Monday, October 14, 2019

Paul Tough, Rene Steinke, Jim Wallis, Timothy Faust, JF Riordan, Landis Blair, Paul Hendrickson - but alas, Dylan Thuras is at capacity

Alas, you waited until the last minute and now we're at capacity.But for which event? Read on and find out.

Tuesday, October 15, 7 pm, at University School of Milwaukee, 2100 W Fairy Chasm Rd:
Paul Tough, author of The Years that Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us

The University School of Milwaukee Speaker Series and Boswell Book Company present Tough, author of How Children Succeed and Helping Children Succeed, talking about his latest work, a mind-changing inquiry into higher education in the United States which asks, does college still work? Registration required for this free event on the University School of Milwaukee website.

With insight, humor, and passion, Paul Tough takes us on a journey from Ivy League seminar rooms to community college welding shops, from giant public flagship universities to tiny experimental storefront colleges. Whether you are facing your own decision about college or simply care about the American promise of social mobility, The Years That Matter Most will change the way you think, not just about higher education, but about the nation itself.

Online registration will likely be turned off sometime tomorrow morning. Last I heard, we had seats available for walk-up registration. For the latest info, check the ticketing website.

Tuesday, October 15, 7:30 pm, at UWM Hefter Center, 3271 N Lake Dr:
Rene Steinke, author of Friendswood

Please join us in celebrating 50 years of Creative Writing at UWM with a reading by UWM creative writing alum René Steinke, now Director of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Steinke was a 2016 Guggenheim fellow, and her nonfiction work has appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, and Salon.

René Steinke’s most recent novel, Friendswood ,was named one of National Public Radio’s Great Reads of 2014, shortlisted for the St. Francis Literary Prize, and was an Amazon Book of the Month. Her previous novel, Holy Skirts, an imaginative retelling of the life of the artist and provocateur, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, was a Finalist for the National Book Award. Her first novel is The Fires. More information here.

At capacity - Wednesday, October 16, 6:30 pm, at American Geographical Society Library at UWM Golda Meir Library, 2311 E Hartford Ave:
Dylan Thuras, author of Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders

Dylan Thuras adventures back to Milwaukee for an event celebrating the brand new edition of his explorer’s guide that the New York Times calls “a wanderlust-whetting cabinet of curiosities on paper.” And what better place for this event than the AGSL, Milwaukee’s own geographer’s treasure trove?

The evening will feature Thuras’s slide show presentation and a trivia contest, plus the American Geographical Society Library will have a special mini-exhibit of maps connected to the book. More info at

Alas, this event is registered to capacity. Doors open at 5:30 pm, when we'll be giving out stand-by numbers.

Wednesday, October 16, 7 pm, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 1100 N Astor St:
Jim Wallis, author of Christ in Crisis: Why We Need to Reclaim Jesus

Boswell presents an evening with Jim Wallis, Founder of Sojourners, a faith in action organization pursing racial justice, environmental stewardship, and peace, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Wallis will discuss his latest book, Christ in Crisis. Through his writing, Wallis offers a path to spiritual healing and solidarity, aimed to mend the divide separating Americans today.

With a practical and empathetic approach, Wallis addresses questions of power, truth, fear, and discipleship, applying lessons from the biblical stories to contemporary issues like race, immigration, and political discourse. As Wallis has done throughout his career, he offers comfort, compassion, and a constructive field guide for the modern era.

Registration will continue for this event at until Wednesday morning. We expect that walk-up registration will be available. Boswell will be selling copies of Christ in Crisis at the event, and attendees have the option to reserve a copy with registration - payment due at the event.

Thursday, October 17, 6:30 pm, at Frank L Weyenberg Library, 11345 N Cedarburg Rd:
JF Riordan, author of Reflections on a Life in Exile

JF Riordan studied voice at University of New Mexico, continued her music studies in Chicago and Milwaukee, and ultimately became a professional singer. Now she's the author of the Washington Island-set North of the Tension Line series, as well as this brand-new collection of essays.

Riordan’s essays are easy to pick up and hard to put down. By turns deeply spiritual and gently comic, these brief meditations range from the inconveniences of modern life to the shifting nature of grief. Whether it’s an unexpected revelation from a trip to the hardware store, a casual encounter with a tow-truck driver, the changing seasons, or a conversation with a store clerk grieving for a dog, Riordan captures and magnifies the passing beauty of the ordinary and the extraordinary that lingers near the surface of daily life.

Thursday, October 17, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Timothy Faust, author of Health Justice Now: Single Payer and What Comes Next

Wisconsin native Timothy Faust has traveled around the United States, talking to people about health inequality in their neighborhoods. With his new book, he offers a concise explanation of the benefits of single-payer health care and widening the definition of health care itself.

In Health Justice Now, Faust explains what single payer is, why we don’t yet have it, and how it can be won. He identifies the actors that have misled us for profit and political gain, dispels the myth that healthcare needs to be personally expensive, shows how we can smoothly transition to a new model, and reveals the slate of humane and progressive reforms that we can only achieve with single payer as the springboard.

Single payer healthcare is not complicated: the government pays for all care for all people. It’s cheaper than our current model, and some say most Americans and their doctors already want it. So Faust asks, what’s the deal with our current healthcare system, and why don’t we have something better?

Saturday, October 19, Noon – 4 pm, on Historic Downer Ave:
Historic Downer Avenue’s Haunted Halloween

Historic Downer Avenue’s Haunted Halloween returns with fun for the whole family. Enjoy the amazing Halloween-themed artistry of our chalk artists, stroll along with our accordion player, and pick your pumpkin at St. Mark's Church! For more information, visit

Downer businesses will compete in a pumpkin carving contest voted on by attendees. For the kids, there will be trick-or-treating, face painting, and twisted balloon shapes. For the adults, a mini-pub crawl sponsored by MKE Brewing, featuring seasonal favorite brews, with beer sales proceeds going to benefit the Riverwest Pantry.

Sunday, October 20, 3 pm, at Boswell:
Landis Blair, author of The Envious Siblings: And Other Morbid Nursery Rhymes, in conversation with Caitlin Doughty

Boswell hosts a conversation with award-winning comics artist Landis Blair and mortician-turned-author Caitlin Doughty about Blair’s new book of gleefully macabre vignettes as delightful as they are deadly.

This event is free, but registration is requested at Upgrade to purchase-with-registration for a copy of The Envious Siblings. Please note that while Caitlin Doughty will not be part of the post-event signing, signed copies of her new book, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, will be available for sale at the event. See ticketing website for restrictions.

Inspired by the dark imagination of Edward Gorey, Envious Siblings is a twisted and hauntingly funny debut. Blair interweaves absurdist horror and humor into brief, rhyming vignettes at once transgressive and hilarious. In Blair’s surreal universe, a lost child watches as bewhiskered monsters gobble up her fellow train passengers; a band of kids merrily plays a gut-churning game with playground toys; and two sisters, grinning madly, tear each other apart.

Boswell’s Chris Lee says, “Landis creates a demented world of ghoulish delights at once sharply cynical and delightfully surprising. This book is even more fun and dangerous than a dinner party with a rhyming tiger and his cheery bear and gator friends.”

Monday, October 21, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Paul Hendrickson, author of Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright, in conversation with Catherine Boldt

Paul Hendrickson is author of Sons of Mississippi, which won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award, NBCC Award-finalist Looking for the Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott, and the National Book Award finalist The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War. He'll be in conversation about his latest book with Catherine Boldt, an Education Outreach Docent at Taliesin known for the disability accessible tours she gives at Frank Lloyd Wright's Spring Green Estate.

In Plagued by Fire, Hendrickson offers an illuminating, pathbreaking biography that will change the way we understand the life, mind, and work of the premier American architect. Revealing Wright's facades along with their cracks, Hendrickson forms a fresh and more human understanding of the man with prodigious research, unique vision, and his ability to make sense of a life in ways at once unexpected, poetic, and undeniably brilliant.

Free registration is requested at Upgrade to a purchase-with-registration for 20% off the list price. This price applies to preorders only.

More event information at

photo credits:
--Paul Tough credit Paul Terefenko
--Dylan Thuras credit Michelle Enemark
--Jim Wallis credit Elliott O'Donovan
--Timothy Faust credit Laura Wing-Kamoosi
--Landis Blair credit Anid Linden Medres
--Paul Hendrickson credit Tim Samuelson

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