Monday, January 11, 2021

Events! Nick Petrie with Jim Higgins for THE BREAKER, Claire Holroyde with J.S. Dewes for THE EFFORT, and Jon M. Sweeney with Damian Costello for NICHOLAS BLACK ELK

Here's what's happening at Boswell this week, event-wise. All times are Central Standard Time. 
Tuesday, January 12, 7 pm
Nick Petrie, author of The Breaker
in conversation with Jim Higgins for a virtual event 
It's time for book #6 in the Peter Ash series. This is a special one for Milwaukee, as the latest installment, The Breaker, is set right here in our fair city. We are one of several stores that have signed copies, and one of even fewer where you can get your books personalized. We have permission to mail books today, and folks will be able to pick up their signed copies starting at 10 am tomorrow. Ordering my our website? Please put signing request in the comments.

Our event is cohosted by Books & Company (also has signed books) and Whitefish Bay Public Library, which has copies of The Breaker available for lending. Did I mention also that both Petrie and Higgins are residents of the Bay? Register here for this Zoom event.

What I love about Nick Petrie's writing is that he never rests. You're never going to feel that he's cranking them out, so to speak. So in The Wild One, book five in the series, Petrie set up the challenge that Peter would not have his friends to come to the rescue with reinforcements when things got tough (Thanks to Chris for catching that). And in The Breaker, June stopped being someone to get out of trouble, and started being the person getting other people out of trouble. I think this is the first volume where June is Peter's equal.

The other thing I love about his books is that the series is set in different places and Petrie really leans into the place (That's per Petrie himself). Which aspect of the place he's writing about does he want to bring to life? That's why he's visited every place in his novels, including Iceland. And it's also why the plot pivoted slightly in The Breaker. In this book, he explores Milwaukee's history as Machine Shop of the world, and while like most cities, we've lost a lot of manufacturing, the shops still dot the city and suburbs. It's also why I think Milwaukee has a cool place like Makerspace, which is featured in The Breaker. Did you know the climax of the story was supposed to take Peter somewhere else (it always started here), but changed course, due to COVID? Ask him about this during our event on Tuesday.

Nick Petrie's debut novel, The Drifter, won both the ITW Thriller award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel, and was a finalist for the Edgar and the Hammett Awards. You can read my rec as well as Chris Lee's for The Breaker here.

Wednesday, January 13, 7 pm
Claire Holroyde, author of The Effort
in conversation with JS Dewes for a virtual event

Join us for an evening with debut author Holroyde as she chats about The Effort, her heart-pounding novel of love and sacrifice that follows people around the world as they unite to prevent a global catastrophe. Perfect for readers who loved Station Eleven and Good Morning, MidnightRegister here for this Zoom event

When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter's orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better - scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies - the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. What would happen to Earth's seven billion inhabitants if a similar event were allowed to occur? There are only two options - neutralize the greatest threat the world has ever seen or come to terms with the annihilation of humanity itself.

Claire Holroyde is a writer and graphic designer. Her work has been published as part of Akashic Books’s web series and her interactive narrative collaboration with designer Levi Hammett was featured in Born Magazine. Madison-based JS (Jenny) Dewes has written scripts for award-winning films which have played at film festivals around the country, as well as San Diego Comic-con. Her debut novel The Last Watch releases in April.  

Just to have a bit of a through line, I should note that Holroyde is not local, her husband's family comes from, where else? Whitefish Bay. Holroyde's debut novel goes on sales January 12. 

Thursday, January 14, 7 pm
Jon M. Sweeney, author of Nicholas Black Elk: Medicine Man, Catechist, Saint
in conversation with Damian Costello for a virtual event

Milwaukee-area independent scholar (and publisher of Paraclete Press) Jon M. Sweeney joins us for a conversation about his latest work, which tells us the life story of the deeply spiritual Nicholas Black Elk, who served as both a traditional Oglala Lakota medicine man and a Roman Catholic catechist and mystic. Sweeney will chat with Damian Costello, author of Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism. This event is cohosted by the Family of Four Milwaukee Parishes. Register here for this Zoom event.

Nicholas Black Elk is popularly celebrated for his fascinating spiritual life. How did his two spiritual and cultural identities enrich his prayer life? How did his commitment to God, understood through his Lakota and Catholic communities, shape his understanding of how to be in the world? This is Sweeney's second contribution to Liturgical Press's People of God series, the first being a biography of James Martin. Other entries in the series include Helen Prejean, Thomas Farmer, Thea Bowman, and Shahbaz Bhatti.

To fully understand the depth of Black Elk’s life-long spiritual quest requires a deep appreciation of his life story. He witnessed devastation on the battlefields of Little Bighorn and the Massacre at Wounded Knee, but also extravagance while performing for Queen Victoria as a member of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. Widowed by his first wife, he remarried and raised eight children. Black Elk’s spiritual visions granted him wisdom and healing insight beginning in his childhood, but he grew progressively physically blind in his adult years. These stories, and countless more, offer insight into this extraordinary man whose cause for canonization is now underway at the Vatican.

Jon M Sweeney is Publisher and Editor in Chief of Paraclete Press. His many books include The Pope Who Quit, which was optioned by HBO, and The Pope's Cat, a popular fiction series for children, as well as several books and edited volumes on the work of Thomas Merton. Shorewood-based Sweeney writes regularly for America in the US, and The Tablet in the UK. Damian Costello, who specializes in the intersection of Catholic theology, Indigenous spiritual traditions, and colonial history. 

One last event reminder! 
Tuesday, January 12, 7:30 pm
Part of the Tapestry: Art and Ideas series put on by the Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC

A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son is a poignant look at boyhood, in the form of a heartfelt letter from comedian Michael Ian Black to his teenage son before he leaves for college, and a radical plea for rethinking masculinity and teaching young men to give and receive love. 

Co-sponsored by BBYO and Milwaukee Jewish Day School

Photo credits!
Nick Petrie by Troy Fox
Claire Holroyde by David Wiskowski
Jon M. Sweeney by Maurice Woll  

More info on our upcoming events page.

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