Monday, July 18, 2022

Three upcoming events to look forward to! Ben Riggs for Slaying the Dragon, Jean Thompson for The Poet's House (both at Boswell), Jennifer Chiaverini for Switchboard Soldiers (at Greendale Public Library)

Tuesday, July 19, 6:30 pm
Ben Riggs, author of Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons
In-Person at Boswell Book Company - click here to register

Milwaukee author, educator, and podcaster Ben Riggs joins us for a special launch celebration of his debut book, Slaying the Dragon, which exposes the secret, untold story of how TSR, the company that created Dungeons & Dragons, was driven into ruin by disastrous management decisions, then purchased and saved by their bitterest rival.

For years, a story has been told about TSR, the company that made Dungeons & Dragons – TSR created the role-playing genre in 1974, then in the 90s a company named Wizard overtook the scene with a card came called Magic: The Gathering. The competition killed TSR, and in a twist worthy of a Greek tragedy, Wizards ended up buying TSR. That story is entirely wrong.

Through hundreds of hours of interviews, endless research, and the help of sources providing secret documents, the true story of what happened to TSR and Dungeons & Dragons can finally be told. The true history is that of disastrous mistakes and decisions founded on arrogance rather than good sense. Debts were racked up, geniuses driven from the company, and countless of thousands of products were shipped and sold at a loss. The story of TSR provides a negative blueprint, an example of what a company should not do in the geek business space.

Two great staff reads on this one! From Jason: "A good portion of my youth was spent playing D&D and reading Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms novels. Riggs does an amazing job of highlighting both the success and failure of one of the great iconic gaming companies." And from Daniel: "I’ve never played a game of Dungeons & Dragons in my life. And yet I found Slaying the Dragon thoroughly enjoyable, partly because of the near-local setting, and partly because Riggs is a good storyteller who also highlights the corporate missteps in a way that I think will appeal to folks who read business narratives."

Ben Riggs is creator of the Plot Points RPG podcast, and his work has appeared on NPR and Geek & Sundry. He teaches English and history in Milwaukee.

Wednesday, July 20, 6:30 pm
Jean Thompson, author of The Poet’s House
in Conversation with Christina Clancy, In-Person at Boswell - click here to register

National Book Award finalist and author of the New York Times bestseller The Year We Left Home joins us at Boswell for an in-person conversation about her new novel, The Poet’s House, an unforgettable, lighthearted story about a young woman who discovers the insular world of writers. In conversation with Wisconsin’s Christina Clancy, author of Shoulder Season and The Second Home.

A wry meditation on art as both transformative and on the ways in which it can be leveraged as commerce, as well as a perceptive examination of the female artist, Thompson’s latest novel is at once delightfully funny and wise, and will resonate with readers who loved Lily King's Writers & Lovers, Meg Wolitzer's The Female Persuasion, and Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise. When landscaper Carla is hired to work at Viridian's house, she is perplexed by this community of writers, yet she becomes enamored with Viridian, her circle, and especially with the power of words, a hunger that Carla feels sharply at this stagnating moment in her young life.

Dan Chaon, author of Sleepwalk and Ill Will, says: "Jean Thompson is a national treasure. She's the kind of writer who can make you laugh and cry at the same time, a consummate prose stylist whose work is full of insight and wisdom and a deadly keen eye for the foibles and self-deceptions of her characters. The Poet's House is yet another indelible masterpiece in her oeuvre."

Jean Thompson is author of fourteen books of fiction, including Who Do You Love, The Year We Left Home, and New York Times Notable Book Wide Blue Yonder. Her work has been published in the New Yorker and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize. She has been the recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, among other accolades, and has taught creative writing at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Reed College, Northwestern University. Christina Clancy received a PhD from UWM and has taught at Beloit College.

Monday, July 25, 6:30 pm
Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Switchboard Soldiers
In-Person at Greendale Public Library Hose Tower Community Room, 5647 Broad Street - click here to register

Wisconsin’s own New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction, Jennifer Chiaverini returns to the Milwaukee area for an evening with her latest, Switchboard Soldiers, a novel set during WWI about the very first women ever recruited into the US military. Boswell will be on hand at the event selling copies of this and Chiaverini’s other books, too. Switchboard Soldiers goes on sale tomorrow, July 19.

In 1917, US Army Signal Corps needed telephone operators. At a time when women could not serve, nearly all well-trained operators were women. This is the story of four very different women who were among the very first to be sworn in - a group that could do their jobs six times as fast as the men they replaced. While mocked at by men at the time as the “hello girls,” the women of the U.S. Army Signal Corps broke down gender barriers in the military, smashed the workplace glass ceiling, and battled a pandemic as they helped lead the Allies to victory.

The risk of death was real - the women worked as bombs fell around them - as was the threat of the deadly Spanish Flu. Not all of the telephone operators would survive. Their story has never been the focus of a novel… until now.

Jennifer Chiaverini is author of acclaimed historical novels such as The Women’s March and Resistance Women as well as the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives in Madison.

Photo credits:
Jean Thompson by Marion Ettlinger
Christina Clancy by Kate Berg 

Thanks to Rachel for putting this update together.

No comments: