James Boswell

Boswell Book Company

2559 North Downer Avenue at Webster Place
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211
(414) 332-1181, www.boswellbooks.com
New Hours! Monday-Saturday, 10 AM - 9 PM, Sunday, 10 AM - 6 PM

Boswell Book Company Newsletter

#50 March 30, 2011



It's an understatement to say we have a lot going on in April.  But though I'm chomping at the bit to talk about upcoming events, I always clear the air with a bit about new books onto a mountain in tibet the shelves.You've probably heard a bit about Colin Thubron's new book, To a Mountain in Tibet (Harper). It's the story of his pilgrimage to Kailas, a mountain that is considered holy to four different religions and one fifth of humankind. But Thubron, author of Shadow of the Silk Road, is doing more than documenting the journey; his secular pilgrimage is an attempt to come to terms with the death of his mother.Sara Wheeler calls this book "desperately engaging" in her Guardian review. And you can hear Thubron discuss his journey with Jean Feraca on the March 8 edition of "Here on Earth."


 Jerusalem JerusalemJames Carroll looks at another place that is holy for multiple religions in his new book Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).Delving deep into the city's past, he looks in particular at how different religions' claims on Jerusalem have led to violent conflict. Booklist raves: "For those meeting Jerusalem for the first time, this volume makes a stunning introduction. For others, who have struggled with the city's conundrums, either its symbolic meaning in the history of civilization or its place in the modern world, Carrolls reflections will add clarity if not closure."The Boston Globe calls his work "masterful and paradoxical."  Read more here.

Events Outside the Store 


The big news is we're only a week away from a wonderful event, the annual Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch at the Woman's Club.  It's your last chance to RSVP to this ticketed event on Tuesday, April 5, which features the incomparable DonnaDonna Leon Leon, author of the Guido Brunetti series. Boswellian Anne sDrawing Conclusionsays Drawing Conclusions is on par with the best of the series, while Jim Higgins in the Journal Sentinel finds charms in the Venetian color.  It's fascinating that Leon, a resident of the city for a quarter century, has never allowed the series to be translated into the tongue of her adopted home.  Find out why next Tuesday. Email Valerie call 414-286-8720 today.


Graduate programs make for interesting combinations of readers sometimes. And on Thursday, April 7 at 7:30 pm, we are co-sponsoring a reading with Adam Johnson and Neil Connelly at UWM's Hefter Center, at 3271 North Lake Drive.  Johnson is the author of an acclaimed novel, Parasites Like Us, and a shortmiracle stealer story collection, Emporium, with his next novel tentatively set for 2012. How often can I talk about a collection that has an ATF raid, a moonshot gone wrong, a teenage sniper, and a post-apocalyptic bulletproof vest salesman? Also appearing is Neil Connelly, author of several novels for young adults, most recently The Miracle Healer. It's the story of a young boy, who after being rescued from a mine collapse, becomes the symbol of hope in a small town, but causing fracturing in his own family.


We proudly announce the return of Anne Lamott on Tuesday, April 12 at 7 pm at Anne LamottAlverno College's Wehr Hall.  Our apologies that the website was not completely up for ticketing during the last email, but it's functional now. Don't forget that there is a handling fee of $5 per order, so if you're coming in a group, buy your tickets together and save money.  The event costs $16 and includes a paperback copy of Imperfect Birds, Lamott's newest novel about Rosie Ferguson and her family.Rosie is now 17, and alas, is on a bit of a downward spiral.You all know how wonderful Lamott is as a speaker, and we're very excited about this event.  Don't want the book?A $10 Boswell gift card is an alternative.And don't forget, for the best access to Wehr, park in the lot at the corner of 43rd and Holt.Want to read more about Imperfect Birds?  The New York Times called Lamott'sPatricia Wells by Jeff Kauck latest "a powerful and plainfully honest novel."Read more here.


Lunch is almost sold out for Milwaukee's own Patricia Wells, returning to town for her latest cookbook, Salad as a Meal.Lunch on Monday, April 18 at Noon at Bacchus is $95 and includes a book and everything else--food, beverage, tax and tip.Wells is a multiple James Beard award winner, and the new book is a delicious journey around the world.Imagine Provence on a plate: eggplant, tomatoes, goat cheese and tapenade.Also included are soups and breads, plus ideas for dressings Blue Balliettand sauces. Call (414) 765-1166 for more information. Co-sponsored by Alliance Francaise Milwaukee.


Don't forget about Blue Baillett at the Shorewood Public Library on Wednesday, April 27 at a special after-school time of 4 pm.  The author of The Wright 3 and Chasing Vermeer will talk about her new book, The Danger Box, featuring Zoomy Chamberlin, a boy whoinvisible bridge finds himself connected to Charles Darwin through the appearance of a lost notebook. The Shorewood Library is located at 3920 North Murray Avenue, just south of Capitol Drive. 


And though we're hosting Julie Orringer at Boswell (see below), a Friday evening just didn't seem like the right time to co-sponsor an event with the JCC.  So we put together a special lunch talk at the JCC itself for The Invisible Bridge, on Friday, April 29, at Noon.This event is free, food is available, and The J is located at 6255 North Santa Monica Boulevard in Whitefish Bay. 

April Events at Boswell, Plus One Last March Talk/Signing


If you've seen our front window, you know we're celebrating our spate of Italian-themed Lawrence Baldassaroevents coming up.  Thursday, March 31 at 7 pm is Lawrence Baldassaro, author of Beyond DiMaggio: Italian Americans in Baseball.  UWM professor emeritus Baldassaro offers the stories of more than fifty players, coaches, managers and executives who shared their experiences about the historical, cultural, and political factors that shaped Italian baseball players.  And yes, there are slides!


On Saturday, April 2 at 2 pm, the Wisconsin chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans co-sponsors a talk with NicholasNicholas Hartlep Hartlep, author of Going Public: Critical Race Theory and Issues of Social Justice.  Hartlep is a fellow in the Educational Policy and Commuity Studies department at UWM.His thesis?  That racism and social inequality in public schools hurts not only the students but the institution itself.


Part three of our own mini Festa is our first reading in Italian on Paolo GiordanoWednesday, April 6, 7 pm!Yes, Paolo Giordano, winner of the Premio Strega, Italy's most distinguished literary prize for The Solitude of Prime Numbers, is coming to Milwaukee for the paperback of this wonderful and haunting novel.Read more in my blog about this novel, which I compare to The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Though Giordano will take questions in English, the author will read in Italian, with our own Angela Damiani providing the English translation.This event is co-sponsored by the Milwaukee stop of the Italian Film Festival, coming to town April 29 through May 1.


MSN's resident parenting blogger visits Boswell on Saturday, April 9 at 2 pm for his charming new book that poses the apology, Sorry I Peed on You.  It's a smile-inducingJeremy Greenberg collection of toddlers and their predicaments, explained in letters to mom.Greenberg is sure to amuse the exhausted and exasperated parent by answering the question: What in the world were they thinking?  Greenberg is in town for a standup gig at Giggles Comedy Pub in Brookfield.  For tickets, visit the Giggles website.


Ronnie HessMadison is home to  a series of travel guides from Gingko Press that encourage you to eat smart (being the Eat Smart Guides).On Monday, April 11 at 7 pm, Ronnie Hess will be giving a talk on the latest, Eat Smart in France.  This event, co-sponsored by Alliance Francaise, promises to intertwine history, geography, language, and diet.Hess is an award-winning journalist with a passion for food and France, having studied at PostilionAnchee Min Restaurant and School  for Culinary Arts to sate the former, and lived in France as a reporter for CBS News to quench the latter.


Anchee Min!  Need I say more?On Wednesday, April 13 at 7 pm, Min appears for the paperback release of her novel Pearl of China.Told through the eyes of the child of Western missionaries, Min redeems Buck pearl of chinaas a friend of China in this well-researched and touchingly told story. The Oregonian called Pearl of China "a loving tribute to Buck and a unique peek into the hearts and lives of the Chinese people who knew her." Read more hereAt one time a member of Madame Mao's opera troupe, Anchee Min left China as a young adult, documented so well in her book Red Azalea, and has gone on to write numerous acclaimed novels that touch on Chinese history. She is a wonderful speaker who is not to be missed!


The Sister Spit tour is returning to Milwaukee on Thursday, April 14 at a special morSister Spite-adulty* time of 8 pm.  This ensemble, which pushes the boundaries of gender and sexuality, is headlined by Michelle Tea, author of four memoirs, a collection of poetry and the novel, Rose of No Man's Land.  Joining her is author Myriam Gurbak, Lambda-award-winner Ali Liebegott, photographer and publisher of Original Plumbing Valerie LakenAmos Mac, graphic memoirist MariNaomi, Blake Nelson (the author of the novel that became Gus Van Sant's film "Girl") and essayist Kirk Read. This event is sponsored by our friends at Tool Shed.*Adult language and situations at this performance.  When I said something for everyone, I meant it. 


Just arrived is the first collection of stories by Valerie Laken of UWM's creative writing department.  We're honored to be the launch event for Separate Kingdoms on Friday, April 15 at 7 pm. Drawn from such esteemed publications as Ploughshares and the Missouri Review, this collection leaps between the United States and the last days of the Soviet Union. I loved this collection with its vividWicked River imagery, compelling characters, and insightful plotting.  I particularly enjoyed the experience of the last story, a split screen affair that took a dual narrative to the next level.  Come celebrate with us and Laken.


On Saturday, April 16 at 2 pm, we're hosting Lee Sandlin, author of Wicked River: The Mississippi when it Last Ran Wild.  This slideshow Lee Sandlinpresentation takes us back to a time before the Mississippi was dredged into a shipping channel, and before Mark Twain romanticized it as myth. Wicked River received high praise from a review in the Wall Street Journal: "I was surprised, on finishing Wicked River, to read that this confident and swift-moving book was the author's first. It makes one eager for the next." Read the review here.


Art history fans will be eager for our event with R. Tripp Evans on Thursday, April 21 at 7 pm, for his discussion of his acclaimed biography, Grant Wood: A Life.  Born in 1891, the overall-clad artist from America's heartland created American Tripp EvansGothic, one of the world's best-known paintings. But behind the folksy persona of Wood was a secret life and a struggle to conceal his homosexuality. It's interesting to note that after his death in 1942, Wood was written off as a propagandist for conservative values.  Read more in Deborah Solomon's review in The New York Times. This event is co-sponsored by the Cream City Foundation and made possible in part by the Joseph Pabst infrastructure fund.  And we also thank Will Fellows for his help.


Chasing ChilesKurt Michael Friese, Kraig Kraft, and Gary Paul Nabhan set out on a chile pepper chase, looking for authentic food and cooking around the country, but with a side mission--to document how environmental change is affecting this beloved vegetable in all its varieties.  On Friday, April 22 at 7 pm, we're hosting a talk with co-author Friese on the topic of Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail. Kurt Michael Friese is the founding chef of Iowa City's Devotay, and the author of A Cook's Journey: Slow Food in the Heartland.  He's also a board member of Slow Food USA, which is only one of the reasons why we are co-sponsoring this event with Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast.


Nightshade Books has become one of the foremost publishers of fantasy, most notably forWinds of Khalakovo Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl.  That's why it's such an honor that the author of their latest release, Bradley Beaulieu, is holding his launch event at Boswell for his new epic, The Winds of Khalakovo, on Saturday, April 23, 2 pm. Khalakovo is a mountainous archipelago that is the center of world trade.  But all is not well-conflict has erupted between the indigenous Aramahn, the ruling Maharraht, and there's also a wasting disease that's run rampant.  The world is in peril! 


The Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee and the American Marketing Gary VaynerchukAssociation, Milwaukee Chapter, are our two sponsors for Gary Vaynerchuk's latest, The Thank You Economy on Tuesday, April 26 at 7 pm.Note that while this event is free, we are asking folks to register for us to be able to control capacity.Here's where you go. Wine and business guru and author of Crush It, he's become one of the voices of smart social networking to build a business.  Now he's saying that in order to be competitive, businesses of all sizes need to respond to customers as if they were a small family business, with all the personalized service we demand.  This event is free, but registration is recommended. Register here!


On April 28 at 7pm, Boswell is hosting an event for Verse Wisconsin, featuring Milwaukeepoetry jumps off the shelf poet laureate Brenda C�rdenas and the Verse-o-Matic poetry dispenser.  It's part of the Jawbreaker Project, featuring 30 poems selected from nearly 800 entries selected by Shoshauna Shy, founder of Madison's Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf.  The selected poems will be printed and inserted into vending machines, along with candy.


Capping April is our April 29 at 7 pm event with Julie Orringer, as part of our spring book club talk.  I will be discussing some of my Julie Orringerfavorite book club selections for spring and summer, and then Orringer will talk about one of my very favorites, The Invisible Bridge.  The epic story of two Hungarian brothers whose lives come to flower during the outbreak of World War II, it's one of those novels that you can't help hugging afterwards.  We're spreading the word-our customer Barbara came back to us after finishing it and told us that she had gotten a half-dozen more people to read it.  See info on our JCC event above.


Read about our May events after our sale annoucement below. And don't forget about our events page on the Boswell website.

20% Off Cookbook Sale This Weekendcookbook sale sign


Remember that Wisconsin Restaurant Show I was talking about in our blog? Well, we had a great time, but alas, we came back with a little more stock than I hoped. So we're having a cookbook sales, this Thursday, March 31 through Sunday, April 3. All cookbooks are 20% off.  Don't worry, we're going to try to catch those cookbooks that are in other places, like gardening, Wisconsin, and the green sections. The best deal, however, will be the professional books. We'll have some prices that will be very competitive with certain price-oriented websites. Check out our selection, and stock your larder. 

May Events--Mark Your Calendars


Wednesday, May 4, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Clark Blaise, author of The Meagre Tarmac, acclaimed story writer and essayist

Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting, shortlisted for Canada's Giller Prize.


mo willemsThursday, May 5, 4 pm, at Boswell (after school special event):

Mo Willems, author of Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator, and the beloved Knuffle Bunny.


Thursday, May 5, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Carsten Jensen, author of the Danish epic We the DrownedCarsten Jensen.


Friday, May 6, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Nathaniel Philbrick, author of The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of Little Bighorn.


Saturday,May 7, 2 pm, at Boswell:

Alex Bledsoe, author of Dark Jenny, a noir fantasy tale.


Monday, May 9, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Historian Matthew Algeo, author of The President is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly virtuous Grover Cleveland Surives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman who Dared to Expose the Truth.


Tuesday, May 10,4 pm  at the Urban Ecology Center, donations welcome:

Mark KurlanskyMark Kurlansky, author of A World Without Fish, a special after-school event for kids


Tuesday, May 10, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Ellen Meeropol, author of House Arrest, a novel about the relationship between a home-care nurse and a pregnant cult member under house arrest.


Wednesday, May 11, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Music critic June Skinner Sawyers, author of Bob Dylan: New York.Geraldine Brooks


Thursday, May 12, 7 pm, at Boswell, $5 ticket required for this event: Geraldine Brooks, author of the new novel, Caleb's Crossing.


Saturday, May 14, 2 pm, at Boswell:

Jerome Pohlen, author of the travel guide, Progressive Nation.


Tuesday, May 17, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Dale Hofmann, co-author of 365 Best Wisconsin Sports Stories.


And mark your calendar for Ann Patchett on Wednesday, March 22 at 7 pm.  This a free in-store event.  Start spreading the word!

Getting Gifty


Haven't been at Boswell for a while?  Well, you've got some catching up to do.  We've been told numerous times that we have a great card selection, but to stay on top of things, you have tonew tee shirts from Out of Print find new lines--we've most recently brought in Fresh Frances and Potluck Press.  That said, we restock cards more like a bookstore--if we've got a card that sells well, we keep restocking it.


We've got a new spinner filled with beautiful blank books from Paperblanks, plus wooden journals from Spitfire Girl, the folks that brought you our wooden bookmarks and postcards.  There enamel birdsare new tee shirt designs from Out of Print, most notably The Great Gatsby and The Old Man and the Sea, and yes, we stock women's sizes.


Our tables are filled with birds and butterflies and bugs to brighten up your early spring, particularly as temperatures have been below average round these parts. So what's taken your fancy?  Judging from sales, the ladybug music box, the enamel birds, and Easter bunnies and chicks have been the hottest sellers.



Our print newsletter is almost at the printer.  We've filled it with the best of spring books, plus gift ideas for graduation, Mother's, and Father's Day and assorted otherour newsletter special occasions.  But this newsletter, which should land around April 10th or so, will only go out to about 2500 of our customers. (Alas, it costs money to print and ship this stuff--the print newsletter goes to Boswell Benefits customers only and the cut-off is based on purchase amounts).  That said, if you don't get your copy, you can still pick one up in the bookshop, and we'll also have a link in the next email newsletter to read it online.

Thanks, as always, for your support.

Daniel, with Amie, Anne, Beverly, Carl, Conrad, Greg, Jason, Jocelyn, Mark, Pam, Sharon, and Stacie