Sunday, October 31, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 30, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 30, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles
2. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead
3. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr
4. State of Terror, by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny
5. An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed, by Helene Tursten
6. Crossroads, by Jonathan Franzen
7. Beautiful World, Where Are You?, by Sally Rooney
8. Oh, William!, by Elizabeth Strout
9. Under the Whispering Door, by TJ Klune
10. The Judge's List, by John Grisham

Somebody will have to explain to me how we sold almost as many copies of Helene Tursten's An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed in the first week as we did of An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good for the three year life of the book. From the starred Booklist: "Tursten effectively juxtaposes a cozy, Agatha Christie-like tone against the often surprisingly dark nature of Maud's recollections, which are rife with clever satirical jabs and delicious ironies. This absorbing dive into the mind of a ruthless pragmatist posing as a Swedish Miss Marple will please psychological-thriller fans, once they realize that Maud isn't nearly as cozy as she looks."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Hip Hop and Other Things, by Shea Serrano
2. Peril, by Bob Woodward, and Robert Costa
3. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
4. Going There, by Katie Couric
5. Squirrel Hill, by Mark Oppenheimer (Register for November 4 event here)
6. The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams
7. A Confederacy of Dumptys, by John Lithgow
8. Renegades, by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen
9. Gastro Obscura, by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras (Register for November 15 event here)
10. Cooking at Home, by David Chang

I listened to Shea Serrano on NPR's It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders where he discussed things like the 1995 Source Music Award, which likely prefigured the deadly shootings of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls over the next year, and Missy Elliott's iconic black blow-up vinyl suit. Hip Hop (and Other Things) is #1 on our list this week and it will likely follow Serrano's Basketball (and Other Things) and Movies (and Other Things) to the top of national charts too. Kirkus noted: "This quirky, wide-ranging collection of essays, paired with gorgeous art, is a well-informed love letter to hip-hop."

Paperback Fiction: 
1. Dune, by Frank Herbert
2. Death at Greenway, by Lori Rader-Day
3. Piranesi, by Susanna Clark
4. Son of Good Fortune, by Lysley Tenorio
5. Monstress, by Lysley Tenorio
6. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman
7. The Glass Hotel, by Emily St John Mandel
8. Dune Messiah, by Frank Herbert
9. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
10. The Secret of Snow, by Viola Shipman

The UWM Creative Writing Program sponsored an in-person appearance with Lysley Tenorio, author of Monstress (for which he visited Boswell with Michael Lowenthal) and his new-in-paperback novel The Son of Good Fortune. From Terry Hong in The Christian Science Monitor: "A fierce, revelatory literary experience...Tenorio has written a resonant story about what one family is willing to do to protect the child. It’s seamlessly interwoven with cogent explorations of hybrid identity, racism, immigration history, shifting familial bonds, parental sacrifice, socioeconomic disparity, and even alternative social models."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Troubled Water, by Seth M Siegel
2. Sapiens: A Graphic History, by Yuval Noah Harari
3. Milwaukee River Greenway, by Eddee Daniel
4. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
5. Outside the Box Cancer Therapies, by Mark Stengler
6. On Story Parkway, by Jim Cryns
7. Best Hikes Milwaukee, by Kevin Revolinski
8. Voices of Milwaukee Bronzeville, by Sandra E Jones (Register for in-person November 18 event here or register for Zoom broadcast here)
9. The Book of Chakras, by Ambika Wauters
10. The Hidden History of Milwaukee, by Robert Tanzilo

There just doesn't seem to be any narrative nonfiction or memoirs catching folks fancy in paperback of late. We've got six regional titles on this list this week. Kevin Revolinski has a relatively new (2021) updated version of Best Easy Day Hikes Milwaukee, but the book that made our list is the 2019 Best Hikes Milwaukee, which I guess aren't necessarily easy!

Books for Kids:
1. Chez Bob, by Bob Shea
2. Mr. Wolf's Class, by Aron Nels Steinke
3. Anne of Green Gables, by LM Montgomery
4. Big Shot V16, by Jeff Kinney
5. Besties, by Kayla Miller and Jeffrey Canino, with illustrations by Kristina Luu
6. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renée Graef
7. The Beatryce Prophecy, by Kate DiCamillo, with illustrations by Sophie Blackall
8. Daughter of the Deep, by Rick Riordan
9. A House, by Kevin Henkes
10. Norman Didn't Do It, by Ryan T Higgins

The nice thing about kids picture books is that I can honestly say I've read them. Yes, I've all but memorized, Chez Bob, A House, and Norman Didn't Do It, three of our booksellers' favorites for this fall, and then of course there is Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, whose 2021 sales have more than doubled 2020 - it's a popular book for visitors! The Bulletin for the Center on Children's* Books on Norman Didn't Do It: "Wide-eyed, prickly-tailed Norman carries a frantic energy, resembling a manic preschooler with quills, and Higgins nails the expressions and body language as Norman launches himself and his big feelings through the pages. Bold lines and saturated colors make even the more complicated scenes storytime ready, and the tale could easily lend itself to some lively (one-person) readers theater."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins reviews Mark Oppenheimer's Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood: A taste: "While in many other cities Jews have dispersed to the suburbs, that's not so true in Pittsburgh, where about half of the area's Jews live in either Squirrel Hill or adjacent neighborhoods. While Squirrel Hill has multiple synagogues, the shooter targeted this building because Dor Hadash, the Reconstructionist group, had been involved in the National Refugee Shabbat." Higgins looks at everything from the bargain to value healing over politics, to the comparative lack of attention given to Black victims, especially when their deaths are spread out over time. As noted above, we are hosting Mark Oppenheimer on Zoom, in conversation with Rachel N Baum. Cosponsored by the UWM Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies and the Harry and the Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

*I'm not a fan of the apostrophe here. It's not indicated ownership here and it's not a contraction. It means books for children. To my thinking, the usage should be child or kid books, much like we say adult books, not adults' books. We could spend hours on this. I know I'm not going to change the world, but I can leave out the apostrophe when it's not in a title, even though Word gets mad at me.

Monday, October 25, 2021

What's going on? Boswell edition - Samira Shackle, Lori Rader-Day, Viola Shipman and Susan Mallery, Myriam J.A. Chancy, Frances Wilson

What's going on? Boswell edition - it's a packed week!

Samira Shackle, author of Karachi Vice: Life and Death in a Divided City
in Conversation with Audrey Nowakowski for a Virtual Event
Monday, October 25, 2 pm
Register for this event here.

This event has been a bit of a labor of love, meaning I love this book and I am laboring to convince you to attend. I'm sure you're thinking, how does what's going on in Karachi affect me? But it does! Megacities with disparate groups of people living together due to political turmoil and environmental change are part of today's world. Tribal loyalties are a thing, as are attempts to overcome them.

Karachi - Pakistan’s largest city is a sprawling metropolis of twenty million people, twice the size of New York City. It is a place of political turbulence in which those who have power wield it with brutal and partisan force. It takes an insider to know where is safe, who to trust, and what makes Karachi tick. Shackle explores the city of her mother’s birth in the company of a handful of Karachiites whose individual experiences tell the bigger story of Karachi over the past decade as it has endured a terrifying crime wave: a period in which the Taliban arrive in Pakistan, adding to the daily perils for its residents and pushing their city into the international spotlight.

The Economist
calls Karachi Vice “A moving account of the struggles of everyday heroes - and of the unhappy metropolis that needs them.” And from Rabeea Saleem, writing for the Times Literary Supplement: “Sobering and gripping… meticulously constructs a vibrant mosaic of a city’s underbelly, while disentangling the ways in which Karachi is enmeshed with crime lords, gangs, political interests and militants.”

Samira Shackle is Editor of New Humanist magazine and a regular contributor to the Guardian Long Read. She frequently reports from Pakistan, where she has family, and spent extensive time there working on this book. She has twice been a media fellow at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Social Difference, and in 2019 she was made a MacDowell fellow. Audrey Nowakowski is a Lake Effect Host and Producer and has also worked at WMSE. She is a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University.

Lori Rader-Day, author of Death at Greenway
in Conversation with Rachel Piper at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
Wednesday, October 27, 1 pm
Tickets for this event are $25. Purchase here.

The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Books and Company, and Boswell present Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark award–winning thriller author Lori Rader-Day chats about her brand new novel of historical intrigue set at Agatha Christie’s holiday estate. In conversation with Rachel Piper, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Senior Director of Digital Strategy (not to mention huge Agatha Christie fan!).

Books & Company will have Lori Rader-Day's other books for sale, as well as a selection of Agatha Christie titles.

Death at Greenway is a captivating suspense novel. During World War II, ten displaced children stayed at Agatha Christie's country home, while London was bombed by the Germans. Inspired by this fascinating, little-known fact, Death at Greenway re-imagines what it would have been like to hide away from the war in a murder novelist's house. The result is a dark, twisting novel about nurses who come to Greenway to care for evacuated children. But when a body is discovered nearby, the idyllic setting becomes host to a deadly mystery.

Ann Cleeves calls Rader-Day’s latest, “A wonderfully atmospheric, beautifully written and entirely credible evocation of wartime Britain.” And from The New York Times Book Review, "Irresistible... a Golden Age homage, an elegantly constructed mystery that on every page reinforces the message that everyone counts.”
Lori Rader-Day is the Edgar Award–nominated author of The Lucky One, Under a Dark Sky, and The Day I Died. She is co-chair of the mystery readers’ conference Murder and Mayhem in Chicago and served as the national president of Sisters in Crime. The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts is located at 3270 Mitchell Park Dr in Brookfield, between Brookfield and Barker Roads.

Rachel Piper a massive Agatha Christie fan, an award-winning editor, writer and digital strategist, and a former bookseller in Salt Lake City.

Viola Shipman (Wade Rouse), author of The Secret of Snow and Susan Mallery, author of The Christmas Wedding Guest
A conversation with Viola Shipman and Susan Mallery
Wednesday, October 27, 6 pm
Register for this event here.

Authors Viola Shipman (pen name of Wade Rouse) and Susan Mallery join us for a special evening of conversation about their new, Christmas-season inspired novels.This event is cohosted by Books and Company of Oconomowoc, McLean and Eakin of of Petoskey, MI, and Boswell Book Company.

Shipman's latest is The Secret of Snow, a heartwarming story about starting over, family traditions, and the enduring power of love and friendship. A 50-year-old meteorologist returns to her hometown in Northern Michigan after being replaced with AI at her station in Palm Springs. Publishers Weekly called it "a beautifully written story... Fans of women’s fiction won’t be able to put this down."

Mallery's book, The Christmas Wedding Guest, is set in the small mountain town of Wishing Tree, Washington, where the town's life blood is the celebration of Christmas. Sisters Reggie and Dena Somerville, who, guilted into being bridesmaids at their parents' vow renewal ceremony, find love in the most unexpected of places - their small hometown.

Viola Shipman is the pen of memoirist Wade Rouse. Writing as Shipman, he is author of The Summer Cottage, The Charm Bracelet, and The Hope Chest. Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives, including titles such as The Stepsisters, The Summer of Sunshine and Margot, and Before Summer Ends.

Thursday, October 28, 7 pm
Myriam JA Chancy, author of What Storm, What Thunder
in conversation with Mike Gauyo for a Virtual Event
Register for this event here.

Boswell Book Company, Youthaiti, and Alliance Française de Milwaukee present an evening with Haitian-Canadian-American writer Myriam JA Chancy, author of What Storm, What Thunder, the first work in English to present a gripping recollection of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, one of the worst natural disasters in history. In conversation with Mike Gauyo, founder of Black Boy Writes. This event is cohosted by Youthaiti, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit that promotes sustainable sanitation and agriculture in rural Haiti, and Alliance Française de Milwaukee, part of the largest network of French language and cultural centers in the world.

At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shakes the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. The story follows the inner lives of folks affected by the disaster - a wealthy expat, his architect daughter, a drug trafficker, emigrant musician and taxi driver, and Ma Lou, the old woman selling produce in the market who remembers them and others.

Artfully weaving together these lives, witness is given to the desolation wreaked by nature and by man. What Storm, What Thunder is a reckoning of the heartbreaking trauma of disaster, and an unforgettable testimony to the tenacity of the human spirit. Edwidge Danticat calls Chancy’s novel, “Sublime. A striking and formidable novel by one of our most brilliant writers and storytellers.”

Myriam JA Chancy is HBA Chair in the Humanities at Scripps College in Claremont, California and a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Mike Gauyo is currently an Executive Story Editor on Netflix’s Ginny and Georgia and was previously a Story Editor on HBO's Insecure.

Friday, October 29, Noon
Frances Wilson, author of Burning Man: The Trials of DH Lawrence
in Conversation with Bill Goldstein for a Virtual Event
Register for this event here.

Boswell Book Company once again reaches across the Atlantic to team up with Scotland’s Boswell Book Festival to present a joint event featuring critic and journalist Frances Wilson, author of Burning Man, in conversation with critic Bill Goldstein, author of The World Broke in Two. This event is part of the Boswell Book Festival, the world’s only festival of biography and memoir, normally set in the spectacular grounds of Dumfries House, inaugurated and staged by the Boswell Trust.

Everyone who knew him told stories about Lawrence, and Lawrence told stories about everyone he knew. He also, again and again, told stories about himself: the pioneer of autofiction. In a distinctly Lawrentian biography, Wilson pursues Lawrence around the globe and reflects his life of wild allegory. Eschewing the confines of a full-length biography, Burning Man is a triptych of lesser-known episodes drawn from lesser-known sources, and from the tales of Lawrence told by his friends in letters, memoirs, and diaries. Focusing on three critical turning points in Lawrence’s pilgrimage (his crises in Cornwall, Italy, and New Mexico) Wilson uncovers a lesser-known Lawrence, both as a writer and as a man.

Dizzyingly original, exhaustively researched, and always revelatory, Burning Man is a marvel of biography. With flair and focus, Wilson, Lawrence’s first female biographer, unleashes a distinct perspective on one of history’s most beloved and infamous writers.

Frances Wilson is author of several works of nonfiction, including The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth, which won the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, How to Survive the Titanic, winner of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, and Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and received a fellowship from the New York Public Library's Cullman Center in 2018. Bill Goldstein is author of The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, TS Eliot, DH Lawrence, EM Forster and the Year that Changed Literature and a forthcoming biography of Larry Kramer. He was a New York Public Library Dorothy and Lewis B Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Fellow for 2019-2020.

More upcoming events on the Boswell Book Company website.

Photo credits
Lori Rader-Day by Justin Barber
Myriam JA Chancy by N Alfonso
Bill Goldstein by Bill Hayes

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending October 23, 2021

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

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles
2. State of Terror, by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny
3. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr
4. Shoulder Season, by Elizabeth Strout
5. Truth of the Divine V2, by Lindsay Ellis
6. Oh William, by Elizabeth Strout
7. Bewilderment, by Richard Powers
8. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue (regular and deluxe), by VE Schwab
9. The Judge's List, by John Grisham
10. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead

Beating Oh William! out by price point (that's how I break ties), Truth of the Divine comes in as our top debut. SF and fantasy titles tend to front load sales, so I expect to sell more of Elizabeth Strout next week than of Lindsay Ellis, but we'll see. Ellis's is the sequel to Axiom's End in the Noumenta series. Winning raves from John Scalzi, Hank Green, and just-returned-to-Boswell Ogi Ubiparipovic. Her newest has a starred Publishers Weekly review: "Ellis draws skillful parallels between her science-fictional politics and real world issues, gracefully navigating the difficult topics of discrimination, violent extremism, mental health, and addiction. This thought-provoking novel will linger long in readers’ minds."

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Play Nice but Win, by Michael Dell
2. Giannis, by Mirin Fader
3. The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams
4. Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
5. The Storyteller, by Dave Grohl (last week's NYT #1)
6. Baking with Dorie, by Dorie Greenspan
7. Taste, by Stanley Tucci
8. Where the Deer and the Antelope Play, by Nick Offerman
9. Midnight in Washington, by Adam Schiff
10. This is Ear Hustle, by Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods

We've already got our best books of 2021 in order and one of Tim's top five makes our top 10 for the week. The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times, from Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams. From the starred Booklist review: "Goodall, world-renowned naturalist, humanist, and environmental advocate, is hope incarnate. Her podcast is even titled Hopecast. Goodall elucidates her commitment to hope in conversation with Douglas Abrams in this companion volume to The Book of Joy (2016) in which Abrams spoke with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Dune (two editions), by Frank Herbert
2. The Second Home, by Christina Clancy
3. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
4. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
5. Payback's a Witch, by Lana Harper
6. The Great Gatsby, by F Scott Fitzgerald
7. How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig
8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
9. The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman
10. Send for Me, by Lauren Fox

Recently Laurie Colwin's backlist was rejacketed, a coordinated effort between Vintage and Perennial. But someone needs to figure out how to coordinate rejacketing and updating Matt Haig's backlist. I'm loving that How to Stop Time is back in our top ten with a new matching-The-Midnight-Library cover. Next up, I'm hoping that the rejacketed and re-priced edition of The Humans, of which Jason is a fan, can do the same. It's another variation on Haig's philosophy of living in the present by writing a story about beings (alien or otherwise) who have particularly long lives.

Paperback Nonfiction
1. The Milwaukee River Greenway, by Eddee Daniel
2. So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
3. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
4. The Settlement Cookbook, by Milwaukee Settlement House
5. Care Work, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
6. Wow, No Thank You, by Samantha Irby
7. Regeneration, by Paul Hawken
8. 111 Places in Milwaukee that You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
9. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
10. On Tyranny graphic edition, by Timothy Snyder

It's actually hard to find a relatively new book in this top 10 which we haven't featured previously, but Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation was released on September 21, 2021 so close enough. Environmentalist entrepreneur Hawken (of Smith and Hawken - you can still find it as a private label line at Target) has an endorsement from Jane Goodall (see above), who writes: "Regeneration is honest and informative, a rebuttal to doomsayers who believe it is too late." From Allison Arieff in The San Francisco Chronicle: "Regeneration covers an impressively broad range of topics from food safety to the war industry, electric vehicles to mangroves, which serves to demonstrate how all-encompassing the challenge is. But it’s prescriptive, too, featuring reasoned calls to action from writers, activists, scientists and numerous other experts"

Books for Kids:
1. Chez Bob, by Bob Shea
2. Animal Architects, by Amy Cherrix
3. How to Find What You're Not Looking For, by Vera Hiranandani
4. Playing with Fire, by April Henry
5. The Fisherman, the Horse, and the Sea, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renée Graef
6. Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World V2, by Benjamine Alire Saenz
7. Egg Marks the Spot V2, by Amy Timberlake, with illustrations by Jon Klassen
8. Spy School at Sea, by Stuart Gibbs
9. Eyes of the Forest, by April Holt
10. Ghostly Tales of Milwaukee, by Anna Lardinois

Port Washington's Barbara Joosse's latest collaboration with Renée Graef is The Fishermen, The Horse, and the Sea, a retelling of how fishermen used a horse to save the shipwrecked crew of the Mary Ludwig in 1895. Per the marketing notes: "This beautifully illustrated children’s book based on a true story recounts a dramatic rescue on Lake Michigan and introduces young readers to Lester Smith and his family, who founded Port Washington’s long-running and beloved Smith Bros Fish Shanty." I still fondly recall the planked whitefish and take-home jars of caviar.

It's the second week in the top 10 for Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World, and it should have a few more appearances with it being in Oli's top 5 for 2021. Booklist recs with a star: "The result is a brilliant, character-driven novel that challenges its readers themselves to think about life while falling in love with those two unforgettable characters, Aristotle and Dante."

And from Alex Chunn in School Library Journal: " Nearly double in length to its predecessor, this book packs a lot into its five parts as the gay teens contend with the realities - and work - of relationships. Ari's sensitive first-person narration, which includes beautifully reflective journal entries, encapsulates struggles with internalized homophobia and its intersections with masculinity and Mexican American identity. Slow-paced and poetic, this emotional rollercoaster is buoyed by hope, swoonworthy kisses, and exquisite characterization. Verdict: This literary romance will woo hearts and minds alike. A must-purchase for all libraries."

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins profiles Dean Robbins, who will have four books out from major publishers this year:
--The Fastest Girl on Earth!: Meet Kitty O'Neil, Daredevil Driver!, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
--Thank You, Dr. Salk!: The Scientist Who Beat Polio and Healed the World, illustrated by Mike Dutton
--¡Mambo Mucho Mambo! The Dance That Crossed Color Lines, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (in stores November 23)
--You Are a Star, Ruth Bader Ginsburg!, illustrated by Sarah Green (in stores December 28)

Monday, October 18, 2021

Boswell events - Veera Hiranandani, Eddee Daniel, Samira Shackle

Boswell events!

Alas, our cosponsored event with Christina Clancy for Shoulder Season on October 19 at the Whitefish Bay Library is at capacity, but we have a few other programs for your enjoyment and edification.

Wednesday, October 20, 9:30 am
Veera Hiranandani, author of How to Find What You're Not Looking For
in Conversation with Sangita Nayak and Daniel Goldin for a Public Virtual School Visit
Register for this event here.

Boswell presents a special virtual school visit, open to the public, with Newbery Honoree Veera Hiranandani. This event will be structured as a conversation with Veera Hiranandani talking to Sangita Nayak of Fernwood Montessori School and Daniel Goldin of Boswell. Recommended for readers eight and up.

In Hiranandani’s latest, twelve-year-old Ariel Goldberg’s life feels like the moment after the final guest leaves the party. Her family’s Jewish bakery runs into financial trouble, and her older sister has eloped with a young man from India following the Supreme Court decision that strikes down laws banning interracial marriage. As change becomes Ariel’s only constant, she’s left to hone something that will be with her always - her own voice.''

The Daniel rec: "Ariel Goldberg’s family lives in suburban Connecticut, where they run a not good but not particularly successful Jewish bakery in a not particularly Jewish town. She’s struggling with school, what with her chicken scratch handwriting that might indicate a learning disability, as well as harassment from a class bully. But her troubles threaten to be overwhelmed by her older sister Leah’s secret: that her new boyfriend is Raj, a young Hindu man who works at the local record store, and they are planning to elope. The timing of the story is essential, just after the Loving v. Virginia case. And I love how this lovely novel is suffused with Sergeant Pepper and other 1968 references, bakery treats, and Ariel's poetry."

Veera Hiranandani is author of The Night Diary as well as The Whole Story of Half a Girl, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asia Book Award finalist. She earned her MFA in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, is a former editor at Simon and Schuster, and teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College's Writing Institute.

Thursday, October 21, 6:30 pm
Eddee Daniel, author of The Milwaukee River Greenway: A Wealth of Nature in the Heart of the City
in Conversation with John Gurda for a Hybrid Event at Boswell
Register for this in-person event here or you can also register to watch the program on Zoom webinar.

Boswell hosts a conversation with author and photographer Eddee Daniel for his new book on the Milwaukee River Greenway (which is also the title of the book). Daniel will be in conversation with Milwaukee historian extraordinaire John Gurda.

In the early twentieth century, Milwaukee established a remarkable and enviable park system, organized primarily along its waterways. One of the jewels of this emerald necklace has always been the upper river, or what is now officially called the Milwaukee River Greenway. The Greenway is an eight-mile, 878-acre section of the Milwaukee River that begins at the former North Avenue Dam and ends at Silver Spring Drive, cutting through the northeast side of the city and the suburbs of Shorewood and Glendale.

The images and stories in this book testify to the natural beauty that can be found near at hand and the value that our community places on this extraordinary space. Travel down the river with the many contributors in the pages that follow and listen to their voices as they extol its virtues, lament its travails, honor its resilience, and express gratitude for the hope it engenders.

After the book's publication, my friend John and I walked the Greenway, where he discussed hanging out there in his childhood growing up on Bartlett Avenue through the time he attended Riverside High School. We looked for remains of the old shacks that were once along the river. We found some almost buried steps!

Eddee Daniel is a Milwaukee-based writer, photographer, and arts educator and has served on the boards of Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail, and Preserve Our Parks, for which he curates The Natural Realm website. John Gurda is a Milwaukee historian and author of twenty-two books, including The Making of Milwaukee, Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, and Milwaukee: A City Built on Water.

Monday, October 25, 2 pm
Samira Shackle, author of Karachi Vice: Life and Death in a Divided City
in Conversation with Audrey Nowakowski for a Virtual Event
Register for this event here

Boswell presents a special afternoon virtual event with Samira Shackle in conversation with Audrey Nowakowski, a Producer and Host of WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio's Lake Effect.

Karachi - Pakistan’s largest city is a sprawling metropolis of twenty million people, twice the size of New York City. It is a place of political turbulence in which those who have power wield it with brutal and partisan force. It takes an insider to know where is safe, who to trust, and what makes Karachi tick. Shackle explores the city of her mother’s birth in the company of a handful of Karachiites whose individual experiences tell the bigger story of Karachi over the past decade as it has endured a terrifying crime wave: a period in which the Taliban arrive in Pakistan, adding to the daily perils for its residents and pushing their city into the international spotlight.

The Daniel rec: "Journalist Shackle spent several years following Karachi residents, including a crime reporter, an ambulance driver, an educator and social activist, another advocate who maps the city’s resources and helps get things like sewers installed, and a young woman from a rural village watching a project for the wealthy encroach on their land. The Partition and other localized conflicts have created a megacity where Pashtuns, Sindhis, Baloch, and Mohajirs (Punjabis are a force in Pakistan, but not so much in Karachi) fight for land and resources, where each ethnic group has a political party which shares power with a criminal element. Underfunded police are almost incentivized to corruption. Social services are often underfunded or altogether absent; ambulances are run by a charity. Media channels are in fierce competition for viewers - with journalists putting themselves in great danger to get the best story. All this and The Taliban, too. Shackle’s detailed and sympathetic portrayal of life in this city of 20 million people is fascinating reading, always insightful, plus she’s a great storyteller. If you are one of the millions of people who loved Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, this book is for you."

Samira Shackle is editor of New Humanist magazine and a regular contributor to the Guardian Long Read. She frequently reports from Pakistan, where she has family, and spent extensive time there working on this book. She has twice been a media fellow at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Social Difference, and in 2019 she was made a MacDowell fellow. Audrey Nowakowski is a Lake Effect host and producer and has also worked at WMSE. She is a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University.

More upcoming events here.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending October 16, 2021

Boswell bestsellers, week ending October 16, 2021

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr
2. Raft of Stars, by Andrew J Graff
3. State of Terror, by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny
4. Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead
5. The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles
6. Bewilderment, by Richard Powers
7. Crossroads, by Jonathan Franzen
8. We Are Not Like Them, by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza
9. Silverview, by John Le Carre
10. The Last Graduate V2, by Naomi Novik

A Clinton and a writer walk into a writing conference - so goes the story - but this time it's not Bill and James Patterson but Hilary and Louise Penny. The State of Terror collaboration chronicles a fictional Secretary of State teaming up with a journalist and a foreign service officer to defeat a rogue group of terrorists that come into possession of nuclear weapons. Sarah Lyall in The New York Times writes: "State of Terror may bring Penny into new fictional territory, but her imprint is everywhere. The emotional cast to the writing, the tendency to dangle portents and wait some time before resolving them, the depiction of friendship, the short paragraphs, the philosophical aperçus - these are all marks of Penny’s writing. " They speak to Scott Simon on NPR Weekend Edition here.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Hero of Two Worlds, by Mike Duncan
2. Taste, by Stanley Tucci
3. Midnight in Washington, by Adam Schiff
4. Jew Ish: A Cookbook, by Jake Cohen
5. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, by Rebecca Donner
6. Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
7. There Is Nothing for You Here, by Fiona Hill
8. The Storyteller, by Dave Grohl
9. Where the Deer and the Antelope Play, by Nick Offerman
10. A Confederacy of Dumptys, by John Lithgow

Two political players make debuts this week in the top 10 and if you listen to news programs, you already know about them. Adam Schiff's Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could has endorsements from Ron Chernow, Jon Meacham, and Timothy Snyder, and by the way, it's out of stock everywhere. Fiona Hill's There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century also has a Timothy Snyder quote (someone's busy reading political memoirs!) as well as Robert Putnam and Drew Gilpin Faust, and guess what? It's out of stock everywhere. That's the way things are going to go this fall. We warned you!

Paperback Fiction:
1. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
2. Circe, by Madeline Miller
3. Leonard and Hungry Paul, by Rónán Hession
4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
5. People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
6. The Lying Life of Adults, by Elena Ferrante
7. Dune, by Frank Herbert
8. Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse
9. The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
10. The Silence, by Don Delillo

One reader wrote to me and noted that last week, eight of the top ten fiction books were penned by men. Was that unusual? Lately, yes it is. This week we're down to seven, but the reverse is true in paperback fiction where it's seven women to three men, with Madeline Miller holding two slots, a not unusual feat for her. It was released in paperback in late June, but this is the first week in the top 10 for Black Sun, the first volume in an epic fantasy series from Rebecca Roanhorse featuring a number of queer and nonbinary characters and inspired by Indigenous Cultures. Petra Mayer spoke to Roanhorse on NPR, where Roanhorse noted: "I have been reading epic fantasies inspired by European settings since I was a child, and while I'm still a fan of many of these works, I longed to see something different," she says. "So I wrote it. I never made a conscious decision to go in that direction. That direction was simply the natural culmination of my love of the architecture, poetry, politics, and history of these places and people that I've been learning about forever."

The follow-up novel, Fevered Star, releases April 19, 2022.  

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Little Pieces of Hope, by Todd Doughty
2. Fading Ads of Milwaukee, by Adam Levin
3. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
4. Best American Essays 2021, by Kathryn Schulz/Robert Atwan
5. American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, by Charles Hagner
6. Voice of Milwaukee Bronzeville, by Sandra E Jones (Register for November 18 event here in person, or here to watch the Zoom webinar)
7. Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell
8. Milwaukee River Greenway, by Eddee Daniel (Register for October 21 event here in person or here to watch the event on Zoom webinar)
9. Vegan for Everybody, by America's Test Kitchen
10. Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari

With Houghton Mifflin Harper's trade division now owned by HarperCollins and renamed Mariner under the William Morrow direction, it will be interesting to see where they go with the Best American series, which has defeated all comers in the years since it's been published. For Best American Essays 2021, I looked at numbers since we've been open, and at the Downer numbers from 2005-2008 (they generally had the best number in the series of the Schwartz locations), and can definitively say that at least for the past 16 years, the numbers have followed no predictable trajectory, ranging from 10 to 29 copies. Our worst sales were 2009 with Mary Oliver editing and our best was 2014 with John Jeremiah Sullivan. But lest you think that's about the 2009 year when Boswell was just getting its feet wet and had yet to find its audience, when it comes to short stories, there were five years that did worse than 2009, all by the way, after Boswell was open. If you're wondering, our best Short Story year was 2012, followed by 2005.

Books for Kids:
1. Chlorine Sky, by Mahogany L Browne
2. Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World, by Benjamin Alire Saenz
3. Lulu and Rocky in Milwaukee, by Barbara Joosse, with illustrations by Renée Graef
4. Change Sings, by Amanda Gorman, with illustrations by Loren Long
5. Construction Site Road Crew, Coming Through, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, with illustrations by A.G. Ford
6. Regina Is Not a Little Dinosaur, by Andrea Zuill
7. The Beatryce Prophecy, by Kate DiCamillo, with illustrations by Sophie Blackall
8. Chez Bob, by Bob Shea
9. Pony, by R.J. Palacio
10. The Bad Seed Presents the Good, the Bad, and the Spooky, by Jory John, with illustrations by Pete Oswald

I was talking to FOB (Friend of Boswell) Noah, who came in to buy two copies of Construction Site: Road Crew, Coming Through (one for their child, one for a friend) and I mentioned that when my family was visiting, we bought a copy of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site for my great nephew and he loved it enough that we got a second book in the series. I can't sell it better than the publisher: "This new adventure focuses on the importance of teamwork in building a new road and features all of the original vehicles as well as new road-building specific ones. Also has a focus on bridges of safe wildlife crossing which has become a necessary part of road construction." You may know the original is illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, but later books in the series have illustrations by NAACP Image Award recipient A.G. Ford.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Kristine Kierzek has a profile of Madison restaurant owner turned cookbook writer Barb Pratzel, author of Manna Café and Bakery Cookbook.

Tomorrow - Boswell events

Monday, October 11, 2021

What a Boswell Week! Christine Pride and Jo Piazza, Todd Doughty, Anthony Doerr, Mike Duncan (signing only), Andrew J Graff (at Elm Grove Library)

Boswell events for the week of October 11, 2021

Monday, October 11, 7 pm
Christine Pride and Jo Piazza, authors of We Are Not Like Them
in Conversation with Nancy Johnson for a Virtual Event
Register for this event here.

Join us for an evening with Pride and Piazza, coauthors of a powerful and poignant new novel that explores race in America today and its devastating impact on two childhood friends, one Black and one white. In conversation with Nancy Johnson, author of The Kindest Lie. Don't forget to ask foryour signed bookplate.

Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young and, after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager.

On getting the Philadelphia setting for the book just right, from Philadelphia Magazine: " There were little things that Jo insisted on getting into the book that Christine didn’t get. There’s a line about how people in Philly ask where you went to high school before they ask what you do - Christine tried to take it out a dozen times, and Jo was insistent." This is also a St. Louis thing. I've never noticed it in MilwAUkee.

Christine Pride has held editorial posts at imprints such as Doubleday, Crown, and Simon & Schuster. As an editor, Christine has published a range of books, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. She pens the Race Matters column for Cup of Jo. Jo Piazza is author of books such as Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, How to Be Married, and The Knockoff. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN.

Tuesday, October 12, 6 pm
Todd Doughty, author of Little Pieces of Hope: Happy-Making Things in a Difficult World
in conversation with Chelsea Cain and Chuck Palahniuk for a virtual event
Register for this event here.

Boswell Book Company presents an event featuring Todd Doughty for his new book, Little Pieces of Hope, an enchanting collection of lists, musings, and illustrations that will inspire you to cherish all of the things, from the extraordinary to the everyday, that bring hope into our lives. Don't forget to ask for your signed bookplate. This event is brought to you by Watermark Books & Café of Wichita, Anderson's Book Shop of Naperville and Downer's Grove, and Boswell.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, and our lives began to change in unprecedented ways. Todd Doughty knew he needed to do something to help him stay connected to the everyday joys of daily life. So he wrote down a list of things that make him happy: The musical intro to All Things Considered. Someone forgiving you. Someone believing in you. Your foot sticking out from under a blanket in order to find the cool spot. Freshly cut yellow tulips. A really good burger.

From Associated Press: "This should be a book you keep around when you need a little jolt, something to lift you up if you’re feeling down. As even Doughty suggests in the opening pages, you can read the book in order or flip to random pages." (This link is to ABC News)

Todd Doughty is currently SVP, Deputy Publisher of Doubleday and has worked at Penguin Random House for more than two decades. Doughty is a graduate of Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) and former bookseller.

I love the fact that one of our delightful customers worked with both Christine Pride and Todd Doughty when they were both at Doubleday!

Wednesday, October 13, 7 pm
Anthony Doerr, author of Cloud Cuckoo Land
in Conversation with Quan Barry for a Ticketed Virtual Event
Tickets for the event here.

Boswell Book Company is thrilled to host the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See. Doerr joins us for a conversation about his latest novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, which is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring novel about children on the cusp of adulthood in a broken world, who find resilience, hope, and story. Doerr will be in conversation with Quan Barry, Professor of English at UW-Madison and author of the novels We Ride Upon Sticks and She Weeps Each Time You're Born. Cosponsored by the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library.

Tickets cost $30, and each includes a copy of Cloud Cuckoo Land and admission for one electronic device. Signed copies and bookplates no longer available. $5 from each ticket will be donated back to the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, in the spirit of Cloud Cuckoo Land's celebration of libraries.

From Marcel Theroux in The New York Times: "Cloud Cuckoo, among other things, a paean to the nameless people who have played a role in the transmission of ancient texts and preserved the tales they tell. But it’s also about the consolations of stories and the balm they have provided for millenniums. It’s a wildly inventive novel that teems with life, straddles an enormous range of experience and learning, and embodies the storytelling gifts that it celebrates. It also pulls off a resolution that feels both surprising and inevitable, and that compels you back to the opening of the book with a head-shake of admiration at the Swiss-watchery of its construction."

The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are trying to figure out the world around them: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the formidable city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour in an attack on a public library in present-day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet, decades from now. An ancient text - the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky - provides solace and mystery to these unforgettable characters. Doerr has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness - with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us and those who will be here after we’re gone. Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a hauntingly beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship - of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.

Anthony Doerr is author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal, as well as The Shell Collector and Four Seasons in Rome. He has won five O Henry Prizes, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, and the Story Prize. Quan Barry is author of two novels and four poetry books, including Water Puppets, winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry and is the author of a new novel, out February 2022, titled When I'm Gone, Look for Me in the East. 

Thursday, October 14, 4 pm
Mike Duncan, author of Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution
Outdoor Book Signing
Register for this signing here.

Mike Duncan, the bestselling author of The Storm Before the Storm and host of the Revolutions podcast, is coming to Boswell for an outdoor book signing. His latest book tells the thrilling story of the Marquis de Lafayette’s lifelong quest to defend the principles of liberty and equality. Admission to the signing line is free with purchase of Hero of Two Worlds or $5, which can be applied to any other book purchase at Boswell. Please note that Mike Duncan is not giving a talk at this event.

Few in history can match the revolutionary career of the Marquis de Lafayette. Over fifty incredible years at the heart of the Age of Revolution, he fought courageously on both sides of the Atlantic. He was a soldier, statesman, idealist, philanthropist, and abolitionist. From enthusiastic youth to world-weary old age, from the pinnacle of glory to the depths of despair, Lafayette never stopped fighting for the rights of all mankind. His remarkable life is the story of where we come from, and an inspiration to defend the ideals he held dear.

From The Wall Street Journal: "Mr. Duncan’s Hero of Two Worlds offers, in readable prose, much informative description alongside measured interpretation. The author’s sympathetic yet balanced and sensible rendering, some may think, mirrors Lafayette’s eventful life in a revolutionary age." And from Adam Gopnick in The New Yorker: "Duncan’s biography is written in a loose, colloquial style that sometimes startles with its informality but more often delights with its directness."

Mike Duncan is author of The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic, and his award-winning series, The History of Rome, remains a landmark in the history of podcasting. Duncan’s current podcast series, Revolutions, explores the great political revolutions that have driven the course of modern history.

Saturday, October 16, 1 pm
Andrew J Graff, author of Raft of Stars
In Person at Elm Grove Public Library, 13600 Juneau Blvd
Register for this event here.

Elm Grove Public Library, along with Boswell Book Company, present an afternoon with Wisconsin native Andrew J Graff, author of Raft of Stars, the debut novel that Richard Russo calls “a rousing adventure yarn full of danger and heart and humor.” When two hardscrabble young boys think they’ve committed a crime, they flee into the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Will the adults trying to find and protect them reach them before it’s too late? Please click here to visit the Elm Grove Public Library website and register for this event.

Raft of Stars was one of our big books of spring, it's going to make a great holiday gift. If you bought a copy from us and didn't paste in your signed bookplate, maybe you should head over to Elm Grove for the event.  

Andrew J Graff grew up in in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Graff earned an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, teaches at Wittenberg University, and has published work in Image and Dappled Things.

More at Boswell's upcoming events page.

Photo credit
Christine Pride and Jo Piazza by Bench
Nancy Johnson by Nina Subin
Todd Doughty by Michael Lionstar
Chuck Palahniuk by Alan Amato
Mike Duncan by Brandi Duncan