First of all, my apologies for paraphrasing. I'm so intimidated by how many events we have that my creative juices have dissipated. Of course if I were a great writer, I'd chuck the bookstore to write the inspirational story of how a man and his niece bonded over who got kicked off last week's "Top Chef." May I note that she would have loved our event with Grant Achatz last Sunday? I bought her an autographed copy of Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat. It's true, autographed copies make great gifts. Do we have more signed copies of Grant Achatz's wonderful memoir? Yes, we do. Are they autographed personally to your niece and her fiancé? No, but we might be able to fudge it. And now onto what's to come.
Wednesday March 16, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event
Manya Kaczkowski, author of Milwaukee's Historic Bowling Alleys
Larry Widen, author of Milwaukee Movie Theaters.
I love urban history and these Arcadia books do a great job offering glimpses of the past at a great price. When Emily the publicist told me about these two new books in the series, I knew we probably wouldn't get the launch event (I assumed Widen would do something at the theater and Kaczkowski at her favorite Lanes), but why not do something afterwards together? Larry Widen is well-known for his previous books on Milwaukee theaters, and currently operates the historic Times and Rosebud Theaters, in Washington Heights and Wauwatosa respectively. Manya Kaczkowski is a travel writer and yes, a former league bowler. I'd be up for league bowling too, if I could only find a team that didn't mind scores in the mid sixties.
Friday, March 18, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event:
Matthew Inman, author of 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth. Theoatmeal.com launched in July of 2009 and already has more than 82 million page views. Inman's new collection of comic illustrations are life-bending guides are now available in a revolutionary book format, on handy paper that is bound together in a uniquely portable and readable way. If you have been wondering why bacon is better than true love, or whether a loved one is planning to eat you, 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth is probably your best resource. Will there be a slide show, using our new projector? Yes. Will this event be absolutely packed? Absolutely. Our friends at Tattered Cover and Changing Hands had 200+ attendees. I'd suggest getting here early.
Sunday, March 20, 2 pm, at Boswell, free event
Scott Korb, author of Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine. You want history? We've got history. Wisconsin-bred* Scott Korb offers an animated, unexpected, and amusing look at the land Jesus called home, a troublesome backwater of the Roman Empire at the height of its power. Korb has written an earthy, provocative, and fun history, laced with first-hand observations in his travels. He's written for Harper's, Gastronomica, The Revealer, and Commonweal. His next book also sounds fascinating, a narrative of the first class at our nation's first four-year Muslim college. *One of our customers looked at Korb's photo and said to me, "I think I know him-can you tell me if he attended Union Theological Seminary?" And yes, he did.
Wednesday, March 23, 7 pm, at Marquette University's Eckstein Hall, free event: Father Gregory Boyle, author of Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. The founder of Homeboy Industries will share his very personal experiences of working with gang members in Los Angeles. Father Boyle started his first business, Homeboy Bakery, in 1992, in response to civil unrest in Los Angeles. Today Homeboy Industries' nonprofit economic development enterprises include silkscreening and merchandise sales. Boyle's work has won praise from Jack Kornfield, Anne Lamott (coming to Alverno on April 12), and Marian Wright Edelman.
Friday, March 25, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event
Anne Byrn, author of The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free, co-sponsored by Celiac in the City, Milwaukee Reads! and the Gluten Free Trading Company. Ann Byrn is the author of the bestselling Cake Mix Doctor series. Now she teaches you how to transform gluten-free cake mixes into 76 rich, decadent, easy-to-make, impossible-to-resist desserts, from Tres Leches Cake with Whipped Cream and Summer Berries to brownies, bars, muffins, and cookies. Doctoring mixes with additions like almond extract, berries, coconut and cinnamon, Anne Byrn puts delicious desserts back on the gluten-free menu!
Monday, March 28, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event
Josh Alan Friedman, author of Black Cracker.
Josh Friedman is the only white kid at the last segregated school in New York. This tour of a Long Island boyhood is populated by unforgettable characters, with a teacher who moonlights on "The Lawrence Welk Show" and a principal (a woman, mind you) who wears boxing gloves. At once funny and heartbreaking, this autobiographical novel is a fearless account of the now-forgotten poor, black shantytowns of Long Island. Friedman is a writer-guitarist who lives in Texas. Oh, and he wrote for Scr*w Magazine. And yes, he's the son of acclaimed writer Bruce Jay Friedman.
Thursday, March 31, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event:
Lawrence Baldassaro, author of Beyond DiMaggio: Italian Americans in Baseball.
We've been waiting for this book for years! This UWM professor emeritus offers a social history of Italian Americans in professional baseball, from 1897 to the present day. Using first-hand interviews from more than fifty players, coaches, managers, and executives, Baldassaro looks at the historical, cultural, and political factors that affected early Italian players, and gives spirited life to the game and some of the most colorful characters in Major League Baseball.
Saturday, April 2, 2 pm, at Boswell, free event:
Nicholas Hartlep author of Going Public: Critical Race Theory and Issues of Social
Justice, co-sponsored by OCA-WI (Organization of Chinese Americans, Wisconsin chapter).Hartlep, a Ph.D. student and fellow in the Educational Policy and Community Studies department at UWM, explores the effects of racism and social inequalities that harm our public schools and the children who attend them. Hartlep has written for The Journal of American Culture and the International Journal of Arts and Sciences.
Tuesday, April 5, 11 AM, at the Woman's Club of Wisconsin, 813 East Kilbourn, $65 ticketed event, the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Luncheon. Donna Leon, author of Drawing Conclusions.
Tickets include lunch and a copy of the book. Reservations are only being taken through March 27, so RSVP to (414) 286-8720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donna Leon is loved worldwide for her series of Venice-based mysteries featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. Starting with Death at La Fenice, Leon and her shrewd, sophisticated investigator have uncovered a window into the private Venice of her citizens, a world of incomparable beauty, shocking crime, and insidious corruption. Here's what Boswellian Anne has to say:
"It could have been a natural death. Costanza Altavilla died of a heart attack. Yes, there's some traces of bruising around the neck. It could be natural causes...or not. Inspector Brunetti suspects that there is more to the story, perhaps traced to Altavilla's work helping abused women. In the end, the story doesn't go where you think it will. Letter-of-the-law investigations and traditional moral solutions are not hallmarks of a Guido Brunetti case. The experience of reading Drawing Conclusions, however, goes well beyond the plotting. Every so often there's a turn of phrase that is positively breathtaking. It blows my mind how consistently good Donna Leon is, but her newest is particularly wonderful." Anne would also add that Donna Leon is a wonderful speaker and this promises to be a great event. Don't miss her.
Wednesday, April 6, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event:
Paolo Giordano author of The Solitude of Prime Numbers,
Co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Run of the Italian Film Festival.
Winner of the Premio Strega, Giordano's novel of twin primes, two lonely misfits haunted by early tragedies, has won raves worldwide. It's a charming story filled with sparkling moments and memorable characters, with a modern Italian esthetic. The alternating playful and heartfelt vibe, tinged with sadness recalled to me The Elegance of the Hedgehog. And that's not me paraphrasing, I really liked this book! Our event will feature Giordano reading in Italian, with guest reader Angela Damiani taking the English.
Saturday, April 9, 2 pm, at Boswell, free event:
Jeremy Greenberg, comedian and author of Sorry I Peed on You.
Ever wonder what toddlers are thinking when they chuck their spaghetti at the wall or refuse to play peek-a-boo? Finally MSN's resident parenting blogger has the answers. Sorry I Peed on You offers 50 humorous letters from the perspective of toddlers who feel the need to apologize (or at least enlighten) mom. It's the answer to the age-old question, "What was my baby thinking?" And yes, Greenberg is also appearing atBrookfield's Giggles Comedy Club on April 7, 8, and 9. Click here for more info.
Monday, April 11, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event
Ronnie Hess, author of Eat Smart in France,
Co-sponsored by Alliance Francaise de Milwaukee.
Designed for food aficionados and travelers who want to get to the heart of a culture through its cuisine, this richly-detailed culinary guidebook explains how to find the most delicious, authentic, and adventurous eating experiences in France. Ronnie Hess is an award-winning journalist based in Madison who has studied at the Postilion Restaurant and School of Culinary Arts in Fond du Lac. Eat Smart in France is the latest in a long-running international series, published by Madison's Gingko Press.
Tuesday, April 12, 7 pm, at Alverno College's Wehr Hall, Anne Lamott, author of Imperfect Birds. $16 ticketed event includes the book, now available in paperback. Acclaimed writer of the beloved writing guide, Bird by Bird, essay collections such as Traveling Mercies, and a series of novels featuring Rosie Ferguson, including Crooked Little Heart and Rosie, returns to Milwaukee with more of Rosie's exploits. Imperfect Birds, Lamott's newest novel, addresses themes crucial to us all-family, connection, addiction and forgiveness with the examination of a parent's darkest fears as a family comes to terms with a daughter's drug abuse, and the profound effects it has on each member. One of my strongest event memories at Schwartz is Lamott flying in late during a snowstorm and getting a standing ovation. She's that wonderful.
What's that you say? "Hey, I have a copy of Imperfect Birds already. Do you have a gift card option?" Yes, we do, for $10, making admission a very reasonably priced $6. But don't forget my opening pronouncement that autographed books make great gifts. I think you have a cousin who would love a note from Anne Lamott. For tickets, contact Alverno's box office at (414) 382-6044 or go online to Alverno's website.
But that's not all. More Events!
Wednesday, April 13, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event
Anchee Min author of Pearl of China
Thursday, April 14, 8 pm, at Boswell, free event
Michelle Tea, author of Rent Girl, Valencia, and Without a Net,
as part of the Sister Spit tour, co-sponsored by The Tool Shed.
Friday, April 15, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event:
Valerie Laken, author of the new short-story collection, Separate Kingdoms.
Saturday, April 16, 2 pm, at Boswell, free event:
Lee Sandlin, author of Wicked River: The Mississippi When it Last Ran Wild.
Monday, April 18, Noon, at Bacchus, $95 ticketed event includes the book, meal, tax, and tip, Patricia Wells, author of Salad as a Meal.
This event is almost sold out. For reservations, contact (414) 765-1166.
Thursday, April 21, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event
R. Tripp Evans, author of Grant Wood: A Life.
Co-sponsored by the Cream City Foundation's Joseph R. Pabst Infrastructure Fund.
Friday, April 22, 7 pm, at Boswell, free event
Kurt Michael Friese, co-author of Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail.
Saturday, April 23, 2 pm, at Boswell, book launch, free event
Bradley Beaulieu, author of The Winds of Khalakovo.
Even more on our event page, which Carl recently updated!