Upcoming Events

Details for our upcoming events are below. You can find a line listing of other confirmed author appearances at the bottom of the page.

If you want to hear about events in your in box, sign up for our email newsletter or the Boswell and Books blog. And, you can always pre-order or reserve a signed copy of your favorite author's new title if you can't make an event. 


A mini science fiction convention with Leanna Renee Hieber, author of Eterna and Omega, Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Ghost Talkers, and Ada Palmer, author of Too Like the Lightning
Wednesday, August 31, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

Join three beacons of the science fiction and fantasy world, Leanna Renee Hieber, Ada Palmer and Mary Robinette Kowal, for a spirited conversation about their new books, writing, and who knows what else? It’s like having a science fiction and fantasy convention back in Milwaukee, only a really tiny one. Boswell-con, anyone?

Having just completed her Glamourist Histories cycle, Chicago’s Mary Robinette Kowal offers up Ghost Talkers, a just-released novel featuring the mysterious spirit corps and their heroic work in World War I. Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Hartshorne, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force. Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence. When Ginger, one of the Corps, discovers a traitor, the top brass thinks she's imagining things. But she most definitely is not.

From Ada Palmer, we present the first book of Terra Ignota, a four-book political SF epic set in a human future of extraordinary originality. Palmer has created a hard-won uptopian world built on technologically created abundance and the complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech, with normal gender distinctions now distinctly taboo, and economic and cultural competition carefully managed by central planners. In this world is Mycroft Canner, a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. He meets Carlyle Foster, a sensayer - a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away. But there's another player in this story, a young boy, who could destabilize the system with his strange power to animate objects. As Hugo and Nebula winner Jo Walton writes of Too Like the Lightning: "Lots of books can knock you over and leave you reeling and dazzled when you're fifteen, but it takes something special to do the same thing to you at fifty."

Eterna and Omega continues the story of the Victorian investigators charged by the queen to find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna. And now, in Eterna and Omega, Harold Spire dispatches Rose Everhart and the team of assassins, magicians, mediums, and other rogue talents to New York, staying behind to track down a network of body snatchers and occultists, but American paranormal investigator Clara Templeton has buried information vital to the Eterna Compound, which is either a worldwide menace or the key to humanity's salvation.

About the authors: Mary Robinette Kowal is the 2008 recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, a multiple Hugo winner, and a frequent finalist for the Nebula and Locus Awards. A professional puppeteer and voice actor, she spent five years touring nationally with puppet theaters. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and nine manual typewriters.

Ada Palmer is a professor in the history department of the University of Chicago, specializing in Renaissance history and the history of ideas. Her first nonfiction book, Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance, was published in 2014 by Harvard University Press. She is also a composer of folk and Renaissance-tinged a capella music, most of which she performs with the group Sassafrass. She writes about history for a popular audience at exurbe.com and about SF and fantasy-related matters at Tor.com.

Leanna Renee Hieber is the winner of two Prism Awards and a finalist for the Daphne Du Maurier Award. Rarely seen out of Victorian garb, Hieber often appears at conventions, bookstores, and library events.


Wednesday, September 7, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

In the Progressive Era of American history, the state of Wisconsin gained national attention for its innovative economic and political reforms. Amidst this ferment, the Wisconsin Idea was popularized, the concept that a public university should improve the lives of people beyond the borders of its campus. Governor Robert La Follette routinely consulted with University of Wisconsin researchers to devise groundbreaking programs and legislation. Although the Wisconsin Idea is often attributed to a 1904 speech by Charles Van Hise, president of the University of Wisconsin, David Hoeveler argues that it originated decades earlier, in the creative and fertile mind of John Bascom.

A philosopher, theologian, and sociologist, Bascom deeply influenced a generation of students at the University of Wisconsin, including La Follette and Van Hise. Hoeveler documents how Bascom drew concepts from German idealism, liberal Protestantism, and evolutionary theory, transforming them into advocacy for social and political reform. He was a champion of temperance, women's rights, and labor, all of which brought him controversy as president of the university from 1874 to 1887. In a way unmatched by any leader of a major American university in his time, Bascom outlined a social gospel that called for an expanded role for state governments and universities as agencies of moral improvement. Hoeveler traces the intellectual history of the Wisconsin Idea from the nineteenth century to such influential Progressive Era thinkers as Richard T. Ely and John R. Commons, who believed university researchers should be a vital source of expertise for government and citizens.

About the Author: J. David Hoeveler is Distinguished Professor of History at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Thursday, September 8, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to only a handful of people, is a harsh and lonely place. So when James Campbell’s cousin Heimo Korth asked him to spend a summer building a cabin in the rugged Interior, Campbell hesitated about inviting along his fifteen-year-old daughter, Aidan: Would she be able to withstand clouds of mosquitoes, bathing in an ice-cold river, and hours of grueling labor? Despite a (healthy) fear of grizzlies, Aidan embraced the wild, and even agreed to return with her father months later to help the Korths trap and hunt for caribou and moose, trading mosquitoes for windchills of 50 degrees below zero. Returning home, Campbell saw a confidence in Aidan that reflected her growing maturity as much as her having weathered an Interior winter. Taking his cue from a traditional Eskimo rite of passage, Campbell decided to take Aidan back to Alaska one final time before she left home. It would be their most ambitious trip, backpacking over mountains to the headwaters of the mighty Hulahula River, where they would assemble a folding canoe and paddle to the Arctic Ocean. The journey would test them, and their relationship, in one of the planet’s most remote places: a land of wolves, musk oxen, Dall sheep, golden eagles, and polar bears.

Poignant and humorous by turns, Braving It “captures both the difficulties and pleasures on offer in the extreme wild” (Richmond Times Dispatch) and is a profound meditation on what it means for a child to grow up--and a parent to finally, fully let go.

About the Author: James Campbell is the author of The Final Frontiersman and The Ghost Mountain Boys. He has written for Outside magazine, National Geographic Adventure, and Men's Journal. He lives in Lodi, Wisconsin.


Monday, September 12, 7:00 pm, Television history, pop culture, at The Soup House, 324 E Michigan St, in downtown Milwaukee

Admission is $5 plus taxes and fees ($6.17 total) including a bowl of soup. $6 tickets may be available at the door on the night of the event if not sold out. Visit the Brown Paper Tickets website for details.

The hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld, the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world, altering the lives of everyone it touched. This book has now spent three weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly forty million Americans were tuning in weekly.

In Seinfeldia, acclaimed TV historian and entertainment writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!”, Joe Davola gets questioned every day about his sanity, Kenny Kramer makes his living giving tours of New York sights from the show, and fans dress up in Jerry’s famous puffy shirt, dance like Elaine, and imagine plotlines for Seinfeld if it were still on TV.

About the Author: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, a history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She writes about pop culture for several publications, including The New York Times Book Review, Fast Company, and Vulture. She grew up in Homer Glen, Illinois, and now lives in New York City.


Tuesday, September 13, 7:00 pm, at University School of Milwaukee, 2100 W Fairy Chasm Rd, River Hills, WI 53217

Boswell is a co-sponsor of this event. The event sponsor is University School of Milwaukee Global Scholars Program.

To the charity workers, Dadaab refugee camp is a humanitarian crisis; to the Kenyan government, a "nursery for terrorists"; to the Western media, a dangerous no-go area; but to its half a million residents, their last resort.

Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks, or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education.

In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dabaab home.

About the Author: Ben Rawlence is a former researcher for Human Rights Watch in the horn of Africa. He is the author of Radio Congo and has written for a wide range of publications, including The Guardian, The London Review of Books, and Prospect. He lives in the Black Mountains in Wales.


Tuesday, September 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

This event is cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine. Putnam will be introduced by Tim Hennessy.

From an attorney and amateur Lincoln scholar, here is a debut mystery featuring Joshua Speed, the enterprising second son of a wealthy plantation owner. Speed has struck out on his own, but before long, he makes a surprising and crucial new acquaintance--a freshly minted lawyer by the name of Abraham Lincoln.

When an orphaned girl from a neighboring town is found murdered and suspicion falls on her aunt, Speed makes it his mission to clear her good name. Of course, he'll need the legal expertise of his unusual new friend. Together, Lincoln and Speed fight to bring justice to their small town. But as more bodies are discovered and the investigation starts to come apart at the seams, there's one question on everyone's lips: does Lincoln have what it takes to crack his first murder case?

Inspired by actual events from the American frontier, Jonathan Putnam's debut, These Honored Dead, brings renewed verve and vigor to the historical mystery genre.

About the Author: Jonathan F. Putnam is a writer and attorney. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he is a nationally renowned trial lawyer and avid amateur Lincoln scholar. He currently lives with his family in London, England. 


Wednesday, September 14, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

This event is co-sponsored by Waterdog Specialties, AKC Labrador retriever breeding and training.

When Mel Miskimen's mother dies, her tough, retired-cop father withdraws into his sadness, and his broken grief is more than Mel can handle on her own. Enter Seamus: a rowdy, hapless Labrador devoted to chaos. In a spark of inspiration, Mel ropes her father into training the wayward hound for a local contest. As the seasons change, Mel finds herself connecting with her last surviving parent more than she'd ever dreamed. The unexpected result of their endeavor might just heal them all.

Sit Stay Heal will warm the hearts and tickle the funny bones of dog lovers and anyone seeking a way to connect with those they've lost.

About the Author: Milwaukee-area resident Mel Miskimen is an award-winning author and contributor to More magazine, Huff/Post50, and Moth storytelling events. Her essays have been published in the Irish American Post, Rosebud literary magazine, and Fetch magazine. She is also a contributor to WUMW’s Lake Effect.


Lawrence Kessenich, author of Cinnamon Girl
Thursday, September 15, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

It’s Milwaukee, 1969. After nearly getting his head bashed in at a demonstration at Water Tower Park, John Meyer crashes down a hillside with fellow student Tony Russo. It looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, until John meets Tony’s wife, Claire, and from then on things get complicated in a very 60s way. Tony and Claire are at odds, although their toddler, Jonah, holds them together. John is at odds with his parents and with a society that supports the war in Vietnam. He’s struggling with what to do about the draft and has little direction in his life. He begins to imagine that loving Claire and Jonah might lend his life the purpose it’s lacking.

When John, Tony, Claire, Jonah, and another student rent a house together at the dawn of 1970, relationships become even more complicated. Then, the bombing of Cambodia leads to a national student strike and the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State. Over Claire’s protests, John becomes involved in the strike. Then Tony’s brother is wounded in Vietnam, bringing the war right into their living room and throwing everything up in the air.

Can John, Claire, Tony, and Jonah forge a new kind of family for a new age, as John dreams of them doing, or will the weight of the world pull them down?

About the Author: Former Milwaukeean Lawrence Kessenich is a fiction writer, poet, playwright, essayist, reviewer, and editor. He has published a number of short stories and won the 2010 Strokestown International Poetry Prize. He has also published essays, one of which was featured in the NPR program This I Believe and the print anthology This I Believe: On Love. His short plays have been produced in New York, Boston, and in Colorado, where he won the People’s Choice Award in a national drama competition. Kessenich is the co-managing editor of Ibbetson Street literary magazine.


An “I Love Middle Grade event” featuring Miss Cupcake cupcakes, with Kelly Barnhill, author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon and Brian Farrey, author of The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse
Friday, September 16, 2016, 4:00 pm, at Boswell
 
This event is cosponsored by Miss Cupcake Boutique Bakery.

Brian Farrey, author of the critically-acclaimed Vengekeep Prophecies series returns with a mesmerizing middle-grade adventure, The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse. This thrilling modern fantasy turns the fairy tale trope on its head, featuring two female leads, diverse characters, and a fresh perspective on “happily ever after.” Of his newest, Kirkus Reviews writes: "Heart-rending and genuine, this magical coming-of-age story is not to be missed."

Kelly Barnhill delivers her most spellbinding tale yet: The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Like The Witch’s Boy, this multilayered saga blends a mix of fantasy, epic adventure, and gorgeous prose. The result is a tale that’s even more epic, yet also more intimate. Barnhill draws readers into an enchanted new realm, populated by a poetic swamp monster, a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, a prowling Sorrow Eater with a tiger’s heart, flocks of dangerous paper birds, and oh, so much more.

Both authors books are suggested for kids eight and up. This event is free but registration is requested so that we have enough black forest and magical moon vanilla cupcakes! Register here!

About the Authors: Kelly Barnhill writes novels for children and short stories for adults and poetry that she whispers in the dark when no one is listening. Both her most recent novel, The Witch's Boy, and her first novel, The Mostly True Story of Jack, received four-star reviews, and her second, Iron Hearted Violet, received a Parents' Choice Gold Award.

Brian Farrey is the author of The Vengekeep Prophecies and its sequels, The Shadowhand Covenant and The Grimjinx Rebellion, as well as the Stonewall honor book With or Without You. He knows more than he probably should about Doctor Who. You can find him online at brianfarreybooks.com and on Twitter: @BrianFarrey.


A storytime celebrating the 50th birthday of Brown Bear, the star of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Sunday, September 18, 2016, 11:00 am, at Boswell

Happy Birthday Brown Bear! To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this beloved classic, we are hosting story time! Boswellian Teasha, will be doing a reading with educational activities and light refreshments to follow. This event is best for children 2-6.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is famous for its iconic Eric Carle illustrations, but the text by Bill Martin, Jr. is a key part of its charm. Did you know that Martin also wrote Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the book that put Milwaukeean Lois Ehlert on the map?

And don't forget, if you're in New England, why not visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, where they will be hosting a "Brown Bear Turns 50" exhibit from September 13 through March 19, 2017.


Ronald H. Balson, author of Karolina’s Twins
Monday, September 19, 2016, 7 pm at Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center

Ronald H. Balson took readers by storm with his critically acclaimed debut, Once We Were Brothers, and entered into their hearts with an enthralling tale of love, survival, and ultimately, the triumph of the human spirit. Now, Balson is making his hardcover debut with Karolina’s Twins and returns to the popular themes and setting that made Once We Were Brothers a national bestseller.

Inspired by true events, Karolina’s Twins is the story of a Holocaust survivor’s quest to fulfill a promise she made to a friend long ago – to return to Poland and find two sisters lost during the war. Lena Woodward enlists the help of lawyer Catherine Lockhart and her private investigator husband, Liam Taggart, in order to complete the mission, harkening back to her harrowing past in Nazi-occupied Poland. She recounts her mysterious yet fearless bond shared with her childhood friend, Karolina, in their darkest hours. But there is something about the story that is unfinished, and Lena must now come to terms with a secret spanning several decades.

About the author: Ronald H. Balson is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator, and a writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues. He is also the author of Saving Sophie.

This event is co-sponsored by Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.


A ticketed event with Gayle Forman, author of Leave Me  at the Lynden Sculpture Garden Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 7 pm reception 7:30 pm talk

Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.

Surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves. But, as is often the case, once we get where we’re going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from herself and those she loves.

About the author: Gayle Forman is a bestselling, award-winning author of young adult novels. Leave Me is her first novel for adults. Her novel If I Stay won the 2009 NAIBA Book of the Year Award and was a 2010 Indie Choice Honor Award winner. The film adaptation of If I Stay was released in 2014. Forman is also a journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and Elle.

This event is cosponsored by Milwaukee Reads and the Lynden Sculpture Garden


Poppy and Geoff Spencer, co-authors of 1 Billion Seconds
Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 7 pm at Boswell

Poppy and Geoff Spencer were college sweethearts who initially thought they were destined to spend their lives together—but immaturity and life got in the way. After college, neither of them had the courage, maturity, or communication skills to keep their relationship on solid ground. It took several marriages and life experiences between them to come together 32 years later and build a solid, healthy relationship.

Today, the Spencers’ work as relational coaches, providing practical, goal-oriented guidance to individuals, couples, and families at various levels in their relationship. The Spencers also work with healthy couples and individuals to develop strategies for their relational goals that are achievable and measurable. With the Myers-Briggs Certification, they also help people understand their personality styles and how those styles work together.

About the authors: Poppy Spencer, after receiving her Master of Science degree in Art Therapy and working as a Registered Art Therapist for twelve years, she then transitioned her private Art Therapy practice into coaching. A parenting coach, a psychology professor at Ringling College of Art and Design for seven years, a certified Myers Briggs facilitator, and a Certified Professional Coach for nearly a decade, she continues to implement psychology into her coaching relationships. Geoff Spencer is a certified coach, having transitioned from a twenty-five-year career in sales and marketing of specialized technology deployed in higher education institutions. He is also a speaker, singer, and performer, having spoken in many professional venues, sung in churches and theaters, and performed in multiple community theater productions.


Lori Degman, author of Norbert’s Big Dream
Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 4 pm at Shorewood Public Library

Norbert is a pig with a dream. It doesn't matter if the other farm animals snicker behind his back, Norbert has always dreamed of swimming the English Channel. He's been preparing and training, and finally, he's ready for the big swim! But where exactly is the English Channel?! Will Norbert have to give up on his dreams, or will his friends come to the rescue after all? A funny story about dreaming big.

About the author: Lori Degman grew up in a northern suburb of Chicago. She then attended MacMurray College for her Bachelor’s degree, followed by National-Louis University for her Masters. She is also the author of Cock-a-Doodle-Oops and 1 Zany Zoo. She loves writing rhyming poems, song parodies, and she can even juggle!

 


Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 7 pm at Boswell

When Julie Tarney’s only child, Harry, was two years old, he told her, “Inside my head I’m a girl.” It was 1992. The Internet was no help, because there was no Internet. And bookstores had no literature for a mom scrambling to raise such an unconventional child. Terms such as transgender, gender nonconforming, and gender creative were rare or nonexistent.

Lacking a positive role model of her own, and fearful of the negative stereotype of an overbearing Jewish mother, Julie embarked on an unexpected parenting path as Harry grew up to be a confident, happy, nonconformist adult. Harry knew who he was all along. Despite some stumbles, Julie learned that her job was simply to let her child be his authentic self.

About the Author: Julie Tarney is a board member for the It Gets Better Project, blogs for the Huffington Post’s “Queer Voices” pages, and writes for TheParentsProject.com and the True Colors Fund. She volun¬teers for the PFLAG Safe Schools Program. A longtime resident of Shorewood, she now lives in New York City.


Thursday, September 22, 2016, 6:30 pm at Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall

If you are a young person, and you work hard enough, you can get a college degree and set yourself on the path to a good life, right? Not necessarily, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, and with Paying the Price, she shows in damning detail exactly why. Quite simply, college is far too expensive for many people today, and the confusing mix of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid leaves countless students without the resources they need to pay for their education.

Drawing on an unprecedented study of 3,000 young adults who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in 2008 with the support of federal aid and Pell Grants, Goldrick-Rab reveals the devastating effect of these shortfalls. Half the students in the study left college without a degree, while less than 20 percent finished within five years. The cause of their problems, time and again, was lack of money. However, America can fix this problem. Goldrick-Rab offers a range of possible solutions, from technical improvements to the financial aid application process, to a bold, public sector–focused “first degree free” program.

About the Author: Sara Goldrick-Rab is coeditor of Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability and has written on education issues for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. She founded the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s first research laboratory aimed at making college affordable, and is a noted influence on the development of both federal and state higher education policies. Dr. Goldrick-Rab is professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University.

This event is co-sponsored by Boswell. The event sponsor is Milwaukee Public Library and Wisconsin Hope Lab.


A talk and performance by Lil’ Rev, for the CD Claw and Hammer 
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 7 pm at Boswell

Lil’ Rev grew up in Milwaukee, WI, where he still resides today. Growing up in the shadows of American Motors Corp, Briggs Stratton, and A.O. Smith, he was inspired by the sights and sounds of an industrial powerhouse in flux. While Lil’ Rev is well known for his ukulele and harmonica stylings, he is also a seasoned multi-instrumentalist equally adept at old time banjo, flat-pick guitar, and blues mandolin.

About the Musician: Lil’ Rev is a Milwaukee-based songwriter, instrumentalist, storyteller, historian, educator, and interpreter of American roots music and culture. His fascination with all things ukulele and harmonica keep him busy teaching and performing all across North America. Lil’ Rev performs for schools, libraries, folk societies, festivals, music stores, concert series, house concerts, ukulele clubs, churches, temples, and just about any kind of wholesome venue you might conjure up.


A night of Chicago-area writers, featuring Gina Frangello, author of Every Kind of Wanting
and Christine Sneed, author of The Virginity of Famous Men
Friday, September 23, 2016, 7 pm at Boswell

Every Kind of Wanting explores the complex intersection of three unique families and their bustling efforts to have a "Community Baby." Miguel could not be more different from his partner Chad, a happy-go-lucky real estate mogul from Chicago’s wealthy North Shore. When Chad’s sister, Gretchen, offers the couple an egg, their search for a surrogate leads them to Miguel’s old friend Emily, happily married to an eccentric Irish playwright, Nick, with whom she is raising two boys. Into this web falls Miguel's sister, Lina, a former addict and stripper, who begins a passionate affair with Nick while deciphering the mysteries of her past.

But every action these couples make has unforeseen consequences. As Lina faces her long-hidden demons, and the fragile friendships between Miguel and Chad and Nick and Emily begin to fray as the baby's birth draws near, a shocking turn of events—and the secret Lina's been hiding—threatens to break them apart forever.

The Virginity of Famous Men, award-winning story writer Christine Sneed’s deeply perceptive collection on the human condition, features protagonists attempting to make peace with the paths they have taken thus far. In “The Prettiest Girls,” a location scout for a Hollywood film studio falls in love with a young Mexican woman who is more in love with the idea of stardom than with the older American man who takes her with him back to California. “Clear Conscience” focuses on the themes of family loyalty, divorce, motherhood, and whether “doing the right thing” is, in fact, always the right thing to do. In “Beach Vacation,” a mother realizes that her popular and coddled teenaged son has become someone she has difficulty relating to, let alone loving with the same maternal fervor that once was second nature to her. The title story, “The Virginity of Famous Men,” explores family and fortune.

Long intrigued by love and loneliness, Sneed leads readers through emotional landscapes both familiar and uncharted. These probing stories are explorations of the compassionate and passionate impulses that are inherent in—and often the source of—both abiding joy and serious distress in every human life.

About the Author: Gina Frangello is the author of the Target Emerging Authors selection, A Life in Men, which was also a book club selection. She is also the author of two other books of fiction: Slut Lullabies, a Foreword Magazine Best Book of the Year finalist, and My Sister's Continent. She is the founder of Other Voices Books, has served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, the fiction editor for The Nervous Breakdown, Executive Editor for Other Voices magazine, and the faculty editor for TriQuarterly Online.

About the Author: Christine Sneed has published the novels Paris, He Said and Little Known Facts, and the story collection Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry. She received the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, Ploughshare’s Zacharis Prize, the Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year Award, and the Society of Midland Authors Award for Best Adult Fiction of 2013. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, New England Review, and elsewhere.


Christopher Hebert, author of Angels of Detroit
Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 7 pm, at Boswell

Christopher Hebert’s new novel Angels of Detroit, delivers a kaleidoscopic of an iconic American City, of abandonment, hope, violence, and resilience—and the lives intersecting on Detroit’s margins. Once an example of American industrial might, Detroit has gone bankrupt, its streets dark, and its storefronts vacant. Miles of city blocks lie empty; saplings grow through the cracked foundations of abandoned buildings. Hebert takes an urban wasteland whose history is plagued with riots and unrest and reimagines it as an ambiguous frontier—a site of tenacity and possible hope. With razor-sharp, beguiling prose, we are drawn into the lives of multiple characters who are struggling to define their futures in this desolate landscape. Each of their desires are distinct, and their visions for a better city are on a collision course in this master plotted epic.

Multiple characters struggle to define their futures in this desolate landscape: a scrappy group of activists trying to save the city with placards and protests; a curious child who knows the blighted city as her own personal playground; an elderly great-grandmother eking out a community garden in an oil-soaked patch of dirt; a carpenter with an explosive idea of how to give the city a new start; a confused idealist who has stumbled into debt to a human trafficker; a weary corporate executive who believes she is doing right by the city she remembers at its prime.

About the Author: Christopher Hebert is the author of the novel The Boiling Season, winner of the of the 2013 Friends of American Writers award. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Five Chapters, Cimarron Review, Narrative, Interview, and The Millions. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and is editor-at-large for the University of Michigan Press. Hebert is currently the Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee Libraries and lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

About Valerie Laken: Valerie Laken is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Laken holds advanced degrees in Creative Writing and Slavic Languages and Literatures, from the University of Michigan.


A talk and scene preview of Man of La Mancha, adapted from the classic Don Quixote, by the cast from Milwaukee Rep
Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 2pm at Boswell

Join us for a free talk and scene preview from the Milwaukee Rep cast of Man of La Mancha, adapted from the classic Don Quixote and the winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

It’s an adventurous tale of a knight’s heroic battle. It’s a fairy tale with a tragic love story. It’s a tale of an old man gone mad and his family searching desperately for him. It’s all of those things and more. With incredible songs that you know and love, you won’t want to miss The Rep’s next big musical. Man of La Mancha will run from September 30-October 30 and is recommended for audiences 14+.

Please note, this event is free, but tickets to the musical can be purchased on The Rep’s website.


Jennifer Chiaverini, Fates and Traitors: A Novel on John Wilkes Booth
Wednesday September 28, 2016, 6:30 pm, at Kenosha Public Library-Northside Neighborhood Library

John Wilkes Booth, the driven son of an acclaimed British stage actor and a Covent Garden flower girl, whose quest to avenge the Confederacy led him to commit one of the most infamous acts in American history has long been the subject of speculation and even obsession.

But what is less known is the story of the four women who were integral in the life of this unquiet American: Mary Ann, the mother he revered; Asia, his sister and confidante; Lucy Lambert Hale, the senator’s daughter who loved him; and Mary Surratt, the Confederate widow to whom he entrusted the secret of his vengeful wrath. From a tumultuous childhood on a farm in Maryland, to the glittering ballrooms of DC, the novel portrays not just a soul in turmoil, but a country at the precipice of immense change.

About the Author: Madison-based Jennifer Chiaverini is the bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, The Spymistress, Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival, and Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, as well as the Elm Creek Quilts series and Christmas Bells.


Thursday, September 29, 2016, 7 pm at Boswell

The 2012 presidential elections represented the second consecutive defeat for the Republican Party, and its fourth defeat out of the last six presidential elections. In recent years both Republican and Democratic strategists and pundits have spoken of an emerging Democratic Party "lock" on the Electoral College and speculated that even in the wake of Republican victories in Congress, presidential candidates are still at a major disadvantage due to the party's increasing demographic and geographic isolation.

In Altered States, Thomas Holbrook looks at party fortunes in presidential elections since 1972, documenting the magnitude, direction, and consequences of changes in party support in the states. He finds that the Democrats do not have a "lock" on the Electoral College, but that their position has improved dramatically over the past forty years in a number of formerly competitive or Republican-leaning states in the Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest. Republican candidates have made many fewer gains, mostly improving their position in "misplaced," formerly Democratic states, such as Kentucky and West Virginia, or in already deeply Republican states in the Plains and Mountain West. Holbrook looks at the ways that the racial and ethnic composition of the state electorates, internal (state to state) and external (foreign born) migratory patterns, and other key demographic and political characteristics drive these changes. Additionally, he explores the ways in which increasing partisan polarization at the national level has altered group-based party linkages and contributed to changes in party support at the state level. These factors, along with an increasingly inefficient distribution of Republican votes, have converted what was once a Republican edge in electoral votes to an advantage for Democratic presidential candidates.

About the Author: Thomas M. Holbrook is Wilder Crane Professor of Government at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin, author and illistrator Click, Clack, Surprise!
Friday, September 30, 2016, 3:30 pm at Wauwatosa Public Library

Little Duck learns how to celebrate his birthday with a little help from all the other animals on the farm in this charming picture book from the award-winning duo, Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. Happy first birthday, Little Duck!

Everyone wants to look their best for the party. But Little Duck has never had a birthday before—so how better to learn how to prepare than to do what all the other animals do! The sheep trim their wool—so Little Duck trims her feathers. All over the barnyard Little Duck snips, slurps, squishes, and shimmy shakes herself ready until...WHOOPS! It’s party picture time—and Little Duck is a big mess. No matter—it’s not something Farmer Brown’s frosted maple cake can’t fix!

About the Author: Doreen Cronin is the author of The Chicken Squad series and many bestselling picture books, including Click, Clack, Ho, Ho, Ho; Click, Clack, Peep; Click, Clack, Boo!; Dooby Dooby Moo; Thump, Quack, Moo; Bounce; Wiggle; Duck for President; Giggle, Giggle, Quack; and the Caldecott Honor Book Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.

About the Illustrator: Betsy Lewin is the Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type and its sequels, Click, Clack, Ho, Ho, Ho; Click, Clack, Peep; Click, Clack, Boo! Giggle, Giggle, Quack; Duck for President; Dooby Dooby Moo; and Thump, Quack, Moo; in addition to a number of other picture books, including So, What’s It Like to Be a Cat? and Where Is Tippy Toes?


More Upcoming Events

  • Monday, October 3, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - The in-store lit group discusses Sister Carrie, based on the novel by Theodore Dreiser, and the basis for a world premiere commission from the Florentine Opera Company. Our discussion will include UWM's Jason Puskar, Chicago historian Amanda Seligman, and a representative from the Florentine. Sister Carrie has two performances scheduled, on October 7 and 9. More info here.
  • Tuesday, October 4, 6:30 pm, at the Cudahy Family Library, 3500 Library Dr, 53110 - Ben Hatke, author of Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl
  • Tuesday, October 4, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - Robert Olen Butler , author of Perfume River and A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain, in conversation with Cardinal Stritch University’s David Riordan
  • Wednesday, October 5, 6:30 pm, at the West Allis Public Library, 7421 W National Ave – Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Ashes , the third volume in the Seeds of America trilogy
  • Friday, October 7, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - Margot Livesey, author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy, in conversation with UWM's Liam Callanan, cosponsored by the UWM English Department Creative Writing Program
  • Friday, October 14, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - Phyllis Piano, author of Hostile Takeover
  • Tuesday, October 18, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - a ticketed event with Jennifer Weiner, author of  Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing, in conversation with Jim Higgins of the Journal Sentinel. Tickets are $28, include admission and a copy of the book, and will be available at Brown Paper Tickets on July 15.
  • Wednesday, October 19, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - a ticketed event with Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth, in conversation with Jane Hamilton. Tickets are $28, include admission and a copy of the book, and will be available at Brown Paper Tickets on July 15.
  • Friday, October 21, 6:30 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall, 733 N Eighth St - Jacqueline Woodson, author of Another Brooklyn, her first novel for adults in twenty years. This event is cosponsored by the Milwaukee Public Library and YWCA Southeast Wisconsin.
  • Saturday, October 22, 11:00 am, at Boswell – Patricia Polacco, author of Because of Thursday, The Keeping Quilt, and My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother
  • Sunday, October 23, 3:00 pm, at Boswell - Antoine Laurain, author of French Rhapsody, The President's Hat, and The Red Notebook, cosponsored by Alliance Française.
  • Monday, October 24, 6:30 pm, at Greenfield Performing Arts Center, 4800 S 60th St - Dav Pilkey, author of  Dog Man, and the Captain Underpants series, and more, cosponsored by Greenfield Public Library and the Greenfield School District
  • Friday, October 28, 6:30 pm, at Boswell - a cat-tastic Halloween party featuring Nick Bruel, author of Bad Kitty, Scaredy-Cat
  • Tuesday, November 1, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - Glen Jeansonne, author of Herbert Hoover: A Life , introduced by David Luhrssen, arts editor of the Shepherd Express
  • Wednesday, November 2, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Brenda DeVita, artistic director of the American Players Theatre, with a talk on “Why Shakespeare Matters,” cosponsored by the University of Wisconsin Foundation
  • Saturday, November 5, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, at the Irish Cultural Center, 2133 W Wisconsin Ave - a ticketed day of thrills at the Murder and Mayhem conference, featuring Kristi Belcamino, Lou Berne, Cara Black, Dana Cameron, Matthew Clemons, Blake Crouch, Meg Gardiner, Heather Graham, Alex Grecian, Timothy Hallinan, Chris Holm, Joe Lansdale, Jess Lourey, Lisa Lutz, David Morrell, Daniel Palmer, Sara Paretsky, Brad Parks, Nicholas Petrie, Bryon Quertermous, Janet Reid, Todd Robinson, Marcus Sakey, Tom Schreck, Alex Segura, Johnny Shaw, and many other favorites, sponsored by Crimespree Magazine. Tickets are $40 and available now
  • Monday, November 14, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30 talk, at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Road in River Hills - a ticketed book club night with Jane Glaser, Daniel Goldin, and Lauren Fox, author of  Days of Awe. More info to come
  • Wednesday, November 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - Whodunits from Wisconsin women, featuring Patricia Skalka, author of Death in Cold Water, and Kathleen Ernst, author of A Memory of Muskets, cosponsored by Crimespree magazine
  • Wednesday, December 7, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - Lucy Jane Bledsoe, author of A Thin Bright Line, of which, Alison Bechdel wrote: "This is gripping historical fiction about queer life at the height of the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement, and its grounding in fact really makes it sing."
  • Friday, December 9, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - Theatre Gigante presents Michael Stebbins reading "The Santaland Diaries" (the original story) from David Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice, read with the permission of Don Congdon Associates, Inc.