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.


Tuesday, October 15, 7 pm, at University School of Milwaukee, 2100 W Fairy Chasm Road

The University School of Milwaukee Speaker Series and Boswell Book Company present Tough, author of How Children Succeed and Helping Children Succeed, talking about his latest work, a mind-changing inquiry into higher education in the United States which asks, does college still work? Registration required for this free event on the University School of Milwaukee website.

The landscape of higher education has shifted. Tough exposes the hidden truths of how the system works and whom it works for while introducing the people who really make higher education go: admissions directors trying to balance the class and budget, College Board officials scrambling to defend the SAT in the face of mounting evidence that it favors the wealthy, researchers working to unlock the mysteries of the college-student brain, and educators trying to transform potential dropouts into successful graduates.

With insight, humor, and passion, Paul Tough takes us on a journey from Ivy League seminar rooms to community college welding shops, from giant public flagship universities to tiny experimental storefront colleges. Whether you are facing your own decision about college or simply care about the American promise of social mobility, The Years That Matter Most will change the way you think, not just about higher education, but about the nation itself.

Paul Tough is author of Helping Children Succeed, How Children Succeed, and Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. He has been a Reporter and Producer for This American Life and an Editor for Harper’s and the New York Times Magazine, where he is currently a contributing writer.


Wednesday, October 16, 6:30 pm, at American Geographical Society Library, UWM Libraries, 2311 E Hartford Ave

Alas, this event is at capacity and no more spaces are available for registration. Standby spaces may be availabe the day of the event.

Dylan Thuras adventures back to Milwaukee for an event celebrating the brand new edition of his explorer’s guide that the New York Times calls “a wanderlust-whetting cabinet of curiosities on paper.” And what better place for this event than the AGSL, Milwaukee’s own geographer’s treasure trove?

The evening will feature Thuras’s slide show presentation and a trivia contest, plus the American Geographical Society Library will have a special mini-exhibit of maps connected to the book. Register for free at dylanthurasmke.bpt.me, or upgrade to a purchase-with-registration option at a special preorder price, which includes taxes and fees.


Wednesday, October 16, 7 pm, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 1100 N Astor St

Boswell presents an evening with Jim Wallis, Founder of Sojourners, a faith in action organization pursing racial justice, environmental stewardship, and peace, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Wallis will discuss his latest book, Christ in Crisis. Through his writing, Wallis offers a path to spiritual healing and solidarity, aimed to mend the divide separating Americans today.

Please register for this free event at jimwallismke.bpt.me. Boswell will be selling copies of Christ in Crisis at the event, and attendees have the option to reserve a copy with registration - payment due at the event.

With a practical and empathetic approach, Wallis addresses questions of power, truth, fear, and discipleship, applying lessons from the biblical stories to contemporary issues like race, immigration, and political discourse. As Wallis has done throughout his career, he offers comfort, compassion, and a constructive field guide for the modern era.

Jim Wallis is a theologian, activist, pastor, and New York Times best-selling author of thirteen books including God’s Politics: How the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It. Wallis is the founder of Sojourners and served on President Obama's White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and was former vice chair of and currently serves on the Global Agenda Council on Values of the World Economic Forum.


Thursday, October 17, 6:30 pm, at Frank L Weyenberg Library, 11345 N Cedarburg Rd

Author of the Washington Island-set North of the Tension Line series, Riordan chats about her first collection of essays.

Riordan’s essays are easy to pick up and hard to put down. By turns deeply spiritual and gently comic, these brief meditations range from the inconveniences of modern life to the shifting nature of grief. Whether it’s an unexpected revelation from a trip to the hardware store, a casual encounter with a tow-truck driver, the changing seasons, or a conversation with a store clerk grieving for a dog, Riordan captures and magnifies the passing beauty of the ordinary and the extraordinary that lingers near the surface of daily life.

JF Riordan is author of the North of the Tension Line series of novels. She studied voice at University of New Mexico, continued her music studies in Chicago and Milwaukee, and ultimately became a professional singer. She lives in exile from Washington Island.


Thursday, October 17, 7 pm, at Boswell

Wisconsin native Timothy Faust has travelled around the United States, talking to people about health inequality in their neighborhoods. With his new book, he offers a concise explanation of the benefits of single-payer health care and widening the definition of health care itself.

In Health Justice Now, Faust explains what single payer is, why we don’t yet have it, and how it can be won. He identifies the actors that have misled us for profit and political gain, dispels the myth that healthcare needs to be personally expensive, shows how we can smoothly transition to a new model, and reveals the slate of humane and progressive reforms that we can only achieve with single payer as the springboard.

Single payer healthcare is not complicated: the government pays for all care for all people. It’s cheaper than our current model, and most Americans and their doctors already want it. So Faust asks, what’s the deal with our current healthcare system, and why don’t we have something better?

Timothy Faust’s writing has appeared in Splinter, Jacobin, and Vice, among other outlets, and he has worked as a data scientist in the healthcare industry, before which he enrolled people in ACA programs in Florida, Georgia, and Texas.


Historic Downer Avenue’s Haunted Halloween
Saturday, October 19, Noon – 4 pm, on Downer Avenue

Historic Downer Avenue’s Haunted Halloween returns with fun for the whole family. Enjoy the amazing Halloween-themed artistry of our chalk artists, stroll along with our accordion player, and pick your pumpkin at St. Mark's Church! For more information, visit downeravenue.com/documents/11-haunted-halloween.

Downer businesses will compete in a pumpkin carving contest voted on by attendees. For the kids, there will be trick-or-treating, face painting, and twisted balloon shapes. For the adults, a mini-pub crawl sponsored by MKE Brewing, featuring seasonal favorite brews, with beer sales proceeds going to benefit the Riverwest Pantry.


Landis Blair, author of The Envious Siblings: And Other Morbid Nursery Rhymes, in conversation with Caitlin Doughty
Sunday, October 20, 3 pm, at Boswell

Boswell hosts a conversation with award-winning comics artist Landis Blair and mortician-turned-author Caitlin Doughty about Blair’s new book of gleefully macabre vignettes as delightful as they are deadly.

This event is free, but registration is requested at landisblairmke.bpt.me, and will be required if we reach capacity. Or, upgrade to purchase-with-registration for a copy of The Envious Siblings. Please note that while Caitlin Doughty will not be part of the post-event signing, signed copies of her new book, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, will be available for sale at the event. See ticketing website for restrictions.

Inspired by the dark imagination of Edward Gorey, Envious Siblings is a twisted and hauntingly funny debut. Blair interweaves absurdist horror and humor into brief, rhyming vignettes at once transgressive and hilarious. In Blair’s surreal universe, a lost child watches as bewhiskered monsters gobble up her fellow train passengers; a band of kids merrily plays a gut-churning game with playground toys; and two sisters, grinning madly, tear each other apart. Boswell’s Chris Lee says, “Landis creates a demented world of ghoulish delights at once sharply cynical and delightfully surprising. This book is even more fun and dangerous than a dinner party with a rhyming tiger and his cheery bear and gator friends.”

Chicago-based Landis Blair illustrated the prize-winning graphic novel The Hunting Accident and Caitlin Doughty’s From Here to Eternity, and has published illustrations in The New York Times, Chicago magazine, and Medium. Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, activist, and funeral industry rabble-rouser who founded the The Order of the Good Death. Her books Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and From Here to Eternity were both New York Times bestsellers.


Paul Hendrickson, author of Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright, in conversation with Catherine Boldt
Monday, October 21, 7 pm, at Boswell

Paul Hendrickson, author of the the National Book Critics Circle finalist and New York Times bestseller Hemingway's Boat, visits Boswell for a conversation about his latest work.

Free registration is requested at hendricksonmke.bpt.me. Upgrade to a purchase-with-registration for 20% off the list price. This price applies to preorders only. Special bonus - choose the early bird option before October 1 and you can pick up the book before the event.

Hendrickson offers an illuminating, pathbreaking biography that will change the way we understand the life, mind, and work of the premier American architect. Revealing Wright's facades along with their cracks, Hendrickson forms a fresh and more human understanding of the man with prodigious research, unique vision, and his ability to make sense of a life in ways at once unexpected, poetic, and undeniably brilliant.

Paul Hendrickson is author of Sons of Mississippi, which won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award, NBCC Award-finalist Looking for the Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott, and the National Book Award finalist The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War. Catherine Boldt is an Education Outreach Docent at Taliesin known for the disability accessible tours she gives at Frank Lloyd Wright's Spring Green Estate.


Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House
Tuesday, October 22, 7 pm, at Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, 19805 W Capitol Dr, Brookfield

The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Oconomowoc's Books & Company, and Milwaukee's Boswell Book Company present an evening with PEN/Faulkner and Orange Prize-winning novelist Ann Patchett. She returns with The Dutch House, a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.

Tickets are $33 and include admission to the event, all taxes and fees, and a copy of The Dutch House, available at patchettwi.bpt.me.

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to propel his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. Told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

Ann Patchett is the author of seven novels, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magicians Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder, and Commonwealth. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories 2006, and has written three books of nonfiction, Truth & Beauty, What Now?, and, most recently, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Patchett is the co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee.


Tuesday, October 22, 7 pm, at UWM Student Union, Wisconsin Room, 2200 E Kenwood Blvd

The UWM Distinguished Lecture Series presents an evening with chef, television host, and author Samin Nosrat. Cosponsored by Boswell, who will be on hand to sell books.

Tickets for the general public will be available online and at the UWM Student Union Information Desk beginning September 30. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Tickets for UWM students are free. For non-UWM students, $5 in advance, $8 at the door, and for UWM Campus Community, $8 in advance, $10 at the door. More information available at uwm.edu/studentinvolvement/campus-traditions/distinguished-lecture-series-dls/.

Called “a go-to resource for matching the correct techniques with the best ingredients” by The New York Times and “the next Julia Child” by NPR’s All Things Considered, Nosrat has been cooking professionally since 2000, when she first stumbled into the kitchen at Chez Panisse restaurant.

Samin Nosrat is a writer, teacher, chef, and New York Times columnist. Salt Fat Acid Heat is her first book and has recently been adapted into a Netflix series.


Tim O’Brien, author of Dad’s Maybe Book, in conversation with Liam Callanan
Wednesday, October 23, 7 pm, at Boswell

Tim O’Brien, National Book Award-winning author of The Things They Carried, shares his first book in more than two decades, a collection of wisdom from a life in letters, lessons learned in wartime, and the challenges, humor, and rewards of raising two sons.

Tickets cost $29, and include admission, a signed copy of Dad’s Maybe Book, and all tax and fees, available at timobrienmke.bpt.me. There’s also an early bird special, where you can get the ticket for $24, still including all taxes and fees, if you purchase it by August 31.

In 2003, already an older father, O’Brien resolved to give his young sons what he wished his own father had given to him - a few scraps of paper signed “Love, Dad.” Maybe a word of advice and some scattered glimpses of their rapidly aging father, a man they might never really know. For the next fifteen years, the author talked to his sons on paper, as if they were adults, imagining what they might want to hear from a father who was no longer among the living.

O’Brien traverses the great variety of human experience and emotion, moving from soccer games to warfare to risqué lullabies, from alcoholism to magic shows to history lessons to bittersweet bedtime stories, but always returning to a father’s soul-saving love for his sons. The result is Dad’s Maybe Book, a funny, tender, wise, and enduring literary achievement that will squeeze the reader’s heart with joy and recognition.

Tim O’Brien received the National Book Award for Going After Cacciato. Among his other books are The Things They Carried, Pulitzer Finalist and a New York Times Book of the Century, and In the Lake of the Woods, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. He was awarded the Pritzker Literature Award for lifetime achievement in military writing in 2013.


Friday, October 25, 7 pm, at Boswell

Wisconsin author, musician, and cofounder of the Windhorse Retreat Center in Plymouth, Alan Anderson offers a guide to the seven skills that will help guide people through their own challenging and rewarding journeys.

Change. Sometimes it wells up from within and we enter gracefully. At other times it is utterly choiceless and the past, present, and future get burned up in the most unforgiving flames. Anderson offers a path through change that is not a shortcut to clean up the surface or soften the edges. Rather, it is a mirror for courageously seeing ourselves with humor and heart.

Michael Carroll, author of Awake at Work, says, "this insightful and playful text explains how mindfulness-awareness meditation introduces the possibility of living a fearlessly compassionate life. For those interested in 'going deeper' with their mindfulness practice, this book is for you." And Arno Michaelis, author of My Life After Hate, adds that Anderson has done “a brilliant job of compiling wisdom both ancient and modern, while offering new insights and practical techniques to realize the miracle of basic goodness.”

Alan Anderson has been a musician, educator, writer, and a student of meditation and mindfulness for over 30 years. Alan has been teaching mindfulness, music, and self-regulation skills in public schools and is the founder of Arts and Mindfulness for Academic Progress. Prior to teaching, he played jazz professionally for 20 years, and toured, performed, and recorded with Paul Cebar, playing American roots music.


André Aciman, author of Find Me
Thursday, November 7, 7 pm, at Boswell

Boswell is pleased to host the return of André Aciman to Milwaukee, visiting with Find Me, his sequel to his acclaimed novel-turned-Oscar-winning-film, Call Me By Your Name.

Tickets cost $29 and include taxes, ticket fee, and a copy of Find Me, available at acimanmke.bpt.me. Early bird alert – purchase tickets by October 28 for just $26, and you can pick your book up in advance. Please note that Boswell will close to the general public at 6 pm on November 7.

In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio's father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, who has become a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train with a beautiful young woman upends Sami's plans and changes his life forever. Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, now a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic. Aciman is a master of sensibility, of the intimate details and the emotional nuances that are the substance of passion. Find Me brings us back inside the magic circle of one of our greatest contemporary romances to ask if, in fact, true love ever dies.

André Aciman is author of Eight White Nights, Out of Egypt, and Enigma Variations, and is the editor of The Proust Project. He teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, author of Felidia: Recipes From My Flagship Restaurant, in conversation with Kyle Cherek
Tuesday, November 19, 6:30 pm, at Italian Community Center, 631 E Chicago St in the Third Ward

Award-winning Lidia Matticchio Bastianich returns to Milwaukee for her brand-new cookbook. This event, presented by Boswell Book Company, Bartolotta Catering and Events, and Milwaukee PBS. Tickets, available at bastianichmke.bpt.me, are $45 and include admission, a copy of Felidia, all taxes and fees, and light appetizers. A cash bar will also be available. A portion of all ticket proceeds will be donated back to Milwaukee PBS

Ever since it opened its doors on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 1981, Felidia has been revered as one of the best Italian restaurants in the country. In these pages, Lidia and longtime Executive Chef Fortunato Nicotra share 115 of the recipes that capture the spirit of the Felidia menu past and present. From pastas and primi to appetizers and meats, and from breads and spreads to sides and soups, these are some of Lidia’s absolute favorite dishes, lovingly adapted for home cooks to re-create in their own kitchens.

Lidia Mattichio Bastianich is the author of fourteen previous cookbooks and the Emmy award-winning host of public television’s Lidia’s Kitchen, which also airs internationally. She is also a judge on MasterChef Junior Italy and Italy’s highly rated daily program La Prova del Cuoco. Lidia owns Felidia, Becco, and several other restaurants, and is a partner in the acclaimed Eataly. Kyle Cherek is a culinary historian and former host of the Emmy award winning public television show Wisconsin Foodie.


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.