Monday, May 9, 2022

An eventful week! Michael Benson (virtual), Wade Rouse (in person), Jonathan Greenblatt (virtual), Nghi Vo (in person at MPL East Branch), Shelby Van Pelt (in person), Debora Harding (virtual), Chloé Cooper Jones (virtual)

Monday, May 9, 7 pm
Michael Benson, author of Gangsters vs. Nazis: How Jewish Mobsters Battled Nazis in Wartime America
A virtual event - click here to register

Boswell is pleased to present an evening with Michael Benson for his newest release, Gangsters vs. Nazis. Benson tells the stunning true story of the rise of Nazism in America during the 1930s and 1940s - and the fearless Jewish gangsters and crime families who joined forces to fight back.

With an intense cinematic style, acclaimed nonfiction crime author Michael Benson divulges the thrilling role of Jewish mobsters like Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel in stomping out the terrifying tide of Nazi sympathizers in the years leading to WWII. Packed with surprising, little-known facts, graphic details, and unforgettable personalities, Gangsters vs. Nazis chronicles the mob's most ruthless tactics in taking down fascism - inspiring ordinary Americans to join them in their fight. This is the story of the mob that's rarely told - and one of the most fascinating chapters in American history and American organized crime.

From Larry Alexander, author of the New York Times bestseller Biggest Brother: "From indoctrinating youth camps to jack-booted rallies promoting Adolf Hitler, pre-World War II America was threatened by the rise of Nazism. Gangsters vs. Nazis is a must-read, eye-opening account that brings to life the violent struggle between these home-brewed storm troopers and an army of unlikely patriots; gangs of fist-swinging Jewish mobsters willing to break bones and crack heads in order to turn back the Nazi menace."

Michael Benson is the author of more than sixty books, including the nonfiction crime titles Betrayal in Blood, Killer Twins, and The Devil at Genesee Junction. He is the co-author, along with Frank DiMatteo, of the acclaimed American Mafia history books Carmine the Snake, Mafia Hit Man, and Lord High Executioner. He regularly appears on ID: Investigation Discovery channel and is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award.

Tuesday, May 10, 6:30 pm
Wade Rouse, author of Magic Season: A Son’s Story
in-person at Boswell Book Company - click here to register

Boswell presents an evening with Wade Rouse, critically acclaimed author of multiple memoirs, for his latest, Magic Season, in which Rouse finds solace with his dying father through their shared love of baseball in this poignant, illuminating memoir of family and forgiveness.

As a queer kid in a conservative Ozarks community, Wade struggled at a young age to garner his father's approval and find his voice. For decades, baseball offered Wade and his father a shared vocabulary - a way to stay in touch, to connect and to express their emotions. But when his father's health takes a turn for the worst, Wade returns to southwest Missouri to share one final season with his father. Inning by inning during their own magic season, they'll move towards forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace.

Heartfelt, hilarious and lovingly rendered, Magic Season is an unforgettable story of love, family and forgiveness against the backdrop of America's favorite pastime. #1 New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson says: "Honest, authentic, heartbreaking and healing. Magic Season explores, in such a poignant yet hopeful way, the complicated family relationships that break us and make us. I devoured it in one day."

From Daniel: Wade Rouse returns to his roots with this memoir after a series of Viola Shipman novel, with more to come - the next Shipman novel is The Edge of Summer, publishing on July 12. He's got his superfans, so expect an enthusiastic crowd. 

Wade Rouse is an award-winning memoirist and internationally bestselling author of 12 books, which have been selected as Today Show Must-Reads, Indie Next Picks, and a Michigan Notable Book. Rouse writes fiction under his grandma’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms inspire his writing. He hosts Wine & Words with Wade, A Literary Happy Hour.

Boswell Book Company hosts a virtual event with Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, for a conversation about his new book, It Could Happen Here. This event is cohosted by the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Congregation Emanu'el B'ne Jeshurun, and the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, and Greenblatt will be in conversation with Paul Schmitz of Leading Inside Out and The Collective Action Forum.

Greenblatt offers an impassioned argument about the terrifying path that America finds itself on today and how we can save ourselves. It’s almost impossible to imagine that unbridled hate and systematic violence could come for us or our families. But it has happened in our lifetimes in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. And it could happen here. In this urgent book, Greenblatt sounds an alarm, warning that this age-old trend is gathering momentum in the United States, and that violence on an even larger, more catastrophic scale could be just around the corner.

Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat and Bruno fame says, "In this refreshingly candid read, Jonathan is not afraid to call out leaders of tech companies like Facebook and Twitter to be more accountable for their role in spreading hatred. Get off Instagram and read this book." And from Yossi Klein Halevi, author of Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor: "Greenblatt has written an urgent work of deep love and deep anxiety - for the Jewish people, for America, for the state of Israel… It Could Happen Here will help shape the conversation on antisemitism and hate in America."

Jonathan Greenblatt joined ADL in 2015 after serving in the White House as special assistant to President Obama and director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. He cofounded Ethos Brands, the company that launched Ethos Water, and All for Good, and served as a senior executive at

Wednesday, May 11, 5:30 pm
Nghi Vo, author of Siren Queen
in-person at Milwaukee Public Library East Branch, 2320 N Cramer St - click here to register

Milwaukee Public Library and Boswell Book Company host a special launch-day event for Nghi Vo, author of The Chosen and the Beautiful, for her brand new fantasy-tinged novel of historical Hollywood, Siren Queen.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo meets The Night Circus in this dazzling, fantastical coming of age story from Vo. Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill - but she doesn't care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid. But in Luli's world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes - even if that means becoming the monster herself.

Siren Queen offers up an enthralling exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page. Martha Wells, author of the beloved Murderbot Diaries, says: "Nghi Vo has become one of my favorite writers, and Siren Queen is lush and brilliant, a mesmerizing journey into a pre-Code Hollywood that is all sharp edges, with the darkest magic and highest stakes."

from Daniel: Siren Queen is the second Nghi Vo novel that I've read, and like The Chosen and the Beautiful, Vo takes a takes a magical moment in our imagination, in this case old Hollywood, and bring some actual magic to it, along with an AAPI perspective. The results are dreamlike and haunting. My complete review is on the item page

Nghi Vo is author of The Chosen and the Beautiful and the acclaimed novellas When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, a Locus and Ignyte Award finalist and the winner of the Crawford Award and the Hugo Award. She lives on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Thursday, May 12, 5:30 pm - in person - If you're browsing at Boswell, you'll notice that we're holding a student reading with the St. Robert School.  Part of the store may be inaccessible.

Friday, May 13, 6:30 pm - in person
Shelby Van Pelt, author of Remarkably Bright Creatures
in conversation with Daniel Goldin, in-person at Boswell Book Company - click here to register

Join us for an evening with Shelby Vn Pelt, author of Remarkably Bright Creatures, a charming, feel good story about a widow working the night shift at a Puget Sound aquarium who makes a life changing friendship with Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus. Perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove.

After Tova's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors - until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late.

From Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here, "Remarkably Bright Creatures is a beautiful examination of how loneliness can be transformed, cracked open, with the slightest touch from another living thing. Shelby Van Pelt makes good on this wild conceit, somehow making me love a misanthropic octopus, but her writing is so finely tuned that it's a natural element of a larger story about family, about loss, and the electricity of something found."

From Daniel: One of my favorite kinds of novels is what I classify as "lost souls/found family" and Van Pelt's novel definitely falls into that category. Jocelyn Cole, one half of Juneau Black, also noted that like the Shady Hollow series, the story has an animal protagonist. Click on the item page to read my full review, or check out Alexis Burling's great piece in The Washington Post

Shelby Van Pelt has published stories in several magazines and anthologies. This is her debut novel.

Saturday, May 14, 10:45 am
Debora Harding, author of Dancing with the Octopus
in conversation with Allan Little for a virtual event - click here to register

We are pleased to once again reach across the Atlantic Ocean to partner with the Boswell Book Festival of Scotland for a special virtual event featuring Debora Harding, author of Dancing with the Octopus, a gripping memoir of crime, trauma, and healing. In conversation with Allan Little, former special correspondent for the BBC.

In order to register for free, Boswell customers must select the Virtual Ticket option, and then use Discount Code "FD8EB6" at checkout. Click here to browse the Boswell Book Festival website for more information. If you decide you want to attend it all, we suppose it’s not too late to book your flights!

On a winter day in November 1978, when Harding was just fourteen, she was abducted at knifepoint. She was thrown into a van, assaulted, held for ransom, and then left to die as an ice storm descended. Debora survived and identified her attacker, but then returned to life in a dysfunctional home, where she was expected to simply move on. Denial became the family coping strategy offered by her fun-loving, conflicted father and her cruelly resentful mother.

Decades later, beset by PTSD, Debora undertook a radical project: she met her childhood attacker face-to-face in prison and began to reconsider his complex story. This was a quest for the truth that would threaten the lie at the heart of her family. Harding untangles the incident of her kidnapping and escape from unexpected angles and offers a vivid portrait of one family’s disintegration in the 1970s Midwest, a rusted landscape in which the loss of white male power can flare into unspeakable violence. With dark humor and the pacing of a thriller, Dancing with the Octopus is a literary tour de force and a groundbreaking narrative of reckoning, recovery, and the inexhaustible strength it takes to survive.

Debora Harding has worked in national US politics, cofounded the UK’s first local terrestrial television station, and managed a bicycle business. Her work has been published in the Guardian, the Daily Mail, and Unbound. She now lives in England with her husband. Allan Little has covered the break-up of Yugoslavia, the Gulf War, the trial of Slobodan Milošević, the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda, and led the BBC’s coverage of the Scottish Independence Referendum.

Monday, May 16, 6:30 pm
Chloé Cooper Jones, author of Easy Beauty: A Memoir
in conversation with Sally Haldorson for a virtual event - click here to register

Boswell Book Company and Porchlight Book Company present an evening with journalist, professor, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Chloé Cooper Jones for a conversation about Easy Beauty, her groundbreaking memoir about disability, motherhood, and a journey to far-flung places in search of a new way of seeing and being seen. In conversation with Sally Haldorson, Managing Director of Porchlight Book Company, our cohost for this event.

Chloé Cooper Jones’s bold, revealing book is an account of moving through the world in a body that looks different than most. Jones learned early on to factor “pain calculations” into every situation. Born with a rare congenital condition called sacral agenesis which affects both her stature and gait, her pain is physical. But there is also the pain of being judged and pitied for her appearance, of being dismissed as "less than." Jones set off on a journey across the globe, reclaiming the spaces she’d been denied, and denied herself. With emotional depth, spiky intelligence, passion, and humor, Jones offers us that rare thing - a memoir that has the power to make you see the world and your place in it with new eyes.

André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name, says "Easy Beauty is bold, honest, and superbly well-written. Chloé Cooper Jones is ruthless in probing our weakest and darkest areas, and does so with grace, humor, and ultimately, with something one seldom finds: kindness and humanity."

Chloé Cooper Jones was a finalist for a 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing, and her work has appeared in publications including GQ, VICE, and New York magazine. Her writing has been selected for both The Best American Travel Writing and The Best American Sports Writing.

Photo credits
Wade Rouse by Kim Schneider
Nghi Vo by CJ Foeckler
Chloé Cooper Jones by Andrew Grossardt

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