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Boswell Book Company Newsletter                     August 14, 2012, Day 1228.



The Dog Stars While some folks vacation in August, Boswell events don't take much of a breather. We've got an assortment of evenings planned out for folks who like food, history, science, poetry, and of course, fiction. But first it's time spread the word on Peter Heller's new novel, The Dog Stars (Knopf, Publisher's Price $24.95, Boswell Best $19.96). You may have heard Heller interviewed by Dave Davies on Fresh Air yesterday, discussing how he wanted to infuse his novel with the sense of adventure he has written about as a contributing editor for Outside, Men's Journal, and National Geographic. And boy has he succeeded, at least in our book.


 "Thrilling, gritty, and discerning, The Dog Stars packs an emotional wallop that will stay with the reader long after the final page. Nine years after a disease has wiped out 99 percent of humanity, Hig is living in an abandoned airfield with his dog, Jasper, and their gun nut guardian, Bangley. Hig misses his wife, misses his books, and misses trout; consequently, he begins to wonder why he continues the struggle for survival. When a tragedy strikes, he flies West in his eighty-year-old Cessna to discover a human connection and a reason to live. A meditation on nature, loss, and desire, this is an astounding debut that should be read immediately."
--Shane, Boswell Book Company
  Peter Heller
And since you don't need to hear the plot recapped by each of us, how about if I just get to the good stuff?
"A poetic narrative of grief, loss, survival, and hope, it's a companion read to Cormac McCarthy's hypnotic The Road, the kind where days after finishing it, my chest still aches."
--Stacie, Boswell Book Company
"Heller packs so much emotion into this book, of loss, longing and the importance of having a human connection to the world, even when the cost of attempting one could mean your life. At times thrilling and heart breaking, this is one amazing book that is not meant to be missed."
--Jason, Boswell Book Company
We've got nine books left to sell today. Surely there are nine of you out there who want to buy an amazing novel from us, right?

Summer Poetry Night with Andrea Potos, Tyler Farrell, and Francesca Abbate, Tuesday, August 14, 7 pm, at Boswell.


 Andrea PotosAndrea Potos is the author of three previous poetry collections, including Yaya's Cloth, and has received the James Heast Poetry Prize from North American Review. Her new collection, We Lit the Lamps Ourselves, pursues the trail of creative genius in the lives of Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and the Brontë sisters.


Tyler Farrell Tyler Farrell teaches writing and literature at Marquette, and is the author of two collections of poems from Salmon Poetry (an Irish press distributed in the United States by Dufour). In addition to his poetry, he's also the author of a biographical essay for James Liddy's Selected Poems. In his new collection, The Land of Give and Take, priests, professors and proles, among others, take the stage to tell their stories.


Francesca AbbateFrancesca Abbate's work has appeared in Field, Iowa Review, and Poetry; and she is an associate professor at Beloit College. Her new collection, Troy Unincorporated, is a meditation on the nature of betrayal, the constraints of identity, and the power of narrative in its retelling of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.


Summer poetry 812Stacie and I agree that for some reason, three is a wonderful number of poets to read in an evening. We hope you agree, and join us this evening, Tuesday, August 14, at 7 pm. And look for upcoming poetry events with John Koethe on September 7, and Louisa Loveridge Gallas on November 11.

Jean Zimmerman, Author of Both Histories and a New Historical Thriller, Wednesday, August 15, 7 pm, at Boswell.


Jean Zimmerman Jean Zimmerman is the author of several works of nonfiction, including Love Fiercely, which follow the principals of John Singer Sargent's painting, Mr. and Mrs. I.N. Phelps Stokes, through their gilded age romance. With her new historical thriller, The Orphanmaster, just released, you know that she's going to bring 1600's New York to vivid life. Here's more from our buyer.


Orphanmaster"Orphans are going missing in New Amsterdam in the year 1663, and they are not being found in quite the same state as they were when lost. The intrigue and mystery builds as orphanmaster Blandine von Couvering and her companion, British spy Edward Drummond, confront a situation both bizarre and brutal. Zimmerman's characters are eccentric and unique, and the period history is fully realized and engrossing. I could not put this book down."

--Jason, Boswell Book Company.


Zimmerman's knowledge of New York history, combined with her winning storytelling skills, makes me confident that we will have an informative and entertaining evening. Charles Finch agrees; his review in USA Today notes "as in the best historical fiction, she has created a kind of truce between the authority of the past and the accessibility of the present, revealing to us what it once meant to be alive, and what that history means to us now."


And for those who like some visuals, the talk/reading will be accompanied by slides.

What Will Food Look Like in 2035? Possible Answers at Boswell on Thursday, August 16, 7 pm.


Josh Schonwald Public interest in food is at an all time high, but what do experts think the future of food will look like? Journalist Josh Schonwald, who has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Salon travels the globe looking at the "forward-thinking farmers, mad scientists, and capitalistic entrepreneurs" who are developing new ways to produce and improve food sources in his new book, The Taste of Tomorrow. Schonwald is based outside Chicago, but grew up in nearby Kenosha.


Taste of TomorrowFolks who follow the food trends right now see that the world is moving in two directions--healthy, local foods and old fashioned methods are making a comeback (heck, the boyfriend of one of my booksellers is contemplating farming) while technology and engineering are continuing to affect food supplies, for better or worse. For a look at a different sort of possible future, see more on the Eat Local Challenge Resource Fair, on Saturday, August 25, below.


Not all the news is great for foodies (can you handle lab-raised meat?) but feeding a booming world population can be a tough order. Perhaps we can take solace in the next big ethnic trend to energize our palettes. Bets are being taken on both Peruvian and African cuisines. And for those who'd like to read more about The Taste of Tomorrow, Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post book critic, is big fan. Read his review here.

Retelling of The Pied Piper's Tale from Former Milwaukeean Stacy DeKeyser, on Tuesday, August 21, 7 pm, at Boswell


Stacy DeKeyserWhen Rudi Bauer accidentally takes a witch's coin, he unleashes her curse. Accident or not, he knows he's got to fix things, so he tries to return the coin, only to lose it on the  witch's magic mountain as the snows come. Haunted all winter by terrible dreams, Rudi tries to find the coin in the spring, only to discover that not only has the coin vanished, but a plague of rats has descended on his village.

 The Brixen Witch

The Brixen Witch is author Stacy DeKeyser's first novel for middle graders, though she's also written the young adult novel, Jump the Cracks, as well as two nonfiction books for young readers. She lives with her family in Connecticut, but we expect family and friends will want to cheer her on as she returns back home for her Milwaukee launch.


Kirkus reviews calls this an "original adventure" that middle graders will find "fresh and satisfying." Read the review here.

Can Our Thoughts Control a Computer? Medical Breakthroughs from Doctor Jon Mukand, Wednesday, August 22, 7 pm, at Boswell.


Jon MukandResearch physician and rehabilitation specialist Jon Mukand weaves together stories of courageous survivors of stroke, spinal injuries, and even a stabbing, with the amazing technology that is improving their lives in The Man with the Bionic Brain and Other Victories over Paralysis.


Man with the Bionic Brain Dr. Mukand, an alum of the Medical College of Wisconsin (he'll also be speaking there at Noon) offers a behind-the-scenes view of cutting edge medical research and discoveries in this inspirational book about how biomedicine gives hope to people with disabilities, enabling them to take control of their futures. Mukand is the medical director of the Southern New England Rehabilitation Center and serves on the clinical faculties of Brown and Tufts Universities. In addition to his two other books, his work has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine and Nature.

From Butte to Cairo, A Young Man's Journey to Find His Father, on Thursday, August 23, 7 pm, at Boswell.


Pauls Toutonghi Pauls Toutonghi's Evel Knievel Days is a heartwarming and witty story of immigration and belonging, false starts and new beginnings, and finding out what home really means. Khosi Saqr finds comfort in Butte, Montana as a docent giving tours in a mansion devoted to his ancestor who built a fortune in mining. But when his Egyptian father is back in town, it unleashes the desire to find out what became of half his family, and he chases his father all the way to Cairo.


Evel Knievel DaysIf you're wondering, Toutonghi is half-Egyptian and half-Latvian, with his Latvian side explored in the previous novel, Red Weather. And if you're wondering what folks think of the new book, Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, says "Evel Knievel Days is so good, I want to dress it up in a star-spangled jumpsuit, leap it over the pyramids of Giza on a Laverda American Eagle 750c motorcycle, and watch it stick its landing before an audience of millions in downtown Butte, Montana."  I liked it too; read more in our Boswell and Books blog.

It's Michael Perry, Returning for His New Book on A Good Friend Who Among Other Things, Repairs Cannons, on Friday, August 24, 7 pm.


 Have you seen our newest exhibit of photos of J. Shimon and J. Visiting TomLindemann on our art wall? This exhibit, in conjunction with the Portrait Society Gallery of Milwaukee, are photos of Tom Hartwig, the subject of Michael Perry's new book, Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace. 


Beloved Wisconsin author Perry returns for a new book about human connection in rural communities. Tom Hartwig is in his eighties, famous for driving a team of oxen in local parades; he lives on a farm with his wife of 60 years, surrounded by farm equipment and his cannons.


 Michael PerryThe defining moment of his life? It's probably when the Wisconsin Department of Transportation mapped out highway 94 directly through his farm. It's a change that should have devastated any average person, but Hartwig is anything but average. And Perry, coping with some highway issues of his own, looks to Hartwig to learn how to deal with change, aging, and other things out of our control. More from me on a blog post later this week. Maybe you should subscribe to Boswell and Books, our daily dose of reviews, bestsellers, gift items, bookseller visits, and other things bookish.


We're of course incredibly excited about Perry's visit, which is free and open to the public. If you can't make our stop, he'll also be at Books and Company and Next Chapter. But you can still take a peek at the prints from the book, and they are also for sale. Each is $275 framed, $200 unframed. We also have a postcard collection from the Portrait Society Gallery available for $10, though it's from Shimon and Lindemann's portrait series.

Terese Allen at the Urban Ecology Center's Eat Local Resource Fair, Saturday, August 25, 1 pm.


Flavor of Wisconsin kidsAfter all the local deliciousness of The Flavor of Wisconsin, we're please to co-sponsor, once again, Terese Allen, co-author of The Flavor of Wisconsin for Kids: A Feast of History, with Stories and Recipes Celebrating the Land and People of Our State at the Eat Local Resource Fair, sponsored by Outpost Natural Foods, and located at the Urban Ecology Center, 1500 East Park Pl., just west of Oakland Ave.


Terese AllenTerese Allen is the food editor for Organic Valley, a columnist for Edible Madison, and serves as president of the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW). Her new book draws on the sources of the last book to create a colorful, kid-friendly guide to the traditions of food in our state. Though the event is not targeted to children, it's great for parents. Make your own food traditions with the easy and fun recipes that are included in The Flavor of Wisconsin for Kids.


Why not come early and take advantage of the Eat Local Resource Fair, which is happening from 10 am to 4 pm at the Urban Ecology Center. There are talks from Suzanne Zipperer, Peter Sandroni and Kathy Papineau, plus area chefs, and food trucks and even local vendors. More here.


A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul with Giulio Tononi on Wednesday, August 29, 7 pm, at Boswell.


PhiFrom one of the most original and influential neuroscientists at work today comes Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul, an exploration of consciousness unlike any. As has been said elsewhere, "not since Gödel, Escher, Bach has there been a book that interweaves science, art, and the imagination with such originality."


Giulio Tononi is a professor of psychiatry and a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he also is distinguished chair in consciousness science. His interest in consciousness defines Phi, as noted in this 2010 article by Carl Zimmer in The New York Times.


Giulio Tononi From Oliver Sacks: "Giulio Tononi is a man of bold and original mind who has developed a fundamental new theory of consciousness. In Phi, he calls on all the resources of drama, metaphor, and the visual arts to present his scientific insights, in the form of imaginary dialogues in which Galileo meets Francis Crick, Alan Turing, and other major thinkers of the twentieth century. This is an astonishing (and risky) literary device, but Tononi pulls it off triumphantly. He makes the deepest neuroscientific insights come alive."


Right now Tononi's tour is Milwaukee, Seattle, and Portland, making this a rare chance to meet this innovative thinker.

We've got a fabulous fall of events, starting with Kati Marton on September 5, and continuing with John Koethe, Terry Brooks, Zane, plus local favorites and lots of developing authors you may not know about now, but you'll be excited about by the time their events roll around. I know that makes it hard to plan sometimes, but that's one of the roles of an indie bookstore--to help break out new favorites. Keep posted, and get the latest by liking us on Facebook.
Thanks for Your Patronage,
Daniel Goldin, with Amie, Anne, Beverly, Conrad, Greg, Halley, Jane, Jason, Mel, Nick, Pam, Shane, Sharon, and Stacie.