Welcome to Boswell Book Company's website!

For our tenth anniversary, 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.


Layne Fargo, author of Temper, in conversation with Kelsey Rae Dimberg
Monday, November 25, 7 pm, at Boswell

Chicago-based author Layne Fargo visits with her debut that’s a razor-sharp page-turner, just named to the New York Times summer reading list. She’ll chat with Milwaukee’s own Kelsey Rae Dimberg, author of Girl in the Rearview Mirror. Prior to the event, Boswell’s in-store mystery book club will meet at 6 pm to discuss Temper.

After years of struggling in the Chicago theater scene, ambitious actress Kira finally lands the role of a lifetime. The catch? Working with a mercurial director known for pushing performers past their limits onstage and off.

As opening night draws near, Kira and the theater’s slippery cofounder both start to realize the director’s dangerous extremes are nothing compared to what they're capable of themselves. An edgy, addictive, and fiendishly clever tale of ambition, deceit, and power, Temper is a timely, heart-in-your-throat psychological thriller.

Layne Fargo has Master’s degrees in theater and library science. She’s a Pitch Wars mentor and a member of the Chicagoland chapter of Sisters in Crime. Kelsey Rae Dimberg is author of Girl in the Rearview Mirror. She holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco.


Translation Night, featuring Lorena Terando author of Spiral of Silence, Jacob Riyeff, author of In the Bosom of the Father, and Caroline Froh
Tuesday, November 26, 7 pm, at Boswell

Enjoy an evening of literature in translation with UWM Associate Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies Lorena Terando, Marquette Visiting Assistant Professor of English Jacob Riyeff, and former Boswellian Caroline Froh, now a graduate student at the University of Iowa. Cohosted by the University of Marquette English Department and the UWM Translation & Interpreting Studies Program.

Lorena Terando presents her translation of Elvira Sánchez-Blake's shattering testimonial novel, which depicts the impact of Colombia's civil war on three women; an upper-class army wife, a young rebel and mother, and a girl who comes of age at a critical moment in the country's history.

Jacob Riyeff presents his translation of the work of Swami Abhishiktananda, a French Benedictine monk who lived in India for more than two decades and strove to understand and live his Christian faith through the enlightening teachings of Hindu Advaita Vedanta.

And former Boswellian Caroline Froh presents work from a translation-in-progress titled Words of Resistance (Widerworte), a collection of texts by Mariella Mehr. Born in 1947 to the nomadic Jenish people in Switzerland, Mehr was a victim of a forced assimilation which systematically removed Jenish children from their families. Much of Mehr’s work draws from her life and confronts trauma, violence, gender, and life in the margins of society.

Lorena Terando is Associate Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies at UWM. She is translator of My Life as a Colombian Revolutionary: Reflections of a Former Guerrillera, The Cocaine War in Context: Drugs and Politics, and A Love Story in Five Acts (and other stories). Jacob Riyeff is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Marquette University, author of the poetry collection Sunk in Your Shipwreck, translator of The Old English Rule of St. Benedict: With Related Old English Texts, and has recently published in Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures. Caroline Froh is a former Boswell bookseller. She holds a BA in English and German literature from Grinnell College and is currently an MFA candidate in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa. A 2019 ALTA Travel Fellow, she is also the recipient of a Stanley Award.


Tuesday, December 3, 7 pm, at Boswell

Boswell presents Jim Biever, former Packers Team Photographer, for a celebration of more than seventy years of one family’s quintessential Green Bay football photography. Register for this free event bievermke.bpt.me or upgrade to a registration-with-purchase and get 10% off 100 Years of Titletown for up to three books. Discount for advance purchases only.

The name Biever is synonymous with Green Bay Packers football. For the better part of eight decades, the late Vernon Biever and his son Jim were there on the sidelines at Lambeau and beyond, capturing the most iconic moments in team history.

In celebration of the Packers' 100th season, 100 Years in Titletown is a stunning showcase of the finest work from the Biever archives, sourced from thousands of film rolls and including rare, never-before-seen images shot by the first family of Packers photography. Jim Biever was the official team photographer of the Packers until his retirement in 2016.


Wednesday, December 4, 6 pm, at UWM Student Union Wisconsin Room, 2200 E Kenwood Blvd

The UW-Milwaukee Alumni Association presents Master Chats, an evening with bestselling author Seth M Siegel in a conversation with WUWM’s Environmental Reporter Susan Bence, who together will explore how our drinking water got contaminated, what it may be doing to us, and what we must do to make it safe.

If you thought America's drinking water problems started and ended in Flint and Milwaukee, think again. From big cities and suburbs to the rural heartland, chemicals linked to cancer, heart disease, obesity, birth defects, and lowered IQ routinely spill from our taps. Many are to blame, from the EPA and Congress to chemical companies and water utilities. And bottled water is often no safer.

The tragedy is that existing technologies could launch a new age of clean, healthy, and safe tap water for only a few dollars a week per person. Siegel shares shocking stories about contaminated water, the everyday heroes that have pushed for change, and what we must do to reverse years of neglect and inaction.

This event is free. Doors open 5:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served. More information and registration can be found at uwm.edu/alumni/event/mcdec2019/.

Seth M Seigel is a lawyer, activist, serial entrepreneur, and author of Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. Siegel is currently Senior Water Policy Fellow at the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences.


Wednesday, December 4, 7 pm, at Boswell

Boswell hosts an evening with essayist and small town undertaker Thomas Lynch, the National Book Award finalist for The Undertaking.

For nearly four decades, Lynch has probed relations between the literary and mortuary arts. His life’s work with the dead and the bereaved has informed his exploration of identity and humanity, to which he brings a signature blend of memoir, meditation, gallows humor, and poetic precision.

The Depositions provides an essential selection of essays on fatherhood, Irish heritage, funeral rites, and the perils of bodiless obsequies. The space between Lynch’s hyphenated identities as an Irish American and undertaker-poet is narrowed by the deaths of poets, the funerals of friends, the loss of neighbors, intimate estrangements, and the slow demise of a beloved dog. The press of the author’s own mortality animates the new essays, sharpening a curiosity about where we come from, where we go, and what it means.

Thomas Lynch is author of five collections of poetry, one of stories, and four books of essays. His first, The Undertaking, won the Heartland Prize for Non-Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, and the New York Times, among other publications. He works as a funeral director in Milford, Michigan, and teaches at the Bear River Writer's Conference.


Allen Eskens, author of Nothing More Dangerous
Thursday, December 5, 7 pm, at Boswell

Edgar finalist and author of The Shadows We Hide returns to Boswell with his latest novel, a coming-of-age story set in a small town in the Missouri Ozarks.

After fifteen years of growing up in the Ozark hills with his widowed mother, high-school freshman Boady dreams of glass towers and cityscapes. When a black family moves in across the road, in a community where notions of "us" and "them" carry the weight of history, Boady must rethink his understanding of the world. Secrets hidden in plain sight begin to unfold: a mother who wraps herself in the loss of her husband, a neighbor who carries the wounds of a mysterious past that he holds close, and a quiet boss who is fighting his own hidden battle. Boady begins to see the stark lines of race and class that both bind and divide this small town - and he will be forced to choose sides.

Library Journal’s starred review of Nothing More Dangerous says, “This powerful, unforgettable crime novel is a coming-of-age book to rival some of the best, such as William Kent Krueger's Ordinary Grace or Larry Watson's Montana 1948…A must-read.”

Allen Eskens is the bestselling author of The Guise of Another, The Heavens May Fall, and The Life We Bury, currently in development for a feature film. He is a practicing criminal defense attorney.


Lisa Barr, author of The Untouchables
Thursday, December 5, 7 pm, at Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N Santa Monica Blvd

The Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC present Girls Night In with Lisa Barr, award-winning author and journalist, who will chat about her latest novel about a woman who, after her husband’s affair, jets off to France to rediscover her own joie de vivre. Tickets are $10 for admission, $25 for admission and a copy of The Unbreakables. Details and tickets available at jccmilwaukee.org/events/books-blogs-besties/.

When the Ashley Madison data breach exposes her husband as the top cheater in town, Sophie Bloom is humiliated and directionless. So she jumps into the unknown, fleeing France to meet up with her teenage daughter, who is studying abroad and nursing her own heartbreak. As she sheds her past and travels an obstacle-filled road-less-travelled, Sophie is determined to blossom. Allowing her true self to emerge in the postcard beauty of Provence, Sophie must decide what is broken forever, and what it means to be truly unbreakable.

Pam Jenoff, author of The Orphan’s Tale, says, “Readers will delight in this effervescent cocktail of second chances, female strength, mother-daughter bonding and the truths that set us free. Smart, sure, and sexy, The Unbreakables is unforgettable.”

Lisa Barr has been an editor at The Jerusalem Post and an editor/reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Lisa is also the creator and editor of the popular parenting blog, GIRLilla Warfare.


Carol Sklenicka, author of Alice Adams: Portrait of a Writer, with Flora Coker and Martha Bergland
Friday, December 6, 7 pm, at Boswell

Carol Sklenicka, author of the biography of Raymond Carver named a New York Times Book Review Best Book, visits with her latest work, a portrait of writer Alice Adams. She’ll be in conversation with area author Martha Bergland, and the evening will feature a dramatic reading by area actor Flora Coker.

With the same meticulous research and vivid storytelling she brought to Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life, Sklenicka integrates the drama of Adams’s deeply felt, elegantly fierce life with a cascade of events - the civil rights and women’s movements, the sixties counterculture, and sexual freedom.

This biography’s revealing analyses of Adams’s stories and novels from Careless Love to Superior Women to The Last Lovely City, and her extensive interviews with Adams’s family and friends, among them Mary Gaitskill, Diane Johnson, Anne Lamott, and Alison Lurie, give us the definitive story of a writer often dubbed “America’s Colette.” Alice Adams: Portrait of a Writer captures not just a beloved woman’s life in full, but a crucial span of American history.

Carol Sklenicka is the author of Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life, which was named of one of the 10 Best Books of 2009 by The New York Times Book Review. Martha Bergland is author of the novels A Farm Under a Lake and Idle Curiosity as well as the biography Studying Wisconsin: The Life of Increase Lapham, Early Chronicler of Plants, Rocks, Rivers, Mounds and All Things Wisconsin. Flora Coker is a Riverwest based actor and was a founder of Milwaukee’s Theater X. She has appeared in productions at the Milwaukee Rep, First Stage, Next Act Theater, and more.


A Holdiay Book Talk with Daniel Goldin
Saturday, December 7, 11 am, at Shorewood Public Library, 3920 N Murray Ave

The Friends of Shorewood Public Library present Boswell Book Company's proprietor Daniel Goldin for a presentation on the best books to look for during the holiday season. Daniel is known for giving interesting and varied suggestions, perfect for discerning readers.

Books will be available for purchase, with a portion of sales supporting the Friends of the Shorewood Public Library. This is the perfect opportunity to shop for book lovers on your list - including yourself. Photo by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


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.