|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).
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Lalita Tademy, author of Citizens Creek
Wednesday May 27, at 5:00 pm
Join us at Boswell when New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah Book Club Pick Cane River, Lalita Tademy, brings us the now-released-in-paperback Citizens Creek, the evocative story of a once-enslaved man who buys his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian Wars, and his granddaughter, who sustains his legacy of courage.
Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his tenth birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, and Native Americans, settlers, and Blacks came into constant contact, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. His talent earned him money--but would it also grant him freedom? And what would become of him and his family in the aftermath of the Civil War and the Indian Removal westward?
Cow Tom's legacy lives on--especially in the courageous spirit of his granddaughter Rose. She rises to leadership of the family as they struggle against political and societal hostility intent on keeping blacks and Indians oppressed. But through it all, her grandfather's indelible mark of courage inspires her--in mind, in spirit, and in a family legacy that never dies.
Clyde Edgerton, writing in Garden and Gun: "Tademy knows when to analyze, dissect, back off, go deep, or skirt without comment. The well-paced suspenseful narrative excludes white hat-black hat-happy myth cycle that is sometimes found in our fiction (and nonfiction). She has not only given us a feel for the grit of our nation’s 1800s—misery, war, disease, and displacement—but she also rendered the drama inside a single family, those tales of ordinary folk caught up in war, cultural confusion, and hostility."
And from this starred Booklist review, published by the American Library Association: quot;Each of the novel's characters speaks in a compelling voice, especially Amy, the steadfast matriarch, and her granddaughter, Rose, to whom Tademy devotes the final third of her completely engrossing and historically accurate family saga, which in many ways mirrors her own family history."
About the Author: Lalita Tademy is the author Cane River, a New York Times bestselling novel and the 2001 Oprah Book Club Summer Selection, and its critically acclaimed sequel Red River. She lives in Northern California.
A signing with David Axelrod, author of Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, at Marquette Law School's Eckstein Hall,
Tuesday June 2, at 1:15 pm
The upcoming event featuring David Axelrod (in conversation with Mike Gousha!) is sold out. That said, we are co-sponsoring a signing afterwards at 1:15 pm at Marquette University's Eckstein Hall, 1215 West Michigan Ave. Books will be available for sale from Boswell. And the conversation (which started at 12:15) will be piped in to the Eckstein atrium for everyone waiting for the signing to enjoy.
David Axelrod is a 40-year veteran of American politics and journalism. He was the Senior Strategist to then-Senator Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and served in the same role in President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign. He also served in the White House as Senior Advisor to the President. As a political consultant, Axelrod has managed media and communications strategy for 150 local, state, and national campaigns. Before working in politics, he was a reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
In his new book, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, Axelrod writes that he was drawn to politics because he believed "it was about big, noble ideas. It was about history and historic change." Today, Axelrod leads the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, which he hopes will inspire and train the next generation of leaders. During his visit to the Law School, Axelrod will discuss his book, his career, and current events in the world of politics.
Margaret Lazarus Dean, author of Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight
Wednesday June 3, at 7:00 pm
Please join us at Boswell for an exciting evening with Margaret Lazarus Dean, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and author of The Time It Takes to Fall, who will discuss and sign copies of her latest, Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight, an "eloquent farewell to NASA’s space shuttle program" (Lynn Sherr) that will leave you with a serious "case of space brain" (Ander Monson). This event is co-sponsored by Spaceport Sheboygan.
In the 1960s, humans took their first steps away from the earth, and for a time our possibilities in space seemed endless. But in a period of austerity and in the wake of high-profile disasters like Challenger, that dream has ended. In early 2011, Dean traveled to Cape Canaveral for NASA’s last three space shuttle launches in order to bear witness to the end of an era. With Dean as our guide to Florida’s Space Coast and to the history of NASA, Leaving Orbit takes the measure of what American spaceflight has achieved while reckoning with its earlier witnesses like Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and Oriana Fallaci. Along the way Dean meets a range of colorful characters, including NASA workers, astronauts, and space fans. Part elegiac history, part travelogue, and part memoir, Dean makes what we have lost become clear: not only jobs, or scientific exploration, but the shared dream of spaceflight.
"In this eloquent farewell to NASA’s space shuttle program, Margaret Lazarus Dean celebrates the extraordinary optimism that lifted humans off the Earth, dreaming of worlds far beyond. Her passion for cosmic travel is matched by her poetic vision of the past—once our future. If you lived it, you’ll rejoice in the memories; if you didn’t, you’ll wish you’d been there. Either way, you’ll beg for more." —Lynn Sherr, author of Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space
"What is it about spaceflight that activates our hearts and asks our brains to yearn? And what does it mean that we’ve now (mostly) stopped? Margaret Lazarus Dean wants to know—and so she goes to talk to Buzz Aldrin, to watch the last launch of the shuttle, to talk to astronauts whose names most of us no longer recognize. Dean digs deep and does not avert her gaze. She has the heart of a storyteller, the head of an essayist, and a transcendent enthusiasm for American spaceflight. I came away from Leaving Orbit with a renewed case of space brain, my heart once more in my throat." —Ander Monson
About the Author: Margaret Lazarus Dean is the author of The Time It Takes to Fall. She is a recipient of fellowships from the NEA and Tennessee Arts Commission and is an associate professor of English at the University of Tennessee and lives in Knoxville.
Alexandra Petri, author of A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, in conversation with WUWM Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich
Thursday June 4, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for an awkward, memoir-able evening with Washington Post columnist, International Pun Champion, and Jeopardy! loser, Alexandra Petri, dubbed by the Washingtonian as "the Post’s go-to writer for laughs," who will talk about and sign copies of hilarious debut memoir, A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, in which she turns her satirical eye on her own life in conversation with WUWM Lake Effect's Mitch Teich.
Most twentysomethings spend a lot of time avoiding awkwardness. Not Alexandra Petri. Afraid of rejection? Alexandra Petri has auditioned for America’s Next Top Model. Afraid of looking like an idiot? Alexandra Petri lost Jeopardy! by answering "Who is that dude?" on national TV. Afraid of bad jokes? Alexandra Petri won an international pun championship. Petri has been a debutante, reenacted the Civil War, and fended off suitors at a Star Wars convention while wearing a Jabba the Hutt suit. One time, she let some cult members she met on the street baptize her, just to be polite. She’s a connoisseur of the kind of awkwardness that most people spend whole lifetimes trying to avoid. If John Hodgman and Amy Sedaris had a baby…they would never let Petri babysit it. In A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, Petri is here to tell you that everything you fear is not so bad. Trust her. She’s tried it. And in the course of her misadventures, she’s learned that there are worse things out there than awkwardness—and that interesting things start to happen when you stop caring what people think.
"Alexandra Petri is the funniest person in Washington. This is all the more impressive when you consider that Congress is also located there." —Dave Barry
"Alexandra Petri is so hilarious and brilliant, she’s like the love child of Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker." — Megan Amram, author of Science…For Her!
About the Author: Some people are born awkward. Some achieve awkwardness. Some have awkwardness thrust upon them. Alexandra Petri is all three. She is a Washington Post columnist and blogger, an International Pun Champion, a playwright, and a Jeopardy! loser, and she’s been on your TV a couple of times. She is also a congressman’s kid, if that will make you buy this book! When she remembers, she does stand-up comedy too, but she’s been locked in her apartment for the past nine months making this book for you and hissing when exposed to sunlight.
A Ticketed Event with Neal Stephenson, author of Reamde, Snow Crash, and Seveneves
Friday June 5, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is excited to present a ticketed event with Neal Stephenson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anatham, Reamde, and Snow Crash, who will discuss and sign copies of his latest thought provoking science fiction epic, Seveneves, a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years. Tickets are $36, include taxes and fees, admission for one, and an autographed hardcover of Seveneves, and are available on Brown Paper Tickets, event #1409332. A $28 gift card is available in lieu of the book on event night only.
In Neal Stephenson’s latest science fiction epic, Seveneves, a catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space. But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain. Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.
Neal Stephenson, a writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in Seveneves, a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.
Here’s what Boswellian Jason had to say about Seveneves: “This could well be Neal Stephenson’s best work to date, equal parts Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World. An event occurs that leaves humanity on the brink of extinction with very little time on the clock to attempt to survive. Most writers would start well after the event and leave out all the important how parts, the parts readers want to know, like how does civilization continue or barring that, humanity. The leaders of Earth hatch a harsh plan to save humanity; nothing is easy and survival is not assured, but there is true heroism in the early pages of this novel as humanity has to learn to live in a foreign environment without the cozy confines of atmosphere or terra firma. To say this was a great novel does not do it justice; Stephenson creates a breathtaking take on the catastrophic ending of the world and the saving of the human race. Then he brings it full circle, leaving me completely in awe.”
About the Author: Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, the three-volume historical epic The Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Maggie Messitt, author of The Rainy Season
Saturday June 6, at 2:00 pm
Please join us for an enlightening afternoon event with immersion journalist Maggie Messitt, who will talk about and sign copies of her latest, The Rainy Season, a work of engaging literary journalism that introduces readers to the remote bushveld community of Rooiboklaagte, opening a window into the complicated reality of daily life in South Africa in what King Leopold’s Ghost’s Adam Hochschild calls: "a profoundly compassionate book that truly takes you inside the lives of those in…a society that tourists and most foreign correspondents never see."
Just across the northern border of a former apartheid-era homeland sits a rural community in the midst of change, caught between a traditional past and a western future, a racially charged history and a pseudo-democratic present. Maggie Messitt’s The Rainy Season tells the stories of three generations in the Rainbow Nation one decade after its first democratic elections. This multi-threaded narrative follows Regina, a tapestry weaver in her sixties, standing at the crossroads where her Catholic faith and the AIDS pandemic crash; Thoko, a middle-aged sangoma (traditional healer) taking steps to turn her shebeen into a fully licensed tavern; and Dankie, a young man taking his matriculation exams, coming of age as one of Mandela’s Children, the first academic class educated entirely under democratic governance. Home to Shangaan, Sotho, and Mozambican Tsonga families, Rooiboklaagte sits in a village where an outdoor butchery occupies an old petrol station and a funeral parlor sits in the attached garage. It’s a place where an AIDS education center sits across the street from a West African doctor selling cures for the pandemic. It’s where BMWs park outside of crumbling cement homes, and the availability of water changes with the day of the week. As the land shifts from dusty winter blond to lush summer green and back again, the duration of northeastern South Africa’s rainy season, Regina, Thoko, and Dankie all face the challenges and possibilities of the new South Africa.
"Whether safari travelogues or tributes to the legacy of Nelson Mandela, what most Americans read about South Africa is far more superficial than Maggie Messitt’s gritty vision of the country. In the tradition of writers like James Agee and Katherine Boo, she has immersed herself deeply in the everyday lives of people struggling with AIDS, early death, corruption, false promises, grinding rural poverty, and the daily struggle to make ends meet in a society that tourists and most foreign correspondents never see. This is a profoundly compassionate book that truly takes you inside the lives of those in it."—Adam Hochschild, author, King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
"The Rainy Season is a delight of closely observed detail from the lives of three memorable characters in a remote South African village. Skillfully taking us through the quiet drama of an unusually generous rainy season in the bushveld, Messitt gives an insight into a world that is key to understanding South Africa today."—Greg Marinovich, author, The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War
About the Author: An independent narrative and immersion journalist, Maggie Messitt has spent the last decade reporting from inside underserved communities in southern Africa and middle America. Typically focused on complex issues through the lens of everyday life, her work is deeply invested in rural regions, social justice, and environmental sustainability. A dual citizen, Messitt lived in South Africa from 2003 to 2011. During this time, she was the founding director of a writing school for rural African women, editor of its community newspaper and international literary magazine, and a freelance reporter. Messitt currently resides in Athens, Ohio where she’s completing her doctorate in creative nonfiction at Ohio University. When she’s not teaching or writing, she spends her time exploring the foothills of Appalachia (with her South African dog, Shinga), kayaking the Ohio River, and collecting stories in places you’ll never visit.
Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves
Monday June 8, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for a special evening with Matthew Thomas, author of We Are Not Ourselves, described by The New York Times Book Review as "[a] long, gorgeous epic, full of love and caring…one of the best novels you’ll read this year." A testament to our greatest desires and frailties, We Are Not Ourselves is a story of the American Century that is lauded by The Washington Post as "stunning…superbly rendered small moments that capture both an individual life and the universality of that person’s experience," which Vanity Fair calls "a masterly debut," and Entertainment Weekly calls "refreshingly unpretentious but packed with soul."
Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on how much alcohol has been consumed. From an early age, Eileen wished that she lived somewhere else. She sets her sights on upper class Bronxville, New York, and an American Dream is born. Driven by this longing, Eileen places her stock and love in Ed Leary, a handsome young scientist, and with him begins a family. Over the years Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house. It slowly becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper, more incomprehensive psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.
"We Are Not Ourselves is a powerfully moving book, and the figure of Eileen Leary—mother, wife, daughter, lover, nurse, caretaker, whiskey drinker, upwardly mobile dreamer, retrenched protector of values—is a real addition to our literature." —Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding
About the Author: Matthew Thomas was born in the Bronx and grew up in Queens. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he has an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His New York Times-bestselling novel We Are Not Ourselves was shortlisted for both the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and nominated for the Folio Prize. It was named a Notable Book of the year by the New York Times, one of the fifty best fiction books of the year by the Washington Post, one of the ten best fiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, one of the five most important books of the year by Esquire, one of the best books of the year by Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Apple, and one of Janet Maslin’s ten favorite books of the year in the New York Times.
Local Author Michael Bowen, writing as Hillary Bell Locke, presents his new novel Collar Robber
Tuesday June 9, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is excited to welcome back Michael Bowen, practicing local attorney and prolific local author, presenting his latest under the pseudonym Hillary Bell Locke, Collar Robber, in which Jail Coach’s Loss Prevention Specialist Jay Davidovich teams up with But Remember Their Names lawyer Cynthia Jakubek to face an assortment of shady and brutal players wrapped up in the diciest fake art heist of a lifetime. This event is co-sponsored by Literacy Services of Wisconsin; local author Michael Bowen will donate all royalties from books sold at the event to Literacy Services to support the spectrum of programs providing one-on-one literacy education to adults through the dedication of volunteer tutors.
How can you make money from a painting that you don’t own, can’t steal, and couldn’t fence even if you succeeded? What if you convince people you already had stolen it? An assortment of shady and brutal players in Collar Robber think that—leaving a corpse or two along the way—they can use that bright idea to gouge fifty million dollars from Jay Davidovich’s employer, Transoxana Insurance Company. Davidovich, first met in 2012’s Jail Coach, is a Loss Prevention Specialist. Fifty million would be a good loss to prevent. Cynthia Jakubek from But Remember Their Names has jumped from the gilded drudgery of lawyering with a big Wall Street firm to the terrifying adventure of starting her own solo practice in Pittsburgh. One of her clients wants to help Davidovich—for a hefty price—and stay alive in the process. Another wants to get married in the Catholic Church to a fiancée who was briefly wed years before to someone who now has an interest in the painting. An annulment is needed. As Davidovich and Jakubek face brawls on street corners and in court rooms, confrontations in brothels, confessionals, and Yankee Stadium luxury suites, and Tasers, machine guns, and religious vestments used as weapons, they have to remember that "take no prisoners" is not just parlance.
About the Author: Hillary Bell Locke graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, worked for a prominent New York law firm, and now practices law in a city far from New York but not under that name.
A Book Club Evening featuring Emma Hooper, author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James
Wednesday June 10, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for a unique Book Club Evening featuring Emma Hooper, author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James, a "poetic, poignant" (US Weekly) debut that features last great adventures, unlikely heroes, and a "sweet, disarming story of lasting love" (The New York Times Book Review). Boswellians Jane and Daniel will present their favorite book club selections for spring and summer before introducing their featured book club recommendation and its author, Emma Hooper, discussing and signing her brilliant debut Etta and Otto and Russell and James, which People magazine calls "a lovely book you’ll want to linger over."
Here’s what Boswellian Jen has to say about the book: "What a fantastic book to start the new year off with! Etta and Otto and Russell and James is full of kind-hearted, lovable characters. Everyone has a journey they need to take and at 83 years old Etta is finally taking hers. Leaving her husband Otto a note saying she's gone to see the ocean and will try to remember to come back, Etta sets off. She embarks on foot through the quiet farmland and dust she meets new friends and becomes somewhat of a celebrity through the towns she passes. Meanwhile, her husband Otto has been keeping himself busy trying out his wife’s recipes, getting a pet and getting a hobby that will attract the attention of passerby. This book has heart & soul all over it. Pick it up and meet Etta and Otto and Russell and James. You’ll be glad you did!"
About the Author: Raised in Alberta, Canada, Emma Hooper brought her love of music and literature to the UK, where she received a doctorate in Musico-Literary studies at the University of East-Anglia and currently lectures at Bath Spa University. A musician, Emma performs as the solo artist Waitress for the Bees and plays with a number of bands. She lives in Bath, UK, but goes home to Canada to cross-country ski whenever she can. Etta and Otto and Russell and James is her first novel.
Emily Nagoski, author of Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, at the Tool Shed
Wednesday June 10, at 8:15 pm doors; 8:30 pm start
Boswell is proud to co-sponsor an event at the Tool Shed (located at 2427 N. Murray Avenue in Milwaukee) with Wellness Education Director, Lecturer, and campus favorite at Smith College, where she teaches Women’s Sexuality, Emily Nagoski, author of Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, an essential exploration of why and how women’s sexuality works drawing from groundbreaking research and an emphasis on cognitive science.
Emily Nagoski brings groundbreaking research and an emphasis on cognitive science to the sexual conversation in Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life, an essential exploration of why and how women’s sexuality works. Nagoski fills a longstanding gap in the market that other books have tried and failed to fill. There are science books that fail to address women’s sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm. And there are books about women’s sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm that really miss the scientific mark. Come as You Are is both evidence-based and empowering; both knowledgeable and non-technical. Cutting-edge research across multiple disciplines tells us that the most important factor for women in creating and sustaining a fulfilling sex life, is not what you do in bed or how you do it, but how you feel about it. Once you understand the central factors to a woman’s sexual wellbeing and how to influence them, you can create for yourself better sex and more profound pleasure than you ever thought possible.
"Emily Nagoski is worth her weight in TED Talks, and Come as You Are is a master-class in the science of sex." —Ian Kerner, sex therapist and bestselling author of She Comes First
"Emily Nagoski has written one of the most important books about sex any woman (or anybody else) could ever pick up, full of insights that are both fascinating and deeply useful. Synthesizing new research and theory about sexuality with old-school sex-positive information of the sort you didn’t learn in sex ed (unless, perhaps, you are a Unitarian, or Scandinavian, or lucky enough to be in Dr. Nagoski’s class). I guarantee Come as You Are will open minds and change lives." —Carol Queen, Ph.D., Founding director, Center for Sex & Culture
About the Author: Emily Nagoski is Wellness Education Director, Lecturer, and campus favorite at Smith College, where she teaches Women’s Sexuality. She has a PhD in Health Behavior with a doctoral concentration in human sexuality from Indiana University, and a master’s degree (also from IU) in counseling, with a clinical internship at the Kinsey Institute Sexual Health Clinic. She has taught graduate and undergraduate classes in human sexuality, relationships and communication, stress management, and sex education. She is the author of three guides for Ian Kerner’s GoodInBed.com, including the Guide to Female Orgasm, and she writes the popular sex blog, TheDirtyNormal.com.
Mark Dostert, author of Up in Here: Jailing Kids on Chicago’s Other Side
Thursday June 11, at 7:00 pm
Raised in a comfortable Dallas suburb, Mark Dostert crossed cultural and socioeconomic boundaries as a college student by volunteering as a counselor at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, Chicago’s infamous 500-cell juvenile jail. Please join us for an event with Mark Dostert, who will discuss and sign copies of his new memoir, Up in Here: Jailing Kids on Chicago’s Other Side, an honest and unflinching journey of one man’s struggle to reconcile his humanitarian intentions with his actual job responsibilities in what, to him, is a strange new world, and a sincere effort to confront the realities of America’s persisting racial tensions and institutionalized poverty.
While volunteering as a counselor at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, where inmates had been indicted on first-degree murder, rape, and carjacking charges, yet some enthusiastically met with him for weekly Bible-based lessons and discussions, Mark Dostert formed friendly relationships with his students and envisioned becoming an even closer mentor to the legally troubled boys when he became an employee there after graduating from college. The juveniles’ attitudes toward Dostert change, however, once he begins working as a "Children’s Attendant." He must strip-search them, interrupt their brawls, root through their cells for drugs and weapons, and monitor group showers to thwart sexual extortion and the inscription of gang symbols on walls and mirrors. Week after week and month after month, the job exposes hidden views not only of the juveniles and the "system" incarcerating them, but of Dostert himself. Up in Here is the honest and unflinching journey of one man’s struggle to reconcile his humanitarian intentions with his actual job responsibilities in what, to him, is a strange new world, and a sincere effort to confront the realities of America’s persisting racial tensions and institutionalized poverty.
"Americans watch news reports and reality TV shows about Chicago’s hard streets and wonder how these tragedies happen. If you want to understand more, if you want to hear the beating heart, the laments, and the hopes of children at the epicenter of these tales, you must read Mark Dostert’s haunting book." —Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway
About the Author: Mark Dostert holds degrees from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and University of North Texas. His writing has appeared in Ascent, Cimarron Review, Houston Chronicle, Southern Indiana Review, and The Summerset Review, and been cited as notable in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011, The Best American Essays 2011, and The Best American Essays 2013. Presently, he teaches English language arts in the Houston Independent School District.
Peter Schilling, Jr., author of Carl Barks’ Duck: Average American
Friday June 12, at 7:00 pm
Please join us as we welcome The End of Baseball author, Peter Schilling, Jr., who will discuss and sign copies of his latest, Carl Barks’ Duck: Average American, an idiosyncratic interpretation of the best Donald Duck comic books of cartoonist Carl Barks. "Schilling’s greatest argument is for you to seek out these stories yourself," the Chicago Tribune says, and this impassioned reading will bring Schilling’s charming persuasion directly to potential readers of Barks’ work. This event is perfect for those interested in comic books, children’s literature, animation, Walt Disney, illustration, and American history.
From 1942 to his retirement in 1966, Carl Barks drew Donald Duck comic books for Walt Disney, and took what should have been a bland franchise and turned it into a classic. Channeling his own experiences (most notably a brief stint as a chicken farmer), Barks created a character who was remarkable for not being remarkable. In his pursuit of a good job, his boredom with suburban life, his temper, his squabbles with neighbors and his resolve in the face of his many failures, Carl Barks’ vision of Donald Duck was truly that of your average American.
About the Author: Peter Schilling Jr. is the author of The End of Baseball, and writes about film and the arts for a variety of publications. He has been reading and studying Carl Barks’ entire catalogue since he was a child.
Steve Fiffer and Adar Cohen, authors of Jimmie Lee and James: Two Lives, Two Deaths, and the Movement That Changed America
Saturday June 13, at 2:00 pm
In the early months of 1965, the killings of two civil rights activists inspired the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, which became the driving force behind the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Jimmie Lee and James: Two Lives, Two Deaths, and the Movement That Changed America is their story. Boswell and the First Unitary Society of Milwaukee are proud to welcome Steve Fiffer and Adar Cohen, authors of Jimmie Lee and James, to Boswell for a talk and signing about their latest, the first book to give readers a deeper understanding of the events that galvanized an already-strong civil rights movement to one of its greatest successes.
"Bloody Sunday"—March 7, 1965—was a pivotal moment in the civil rights struggle. The national outrage generated by scenes of Alabama state troopers attacking peaceful demonstrators fueled the drive toward the passage of the Voting Rights Acts later that year. But why were hundreds of activists marching from Selma to Montgomery that afternoon? Days earlier, during the crackdown on another protest in nearby Marion, a state trooper, claiming self-defense, shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old unarmed deacon and civil rights protester. Jackson’s subsequent death spurred local civil rights leaders to make the march to Montgomery; when that day also ended in violence, the call went out to activists across the nation to join in the next attempt. One of the many who came down was a minister from Boston named James Reeb. Shortly after his arrival, he was attacked in the street by racist vigilantes, eventually dying of his injuries. Lyndon Johnson evoked Reeb’s memory when he brought his voting rights legislation to Congress, and the national outcry over the brutal killings ensured its passage. Most histories of the civil rights movement note these two deaths briefly, before moving on to the more famous moments. Jimmie Lee and James is the first book to give readers a deeper understanding of the events that galvanized an already-strong civil rights movement to one of its greatest successes, along with the herculean efforts to bring the killers of these two men to justice—a quest that would last more than four decades.
"In Jimmie Lee and James, Steve Fiffer and Adar Cohen bring to life a watershed moment in our nation’s history. This is a must-read for all who care about the fight for civil rights and the right to vote, then and now." —Julian Bond, NAACP Chairman Emeritus
"This is the untold, true story behind the historic 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. A well-written, well-reported page-turner about our collective struggle for equality and justice…hopefully the last chapter in the American Revolution." —Morris Dees, Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center
Steve Fiffer Bio: Steve Fiffer is a New York Times bestselling author who has written more than a dozen books, including his memoir Three Quarters, Two Dimes, and a Nickel, and collaborations with civil rights lawyer Morris Dees and former Secretary of State James Baker. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Slate. Fiffer, winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, is a graduate of Yale and the University of Chicago Law School. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Adar Cohen Bio: Adar Cohen is an educator, organizer, and researcher in the areas of conflict resolution, youth empowerment, and nonviolent social change. As the founding Director of Programs for Civic Leadership Foundation, he supports young people across the country in preparing to be successful in school, work, and civic life. A graduate of Wheaton College in Massachusetts and of the doctoral program in International Peace Studies at the University of Dublin (Trinity College), Cohen teaches in the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies department at DePaul University in Chicago.
It’s Story Time with Boswellian Jannis, reading Tad and Dad, by David Ezra Stein
Sunday June 14, at 11:00 am
Grab your Dad and hop on down to Boswell for Story Time! This month, Boswellian Jannis will read Tad and Dad by David Ezra Stein, and other selections about Dads and families. Perfect for ages 18 months and up, this month’s Story Time will be a ribbetting good time!
Patricia Skalka, author of Death at Gills Rock, and James DeVita, author of A Winsome Murder
Sunday June 14, at 3:00 pm
Please join us for an exciting afternoon event with two authors whose murder mystery novels take place in Wisconsin! Journalist Patricia Skalka presents Death at Gills Rock, the sequel to her debut Door County murder mystery featuring park ranger and former Chicago homicide detective Dave Cubiak. Celebrated local actor, playwright, director, and novelist, James DeVita, presents his latest, A Winsome Murder, in which a serial killer brings bloody murder to the pastoral Wisconsin town of Winsome bay, requiring the expertise of detective James Mangan, a hard-bitten Chicago cop with an unexpected knowledge of Shakespeare.
In Patricia Skalka’s latest, Death at Gills Rock (the sequel to Death Stalks Door County), park ranger and former Chicago homicide detective Dave Cubiak is elected Door County sheriff. His newest challenge arrives as spring brings not new life but tragic death to the isolated fishing village of Gills Rock. Three prominent World War II veterans who are about to be honored for their military heroics die from carbon monoxide poisoning during a weekly card game. When one of the widows receives a message claiming the men "got what they deserved," Cubiak realizes that there may be more to the deaths than a simple accident.
In James DeVita’s latest, A Winsome Murder, a grisly murder in a pastoral Wisconsin town, Winsome Bay, proves to be only the opening act in a twisting, darkening series of gruesome deaths. Acclaimed already for his young adult fiction, DeVita now debuts an addictive, adult thriller that takes us from Chicago’s underbelly to the Wisconsin woods. In this fast-paced novel we meet a gorgeous waitress with a haunted past, an author juggling a failing career and motherhood, and a hard-bitten detective with unexpected inspiration from William Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays—and nobody escapes the nightmare created by a psychotic killer of women.
Patricia Skalka Bio: Patricia Skalka is a former freelance staff writer for Reader’s Digest specializing in medical and human interest stories. She has worked as a magazine editor, ghost writer, and writing instructor. A native of Chicago, she lives in the city and takes time off at her cottage in Door County, Wisconsin.
James DeVita Bio: James DeVita is a core company member and literary manager at the professional classical repertory company, the American Players Theatre, in Spring Green, Wisconsin. He has worked extensively as a playwright and has published two novels for younger readers, The Silenced and Blue. He is a native of Long Island, New York, and now lives near Spring Green.
Ron Legro and Avi Lank, authors of The Man Who Painted the Universe: The Story of a Planetarium in the Heart of the North Woods
Monday June 15, at 7:00 pm
As a young boy Frank Kovac, Jr. fell deeply in love with stargazing, painting glow-in-the-dark constellations on his bedroom wall and inviting friends to an observatory he built in his Chicago backyard. As he reached adulthood, Kovac did not let go of his childhood dreams of reaching the stars. He began scheming to bring the universe home. While working at a paper mill as a young man, Kovac tirelessly built a 22-foot rotating globe planetarium in the woods. Despite failures and collapses, the amateur astronomer single-handedly built a North Woods treasure, painting more than 5,000 glowing stars—dot by dot in glowing paints. Today, Kovac and his unique planetarium take visitors to the stars every day.
The Man Who Painted the Universe: The Story of a Planetarium in the Heart of the North Woods introduces readers to the mild-mannered astronomy enthusiast whose creativity, ingenuity, fervor, and endurance realized a dream of galactic proportions. The story of this stargazer from Wisconsin's North Woods so inspired two longtime Milwaukee journalists, authors Ron Legro and Avi Lank, that they sought to document the story of the Kovac Planetarium for a new generation of stargazers and dreamers.
Ron Legro Bio: Ron Legro is a freelance writer and former reporter, columnist, and editor for the Milwaukee Sentinel daily newspaper. He was editor in chief of Wisconsin Reports, a weekly public affairs journal covering the state legislature. His freelance articles have appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sunday magazine, Milwaukee magazine, Corporate Report Wisconsin, and other publications. He was a speechwriter for numerous lawmakers and public officials and served as the City of Milwaukee’s director of telecommunications. A native of Antigo, Wisconsin, he is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He lives in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, with his wife, Michele Derus.
Avi Lank Bio: Avi Lank is an essayist for Milwaukee Public Radio and panelist on the Interchange public-affairs program on Milwaukee Public Television. For almost 40 years he was an award-winning reporter, columnist, and editor at the Milwaukee Sentinel and later the Journal Sentinel. Born in Penn Yan in the Finger Lakes region of western New York State, he grew up in Rochester, New York, and holds degrees from Antioch College and the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University. He lives in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, with his wife, Dannette Lank.
Local Author Pam Ferderbar, author of Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale
Tuesday June 16, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for an entertaining evening with director, screenplay writer, and local author Pam Ferderbar, who penned the whirlwind debut, Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, an uplifting and hilarious fable about empowerment and perception, and the magical things that happen when we begin to see the glass as half full, and "a fast-paced, hilarious, rom-com of a romp that’s not only laugh-out-loud funny, it touches the heart" (Samantha Vérant, author of Seven Letters from Paris).
Charlotte Nightingale has the worst luck in the world. Her cluttered apartment is the poster child for "shar chi" – poison luck in the realm of feng shui. Her boyfriend’s a jerk, her job sucks, she’s broke, and her own family seems to hate her. Every day is a bad hair day. Kwan, a handsome Chinese food delivery man and aspiring feng shui practitioner, takes pity on Charlotte. While Charlotte searches for the money to pay for the Emperor’s cashew chicken Kwan has delivered, he surreptitiously begins to move things around in Charlotte’s apartment in accordance with the ancient art of placement—hoping to improve her life. Charlotte’s luck subsequently appears to change in a big way. It goes from bad to worse—or so it seems. The reader might ask whether feng shui, luck, voodoo, prayer or magic can effect change in a person’s life, or whether an about-face is purely a function of attitude. Or better yet, whether perhaps it’s a combination of all these things.
"Pam Ferderbar’s debut novel Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale is the funniest book I’ve read in ages. Ferderbar’s wit and quirky humor kept me laughing, while underdog Charlotte had me rooting for her. The ending is unexpected—and so so satisfying. I cheered for Charlotte!" —Julie Tarney, author of My Son Wears Heels
About the Author: Pam Ferderbar was born and raised in Wisconsin, the only child of loving but quirky parents. She moved to Los Angeles, married the first man to see her fall off the turnip truck, wrote a short story that would later become Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, began collecting stray dogs, divorced the man, fell in with a wild group of beachy goddesses, wrote a novel and then moved back to Wisconsin where the goddesses wear long underwear and cheese hats and so do the men.
An Elm Grove Library Event with Spike Carlsen, author of Cabin Lessons: A Nail-By-Nail Tale: Building Our Dream Cottage from 2X4s, Blisters, and Love
Wednesday June 17, at 6:30 pm
When Minnesota native Spike Carlsen and his wife, Kat, found themselves at a midlife crossroads—juggling demanding jobs while trying to bring the children from each of their prior marriages together as a cohesive family unit—they wondered how to proceed. Should they follow the stereotypical pattern where, in Spike’s words, "he buys a red Miata sports coupe and she gets a facelift and a walnut-size cocktail ring?" Spike and Kat forged their own path when they "decided to buy a nearly inaccessible cliff of eroding clay on Lake Superior and build a cabin together—along with five kids, a handful of friends, and a half-blind, gimpy Pekingese." Please join us at the Elm Grove Library (located at 13600 Juneau Boulevard in Elm Grove) for an evening with Spike Carlsen, author of Cabin Lessons, the entertaining and heartfelt story of one blended family’s do-it-yourself adventure on Lake Superior.
For Spike and thousands of others, a cabin is more than a place to stay; it’s a philosophy and a state of mind. While managing financial hardships and dodging the curveballs nature threw them along the way, Spike and his family became masters of improvising and staying calm in the face of absurdity. Learning the building skills they needed as they went along, and learning about themselves and each other as well, they found in the end that they’d built not only a sturdy cabin, but a stronger family. Part building guide and part memoir, Cabin Lessons weaves chapters detailing Spike and Kat’s experiences, from purchasing the land to designing their 600-square-foot retreat, gathering the materials for construction, working with contractors, and, finally, marshalling their children, and building from the ground up. The story is inspiring and informative in equal measure, with photos, floorplan designs, construction diagrams, and maps of the landscape peppered throughout.
About the Author: Spike Carlsen built a tree house at the age of 8 and has been swinging a hammer ever since. He worked as a carpenter and contractor for 15 years, then as an editor with The Family Handyman—the world’s leading DIY magazine—for another 15. He’s the author of the award-winning A Splintered History of Wood, Woodworking FAQ, and The Backyard Homestead of Building Projects. He’s written for Men’s Health, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, American Woodworker, and other publications and has appeared on HGTV, Modern Marvels, and CBS’s The Early Show. He and his wife, Kat, divide their time between their home in Stillwater, Minnesota, and their cabin on Lake Superior.
Michael Harvey, author of The Governor’s Wife, with Josh K. Stevens, author of Scratch the Surface, Volume 1
Wednesday June 17, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for a thrilling evening with Michael Harvey, presenting the latest in his beloved Michael Kelly series, The Governor’s Wife, lauded as a stylish, knock-out suspense from a modern master, and Josh K. Stevens, presenting the first book in his new Deuce Walsh trilogy, Scratch the Surface, an action-packed thriller about a former mafia collector.
In The Governor’s Wife, the latest installment in Michael Harvey’s beloved Michael Kelly series, Chicago’s favorite Ovid-reading, gun-toting private investigator takes on Illinois’s first family in a blistering thriller that charts the border where ambition ends and evil begins. It’s been two years since disgraced Illinois governor Ray Perry disappeared from a federal courthouse in Chicago moments after being sentenced to thirty-seven years in prison on corruption charges. P.I. Michael Kelly is sitting in his office when he gets an anonymous e-mail offering to pay him nearly a quarter of a million dollars if he will find Perry, no questions asked. Kelly’s investigation begins with the woman Ray Perry left behind—his wife, Marie. Ostracized by her former friends and hounded by the feds, Marie tells Kelly she has no idea where her husband is. Like everyone else, Kelly doesn’t believe her. As he hunts for her husband, Kelly begins to unwind Marie Perry’s past. What he finds is a woman who turns out to be even more intriguing than her husband, with her own deeply complicated reasons for standing by him. Everyone in Chicago has secrets, including the governor’s wife. Some of them she shared with her husband. Some of them she kept to herself. And some of them could get Michael Kelly killed.
In Scratch the Surface, the first book in the new Deuce Walsh thriller trilogy by Josh K. Stevens, Deuce Walsh is a former gangster trying to keep his past hidden in the middle of nowhere Midwest. Seven years ago, his colleagues—The Chianti Brothers—made a power play and left him for dead. He survived, but had to leave everything behind and start from scratch with a new identity. But when his brother-in-law Colm, a degenerate gambler and wannabe wiseguy, gets himself into trouble, Deuce is brought back into the life of crime and finds himself helping Colm pay off a debt to the very people who tried to have him killed in the first place.
Michael Harvey Bio: Michael Harvey is the author of The Chicago Way, The Fifth Floor, The Third Rail, We All Fall Down, and The Innocence Game, as well as a journalist and documentary producer. His work has won numerous national and international awards, including multiple news Emmys, two Primetime Emmy nominations, and an Academy Award nomination. He holds a law degree with honors from Duke University, a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in classical languages from Holy Cross College. He lives, of course, in Chicago.
Josh K. Stevens Bio: Josh K. Stevens is the author of Bullets Are My Business. His short stories have been published in RAGAD, Boston Literary Magazine, The Woodstock Independent, 55 Words, and decomP. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and children.
Jim Shepard, author of The Book of Aron
Thursday June 18, at 7:00 pm
Jim Shepard, the acclaimed National Book Award finalist—"one of the United States’ finest writers," according to Joshua Ferris, "full of wit, humanity, and fearless curiosity"—now gives us The Book of Aron, a novel that will join the short list of classics about children caught up in the Holocaust. This event is co-sponsored by the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM.
In Jim Shepard’s latest novel, The Book of Aron, narrator Aron is an engaging if peculiar and unhappy young boy whose family is driven by the German onslaught from the Polish countryside into Warsaw and slowly battered by deprivation, disease, and persecution. He and a handful of boys and girls risk their lives by scuttling around the ghetto to smuggle and trade contraband through the quarantine walls in hopes of keeping their fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters alive, hunted all the while by blackmailers and by Jewish, Polish, and German police, not to mention the Gestapo. When his family is finally stripped away from him, Aron is rescued by Janusz Korczak, a doctor renowned throughout prewar Europe as an advocate of children’s rights who, once the Nazis swept in, was put in charge of the Warsaw orphanage. Treblinka awaits them all, but does Aron manage to escape—as his mentor suspected he could—to spread word about the atrocities? This child’s-eye view of the darkest history is mesmerizing, sometimes comic despite all odds, truly heartbreaking, and even inspiring—anyone who hears Aron’s voice will remember it forever.
"Understated and devastating…an exhaustively researched, pitch-perfect novel exploring the moral ambiguities of survival [in which] ordinary people reveal dimensions that are extraordinarily cruel or kind." —Kirkus Reviews
"Beautiful, harrowing…The words fall like thunderclaps." —Marcia Menter, More magazine
About the Author: Jim Shepard is the author of six previous novels and four story collections, including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won The Story Prize. His short fiction has appeared in, among other magazines, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Esquire, Tin House, Granta, Zoetrope, Electric Literature, and Vice, and has often been selected for The Best American Short Stories and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children, and teaches at Williams College.
A Conversation between Michael Perry, author of The Jesus Cow, and Dean Bakopoulos, author of Summerlong
Friday June 19, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is proud to welcome back two of our favorite Midwestern authors discussing coming of age, modern life in the Midwest, and their new novels. Dean Bakopoulos will talk about and sign copies of his latest novel, Summerlong, which bestselling author Lorrie Moore calls "the best kind of divine comedy" with beloved Wisconsin humorist, Michael Perry, discussing and signing copies of his first novel for adults, The Jesus Cow, an affectionately skewed and big-hearted depiction of one miraculous bovine and the chaos it unleashes.
In Michael Perry’s first adult novel, The Jesus Cow, life is suddenly full of drama for low-key Harley Jackson: A woman in a big red pickup has stolen his bachelor’s heart, a Hummer-driving predatory developer is threatening to pave the last vestiges of his family farm, and inside his barn is a calf bearing the image of Jesus Christ. His best friend, Billy, a giant of a man who shares his trailer house with a herd of cats and tries to pass off country music lyrics as philosophy, urges him to avoid the woman, fight the developer, and get rich off the calf. But Harley takes the opposite tack, hoping to avoid what his devout, dearly departed mother would have called "a scene." The Jesus Cow is a hilarious and big-hearted tale, a comic yet sincere exploration of faith and the foibles of modern life that blends the barbed charm of Garrison Keillor, the irreverent humor of Christopher Moore, and the audacious insight of Chuck Klosterman.
Dean Bakopoulos’s latest novel, Summerlong, is set over the course of a long, hot summer in an isolated Midwestern college town. Don and Claire Lowry, college sweethearts, now with three children, aren’t sure their marriage will survive: they’re facing a foreclosure and other financial pressures, and looking for escape. Claire finds herself attracted to an aimless young man who’s returned home to organize his dying father’s personal papers, while Don befriends a recent graduate who’s drifting through life in a haze of marijuana smoke and depression after the death of her first lover. As erotic bonds develop and dissolve and loyalties are tested, the four seem to be hurtling toward heartbreak. Yet, in Bakopoulos’s assured narrative hands, a surprising second act is in the offing. "Summerlong is Dean Bakopoulos at his finest," says Nickolas Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs. "Daringly funny, heartbreakingly sad, and forever on the watch for redemption. This is a book for any season, any reader, anywhere—it shimmers with magic, lust, and love."
Michael Perry Bio: Michael Perry is a radio host, songwriter, and the New York Times bestselling author of several nonfiction books. Although he performs widely as a humorist, the stylistic elements of Perry’s writing have led to several music-based collaborations, most recently with Justin Vernon of the band Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner of The National. A registered nurse by training, Perry lives in northern Wisconsin with his family, where he volunteers with the local rescue service.
Dean Bakopoulos Bio: Dean Bakopoulos is the author of New York Times Notable Book Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon and My American Unhappiness. He holds an MFA from University of Wisconsin- Madison, and is the winner of a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2006 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He is the writer-in-residence of English at Grinnell College, and lives in Iowa.
Stacey Ballis, author of Recipe for Disaster at Boelter Superstore
Saturday June 20, at 11:00 am
Boswell is proud to be the bookseller of note for an event at Boelter Superstore (located at 4200 N. Port Washington Road in Glendale) with beloved foodie novelist, Stacey Ballis, who will read from and sign copies of her latest novel perfect for fans of Jen Lancaster, Jennifer Weiner, and Emily Giffin, Recipe for Disaster, a delicious broth of a novel about a woman whose perfect life falls apart in spectacular fashion—leaving her with a house to restore, an antique cookbook (but no cooking talent), and one very unhappy schnauzer. Recipes included!!
To an outside observer, Anneke Stroudt is a mess—her shirts are stained, her fingernails stubby, her language colorful. But, despite her flaws, Anneke’s life is close to perfect. She has a beautiful historic house to restore and a loving fiancé who cooks like a dream. Until Anneke’s charmed existence falls apart when she loses both her job and her future husband in one terrible day. In need of a new start, she packs up her disgruntled schnauzer and moves into her half-finished home, where she throws her pent-up frustration—and what little savings she has—into finishing the renovation. But at the first step into the house’s overhaul, Anneke is sidetracked when she discovers a mysterious leather-bound book, long hidden away, filled with tempting recipes and steamy secrets from Gemma Ditmore-Smythe, the cook for the house’s original owners. Slowly, with the help of some delicious food and Emma’s life lessons, Anneke begins to realize that, just like a flawless recipe, she’s been waiting for the right ingredients to cook up a perfect life all along…
"With the perfect blend of humor and heart, Ballis’s writing is powerfully honest and genuinely hilarious." —Jen Lancaster
About the Author: Stacey Ballis is the author of eight foodie novels: Inappropriate Men, Sleeping Over, Room for Improvement, The Spinster Sisters, Good Enough to Eat, Off the Menu, Out to Lunch, and Recipe for Disaster. She is also a contributing author to three nonfiction anthologies: Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, and Living Jewishly.
Alan Guebert and Mary Grace Foxwell, authors of The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey: Memories from the Farm of My Youth
Saturday June 20, at 2:00 pm
Boswell is excited to welcome The Farm and Food File columnist, Alan Guebert, and co-founder of Foxwell Digital, Mary Grace Foxwell, authors of the new agricultural memoir The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey: Memories from the Farm of My Youth, which captures the good life at fifty cents an hour on a southern Illinois dairy farm.
In The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey, Alan Guebert and his daughter-editor Mary Grace Foxwell recall Guebert’s years on the land working as part of that all-consuming collaborative effort known as the family farm. On Indian Farm, a dairy operation on 720 acres of rich Illinois bottomland, Guebert’s tireless parents measured the year not in months but in seasons for sewing, haying, and doing the books. The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey collects some of their stories, as well as those of Jackie the farmhand, needing ninety minutes to do sixty minutes’ work and cussing the entire time; Hoard the dairyman, sore fingers wrapped in electrician’s tape, sharing wine and the prettiest Christmas tree ever; and the unflappable Uncle Honey, spreading mayhem via mistreated machinery, flipped wagons, and the careless union of diesel fuel and fire. This heartfelt and humorous reminiscences depict the hard labor and simple pleasures to be found in ennobling work, and show that in life, as in farming, Uncle Honey had it right with his succinct philosophy for overcoming adversity: "the secret’s not to stop."
"Alan Guebert is one of America’s finest writers on the workings and the politics of our food system. This book eloquently describes a rural way of life that’s been lost. But the values of that world—family, community, social justice, a respect for the land—are timeless." —Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
Alan Guebert Bio: Alan Guebert has written the nationally syndicated column The Farm and Food File since 1993. His awards include Writer of the Year and Master Writer from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association.
Mary Grace Foxwell Bio: Mary Grace Foxwell is the co-founder of Foxwell Digital.
Andrew Maraniss, author of Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South
Monday June 22, at 7:00 pm
Please join us at Boswell for an exciting evening talk and signing with the first-ever media relations manager for the Tampa Bay Rays, Andrew Maraniss, presenting Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South, his debut biography that tells the story of Perry Wallace, who during the turbulent late 1960s desegregated athletic competition in the heart of Dixie as the first African American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference.
Perry Wallace, now a professor of law at American University in Washington, D.C., made history at Vanderbilt University in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, a city that during his youth had been the site of some of the first, dramatic scenes of the civil rights movement. Wallace had entered kindergarten the same year that Brown v. Board of Education upended "separate but equal." As a 12-year-old in 1960, he sneaked downtown to watch the sit-ins at Nashville’s lunch counters. In 1963, he entered high school a week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech. While in high school, he saw the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, and his Pearl High basketball team won Tennessee’s first integrated state tournament. The world seemed to be opening up at just the right time, and when Vanderbilt recruited him, Wallace courageously and in some ways reluctantly accepted the assignment to desegregate the SEC. In Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South, Andrew Maraniss digs deep beneath the surface to reveal a singular, complicated, and profound story of sports pioneering and civil rights.
"In a magnificently reported, nuanced but raw story of basketball and racism in the South during the 1960s, Andrew Maraniss tells the story of Perry Wallace’s struggle, loneliness, perseverance, and eventual self-realization. A rare story about physical and intellectual courage that is both shocking and triumphant." —Bob Woodward, Washington Post associate editor and author
About the Author: Formerly the associate director of media relations at the Vanderbilt athletic department and the first-ever media relations manager for the Tampa Bay Rays, Andrew Maraniss is now a partner at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations in Nashville. Andrew, the son of Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Maraniss, attended Vanderbilt on the Fred Russell–Grantland Rice sportswriting scholarship.
Andrew Knapp and Momo, author and subject (respectively!) of Find Momo Coast to Coast: A Photography Book
Wednesday June 24, at 7:00 pm
Since 2012, photographer Andrew Knapp and his border collie Momo have ensnared the hearts of more than 300,000 Instagram users. The duo made their literary debut in 2013 with Find Momo, and they’ve continued to share their rousing games of hide-and-seek with the world. Now Andrew Knapp and Momo are headed to Milwaukee to present their new 15,000-mile, tail-waggingly fun adventure across the United States and Canada, Find Momo Coast to Coast: A Photography Book.
This spring, readers can travel with Momo and Knapp across the continent in their 1977 Volkswagen Westfalia van. Indulge your wanderlust with all-new, striking photographs of North America and the delightful people Momo meets along the way. Full of unforgettable images, Find Momo Coast to Coast is part game and part photography book. Dog lovers, photography buffs, roadtrippers, and curious readers of all ages will enjoy being challenged by this adorable book.
About the Author: Andrew Knapp is a freelance interface designer and photographer from northern Ontario who desires to make everyday routines into creative adventures. Along with his commercial photography and design work, he’s filmed a TEDx Talk, collaborated on an Instamissions project with MTV and Sony, and cofounded the We Live Up Here collaboration exploring life in Sudbury, Ontario. Momo is an adorable brown-eyed border collie, Andrew’s BFF, and a genius at hiding. He has over 301,000 Instagram fans.
A Whitefish Bay Library Event with Chicago Author Robert Kurson, author of Shadow Divers and Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship
Thursday June 25, at 6:30 pm
Ahoy! Join us at the Whitefish Bay Library (located at 5420 N. Marlborough Dr. in Milwaukee) for an adventurous evening with the award-winning author of Shadow Divers, Chicago writer Robert Kurson, who will discuss his latest book, Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship, a gripping, true story of the hunt for lost gold, bitter rivalries on the high seas, a long-ago wicked pirate captain, and two adventurous American men determined to win treasure.
Finding and identifying a pirate ship is one of the hardest things to do under the sea. But two men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. During the Golden Age of Piracy, Bannister was more notorious than Blackbeard, more daring than Kidd, but his story—and his ship—have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history—it will be just the second time that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and government and experts. It is only when they learn to think and act like pirates—like Bannister—that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before.
"A great thriller full of tough guys and long odds…and: It really happened." —Lee Child
"A terrific read. I was pulled in from page one. Kurson brings us face to face with some of the most swashbuckling pirates ever to sail the Caribbean, even as he takes us underwater on a high-tech quest to discover the relics they left behind." —Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat
About the Author: Robert Kurson earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, then a law degree from Harvard Law School. His award-winning stories have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and Esquire, where he is a contributing editor. He is the author of the 2005 American Booksellers Association’s nonfiction Book Sense Book of the Year Shadow Divers, and Crashing Through, based on Kurson’s 2006 National Magazine Award-winning profile in Esquire. He lives in Chicago.
Mary Alice Monroe, author of The Summer’s End
Friday June 26, at 7:00 pm
In the powerful and heartwarming conclusion to her bestselling Lowcountry Summer trilogy, The Summer’s End, New York Times author Mary Alice Monroe brings her readers back to the charm and sultry beauty of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, to reveal how the pull of family bonds and true love is as strong and steady as the tides. Get in the summer spirit as we welcome beloved author Mary Alice Monroe for a fantastic reading and signing at Boswell.
It is summer’s end and Sea Breeze, the family’s beloved estate on Sullivan’s Island, must be sold. It is an emotional time of transition as Mamaw and the three sisters each must face loss and find a new place in the world. Harper, the youngest sister, arrived at Sea Breeze intending to stay only a weekend, but a rift with her wealthy, influential mother left her without direction or a home. During this remarkable summer, free from her mother’s tyranny and with the help of her half sisters, Harper discovered her talents and independent spirit. But summer is ending, and the fate of Sea Breeze hinges on Harper’s courage to decide the course of her own life. To do so she must release her insecurities and recognize her newfound strengths. She must accept love fully into her life—the love of Mamaw, Carson, and Dora, the love of Sea Breeze and the lowcountry, and most of all, the love of a Wounded Warrior who has claimed her heart. The third book in Mary Alice Monroe’s trilogy that brims with "stories that touch the mind and heart of her readers" (Huffington Post), The Summer’s End follows three half sisters bound by love for their grandmother and the timeless beauty and traditions of the lowcountry.
About the Author: Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Summer Wind, The Summer Girls, Last Light Over Carolina, Time is a River, Sweetgrass, Skyward, The Beach House, The Four Seasons, The Book Club, and Beach House Memories. Her books received numerous awards, including the Award for Writing from the South Carolina Center for the Book and the International Fiction Award for Green Fiction. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina.
Matt Burriesci, author of Dead White Guys: A Father, His Daughter, and the Great Books of the Western World
Monday June 29, at 7:00 pm
Dead White Guys: A Father, His Daughter, and the Great Books of the Western World is 2013 AWP Award-winning author Matt Burriesci’s delightful, nostalgic ode to classic literature told through a series of letters written to his daughter, Violet. Please join us at Boswell for an evening discussion and celebration of reading with Mark Burriesci, signing copies of Dead White Guys, a remarkable defense of the past 2,500 years of Western philosophy that eloquently proves that the ideas profligated by canonical thinkers are more relevant today than they’ve ever been.
Dead White Guys is a timely defense of the great books, arriving in the middle of a national debate about the fate of these books in high schools and universities around the country. Burriesci shows how the great books can enrich our lives as individuals, as citizens, and in our careers. Extending the argument first made by Anna Quindlen’s on the act of reading itself, How Reading Changed My Life ("It is like the rubbing of two sticks together to make a fire, the act of reading, an improbable pedestrian task that leads to heat and light"), Burriesci reminds us all of the enormous impact reading has on our lives. After his daughter was born prematurely in 2010, Burriesci set out to write a book about 26 Great Books, from Plato to Karl Marx, and how their lessons have applied to his life. As someone who has spent a long and successful career as an advocate for great literature, Burriesci defends the classics in this series of tender and candid letters, rich in personal experience and full of humor.
"Part memoir, part intellectual history, Dead White Guys is both one father’s letter to his daughter and one part intellectual guide to our times. Candid, personal, and wide-ranging, it is unpretentious and wise, and would make a perfect gift for many a young person." —Gish Jen, author of Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self
About the Author: Matt Burriesci began his career at the Tony Award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, and later served as Executive Director for both the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. During his tenure at AWP, he helped build the largest literary conference in North America, and he served as a national advocate for literature and the humanities. In his work as a consultant, he has interviewed dozens of global leaders in healthcare, scientific research, and higher education, and his stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife Erin and their children, Violet and Henry.
Please join us at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center for a Ticketed Event with Daniel Silva, author of The Unlikely Spy, The Heist, and The English Spy, in conversation with the JCC’s Jody Hirsh
Monday July 6, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is excited to present a ticketed event at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center with Daniel Silva, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Spy, The Heist, and The English Assassin, joined in conversation by the JCC’s Jody Hirsh, discussing Silva’s latest stunning thriller, The English Spy, an action-packed tale of high stakes international intrigue featuring the inimitable Gabriel Allon. Tickets are $30, include taxes and fees, admission for one, and an autographed hardcover of The English Spy, and are available on Brown Paper Tickets, event #1476403. The Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center is located at 6255 N. Santa Monica Boulevard in Whitefish Bay.
Master novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled readers with seventeen thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back—from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. His brilliant hero, Gabriel Allon—art restorer, assassin, spy—has joined the pantheon of great fictional secret agents, including George Smiley, Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, and Simon Templar. Following the success of his smash hit The Heist, Daniel Silva returns with another blockbuster—The English Spy—a powerhouse novel featuring the inimitable Gabriel Allon that showcases his outstanding skill and brilliant imagination, and is sure to be a must read for both his multitudes of fans and growing legions of converts.
About the Author: Daniel Silva is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Unlikely Spy, The Mark of the Assassin, The Marching Season, The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, The Secret Servant, Moscow Rules, The Defector, The Rembrandt Affair, Portrait of a Spy, The Fallen Angel, The English Girl, and The Heist. His books are published in more than thirty countries and are bestsellers around the world. He serves on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and is married to journalist Jamie Gangel. Silva lives in Florida with his wife and their two children.
Other Confirmed Author Appearances
Monday, July 27, 6:30 pm - A Special, One-Time Screening of Chasing Red (awarded Best Feature and Best of the Fest at the 2015 LA Indie Film Festival!), featuring Chicago Author and Golden Gloves Champ Bill Hillmann, author of The Old Neighborhood, at the Landmark Oriental Theatre, located at 2230 North Farwell Avenue--tickets available soon via Tugg