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Boswell Book Company

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

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Boswell Book Company Newsletter               Monday, May 26, Day 1880.

Greetings to you on Memorial Day. Whether you are attending observances or planning a cookout, we wish you the best. In between activities, note that Boswell is open today for our holiday hours, 10 am to 5 pm. Keep a note that we'll also be open these ours on July 4th and Labor Day.

Before we mention a few upcoming events, might we recommend some vacation reading? Boswellian Sharon K. Nagel is a fan of Emma Straub's latest, The Vacationers, on sale tomorrow from Riverhead. "There is nothing quite like a family vacation. Trapped in a hotel or a rented house with the same people you usually go out of your way to avoid. Everyone can relate to this, whether you are vacationing down the shore, or on the exotic island of Mallorca, like the Post family in Emma Straub's witty and fun new novel."

From Daniel Goldin: "Where Straub's first novel had an earnest, introspective quality about it which I liked, The Vacationers has a more contemporary vibe, gently satirical, with sparkling dialogue and a warm characterizations, and it turns out I like that too. I can imagine recommending Straub's latest to lots of fans of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" Janet Maslin of The New York Times is also a fan--The Vacationers is on her summer books round up.

Boswellian Jen Steele's pick is Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America, an FSG book on sale June 3 (and yes, we can hold a copy for you). She writes: "The Pope of Trash takes to the highways! Armed with his cardboard signs, John Waters is determined to hitchhike from his home in Baltimore to his apartment in San Francisco. What he gives us are some funny, thrilling, terrifying and profound adventures. It's told in 3 ways: Best Case Scenarios, Worse Case Scenarios, and The Real Thing. With a playlist to boot! An exciting road trip memoir that just might inspire you to hit the road in your own way."

And kids can take to the skies in Boswellian Jannis Mindel's pick, The Pilot and the Little Prince, the newest book from perennial favorite Peter Sis and published by FSG Books for Young Readers. Per Jannis: "Most people have read or are familiar with The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, but how many people know that he started his flying career with the military in 1921? Peter Sis has written a highly detailed and informative book chronicling Saint-Exupery's life including the experiences that led to the writing of his most famous book. Peter Sis fills the pages with detailed facts, beautiful maps, and timelines that illuminate the life of a fascinating author." 
Harvey J. Kaye at Turner Hall, Tuesday, May 27, 7 pm.
Harvey J. Kaye, Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and an award-winning author and frequent contributor to Huffington Post and The Daily Beast, appears at Turner Hall on Tuesday, May 27, 7 pm, for his latest book,  The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great.

Harvey J. Kaye challenges us to remember what conservatives don't generally acknowledge and liberals have all too often forgotten: that the Greatest Generation was also America's most progressive one. Franklin Roosevelt, their iconic and beloved president, endowed Americans with the promise of the "Four Freedoms:" freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. In their spirit, the United States confronted the Great Depression and pursued the labors and struggles of the New Deal. Those Four Freedoms became the aims that mobilized Americans to defeat the Axis Powers and strengthen America's prosperity after the Second World War.


Now Kaye calls on America to take up the Four Freedoms again. Here's Bill Moyers' take: "Harvey Kaye has done it again. The Fight for the Four Freedoms reaches back into history--to Franklin Roosevelt's vision of a truly just and fair America--for inspiration about how we can re-imagine a progressive future. Just as he did with his important work on Thomas Paine, Kaye shows how the victories and defeats of the 1930s and 1940s,  the struggle of our parents and grandparents, contain the bricks and straw for rebuilding democracy. Once again, he tells a spirited story written for you and me."  


You can watch Moyers' full interview with Kaye here. 

Rachel Kapelke-Dale and Jessica Pan, in Conversation with Milwaukee Magazine's Claire Hanan, on Wednesday, May 28, 7 pm, at Boswell.
After graduating from Brown University in 2007, former Milwaukeean Rachel Kapelke-Dale and Jessica Pan made a pact: to stay in touch and never gloss over the bad stuff. Graduates in Wonderland is the epistolary account of what happened to them on the road to adulthood in the frank and stark manner in which good friends relate the details of their lives, despite the time and distance that separate them.

A coming-of-age story told through two friends' most intimate emails about the winding path to adulthood, from New York to Beijing to Paris to Melbourne, Graduates in Wonderland exposes the good days and bad dates depicted with epic hilarity in the vein of Lena Dunham's Girls. Jess and Rachel gamely navigate language barriers, romantic flirting and flattening, workplace success, abandoned jobs, networking pitfalls, fragile friendships, office love, general pangs of loneliness, and bouts of youthful euphoria, all with open hearts and wry asides.

Kirkus Reviews calls Graduates in Wonderland "A female buddy book with intergenerational appeal.." And Boswellian Jane Glaser, wiho will be introducing the event, noted that as well. So many of us will relate to what Rachel Kapelke-Dale and Jessica Pan have experienced in life, no matter the reader's age.

Moderating this discussion will be Milwaukee Magazine's Claire Hanan. In addition to her work there (including a better-than-we-deserve profile of Boswell last year), her writing has appeared in FutureClaw magazine, (UK), Mizzou, and Vox magazine.
A Ticketed Event with Jessica Vealitzek at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, Wednesday, May 28, 7 pm.

Jessica Vealitzek appears at the Milwaukee Sculpture Garden for the latest event in the Woman's Speaker Series. Produced by Milwaukee Reads and co-sponsored by Bronze Optical and Localicious, an evening of light refreshments and conversation (at 7 pm) is highlighted by the author of The Rooms are Filled at 7:30 pm. 


Set in 1983, The Rooms are Filled is the heart-wrenching story of two castaways brought together by vastly different circumstances. Boswellian Jen found The Rooms are Filled to be "a touching, character-driven story."


A former communications director for a gubernatorial candidate and an exhibit writer, Jessica Vealitzek writes for Rebellious magazine, Great New Books, and PDXX Collective. The Rooms are Filled is her first novel.


Tickets are $22 ($18 for Lynden members) and include a copy of The Rooms are Filled. The Lynden Sculpture Garden is located at 2145 W. Brown Deer Road. It's the time of the year when we can say that the ticket includes admission to the grounds.   

Straight from the Top of the European Bestseller Lists Comes Joël Dicker, Reading in French and English at Boswell on Tuesday, June 3, 7 pm.

Boswell Book Company and Alliance Française de Milwaukee are proud to welcome internationally bestselling author Joël Dicker, author of the international bestselling thriller, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. Swiss, with detours to New England, Dicker's latest is a fast-paced thriller, perfect for that person waiting for the next Dan Brown-like sensation.    


The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair starts with the disappearance of a fifteen-year-old New Hampshire girl and, thirty years later, a young American writer's determination to clear his mentor's name while finding the inspiration for his next bestseller. To save his mentor Harry, his writing career, and eventually even himself, Marcus Goldman must answer three questions, all of which are mysteriously connected: Who killed Nola Kellergan? What happened one misty morning in Somerset in the summer of 1975? And how do you write a successful and true novel?


The book has been a European phenomenon, with the greatest laurels coming from France, where it was awarded three literary prizes. Le Figaro writes: "Dizzying, like the best American thrillers . . . Rich in subplots and twists, moving backwards and forwards in time, containing books within books."  


And this from L'Express: "A master stroke . . . A crime novel with not one plot line but many, full of shifting rhythms, changes of course and multiple layers that, like a Russian doll, slot together beautifully . . . In maestro form, Dicker alternates periods and genres (police reports, interviews, excerpts from novels) and explores America in all its excesses-media, literary, religious-all the while questioning the role of the literary writer."

Here's an interview with Joël Dicker on how he came to write The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. And here's the Boswell and Books blog post on searching for a French copy of La Vérité sur l'Affaire Harry Quebert. We wound up getting at copy through Montreal's classic bookshop, Renaud-Bray, and one lucky attendee will win this French copy at our event.
A Special Evening with Jeffery Renard Allen, Author of the Legendary "Rails Under My Back" on Saturday, June 7, 7 pm.

We sometimes to publishers, if we're excited about an author, we'll take them any way we can get them. Remember our Sunday morning event with Jeffrey Eugenides? Well, this is Jeffery Renard Allen coming on a Saturday evening, and if you haven't hard of him yet, you will in the future, for his new novel, Song of the Shank.

Listen to Boswellian Conrad Silverberg: "Blind Tom was a musical prodigy. He could reproduce on his piano, after one hearing, anything played for him: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, popular songs...anything. He toured the U.S. and Europe during the mid-Nineteenth Century, and was hailed by one and all as a musical genius. He was considered to be an idiot savant. He was also a slave.  He was treated like an amazingly gifted animal. Like a show horse or circus elephant. He made his master rich. When the Civil War ended, with the loss of this source of income threatened, his master neglected to inform him that he was free. Jeffrey Renard Allen's first novel was compared favorably to Faulkner and Joyce. That's an awfully hard row to hoe. With this book, based on a true story, he delivers the goods."

The only way we could get Allen to come to Boswell was ten days before the book's official on-sale date, in conjunction with Chicago's Printer's Row Litfest. So this is going to be one of those times  where you hear a lot about Song of the Shank after our event is over. Maybe you'll listen to Junot Díaz, who writes that
"The prodigiously talented Jeffery Renard Allen is without question one of our most important writers."

Jeffery Renard Allen is author of two books of poetry and one collection of stories, in addition to Rails Under My Back, winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for fiction, but alas, currently not available from his publisher . His other nods include The Chicago Public Library's Twenty-first Century Award, a Recognition for Pioneering Achievements in Fiction. He is an assistant professor at Queens College.  

Join Us at the Milwaukee Public Library's Rare Books Room on Monday, June 9, at a Special Time of 6 pm.

Boswell Book Company is excited to welcome Martha Bergland and Paul G. Hayes, authors of Studying Wisconsin: The Life of Increase Lapham, Early Chronicler of Plants, Rocks, Rivers, Mounds, and All Things Wisconsin, for a talk and signing in the Rare Books Room on the second floor of the Milwaukee Public Library, located at 807 W. Wisconsin Ave. 53233.  


In this long overdue tribute to Wisconsin's first scientist, Milwaukee-area authors Martha Bergland and Paul G. Hayes explore the remarkable life and achievements of Increase Lapham (1811-1875). Lapham identified and preserved thousands of botanical specimens. He surveyed and mapped Wisconsin's effigy mounds. He was a force behind the creation of the National Weather Service, lobbying for a storm warning system to protect Great Lakes sailors. Lapham's ability to observe, understand, and meticulously catalog the natural world marked all of his work, from his days as a teenage surveyor on the Erie Canal to his last great contribution as state geologist.  


Self-taught, Lapham mastered botany, geology, archaeology, limnology, mineralogy, engineering, meteorology, and cartography. A prolific writer, his 1844 guide to the territory was the first book published in Wisconsin. Asked late in life which field of science was his specialty, he replied simply, "I am studying Wisconsin."


After her retirement from teaching English at MATC, Martha Bergland took a short break from fiction to write an article on Lapham for Milwaukee Magazine. This break became five years of studying Increase Lapham. Bergland has written two novels, A Farm Under a Lake and Idle Curiosity and is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize.  


During 33 years at The Milwaukee Journal, science reporter Paul G. Hayes often relied on the work of Increase A. Lapham, whose home had been three blocks north of the newspaper office. After retiring in 1995, Hayes continued to write, often referring to Lapham and his contributions. This biography is a fitting finale to a fifty-year acquaintance. Don't forget, Monday, June 9, 6 pm, at the Milwaukee Public Library's Rare Books Room, 807 W. Wisconsin Ave., 2nd floor.  

Have a Dorkalicious Day with Dork Diaries Author Rachel Renee Russell and Her Daughters, Tuesday, June 10, 4 pm, at Greenfield Public Library.

Please join us at the Greenfield Public Library for the Dork Diaries Tour on Tuesday, June 10, starting at 4 pm. We welcome celebrated author and illustrator, Rachel Renée Russell, and her daughters, Erin and Nikki, for a signing of the latest in the series, Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star. This event is a signing only; but we'll have lots of activities for while you're waiting, including a DJ, a photo-booth, and a white-board locker, where you can write your own note to Rachel, Erin, and Nikki.  


You'll be able to get two books signed per attendee, and of course, books will be available or sale at the event. Alas, while cameras are welcome, there can be no posed photographs, so that we can get as many fans as possible to meet the Russells. Line letters will be available at the Greenfield Library, starting at 3 pm. And while we normally do not include end times, we can say that the Russells will be at Greenfield Public Library through 7 pm, giving you enough time to get to the library, located at 5310 West Layton Ave., just off route 894, whenever you or your kids get out of school. 


In Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star, Nikki Maxwell is in the spotlight! A reality TV crew will follow her and her friends for the whole month of March as they record their hit song together. But will the excitement also cause unexpected problems, now that cameras are everywhere Nikki and her friends go? The blockbuster Dork Diaries series featuring the adventures of Nikki, Chloe, and Zoey has more than 13 million copies in print worldwide. You can read more about the Dorkalicious gang on their website. 

A Special Ticketed Evening with Daniel James Brown, Author of "The Boys in the Boat," Thursday, June 12, 7 pm, at Boswell.

Boswell Book Company, Wisconsin Public Radio, and the Milwaukee Business Journal are excited to present a ticketed Father's Day Celebration at Boswell with Daniel James Brown, bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.


Tickets for this event are available on the Brown Paper Tickets website. Ticket cost is $18 (this includes all taxes and fees) and includes admission for two people and an autographed paperback copy of The Boys in the Boat. Did we mention that our event is three days before Father's Day? What perfect timing! 


The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible, dramatic, and poignant story behind one man's personal quest with the University of Washington rowing crew, and their triumph, which stunned the world at Hitler's Olympics. The University of Washington's 1936 crew was a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans in the depths of the Depression. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities, and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic Games in Berlin.


Winner of the American Booksellers Association Indies Choice award for nonfiction, The Boys in the Boat has won raves from readers, writers, and critics. We've heard from customers that this is the best book they've read in the past year, and don't worry if you aren't well versed in crew. The Boys in the Boat has been compared to Laura Hillenbrand, Jon Krakauer, and Hampton Sides. James Bradley says that "Daniel James Brown has written a robust, emotional snapshot of an era, a book you will recommend to your best friends" while Nathaniel Philbrick calls this "not only a great and inspiring true story; it is a fascinating work of history."   


And yes, there's a local connection. The daughter and grandson of one of the team members will be at our event. 

Elizabeth Berg Presents Leigh Hager Cohen on Friday, June 13, 7 pm, at Boswell.

When one of our favorite authors comes to us to put together a special program, we jump. Remember when Jane Hamilton brought us Karen Joy Fowler? Her novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, went on to win the Pen/Hemingway award and was shortlist for a Nebula award. Now Elizabeth Berg came to us with the news that she was putting together a midwest swing for Leah Hager Cohen. How could we say no? (That's Cohen top right and Berg bottom right, by the way.) 


You may recognize Leigh Hager Cohen from her insightful essays in The New York Times Book Review. She's also the author of The Grief of Others, shortlisted for The Dayton Peace Prize and the Orange Prize (now known as the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction), as well as the new novel, No Book but The World. It's the tale of Ava and her autistic brother Fred, who has been accused of murder. Leah Hager Cohen brings her trademark intelligence to a psychologically gripping, richly ambiguous story that suggests we may ultimately understand one another best not with facts alone, but through our imaginations.


Cohen's newest is a haunting, morally complex new story, a powerful exploration of familial love and responsibility. Ava and Fred are siblings, raised in a "free" environment by their progressive parents, who gave little guidance and overlooked Fred's serious development

al and social impairments. Now adults, Fred is accused of a horrific crime and Ava feels impelled to try to piece together the story of what actually happened. As she is drawn deeper into the unsettling details of the crime, she becomes obsessed with learning the truth, convinced that she and she alone will be able to explain her brother in a way that allows the rest of the world to regard him with sympathy.    


Here's Ashley Nelson in The San Francisco Chronicle: "(Cohen) excels at untangling emotional knots, especially those found in families. Her characters are almost always full-bodied, palpable. If you saw them on the street, you would recognize them. Here, in addition to Ava and Fred, we meet Neel, their domineering father and founder of Batter Hollow, an iconoclast school based on the belief that children should not be inhibited by rules, but allowed to discover their world free of intervention."


The Grief of Others was selected as a New York Times notable book, and named one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, Kirkus Reviews, and The Globe and Mail. She is also the author of five nonfiction titles, including Train Go Sorry, an account of one year of New York's Lexington School for the Deaf.
Quiltapalooza Book Bash Road Show with Marie Bostwick, at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts on Saturday, June 14, 10:30 AM.
Bestselling Author Marie Bostwick, whose sixth Cobbled Court novel, Apart at the Seams, is just released, is bringing her Quiltapalooza Book Bash Road Show to the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, located at N50 W5050 Portland Road in Cedarburg. Tickets to this event are $25 and include a copy of Bostwick's latest book.

With Jennifer Chiaverini focused on her historical novels, what's a quilting novel fan to do? We're grateful that the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts has provided an answer. Join Marie and friends for a fun-filled morning of stories, readings, laughter, goodies, and games. Are you fan enough to compete for prizes in the Cobbled Court Trivia Challenge? Yes, anything could happen at the Quiltapalooza Book Bash, and don't worry, we'll have other Marie Bostwick novels on sale as well.

For more information, call the museum at (262) 546-0300.
Mark Your Calendar for These Great June Events.

Tuesday, June 17, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Katy Butler, author of Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death. Jane and Amie are both huge champions for this book.

Tuesday, June 17, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Marquette professor James Marten, author of America's Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace.

Wednesday, June 18, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project.
Daniel and Mel loves this book!

Saturday, June 21, 2 pm, at the North Shore Library, 6800 N. Port Washington Rd, Glendale:
Fierce Reads, featuring Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising), Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14: Savage Drift), Ava Dellaira (Love Letters from the Dead), and Jennifer, Mathieu (The Truth About Alice).

Sunday, June 22, 3 pm, at Boswell:
Fantasy writers Mary Robinette Kowall (Valour and Vanity) and Sarah Monette, also known as Katherine Addison (The Goblin Emperor), in conversation with the Journal Sentinel's Jim Higgins.

Monday, June 23, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Milwaukee-area writer Ann Garvin, author of The Dog Year and On Maggie's Watch. 

Tuesday, June 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Susan Simensky Bietilla, contributor to World War 3 Illustrated: 1979-2014.

Monday, June 30 (Summerfest break!), 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jonathan Lethem, author of Dissident Gardens and Motherless Brooklyn.
Perhaps just one last note! Tickets are now on sale for Elizabeth Gilbert's visit for The Signature of All Things in paperback, Wednesday, July 9,  pm, at Boswell. With our media co-sponsor Milwaukee Public Radio, we are proud to welcome award-winning author of Eat, Pray, Love, in discussion with WUWM Lake Effect's Bonnie North. Tickets are $18; this price includes all taxes and fees, admission for one, and an autographed copy of The Signature of All Things. A $12 gift card is available in lieu of the book on the night of the event only.

Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe, peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert's wise, deep, and spellbinding tale has captured the hearts and minds of readers and critics alike. We'll have more in our next newsletter.


As always, thank you for your patronage and our apologies about the typos,


Daniel Goldin with Amie, Anne, Carly, Conrad, Greg, Jason, Jane, Jannis, Jen, Josh, Mel, Pam, Peter, Sharon, Terrail, and Todd