Upcoming Events

Press release style details for our upcoming events are below. You can find a line listing of other confirmed author appearances at the bottom of the page. Tickets for events will be linked when they become available (generally the 1st of the month prior to the month of the event).

For more fun information like links to reviews, trailers, or other related work by visiting authors, consider subscribing to Daniel's daily blog, Boswell and Books, or our twice-monthly e-mail newsletter (see sign-up box on righthand side of this page).

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And, you can always pre-order or reserve a signed copy of your favorite author's new title if you can't make an event.


Find Waldo Local 2014 Scavenger Hunt and Wrap-Up Party
Through the month of July

During the month of July, Boswell Book Company is encouraging kids in surrounding communities to Find Waldo Local! Playing is easy and fun!!

On July 1, 2014, Waldo-spotters will set off on a hunt to find the elusive character hidden around dozens of local businesses across Milwaukee. On July 1st, stop by Boswell to pick up your Find Waldo Local 2014 Passport, which lists participating local businesses where you’ll go in and find Waldo! When you find him, let the employees know so they can stamp your passport. When you’ve collected 15 stamps, bring your passport back to Boswell for a prize, coupon, and a raffle ticket automatically entering you to win one of our fantastic prizes drawn at the Find Waldo Local 2014 Wrap-Up Party from 3:00 to 5:00 PM on Thursday, July 31st at Boswell Book Company, where kids will be served refreshments and participate in Waldo-themed activities.













A Milwaukee Public Library Event with Local Author Sandra Ackerman, discussing the revised and updated Milwaukee: Then & Now
Tuesday July 29, at 6:00 pm

Please join us in the first floor meeting room of the Milwaukee Public Library for a fascinating talk with local author Sandra Ackerman, as she discusses and signs copies of the newly revised and updated edition of her gorgeous photography book Milwaukee: Then & Now, which contains a host of local landmarks as they once looked alongside the same viewpoint photographed today including City Hall, Pfister Hotel, Layton Art Gallery, Blatz Brewery, Milwaukee Railroad Depot, Pabst Brewery and Mansion, and the Nunnemacher Grand Opera House. The Milwaukee Public Library is located 814 W. Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee.

About the Author: Sandra Ackerman serves on the City of Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission and Milwaukee County Landmarks Commission. She lives in Milwaukee.


Matthew Gavin Frank, author of Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer
Wednesday July 30, at 7:00 pm

Please join us for a fascinating talk and signing with award-winning poet Matthew Gavin Frank as he presents his latest creative nonfiction book, Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer in which memory, mythology, and obsession collide in a strikingly original and enigmatic account of the first man to photograph a giant squid.

Moses Harvey was the eccentric Newfoundland reverend and amateur naturalist who first photographed the near-mythic giant squid in 1874, draping it over a shower curtain rod to display its magnitude. In Preparing the Ghost, what begins as Moses's story becomes much more, as fellow squid-enthusiast Matthew Gavin Frank boldly winds his narrative tentacles around history, creative nonfiction, science, memoir, and meditations about the interrelated nature of them all. In a full-hearted, lyrical style reminiscent of Geoff Dyer, Frank weaves in playful forays about his research trip to Moses's Newfoundland home, Frank's own childhood and family history, and a catalog of bizarre facts and lists that recall Melville's story of obsession with another deep-sea dwelling leviathan. Though Frank is armed with impressive research, what he can't know about Harvey he fictionalizes, quite explicitly, as a way of both illuminating the scene and exploring his central theme: the big, beautiful human impulse to obsess.

"Fans of Federico Fellini and, most especially, of Georges Perec, will adore Mr. Frank's infuriatingly baroque, charmingly eccentric, and utterly unforgettable book. And with hand on heart I can truly say that I also loved every word of it." – Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman and The Men Who United the States

About the Author: Matthew Gavin Frank is the author of the nonfiction books Pot Farm, Barolo, and Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer, and the poetry collections The Morrow Plots, Warranty in Zulu, and Sagittarius Agitprop, and two chapbooks. He currently teaches Creative Writing in the MFA Program at Northern Michigan University, where he is the Nonfiction Editor of Passages North. This winter, he prepared his first batch of fried trout ice cream.


Edan Lepucki, author of California
Friday August 1, at 7:00 pm

The singular Sherman Alexie handsold Edan Lepucki’s debut novel, California, on The Colbert Report. Now you can meet Edan Lepucki at Boswell where she will discuss, read from, and sign copies of that very book Alexie swears by—and the book the Colbert Nation is working to make the "Book of the Summer"—California.

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant. Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust. A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

"In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities." —Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

"California is a vivid and terrifying exploration of a richly imagined world that is both unrecognizable and deeply, eerily familiar to our own. Lepucki’s talent on display here is a balance of speculation and grounded emotional truth, livened with a deft touch of humor that shows itself in unexpected moments. An entertaining and stimulating debut, and I’m already looking forward to her next." —Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

About the Author: Edan Lepucki is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a staff writer for The Millions. Her short fiction has been published in McSweeney's and Narrative magazine, among other publications, and she is the founder and director of Writing Workshops Los Angeles. California is her first novel.


Deborah Harkness, author of The Book of Life
Monday August 4, at 7:00 pm

Please join us as we welcome Deborah Harkness who will discuss and sign copies of the much-anticipated conclusion of her All Souls Trilogy, The Book of Life. Here’s what Boswellian Jen has to say about this eagerly anticipated conclusion: "Witches and Vampires and Daemons! Oh my! This book is fantastic! The moment of truth has arrived—the past the present and the future for all creatures. Once you sit down to start it, you will not want to stop. Sink your teeth into the final book of the All Souls Trilogy." As always, Boswell will close to late arrivals if we reach capacity. The store will reopen for the signing portion—as people leave the store, we’ll admit that number to the signing line.

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting All Souls series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

"Harkness works her own form of literary alchemy by deftly blending fantasy, romance, history, and horror into one completely bewitching book." —Chicago Tribune

"Packed with gorgeous historical detail, with a gutsy, brainy heroine to match." — Entertainment Weekly

About the Author: Deborah Harkness is the number one New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night. A history professor at the University of Southern California, Harkness has received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. She lives in Los Angeles.


Mary Kubica, author of The Good Girl, with Heather Gudenkauf, author of Little Mercies
Tuesday August 5, at 7:00 pm

If you’re looking for a thrilling summer event, we have just the thing for you! Boswell is excited to welcome two writers—Mary Kubica, author of The Good Girl, and Heather Gudenkauf, author of Little Mercies—who will read from and sign copies of their latest suspense novels perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Jodi Picoult.

Already hailed by bestselling author Lisa Gardner as "a twisty, roller-coaster ride of a debut" ideal for "fans of Gone Girl," Mary Kubica’s debut The Good Girl is a sweaty-palm-inducing read made for the summer season. Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life. Drawing comparisons to Gone Girl and Defending Jacob, The Good Girl "builds suspense steadily and will have readers guessing what's really going on until the final pages" (Booklist) in a novel that is both "compulsively readable and highly recommended for anyone who loves a mystery, a suspense tale, or a psychological puzzle" (Library Journal).

Heather Gudenkauf’s Little Mercies is a powerful, emotionally charged story about motherhood and justice that Publisher’s Weekly calls "compelling…gripping," and Library Journal recommends to "those looking for a quick read with lots to discuss," calling it "ideal for book groups." Little Mercies finds a good woman searching for redemption after a small mistake threatens to change her life forever. This thought-provoking novel illuminates the harrowing world of social workers as they tackle complex family and relationship issues in what Tess Gerritsen, author of The Silent Girl calls a "deeply moving and exquisitely lyrical…powerhouse of a novel."

Mary Kubica Bio: Mary Kubica holds a BA in History and American Literature from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening, and caring for the animals at a local shelter. The Good Girl is her first novel.

Heather Gudenkauf Bio: Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of These Things Hidden and The Weight of Silence. She lives in Iowa with her husband and children. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and running.


Rebecca Makkai, author of The Hundred-Year House, with Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans
Wednesday August 6, at 7:00 pm

Please join us for a special evening with two authors whose novels raise questions about the contemporary American Dream. Rebecca Makkai, author of The Hundred-Year House, and Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans.

Rebecca Makkai's new novel The Hundred-Year House is an original and well-crafted novel about family, fate, and the incredible surprises life can offer. Set in Chicago’s wealthy North Shore, near where Makkai herself grew up baby-sitting for the families of the elite, The Hundred-Year House is simultaneously a love story and a ghost story, as well as a meditation on the power of art to bring people together by breaking down boundaries and even the most well-guarded of family secrets. In starred reviews, Booklist calls The Hundred-Year House "charmingly clever and mischievously funny…[with] a dazzling plot spiked with secrets," and Publishers Weekly said it’s "a lively and clever story...exceptionally well-constructed, with engaging characters...and delightful twists that surprise and satisfy."

Cristina Henríquez’s latest, The Book of Unknown Americans, is a novel that incorporates the stories of 11 different characters whose journeys to the United States from all over Central and Latin America, have led them to the same apartment building in Delaware. At the center of these characters are two families—the Riveras from Mexico and the Toros from Panama. How their lives and destinies will come together will both break your heart and make it soar. Rachel Bertsche of Chicago Magazine calls The Book of Unknown Americans: "gut-wrenching" and "Henríquez's best yet," and Publishers Weekly says "Henríquez delivers a moving account of those who will do anything to build a future for their children-even if it means confronting the fear and alienation lurking behind the American dream."

Rebecca Makkai Bio: Rebecca Makkai’s first book, The Borrower, is a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an O Magazine selection, and one of Chicago Magazine’s choices for best fiction of 2011. Her stories have aired on NPR’s Selected Shorts and This American Life, and have appeared in Harper’s, Tin House, Ploughshares, and New England Review. She lives outside Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

Cristina Henríquez Bio: Cristina Henríquez is the author of The World In Half and Come Together, Fall Apart: A Novella and Stories, a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Glimmer Train, and the anthology This is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America’s Best Women Writers. Her non-fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Oxford American, and Preservation as well as in the anthologies State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America and Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Women Writers Reflect on the Candidate and What Her Campaign Meant. She was featured in Virginia Quarterly Review as one of "Fiction’s New Luminaries," has been a guest on National Public Radio, and lives in Chicago.


Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State and Bad Feminist: Essays
Friday August 8, at 7:00 pm

We’re eagerly anticipating the return of An Untamed State author, Roxane Gay, for a discussion and signing of her latest collection of essays, Bad Feminist, a sharp, spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms. Time magazine declares (and we wholeheartedly agree!): "Let this be the year of Roxane Gay."

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django Unchained) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture. Bad Feminist is a collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation: Roxane Gay.

"She had me at Sweet Valley High. Gay playfully crosses the borders between pop culture consumer and critic, between serious academic and lighthearted sister-girl, between despair and optimism, between good and bad. Gay gives us permission to take up the sword of feminism while laying down the shield of policed authenticity. As a result, we complete this book both more powerful and more vulnerable, just like Gay herself. How can you help but love her?" —Melissa Harris-Perry, Wake Forest Professor and MSNBC host

"Smart readers cannot afford to miss these essays, which range from socially significant art (Girls, Django Unchained) and feminist issues (abortion) to politics (Chris Brown) and why Gay likes pink." —Library Journal

About the Author: Roxane Gay's writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, The Rumpus, Best Sex Writing 2012, Salon, and many others. Her first book, Ayiti, was a collection of poetry and short stories. She is the coeditor of PANK and she teaches writing at Eastern Illinois University.


It’s Story Time, with Boswellian Jannis!
Sunday August 10, at 11:00 am

Boogie on down to Boswell for Story Time! This month, Boswellian Jannis will read I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison, and a few more stories on the themes of music and dancing. Perfect for ages 18 months and up, get your summer groove on with this month’s Story Time!
















J. A. Jance, author of Remains of Innocence: A Brady Novel of Suspense, appearing in the Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall’s Loos Room
Tuesday August 12, at 6:30 pm

Boswell Book Company is proud to co-sponsor as the bookseller of record an upcoming reading, discussion, and signing with Remains of Innocence author, J. A. Jance, appearing in the Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall’s Loos Room, located 733 N. Eighth Street in Milwaukee.

Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense, Remains of Innocence, which brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery. An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner. Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out.

"Any story by Jance is a joy." —Chattanooga Times

" In the elite company of Sue Grafton and Patricia Cornwell...J.A. Jance has really hit her stride with the Joanna Brady series." —Flint Journal

About the Author: J. A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and four interrelated thrillers about the Walker Family. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.


A Conversation between WUWM Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich and Jeff Miller, author of Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop at Purple Door Ice Cream
Tuesday August 12, at 7:00 pm

This event is co-sponsored by WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio and Purple Door Ice Cream. 

Please join us at Purple Door Ice Cream (located at 205 South Second Street in Milwaukee) for a fascinating conversation between WUWM Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich and Jeff Miller, author of Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop. There will be ice cream!!

Minnesota-born lawyer Jeff and his partner, Dean, enjoyed a successful and fashionable life in London. They shopped at Harvey Nichols, walked their dogs in Kensington Gardens, and vacationed in France and Tibet. Yet, they dreamed of a new life. In January, Jeff was promoted to a coveted position at his bank; in March, he resigned. Jeff and Dean sold their house, packed the dogs, and moved to the sleepy resort town of Hayward, Wisconsin, where they acquired a nostalgic ice cream shop and a rundown Victorian mansion. Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop is the chronicle of Jeff and Dean’s first year in Hayward—how they are welcomed by a collection of colorful characters and how they are humbled by the challenges of operating both the ice cream shop and a bed and breakfast. It is also a story of Hayward and how the traditions and the stories of those who built the town helped our entrepreneurs adjust to the rhythm of life in their new home.

"Could two successful London businessmen, one with Minnesota roots, solve a midlife crisis by moving to Hayward, Wisconsin, a small town in the north woods near a chain of pristine lakes? Could they really rejuvenate an aging ice-cream parlor and also turn a dilapidated Victorian mansion into a luxurious B&B? Jeff Miller’s charming, affectionate, and very realistic story describes how he and his partner did just that. Miller has a wonderful grasp of detail, from telling how to make ice cream (and invent unusual new flavors) to finding valued friends among the often idiosyncratic, determined, and hardy townspeople who live in this sometimes harsh, but also stunningly beautiful, environment. Miller is humorous but never patronizing, and the ending is startlingly poignant." —Susan Allen Toth, author of Blooming: A Small-Town Girlhood and Leaning into the Wind

"Jeff Miller is a modern-day explorer, leaving urbane London to run a dairy and B&B in Hayward, Wisconsin. The big-hearted story he tells is about being brave enough to embrace change—even when it involves Muskie Festival parades, lawn mower races, and learning how to make ice cream that’s ‘Almost Sinful.’" —Lorna Landvik, author of Oh My Stars and The View from Mount Joy

About the Author: Jeff Miller was born in Browerville, Minnesota. He spent years as an international lawyer in New York, Hong Kong, and London. Since 2005 he has lived in Hayward, Wisconsin, where he operates West's Hayward Dairy and McCormick House Inn.


A Conversation between WUWM Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich and Dan Epstein, author of Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of ‘76
Monday August 18, at 7:00 pm

This event is co-sponsored by WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio.

Boswell and WUWM welcome you to Boswell for a spirited conversation between WUWM Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich and Dan Epstein, author of Stars and Strikes: Baseball and American in the Bicentennial Summer of ‘76. Just as baseball season heats up, join us for a once-and-a-lifetime talk about a fun and funky chronicle from the noted authority on ‘70s baseball and pop culture: Dan Epstein.

America, 1976: colorful, complex, and combustible, a place of Bicentennial celebrations and busing riots, Olympic glory and Legionnaire’s Disease, Presidential turn-over and hi-fi turntables. And as the nation saluted the 200th anniversary of its independence in a spectacle of festivities, Major League Baseball players waged a war for their own liberties, demanding free agency. For both the nation and its national pastime, the year would become revolutionary, indeed. On the diamond, the 1976 season witnessed the crowning of the Cincinnati "Big Red Machine" dynasty, George Steinbrenner's first World Series with the Yankees, and the heroics of Mike Schmidt, Mark Fidrych, and George Brett. American pop culture was never more fun than in this red-white-and-blue year of Jimmy Carter, Ted Turner, CB radios, The Bad News Bears, Rocky, Taxi Driver, the Ramones, Hotel California, and Frampton Comes Alive!—it all came alive in ‘76. Stars and Strikes tracks the tumultuous year from White House to shorts-wearing White Sox, chronicling a time on the eve of the disco era, after which the sport and the nation would never be the same.

"Dan Epstein and baseball in the ‘70s go together like Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon." —Wall Street Journal

"Epstein’s book waves its freak flag high." —The Onion A.V. Club

About the Author: Dan Epstein is an award winning journalist, popculture historian, and avid baseball fan who has written for Rolling Stone, SPIN, Men’s Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, MOJO, Guitar World, Revolver, LA Weekly, and more. He is the author of Big Hair and Plastic Grass. He currently resides in Los Angeles.


UW-Madison Professor Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
Tuesday August 19, at 7:00 pm

"Do the Math" writer and UW-Madison Professor of Mathematics, Jordan Ellenberg, is coming to Boswell! Discussing and signing copies of his latest, How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, you won’t want to miss the chance to meet one of the world’s brightest young mathematicians, as he—in his signature hilariously irreverent voice and with unparalleled storytelling acumen—explains how mathematics provides a method for understanding fundamental daily issues, from interpreting medical studies and political polls, to understanding why Google works so well or even how early one should get to the airport.

How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking is a book about math, but not as we teach it in school. It’s a book that explains how math underlies almost everything we see and do in life; it’s part of our ordinary thinking, an extension of our common sense, and much easier than we think. In How Not to be Wrong, the internationally renowned mathematician Jordan Ellenberg unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts math’s power in our hands.

"In this wry, accessible, and entertaining exploration of everyday math, Ellenberg, professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, shows readers how ‘knowing mathematics is like wearing a pair of X-ray specs’ that reveal the hidden structure of the world…from discussing the difference between correlation and causation, to how companies use big data to predict your interests and preferences, Ellenberg finds the common-sense math at work in the everyday world, and his vivid examples and clear descriptions show how ‘math is woven into the way we reason.’" —Publishers Weekly

"It’s time to drop the idea that mathematics is an esoteric field best left to a few academics. In fact, writes Ellenberg, the truth is better: Math is everywhere, and the knowledge it yields can benefit everyone…witty and expansive, Ellenberg’s math will leave readers informed, intrigued and armed with plenty of impressive conversation starters." —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author: Jordan Ellenberg is a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has lectured around the world on his research in number theory and delivered one of the plenary addresses at the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings, the largest math conference in the world. His writing has appeared in Wired, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and The Believer, and he has been featured on the Today show and NPR’s All Things Considered. He writes a popular column called “Do the Math” for Slate.


Back to School! with Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members
Tuesday August 26, at 7:00 pm

We highly recommend an evening of back-to-school-hilarity at Boswell with author Julie Schumacher, professor and author of Dear Committee Members, a comic grenade launched right into the heart of the MFA industrial complex that puts the "pissed" in "epistolary."

Dear Committee Members is a comic satire composed entirely of letters of recommendation. Their author, Jay Fitger, is a disgruntled faculty member at Payne University in the upper Midwest. Once a promising novelist in his own right, Jay has—over the past twenty years—watched his literary career slowly trend toward failure. As a result of personal disappointments as well as frustration regarding the increasingly tangled bureaucracy at "Payne U," Fitger has become a bitter, cantankerous man, and his letters on behalf of students and colleagues are—to put it mildly—unorthodox and inappropriate.

Here’s what a cadre of Boswellians have to say about Dear Committee Members:

"You or any reader will be fortunate to place a copy of Dear Committee Members on your bookshelf…" —Daniel Goldin

"Jason Fitger, professor of creative writing at Payne University, is the go-to guy if you want honest, snarky, passive-aggressive letters of recommendation…Dear Committee Members had me laughing out loud, the perfect companion for an afternoon of reading." —Jen Steele

"Dear Committee Members is the A. J. Fikry of the Ivory Tower. I am eager to send copies to my tenured friends, accompanied by an overlong letter of recommendation (of course!)." —Mel Morrow

About the Author: Julie Schumacher grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from Oberlin College and Cornell University. Her first novel, The Body Is Water, was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Minnesota Book Award. Her other books include a short story collection, An Explanation for Chaos, and five books for younger readers including The Book of One Hundred Truths and The Chain Letter. She lives in St. Paul and is a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of Minnesota.


Local Author Nick Weber, author of Shakespeare with Hearing Aids: Some Old-timers Revisit the Bard
Wednesday August 27, at 7:00 pm

Boswell Book Company is excited to welcome back teacher-of-all-trades, Jesuit priest, and local author, Nick Weber, who will discuss and sign copies of his latest book about his adventures with the Bard, Shakespeare with Hearing Aids: Some Old-timers Revisit the Bard. You won’t want to miss this fun, original event!

Shakespeare with Hearing Aids: Some Old-timers Revisit the Bard is an old guy’s story about an adventure he is having with some other old-timers. More accurately, it’s about many senior adventures as, together, these retirees read a bunch of dramas written four centuries ago by some whippersnapper called Shakespeare. The story is charged by a range of elder skills and issues as well as by the dynamics of plot, language, characters, and outright playwriting technique. And because so many personal hard-won stories are recognizable inside of the famous playwright’s, he increasingly becomes a trusted stranger; they allow whoever Shakespeare is to illuminate whoever they are.

" ‘The book might just be a dare,’ Weber writes, a sly line for a spry book that is daring in every good way, particularly in its extraordinary celebration of close reading, which in these pages means two beautifully complementary things: smart textual analysis informed by a born performer’s eye (and ear); and smart performers, who grow close to Weber, each other and Shakespeare while reading the plays. I dare you not to be moved." —Liam Callanan, author of All Saints and The Cloud Atlas

About the Author: After years of teaching English literature and theater arts, then graduate work in theology and theater, Nick Weber was ordained a Jesuit priest. In 1971 he founded a poetic theatrical hybrid, "The Royal Lichtenstein Circus" which he toured as his official Jesuit ministry for twenty-two years. Returning to the lay state, he continued touring and eventually developed a one-man performance piece "Shakespeare, Just for Fun!" It was this project that led him into a love affair with the Bard. In 2008, retired from yet more teaching in theater arts and English literature, Nick began reading the works of Shakespeare with groups of retirees in Milwaukee. The title of his earlier show evolved into "Shakespeare Just for Fun! Seniors Sharing Shakespeare." It is the five year history of that project that Shakespeare with Hearing Aids celebrates.


Political Fact and Political Fiction, featuring Kathleen Rooney, author of O, Democracy!, and Julia R. Azari, author of Delivering the People’s Message: The Changing Politics of the Presidential Mandate
Tuesday September 2, at 7:00 pm

Boswell Book Company is excited to present Political Fact and Political Fiction: an event featuring Chicago author Kathleen Rooney, who will discuss and sign copies of her latest novel O, Democracy!, and Marquette Political Science Professor, Julia R. Azari, who will discuss and sign copies of her latest political study, Delivering the People’s Message: The Changing Politics of the Presidential Mandate.

A quarterlife crisis viewed from the ghostly perspective of the Founding Fathers, Kathleen Rooney’s latest novel, O, Democracy!, is a hilarious and heartbreaking story about American politics and the difficult business of being a good citizen: walking the tricky line between self-sacrifice and self-sabotage, between doing your part and knowing your place.

In Delivering the People’s Message, Julia R. Azari finds that when the presidency enjoys high public esteem and party polarization is low, mandate rhetoric is less frequent and employs broad themes. By contrast, presidents turn to mandate rhetoric when the office loses legitimacy, as in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam and during periods of intense polarization. In the twenty-first century, these two factors have converged. As a result, presidents rely on mandate rhetoric to defend their choices to supporters and critics alike, simultaneously creating unrealistic expectations about the electoral promises they will be able to fulfill.

Kathleen Rooney Bio: Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Her first book is Reading with Oprah: The Book Club That Changed America, and her first poetry collection, Oneiromance (an epithalamion) won the 2007 Gatewood Prize from the feminist publisher Switchback Books. She is the author of the verse novel Robinson Alone, the essay collection For You, For You I Am Trilling These Songs, and the memoir Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object. With Elisa Gabbert, she is the author of That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness and the forthcoming chapbook The Kind of Beauty That Has Nowhere to Go. She lives in Chicago where she is a Visiting Assistant Professor at DePaul University.

Julia R. Azari Bio: Julia R. Azari is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Marquette University. She is coeditor of The Presidential Leadership Dilemma: Between the Constitution and a Political Party.


Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of Revealed, with Lisa McMann, author of Island of Legends
Wednesday September 3, at 7:00 pm

Boswell Book Company is excited to present a fantastic evening of adventuring and magic featuring two outstanding authors—Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of Revealed, and Lisa McMann, author of Island of Legends—who will discuss and sign copies of their books in an event great for ages 8 and up!

Margaret Peterson Haddix returns with the seventh installment in The Missing Series, Revealed, which Booklist is calling a "[t]hrill ride through a historical incident" and of which Kirkus promises "[t]he story continues with the suspense fans have come to expect in this entertaining and discreetly educational series." After a mysterious cameo from Charles Lindbergh, it’s up to Jonah to save his town in the latest book in this The New York Times bestselling series.

Lisa McMann’s latest in the Unwanteds Series, which Kirkus Reviews calls "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter," is Island of Legends. As Alex grows more confident in his role as the mage of Artime, he expands his skills and brings his first creature to life—with results that are both painful and wonderful. Meanwhile in Quill, Aaron faces threats to his leadership as Gondoleery hones her rediscovered magical abilities and Eva and Liam form a secret alliance against him.

Margaret Peterson Haddix Bio: Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle-grade novels, including those in the 39 Clues Series, the Shadow Children Series, and The Palace Chronicles. A graduate of Miami University of Ohio, she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the community college level in Danville, Illinois. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio.

Lisa McMann Bio: Lisa McMann is The New York Times bestselling author of the Wake Trilogy, Cryer’s Cross, Dead to You, the Visions series, and the middle grade dystopian fantasy series The Unwanteds. She lives with her family in the Phoenix area.


Julia Mary Gibson, author of Copper Magic
Friday September 5, at 7:00 pm

If you’re looking for a little back-to-school magic, we’ve got the event for you. Join us in welcoming former Milwaukeean and debut young adult author, Julia Mary Gibson, as she talks about and signs copies of her debut novel, Copper Magic, great for ages 10 and up! Can an unearthed talisman found on the shores of Lake Michigan save 12-year-old Violet’s fractured family? Exploring themes of Native American culture, ecology, and conservation, Gibson’s debut historical fiction novel is a brilliant awakening.

The year is 1906, and twelve-year-old Violet Blake unearths an ancient talisman—a copper hand—beside the stream where her mother used to harvest medicine. Violet’s touch warms the copper hand and it begins to reveal glimpses of another time. Violet is certain that the copper hand is magic—and if anyone is in need of its powers, it’s Violet.

"A book whose timeless magic makes me want to protect it as loyally and fiercely as Violet protects the copper hand…Julia Mary Gibson’s quiet masterpiece is an effortless alloy of magic and science." —Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity

About the Author: Julia Mary Gibson was born the child of radical activist poets in the time of the Freedom Rides and the Vietnam War. She grew up to be a communard, welfare mother, waitress, secretary, visual effects producer, and mentor to unwed teens. She lives in sight of the Hollywood sign in California. Copper Magic is her first novel.


Other Confirmed Author Appearances
  • Tuesday, September 9, 7:00 pm - Mary Gordon, author of The Liar’s Wife: Four Novellas
  • Wednesday, September 10, 7:00 pm - Stuart Rojstaczer, author of The Mathematician’s Shiva, co-sponsored by the UWM Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies
  • Tuesday, September 16, 7:00 pm - Chelsea Cain, author of One Kick
  • Friday, September 19, 7:00 pm - United We Read, featuring students and faculty from the UWM Creative Writing Department
  • Monday, September 22, 7:00 pm - Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
  • Saturday, September 27, 7:00 pm - Chloe Benjamin, author of The Anatomy of Dreams
  • Saturday, October 4, 7:00 pm - Garth Stein, author of A Sudden Light
  • Monday, October 10, 7:00 pm - Steven Pinker, author of The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
  • Sunday, October 12, 3:00 pm - Jennifer Holland, author of Unlikely Heroes, with an introduction by Anne Reed and co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Humane Society
  • Tuesday, October 14, 7:00 pm - Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett, authors of Sam and David Dig a Hole, great for ages 4 and up!
  • Friday, November 7, probably around 6:30 pm - Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere at Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro, ticket information to follow
  • Thursday, November 13, 7:00 pm - Colonel Chris Hadfield, author of You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station
  • Friday, November 14, 7:00 pm - Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This
  • Wednesday, March 11, 7:00 pm - Joseph Kanon, author of Leaving Berlin
  • Thursday, March 12, 7:00 pm - Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, at the Frank L. Weyenberg Library