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Boswell Book Company

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

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Boswell Book Company Newsletter                   October 25, 2011, Day 935



One of the great things about working in a bookstore is how excited folks get about new titles. Jason and Amie were just talking to me about two new kids books that have ignited their flames of bookselling enthusiasm.  How's that for a mediocre metaphor?

AshesJason may buy the adult books for Boswell, but he can also get behind a good dystopian thriller for teens. Ilsa J. Bick's Ashes (Egmont, $17.99) is just that kind of book. The story starts as an electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions.  Alex is left alone after the death of her parents, creating a new family of sorts with a young soldier and an eight-year-old girl.  Needless to say, some of the survivors have turned into zombie-like creatures (see my blog post for more zombie mania going on at Boswell and elsewhere).  But this is not just your ordinary dystopian novel. Alex is one of the strongest heroines Jason has read in years, because on top of everything else, she's battling a brain tumor. At a recent bookseller conference, one of the children's booksellers pretty much jumped on a table and started screaming about how everyone had to read this spectacular book right now.  I exaggerate, but there's no question that readers are just loving Ilsa Bick's Ashes. And yes, Bick lives in Wisconsin.


Another kids' book that should enjoy an audience well beyond its base is BluefishBluefish (Candlewick, $15.99), a great novel also written by a Wisconsin writer. It's the story of Travis, a teenage boy with a secret, which I'm going to give away, as I think more folks will be attracted by knowing his secret than by being tempted to guess it. He's illiterate. He's moved in with his grandfather in a new town, and he's sort of lost. Finally a feisty fellow student, as loud as Travis is quiet, teams up with a teacher to jump start Travis's education and his life. Our kids book buyer Amie is just over the moon about Bluefish, which Kirkus called "a story rife with unusual honesty and hope." And you may have even heard Schmatz read, as she came to Boswell for her last novel, Mousetraps, as part of the Council of Wisconsin Writers event in 2010.

Dash to Greenfield for Dashner Tonight at 6:30 pm.


james dashnerJames Dashner, author of The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and the just-released final volume, The Death Cure, will be at Greenfield Public Library, in an event co-sponsored by Boswell Book Company. Dashner's dystopian novel has shades of Suzanne Collins, and in the third volume, the kids who have been pawns of WICKED, a group trying to use them as lab rats to find a way to combat The Flare (yes, it's pretty much acute zombie disease), gets more and more...wicked.


Death CureThis is another series Jason really enjoyed, and the series has hit the New York Times bestseller list. And yes, movie rights have been sold. I was looking at Dashner's blog (Yes, it's called The Dashner Dude) and he gives a shout-out to Jason for giving him an early read and quote. Tonight I'm looking forward to visiting Emily and my other friends at Greenfield Public Library, 5310 West Layton Avenue.


Enjoying our kids programming? Don't forget we have more events coming up in November. They are all at the bookstore, as we take a little break from our library offsites. But don't worry--we're going to book more library events in 2012. Here's a teaser:


Wednesday, November 2, 7 pm:

Lisa Albert, author of Mercy Lily. See below for more info.


Monday, November 7, 7 pm:

Tamora Pierce, author of the Song of the Lioness, Immortals, and the new Legend of Beka Cooper Series.  The new book in the series is Mastiff. More info below.


Thursday, November 17, 7 pm:

Kenneth Oppel, author of Half Brother, the Silverwing series, and his new book, This Dark Endeavor: The Legend of Victor Frankenstein.

Spald-o-Rama Begins Wednesday, October 26, 6:30 with a Special Preview of New Theatre Gigante Production, at Boswell.


Theatre GiganteTheatre Gigante is hosting a number of events in conjunction with their production of "Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell." Coordinated with the release of the long-awaited collection, The Journals of Spalding Gray, this play opens Thursday, October 27 at the Kenilworth Studio 508 Theater. This Wednesday, Theatre Gigante will host a talk and scene preview at Boswell. Note the special starting time of 6:30 pm.


Journals of Spalding GrayPerformances at Kenilworth are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. There's also a party on Thursday, a talk back on Friday, and a conversation with Kathleen Russo and Lake Effect's Bonnie North in conjunction with Saturday's performance. Plus there are also two screenings of Steven Soderbergh's tribute film, "And Everything is Going Fine." More information in this Journal Sentinel article from Jim Higgins.


Here's what Russ Bickerstaff in the Shepherd Express has to say: "Spalding Gray was one of those rare iconic personas that managed to carve a dazzlingly novel identity for himself out of sheer creativity. The man saw a lack of creativity in theatre and decided to deliver an autobiographical monologue as theatre. Now, on the surface this seems kind of silly and non-theatrical, but there's so much focus on the machinery in theatre that the creativity is remarkably easy to lose. Spalding found that spark of genius and ran with it."

Enjoy a Zombie Afternoon on Saturday, October 29, at Boswell


Ten Little ZombiesOn Saturday, October 29, at 1 pm, we will be hosting author and illustrator Andy Rash, for his book, Ten Little Zombies. It's an epic poem, filled with gruesome deaths and transcendant romance. After a slide show storytime (probably for older kids and adults; despite the availability of Zombiekins, this may not be the greatest event for kids) will follow a workshop on how to draw a zombie. Rash is a recent transplant to Mil-squawk-ee*; some of his other books include Sea Monster's First Day, Superhero School, and Are You a Horse?


Angus MacabreThen at 2 pm, we welcome Angus MacAbre, known among the living and the undead by a variety of nicknames, including "Scotland's Smartest Zombie Scholar" and "Scotland's Funniest Zombie Comedian." He's famous for his undeadpan comedy stylings which include such "funny-cause-they're-true" observations about the differences between men zombies and women zombies and the differences between Canadian zombies and American zombies. Angus is also the host of the critically-acclaimed indie film, "The Zombeatles: All You Need Is Brains."  This event is more suitable for adults than kids. 


*This was the spookiest Milwaukee variation I could think of.

 Modern Homesteading From an Expert, on Tuesday, November 7, pm.


Deborah NiemannDeborah Niemann, author of Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living, will speak at Boswell on Tuesday, November 1, at 7 pm.


Homegrown and Handmade shows how making things from scratch and how growing at least some of your own food can help you eliminate artificial ingredients from your diet, reduce your carbon footprint, and create a more authentic life.


handmade and homegrownHere are tips and practical instructions for cultivating sustainable gardens and orchards, and raising poultry and dairy animals. Each section is divided up into illustrated chapters that address basic starting steps as well as issues that may arise, followed by recipes for cooking with the fruits (and vegetables) of your labors. Whether you're looking to grab some eggs from your backyard chickens or spin your own wool for knitting, this comprehensive, yet accessible, guide is bound to become your best, trusted resource. 


Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner Brent Ridge note: "There's never been a more practical guide written for making the 'simple' life simple." And Niemann has also written extensively about everything from soapmaking to bread baking, from composting to home schooling. I'm sure you have questions, and Niemann will be happy to answer them.

Muskego's Lisa Albert with a Touching Story for Adults and Teens, Coming This Wednesday, November 2, 7 pm. 


Lisa AlbertOn Wednesday, November 2, Lisa Albert will speak at Boswell about her novel, Mercy Lily. Teenage Lily and her mother live in Oregon, where the Death with Dignity Act allows a patient to make the decision to end his or her own life. After traditional treatment for her rapidly advancing Multiple Sclerosis fails, Mom takes bee sting therapy, administered by Lily, to alleviate her pain. Mercy LilyLily is trained as a veterinary assistant, so she can easily handle snatching honeybees with tweezers, stinging Mom, and watching the venom empty into her flesh. What Lily can't handle is what happens when the bee sting therapy fails and it becomes clear that Mom wants to die.


Here's what The Voice of Youth Advocates has written about Mercy Lily: "The conflicting emotions of Lily, the lead character, are described in such a way that any reader can easily sympathize with her inner turmoil, making this story a page-turner, because nothing, including the virtuous and the shameful, is held back." Join us to celebrate the publication of Albert's first novel.

Welcome to Nordic November, Starting with Talks from Eric Dregni and Joan Peterson, on Saturday, November 5, at 2 pm.


Peterson and Norway Book 1111The American in Norway? The Norwegian in America? We've got a dual talk for you on Saturday afternoon, 2 pm, November 5, at Boswell, that looks at the Nordic experience from both ends.


Joan Peterson, is publisher of the Eat Smart Guides, based in the Madison area. Her newest culinary travel guide, Eat Smart in Norway, offers an insightful look at the history, culture, regional dishes and recipes of Norway for vacation goers, business travelers and backpackers alike. (My apologies for the slightly less clear photos--it turned out to be harder than I thought to create an author/book jacket montage.)


Dregni and Vikings Book 1111In Vikings in the Attic, Eric Dregni tracks down and explores the significant, and quite often bizarre, historic sites, tales, and traditions of Scandinavia's peculiar colony in the Midwest. He goes beyond the lefse, lutefisk, and lusekofter (lice jacket) sweaters to reveal the little-known tales of silver spoon collections and turpentine shots for the common cold that lie beneath the surface of Nordic America. Dregni teaches at Concordia University in St. Paul, and has previously appeared at Boswell for In Cod We Trust and Never Trust a Thin Cook. Both talks feature slides.


And don't forget, Nordic November continues on Tuesday, November 15, with the authors of Gudrun's Kitchen: Recipes from a Norwegian Family. Join Ingeborg Hydle Baugh and Irene Sandvold along with Outpost Natural Foods for a talk about this cookbook/immigrant story/family memoir.

We're Celebrating a Quiltastic Wedding at the Elm Grove Woman's Club on Saturday, November 5, 2 pm, and You're Invited.


jennifer chiaveriniYes, you're invited to a celebration of Jennifer Chiaverini's new novel, The Wedding Quilt, sponsored by Patched Works of Elm Grove and Boswell Book Company. The celebration starts at 2 pm at the Elm Grove Woman's Club, 13885 Watertown Plank Road, and yes, there will be a commemorative pin with purchase, and yes, there will be cake too.


In The Wedding QuiltSarah McClure, who arrived at Elm Creek Manor as a newlywed, now prepares for her own daughter's wedding. Needless to say, this celebration calls for a quilt that will represent the vast Wedding Quiltcircle of friendship, across generations, that came out of her own quilting business, Elm Creek Quilts. The Elm Creek Quilters bring together fabric and story to present Caroline with an enduring gift of love.


Madison's Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of seventeen Elm Creek Quilts novels, as well as four collections of quilt projects inspired by the series, and is the designer of the Elm Creek Quilts fabric lines from Red Rooster Fabrics. And if you want to learn more about the fabrics, Patched Works is offering an Elm Creek Quilts demo on Wednesday, November 2, 5:30 pm.  More on their website. And you can RSVP at our Facebook event page.

Paul Schmitz of Public Allies with His New Book on Leadership Launches Saturday, November 5--Reception at 7 pm, Talk at 8.


Paul SchmitzSome of you may not be aware of Public Allies, a national nonprofit that advances new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits, and civic participation. You may also not be aware that it is based in Milwaukee. And now with CEO Paul Schmitz's new book, Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up, you'll probably hearing be more about their mission, starting here, on Saturday, November 5, 7 pm, at Boswell.


Everyone LeadsIn Everyone Leads, Schmitz shares unique experiences and lessons his organization has learned from two decades of identifying and developing thousands of diverse young leaders across the country. The book is organized around a new definition of leadership: (1) It is an action everyone can take, not a position few hold; (2) it is about taking personal and social responsibility to work with others on common goals; and (3) it is the practice of values that engage diverse individuals and groups to work together effectively. With inspiring stories and practical examples, Schmitz shares what it means to lead today and demonstrates the organization's approach through illustrative stories of its graduates and of his own unusual leadership journey.


Paul Schmitz founded Public Allies Milwaukee and was appointed national CEO of Public Allies in 2000. Schmitz  was selected as a Next Generation Leadership Fellow by the Rockefeller Foundation, was recognized by the Nonprofit Times as one of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in the country, and is a recipient of Fast Company magazine's Social Capitalist Award for innovation.


Don't forget, the reception starts at 7, and the talk at 8. And don't worry, for this special event, we'll be open a bit later than our usual 9 pm closing time.

An Exciting Evening with Beloved Kids Author Tamora Pierce at Boswell, on Monday, November 7, 7 pm.


Tamora PierceJoin Boswell to welcome Tamora Pierce, author of numerous young adult fantasy books about the imagined realms of Tortall and Emelan, to Milwaukee. In addition to the Beka Cooper trilogy (see below), Pierce is the author of several series, including Protector of the Small, The Immortals, and The Song of the Lioness, as well as the books Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen, and Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales


MastiffIn her new book, Mastiff the third volume in The Legend of Beka Cooper, three years have passed since Beka Cooper almost died in the sewers of Port Caynn, and she is now a respected member of the Provost's Guard. But her life takes an unexpected turn when her fiancÚ is killed on a slave raid. Beka is faced with a mixture of emotions as, unbeknownst to many, she was about to call the engagement off.


Special rules for this event due to a hand injury and lingering carpal tunnel syndrome--Ms. Pierce will only be able to personalize one book per attendee. For the rest of your books, there's still something special. Each book will get a signature stamp and thumbprint. I knew you'd understand. More about Tamora Pierce and her books here.

Chester Marcol is Alive and Kicking, at Boswell (Along with Cowriter Gary D'Amato) on Tuesday, November 8, 7 pm.


alive and kickingChester Marcol grew up a Polish immigrant who spoke no English when he discovered football by accident in 1965 as a shy high school student in Imlay City, Michigan. By 1972, he was a household name in Wisconsin after being named National Football League rookie of the year with the Green Bay Packers.


Now this Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame member has written his memoir, Alive and Kicking: My Journey Through Football, Addiction, and Life, and will be talking and signing with his co-author, Gary D'Amato, on Tuesday, November 8, 7 pm, at Boswell.


In his new book, Marcol talks about the hurdles he overcame as an immigrant to become an NFL star, provides a no-holds-barred look at the alcohol and substance abuse that cost him his football career and family. For the first time publicly, he discusses the suicide attempt in 1986 that continues to affect his health to this day. And he has used his experiences to help others; Marcol is now a certified drug and alcohol abuse counselor.


And Gary D'Amato? This Journal Sentinel reporter is a three-time Wisconsin sportswriter of the year who has covered seven Olympics, twenty Masters tournaments, and three Super Bowls. Should be a great talk.

How Long Would It Take me to Get from Boswell to That Show?


Florentine OperaOne of the oddities that causes me no end of delight is that many folks who live outside Milwaukee will refer to Boswell's location to be downtown Milwaukee, but folks who are downtown, particularly folks who work there, think of the store is being in another state. In a sense, both parties are both right and wrong; while we are not considered to be even contiguous to downtown, it's not more than a five-minute car ride up Lincoln Memorial Drive. 


Milwaukee BalletWe know that many of our regulars add a Boswell outing to a Downer or Oriental movie night. Lots of you, however, forget that we're also an easy add-on before a visit to the ballet, opera, museum, or any number of local theaters. Here's a list of upcoming programming, and how long it would take you to get to Boswell from there (or vice versa, if you are doing an afternoon arts outing).


Perhaps you're going to the Florentine to see "Turandot" on November 4 or 6 or "Dracula", as performed by the Milwaukee Ballet on October 27-30.  Both would be at the Marcus Center. If you stopped by Boswell first, it's less than three miles away, whether you take Lake Drive, Farwell, or even North Avenue over to Humboldt to Water.


importance of being earnestOr perhaps you're going to the Impressionism show at the Milwaukee Art Museum or the CSI: Milwaukee program at Discovery World this weekend? That's even closer. It's just Lincoln Memorial Drive to Lafeyette Hill to Lake Drive North.  If you make the lights, you could do that one in five minutes.


Doing some live theater? Perhaps you're going to "The Importance of Being Earnest" at the Boulevard Theatre on Kinnickinnic in Bay View. This new production (see photo by Troy Freund) is a modern dress interpretation and is directed by Mark Bucher. To get from one Milwaukee landmark to the other, take the Hoan Bridge and you'll be there about seven miles and ten minutes later.

Is There Life Beyond Boswell? Other Bookish Events.


Todd RitterOur friend Lisa at Books and Company in Oconomowoc often shares our events for those out west who can't brave the trip.  And then sometimes she shares with Next Chapter. But for Todd Ritter, she's hosting with Mystery One, our fellow East Side book emporium on Prospect, just south of North Avenue. Ritter is coming for his second mystery novel, Bad Moon. He's written a story set in late 1960s Pennsylvania that Publishers Weekly called "an unusual tale of love, loss, enduring pain, and betrayal" and Booklist called "an adroit puzzler with a genuinely surprising ending." Ritter will be at Mystery One at 11 am and Books and Company at 2 pm on Saturday, November 5.


Kathleen Flinn

Next Chapter in Mequon has a lot of great events coming up, but the one I most want to attend is Kathleen Flinn on Wednesday, November 9* for The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. Like many indie bookstores, we had a lot of fun selling The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, and our pal Melissa notes the new book is even better. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, Flinn returned to Seattle and wound up recruiting nine volunteers who didn't believe they had the time or the skills to create great healthy meals from fresh seasonal ingredients. Needless to say, they were wrong!


Walter MosleyThis year, Woodland Pattern Book Center is holding their November anniversary celebration on Friday, November 18 at The Hamilton, which is on 823 East Hamilton Street. The evening starts with a 5:30 reception, followed by a rare appearance from Walter Mosley, who will be reading from his most recent novel, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Honored at the fete will be Daisy Cubias, as well as recent Boswell reader Lucille Rosenberg, both long-time supporters of  the Center. Program tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. The special reception is $80 or $150 for a couple. Tickets are available on the website, or by calling (414) 263-5001.


*Alas, it's not going to happen. We have at least one event at the shop, and we might have another offsite. And don't forget, while we would love for you to buy these books from us, if you are attending the event, it's always most polite to buy from the host store.

My fabulous idea to have the links in green and cold, in honor of Chester Mardcol's appearance, of course did not take into account that gold writing on pastel background is not the best contrast. Next time I promise something darker.

boswell logoWant more event info?  There are more great November events listed on our website's events page, including
graphic novelist Craig Thompson, author of Blankets and Habibi, who is appearing at Boswell on Wednesday, November 16. And you can always get more Boswell news by subscribing to the Boswell and Books daily blog.
We wouldn't have a bookstore without you. Thanks for Your Patronage,
Daniel Goldin, with Amie, Anne, Beverly, Carl, Conrad, Greg, Jason, Mark, Pam, Shane, Sharon, and Stacie.