Monday, July 26, 2021

This week at the Boswell virtual event series: Kristin Harmel, Rochelle Melander, Chuck Wendig, Nickolas Butler

Here's what's happening this week at Boswell.

Monday, July 26, 7:30 pm
Kristin Harmel, author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars
a virtual event
$5 tickets available here.
Ask for your signed bookplate.

Kristin Harmel is New York Times bestselling author of a dozen novels including The Book of Lost Names, The Winemaker’s Wife, and The Room on Rue Amélie. She is also the cofounder and cohost of the popular web series, Friends and Fiction. The Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee Reads, and Boswell are pleased to host Kristin Harmel for a virtual BYOSAW (bring-your-own-snacks-and-wine) event. She’ll chat about The Forest of Gathering Stars, an evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis.

Inspired by incredible true stories of survival against staggering odds, and suffused with journey-from-the-wilderness, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-wrenching, suspenseful novel. From Heather Webb, author of The Next Ship Home, “With breathtaking natural descriptions, vivid historical details, and a brave heroine worth cheering for who must fulfill a destiny prophesied since birth, this novel is not to be missed!”

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest, and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

Your $5 admission goes back to the Lynden Sculpture Garden as a donation. And don't forget, a lucky attendee will get a special rope-handled tote with matching can cooolers. Show your Harmel pride on your next picnic or outing!

Tuesday, July 27, 7 pm
Rochelle Melander, author of Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing
in conversation with Jane Kelley for a Virtual Event
Register for the event here.
Signed copies available.

Rochelle Melander is founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop that encourages young people to write about their lives and dreams for the future. Her books include Level Up and Write-a-Thon, the official book of National Book Writing Month. She appears for Mightier than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing, a richly illustrated collection of biographies featuring forty people - scientists, explorers, authors, poets, activists - who changed the world by wielding their word. Best for ages eight and up.

Throughout history, people have picked up their pens and wielded their word - transforming their lives, their communities, and beyond. Representing a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, Mightier Than the Sword connects over forty inspiring biographies with life-changing writing activities and tips, showing readers just how much their own words can make a difference.

Readers will explore nature with Rachel Carson, experience the beginning of the Reformation with Martin Luther, champion women's rights with Sojourner Truth, and many more. These stories will engage and encourage young people to pay attention to their world, to honor their own ideas and dreams, and to embrace the transformative power of words to bring good to the world.

From Jim Higgins in the Journal Sentinel: "This book for children also profiles writers who made their mark as young people, including diarist Anne Frank, Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and Sophie Cruz, who was only 5 when she delivered her plea for immigrant and refugee rights to Pope Francis."

Wednesday, July 28, 7 pm
Chuck Wendig, author of The Book of Accidents
in conversation with Kiersten White for a virtual event
Register for the event here.
Ask for your signed copy!

Chuck Wendig is of books such as Wanderers, Zer0es, Star Wars: Aftermath, and the Miriam Black thrillers, as well as other works across comics, games, and film. He was a finalist for the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer and served as the co-writer of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. We're excited to welcome this horror and sci-fi master for a virtual event celebrating The Book of Accidents, in which a family returns to their hometown and the dark past that still haunts them. He'll chat with Kiersten White, the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of books like the Slayer series and the Camelot Rising trilogy. Her novel, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is in development with Sony Pictures Television.

Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father and Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have. Long ago, something sinister walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania. Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver. And what happened long ago is happening again – and this time, it is happening to Oliver. Dark dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family and perhaps for all of the world.

We're fans! From Chris Lee: "In the best way possible, Chuck Wendig has quite clearly taken all his favorite parts from all of his favorite Stephen King novels and mashed them into one book. An everything-and-the-kitchen-sink novel. I love it. After an active shooter drill creates real trauma, a Philadelphia cop moves his wife and his dangerously empathetic (one could even say supernaturally so!) teenage song to his rural PA hometown, where a lot of gruesome, terrible things have happened over the last century. And away we go on a winding adventure that asks that oh-so central question: can one family’s love keep the world from collapsing under the weight of a globe’s worth of murder, destruction, and evils? Along the way, we’ll meet a dead father’s violent ghost, a trailer park kid full of tricky magic, a lightning-riding serial killer, a charming fish and game warden, and a cantankerous true-crime author with his own secrets. Definitely my top beach read pick of the year for both everyone who loves horror and anyone else who wants to dip their toes into some murky, magic waters this summer."

From Jason Kennedy: "Nate and Mads move to rural Pennsylvania with their son, Olly, after he has some unfortunate breakdowns at his school in Philadelphia. Not so bad until you find out that they are moving into the house where Nate grew up with an abusive, evil father. On top of that, this area has some real scary history - serial killers, a haunted tunnel, an old mine disaster, and a park filled with weird moving boulders. Olly meets an older kid named Jake, and from there stuff starts to get real creepy as the past starts to catch up to the family. So much happens in this twisty tale - I loved this book, it took me back to horror of the eighties, from King to McCammon to Koontz."

Couldn't be simpler. If you know someone who loves classic Stephen King (it might be you!), you'll want to read The Book of Accidents.

Thursday, July 29, 7 pm
Nickolas Butler, author of Godspeed
in conversation with Andrew J Graff for a virtual event 
Register for this event here.
Hoping to have bookplates soon!

Wisconsin’s Nickolas Butler is author of Shotgun Lovesongs, The Hearts of Men, and Little Faith, and the story collection Beneath the Bonfire. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Narrative, and The New York Times Book Review, among other outlets. A graduate of UW-Madison and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he now lives in rural Wisconsin. We're pleased to welcome back Butler to Boswell virtually, for a conversation about Godspeed, his riveting new novel, in which three troubled construction workers get entangled in a dangerous plan to finish building a home against an impossible deadline. For this event, Butler will be in conversation with Andrew J Graff, author of the Boswell bestseller Raft of Stars.

Early praise for Bulter’s latest outing is already rolling in. CJ Box calls Godspeed “a page-turning, race-against-the-clock novel about fatal obsession, love, violence, addiction, and faith beautifully set in my home state of Wyoming. After you turn the last page it’ll stay with you for a long, long time.” And fellow Midwesterner Peter Geye adds, “Not many writers can turn any subject into gold, but Nick Butler is one of them. This novel is about addiction, ambition, and America at the crossroads of its own demise, and in Butler’s brilliant, capable hands, it ends up feeling like a lived experience.” And how about from Wisconsin’s Larry Watson, who adds, “Readers won’t be able to turn the pages of Godspeed fast enough.”

A recommendation from Boswellian Tim McCarthy: "True Triangle Construction is just three guys who've managed the modest step of starting their own company with three matching trucks. They don't even have a website. So why would a wealthy, worldly, beautiful San Francisco lawyer pick them to build the majestic house she plans to tuck perfectly into the Wyoming Tetons, next to hot springs and a cold, pure river? How did Gretchen Connors even find them? These are the questions they ask as they start to dream of all the ways a project like this will change their business, and their individual lives. There’s all that money and a shiny new reputation, but can they do it, and at what price? Gretchen’s expectations are so high, and the timeline! Why? Butler has given us a study in desire, where it comes from and the damage it can cause. It’s a fascinating and very intense ride, and the best part is that we see both sides of the story in the detailed lives of characters, the rich woman and the men struggling with a transformation that’s making regular guys like them feel less at home in their own town. I felt compelled to stay with them, and I felt rewarded for seeing them through to the end."

Rob Thomas at The Cap Times profiled Butler on Godspeed. On why he set the book in Wyoming: "Putting it in a place like Jackson, you can sort of up the ante in a lot of different ways. The housing market is just that much more tony and expensive, and the landscapes that much more dramatic. We’ve taken a family trip out there years ago, and I guess I was pretty naïve. We went to Jackson, this amazing little town, and I wondered if a person lived there, what his real estate costs would be like. I looked it up and was like ‘Oh, my God, you can’t be a normal person and live here.'"

I love that Butler is comparing his book to Treasure of Sierra Madre. The late Harry W Schwartz was a big fan, and corresponded with the author, B Traven.  I'm going to see if I can find more info in Fifty Years in My Bookstore, Schwartz's memoir.

More on the Boswell upcoming event page. And coming next week - our first in-person event with Kristine Hansen for Wisconsin Farms and Farmers Markets. Register here.

Photo credits!
Kristin Harmel by Phil Art Studio
Rochelle Melander by self
Chuck Wendig by Michelle Wendig
Nicholas Butler by Tim Fitch

No comments: