Boswell Logo

Boswell Book Company

2559 North Downer Avenue at Webster Place

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

(414) 332-1181,

Our Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm

and we're always open at!

Boswell Book Company Newsletter               Tuesday, March 18, Day 1812.

First off, here are some recommendations. On the March Indie Next List of titles recommended by independent booksellers around the country, Boswellian Jen's pick is While Beauty Slept (Amy Einhorn Books),  Elizabeth Blackwell's retelling of a classic fairy tale. She writes that "Elizabeth Blackwell's retelling of Sleeping Beauty lifts the veil on the fairy tale. Told from the point of view of Elise, a servant at the castle. Elise has never shared her secrets until now, fifty years later. You'll find yourself swept away in this historical fiction filled with intrigue, romance and a true villain." (Jen Steele)  


My recommendation this week is also the #1 pick on the April Indie Next List. Booksellers across the country (and librarians too, I just spoke to one in Whitefish Bay) have been gaga for The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Algonquin), from Gabrielle Zevin. Our event with the author on April 28 is part of our fifth anniversary celebration. More on that in a future newsletter. "Fikry is a bookseller with a small shop in a sleepy resort island town off the coast of Massachusetts. He's a bit cantankerous, but with good reason; his wife, the people person of the relationship, has just died and his prize possession, a rare copy of Tamerlane, has gone missing. Despite all those losses, there's one strange addition, a baby girl left on his doorstep, with an explicit request for Fikry to take her in. Zevin's novel is one of death and rebirth, held together by the spirit of the bookstore. It's a romantic comedy, a spiritual journey, and if you include the chapter openings, a collection of short story criticism too. In short, it's a celebration of books and the people who read them, write them, and sell them." (Daniel Goldin)    


On the kids' side, our children's buyer, Amie, is hot for President Taft is Stuck in the Bath (Candlewick) by Mac Barnett, with illustrations by Chris Van Dusen. "'Blast!' said Taft. 'This could be bad.' So starts this hilarious tale of presidential proportion. Anything but bad, President Taft is Stuck in the Bath, is filled to the rim with Mac Barnett's comical characters whose suggestions of dairy, diets, and dynamite for removal, are ignored for a more sensible (giggle producing) solution. Presidential modesty is maintained with Chris Van Dusen's clever illustrations and some very well placed bubbles. A fabulously funny read for all and a few facts to boot!" (Amie Mechler-Hickson)  


For kids ages 8 and up, and adults too, Hannah recommends Under the Egg (Dial), the new novel by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. "Theodora Tenpenny's grandfather has died, leaving her to take care of her recluse math genius mother, her family's crumbling house in NYC, and the chickens in the backyard, all before she can legally hold a job. In the midst of this, she embarks on a winding scavenger hunt through the city to solve the mystery of a painting left behind in her grandfather's studio.  Under the Egg is like a modern day From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler, full of art, mystery, and curious characters. (Hannah Johnson-Breimeier)  


 We've got lots more to tell you about, with a great slate of upcoming events. Here we go... 

Murder Most Delicious, Tonight (March 18) with Joanne Fluke, 7 pm, at Boswell.

Life is never really quiet for Hannah Swensen, bake shop proprietress and accidental detective. After all, her mother's wedding is a little over a month away and guess who Delores put in charge of the planning? Yet just when Hannah believes her biggest challenge will be whether to use buttercream or fondant for the wedding cake, she accidentally hits a stranger with her cookie truck while driving down a winding country road in a raging thunderstorm. Hannah is wracked with guilt, and things get even worse when she's arrested...for murder!  


It's all in Joanne Fluke's new mystery, Blackberry Pie Murder, with Fluke appearing at Boswell tonight at 7 pm. For the occasion, we've commissioned Milwaukee Cupcake Company to make their famous blackberry pie cupcakes. As you can see from the photo, some are garnished with a blackberry, while others have the pie crust garnish. They thought it was such a good idea, they made blackberry cupcakes this week's special flavor, now through Saturday. 

Shannon Hale at the North Shore Library, Wednesday, March 19 at 6:30 pm.

When Maisie Danger Brown applied for space camp, she just wanted to get away from home for a bit, see something new. She never intended to fall in love. And she never imagined stumbling into a frightening plot that has her and her new friends running for their lives while they try to manage the new superpowers they've accidentally developed.  


But there's no going back now--Maisie is the only thing that can save the human race from annihilation. In an action-adventure story that explores a confusing first love, dealing with a disability, and the difficulties of maturing (while saving the world!), this explosive book is sure to leave both longtime Shannon fans and avid sci-fi readers completely breathless.


Dangerous presents Shannon Hale (photo credit Kelly Sansom) in a new genre, but featuring the same brilliant storytelling and well-rounded characters for which she is known. Touted as a brand-new, rip-roaring superhero adventure, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner trilogy James Dashner says of Dangerous: "This is one of the best books I've ever read. Ever."


Shannon Hale's first novel, The Goose Girl, was published in 2003 and won the Josette Frank Award. Her novel, Princess Academy, earned her a Newbery Honor, and her novel for adults, Austenland, became a major motion picture starring Keri Russell.


The North Shore Library is located at 6800 North Port Washington Rd., just north of Bayshore Town Center in Glendale.

Lydia Kang at Oak Creek Library, on Thursday, Mar. 20, 6:30 pm.

Set in 2150, in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms, this is about the human genetic mistakes that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes. When their overprotective father is killed in a terrible accident, Zel and her younger sister, Dylia, are lost in grief. But it's not until strangers appear, using bizarre sensory weapons, that the life they had is truly eviscerated. Zel ends up in a safe house for teens that aren't like any she's ever seen--teens who, by law, shouldn't even exist. One of them, an angry, tattooed boy haunted by tragedy, can help Zel reunite with her sister. 

Control, the debut by physician-turned-author Lydia Kang, is the perfect thriller for fans, age 8 and up, of dystopian sci-fi novels. Publishers Weekly calls Control "a smart, futuristic medical thriller." The Oak Creek Library is located at 8620 S. Howell Avenue, 53154, just off I43.
Brandon Sanderson at Boswell on Saturday, March 22, 7 pm for a Free Event.

Congratulations to Brandon Sanderson (photo credit Micah DeMoux), whose second book in The Stormlight Archive series, Words of Radiance, is the new #1 bestseller on The New York Times for hardcover fiction. We had a great time with Sanderson when he appeared for his kids' book last fall, and can vouch that all attendees were equally enthusiastic. 


In Words of Radiance, readers enter the world of Roshar, a world both  alien and magical, shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war. Among those caught up in the conflict are Brightlord Dalinar Kholin, who leads the human armies; his sister Jasnah, a renowned scholar; her student Shallan, a brilliant but troubled young woman; and Kaladin, a military slave who, by the book's end, has become the first magically endowed Knight Radiant in centuries.


We will start giving out line letters at 5 pm. After the talk, there will be a signing, and following that, there will be another short talk, for our Orthodox Jewish friends who cannot arrive until 8 pm. And yes, Mr. Sanderson will personalize and pose for seated photos. See you then. 

Brigid Pasulka's Novel of Sun and Soccer on the Italian Coast, Tuesday, March 25, 7:30 pm, at Boswell.

Everyone who enjoyed the PEN Hemingway award winner, A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True will be pleased to know that Brigid Pasulka's second novel is finally out, a tale that takes place in the seaside village of San Benedetto, Italy.


The Sun and Other Stars is the story of Etto, a young man, immersed in grief by the loss of his twin brother and mother and now estranged from his father as well. But then a newcomer arrives, Ukrainian soccer star Yuri Fil, taking refuge in the small town from an international scandal, with his sister in tow.  The only problem? Etto could care less about soccer, and who better to help them hide? 


Publishers Weekly writes that "the resulting complications could easily have been cloyingly heartwarming, but Pasulka avoids cliché with some lovely writing, well-placed low humor, and specificity of place."


Julia Glass calls this "a wondrous and radiant novel," while Gail Tsukiyama calls The Sun and Other Stars "storytelling at its best, and Pasulka has made magic with this wide, poignant tale of love, community, and the sport that brings them all together!" And as Mel notes, what could be a better novel for getting you in the mood for June's World Cup?
Classic Children's Poetry with Angela Sorby on Wednesday, March 26, 7 pm, at Boswell.

"Have Angleworms attractive homes?
Do Bumble-bees have brains?
Do Caterpillars carry combs?
Do Ducks dismantle drains?"


April is National Poetry Month, so we're getting you ready with a discussion of Over the River and Through the Wood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century American Children's Poetry co-edited by Marquette professor and noted poet Angela Sorby. If you love classic children's poetry, this talk will bring back old memories and help create new ones. 


Co-edited by Karen Kilcub, Over the River and Through the Wood is said to be the first and only collection of its kind, offering readers an unequaled view of the quality and diversity of nineteenth-century American children's poetry from famous names such as Ralph Waldo Emerson to less familiar figures like Christina Moody, an African American author who published her first book at sixteen.  


The anthology is complemented by period illustrations and includes work by poets from all geographical regions, as well as rarely seen poems by immigrant and ethnic writers and by children themselves.  

Joel Greenberg on the Passenger Pigeon at the Urban Ecology Center, Monday, March 31, 7 pm.

How could a species that numbered in the billions as late as 1860 completely disappear by 1914? What does that say about our current relationship with the natural world? With the centenary of the passenger pigeon's extinction quickly approaching, Joel Greenberg (photo credit Lindsay Wilkes) wanted to mark the event, which led to the writing of A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction and a broader hope that the anniversary could be a vehicle for informing the public about the bird and the importance that its story has to current conservation issues.


In fascinating detail, Greenberg explains that the pigeons' propensity to nest, roost, and fly together in vast numbers made them vulnerable to unremitting market and recreational hunting. The expansion of railroads and telegraph lines created national markets that allowed the birds to be pursued relentlessly. Human beings destroyed passenger pigeons almost every time they encountered them, and they used every imaginable device in the process.

Joel Greenberg is a research associate of the Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Field Museum. The Urban Ecology Center's Riverside Park location is at 1500 E. Park Place, about eight blocks west of Boswell.  
Local Attorney/Author J. Thomas (Joe) Ganzer at Boswell on Wednesday, April 2, 7 pm.

Join us for a suspenseful evening with local attorney and author Joe Ganzer, writing as J. Thomas Ganzer, as he presents his debut mystery novel, Chicago Secrets. Full of insider information from a man well-versed in the field, Chicago Secrets will take you on an adventure through the lengths to which an everyman goes when suddenly faced with his wife's secret life.


Joe Haise is a bland Assistant US Attorney in Chicago handling low-level fraud for the federal government. His stable job and stable marriage provide him a predictable, perhaps even boring, life. But one evening he scoops up his wife Tina's phone by mistake and reads a cryptic text from an unknown number.  


Joe's world descends into chaos when he pieces together several random events and discovers Tina is moonlighting as a high-priced escort for Chicago's jet set. In his fervor to uncover the seedy details of her secret life, Joe must confront a dark secret of his own. Can Joe use his knowledge of the law to manipulate those around him to do his bidding? And what could one do, a federal prosecutor no less, if one had no conscience?

Oshkosh and Appleton Novelist Crystal Chan Returns to Wisconsin for an Event at Boswell on Thursday, April 3, 7 pm.

It's only natural to have silence and secrets in your family when you're born on the same day that your brother died. At least, that's what it seems like for twelve-year-old Jewel in the new novel for folks ages eight and up called Bird. Add to that the fact that you're the only mixed-race family in your rural Iowa town, and well, life can get kind of lonely sometimes. But when a boy named John moves into her town, his courage and charisma immediately stand out and the two kids instantly click. 


John's presence, however, has an unsettling effect on her family. As the thick layers of silence in her family begin to unravel, Jewel finds that her life is not as stable nor her family's expectations as certain as she once thought. Suddenly, Jewel needs to choose whether to stay loyal to the person her family wants her to be or to claim her own identity, no matter the cost.


Crystal Chan grew up as a mixed-race (Chinese and Polish!) kid in the middle of the Wisconsin cornfields and has been trying to find her place in the world ever since. This is her first novel. And when I asked specifically where in Wisconsin, I learned she was raised in Oshkosh and graduated from Lawrence. Newbery winning author Cynthia Kadohata called Bird "an enthralling first novel about the darkness, light, and beauty that make up the human condition."
At UWM, Don't Miss Rabih Alameddine Friday, April 4, 3 pm, at Curtin Hall.

As part of the UWM series, "The Arab and American," Rabih Alameddine (photo credit Benito Ordonez) appears at Curtin Hall, 3243 N. Downer Avenue, as part of a talk and panel discussion. The author of five celebrated novels including The Hakawati, he divides his time between Beirut and San Francisco, and was a 2002 Guggenheim Fellow. 


His newest novel, An Unnecessary Woman, is a coming-of-age story in reverse, celebrating the singular life of an obsessive and passionate introvert, revealing Beruit's beauties and horrors along the way. It's a love letter to literature and its power to define who we are, a nuanced rendering of one woman's life in the Middle East. 


Aaliya Sohbi lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family's "unnecessary appendage." Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The 37 books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read by anyone.    


In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman's late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya's digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya's own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left. More in the Los Angeles Times

Humorous Wisconsin Essays from Scott Jacobs on  April 5 at the Milwaukee Public Library Central Branch, 11 am.

Reporter, filmmaker, political consultant, community activist, and the author of several books, Scott Jacobs brings his unique brand of humor to the Milwaukee Public Library's Mozart's Grove reading area for a talk and signing that will convince you that Wisconsin is not a state--it's a state of mind.


Just on the other side of Lake Wobegon lie the famous ski hills of Wisconsin, the jumping off point for Scott Jacobs' funny and poignant stories about growing up in the Midwest. In this wide-ranging collection of humorous essays, Jacobs turns a wry eye on Wisconsin's favorite pastimes, its plank road breweries, vacation resorts, and family reunions. Famous Ski Hills in Wisconsin is about the little things in life that matter-and some that don't.


Bill Janz, a career columnist for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: "Jacobs shows us the evolution of a boy, a time, an era...He was a Wisconsin kid who typed his way into the future with great heart, adventure, and the gentleness of a dreamer."  


The Milwaukee Public Library is located at 807 W. Wisconsin Avenue. Mozart's Grove is a reading area off the main lobby of the first floor. 


An Adventurous Moment in American History with Peter Stark, Tuesday, April 8, 7 pm, at Boswell.

In 1810, John Jacob Astor sent out two advance parties to settle the wild, unclaimed western coast of North America. More than half of his men died violent deaths. The others survived starvation, madness, and greed to shape the destiny of a continent.


Unfolding from 1810 to 1813, Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival is a tale of high adventure and incredible hardship, drawing extensively on firsthand accounts of the men who made the journey. Peter Stark is an adventurer and explorer with first-hand experience of the terrain depicted in Astoria. The author has paddled it, hiked it, climbed it, and is thus able to portray these harrowing situations with vividness and immediacy.


According to Patrick Reardon, reviewing it in the Chicago Tribune, it's the writing that rasies Astoria "above the level of a well-done historical adventure and help the reader get into a scene or understand the context or see relationships between participants and between then and now." He adds: "In Astoria, Stark tells a great American story. By adding such passages filled with insight and perspective, especially when they link his tale to other cultures and geographies, he tells a great human story."   


Peter Stark is a correspondent for Outside, he has written for Smithsonian and The New Yorker, among other publications, and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. Currently living in Montana, Stark was born in Wisconsin and still has family in Lake Country. He is also author of several other books and editor of an anthology.  

Mark Your Calendars for More April Events.

Wednesday, April 9, 7 pm: UWM Center for Jewish Studies presents Sayed Kashua (photo credit Yanai Yehiel), author of Second Person Singular and other novels, at the UWM Music Recital Hall.

Thursday, April 10, 7 pm, at Boswell: Matthew Algeo, author of Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport .

Friday, April 11, 7 pm, at Boswell: Story Prize winner Patrick O'Keeffe (photo credit LeMay), author of The Visitors, in conversation with UWM's Valerie Laken

Monday, April 14, 6 pm (note time), at the Franklin Public Library, 9151 W. Loomis Road, 53132: Andy Griffiths, author of The 26-Story Treehouse, sequel to The 13-Story Treehouse, as well as The Day My Butt Went Psycho. For ages 8 and up.

Wednesday, April 16, 7 pm, at Boswell: Brian Kimberling (photo credit Benedict Brain), author of the beloved novel Snapper, now in paperback, and also our World Book Night Reception. Also appearing at Books and Company in Oconomowoc.

Thursday, April 17, 7 pm, at Boswell: Stuart Shea, author of the revised edition of Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines.

lois ehlert Saturday, April 19, 2 pm, at Boswell: Lois Ehlert, author of The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life.

Tuesday, April 22, 7 pm, at Boswell: Brian Freeman, author of The Cold Nowhere. Also appearing at Mystery One and Books and Company.

Wednesday, April 23, 6 pm, at the Oak Creek Library, 8620 South Howell Ave: Stuart Gibbs, author of Poached and Belly Up. For ages 8 and up.

Wednesday, April 23, 7 pm reception and 7:30 talk, at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Rd.: a ticketed event with Ann Peters, author of House Hold: A Memoir of Place, part of the Women's Speaker Series. Tickets are $30 ($25 for Lynden members) and include a copy of the book and refreshments.

Thursday, April 24, 7 pm, at Boswell: Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings, now in paperback.

Monday, April 28 7 pm, at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Timothy Corrigan, author of An Invitation to Chateau Du Grand-Luce: Decorating a Great French Country House. There is a $5 admission to this event.

Monday, April 28, 7 pm, at Boswell: Our fifth-year anniversary celebration with Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

Tuesday, April 29, 7 pm, at Boswell: Floyd Skloot, author of Revertigo: An Off-Kilter Memoir. You may remember that Mr. Skloot, also a poet, opened for his daughter Rebecca Skloot, at her Boswell event.

Wednesday, April 30, 7 pm, at Boswell: The Gentleman's Tour pizza party featuring Printz award winner John Corey Whaley, author of Noggin, Brendan Kiely, author of The Gospel of Winter, and Jason Reynolds, author of When I Was the Greatest
In May, Visit Edith Wharton's New York with the Milwaukee Public Library.

Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library invites members to participate in a tour of "Edith Wharton's New York City," May 15-18, 2014, with an optional excursion to Wharton's restored estate, The Mount, in western Massachusetts, May 18-19. Library Director Paula Kiely will accompany the tour, which is provided by East Town Travel and led by Karen Bergenthal, a specialist in cultural and architectural trips.


Walk the streets and see the places that Wharton and her characters frequented. Have lunch in the Central Park Boathouse, visit art exhibits, and browse the shelves of the New York Public Library. Those wishing to extend their trip to Lenox, MA will have a private tour of Wharton's grand home, The Mount, and lunch on the terrace overlooking her gardens.This tour is limited to 20 people, and costs include three hotel nights in New York City. Costs start at around $1400 and a $500 deposit is required by April 1. Please see the official Milwaukee Public Library reservation page for more information.
Keep your eye on your inbox as we will soon be announcing several ticketed events this spring and summer, including Christopher Moore, Garrison Keillor, and Elizabeth Gilbert. We've now had several sell-out events, so if you are interested in attending, don't wait until the last minute to buy your tickets. The new Moore novel, The Serpent of Venice, is a sequel to Fool, a mashup of The Merchant of Venice and Othello. The reads we've had have been very enthusiastic. The link to buy tickets will appear in the next newsletter.

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