this event, your line letter will be assigned when you register at The first 50 people who register with book upgrade will get an A, the next group will get a B. Free registration starts gets you a C line letter. Books will also be for sale at the event.

In Full Throttle, a masterful collection of short fiction, Joe Hill dissects timeless human struggles in thirteen relentless tales of supernatural suspense, including "In the Tall Grass," one of two stories co-written with Stephen King, basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix. Featuring two previously unpublished stories, and a brace of shocking chillers, Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. Hypnotic and disquieting, it mines our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears, and demonstrates this exceptional talent at his very best.

Saturday, October 5, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Dan Kois, author of How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together, in conversation with Liam Callanan and the Kois kids

Globetrotting dad Dan Kois, Host of the podcast Mom and Dad Are Fighting, travels to Boswell to share his memoir of the year he set out with his family around the world to change their lives together. Kois will be in conversation with Milwaukee’s Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book, and they will be joined by Dan’s children, who will add questions to the conversation.

In this eye-opening, heartwarming, and very funny family memoir, the fractious, loving Kois family goes in search of other places on the map that might offer them the chance to live away from home but closer together, from New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Costa Rica to small-town Kansas. The goal? To get out of their rut of busyness and distractedness and to see how other families live. Filled with heart, empathy, and lots of whining, How to Be a Family will make readers dream about the amazing adventures their own families might take.

How to Be a Family brings readers along as the Kois girls-witty, solitary, extremely online Lyra and goofy, sensitive, social butterfly Harper-like through the Kiwi bush, ride bikes to a Dutch school in the pouring rain, battle iguanas in their Costa Rican kitchen, and learn to love a town where everyone knows your name. Meanwhile, Dan interviews neighbors, public officials, and scholars to learn why each of these places work the way they do. Will this trip change the Kois family's lives? Or do families take their problems and conflicts with them wherever we go?

Monday, Ocotber 7, 7 pm, at Boswell:
A ticketed event with Craig Johnson, author of Land of Wolves

Boswell Book Company hosts Craig Johnson, author of the beloved book-series-turned-hit-TV-show, Longmire, for his brand new novel, in which the titular Sheriff returns to Wyoming to try once again to maintain justice in a place with grudges that go back generations.

Tickets cost $29 and include admission, a copy of Land of Wolves, sales tax and ticket fee, available at

In Land of Wolves, the latest in Johnson's New York Times bestselling series, Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire is neck deep in the investigation of what could or could not be the suicidal hanging of a shepherd. With unsettling connections to a Basque family with a reputation for removing the legs of Absaroka County sheriffs, matters are further complicated with the appearance of an oversize wolf in the Big Horn Mountains.

As Walt searches for information about the shepherd, he comes across strange messages from his spiritual guide, Virgil White Buffalo. Virgil usually reaches out if a child is in danger. So when a young boy with ties to the Extapare clan arrives in town, the stakes become even higher. To complicate matters, a renegade wolf has been haunting the Bighorn Mountains, and the townspeople are out for blood. But Walt knows the mysterious animal is not the predator that needs tracking. With both a wolf and a killer on the loose, Longmire follows a twisting trail of evidence, leading to dark and shocking conclusions.

More on the Boswell upcoming events page.

Photo and artist credits:
Dan Kois by Lyra Kois
Craig Johnson credit Judith Johnson

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending September 28, 2019

Here's what we're selling - week ending September 28, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
2. The World We Knew, by Alice Hoffman
3. The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
4. The Dutch House (event at Sharon Lynne Wilson Center on October 22 - Tickets here)
5. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
6. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
7. A Better Man, by Louise Penny
8. A Milwaukee Inheritance, by David Milofsky (event at Boswell, Monday, September 30, 7 pm)
9. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
10. The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo

I have sometimes said that publishers don't always publishe enough strong fall fiction, but it feels like this year we are drowning in riches. Setting aside all our focus on Jacqueline Woodson and Alice Hoffman (both amazing events this past week with signed copies available of Red at the Bone and The World We Knew) and Ann Patchett's The Dutch House, there's also the release this week of Ta-Neheisi Coates's much anticipated first novel.

The Water Dancer is the current Oprah Book Club pick and is winning raves everywhere - Rob Merrill in the Associated Press (through the courtesy of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette) writes, "National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about a topic - slavery - that most people would say they know something about. But we don’t, not really. How could we? How could I, a white middle-aged man in 2019, truly know the horror of human bondage and the fierce dignity it took for some to survive it? Coates’ first novel dazzles with a story firmly grounded in the harsh realities of slavery, yet elevated by a modicum of mysticism."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. The Year of the Monkey, by Patti Smith
2. Educated, by Tara Westover
3. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
4. Permanent Record, by Edward Snowden
5. For the Good of the Game, by Bud Selig
6. The Years That Matter Most, by Paul Tough (Event at USM on Tuesday October 15 - register here)
7. Save Me the Plums, by Ruth Reichl
8. Ron Wolf and the Green Bay Packers, by Michael Bauman
9. Bill Cunningham On the Street, from The New York Times
10. Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat (Nosrat at UWM on October 22 - tickets available to the public tomorrow)

Out top nonfiction seller, being that we had no events in that category, is Patti Smith's The Year of the Monkey. This is her third memoir, following Just Kids and M Train, but as David L Ulin notes in the Los Angeles Times review, Year of the Monkey may come billed as a memoir, but really it is less in the vein of Smith’s National Book Award-winning Just Kids than of her poetry, or impressionistic works such as M Train and Woolgathering. There, the author traces a line between the routines of existence and what she has called 'the unforeseen quantity, the muse that assails at the hidden hour.' That muse emerges via the 'silk of souls' she has assembled of the friends and family she has lost." Ken Tucker seems to argue in The New York Times that one might call it a dream journal, and I don't think he much likes dream journals.

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
2. Liminal Space, by Carrie Voigt Schonhoff
3. The Overstory, by Richard Powers (In-Store Lit Group discussion, Monday, October 14, 7 pm)
4. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason
5. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennesssy
6. It, by Stephen King
7. The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
8. Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate
9. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
10. A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult

It seems to me that if a hardcover fiction bestseller becomes a phenomenon (meaning it goes longer than a year before paperback release), it is more likely that the paperback will come out in a window between late January and early April. Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, for example, released April 2017. But her follow-up, The Great Alone, goes against the grain and released September 24. Is your book club reading The Great Alone? Don't forget about Hannah's book club guide.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Death Wins All Wars, by Daniel Holland
2. Life of the Beloved, by Henri Nouwen
3. Chokehold, by Paul Butler
4. The Color Diet, by Dick Chudnow
5. These Truths, by Jill Lepore

A slow week here, so paperback nonfiction offered to give five slots to the kids section.

Local ComedySportz cofounder offers a goofy parody of diet books in The Color Diet, all for a good cause - Chudnayshun Fund - which supports drug abuse and prevention efforts. Dick and Jennifer Rupp (you might know her from Boswell as romance writer Jennifer Trethewey) lost their son Nick to a fentanyl overdose in 2017. They have several upcoming fundraisers. More in this Journal Sentinel article from Jim Higgins.

Books for Kids:
1. Strike Zone, by Mike Lupica
2. Lalani of the Distant Sea, by Erin Entrada Kelly
3. Cape, by Kate Hannigan
4. Hello Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly
5. The Star Shepherd, by Dan Haring and MarcyKate Connolly
6. You Go First, by Erin Entrada Kelly
7. Heat, by Mike Lupica
8. Miracle on 49th Street, by Mike Lupica
10. The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson, with illustrations by Rafael Lopez
11. Shadow Weaver, by MarcyKate Connolly
12. The Land of Permanent Goodbyes, by Atia Abawi
13. Wayward Son V2, by Rainbow Rowell
14. Dasher, by Matt Tavares
15. Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson

Sometimes our school visits peak in October for the fall season, but this year it seems like every publisher wanted to bring authors and illustrators to Milwaukee in the second half of September. Among the stars who didn't do public events are Kate Hannigan, whose new book is Cape, and Dan Haring and MarcyKate Connolly, who collaborated on The Star Shepherd. I think there are signed copies of both at Boswell.

Over at the Journal Sentinel:

--Alan Borsuk's On Education column offers a profile of Paul Tough, who will be at University School of Milwaukee on October 15 for The Years That Matter Most. Register here. Borsuk writes: "In the new book, six years in the making, Tough focuses on college – who gets in, how they get in, and the experiences of promising minority and low-income students. The profiles of the students provide compelling reading, and his depiction of the broader picture, especially how admissions systems work, raises a lot of issues. I can summarize: The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor."

--The book page features Donna Liquori from The Associated Press, weighing in on She Said from Jodi Kanter and Megan Twohey: "The book’s most compelling aspect, old-fashioned reporting – knocking on doors, obtaining records, clandestine meetings, tapping sources – is the structure that holds up this book and is what earned The New York Times’s Twohey and Kantor the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service." Co-author Twhohey reported for the Journal Sentinel from 2003 to 2007.

--Also From AP is Rasha Madkour's take on How to Raise a Reader: "Whether your child is yet-to-be born, a teenager or somewhere in between, How to Raise a Reader has some tips and a whole lot of book recommendations for you." Authors Pamela Paul and Maria Russo are parents themselves, as well as editors of The New York Times Book Review, and they draw on their experience in both realms in writing this book.

--Attica Locke's second East Texas mystery is reviewed by AP's Oline H. Cogdill: "Race, family and history converge in Heaven, My Home, Attica Locke’s second intense novel about African American Texas Ranger Darren Mathews. In this new series, as she has done in her previous novels, Locke skillfully packs Heaven, My Home with realistic and, at times, uncomfortable situations as she depicts complicated characters."

Weekly events tomorrow.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Every home has a story - a blog post that's sort of about The Dutch House (event on October 22, 7 pm, at the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center)

I finished Ann Patchett's latest novel, The Dutch House several months ago, having been giving an advance copy, but I still can't stop thinking about it. Perhaps it's because it's so good; perhaps it's because we are cohosting an event with her on October 22 (more here). At the center of the story is a relationship between an older sister and a younger brother, a respite from reading one feuding-sisters story after another. A younger brother - now that is something I can relate to, especially one named Danny*.

One of the crazy things about reading The Dutch House is that several Boswellian readers had a story to tell about the place they grew up. Jane and Anne and I swapped tales of how the family got there, why they left, and what happened to the place afterwards. Here is mine.


My father grew up in an apartment in the Bronx, my mother in a series of apartments in Queens and sometimes Brooklyn. In those days, there was actually more supply than demand for housing in New York (can you believe it?) so they’d get a free month of rent with a year’s lease, and they’d move every few years. My mother’s father worked a series of factory jobs, several of which, to my knowledge, involved mattresses.

My parents married after my father returned from World War II and shared an apartment with another couple. They wound up finding this house in Queens that they loved and put a deposit down. The only problem was that the developer lost all his money gambling and sold off the land, including the land where my parents’ house was going to go. The builder’s father wound up finishing up the houses that were being built and in order not to lose their deposit, they wound up building a house where the buyer fell through. So no fireplace, no larger bathroom, but at least a house. $8000, I was told.

My father would tell me these stories as we took walk after walk. We both loved to walk. He’d point to the house that looked like the one that got away. He showed me the lot around the corner where we were supposed to live.

I know when he built the garage. I know the story about him remortgaging the property because the family garment business was failing. I also know that somehow this led to a fracture the family. My dad stopped talking to most of his relatives just after I was born. I only knew one of his cousins, who was also our dentist. Maybe that’s why they kept in touch. He was a good dentist!

My father loved his house so much. He didn’t always make the best decisions – what do you think of artificial turf covering your porch? – but he obsessively cared for the place, keeping up the yard and flower garden, which as he grew older, got slowly replaced with vegetable plots. So. Many. Cucumbers.

I don’t know how my mom felt about the house, but I knew how she felt about moving. And she had moved so much growing up that I think she held on fast to the property. After my dad passed away, my mom lived there for four more years. She paid folks to keep the place up. But my sister in Massachusetts was the closest relative and eventually even she knew that the best thing for everyone was to be closer to one of her kids. And she probably needed to stop driving.

The house was sold. There was an estate sale. My sister drove away with my mom while I stayed behind with the crew, cleaning the place out. On the last night, I slept on the floor. I’d never before seen it empty. In the morning as I left, I discarded my pillow and blanket and headed for the bus, which would take me to another bus, which would take me to the airport.

The house was in a single-family home in a still-popular neighborhood with a good school district that was zoned for four families. There were tear downs all around the neighborhood. Even before my dad died, it was happening, and both my parents liked to show me the changes every time I visited. Our house, post-sale, would not escape the wrecking ball. In a few months, it was gone.

When my mom died, I decided I wanted to see it in person. I asked my sisters whether they wanted to go, and they said no, couldn’t handle it. I rented a car and parked across the street. The new place had a lot of brick, shiny metallic trim, a bulky blocky thing with a lot of driveway and no backyard for vegetables. It certainly did not have ceramic toilets in shades of seafoam green, peach, and burgundy**. It wasn't the nicest replacement home in the neighborhood, but it wasn't the worst either, sort of just like our house.

The house on one side of our old home had just been torn down and was being replaced. The house on the other side of them looked much like it did in 1965, when I was a young child. I couldn’t tell if there still was a pear tree in their lot. I made my peace with change and the passing of time, and then I drove away.

Another memory. It’s after my grandmother’s funeral, and my mother and her three brothers are in the living room arguing like they were all 12 years old. Arguing about details, who was slighted, who came out ahead. The brothers, who were younger, lived longer in one neighborhood and had happier memories of their home. Mom, the oldest, was already working by the time they stopped moving, dreaming of that house she’d one day live in. Same family, very different stories. Rinse and repeat.

I was chatting with a sister about some of these stories, and she said, no, I think you’ve got some of these details wrong. Maybe a lot of them. For a start, they definitely didn’t pay $8000 for that house. In my head, I was convinced I was right. To be fair, I am wrong enough about many things when it comes to memory. Sometimes it turns out I am right. But often I am not, and as I get older, I am wrong more often.


Ann Patchett is at the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center for the Arts on Tuesday, October 22, 7 pm, cosponsored by Boswell and Books & Company. Tickets are $33 and include admission, all taxes and fees, and a copy of The Dutch House. I can tell you right now that this is going to be one amazing evening for a book that is already one of the best-reviewed novels of 2019. Here are just a few links.

Ellen Gray talks to Ann Patchett for the Philadelphia Inquirer. A local convinced Patchett to move the house from the Philadelphia burb of Jenkintown to Elkins Park.

Martha Southgates reviews The Dutch House on the front page of The New York Times Book Review, noting how Hansel and Gretel are baked into the story. As she notes, "It takes guts to write a fairy tale these days."

Belinda Luscombe profiles Patchett in Time: "I wrote this book, got all the way to the end, read it, hated it, threw it away and started over. And I mean completely. What I realized in having it bomb so completely is that you cannot write a sympathetic character who leaves her children for ethical reasons. There is definitely a different standard for men and women, and I wanted to take that on."

*I was renamed Danny by my first grade teacher and kept the name until I took my first job after college, where my boss renamed me again. But that's another story.

**Really! I was quite fond of the burgundy one.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Boswell events this week - Jacqueline Woodson, Erin Entrada Kelly, Alice Hoffman, Atia Abawi, Matt Tavares, Daniel Holland, Carrie Voigt Schonhoff with Simon Van Booy, Charles Schudson, plus Educator Night and Daniel Milofsky next Monday

Welcome to fall at Boswell! There is a lot going on.

Monday, September 23, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone, in conversation with Dasha Kelly Hamilton

We're so pleased to announce that National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson will be appearing at Boswell Book Company for the Rose Petranech Lecture with her new novel, Red at the Bone. Woodson will be in conversation with Milwaukee writer, performer, and creative change agent Dasha Kelly Hamilton. Tickets are $28, include admission, a copy of Red at the Bone, and all taxes and fees, available at Online tickets sales for this event close at 2 pm or when we reach capacity.

Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. Moving forward and backward in time, with the power of poetry and the emotional richness of a narrative ten times its length, Jacqueline Woodson’s extraordinary new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of this child.

In addition to our general admission, Boswell will be working with several community groups to broaden the audience that would not normally be able to attend such an event. We're grateful to Kate Petranech, who is helping us facilitate this outreach, in honor of her late, book-loving sister, Rose Petranech.

Tuesday, September 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Fall Educator Night

Boswell is happy to once again host Educator Night. Enjoy an informative and entertaining evening for teachers serving kids from elementary schools through high school. We'll feature presentations of childrens books by publishing reps Anne Hellman of Macmillan and Jenny Sheridan of HarperCollins Books for Young Readers. We don't want to oversell this to much, but Jenny and Anne are terrific presenters. If you love kids books, you're going to have a great evening.

Registration is required for this event at will be light refreshments and plenty of swag and advance reading copies for everyone who attends to take home. Everyone is welcome to attend, but educators and librarians who register and let us know their school and district affiliation in the 'company' field will qualify for a special gift on the night of the event.

Wednesday, September 25, 6:30, at Greenfield Public Library, 5310 W Layton Ave:
Erin Entrada Kelly, author of Lalani of the Distant Sea

Greenfield Public Library and Boswell Book Company present Erin Entrada Kelly, author of the Newbery Award-winning book Hello, Universe, for a talk about her newest novel of adventure about bravery, friendship, self-reliance, and the choice between accepting fate or forging your own path. Cosponsored by the Philippine Cultural and Civic Center Foundation.

Register for this free event on Greenfield Public Library’s website.

Inspired by Filipino folklore, this engrossing fantasy tells the story of Lalani Sarita, whose mother falls ill with an incurable disease. Lalani embarks on a dangerous journey across the sea in the hope of safeguarding her own future.

Life is difficult on the island of Sanlagita. To the west looms a vengeful mountain, one that threatens to bury the village at any moment. To the north, a fog swallows sailors who dare to leave for a more hospitable land. Women live in fear of the deadly disease, spread by the needles they use to repair the men’s fishing nets. When Lalani’s mother pricks her finger with a net needle, she gives Lalani an impossible task - leave Sanlagita and find the riches of the legendary Mount Isa. Generations of men and boys have died on the same quest - how can a timid young girl survive the epic tests of the archipelago? And how will she manage without Veyda, her best friend?

Wednesday, September 25, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Daniel Holland, author of Death Wins All Wars: Resisting the Draft in the 1960s

Milwaukee author Daniel Holland appears at Boswell with his new memoir of his involvement in the draft resistance movement during the Vietnam War era.

Holland’s memoir shares episodes of draft board raids, secret rooms, and the day-to-day responsibilities of a full-time activist. It recalls the breaking news of the time with Holland’s personal memories and reflections on his own coming of age, portraying a growing consciousness and the evolution from youthful naiveté into committed antiwar activism and the legal adventures that follow: indictment, arrest, arraignment, defending himself at trial, and sentencing. Holland’s book contains a surprising ending and a thoughtful afterword contemplating our personal responsibilities for peace.

Also on September 25, 6:30 pm, at Whitefish Bay Public Library, 5420 N Marlborough Dr:
Charles Benjamin Schudson, author of Independence Corrupted: How American Judges Make Their Decisions

Judge Schudson returns to Milwaukee for a talk at the Whitefish Bay Library. In his new book, Schudson exposes the personal, professional, and political pressures now threatening judicial integrity like never before. With attacks on judges intensifying, Independence Corrupted is essential for students and scholars, lawyers and judges, and all citizens concerned about the survival of judicial independence. More information on the Whitefish Bay Library event page.

Thursday, September 26, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Atia Abawi, author of A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

Boswell is pleased to host award-winning foreign correspondent and author of The Secret Sky Atia Abawi. Herself a refugee, Abawi talks about her powerful new novel, a story of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria masterfully told by a journalist who witnessed the crisis firsthand. Cosponsored by University School of Milwaukee.

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. Those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future. Tareq’s family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

While this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of the heartbreaking consequences of all wars, all tragedy, narrated by Destiny itself. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss. Abawi captures the hope that spurs people forward against all odds and the love that makes that hope grow.

Thursday, September 26, 7 pm, at Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N Santa Monica Blvd:
A ticketed event with Alice Hoffman, author of The World That We Knew

Alice Hoffman, author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Rules of Magic, visits with her new book, The World That We Knew, a novel set in 1941, during humanity's darkest hour, about three unforgettable young women who must act with courage and love to survive. This event will be in conversation with Boswell's Daniel Goldin.

Tickets for this event available here on the Jewish Community Center website. The cost is $25 for one admission and includes a copy of The World That We Knew. For $35, get two ahdmissions and one copy of the book. Cosponsored by The Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center Tapestry Series, The Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, and ABCD - After Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

In Berlin, a mother must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. A renowned rabbi's daughter offers hope when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect the girl. Travelling from Paris to a convent in western France to a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.

Friday, September 27, 4 pm, at Boswell:
Matt Tavares, author of Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever

Creator of the celebrated modern-day Christmas classic Red and Lulu visits Boswell with the story of a brave little doe who meets Santa and changes Christmas forever. Great for adults and kids age 4 and up.

Dasher is an adventurous young reindeer with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a traveling circus, but she longs for a different life, one where there is snow beneath her hooves and the North Star above her head.

One day, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live. It’s not long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh - a man named Santa. And soon, with the help of a powerful Christmas wish, nothing will ever be the same.

We will be serving Christmas cookies at this event.

Saturday, September 28, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Carrie Voigt Schonhoff, author of The Liminal Space, in conversation with Simon Van Booy

Wisconsin poet Carrie Voigt Schonhoff visits Boswell to read from her debut collection of poems and chat with Simon Van Booy, author of the novels The Illusion of Separateness and Father's Day, as well as several story collections and books for children.

Schonhoff’s poems capture the spirit of her native Wisconsin through poignant descriptions of landscape and revelations of the emotional interiors of people and places. Her work resonates with those native to our state and strikes at the heart of what it means to live, survive, and prosper as a woman of the Midwest. Her characters are drawn from life and her subjects are the experiences that change our lives, both suddenly and those that shape us over longer periods, defining memory.

Monday, September 30, 7 pm, at Boswell:
David Milofsky, author of A Milwaukee Inheritance, in conversation with Dick Blau

Milwaukee-raised Milofsky chats about his sixth novel with Dick Blau, Professor Emeritus of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres at UWM.

Milofsky’s novel is the story of a man who moves back to Milwaukee with his mercurial wife only to inherit a run-down duplex from his mother who, on her deathbed, extracts a promise from him not to evict the money pit’s delinquent occupants. The novel is a slow-burning, finely textured portrait of family dynamics, the secrets between generations, and the ways the shadows of the past can keep us from moving into the future.

Richard Ford says, “A Milwaukee Inheritance is, as advertised, a loving, knowing paean to the Cream City, but also to our great American middle – about which not enough can be written – and as such has its own honest inheritances in Howells, Anderson, Bellow, Gass, Oates, Dybek – all heroes and – among whom David Milofsky’s measured, poignant, plain-spoke Midwestern sentences and intelligence stand out vividly. It’s a novel that welcomes us.”

More events on our upcoming events page.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Boswell Bestsellers for the week ending September 21, 2019

Boswell Bestsellers, week ending September 21, 2019

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson (ticket link for September 23 event here)
2. Land of Wolves V15, by Craig Johnson (ticket link for October 7 event here)
3. The Sisters of Summit Avenue, by Lynn Cullen
4. Add This to the List of Things That You Are, by Chris Fink
5. The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
6. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
7. The Institute, by Stephen King
8. A Better Man V15, by Louise Penny
9. The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
10. The Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli

Another good week for Stephen King's The Institute. Laura Miller in The New York Times, on the human-sized villains in the story: "We can see something of ourselves in these characters, and recognize in them our own capacity for evil. King’s latest novel, The Institute, belongs to this second category (editor's note - of non-supernatural bad ugys), and is as consummately honed and enthralling as the very best of his work."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Ron Wolf and the Green Bay Packers, by Michael Bauman
2. A Terrible Thing to Waste, by Harriet A Washington
3. We've Been Here All Along, by R Richard Wagner
4. Policing the Open Road, by Sarah A Seo
5. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
6. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, by Samin Nosrat (General tickets to Nosrat at UWM on October 22 on sale in about a week)
7. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
8. The Education of an Idealist, by Samantha Power
9. The Years That Matter Most, by Paul Tough (Register for October 15 event at USM here)
10. How to Be a Family, by Dan Kois (Event at Boswell Saturday, October 5, 7 pm)

Dan Kois talks to Brittany Galla at Parade Magazine about what led to How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together: "We wanted to change our lives! My wife and I felt our time with our kids slipping by in a blur of overwork and arguments about screens and we wanted to have an adventure with them instead. So we went for it: four countries in one year, with a goal of learning how they do it outside our east-coast suburban bubble." One lesson - make sure that the bilingual school you're planning to send your kids to is actually bilingual.

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Milwaukee Noir, edited by Tim Hennessy
2. The Overstory, by Richard Powers (In-Store Lit Group selection, Mon Nov 14, 7 pm)
3. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
4. My Struggle V6, Karl Ove Knausgaard
5. The Witch Elm, by Tana French
6. Ducks, Newburyport, by Lucy Ellmann
7. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
8. Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger
9. Conversations with Friends, by Sally Rooney
10. The Winter Soldier, by Daniel Mason

Out this week in paperback is one of our big hardcover picks of 2018, The Winter Soldier*. I'm honestly so unused to major paperback releases in the fall that I'm kind of not prepared, but we might do a revamp of our book club table, being that I am doing a number of talks this fall. Barbara Lane in Datebook ponders what is really on people's night tables, when she confesses there are a lot of books she hasn't read. But The Winter Solider is one of them she did, and liked. Referring to Mason along with The Overstory, Exit West and a few others, she writes, "I'm grateful to come across a book that gives me some new perspective on the human condition, thereby, if ever so subtly, making me a better person."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Medical Apartheid, by Harriet A Washington
2. Lives Lived and Lost, by Kaja Finkler
3. Beating Guns, by Shane Claiborne
4. Deadly Monopolies, by Harriet A Washington
5. Infectious Madness, by Harriet A Washington
6. Good Neighbor, by Maxwell King
7. Calypso, by David Sedaris
8. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann
9. 100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die, by Jenna Kashou
10. To Obama, by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Pretty recently released in paperback is To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope, the story of how President Obama, for eight years, picked ten letters sent to him that he would personally reply to every night. From The Guardian: " A moving and inevitably nostalgic or even elegiac read, redolent of the human grace and statesmanship of the Obama presidency." From Pete Souza: "I cried several times." Jeanne Marie Laskas is the founding director of the Center for Creativity at the University of Pittsburgh.

Books for Kids:
1. Impostors V1, by Scott Westerfeld
2. Lawrence in the Fall, by Matthew Farina, with illustrations by Doug Salati
3. Shatter City V2, by Scott Westerfeld
4. Guts, by Raina Telgemeier
5. Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls V7, by Dav Pilkey
6. Impostors V1 (hardcover), by Scott Westerfeld
7. American Royals, by Katharine McGee
8. Planting Stories, by Danise Anika Aldamuy
9. Gittel's Journey, by Leslea Abrams
10. Hello Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly (Register for September 25 at Greenfield Library here)

What do you know? A new YA novel makes our list. Out early September was American Royals, by Katherine McGee. Really good Kirkus review here: "Grab a cup of mead and gather round for a story of kings, queens, princes, princesses, lords, and ladies: the modern ruling families of America. With the ease of a curtsy, McGee has established a monarchy made up of the direct descendants of George Washington...An entertaining royal family modeled after the residents of Buckingham Palace."

Over at the Journal Sentinel...

Ann Levin of Associated Press reviews Red at the Bone: "Jacqueline Woodson begins her dazzling new novel, Red at the Bone, with an afterthought, in the middle of things, and breaking all the rules of grammar by starting with a “but”: “But that afternoon there was an orchestra playing.” With that sentence, readers are thrust into the midst of a coming- of-age ceremony for a 16 year-old girl named Melody in her grandparents’ beautiful old brownstone in Brooklyn, New York." Ticket link here.

Barbara VandenBurgh of The Arizona Republic tells readers not to worry - The Testaments is a worthy sequel to The Handmaid's Tale: "Feel free to throw caution to the wind: The Testaments is worthy of the literary classic it continues. That’s thanks in part to Atwood’s capacity to surprise, even writing in a universe we think we know so well. And she starts by making us root for dastardly Aunt Lydia."

Matt McCarthy of USA Today on the latest book from investigative reporter Ben Westhoff: "The story begins with a road trip. Two teenage addicts, Bailey Henke and Kain Schwandt, are driving west across the snow-covered plains of North Dakota on a desperate quest to get sober. They’re hooked on the deadliest drug in America, fentanyl, and as we discover in Ben Westhoff’s timely and agonizing new book, Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic, sobriety would prove elusive. Henke’s relapse and subsequent overdose would trigger one of the largest drug busts in history."

*Sorry, Back Bay. The hardcover jacket of The Winter Solider was better. Oh well.