Welcome to Boswell Book Company's website!

For our tenth year, we have a commemorative logo, featuring a very special toad playing the part of James Boswell. For those who like to know these things, James Boswell has been the face of a Milwaukee bookstore since 1973 and the children's book that inspired this illustration was the favorite of more than one generation of the Harry W. Schwartz family. We're honored to carry on the tradition of storefront bookselling in Milwaukee.

We bet you want to know where we are and how to get a hold of us. Our address is 2559 N Downer Ave, on the same block as the Downer Theatre, up the bluff from Lincoln Memorial Drive. We're north of Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital and south of UWM. We're about three miles northeast of downtown Milwaukee, located on the MCTS Gold Line.

Our phone is (414) 332-1181. If you like old phone trivia, 332 is the old EDgewood exchange. Our general email is info@boswellbooks.com. This is for special orders, upcoming event info, or other questions you may have. 

We're open 10 am to 9 pm from Monday through Saturday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday. We're closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and have limited hours on several other holidays. In addition, we sometimes close early for ticketed in-store events.

Our site search engine is not as good as some of our well-financed online competitors, but it will do. One of the nice things we like to point out is that you can check inventory and even the subsection of the book, but be aware, the number does not take into account customer holds, receiving errors, and general misshelving. As we like to say, we just need one person to put a book back in the wrong place for it to be lost forever, or at least until we do our next section check. Our system allows you to put a book on hold without first registering an account. Try it!


Wednesday, January 23, 5:00 pm, at Weasler Auditorium, Marquette University, 1506 W Wisconsin Ave

Marquette Forum presents award-winning journalist Anna Clark, who has covered the Flint, Michigan water scandal from its beginnings, for a talk about her account of the crisis. Registration for this free event is required - click here.

This event is cosponsored by Marquette University College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Engineering, the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities, Friends and Alumni of Marquette English, the Office of Student Development, and Boswell Book Company.

When the people of Flint, Michigan, turned on their faucets in April 2014, the water pouring out was poisoned with lead and other toxins. In the first full-length account of this epic failure, Clark recounts the gripping story of Flint’s poisoned water, the people who caused it, and those who suffered from it. It is a chronicle of one town, but also a story of neglect of infrastructure and the erosion of democratic decision-making. Cities like Flint are set up to fail, and for the people who live and work in them, the consequences may be mortal.

Detroit-based Anna Clark is a journalist whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Columbia Journalism Review. She edited A Detroit Anthology, a Michigan Notable Book, and was a Fulbright fellow in Kenya and a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan. The Poisoned City was named a Notable Book of 2018 by The Washington Post.


Friday, January 25, 2:30 pm, at American Geographic Society Library, Golda Meir Library, 2311 E Hartford Ave

The LACUSL speaker series presents a special afternoon event in two parts, featuring author Laura Rose Wagner, archivist for the Radio Haiti project at the David M. Rubenstein Library at Duke University. Cosponsored by UWM Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the department of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature, Digital Humanities Lab, UWM Libraries, Master of Arts in Language, Literature, and Translation, and Boswell Book Company.

Part one of this event, at 2:30 pm, is titled “Bringing Memory Home: The Digital Repatriation of the Archive of Radio Haïti-Inter" and focuses on a discussion about Radio Haiti, the archive and digitization project, and the challenges of keeping memory alive. From the early 1970s until 2003, Haiti's first independent radio station broadcast investigative reporting and critical analysis in Haitian Creole. Since 2014, the Rubenstein Library at Duke University, where Wagner is an archivist, has been digitizing the audio archive of Radio Haiti 

Part two of this event, at 3:45 pm, features conversation and readings with Laura Rose Wagner from Hold Tight, Don't Let Go, her young adult novel about a girl's journey out of the rubble of the 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince.


Tim Johnston, author of The Current
Monday, January 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

Author of the bestselling novel Descent comes to Boswell with The Current, a tour de force literary thriller about the indelible impact of a crime on the lives of innocent people in small Minnesota town. Boswell’s Mystery Book Club will be discussing Johnston’s first novel, Descent, at 6 pm before this event.

In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their car from the icy Black Root River. One is found downriver, drowned, while the other is found at the scene, half frozen but alive. What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens the community’s memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, whose killer may still live among them.

A starred recommendation from Kirkus Reviews calls The Current, “deceptively thick yet brutally delicate as winter ice itself… An apt title that functions as a beautiful metaphor for all the secrets and emotions roiling beneath the surface of every human life.” This atmospheric story is perfect for thriller readers who want substance without losing any suspense. And just in from Elfrieda Abbe in the Star Tribune :"Pick up Tim Johnston’s suspenseful novel The Current and you risk finding yourself glued to your chair, eyes to the pages, no thought of attending to daily obligations." 

Tim Johnston is author of Descent, Irish Girl, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize, and the YA novel Never So Green. Tim’s stories have appeared in New England Review, The Iowa Review, and Narrative Magazine, and he’s won the O. Henry Prize. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


YA Boswell! Featuring Brigid Kemmerer, author A Curse So Dark and Lonely, AC Gaughen, author Imprison the Sky, and Mimi Yu, author The Girl King
in conversation with Jaime and Erin Arkin
Tuesday, January 29, 6:30 pm, at Boswell

Three awesome authors, one night only - It’s a YA Boswell! Party, where adults and teens have a chance to meet their next favorite YA writers, with interviews by Fiction Fare bloggers Erin and Jaime Arkin.

Brigid Kemmerer, author of the Elemental series and Letters to the Lost, appears with her lush retelling of Beauty and the Beast, featuring a kingdom in peril and a heart-stopping romance that’s perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer. Booklist’s starred review called it “an absorbing, emotional roller coaster of a read.”

AC Gaughen, author of Scarlet, continues her Elementae series that fans of Sarah J. Maas will love with more magic and heart-stopping romance. 18-year-old Aspasia, an Elementae who controls air, gets caught in a battle between Cyrus, who forces her to capture slaves for market, and a queen whose husband experiments on Elementae.

Mimi Yu’s debut is a richly imagined high fantasy inspired by East Asian history that fans of Sabaa Tahir will love. Lu, an ambitious princess, has her throne stolen by a conniving male cousin. At the same time, her meek sister Minyi is still trying to figure out where she belongs, and Nokhai, a boy born into a nation of shape-shifters, is unable to shift his shape.

Brigid Kemmerer is author of More Than We Can Tell, Thicker Than Water, and the Elementals series. AC Gaughen is author of the Elementae series, Lady Thief, and Lion Heart. She is Director of Girls' Leadership for Boston GLOW and has degrees from St. Andrews University in Scotland and Harvard University. Mimi Yu is an alumna of the Popular Fiction workshop at VONA/Voices and has a BA from Sarah Lawrence and an MFA in Fine Art from Parsons The New School for Design.


Nick Petrie, author of Tear It Down
Tuesday, January 29, 6:30 pm, at Whitefish Bay Library, 5420 N Marlborough Dr

Whitefish Bay’s own Nick Petrie appears for a special encore presentation of the latest installment in his thrilling Peter Ash series at Whitefish Bay Library.

Peter Ash pursues one case and stumbles into another in the City of the Blues. Someone has just driven a dump truck into war correspondent Wanda’s Memphis living room. At the same time, a homeless young street musician is roped into a heist gone wrong and soon he’s running for his life. When his getaway car breaks down, he steals Peter’s green Chevrolet pickup truck.

Peter finds himself stuck between Memphis gangsters looking for Rolexes and revenge and a Mississippi ex-con and his hog-butchering brother looking for a valuable piece of family history that goes all the way back to the Civil War.

Nick Petrie is the award-winning author of the Peter Ash thriller series, including the Edgar-nominated novel The Drifter, which won the ITW Thriller award, the Barry Award for Best First Novel, and was also nominated for a Hammett award. Light It Up was just named Best Thriller of 2018 by Apple.


Christopher Sturdevant, author of Cold War Wisconsin
Tuesday, January 29, 6:30 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library’s Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave

Sturdevant recounts the stories of everyday Wisconsinites during the years that the Cold War gripped the world with fear of espionage and nuclear winter in this book, which preserves a fading piece of Wisconsin history at MPL's Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room.

For decades, Wisconsin’s nuclear missiles pointed to the skies from Waukesha’s back yard, awaiting Soviet bombers. Joseph Stalin's daughter sought refuge in the small town of Richland Center. With violence in Vietnam about to peak, a cargo ship from Kewaunee sparked a new international incident with North Korea. Manitowoc was ground zero for a Sputnik satellite crash, and four ordinary Madison youths landed on the FBI's most wanted list after the Sterling Hall Bombing.

Christopher Sturdevant is Chairman of the Midwest Chapter of the Cold War Museum, a children's librarian in Milwaukee, and a U.S. Air Force veteran.


Wednesday, January 30, 6:30 pm, at Boswell

Milwaukee native and regular cartoon contributor to The New Yorker, Paul Noth returns to Boswell with the second installment in his hilarious middle grade series of alien adventure. Cosponsored by Milwaukee Public Library Foundation. Light refreshments will be served.

Happy Conklin Jr. is probably the only 10-year-old who accidentally sold his entire family to aliens. He managed to save his family, but now he has a bigger problem. Hap wants a girl in his sixth-grade science class to be his lab partner but lacks the courage to even talk to her. As he and his powerful pet lizard work on a solution, he also, unfortunately, opens a black hole in his middle school that will swallow the solar system, unless he’s able to stop it.

Mo O’Hara, author of My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, calls Noth’s books “totally original and totally unputdownable,” while Jim Gaffigan calls them “engaging, original, and laugh-out-loud funny.”

Paul Noth’s cartoons have appeared regularly in The New Yorker since 2004. He has created short animated films for Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and been an animation consultant for Saturday Night Live. He is the author of How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens.


Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book
Thursday, January 31, 6:30 pm, at Elm Grove Public Library, 13600 Juneau Blvd

Celebrate the paperback release at Elm Grove Public Library of Milwaukee author Callanan’s charming novel about a missing person, a grieving family, and a curious clue: a half-finished manuscript set in Paris. Cosponsor by Boswell.

When eccentric novelist Robert Eady abruptly vanishes, he leaves behind his wife, Leah, their daughters, and hidden in an unexpected spot, plane tickets to Paris. So Leah sets off for France with her girls. As the family settles into their new Parisian life, a series of startling discoveries forces Leah to consider that she may not be ready for what solving this mystery might do to her family. Haunting and triumphant, Paris by the Bookfollows one woman’s journey as she explores the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book.

Joan Frank offered this praise in The San Francisco Chronicle: “Liam Callanan’s spirited Paris by the Book offers a near-irresistible package of twin glories, Paris and books (love of reading), delivering vibrant tours of each. But Callanan also gives supporting-role billing, in this witty mystery-adventure, to a darker exploration of the artist’s predicament - the perpetual need for solitary time and space - and the toll it can take."

Milwaukee’s Liam Callanan is author of The Cloud Atlas, Edgar Award finalist, All Saints, and Listen and Other Stories. He has published in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and has recorded essays for public radio. In 2017, Callanan received the Hunt Prize for Fiction. He is Professor of English at UWM.


Friday, February 1, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

New event date! Christina Ward, author of Preservation: The Art & Science of Canning, Fermentation, and Dehydration and teacher of notoriously raucous preservation and food science classes, explores the world of twentieth century food culture and combines historic cookbook images and intelligent research into an entertaining, accessible history of food.

Connecting cultural, social, and geopolitical aspects, Ward uses her expertise to tell the fascinating, often infuriating story of American culinary culture. Loaded with full-color images, Ward pulls recipes and images from her vast collection of cookbooks and a wide swath of historical advertisements to show the influence of corporations on our food trends.

Learn the role bananas played in the Iran-Contra scandal, how Sigmund Freud's nephew decided Carmen Miranda would wear fruit on her head, and how Puritans built an empire on pineapples. American food history is rife with crackpots, do-gooders, con men, and scientists all trying to build a better America - while some were getting rich in the process.

Christina Ward teaches preservation classes and serves as a volunteer mentor to urban farmers and small-scale food producers. She is a contributing writer to Serious Eats, resident food expert for Fox6 Milwaukee, and former columnist for Edible Milwaukee. She has also written for Remedy Quarterly, Put An Egg On It!, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Gregg Hurwitz, author of Out of the Dark: An Orphan X Novel, in conversation with Nick Petrie
Saturday, February 2, 3:00 pm, at Boswell

Author of New York Times bestselling thrillers, screenwriter, and story creator for Marvel and DC comics, Gregg Hurwitz chats with Milwaukee’s Nick Petrie about the latest installment of the Orphan X series, in which Evan Smoak takes on his most impossible target, while facing his deadliest opponent yet. Cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine.

Taken from a group home and trained as part of the Orphan program, an off-the-books operation designed to create assassins, Evan Smoak was Orphan X. Until he disappeared. Now, someone is trying to clean up the Orphan program by killing all the remaining Orphans and their trainers. Evan decided to strike back. His target is the man who started the Orphan program, now the most heavily guarded person in the world: the President of the United States.

But President Bennett knows Orphan X is after him, and he's decided to counter-attack. Bennett activates the one man with the skills and experience to take out Orphan X - the first recruit of the program, Orphan A. Now it's Orphan vs. Orphan, and the future of the country is on the line.

Gregg Hurwitz is author of thrillers like Hellbent and has penned stories for Marvel and DC, written screenplays such as The Book of Henry, and written, developed, and produced television programs like V. Nick Petrie is the Milwaukee-based author of the Peter Ash thriller series, including the Edgar-nominated first novel The Drifter.


Looking for more upcoming events? We've got several listed here and more on our upcoming events page. Please say hi next time you visit.