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Boswell Book Company

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

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Boswell Book Company Newsletter               March 2, 2014, day 1796

Welcome back to the Boswell email newsletter. We've got a varied assortment of events this month, but before I get to the details, here are a few of the new books that Boswellians have been excited about of late.

One novel that our buyer Jason enjoyed a lot is The Last Days of California (Liveright), by Mary Miller. His take: "Fifteen-year-old Jess is on quite the unusual road trip. Her father has decided that the family is going to California to see the end of the world. Along the way, Jess narrates the story through awkward sexual encounters, fast food, car accidents, and other incidents that propel her into adulthood. Wonderfully told, dark and angst ridden, Mary Miller's story opens this family's world to us, and I found that it is not so dark after all." I'd say that fans of Karen Thompson Walker's The Age of Miracles should try this.


The last book that made Jane Glaser sit up and take notice, at least enough to write it down, is The Vanishing (Hyperion), by Wendy Webb. Her review: "Escaping a life in shambles, Julia Bishop seeks refuge at the remote Lake Superior Shores mansion, Havenwood, accepting employment as a companion to the aging, yet publicly presumed deceased, horror author, Amaris Sinclair.  In time, will Julia's new found security be a true 'haven' or become the horror scene of the celebrated Sinclair novels?  Haunted passageways, a terrifying ghostly intruder, unnerving s�ances, and an eerie Windigo Native American legend are expertly woven into this spellbinding Midwest Gothic tale of horror, intrigue and romance that will immediately captivate readers from page one!

Our middle-grade/young adult pick is from Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, who has been hot on Natalie Lloyd's A Snicker of Magic (Scholastic). She writes: "Felicity Pickle sees words and collects them in a blue notebook.  Her family just moved to Midnight Gulch, a town that has a history with magic.  As she gets to know people in town, Felicity realizes her family might have something to do with the disappearance of that magic. Can she figure out the mystery before her mom decides it's time to move again?  This is a tremendous, spindiddly, fabulous tale of friendship and family for fans of Three Times Lucky."


In picture books, we have a lot of enthusiasm for The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art, by Barb Rosenstock, with illustrations by Mary GrandPre. Jannis Mindel says it best: "Wasily Kandinsky (nicknamed Vasya) is considered one of the first abstract painters of the 20th century. Before he achieved fame as a painter, he was a boy who loved to paint the colors he heard in his head. Although he loved to paint, he followed a career into the law, but the sounds of the colors never left. Kandinsky left the law and followed his dream as a painter and eventually went on to join the Bauhaus and form the Blue Rider group of painters. Barb Rosenstock's language and Mary GrandPre's illustrations bring Kandinsky's story alive with gorgeous sweeps of words and colors that swirl around the artist.  


Don't forget that this summer the Milwaukee Art Museum will be mounting a major Kandinsky show. On April 2, we'll be taking Barb Rosenstock to area schools. There is a small honorarium involved in this program. For more information, please contact Hannah, our school outreach coordinator. We'll also likely have a public event at 4 pm that day. Look for details in the next newsletter. 

Historic Middle Grade Fiction Panel with Gayle Rosengren, Rebecca Behrens, and Wendy McClure, Today, Sunday, March 2, 3 pm, at Boswell.
Each author will present their historical middle grade novel to the audience in our inaugural Historical Middle Grade Fiction Panel with Gayle Rosengren, author of What the Moon Said, Wendy McClure, author of Wanderville, and Rebecca Behrens, author of When Audrey Met Alice.

Following the discussion, panelists will field questions from each other, Boswellians, and attendees. Great for ages 8 and up, this panel will cover topics ranging from the Great Depression to orphan trains to First Daughters and Alice Roosevelt's hidden diary.

Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder will adore What the Moon Said by Madison-area author Gayle Rosengren. When Esther's father loses his job in Chicago during the Great Depression and the family moves to a run-down farm in Wisconsin, everyone is worried but Esther. She thinks of the move as an adventure. As Jan Dundon wrote, "I absolutely LOVED What the Moon Said! Esther is one of those rare characters who grabs your heart and doesn't let go."

In Wendy McClure's Wanderville, a group of children from New York hop off of a moving train in 1899 to escape rumored horrors of the new life slated for them at their destination in Kansas. Their new friend, Alexander, tells them that they're the first citizens of a new town called Wanderville, a town without adults where freedom is paramount. This book is perfect for fans of The Boxcar Children and Little House on the Prairie. McClure lives with her husband in Chicago.

In Rebecca Behrens's latest, When Audrey Met Alice, when frustrated First Daughter Audrey Rhodes discovers Alice Roosevelt's secret diary hidden beneath the White House floorboards, she's inspired to ask herself, "What would Alice do?", Audrey's Alice-like antics are a lot of fun-but will they bring her happiness, or a host of new problems? As BookPage puts it: "When Audrey Met Alice is a terrific work of blended realistic and historical fiction... [t]he combination of humor, history, light romance and social consciousness make Rebecca Behrens's debut novel a winner." Behrens grew up in the Madison area.

The snow has stopped, the sun is out, and you're probably looking for something interesting to do.
Lorrie Moore Back at Boswell for "Bark" on Monday, March 3, 7 pm.
One of the great things about being located in Wisconsin is that we've had the pleasure over the years, first at Schwartz and now at Boswell, to host Lorrie Moore. Bark is her first collection of stories since 1998's Birds of America, and follows up 2009's hit novel, The Gate at the Stairs.

Bark: Stories is the new collection by Moore, one of America's most beloved and admired short-story writers. In Bark: Stories, people are beset, burdened, buoyed, and often coping with large dislocation in their lives. These stories reveal Lorrie Moore at her most mature and in a perfect configuration of craft, mind, and bewitched spirit, as she explores the passage of time and summons up its inevitable sorrows and hilarious pitfalls to reveal her own exquisite, singular wisdom.

Lorrie Moore, after many years as a professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is now Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.
  In addition to her appearance at Boswell, she will also be reading at A Room of One's Own on Wednesday, March 5, 6 pm.

Here's more about Bark on the Boswell and Books blog, plus Maureen Corrigan's review on Fresh Air, David Gates in The New York Times Book Review, and Mike Fischer in our own Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Joelle Charbonneau's Dystopian Adventure Continues at the Hales Corners Library, March 5, 6:30 pm.
Joelle Charbonneau We're excited to welcome Joelle Charbonneau to the Hales Corners Library for a talk and signing in which she presents the much-anticipated second book in The Testing series, Independent Study. Perfect for fans of the Hunger Games series and Divergent, The Testing series explores themes of rebellion and survival in a dystopian future. In Independent Study, the government has wiped Cia's memory of the grueling and deadly initiation into higher learning. Ignorance is bliss, but are Cia's so-called friends trusted allies or traitors in this survival story?

Independent Study is packed with the twists, romance, unexpected alliances, and surprising betrayals fans of The Testing have come to expect. An engineering student with a crackling intelligence and likable nature, Cia holds her own alongside today's best female protagonists. Tough and tech-savvy, calls Cia a "heroine to cheer for."

Hales Corners Library is located at 5885 S. 116th Street in Hales Corners, Wisconsin.
Charles Krauthammer at Centennial Hall on Thursday, March 6, 7 pm.
In a rare appearance, Charles Krauthammer visits the Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall for Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics. Named by the Financial Times as the most influential commentator in the nation, Dr. Krauthammer possesses what City Journal calls "steel-trap logic, an epee wit, a profound sense of history, and a withering contempt for journalists who would rather cringe in the dark than bring the truth to light."

His first book in over thirty years, Things That Matter collects the best of Krauthammer's work. Readers will find here not only the country's leading conservative thinker offering a passionate defense of limited government, but also a highly independent mind whose views on feminism, evolution and the death penalty, for example, defy ideological convention.

Charles Krauthammer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is a syndicated columnist, political commentator and physician. His column is syndicated to 400 news�papers worldwide. He is a nightly panelist on Fox News's Special Report with Bret Baier and a weekly panelist on PBS's Inside Washington. He's a former member of the President's Council on Bioethics and current member of Chess Journalists of America.

Please note that Dr. Krauthammer will sign but not personalize copies of Things that Matter, and will sign books only. No posed photos, please. Doors will open at 6 pm. Centennial Hall is located at 733 N. Eighth Street. Flat rate five dollar parking is available at the surface lot across Wisconsin Avenue from the library.
Michael Parker and Murray Farish at Boswell on Friday, March 7, 7 pm.
Presenting two writers whose books share themes of Texas, displacement, and relationship-building: Michael Parker, author of All I Have in This World, with Murray Farish, author of Inappropriate Behavior: Stories. UWM professor Liam Callanan, author of All Saints and The Cloud Atlas, will be introducing this event.

In Michael Parker's All I Have in This World, two strangers meet over the hood of a used car in Texas-one looking forward, the other looking back-who face off over the car they both want and think they need: a low-slung sky-blue 1984 Buick Electra. All I Have in This World is a different kind of love story about the power of friendship and the ways we must learn to forgive ourselves if we are ever to move on. Parker is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, an O. Henry Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. He teaches in the MFA writing program at UNC-Greensboro.

Murray Farish's debut collection, Inappropriate Behavior, is set in cities across America, spans the last half-century, and draws a bead on our national identity, distilling our obsessions, our hauntings, our universal predicament. In "Lubbock Is Not a Place of the Spirit," a Texas Tech student recognizable as John Hinckley, Jr. writes hundreds of songs for Jodie Foster as he grows increasingly estranged from reality. And in the deeply touching title story, a husband's layoff stretches a couple to their limit as they struggle to care for their emotionally unbalanced young son. Farish's short stories have appeared in The Missouri Review, Epoch, and Roanoke Review. He teaches writing and literature at Webster University in St. Louis.

Scotland's Denise Mina Brings Superb Mystery Writing to Boswell on Saturday, March 8, 2 pm.
Last year Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Giles put it rather perfectly: "Until further notice, just assume you should buy everything Denise Mina publishes....What her career is really adding up to is a portrait of her native Glasgow, in particular the battle between idealism and corruption."

We're so excited to have Glaswegian Denise Mina at Boswell, in conjunction with the fourth thrilling procedural novel featuring Detective Alex Morrow, The Red Road. Despite her brilliance on the force, Alex Morrow's new team is less than thrilled to work under her, and her ever-complicated and evolving relationship with her crime-boss brother certainly doesn't help matters. When a confusing set of fingerprints places lifetime criminal Michael Brown at a murder scene when he is confirmed to be in court, Morrow becomes tangled in a tale of murders and money laundering schemes going all the way back to 1997.

"Sharp, honest, and conflicted, Morrow is the kind of detective readers love, and they'll groan for her as she detects the too-familiar taint of corruption and as her personal connections to Glasgow's underworld create practical and emotional obstacles. Mina's at the top of her gritty game here, deftly unveiling the sad truths of the past and present to create a must-read for fans of complex, psychological police procedurals." -Booklist (starred review)

Denise Mina is the author of several novels including The End of the Wasp Season and Still Midnight, which was nominated for the 2010 Barry Award for Best British Novel. She has also won the John Creasey Memorial Award for best first crime novel. The Alex Morrow trilogy is being developed by Scott Free Films and the BBC as a major returning TV series. 
Mina will also be appearing at Mystery One the same day at 7 pm.
Storytime with Jannis, Sunday, March 9, 11 am.
This month, Jannis will read from Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown, and a few more titles along the theme of wild animals. Start practicing your ROAR!! and bring your favorite stuffed animal (bonus points if it's a tiger!). Fun for ages 18 months and up!
Kathy Reichs and Her Son Brendan Reichs at the Shorewood Public Library on Tuesday, March 11, 6:30 pm, For Their Latest Novel for Kids.
From The New York Times bestselling author and creator of the television show Bones , Kathy Reichs, and her son and co-author, Brendan Reichs, comes the latest adventure in  the Virals series perfect for ages 10 and up. A spin-off of Bones, Reichs' hit adult forensic thriller series Exposure: A Virals Novel, features Tory Brennan, the grand-niece of Bones heroine Temperance Brennan, and her gang of teenage "sci-philes"-kids who use science to solve crimes. In their newest adventure, Tory and her friends investigate an abduction case and make some troubling new discoveries about their powers.

Reichs is the author of the bestselling Bones series and the creator of "Bones," the hit Fox television show based on her novels. Her most recent novel for adults is Bones of the Lost. After three long years working as a litigation attorney, Brendan Reichs abandoned the trade to co-write the Virals series. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Emily, daughter, Alice, and son, Henry.

The Shorewood Public Library is located at 3920 N. Murray Avenue, 53211. Note that this event begins at 6:30 pm. The authors will personalize and pose for photos.
Celebrate Nickolas Butler's Fictional Ode to Small-Town Wisconsin on Tuesday, March 11, 7 pm, at Boswell.

It's not often that a debut novel about rural Wisconsin can touch the heart of readers nationwide (I think David Wroblewski's The Story of Edgar Sawtelle might be the last) but Nickolas Butler's Shotgun Lovesongs might be the next. It's the story of four friends since high school, who make different choices (one seems suspiciously similar to Justin Vernon) but wind up returning home when their lives turn south. Amber Dermont, author of The Starboard Sea calls it "a Midwestern masterpiece [that] has done for the modest splendor of verdant farmlands what Larry McMurtry did for the brutal beauty of small-town Texas."

Boswellian Conrad had this to say about the book: "I plowed through this book in one day, and I'm not a fast reader. It's not that it's a short book, although at 320 pages, it isn't exactly a doorstop either. And it's not that I couldn't put it down, I didn't read it in one sitting, but I kept coming back to it. What it is: unsparing, no-nonsense prose, redolent of the voices of Wisconsin; a study of the vicissitudes of friendship and love, betrayal and redemption, and the magnetic draw of home; a paean to the lives of the common (and not so common) folk of our state."

t it's not just Conrad. No less than four current and recent Boswell booksellers enthusiastically praised Shotgun Lovesongs. In fact, booksellers all over the country have fallen for this story. It was picked as their #1 favorite book for March, featured in Indie Bound. Bill Carl from The Booksellers at Fountain Square in Cincinnati called Shotgun Lovesongs "a spectacular first novel, full of wit, energy, love, and a true feeling of home that other writers strive to achieve but few actually succeed in creating. "

Nickolas Butler was born in Pennsylvania raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. His writings have appeared in: Narrative Magazine, Ploughshares, and The Progressive. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Iowa Writer's Workshop, he currently lives on sixteen acres in rural Wisconsin.

Murder in Paris with Cara Black, Wednesday, March 12, 7 pm, at Boswell.
Cara Black We're excited to welcome back Cara Black to Milwaukee for a reading of the latest in her New York Times bestselling Aimee Leduc mystery series, Murder in Pigalle, which author Alan Furst calls "Transcendently, seductively, irresistibly French."

June, 1998: Paris's sticky summer heat is even more oppressive than usual as Private Investigator Aimee Leduc has been trying to slow down her hectic lifestyle. She's vowed not to let herself get involved in any more dangerous shenanigans-she's five months' pregnant and has the baby's wellbeing to think about now, too. But all of her best intentions to live the quiet life fall away when disaster strikes close to home.

Here's Carole E. Barrowman in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Murder in Pigalle. "A serial rapist is prowling Leduc's neighborhood preying on teenage girls, including the daughter of a friend. Since the novel is set in the '90s, Leduc's investigation is all about old-fashioned footwork, 'checking details, rechecking alibis ... rooting out evidence, suspects, motives,' all while craving 'kiwis and cornichons' (even pickles sound tastier in French). This book has a darker tone than earlier ones in the series, but it still has Black's distinctive flair."

I also enjoyed the book and write about it in the Boswell and Books blog. "What I really liked about Murder in Pigalle were this variations on a theme, the way the whole story came together to explore the ties of parenthood. How do we protect our children? What do we sacrifice? Is the parental bond limited to blood ties? And what makes a person break that bond? It was a meditation that I didn't expect to get in a mystery, and gave the story a deeper resonance

Cara Black will also be signing at Mystery One the same day at 5 pm
A Career in Retail Design and Forecasting, Inspired by The Family Business, Milwaukee's Pill & Puff, on Saturday, March 15, 2 pm, at Boswell.
What's better than talking retail in a bookstore?! Sanford Stein is appearing at  Boswell to introduce his latest, Retail Schmetail: ONE Hundred Years, TWO Immigrants, THREE Generations, FOUR Hundred Projects, a lively, thorough, and slightly irreverent examination of 100 years of American retailing.

Retail Schmetail is a hybrid business book/memoir inspired by growing up in a retailing family in mid-century Milwaukee. The experience of observing his dad and Uncle, Al and Lou Stein, go from accidental retailers to legitimate brand builders with the creation of Pill & Puff, a Milwaukee retail institution, served as Stein's personal petrie dish for a 40-year career in retail planning, design and trend forecasting.

Twin brothers and mid-century entrepreneurs Al and Lou Stein ran a Milwaukee shop that seemed more like a garage sale than a bona fide retail operation. While neither of these "from the gut" marketing guys had a formal education, they compensated for it with their ingenuity, drive, and legendary sense of humor. Al's oldest son, Sandy, spent countless hours observing antics and absorbing insights of fifties consumerism.

This upbringing primed him for a wide-ranging career in retail design and consumer trending, shared in the pages of Retail Schmetail. Here he lifts the veil on the psychological, emotional, and design constructs that separate the defining brands from the also-rans, with clear insight on what the "virtual" reinvention of retail means for all of us. Designer, retail trend forecaster, speaker, and writer, as well as trusted advisor to some of this country's leading brands since 1981, Sandy Stein offers unique insight on why we buy what we buy, and how we'll buy and sell in the future.

A Delicious Mystery from Joanne Fluke, Served up Tuesday, March 18, 7 pm, at Boswell.

Readers keep coming back for another helping of New York Times bestselling author Joanne Fluke's mysteries, featuring Minnesota bake shop owner Hannah Swensen and her delicious original recipes. This event features blackberry pie cupcakes provided by the Milwaukee Cupcake Company as a delicious accompaniment to Fluke's reading and signing.

Her latest, The Blackberry Pie Murder�the series' sleuth suddenly finds herself going from baking cookie bars to behind prison bars after she accidentally hits a man with her cookie truck while driving down a winding country road. Hannah is wracked with guilt until Doc Knight's autopsy reveals the victim was dead before Hannah even hit him, his shirt covered in stains that could come from one thing: blackberry pie. Now Hannah's on the trail of a pie baker with a penchant for murder. And it's going to take more than sugar and spice to catch this killer! Joanne Fluke never fails to cook up culinary mysteries that are just as famous for their scrumptious excess of calories as for their eccentric characters and unexpected endings.

"For an enjoyable cozy mystery and lots of new recipes, readers need look no further." -Mystery News

More March and Early April Events at and with Boswell.

Wednesday, March 19, 6:30 pm, at the North Shore Library, 6800 Port Washington Road, Glendale: Shannon Hale, author of her new young adult title, Dangerous, as well as Princess Academy and Austenland.

Saturday, March 22, 7 pm, at Boswell: Brandon Sanderson, author of
Words of Radiance: Volume 2 of the Stormlight Archive, as well as The Way of Kings, the Mistborn series, the young adult novels Steelheart  and The Rithmatist, and finisher of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series. This is a free event, but please note, Mr. Sanderson will only personalize three books per person.

Tuesday, March 25, 7 pm, at Boswell: Brigid Pasulka, author of the novel, The Sun and Other Stars, as well as the Boswell favorite, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True. Think Jess Walter's Italy, with soccer.

Wednesday, March 26, 7 pm, at Boswell: Get ready for National Poetry Month with Marquette's Angela Sorby, author of
the wonderful new collection Over the River and Through the Wood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century American Children's Poetry.

Monday, March 31, 7 pm, at the Urban Ecology Center, 1500 E. Park Pl.:
Joel Greenberg, author of A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction.

Wednesday, April 2, 7 pm, at Boswell: Local attorney J. Thomas Ganzer, author of the noir novel, Chicago Secrets.

Thursday, April 3, 7 pm, at Boswell: Wisconsin born and bred Crystal Chan, with her first middle-grade novel, Bird.

Friday, April 4, 3 pm: Rabih Alameddine, author of An Unnecessary Woman and the Boswell favorite, The Hakawati, as part of "The Arab and American" program at UWM's Curtin Hall.  
Tagore: A Celebration, on Saturday, March 22, 2 pm, at the Milwaukee Public Library's Loos Room.

Join Milwaukee Poet Laureate Jeff Poniewaz for a showing of Satyajit Ray's documentary on Rabindranath Tagore. Members of the Milwaukee Bengali community will play and sing Tagore songs. It all happens at Milwaukee Public Library's Loos Room at Centennial Hall, 733 N. Eighth Street, 53233, from 2-4 pm on Saturday, March 22. More information on the Milwaukee Public Library site.
If you've stopped by the store lately, you may have noticed two new booksellers (photo by Mel Morrow). Longtime barista Peter should be a familiar face to many of you. I've already gotten several enthusiastic responses from customers about how happy they were to see him at Boswell. And Carly's got books in her blood; her mom once owned a children's bookstore and she's previously worked at the Connecticut library where she grew up. She'll be enrolling in UWM's MLIS (that's library and information science) program for the fall.

As always, please excuse the typos and thank you for your patronage,
Daniel Goldin with Amie, Anne, Carly, Conrad, Greg, Hannah, Jason, Jane, Jannis, Jen, Mel, Pam, Peter, Sharon, and Terrail