Monday, April 18, 2022

what a week! Peng Shepherd for The Cartographers (in person and broadcast), Susan Cain on Bittersweet (virtual), Theresa Brown for Healing (in person), Mary Helen Stefaniak of The World of Pondside (virtual) and Jeff Deutsch on bookstores next MOnday.

Lots of good stuff this week!

Hybrid - Monday, April 18, 6:30 pm Central
Peng Shepherd, author of The Cartographers
In conversation with Jim Higgins for A Hybrid Event at Boswell Book Company
Register for both in-person and virtual attendance for this event now at

The Cartographers is a highly imaginative thriller about a young woman who discovers that a strange map in her deceased father’s belongings holds an incredible, deadly secret, one that will lead her on an extraordinary adventure and to the truth about her family’s dark history. Shepard's writing combines atmospheric prose and solid plotting and should appeal to fans of Joe Hill, VE Schwab, and Justin Cronin. For this event, Shepherd will be in conversation with Jim Higgins of the Journal Sentinel. And as a special bonus, Marcy Bidney, curator of the UWM American Geographical Society Map Library, will bring the coveted map highlighted in the novel. To our knowledge, this edition isn't magical. 

We have had no less than five Boswellians read The Cartographers. I guess there just aren't enough speculative thrillers about mapmaking out there! Kay Wosewick noteed that "Sharp characters, eerie settings, and many twists add up to a very satisfying thriller." And our buyer Jason Kennedy called it "a fun and twisty read."

And while Vivian Shaw is not a Boswelllian, she might just become an honorary one after her review in The Washington Post: "One of the triumphs of The Cartographers is the exploration of what it means to make a map. Does the act of surveying, measuring, drafting and drawing the map affect the landscape it represents? Is it possible to map something without altering it in the process? How accurate can any map be, given that it only represents a snapshot of that landscape at one point in time, and to what extent does this matter? The Cartographers explores these questions with deep, vivid intensity; it will make you think twice about the power of paper maps, especially in a world where they’ve been supplanted by electronic devices."

Virtual - Wednesday, April 20, 9:30 am Central
Susan Cain, author of Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole
in Conversation with Sally Haldorson for a Virtual Event
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Bittersweet from Boswell or Porchlight.

Boswell Book Company and Porchlight Book Company present a morning event with Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, for a conversation about her new book, Bittersweet, which reveals the power of a bittersweet outlook on life and why we've been so blind to its value. In conversation with Sally Haldorson, Managing Director of Porchlight. We should note that Quiet has been on the NYT bestseller list for years and Cain's TED talk on the power of introverts has been viewed over 40 million times.

Early praise for Bittersweet includes this, from Drive and The Power of Regret author Daniel H Pink: "Bittersweet is astonishing - one of the most gracefully written, palpably human books I’ve read in years. Its powerful case will reshape how you think about yourself and those you love. Its sheer beauty will linger in your heart long after you turn the final page." And from Brené Brown: "Bittersweet grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go. I’ve thought about the depth and beauty in Cain’s research and storytelling every day since I finished the book. I will always be grateful for how much Quiet and Bittersweet have helped me understand myself and how I engage with the world."

The virtual event series with Porchlight Books is a must-watch! Watch previous events with Katherine May and Lillian Faderman here, and you can register for the May 16 event with Chloe Cooper-Jones for Easy Beauty here.

In-Person - Wednesday, April 20, 6:30 pm
Theresa Brown, author of Healing: When a Nurse Becomes a Patient
In Conversation with Cheryl Bailey, In-Person at Boswell Book Company
Register for this in-person event here.

Boswell Book Company hosts an evening with Theresa Brown, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shift and Critical Care, for a conversation about her new book, in which the caregiver becomes the patient as she offers a poignant, powerful, and intensely personal account of her experience of breast cancer. Cosponsored by ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis. Cheryl Bailey is Dean of the School of Natural and Health Sciences at Mount Mary University, including the nursing program.

Bestselling author and oncology nurse Theresa Brown brings us along with her from the mammogram that would change her life through her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Despite her training and years of experience as an oncology and hospice nurse, she finds herself continually surprised by the lack of compassion in the medical maze - just as so many of us have. Where is the empathy from caregivers? Why is she so often left in the dark about procedures and treatments? At times she’s mad at herself for not speaking up and asking for what she needs but knows that being labeled a 'difficult' patient could mean she gets worse care. As she did in The Shift, Brown draws us into her work with the unforgettable details of her daily life - the needles, the chemo drugs, the rubber gloves, the frustrated patients - but from her new perch as a patient, she also takes a look back with rare candor at some of her own cases as a nurse and considers what she didn’t know then and what she could have done better. 

Virtual - Thursday, April 21, 7 pm
Mary Helen Stefaniak, author of The World of Pondside
in Conversation with Valerie Laken for a Virtual Event
Click here to register. Ask for your signed bookplate - or if you are patient, we can get you a signed personalized copy.

The award-winning author (and Milwaukee native!) of The Turk and My Mother, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, and Self Storage chats about her blissful, treacherous, and unforgettable new novel of nursing-home residents entering a virtual reality that leads to a real death: The World of Pondside. In conversation with UWM’s Valerie Laken. Stefaniak is Professor Emerita of Creative Writing at Creighton University and currently teaches for Pacific University's low residency MFA program, along with Laken.

With help from Pondside Manor's quirky, twentysomething ‘kitchen boy,’ wheelchair-bound resident Robert Kallman creates a video game that delights the rest home's residents by allowing them to virtually relive blissful moments from days long past-or even create new ones. Then chaos ensues when he's discovered dead, strapped in his wheelchair and drowned in the rest home's pond. It’s far from clear if this brilliant man's death was suicide or murder. The game goes dark, the players grow desperate. A raucous bunch of misfits suffering from various stages of dementia and other age-related afflictions work to get the game back online, and their pursuit has unintended consequences, uncovering a criminal conspiracy. From Pondside Manor, an astonishing journey is embarked upon, one blissful, treacherous, and unforgettable.

Willy Vlautin, author of The Night Always Comes, says: "There's so much I love about this novel. It manages that rare of feat of being many things at once: funny, endearing, heartbreaking, suspenseful, hopeful, and tragic. Welcome to the world of Pondside Manor nursing home. A real gem of a book that I couldn't put down." And Booklist noted: "Stefaniak infuses an often forbidding and depressing environment with joy and dignity in this Agatha Christie-esque cyber caper."

Hybrid - Monday, April 25, 6:30 pm
Jeff Deutsch, author of In Praise of Good Bookstores
In Conversation with Daniel Goldin and In-Person at Boswell Book Company
Click here to register for this event, in person or broadcast!

Boswell is pleased to host an evening featuring Jeff Deutsch, Director of Chicago’s Seminary Co-op Bookstore, for a celebration of his new book, In Praise of Good Bookstores, an eloquent and charming reflection on the singular importance of our business. In conversation with Boswell proprietor Daniel Goldin.

In the age of one-click shopping, this is no ordinary defense of bookstores, but rather an urgent account of why they are essential places of discovery, refuge, and fulfillment that enrich the communities that are lucky enough to have them. The question has been asked, though we have our own opinion: Do we need bookstores in the twenty-first century? If so, what makes a good one? Deutsch pays loving tribute to one of our most important and endangered civic institutions. He considers how qualities like space, time, abundance, and community find expression in a good bookstore. Along the way, he also predicts - perhaps audaciously - a future in which the bookstore not only endures, but realizes its highest aspirations.

In exploring why good bookstores matter, Deutsch draws on his lifelong experience as a bookseller, and also his upbringing as an Orthodox Jew. This spiritual and cultural heritage instilled in him a reverence for reading as an essential part of a meaningful life. Central among Deutsch’s arguments for the necessity of bookstores is the incalculable value of browsing - since, when we are deep in the act of looking at the shelves, we move through space as though we are inside the mind itself, immersed in self-reflection.

More on the Boswell upcoming events page.

Photo credits:
Susan Cain by Aaron Feder
Theresa Brown by Heather Kresge

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