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Boswell Book Company

2559 North Downer Avenue at Webster Place

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

(414) 332-1181,

Our Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am to 9 pm,

Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm

Special Labor Day Edition--We're open today until 5 pm.

Boswell Book Company Newsletter       September 3, 2012, Day 1248



The joyous avalanche of fall releases really begins September 4. I can't believe how many wonderful books are coming out tomorrow. Included are paperback reprints of Ayad Akhtar's American Dervish, Jeffrey Eugenides's The Marriage Plot, Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve, and Boomerang, by Michael Lewis. But we've already highlighted those titles. The real question is "What's new?"


NWWe've been anxiously awaiting Zadie Smith's NW for several years now. After flirting with Cambridge as a setting, her new book is back in the UK, set in a gentrifying neighborhood of Northwest London. Kirkus calls it "a wildly ambitious jigsaw puzzle of a novel, one that shuffles pieces of chronology, identity, ethnicity and tone, undermining cohesion and narrative momentum as it attempts to encompass a London neighborhood that is both fixed and fluid." It looks like the reviews are going to mixed, with some passionate fighting going on from each corner. Read more from Mike Fischer in the Journal Sentinel.


Father FirstFor Milwaukee, the release of Marquette alum and currently Miami Heat basketball player Dwyane Wade's memoir, A Father First: How my Life Became Bigger than Basketball, is a very big deal indeed. If you haven't been paying attention, we are co-sponsoring a ticketed signing with Wade on Tuesday, September 11, at 1 pm at the Al McGuire Center. As of the release of this email newsletter, tickets were still available. Getting a ticket is the only way to guarantee a signed copy; just ask for the ticket to go to will call, and we will match you up with a signed book. And if you're going, we just learned that Marquette will be providing free parking at the Wells Street parking structure.


My heart is an idiotThere are several titles coming out tomorrow that will be upcoming events at Boswell or at one of our partner venues, but the one I'd like to mention is by an author who is not passing through until November. Davy Rothbart is touring with his musician brother Peter for My Heart is an Idiot on Thursday, November 8, at a special time of 8 pm, and I should also note that there's a $5 cover. Stacie calls this a "ridiculously wonderful collection of Rothbart's rawly honest, endearingly bared essays exploring the miracle of human connection." Read it now and fall in love with this collection along with us.


There's plenty more out there, including the book that will garner the lion's share of press, including No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden, by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer, and Gretchen Rubin's follow-up to The Happiness Project, Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life. What a week!

Kati Marton on Paris, Richard Holbrooke, and Peter Jennings, on Wednesday, September 5, 7 pm, at Boswell.


Kati MartonWe are simply giddy with anticipation about the impending visit of esteemed journalist Kati Marton to Boswell. Paris: A Love Story has gotten all kinds of interesting press, including a wonderful profile in Vanity Fair by Taylor Antrim. Let me just say that Nancy, the FOB (friend of Boswell) who brought it in, was captivated by the story.


paris a love story This taut memoir of life after the death of Marton's second husband, diplomat Richard Holbrooke, is also a tribute to the City of Light. And yes, there are also reminiscences of life with her first husband, the late Peter Jennings. Marton's won acclaim for her memoir, Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America, as well as Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History.


Our free event is this Wednesday, September 5, 7 pm,. at Boswell. This event is co-sponsored by L'Alliance Franšaise de Milwaukee.

Poet John Koethe on Friday, September 7, 7 pm, at Boswell.

 john koethe

Regulars probably know that John Koethe is a regular visitor to Boswell, but it's a rare thing when he appears as a poet, not a customer. We're honored to help launch his new collection, ROTC Kills: Poems, with a reading on Friday, September 7, at 7 pm.

This is Koethe's first work that I read cover to cover. I was struck by the autobiographical details, the way he was able to weave his work as a philosopher into Rotc killsthe material, and the way the poems would effortlessly jump from present to past and back again. I love the way Jim Higgins notes (in his profile in Sunday's Journal Sentinel) how "Koethe is preoccupied with consciousness and its attendant questions and problems, finding himself 'a cipher at the center of the story,' 'both the author and the captive of my world.'"


Koethe's collections include Falling Water, which won the Kingsley-Tufts Award, North Point North,  a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Ninety-fifth Street, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize. In 2011, he received a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Breaking Boundaries with Ruth Silver on Saturday, September 8, 2 pm, at Boswell.


invisibleThere are so many wonderful stories in Milwaukee and sometimes I wish I could just have a different person come in every night and share their wisdom. Alas, we simply don't have time, but September is particularly rich with local memoirs of special interest.


Take Ruth Silver, who has recently published her memoir, Invisible: My Journey Through Vision and Hearing Loss. Silver's life was challenged in ways that most of us will never know. With a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa, a progressive eye disease, her world of limited vision became total darkness. And then sound was taken from her as well. But Silver never stopped looking for ways to add meaning to her life, founding the Center for Deaf-Blind Persons in Milwaukee, dedicated to helping others live fuller lives with these conditions. As Silver notes:


"Deaf-blindness is no bargain, but it need not signal the end of life. I have had many choices to make despite it. I like the choices I made--well, most of them. It has given me a mission--reaching out to touch others."


Our event with Silver is this Saturday, September 8, at 2 pm.

Journey to Shannara with Terry Brooks at Boswell on Tuesday, September 11, 7 pm.


wards of faerieI never dreamed we'd one day be hosting Terry Brooks. Do you remember the last time he was in the Milwaukee area? I certainly don't! Now, seven years after the conclusion of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, Brooks revisits one of the most popular eras in the legendary epic series. In Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara, the focus is on Aphenglow Elessedil, a young Druid who has stumbled on the secret account of the Elven girl whose love for a Darkling boy of the Void led to the vanished Elfstones that kept evil at bay.


Terry BrooksOur event with Brooks is on Tuesday, September 11. And while you are probably always coming across signing restrictions at events (there are a few this month, for example), I want to assure you that in this case, there are none whatsoever. Of course we want you to buy Wards of Faerie from us, and we've got all the backlist and a number of omnibus editions for your purchasing pleasure, but we're telling you right here that you can bring any books from home and get them signed too.


We're planning on having a long but fun night. And several of us will be running on empty, what with our Dwyane Wade event in the afternoon.

Z is for Z-Rated, and Also Zane, Appearing at Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall, Wednesday, September 12, 6:30 pm.


ZaneFor all of you who've been devouring the works of E.L. James and Sylvia Day, you should know that Zane was crowned Queen of Erotica when James's characters were just gleamings of Twilight fan fiction.


z rated Zane is the author of numerous novels, including Afterburn, The Heat Seekers, and Addicted, which was adapted for film. She's also well known for editing red-hot anthologies, and the new collection, Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava 3, is no exception. As the publisher notes, "No shades of grey, just red hot." Featured are some of the most talented writers in erotica, including Cairo, Allison Hobbs, Alegra Verde, and Tigress Healey.

Before I blush any redder, let me remind you that this event is taking place at the Loos Room of Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall, 733 North Eighth Street. Doors open at 6 pm, Wednesday, September 12.

Jonathan Evison in Conversation with Mark Krieger, Wednesday, September 12, 7 pm, at Boswell. 


Revised fundamentals of caregivingJonathan Evison's previous novel, West of Here, hit numerous best-of-the-year lists. His new novel is quite different in style, but is similarly beloved by booksellers and critics alike. In The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, Ben Benjamin Jr. sets off with his charge, Trevor, a young man with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Our advance copy has been passed from one bookseller to another with resounding enthusiasm. Here's what Mel had to say:

jonathan evison "Benjamin Benjamin had the perfect life as a stay-at-home dad raising two adorable children. Readers find him just after this perfection has past, when Ben struggles to find purpose. Evison takes off the kid gloves in this engaging work of fiction, reminding us that life is cyclical, that one day you have it all and the next day you catch yourself running from the fallout of the explosion of it all. Evison's characters demonstrate the range of lessons a range of losers can teach the average person, even when he thinks he's too old to learn anything new, or too tired to care. Some say life is about the journey--I've learned from Evison that the journey is important, but the revision and caregiving matter most."


We asked Evison if there's someone he'd like to appear with, and he told us he had a buddy right here in Milwaukee, a great writer whose magnum opus is still a work in progess. Join Evison with his friend Mark Krieger as they chat about writing, books, and who knows what else, on Wednesday, September 12, 7 pm, at Boswell. And if you'd like more convincing, read Janet Maslin's enthusiastic review in The New York Times.

Murder in Belmont with Jane Gillette (Bednarek) on Thursday, September 13, 7 pm, at Boswell.


be mindful of your ghostsIn Be Mindful of Your Ghosts, thriller writer Iris Woolsey teams up with Chief Inspector Freddy Donovan to investigate a series of bizarre crimes in the artists' colony of Belmont, targeting a book agent, an athlete, a radio personality, and other minor celebs. Is there some connection with the beautiful faith healer who's just set up shop?


Jane Gllette Bednarek After a career in journalism, Jane Gillette (Bednarek) has embarked on another as a mystery writer. A lifelong resident of Wisconsin, she lives with her husband and their Airedale, Dolly. The author has written four previous mystery novels, The Devil Who Knew Too Much, The Last Limerick, The Crow on the Roof, and most recently, No Miracles Required.


Join us to celebrate the release of #5 on Thursday, September 13, 7 pm, at Boswell.

UWM Institute of World Affairs Former Deputy Director Gary Shellman on Friday, September 14, 7 pm, at Boswell.


Gary ShellmanBased on his own Cold War military service in West Germany, historian and journalist Gary Shellman's debut novel Speedster vs. Spies relates the adventures of Steve Hellstrom, 20-year-old college dropout and intelligence analyst for the Army Security Agency at the I.G. Farben Building, the super-secret intelligence-gathering center, and front line of the Cold War.


speedster vs spiesA former deputy director of the Institute of World Affairs at UWM, Gary Shellman served as an intelligence analyst with the ASA in Frankfurt, 1957-58. He has taught history at seven universities in Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Carolina, most recently courses on Germany and the First World War in 2011 at UWM. While sports editor of the Fond du Lac Reporter, he raced an Alfa Romeo Spyder on Midwestern road courses. This is his first novel.


Hear more from Shellman on Friday, September 14, 7 pm, at Boswell. 

Jazz Noir with Emily St. John Mandel on Saturday, September 15, 7 pm, at Boswell.


Lola QuartetIn The Lola Quartet, Gavin Sasaki is a promising young journalist in New York City, until he's fired in disgrace following a series of unforgivable lapses in his work. The last thing Gavin wants is to return to his hometown of Sebastian, Florida, but he's drifting toward bankruptcy and is in no position to refuse when he's offered a job by his sister, Eilo, a real estate broker who deals in foreclosed homes.


Emily St John MandelEilo recently paid a visit to a home that had a ten-year-old child in it, a girl who bears a strong resemblence to Gavin and who has the same last name as Gavin's high school girlfriend Anna, whom Gavin last saw a decade ago. Gavin begins his own private investigation in an effort to track down Anna and their apparent daughter. The Lola Quartet, a work of literary noir, is concerned with jazz, Django Reinhardt, economic collapse, friendship and love, Florida's exotic wildlife problem, fedoras, and the unreliability of memory.


Originally from Canada, Emily St. John Mandel is author of the novels, Last Night in Montreal and The Singer's Gun. A former dance student, she now lives in Brooklyn, where she is a staff writer for The Millions. The Lola Quartet was recently on a list of books to read after you've finished Gone Girl. Need more coaxing? Read this review in The Boston Globe. Join us on Saturday, September 15, at the special time of 7 pm.

Coming Soon in the Second Half of September to Boswell and Our Partner Venues, a Whole Bunch More Events.


Emma Straub by Sara ShatzMonday, September 17, 7 pm at Boswell:

Michael Ennis, author of The Malice of Fortune.

This Renaissance story of Niccolo Macchiavelli has been compared several times to The Name of the Rose. Conrad wrote in his advance rec on this book, "This will appeal to mystery buffs and fans of historical fiction alike. Please publish it so I can sell it!"


Tuesday, September 18, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, and the story collection, Other People we Married. I note that the book reminds me of American Wife, "in that way it goes behind an iconic shell to find the true person within, and also because it's a darn good read."


Nick BruelWednesday, September 19, 6:30 pm, at the Greenfield Public Library, 5310 West Layton Avenue: Nick Bruel, author of Bad Kitty for President, featuring Bad Kitty. It's time to elect the president of the Neighborhood Cat Coalition, but let's just say that it has some information for kids that goes behind public office for animals. And hey, you can get your book signed and pose for a picture with Bad Kitty too.


Thursday, September 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Leonard Zubrensky, Gary N. Guten, and L. Samuel Wann, authors of How to Live (Almost) Forever. Three local favorites team up together to give their tips on living a happy, healthy, and long life.


Friday, September 21, 7 pm, at Boswell:

UWM Student/Faculty Reading. Readers to be announced.


Grant Peterson Saturday, September 22, 2 pm, at Boswell:

Talk and ride with Grant Petersen, author of Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike. The man behind Rivendell Bicycle Works offers "a wonderfully sane, down to earth and frequently funny guide to riding, maintaining, fixing and enjoying your bicycle" says Dave Eggers himself, in The New York Times Book Review.


Tuesday, September 25, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Phil Cousineau, author of The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins, the follow up to Wordcatcher. As the publisher notes, Cousineau makes us Argus-eyed to the ubuntu of the aprocryphal and Gemutlichkeit it provides


Tonya Hurley

Wednesday, September 26, 6:30 pm, at Bay View Library, 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.:

Tonya Hurley, author of The Blessed and The Ghostgirl series.

Three young women in Brooklyn find that they are very special indeed. Kirkus notes that "this first in a planned trilogy isn't for the faint of heart, but readers with strong stomachs will find themselves swept up."


Wednesday, September 26, 7 pm, at Boswell:

Adam McOmber, author of The White Forest.

For fans of The Night Circus, our buyer Jason says "Adam McOmber has delivered an ingenious, haunting tale full of mystery and dread."


James Dashner by Ken KarpThursday, September 27, 6:30 pm, at Cudahy Family Library, 3500 Library Drive, just South of Layton Ave.: James Dashner, author of The Infinity Ring Book 1: A Mutiny in Time and The Maze Runner Trilogy. The first title in this new exciting series was conceived by Dashner himself and will have different authors writing each book, in the style of The 39 Clues. Like that series, the target age range is 7-12, though fans of Dashner's older books are welcome.


Thursday, September 27, 7 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall, 733 N. Eighth Street: Gail Tsukiyama, author of A Hundred Flowers, in conversation with novelist Jane Hamilton. Tsukiyama's new novel of life during the Cultural Revolution is most similaGail Tsukiyamar in tone to The Samurai's Garden. Publishers Weekly finds that the author creates "a sympathetic portrait of intellectuals trying to live honestly in the shadow of oppression."


Saturday, September 29, 4 pm, at the UWM Golda Meir Library, 2311 E. Hartford Avenue, co-sponsored by Rethinking Schools, MTEA, UWM Libraries, and the Friends of the UWM Golda Meir Library. Jonathan Kozol, author of Fire in the Ashes: 25 Years Among the Poorest Children in America.


Sunday, September 30, 1 pm, at the Downer Theater, part of the Milwaukee Film Festival: J. Hoberman, author of Film After Film: Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema? with a signing to follow at Boswell Book Company. Tickets go on sale 9/12 for Milwaukee Film members, 9/13 to the general public. For more info, visit the Milwaukee Film blog.


Can't stop marking up your calendar? We've got our events posted through November on the Boswell Books upcoming event page.

What Other Bookish Things are Happening Around Town?


Yellow BirdsOne of the books getting a lot of buzz this fall is Kevin Powers's The Yellow Birds. The author will be at Mequon's Next Chapter on Friday, September 14, 7 pm. It's a novel about a friendship between two soldiers in Iraq. Library Journal offered that "the novel resonates as an accurate and deeply felt portrayal of the effects of post-combat syndrome as experienced by soldiers in the disorienting war in Iraq." Powers enlisted at the age of 17, serving as a machine gunner in the war. He is currently the Michener Fellow in Poetry at the University of Texas. Next Chapter requests you pre-register for events. Visit their website for details.


Ethan CaseyEarlier this year, we hosted Ethan Casey who wrote knowledgeably about modern life in Haiti in Bearing the Bruise. Now he's gone on an American road trip, and Books and Company in Oconomowoc is offering an open panel discussion featuring Casey, with notes from his forthcoming book, Home Free, and you can be in the book. From Casey: "I also consider it important for me to do in America what I've tried to do on many trips to Haiti, Pakistan, and other countries: listen without prejudice. This is more challenging in my own country than in others, where I can keep some emotional distance as an outsider."Their event is Sunday, September, September 23, 2 pm.


Crazy BravePoetry fans and folks interested in Native American culture will want to know about Woodland Pattern's event with Joy Harjo and Joseph Bruchac on Wednesday, September 5, 7 pm. Harjo's most recent book, Crazy Brave, was praised by Kirkus as "a lyrical, soul-stirring memoir about how an acclaimed Native American poet and musician came to embrace the spirit of poetry." Joining her is Joseph Bruchac, the beloved children's book writer whose work often draws on his Abenaki heritage. More on the Woodland Pattern website

What Boswell's Bookseller-Led Book Clubs are Reading.


Seeking whom he may favorTuesday, September 4, 7 pm: Daniel's Lit Group reads Jonathan Evison's West of Here. And our next selection on Monday, October 1 is Kyung-Sook Shin's Please Look After Mom.


Monday, September 10, 7 pm: Jason's Science Fiction Book Club reads Death Sentences, by Kawamata Chiaki.


Tuesday, September 11, 7 pm: Anne's Mystery Book Club reads Seeking Whom He May Favor, by Fred Vargas.

We welcome a new Boswellian, starting this Thursday. Please say hi to Paul next time you are shopping.
Thanks for Your Patronage (and My Apologies in Advance for Typos),
Daniel Goldin, with Amie, Anne, Beverly, Conrad, Greg, Halley, Jane, Jason, Mel, Nick, Pam, Shane, Sharon, and Stacie.