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Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

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Boswell Book Company Newsletter                     August 2, 2012, Day 1216



To many, if not most of us, summer means vacations. And I'm actually going on a working vacation this weekend, to a gift show in Minnesota. You can bet there will also be some bookstore visits. And that means I'm just sending a mini event email, with the hopes that we get the rest of our August events out next week.

 Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

For your own August vacations, you're probably packing (or perhaps downloading, or maybe a little of each) some books for the road. You've worked carefully to select just the right book, as who wants to get through a story, only to find that it just isn't all it was cracked up to be?


Well I think we might have the solution for at least some of you. It's Rachel Joyce's new novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and it's already gained a whole lot of fans.In addition, it's selected for the Man Booker Prize shortlist. Here's Jane's take:


"Setting out to post a letter to a former colleague who is dying, Harold Fry, a retired

brewery rep, walks past the first mailbox and unintentionally keeps on walking past sucessive mailboxes until he has traveled the 627 mile length of England. Accompanied with regretful memories and estrangements, painful foot blisters and encounters with a variety of unpredictable characters, Harold's quixotic journey to save someone else becomes his journey of self discovery. With surprising twists along the pilgrimage, this modern-day parable is not only thought provoking, but also tender and funny. I loved every mile I walked with Harold!" (Publisher List Price: $25, Boswell's Best: $20)


The recommendations don't stop there. We're very excited about both of the events I'm featuring in this newsletter.

Joe Meno with Dan Nowak, Thursday, August 2, 7 pm, at Boswell.


In Joe Meno's new novel, Office Girl, Odile is a lovely art-school dropout, a minor vandal, and a hopeless dreamer. Jack is a shirker who's most happy capturing the endless noises of the city on his out-of-date tape recorder. Together they decide to start their own art movement in defiance of a contemporary culture made dull by both the tedious and the obvious. Set in February 1999--just before the end of one world and the beginning of another--Office Girl is the story of two people caught between the uncertainty of their futures and the all-too-brief moments of modern life.


We've had a number of great reads on Office Girl, including...


 "This light, dreamy, and quirky story is Jack and Jill for hipsters. The spunky Odile and the tragic Jack are two creative, socially-inept kids lost in a post-college, pre-professional life where everything is exhilarating, frightening, and wonderful all at once. Working dead-end jobs and dealing with the ups and downs life can bring, Odile and Jack find temporary fulfillment in the music and art they find and create - but they seem to long for something more it love? Will they find it, or have they already found it?" - Nick


"Office Girl is a sweet, snowy bicycle ride through the uncertainties and difficulties of post-college life." -Shane


"Meno mixes cartoons from Cody Hudson and photos from Todd Baxter into the story to create a sort of sad but spirited whimsy. Romance? Perhaps. But in the end, I think Office Girl is more about finding something, just not necessarily love." -Daniel

 Dan Nowak

Joe Meno teaches at Columbia College, and is the author of many beloved novels, including The Boy Detective Fails, Hairstyles of the Damned, and The Great Perhaps. If I had room, I would include staff recs of those novels too, perhaps all of them. And we have hardcover copies of Office Girl as well. Just ask.


Opening for Meno is poet Joe Nowak, editor and publisher of Imaginary Friend Press. His book, Recycle Suburbia, won the Quercus Review Poetry Series Award, and his poems have been published in the North American Review, The Cream City Review, and Diode.


See them both tonight, August 2, at 7 pm.

Lev Grossman with Michael Poore, Tuesday, August 7, 7 pm, at Boswell.


Lev Grossman You may remember that when The Magicians came out, the book was on the staff rec shelf of just about every Boswellian. Here's what Greg had to say about The Magician King, when it came out in cloth last year:


"Not since the seemingly neverending wait for the seventh Harry Potter book have I been so antsy about a release. Lev Grossman's The Magicians was my favorite novel of 2009 by a landslide, cleverly combining aspects of classic fantasy with modern literature and pop culture.  With the groundwork in place, Grossman takes us back to Fillory with The Magician King, where Quentin is a powerful sorcerer and a royal monarch --and bored out of his mind. He embarks on a seemingly menial errand to collect back taxes from a faraway island, and stumbles into an epic and momentously important quest to save the magical world.  Grossman's trademark eloquent-yet-hip writing style flourishes in this sequel, a creative and entertaining novel well worth the wait."


Magician King

From Lev Grossman himself: "One of the big inspirations for The Magicians was Watchmen, which is (obvs) a great superhero story, but it also asks a lot of meta-type questions about what it would mean to be a superhero. The Magicians is a bit like that-it works (or it's supposed to) as a straight-up story about magic and secret worlds. But it also draws on a lot of non-fantasy literary works-Proust, Woolf, Waugh, Joyce, Franzen-and it asks some serious meta-level questions about magic. Like: what would it really feel like to do magic? What kinds of people would do it, and what would they do with it, if there were no Sauron or Voldemort trying to take over the world? And once they started doing magic, what would doing magic do to them?"


Up Jumps the Devil  But that's not all. Opening for Grossman is Michael Poore, author of the new novel, Up Jumps the Devil. Ever since Mel read this book, she's been putting it in the hands of everyone who likes funny, crazy, scary, or any combination of the two. In her words:

"From cryogenics to Woodstock, ancient Egypt to the first videogame console--the Devil has a (wooden) hand in every human affair. Like a fictional memoir, the narrative follows the various incarnations of the Devil during his time on Earth, and for some hilarious highlight-reel moments in Heaven. Poore's writing jumps off the page like a raspy lick from Satan's fiddle and will hypnotize you like deep Delta bass. This book will make you question the nature of love, compassion, and evil. If you don't sympathize with this Devil, you've already sold your soul."


Michael PooreOh, and here's one more quote, from Christopher Moore: "Even the devils of Milton and Shaw fall short in charisma and charm to Michael Poore's John Scratch. Up Jumps the Devil is a fine, funny novel by a talented writer. Buy it. Read it. Enjoy!" 


Join both Lev Grossman and Michael Poore on Tuesday, August 7, 7 pm, at Boswell. You can bet that several booksellers will be there too.

We've got many of our confirmed dates on our upcoming events page, with listings going all the way out to October. Please visit now and mark your calendars.
Thanks for Your Patronage and With a Little Hard Work, We'll Have Another Email Newsletter Next Week,
Daniel Goldin, with Amie, Anne, Beverly, Conrad, Greg, Halley, Jane, Jason, Mel, Nick, Pam, Shane, Sharon, and Stacie.