James Boswell

Boswell Book Company

2559 North Downer Avenue at Webster Place
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211
(414) 332-1181, www.facebook.com/boswellbooks
Our Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 AM - 9 PM, Sunday, 10 AM - 6 PM
and we're always open at boswellbooks.com!

Boswell Book Company Newsletter

V3 #2 April 20, 2011



What a bounty of new releases!  Here are just a few of our favorites.


tragedy of arthurWith questions arising about yet another popular book, the timing couldn't be better for Arthur Phillips' new novel, The Tragedy of Arthur (Random House).  The story itself masquerades as an introduction to a lost play by William Shakespeare, and within it is a fictional memoir of Arthur Phillips.  Advance reviews have been great--here's Booklist: "The always-original Phillips has outdone himself in this clever literary romp. Successfully blending and bending genres, he positions himself as a character in a noveone hundred names for lovel that skewers Shakespearean scholarship, the publishing industry, and his own life to rollicking effect." Knowing how much I loved Phillips' novels Prague and The Song is You,  I wish I wasn't writing this email newsletter so I could stay home and read this. (List: $26, Boswell's Best: $20.80).


The beauty of Diane Ackerman's prose shines through in A Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing (Norton).  The author of The Zookeeper's Wife and A Natural History of the Senses tells of her husband Paul West's stroke, the initial dooming prognosis, and their dedicated work tthis is a bookogether towards rehabilitation. I'm hot on Booklist today. They call Ackerman's new memoir "A gorgeously engrossing, affecting, sweetly funny, and mind-opening love story of crisis, determination, creativity, and repair."  How's that for enthusiasm?  (List: $26.95, Boswell's Best: $21.56).


I bet you're beginning to see a pattern.  In winter, we noticed a plethora of old-fashioned black type on white (or off-white) jackets, sometimes with an accent of navy or maroon, somtimes with a little Malcolm Gladwell style iconic drawing.  It warooms a stark contrast to the blues and turquoises of 2010.  But it's spring, and that means color.  In particular, brightly colored type, but still on white and cream backgrounds.  In addition to the two titles above, we just received our copies of Demetri Martin's This is a Book (Grand Central), which I joyously salute in the latest Boswell and Books post. Be aware that it's also Boswell's Best (List: $24.99, Boswell: $19.99) 


Congratulations to Emma Donoghue, whose novel Room probably started this whole bright colors on white craze and was recently was awarded the American Booksellers Association Indie Choice Book Award for favorite novel of 2010.  It's also still Boswell's Best ($19.99), and likely will be until the paperback comes out, later this spring.  It's that good!

What's Coming This Week? Opera, Art, Food, and Fantasy.


We've got a solid lineup of events for the rest of the week, starting with our final Florentine Opera Insight for the 2010-2011 season on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 pm. It's a lush double bill, featuring two of the most important baroque works, John Blow's Venus and Adonis paired with Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas.

Venus and Adonis at Florentine

I can't emphasize how wonderful these performances are. Corliss Phillabaum's talks are humorous and insightful, the Studio performances are both grand and accessible, and if you're thinking this will take as long as a Ring cycle, you're wrong. It's packed into an hour of opera goodness. While the performances attract a lot of opera fans, I'd also recommend the Florentine Opera Insights for folks who think they are culturally well-rounded, but in fact have a hole in their resume. The opera will be performed May 13 through 22. More on their website.

Tripp EvansOur commitment to the fine and performing arts continues on Thursday, April 21 with an appearance from R. Tripp Evans, acclaimed author of Grant Wood, at 7 pm. This recent biography sheds new light on the artist known for American Gothic. Behind his carefully cultivated facade was a very different persona, a gay man struggling with his identity. Art Winslow in the Chicago Tribune gave the biography five stars. This is a big deal, so let's get out and show our support. Evans was just awarded the Marfield Prize for National Arts Writing, and will be honored on May 12. Much thanks to the Cream City Foundation and the Joseph Pabst Infrastructure Fund and also Will Fellows for making this possible.

On Friday April 22, we're teaming up with Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast to welcome Kurt Michaelkurt michael friese Friese, chef/owner of Iowa City's Devotay, who, together with Gary Paul Nabhan and Kraig Kraft, collaborated on Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail. This environmental and culinary travelogue explores the regional wonderfulness and numerous varieties of chile peppers, and what environmental change is doing to their diversity and distribution.

Want to read more? The New York Times profiled Gary Paul Nabhan in their April 7 issue. And Aram Bakshian, Jr. reviewed Chasing Chiles in the Wall Street Journal.  The event starts at 7 pm, but there is a reception sponsored by Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast, starting at 5:30.  Happy Earth Day!

bradley beaulieuSaturday April 23 at 2 pm, we're delighted to be the launch event for Bradley Beaulieu's epic fantasy series, The Winds of Khalakovo. Civil war breaks out in a society that is part Cyrillic, part shaman. Publishers Weekly praised its poetic prose while Library Journal lauded its strong characters and tense plot. Our buyer Jason read The Winds of Khalakovo and loved it. Let's hear more from him.

"I grabbed a copy to read and was instantly hooked. The world isWinds of Khalakovo incredible: ships that fly, elemental spirits, blight, famine, and characters that try to get their lives right, but are so very flawed. This is not a book where the author creates the world as the story goes along, rather he immerses the reader into a fully realized world, and it is breathtaking. There are the 'Landed', represented by the Nine Dukes and their type of magic that harnesses the elemental winds to fly their ships between the islands, the Aramahn, who wander the world, never settling down but also practice a different type of elemental magic, and then there is the Maharrat a fanatical group looking to stir up unrest. Beaulieu weaves these different cultures together to give the reader a unique, complex world to experience. It is a world that is unraveling, with blight and disease, and political uncertainty."  


Come celebrate with us this Saturday at 2 pm.


P.S. Apologies for the font inconsistency in this section.  What's a Boswell e-mail without a little glitch?  Of course, it's how you know it was created by a person and not a web-bot. 

After School Specials--Events for Kids


If you miss the days of "Mighty Moose and the Quarterback Kid" and "Daddy, I'm Their Mama Now!" (actual titles from the long-running ABC series), you're in luck.  We've got a series of great kids programming of our own over the next month.


Blue BalliettWednesday, April 27, 4 pm, at the Shorewood Public Library, 3020 North Murray Avenue:

Blue Balliett, author of The Danger Box, Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3, and The Calder Game.


Balliett's novels are mysteries inspired by historical events, and The Danger Box is no different.danger box  A young boy, Zoomy by name, is given a notebook that may or may not be Charles Darwin's, and it may or may not have been stolen.  The story is inspired by Darwin's actual lost notebook (though the book being Darwin's is only hinted at).  Balliett's other books have been inspired by artists and architects, which is Balliett's area of academic expertise. 


Here's a bit of what the folks at School Library Journal had to say: "Balliett demonstrates how danger boxes are all around us--not just as containers of physical objects for which people will hazard a great deal, but as vehicles that expose us to risky ideas and dreams. This highly satisfying story will enlighten readers even as it inspires them to think about their own danger boxes."


mo willems

Thursday, May 5, 4 pm, at Boswell:

Mo Willems, author of Knuffle Bunny Free, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and City Dog, Country Frog. Yes, we are hosting the great and powerful Mr. Willems and it's a free event at Boswell, no less. Mr. Willems will be reading from two books and I thought I'd introduce them to you now.


Elephant and Piggie are featured in I Broke my Trunk, a continuation of their adventures in i broke my trunkWe are in a Book.  In I Broke My Trunk, Gerald tells Piggie the long, crazy story about breaking his trunk. Will Piggie end up with a long, crazy story of her own?


Here's a little bit about the new title, taken from NYROBACAF.*

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.

Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.

Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.


And what of Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator?  It turns out that having a stuffed alligator for a best friend can be very exciting and Willems tells us about their wonderful lives in six-and-a-half stories.  The book goes on sale April 26--how exciting!  I expect a front page review in NYROBACAF.*  More on Mr. Willems' site.  


And finally...

Tuesday, May 10, 4 pm, at the Urban Ecology Center, 1500 East Park Place:

Mark Kurlansky, author of World Without Fish: How Kids Can Help Save the Ocean.world without fish


It's a riveting new book from the author of Cod and Salt. Kurlansky explains what's happening to fish, the oceans, and our environment, and what kids can do about it. The book includes a full-color graphic novel. We're coordinating the event as part of the UEC's young scientist program.  This is a great opportunity for your own young scientist (your own little Darwin, perhaps?) Registration is requested for this event.  Please call the UEC at (414) 964-8505. This is a free event, though donations to the wonderful Urban Ecology Center are welcomed. More at the UEC here. And here is more about Mr. Kurlansky.


  *New York Review of Books About Cute Animal Friends.

Special Ticketed Event with Geraldine Brooks on May 12.

 Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks is coming to Boswell on Thursday, May 12 at 7 pm for the release of her new novel, Caleb's Crossing.  We are experimenting with $5 tickets for this event.  Buy your ticket now, as it will help us gauge how many books to buy and how much we should order in terms of refreshments.  It's easy, and you can do it either in person, by phone, or on our website


Both Anne and Sharon have read the new novel and loved it.  Here's a little bit about the new book from Sharon:


people of the book"Geraldine Brooks published her first novel, Year of Wonders in 2001.  She had previously written two non-fiction books, Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. (Editor's note: Her two other novels, March and People of the Book, were awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Australian Book Award for book of the year respectively.)


"I don't know where I was in 2001, but it took me ten years to discover this wonderful author. I am just in time; however, to read and gush about her latest book, Caleb's Crossing.


caleb's crossing"This story is built around a tidbit of historical fact. Caleb was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College in 1665. Bethia Mayfield is the daughter of a minister living on Martha's Vineyard. Caleb is the son of a Wampanoag chieftain, and the two meet when Bethia is twelve. They forge a secret friendship and delight in discovering each other's worlds. Caleb crosses over completely when Bethia's father takes him under his wing, converting him to Calvinism and teaching him Latin and Greek. The young man goes on to study at Harvard.


"Bethia is a fascinating character, as she is interested in learning, although women of her time were not expected or allowed to have much education. The story of Bethia and Caleb is one that will stay with you, whether you are a longtime fan of Geraldine Brooks or a relative newcomer to her work."


Thanks, Sharon!  Hope to see you at this event.  Brooks is a wonderful speaker and reader and this event is sure to be among your favorites. Help us spread the word!  And don't forget to buy a ticket.

So Many More Events, but I'll Tell You About Just One More--Our Spring Book Club Picks Launch on Friday, April 29, with Special Guest Julie Orringer.


Invisible bridge paperbackAs you know, we have so many events coming up that I just can't list them all here today, not if I want to get this out before tonight's event with the Florentine Opera begins.  But never fear--Carl is back from a wonderful trip and has posted all our May events on our upcoming-events page of our website.  Why not head there now and see what else is coming up?

But if you'll indulge me, I'd love to mention one more that is close to my heart.  It's our semi-annual book club talk on Friday, April 29 at 7 pm, with our selections of great book club picks for spring and summer.  Some our obvious, and being that I'm choosing them, some are a bit offbeat.  And as part of are tradition, we love highlighting an author featured in the new brochure.


This time we are honored to present Julie Orringer, author of The Invisible Bridge, one ofJulie Orringer my favorite novels of 2010 and our buyer Jason's absolute favorites.  There's not a week that goes by that a customer doesn't come into the store to tell me how much he or she loves this novel, a grand epic of two Hungarian brothers during World War II.  And may I say that this week's addition to the "I love Julie Orringer" fan club is one of Milwaukee's most-renowned poets?


What a treat!  And of course another treat is the honor of being your bookseller.  Thanks, as always for your patronage.

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