Details for our upcoming events are below. You can find a line listing of other confirmed author appearances at the bottom of the page.
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The dramatic increase in U.S. prison populations since the 1970s is often blamed on the mandatory sentencing required by three strikes laws and other punitive crime bills. Michael O’Hear shows that the blame is actually not so easy to assign. His meticulous analysis of incarceration in Wisconsin a state where judges have considerable discretion in sentencing shows that the prison population has ballooned anyway, increasing nearly tenfold over forty years.
O’Hear tracks the effects of sentencing laws and politics in Wisconsin from the eve of the imprisonment boom in 1970 up to the 2010s. Drawing on archival research, original public-opinion polling, and interviews with dozens of key policymakers, he reveals important dimensions that have been missed by others. He draws out the lessons from the incarcerations that have cost taxpayers billions of dollars and caused untold misery to millions of inmates and their families.
About the Author: Michael O’Hear is a professor of law at Marquette University. He is an editor of the journal Federal Sentencing Reporter and has published many articles on sentencing law, criminal procedure, and public opinion about the criminal justice system.
This event is cosponsored by the American Constitution Society Milwaukee Lawyers Chapter.
Have you ever wondered: how they got booked on that TV show or how can I become the go-to expert on TV? Tap into the power of Emmy Award-winner and 20-year media veteran Katrina Cravy and her "H.A.V.E." formula for great TV! From drafting email pitches to television producers, to maintain a sizzling social media apperance, Cravy reveals all of the industry’s best kept secrets.
In addition, Cravy is offering a free 30-minute coaching session and with every book purchased, you can be entered into a raffle to win a free headshot session with the photographer who took all of her headshots. Visit Cravy’s Facebook event page for more details!
About the Author: Katrina Cravy is an Emmy Award-Winning consumer reporter and a former TV host for Fox 6 and now is a publicity coach.
In the event you missed Nick Petrie in our in-store event here’s your chance to catch the next breakout thriller writer, who has been hiding in plain sight in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.
Jim Higgins, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offers, “Gripping action scenes featuring Ash, a lethally skilled veteran with significant post-traumatic stress disorder, have led some readers to liken Petrie's fiction to Lee Child's bestselling Jack Reacher novels. In fact, Child himself has spontaneously praised Petrie's creation in public forums on more than one occasion.”
And if you are a fan of Lee Chlid’s Jack Reacher and need further convincing, David Martindale, of the Star Telegram says, “Reacher fans, especially those who have consumed all of Child’s novels and are thirsting for more, will find Peter Ash to be a more-than-capable substitute.”
Milwaukee native and Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar discusses the play that took Broadway by storm and got everyone talking. Amir, a successful Pakistani-American lawyer, is happy, in love, and about to land a huge promotion. But when he and his wife, a Caucasian artist inspired by Islamic painting, host a dinner party for Amir’s African American co-worker and her Jewish husband, the evening takes an unexpected turn and Amir makes a costly decision. Join us for a free talk about this social drama depicting racial prejudices among cultural groups.
The Milwaukee Rep production of Disgraced runs from January 17 through February 12 in the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater. Tickets can be purchased at The Milwaukee Rep’s website.
About the Author: Ayad Akhtar is a screenwriter, playwright, actor, and novelist. He is the author of the novel American Dervish and was nominated for a 2006 Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay for the film The War Within. Disgraced was produced at New York's Lincoln Center Theater in 2012 and was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
This event is cosponsored by The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.
Longlisted for the National Book Award, The Portable Veblen is set amid a California culture clash of new money and antiestablishment values. A young couple on the brink of marriage the charming Veblen and her fiancé Paul, a brilliant neurologist finds their engagement in collapse. As Veblen and Paul face off with their families, a seductive pharmaceutical heiress, and one charismatic squirrel, Elizabeth McKenzie asks: Where do our families end and we begin? How do we stay true to our ideals? And what’s that squirrel really thinking? Replete with deadpan photos and sly appendices, The Portable Veblen is a bighearted inquiry into what we look for in love.
About the Author: Elizabeth McKenzie is the author of a collection, Stop That Girl, short-listed for The Story Prize, and the novel MacGregor Tells the World, a Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and Library Journal Best Book of the year. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. She received her MA from Stanford, was an assistant fiction editor at The Atlantic, and is currently an editor at the Chicago Quarterly Review and the Catamaran Literary Reader.
Pittsburgh toilet, squeaky cheese, city chicken, shampoo banana, and Chevy in the Hole are all phrases that are familiar to Midwesterners but sound foreign to anyone living outside the region. This book explains not only what Midwesterners say but also how and why they say it and covers such topics as: the causes of the Northern cities vowel shift, why the accents in Fargo miss the nasality that’s a hallmark of Minnesota speech, and why Chicagoans talk more like people from Buffalo than their next-door neighbors in Wisconsin. Readers from the Midwest will have a better understanding of why they talk the way they do, and readers who are not from the Midwest will know exactly what to say the next time someone ends a sentence with ”eh?”.
About the Author: Edward McClelland is a journalist. His writing has appeared in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Salon. He is the author of Nothin’ But Blue Skies and Young Mr. Obama.
FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa Tessie Finley, she’s in over her head. PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.
Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society, as if dealing with the tragic drowning of her beloved father, showering tender loving care on her sweet but weird younger sister, Birdie, and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie Cue Ball Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood, particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to homes. And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life.
About the Author: Lesley Kagen is an actress, voice-over talent, speaker, and award-winning bestselling author of eight novels, including The Undertaking of Tess. Her work has been translated into seven languages.
T Bone Burnett is a unique, astonishingly prolific music producer, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and soundtrack visionary. Renowned as a studio maven with the Midas touch, Burnett is known for lifting artists to their greatest heights, as he did with Raising Sand, the multiple Grammy Award-winning album by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, as well as acclaimed albums by Los Lobos, the Wallflowers, B. B. King, and Elvis Costello. Burnett virtually invented Americana with his hugely successful roots-based soundtrack for the Coen Brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Outspoken in his contempt for the entertainment industry, Burnett has nevertheless received many of its highest honors, including Grammy Awards and an Academy Award.
T Bone Burnett offers the first critical appreciation of Burnett’s wide-ranging contributions to American music, his passionate advocacy for analog sound, and the striking contradictions that define his maverick artistry. Lloyd Sachs highlights all the important aspects of Burnett’s musical pursuits, from his early days as a member of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue and his collaboration with the playwright Sam Shepard to the music he recently composed for the TV shows Nashville and True Detective and his production of the all-star album Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. Sachs also underscores Burnett’s brilliance as a singer-songwriter in his own right. Going well beyond the labels legendary or visionary that usually accompany his name, T Bone Burnett reveals how this consummate music maker has exerted a powerful influence on American music and culture across four decades.
About the Author: A nationally known voice on popular culture, Lloyd Sachs has written about pop music and jazz for many publications, including Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, and JazzTimes. He was a longtime music columnist and award-winning editorial writer at the Chicago Sun-Times and a senior editor at No Depression.
About the Special Guest: John Sieger has written songs for over twenty artists, including Dwight Yoakam, The Bodeans and Jerry Harrison. Recently John collaborated with guitar phenom, Greg Koch, producing over 70 songs, some of which are found on his latest release, “A Walk In The Park” and Greg’s disc, “Plays Well With Others.” Sieger contributes a regular column in Urban Milwaukee called Sieger On Songs, where he gets to rhapsodize about his favorite songs. He also has a monthly segment on WUWM’s Lake Effect called “The Monthly Beatdown,” featuring him and a guest performing his songs.
In the tradition of Schulz and Peanuts, an epic and revelatory biography of Krazy Kat creator George Herriman explores the turbulent time and place from which he emerged and the deep secret he explored through his art.
The creator of the greatest comic strip in history finally gets his due in an eye-opening biography that lays bare the truth about his art, his heritage, and his life on America’s color line. A native of nineteenth-century New Orleans, George Herriman came of age as an illustrator, journalist, and cartoonist in the boomtown of Los Angeles and the wild metropolis of New York. Appearing in the biggest newspapers of the early twentieth century, including those owned by William Randolph Hearst, Herriman’s Krazy Kat cartoons quickly propelled him to fame. Although fitfully popular with readers of the period, his work has been widely credited with elevating cartoons from daily amusements to anarchic art.
Drawing on exhaustive original research into Herriman’s family history, interviews with surviving friends and family, and deep analysis of the artist’s work and surviving written records, Tisserand brings this little-understood figure to vivid life, paying homage to a visionary artist who helped shape modern culture.
About the Author: Michael Tisserand is the author of The Kingdom of Zydeco, which won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music writing, and the Hurricane Katrina memoir Sugarcane Academy. He served as editor of Gambit Weekly, New Orleans’ alternative newsweekly.
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her mother's suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance and the subsequent cover-up will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: what if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
Boswellians and critics alike have fallen in love with this #1 October Indiebound pick. Proprietor Daniel Goldin offers, “Bennett’s characters ponder their identities, in terms of race, gender, and belief system, all with a distinctive and vibrant San Diego setting and a Greek chorus of church ladies having their say. The Mothers is a passionate and nuanced novel about love, friendship, choices, and of course, mothering.”
About the Author: Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Jezebel. She is one of the National Book Foundation's 2016 5 Under 35 honorees.
Neither a primer on online dating nor a gender-biased lament on love gone wrong, David H. Mathews' memoir, Lemons and Lemonade, explores the connections and disconnections he made while searching the .com world for romance.
After subscribing to a dating site, David struggles to concoct a suitably provocative profile, stumbles and falls with several mismatched matches, then finally connects with, and promptly marries, Clare, the love of his life. Actual email exchanges chronicle their blurrily fast courtship.
David shares his honest-to-God interactions with honest-to-God women in the voice of a plain-speaking Indiana farm boy who spent his youth playing basketball, fondling cheerleaders, baling hay, and shoveling manure.
About the Author: David H. Mathews lives in River Hills, Wisconsin with his wife of ten years. Lemons and Lemonade is Mathews’ first book.
In the depths of a depression in 1894, a highly successful Gilded Age businessman named Jacob Coxey led a group of jobless men on a march from his hometown of Massillon, Ohio, to the steps of the nation’s Capital. Though a financial panic and the resulting widespread business failures caused millions of Americans to be without work at the time, the word "unemployment" was rarely used and generally misunderstood. In an era that worshipped the self-reliant individual who triumphed in a laissez-faire market, the out-of-work tramp was disparaged as weak or flawed and undeserving of assistance. Private charities were unable to meet the needs of the jobless, and only a few communities experimented with public works programs. Despite these limitations, Coxey conceived of a plan to put millions back to work building a nationwide system of roads and drew attention to his idea with the march to Washington.
In Coxey’s Crusade for Jobs, Jerry Prout recounts Coxey’s story and adds depth and context by focusing on the reporters who were embedded in the march. Their fascinating depictions of life on the road occupied the headlines and front pages of America’s newspapers for more than a month, turning the spectacle into a serialized drama. These accounts humanized the idea of unemployment and helped Americans realize that in a new industrial economy, unemployment was not going away, and the unemployed deserved attention.
About the Author: Gerald (Jerry) Prout is a visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Marquette University. He earned his Ph.D. from George Mason University. He also holds M.A. degrees from both American University (Political Science) and Duke University (European History). Prof. Prout teaches courses in political economy with emphasis on the political agency of transnational corporations.
From beloved Caldecott Honor artist Lois Ehlert comes a clever and funny valentine celebrating love and friendship. Readers of all ages will go bananas for this pun-filled and sweet story filled with rebuses and love. Alphabet letters and bold, graphic images of fruits and vegetables come together in this endearing and playful book that is perfect for sharing.
About the Author: Lois Ehlert has created numerous inventive, celebrated, and bestselling picture books, including Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Growing Vegetable Soup, and Color Zoo, which received a Caldecott Honor. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A compelling collection of stories from a riveting memoir that begins with the author's birth during the rise of Hitler in 1930’s Germany. He and his surviving family soon escape to Holland and sail to America, where they encounter many challenges as immigrants in a new world. This country truly becomes a land of opportunity where one can build a new life and become more than just a "Holocaust survivor."
Fred Amram spent his early years in Hanover, Germany, where he experienced the Holocaust from its inception in 1933. He witnessed Kristallnacht and the Gestapo invading his home. He watched the British bombers from his balcony when Jews were banned from air raid shelters. The loss of uncles, aunts, a grandmother, and many more relatives has motivated him to share his experiences in hopes of ending genocide everywhere.
About the Author: Fred Amram is a Professor Emeritus in the General College at the University of Minnesota. Amram is the recipient of the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award and has taught courses in the areas of speech communication and creativity.
High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage.
Told from three points of view Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling, Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to death.
About the Author: Mindy Mejia received her MFA from Hamline University. Her debut novel is The Dragon Keeper.
About Carole E. Barrowman: In addition to being a mystery critic for the Journal Sentinel and a guest host on Morning Blend, Carole Barrowman is a professor of English and the director of Creative Studies in Writing at Alverno College, where she has taught since 1987. She has written six books, including Exodus Code, Hollow Earth, and the London Times bestseller Anything Goes, as well as the comic book Captain Jack and the Selkie.
This event is cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine.
Louise is a single mom and secretary stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone. When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
Then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, and also happens to be married to David. David and Adele may look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
About the Author: Sarah Pinborough is an award-winning YA and adult thriller, fantasy, horror novelist, and screenwriter. She has published more than 20 novels, written for the BBC, and is currently working with several television companies on original projects. Her recent novels include the dystopian love story, The Death House, and a teenage thriller, 13 Minutes, which has been bought by Netflix with Josh Schwartz adapting.
This event is cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine.
Elinor Lipman, the grand dame of American comic fiction, returns to Milwaukee for a very special ticketed event at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. Lipman, whose new novel is On Turpentine Lane, will be in conversation with Bonnie North, cohost of Lake Effect, which airs on 89.7 WUWM, Milwaukee Public Radio.
Milwaukee and Lipman have a very special bond. The Cream City has been a stop on every one of Elinor Lipman's book tours since Isabel's Bed in 1995. Lipman was a crowd pleaser as the guest speaker at the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library for The View from Penthouse B and cut the ribbon for Boswell's grand opening in 2009 for The Family Man.
Together we hope to make this the best Elinor Lipman event ever, and that's saying a lot, because there have been a lot of great ones. Tickets for this event are $26, and include admission and a copy of On Turpentine Lane. $5 from every ticket purchase will go back to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. You can purchase your ticket at Brown Paper Tickets or by phone at 800-838-3006.
Renowned Zoologist and Animal Behaviorist, Patricia McConnell combines brilliant insights into canine behavior gained from her work with aggressive and fearful dogs with heartwarming stories of her own dogs and their life on the farm. In her memoir, McConnell is forced to face her past by her love for a young Border Collie named Will, whose frequent, unpredictable outbreaks of fear and fury shake Patricia to her core.
Tickets for this are $25 for general setting and $35 for preferred seating. Tickets can be purchased on the Wisconsin Humane Society’s website.
Additionally, tickets do not include the price of the book, however books will be available for purchase.
Doors open for this event at 6 pm.
About the Author: Patricia McConnell, PhD, is an internationally known Zoologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who has treated serious behavior problems in dogs for over twenty-five years. She speaks around the world about canine behavior and training, and is the author of fourteen books, including the critically acclaimed The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do around Dogs. Dr. McConnell lives with her dogs and husband on a small farm near Madison, Wisconsin.
More Upcoming Events
- Sunday, February 26, 3:00 pm, at Boswell – Karen Branan, author of The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth . This event is cosponsored by America’s Black Holocaust Museum
- Tuesday, February 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Michael Newman, author of Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America
- Thursday, March 2, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Kelly Jensen and Mikki Kendal, editor of and contributor to Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw, and Speak About Feminism for the Real World
- Monday, March 6, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Will Schwalbe, author of Books for Living and The End of Your Life Book Club
- Tuesday, March 7, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Nickolas Butler, author of The Hearts of Men and Shotgun Lovesongs
- Wednesday, March 8, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Jerome Buting, author of Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System in conversation with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich
- Thursday, March 9, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Margaret George, author of The Confessions of Young Nero and Mary, Called Magdalene
- Friday, March 10, 7:00 pm, Boswell – Journal Sentinel Reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist Dan Egan, author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes
- Wednesday, March 15, 7:00 pm, at Boswell –Beloit College Professor of Religious Studies Debra Majeed, author of Polygyny: What It Means When African American Muslim Women Share Their Husbands
- Thursday, March 16, 7:00 pm, at the Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center, 1500 E Park Pl –UW Eau Claire Associate Professor of English B.J. Hollars, author of Flock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds. Suggested admission is $10, $5 for Urban Ecology members.
- Monday, March 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Former Milwaukeean Patty Yumi Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
- Tuesday, March 21, 1:00 pm, at Boswell – a special afternoon event with Renee Rosen, author of Windy City Blues, cosponsored by UWM’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
- Wednesday, March 29, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Jami Attenberg, author of All Grown Up, in conversation with Wendy McClure
- Thursday, March 30 , 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Donna Seaman, author of Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists
- Sunday, April 2, 4:30 pm, at the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N Santa Monica Blvd in Whitefish Bay – Michael Tisserand, author of Bertram Court
- Thursday, April 6 , 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Jim Higgins, author of Wisconsin Literary Luminaries: From Laura Ingalls Wilder to Ayad Akhtar
- Saturday, April 15 , 2:00 pm, at Boswell – a book club afternoon with Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Next, with recommendations from Jane Glaser and Daniel Goldin
- Monday, April 17 , 6:30 pm, University School of Milwaukee, 2100 E Fairy Chasm Rd in River Hills – Deborah Heitner, author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World
- Thursday, April 27, 7:00 pm, at Turner Hall, 1034 N Fourth Street – Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
- Friday, April 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Jo Piazza, author of How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents about Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage
- Friday, May 5, 11:00 am (signing), 12 Noon (lunch), at The Wisconsin Club – the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch, featuring Elizabeth Strout, author of Anything is Possible. Tickets available soon!
- Wednesday, May 17, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Guggenheim Fellowship and Story Prize winner Mary Gordon, author of There Your Heart Lies
Please remember that while we try to update this page as frequently as possible, all events are subject to change. If you have any concerns, please contact Boswell. Also note that ticketed events do sell out, and all events are subject to capacity. It never hurts to come early.