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Boswell Book Company

2559 North Downer Avenue at Webster Place

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

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Boswell Book Company Newsletter                          September 28, 2011, Day 908.



It is a sad truth that when the store is at its busiest, it is more important than ever to get the email newsletter delivered.  We've got a great month of events coming, and we wouldn't want you to visit some time in November and say, with a bit of tear in the voice, "Stacy Schiff came?  I missed Jon Katz? Why, oh why didn't I open that email newsletter when it was staring at me in the inbox?."

Barbarian NurseriesBut how can I proceed without at least a short discussion of some new titles? We just hosted our first rep night presentation, where these professionals of the book industry kept us (not just Boswell, but Next Chapter and Books and Company too)alert to gift ideas, good reads, and other selling tools. Anne from Macmillan doesn't always get all passionate on us, but her absolutely favorite, favorite, favorite novel of the fall is Héctor Tobar's The Barbarian Nurseries (FSG). It's the story of a striving-but-struggling couple who leave their son in care of their Mexican maid, and there's a fight and...Anne calls it a Los-Angeles-based, Tom-Wolfe-style novel for the 21st century. Publisher: $27, Boswell: $21.60.

Just my typeIf I didn't have a dozen or so events coming up where it was vital that I read the book, I'd want to be reading Simon Garfield's Just my Type: A Book About Fonts (Gotham). Now you might think, with my rare variation from Century typeface in the store, with my Garamond concentration in this very newsletter, that fonts don't mean much to me. You'd be wrong! When I was a child, I would copy out various fonts in a notebook, and is my favorite junk mail in my inbox. Janet Maslin raved about Garfield's newest: "This is a smart, funny, accessible book that does for typography what Lynne Truss's best-selling Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation: made it noticeable for people who had no idea they were interested in such things." Publisher: $27.50, Boswell, $22.

In the kids' area, it's becoming clearer and clearer as we host our authors in various libraries around town that Colin Meloy is the man Wildwoodand Wildwood (Balzer + Bray) is the novel of the moment. Meloy, the frontman for the Decembrists, has written a fantasy adventure story set in the wilderness of Portland's Forest Park--a young girl's baby brother is abducted by a murder of crows. Meloy had the good fortune to have the glorious accompanying illustrations drawn by Carson Ellis, whose work on The Mysterious Benedict Society still make the heart thump. (Even better, he's married to her.) It's a rare book that both Jason and Amie (our adult and kids buyers, respectively) both read and recommend--here's one for that list. Publisher: $17.99, Boswell, $14.39.

Mary Bergin on Green Travel--Wednesday, September 28, at 7 pm.


Mary BerginTonight at Boswell, Mary Bergin, author of Sidetracked in the Midwest, will be speaking at Boswell. Bergin, who also penned the popular Sidetracked in Wisconsin and Hungry in Wisconsin, seeks out unique destinations that have a green edge to them.  From spotting one of Lance Armstrong's bicycles at Trek headquarters to wolf observation in Minnesota to an art park in Michigan, Bergin has your next decade of vacations covered.  Want to read more about Bergin's travels? Visit her Roads Traveled blog.


Larry Watson Kicks Off His New Novel at Boswell, Thursday, September 29, 7 pm (Plus More on Shorewood Reads on October 5).


Larry WatsonIt is an honor for Milwaukee to be home to an author of the stature of Larry Watson, visiting professor of English and creative writing at Marquette for the last several years, and we're particularly excited about the publication of American Boy. Our champion Carl is currently rereading the novel.  Here's his recommendation from the first time around:


"A true, realistic, and intelligent novel of a teen-aged Minnesota boy in the early 1960s, in which a woman with a gunshot wound captures young Matthew Garth's imagination and continues to hold it in a fierce grip. Young Matthew first encounters Louisa Lindahl in the office of the town doctor, at whose home he spends much of his time. Along the way, Matthew American Boyendeavors to work his way into Louisa's affections, while pursuing typical teenage pursuits with Johnny Dunbar, the doctor's son. While Matthew ultimately finds out the answers to most of the questions he has about this mysterious young woman, many of these answers aren't the ones he wants. Watson does a wonderful job of peering under the masks of these small town folks and helping us see what their real selves are."

Watson is the author of seven widely acclaimed novels, including the best-selling Montana 1948, which was awarded the Milkweed National Fiction Prize and a Best Book citation by the American Library Association, short-listed for the IMPAC Dublin International Award, and published in ten foreign editions. Montana 1948 was recently chosen as the official selection of the inaugural Shorewood Reads community book program. He'll be appearing at the Shorewood Public Library on Wednesday, October 5, at 3 and 7 pm, as part of the book discussion. More information here.

From Gettelman to Rehorst, Martin Hintz Tells All September 30, 7 pm.


martin hintzCrack open this comprehensive history of Brew City booze with Martin Hintz this Friday at Boswell. In  A Spirited History of Milwaukee Brews and Booze, you can explore Milwaukee's "rum holes," discover how the city weathered Prohibition and learn which Jones Island barkeep sported the longest mustache. Copy down the best recipe involving Sprecher Special Amber, Rainbow Trout and sauerkraut. Sample the rich heritage of Pabst, Schlitz, Gettelman and Miller--the folk who turned Milwaukee into the Beer Capital of the World. And save some room for the more recent contributions of distillers and craft brewers who continue to make the city an exciting place for the thoughtful drinker.  More on the Journal Sentinel web site.

Meet Sebastian Barry, Saturday, October 1, 3 pm, at Boswell. 


Sebastian Barry by Lisa BrownleeIrish Poet, playwright, and novelist Sebastian Barry makes a rare appearance in Milwaukee for his newest novel, On Canaan's Side, this coming Saturday. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, most recently for The Secret Scripture (which also won the IMPAC Dublin award), his newest novel was longlisted for that rare honor.


A little more about On Canaan's Side from Sharon: "Lily Bere is mourning the loss of her grandson, Bill, feeling that she has nothing left to live for. She recounts the extraordinary adventures of her life, from Ireland to America; from the Great On Canaan's SideDepression to the war in Afghanistan. It is by turns heartbreaking and funny. A fascinating read from an author who is a master of language and storytelling."


And a recommendation from Anne: "Have you ever finished a novel and loved it so much that you immediately went back to beginning and started rereading it? On Canaan's Side, the reminiscences of one Lily Bere, is just that sort of story. What beautiful imagery (those dreamlike bears)! What exquisite language! It may be the first Sebastian Barry novel I've read, but it surely won't be the last."


You say you want to hear from more than just booksellers?  Here's Peter Behrens in the Washington Post, praising Barry as "a supple narrator and virtuoso stylist."

Stacy Schiff on Cleopatra, Centennial Hall, Tuesday, October 4, 7 pm.


Stacie SchiffWith the spectacular exhibit from the Milwaukee Public Museum to open shortly (more below), we're excited to spread the word about acclaimed biographer Stacy Schiff's appearance at the Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall (733 North Eighth Street) on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, presented by the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library and Boswell. Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life, has won wide acclaim for her new work, named one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times.


CleopatraPulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff strips away the soiled veils that have long hidden a woman of great power, intellect, charisma and humor. Beginning with a look at the history that formed the social and political world Cleopatra was to inhabit and rule, Schiff also manages to explore the literary and pop culture myths that have come from the enigmatic queen's too brief, yet explosive life. In this writer's remarkable penning, we feel as though we are literally inhabiting the dusty streets and glittering palaces of Cleopatra's time. Schiff's deft research skills are clear as she uses her expansive knowledge to paint a vivid picture of place and tell the memorable stories surrounding a woman eclipsed by the men who won out in the end. Cleopatra: A Life reveals the fascinating story and incomparable historical, political and cultural impact this Queen of Egypt had on her era, country, and ultimately, the world.


This is a free event, but space is limited. Be aware that we could hit capacity, so come early.  We will have copies of all four of Schiff's biographies for sale. Cleopatra is available in both hardcover and paperback.  More on the Boswell and Books blog.


Milwaukee Public Museum CleopatraThere's so much excitement about the new exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum, Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt, opening Friday, October 14.

The exhibit features nearly 150 artifacts from Cleopatra's time and helps visitors experience the present-day search for the elusive queen, which extends from the sands of Egypt to the depths of the Bay of Aboukir near Alexandria. Tickets for the exhibit are now available--buy them here.


A Ticketed Event with Jon Katz at the Wisconsin Humane Society.


Jon KatzOn Thursday, October 6, 7 pm, the Wisconsin Humane Society and Boswell Books presents a special evening with your favorite author of canine lit, Jon Katz. Tickets are $5 and are available at the Humane Society website. Buy your tickets now--we will likely reach capacity on this event.


In Soul of a Dog, Izzy & Lenore, and other acclaimed works, Jon Katz has written meaningfully about the cherished bond between humans and animals-especially our intense connection to our pets. Now, in Going Home: Finding Peace when Pets Die, Katz addresses the difficult but necessary topic of saying goodbye to a devoted companion, and offers comfort, wisdom, and a way forward from sorrow to acceptance.


Going HomeWhen Jon Katz first brought Orson home, he couldn't predict how this boisterous Border Collie would change his life, most notably by inspiring him to buy Bedlam Farm. Yet for all of Katz's years as a dog owner, Orson's death shook him in a deeply profound way. "I was embarrassed by my grief," he remembers. "What right did I have to fall to pieces over a border collie?" Going Home continues the conversation; it's the book that so many animal lovers have been waiting for. More on Mr. Katz's website.

We also invite you to share photos and stories of pets you've loved who have "gone home," in a Facebook photo album, which we hope to turn into a slideshow for the 10/6 event.  If you don't have access to Facebook, you can e-mail your photo and (brief) story to Stacie and she'll get them uploaded for you.


Katz will be appearing on the Kathleen Dunn show on Wisconsin Public Radio, Thursday, October 6, along with Wisconsin Humane Society director Anne Reed. I'm thinking they will be guests for the second hour (10 am), but just to make sure, start listening at 9!

David M. Kennedy in Conversation with Milwaukee Chief of Police Edward A. Flynn, on Monday, October 10, 7 pm, at Boswell.  


Dont ShootDon't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America is the result of David M. Kennedy's years "riding with beat cops, hanging with gang members, and sitting on stoops with grandmothers." While America's homicide rate plummets, the rate of death and incarceration for black men continues to rise. Observing the drastic misunderstandings on all sides as racialized anger and distrust was spiraling out of control in communities already suffering from poverty, fear and great instability, Kennedy pioneered a massive intervention of sorts. Beginning in Boston, this then-unknown criminologist (a professor at John Jay College) worked with gang members and police to cut youth homicide by two-thirds and move a community towards a more effective approach to a serious problem.


David M. KennedyThe premise is this: "Offenders are told that they have to stop shooting each other--that even the cops want them to stay alive and out of prison--and that even their families support swift law enforcement if the violence continues." His program, known as Operation Ceasefire or The Boston Miracle, has been implemented in fifty cities around the United States, including Milwaukee. In cities where Kennedy's work has been adopted by communities and police together, there have generally been decreases in violence and drug traffic. Here's an interview with Kennedy from Publishers Weekly.

vote todayWe have so many more events coming up, but what with that last twelve-page newsletter, I am working hard to keep the Boswellian Bugle to a reasonable length. I'm dreaming big and hoping we'll have another newsletter out next week. If you enjoy receiving these missives, why not sign up for Boswell and Books, where you can enjoy bookstore goings on daily? Or perhaps like us on Facebook.

One last thing. The Shepherd Express is now taking votes for their best-of issue. It's an uphill battle, what with their multiple locations, but maybe Boswell can give Half Price Books a run for their money. Here's a link to vote. Never fear if you don't have a favorite bartender or samba club, you only have to choose winners in 15 categories for your vote to count.
As always, thank you for your patronage,
Daniel Goldin, with Amie, Anne, Beverly, Carl, Conrad, Greg, Jason, Mark, Pam, Shane, Sharon, and Stacie.