Monday, September 19, 2022

Eight events this week: Marie Kohler (in-person), Elizabeth Strout (virtual), Bianca Marais (ticketed in-person), John M Van Lieshout (in-person), Mark Bergen (virtual), Judith M Ford, Francie Dekker, and Peter Geye (all in-person)

Monday, September 19, 6:30 pm
Marie Kohler, playwright of Boswell
in-person scene reading at Boswell - click here to register until 5:30 pm.

Milwaukee-based playwright Marie Kohler visits Boswell for a presentation and dramatic scene-reading from her play titled, aptly for us, Boswell. This event is a special preview to the play’s Off-Broadway run.

Kohler’s Boswell is set in the 1950s when an American graduate student discovers lost journals from James Boswell’s wild and woolly Tour of the Scottish Hebrides with Samuel Johnson. She falls in love with the lively narrative and the possibility of a more authentic life.

The Edit gives Kohler’s play 4 stars, and calls it: "an excellent example of history being brought to lifeand it undoubtedly is a fabulous platform for the talent it showcases." And from Broadway Baby, which also gives the play 4 stars: "There is an infectious energy and clear commitment to detail in this production: it is very well loved and immaculately researched...and playwright Marie Kohler certainly seems to enjoy the opportunities to draw out elements of bawdiness and humour to lighten the earnest literary tone."

Marie Kohler is a director, writer, actor, dramaturg, and award-winning playwright. Kohler is a co-founder of Renaissance Theaterworks, where she served as Co-Artistic Director from 1993-2012 and Resident Playwright from 1993-2020. She is a freelance writer for local and national publications and has been Playwright Respondent and Director Respondent at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. She was named Artist of the Year by the Milwaukee Arts Board in 2005, and Friend of the Arts in 2020.

We are close to capacity on this event. Much of the store will be closed to browsing after 6 pm.

Tuesday, September 20, 7 pm 
Elizabeth Strout, author of Lucy by the Sea
a ticketed virtual event - purchase a ticket here

Boswell is happy to join a group of independent bookstores around the country to present a special virtual launch event for Elizabeth Strout, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of novels such as Olive Kitteridge, My Name Is Lucy Barton, and Oh William!. Strout appears to celebrate the launch of her latest novel, Lucy by the Sea. In conversation with Pico Iyer. 

Tickets start at $28 plus ticketing fee and include access to the virtual event and a copy of Lucy by the Sea, which can be picked up at Boswell Book Company or, for an additional fee, shipped via USPS media mail. A very limited number of autographed copies are available to the first folks to purchase tickets! 

Strout's latest is a poignant, pitch-perfect novel about a former couple (Lucy Barton and her first husband William) in lockdown together - and about the love, loss, despair, and hope that animate us even as the world seems to be falling apart. As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.

Here's Daniel Goldin's take on Lucy by the Sea: "Starting moments after the close of Oh William!, Elizabeth Strout’s latest finds Lucy Barton in lockdown with her first husband William in a small town in Maine. The joy of Lucy is in her astute observations; the peril is that her heightened sensitivity and sometimes passive nature can lead her into many a fraught relationship. I loved the way Strout showed that Lucy is a citizen of Strout’s Yoknapatawpha, with appearances not just by Bob Burgess, but also Olive Kitteridge’s aide at the assisted living center. Reading Lucy by the Sea recaptures every small memory of early COVID, from the panic about surfaces and the desire to escape urban environments to the eventual politicization of the virus, so beautifully that I was willing to relive them."

Elizabeth Strout is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books such as Anything Is Possible, winner of the Story Prize, Olive Kitteridge, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. Her most recent novel, Oh William!, was longlisted for the Booker Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize.

Tuesday, September 20, 7 pm reception, 7:30 pm event
Bianca Marais, author of The Witches of Moonshyne Manor
in conversation with Christina Clancy, in-person at Shully’s Across the Street, 143 Green Bay Rd, Thiensville - click here to purchase a ticket

Milwaukee Reads and Boswell Book Company present a special evening with Bianca Marais, author of Hum If You Don’t Know the Words, for a conversation about her magical, feminist new novel, The Witches of Moonshyne Manor. Marais will be in conversation with Christina Clancy, the Wisconsin author of Shoulder Season and The Second Home.

This is a ticketed event, and each ticket costs $45 plus tax and fee. Each ticket includes admission, a glass of wine, light appetizers, and a copy of The Witches of Moonshyne Manor

The Witches of Moonshyne Manor is a funny, tender, and uplifting feminist tale of sisterhood featuring a coven of aging witches who must unite their powers to fight the men determined to drive them out of their home and town. In a race against time, five octogenarian witches are determined to save their home and themselves, but fear their aging powers are no match against increasingly malicious threats. As the deadline approaches, fractures among the sisterhood are revealed, and long-held secrets are exposed, culminating in a fiery confrontation with their enemies.

We've got a great staff recommendation for Marais's new novel from Tim McCarthy. Here's his take: "Oh, man! By that I mean oh, how does a man review a book like this!? Let's start (and end) with the fact that I loved every minute. I loved the characters, and the plot twists, and the very verbal crow. Most of all, I loved the sense that Marais was having as much fun writing as I was reading about a sisterhood of glorious old witches with a long history in a town that’s been mostly ok with them, until something changes. Now their manor and their popular distillery are being attacked by a mob of irrational townsmen (go figure), and reliving their own tragic past could offer them either salvation or destruction. They’re not sure which. So take a break from our very strange real world and pour yourself into this spellbound concoction of laughter and full-blown feminist power, mixed with suspense and dashes of potent wisdom likely to fly into my thoughts forevermore."

Bianca Marais is author of Hum If You Don't Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh. Sheteaches at the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies and runs the Eunice Ngogodo Own Voices Initiative. Marais also hosts the podcast The Shit No One Tells You About Writing.

Wednesday, September 21, 6:30 pm
John M Van Lieshout, author of Growing Up Little Chute
in-person at Boswell - click here to register until 5:30 pm on the day of the event.

Boswell hosts an evening featuring Milwaukee attorney and Wisconsin native John M Van Lieshout, author of Growing Up Little Chute, his memoir of coming of age in a small Wisconsin river village.

Van Lieshout’s Growing Up Little Chute is his memoir of life in a small village in

northeastern Wisconsin in the 1960s and 70s. He recalls things like soda pop caps imprinted with pictures of NFL stars, pagan baby cardboard coin collectors, Bic pens turned into blow-guns, games of Red Rover, and hanging from the monkey bars, and all of it set to the strains of "Stairway to Heaven."

John M Van Lieshout was born in Little Chute, WI. He earned a BA from Marquette University and a JD from Marquette Law. He’s published scholarly articles in National Environmental Enforcement Journal, Wisconsin Lawyer, and Hofstra Property Law Journal. He is a Shareholding Attorney at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren.

Thursday, September 22, 7 pm
Mark Bergen, author of Like, Comment, Subscribe: Inside YouTube's Chaotic Rise to World Domination
in conversation with Chris Lee for a virtual event - click here to register!

Boswell hosts a virtual evening featuring leading tech and business journalist Mark Bergen for a conversation about his new book, Like, Comment, Subscribe, in which he offers a definitive and deeply reported account of YouTube, the company that upended media, culture, industry, and democracy. In conversation with Chris Lee of Boswell.

Across the world, people watch more than a billion hours of video on YouTube every day. YouTube invented the attention economy we live in, forever changing how people are entertained, informed, and paid online. Everyone knows YouTube, yet virtually no one knows how it works. Now, Bergen offers a riveting, behind-the-scenes account of YouTube’s technology and business, detailing how it helped Google, its parent company, achieve unimaginable power, a narrative told through the people who run YouTube and the famous stars born on its stage.

Bergen, a top technology reporter at Bloomberg, might know Google better than any other reporter in Silicon Valley, having broken numerous stories about its successes and scandals. From Margaret O'Mara, author of The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America: "An absorbing, alarming, and essential modern history of Silicon Valley’s supersized platform age. YouTube has redefined celebrity, upended entertainment and politics, and unleashed the best and worst of humanity online. Mark Bergen’s deeply reported page-turner takes us on the company’s journey from scrappy startup to internet juggernaut, revealing the dark consequences of the pursuit of growth at any cost."

Mark Bergen writes for Bloomberg and Businessweek, and previously reported on technology and media for Recode and Ad Age. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker, and has frequently discussed his Google reporting on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and NPR stations.

Friday, September 23, 6:30 pm
Judith M Ford, author of Fever of Unknown Origin: A Memoir
in conversation with Rochelle Melander, in-person at Boswell - click here to register until 5:30 pm on the day of the event.

Boswell hosts an event featuring Judith Ford, author of Fever of Unknown Origin, a memoir about a strange illness and the combination of Western medicine and shamanic journeys that saved her life. In conversation with author and writing coach Rochelle Melander. 

Judith Ford was a successful psychotherapist, runner, yoga-practitioner, dancer, and
writer living life fully when she came down with a mysterious illness that landed her in the hospital for a full summer and nearly ended her life. She recovered through a combination of Western medicine and shamanic journeys. A few years later she helped her parents through their final illnesses. This book is both her story and theirs, about how they held onto hope and sometimes despaired. It's about how they each suffered and rallied, laughed, loved, forgave, and let go. And it's about how all of us live in the shadows of the unknown and the unanswerable.

From Susannah Waters, author of Cold Comfort: "Fever of Unknown Origin tells the moving story of one woman's battle with a debilitating illness. Ford leads us through the bewildering ups and downs of this struggle, culminating in a recovery as richly surprising and nuanced as the illness itself, as well as a deeper understanding of what it means to be fully alive and present in this world. An inspiring read."

Judith M Ford’s writing has appeared in magazines including Connecticut Review, Evening Street Review, and Southern Humanities Review, and her work has been nominated three times for Pushcart prizes. She was a psychotherapist for thirty-five years and taught creative writing in a private elementary school, at the University of Wisconsin Extension, and in a teen runaway shelter. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Saturday, September 24, 4 pm
Francie Dekker, author of Our World of Dumplings
in-person at Boswell - click here to register until 3 pm on the day of the event

Milwaukee nature and nutrition educator visits Boswell with her debut picture book, Our World of Dumplings, a delicious story that celebrates the many different types of dumplings that exist in our world and how food brings people and cultures together! While this event will be kid-friendly, the presentation will be mostly focused for a grown-up audience.

An apartment complex is having a dumpling festival, and all the kids are excited to watch and help each family cook up different versions of the delicious treats. From kreplach to khinkali and Johnny cakes to jiao zi, each household has its own way of making dumplings, uniquely hand-crafted and based upon their culture. As the children wrap, cook, and eat all the different types of dumplings, they learn how dumplings are the ultimate labor of love!

Underscoring the power of food to both bring us together and help us celebrate our differences, Our World of Dumplings is a rich story that shows the tender relationship between food and company and its natural ability to create a sense of community and will leave you hungry for more.

Francie Dekker has been a contributing writer for Edible Milwaukee Magazine, where she wrote a quarterly "Kids Table" column that explored how gardening, food, culture, and youth intersect. In 2016, she received a Food Writing Fellowship from the Culinary Trust.

Sunday, September 25, 2 pm
Peter Geye, author of The Ski Jumpers
in-person at Boswell - click here to register until 1 pm on the day of the event.

Join us for an afternoon featuring Midwestern writer extraordinaire Peter Geye, author of novels such as Wintering and Northernmost, who joins us with his latest novel, The Ski Jumpers, about a former ski jumper facing a terminal diagnosis who takes one more leap - into a past of soaring flights and broken family bonds.

A ski jumper must be fearless - Jon Bargaard remembers this well. His memories of
daring leaps and risks might be the key to the book he’s always wanted to write: a novel about his family, beginning with Pops, once a champion ski jumper himself, who also took Jon and his younger brother Anton to the heights. But Jon has never been able to get past the next, ruinous episode of their history, and now that he has received a terrible diagnosis, he’s afraid he never will.

Early praise for this novel comes from Leif Enger, author of Virgil Wander: "Peter Geye writes full-hearted novels made for winter, and The Ski Jumpers is his best to date... Geye wraps his tale in prose that soars as we hold our breath, then brings it all home with the elegance of a Telemark landing. If you already know his work, this book will surprise and delight you; if you're new to Peter Geye, The Ski Jumpers is the perfect place to start."

Peter Geye is author of the award-winning novels Safe from the Sea, The Lighthouse Road, and Wintering, winner of the Minnesota Book Award. He teaches at the Loft Literary Center.

Photo credits
Christina Clancy by Kate Berg
Mark Bergen by David Paul Morris

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