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.


Janet Burroway, author of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, in conversation with Kim Suhr
Wednesday, June 19, 7 pm, at Boswell

Janet Burroway, author of the most widely used creative writing text in America, visits for a conversation with Red Oak Writing Director Kim Suhr about the Tenth Edition of Writing Fiction. This event cosponsored by Red Oak Writing.

A creative writer’s shelf should hold at least three essential books: a dictionary, a style guide, and Writing Fiction. For more than 30 years, Burroway’s classic has helped hundreds of thousands of students learn the craft. Burroway offers a master class that calls on us to renew our love of storytelling and celebrate the skill of writing well. There is a very good chance that one of your favorite authors learned the craft with Writing Fiction.

The new edition continues to provide advice that is practical, comprehensive, and flexible. Moving from freewriting to final revision, Burroway addresses “showing not telling,” characterization, dialogue, atmosphere, plot, imagery, and point of view, with examples and quotations that feature a wide and diverse range of today’s best-known authors.

Janet Burroway is the author of plays, essays, and eight novels, including The Buzzards, Cutting Stone, and Bridge of Sand. She is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Emerita at Florida State University and lives part time in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Kim Suhr is Director of Red Oak Writing and author of the story collection Nothing to Lose.


Kelsey Rae Dimberg, author of Girl in the Rearview Mirror
Thursday, June 20, 7 pm, at Boswell

Milwaukee author Kelsey Rae Dimberg appears at Boswell with her debut thriller about the young nanny for a prominent political family who gets drawn into a web of deadly lies, including her own. Our launch will feature light refreshments and a chance to have your picture taken with noir icon Humphrey Bogart. To be accurate, it's a Humphrey Bogart cut out. But still.

They are Phoenix’s First Family: the son of the sitting Senator, destined to step into his father’s seat, his wife, the stylish and elegant director of Phoenix’s fine arts museum, and their four-year-old daughter Amabel, beautiful, precocious, and beloved. Finn Hunt eagerly agrees to nanny for Amabel, thinking she’s lucked into the job of a lifetime. But when a young woman approaches Finn, claiming a connection with Philip and asking Finn to pass on a message, Finn becomes caught up in a web of deceit with the senate seat at its center. And Finn, too, has a background she has kept hidden, but under the hot Phoenix sun, everything is about to be laid bare.

Jim Higgins profiled Kelsey Rae Dimberg in Sunday's Journal Sentinel. Read about the film noir that inspired the novel and how if you want to know a family's darkest secrets, nannying is the way to go. Also check out the WUWM Summer Reading Guide, where Boswell's Daniel Goldin notes that Dimberg's debut is the perfect novel for folks getting ready for the Democratic National Convention in 2020.

Kelsey Rae Dimberg received an MFA from the University of San Francisco and studied at Barrett Honors College of Arizona State University, where she was editor-in-chief of the literary magazine, Lux. She is a graduate of Homestead High School in Mequon. Girl in the Rearview Mirror is her first novel.


Saturday Storytime with Charlotte Sullivan Wild, author of The Amazing Idea of You
Saturday, June 22, 11 am, at Boswell

Boswell hosts a Saturday morning storytime with Charlotte Sullivan Wild, Regional Advisor for the Southwest Texas chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, who will read and present her new picture book. Perfect for children and adults.

The Amazing Idea of You celebrates the glorious potential in living things and in every child. Fans of Emily Winfield Martin will delight in this loving, gorgeously illustrated story. Hidden within a tiny seed is the idea of a beautiful, towering tree. In a nest, curled inside an egg, waits the idea of a bird, of the songs she’ll sing and the skies she’ll fly. Tadpoles, caterpillars, and waddling goslings all hold the promise of leaps, brilliant colors, and migrations. Yet nothing compares to the promise of a child. This gorgeous, lyrical picture book celebrating new life is perfect for any child, parent, or parents-to-be.

Charlotte Sullivan Wild has taught writing and children’s literature for nearly two decades. She hosts the Picture Book Salon of San Antonio, Texas and serves as the Regional Advisor for the Southwest Texas chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She interviewed children’s book professionals for Write On! Radio, KFAI Radio.


Saturday, June 22, 2019, 3:30 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library Central Library, Community Room 1, 814 W Wisconsin Ave

Milwaukee Public Library presents editor Katherine Connelly to discuss her latest work, a collection of English Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst’s writing and reflections on a year spent in Milwaukee during the early 20th century. Connelly did research at the Milwaukee Public Library in putting together A Suffragette in America.

Published for the first time, this book by leading English militant suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst details her tours of America in 1911 and 1912. Unlike other suffragette leaders, who spent their time in the States among the social elite, Pankhurst went right to the heart of America’s social problems. She visited striking laundry workers in New York and female prisoners in Philadelphia and Chicago, and grappled firsthand with shocking racism in Nashville.

Pankhurst biographer Katherine Connelly gathers and curates Pankhurst’s writing from the year-long visit, in which she reveals her shock at the darkness hidden in American life and draws parallels to her experiences of imprisonment and misogyny in her own country. Writer, activist, and Sylvia Pankhurst’s granddaughter Helen Pankhurst says, “This volume affords new insights into her life and work by placing the text in the turbulent political context in which it was written. It is an important contribution to history.”

Katherine Connelly is a leading member of Counterfire and a regular contributor to its online magazine. She has also contributed to International Socialism and Socialist Review, and is currently conducting doctoral research in History at Queen Mary, University of London.


Monday, June 24, 7 pm, at Boswell

Madison attorney Dean A Strang returns to Boswell with his latest book, a sharp legal history of the largest mass trial in US history. Cosponsored by Wisconsin Justice Initiative. This will also be WUWM Lake Effect Executive Producer and Host Mitch Teich's last conversation at Boswell before he leaves to be the General Manager at North Country Public Radio in New York.

Dean Strang analyzes the fragility of the American criminal justice system as he details United States v. Haywood et al, the fascinating case that had a major role in shaping the modern Justice Department. Before World War I, the government reaction to labor dissent had been local, ad hoc, and quasi-military. When the United States entered the conflict in 1917, the Department of Justice embarked on a sweeping new effort - replacing gunmen with lawyers. Soon, the department systematically targeted the nation’s most radical and innovative union, the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies.

In the first legal history of this federal trial, Strang shows how the case laid the groundwork for a fundamentally different strategy to stifle radical threats and had a major role in shaping the modern Justice Department. As the trial unfolded, it became an exercise of raw force, raising serious questions about its legitimacy and revealing the fragility of a criminal justice system under great external pressure.

Dean A Strang is a criminal defense lawyer in Madison and teaches at the University of Virginia School of Law. He is the author of Worse than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror.


Rochelle Melander, author of Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination, and Increase Productivity, in converastion with Jeannette Hurt
Tuesday, June 25, 7 pm, at Boswell

Milwaukee-based Rochelle Melander, book coach, teacher, and author of ten books, including the National Novel Writing Month guide, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It), turns every obstacle you face into quests, offering the perfect productivity solution. This event cosponsored by Red Oak Writing.

Melander offers creatives an opportunity to tackle their most common creative problems by turning them into quests. These short adventures challenge readers to investigate their life and habits to discover and use their own best practices.

Instead of playing someone else’s game, creatives will design their own game, create a playbook, define the rewards, and reap them all. Adopt a secret identity, recruit allies, identify villains, and celebrate epic wins by using a gameful approach to shaping creative life. Completing these quests won’t be a chore. Instead, Melander helps creatives relish investigating life, play with the possibilities, and maybe even have some fun along the way.

Rochelle Melander is a Milwaukee-based writing coach, teacher, and author. She is Founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop for children and teens in Milwaukee. She interviews authors and publishing professionals on her blog, at the Write Now! Mastermind class, and in her podcast, Business Boosting Books.


Deborah Harkness, author of Time’s Convert
Wednesday, June 26, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

Deborah Harkness, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches visits us with her latest novel about what it takes to become a vampire.

Please register for this free event at harknessmke.bpt.me, or upgrade to a book-with-registration option for $19, which includes a paperback copy of Time's Convert, signing line priority, and all taxes and fees.

A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time's Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history and a love affair that will bridge centuries.

A Discovery of Witches was made into a television series starring Teresa Palmer, Matthew Goode, Edward Bluemel, Louise Brealey, Malin Buska, Aiysha Hart, Owen Teale, Alex Kingston, and Valarie Pettiford. It aired on Sky One in the UK last fall and debuted on AMC in April. It just finished its run, but do not fear - the production has been renewed for two more seasons. If you just discovered the All Souls Trilogy via television or streaming, it's time to read the books, which, of course, are even better.

Deborah Harkness is the New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life. A history professor at the University of Southern California, Harkness has received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships.


Thursday, July 11, 7 pm, at Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, 19805 W Capitol Dr, Brookfield

Boswell Book Company, Oconomowoc’s Books and Company, and the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts present Bud Selig, longtime Commissioner of Major League Baseball and former President of the Milwaukee Brewers, to discuss his new book, which provides an unprecedented look inside professional baseball today.

VIP tickets, which include a copy of For the Good of the Game and entry to the signing line after the talk, cost $28.99 plus tax and ticket fee, available at seligwilson.bpt.me starting Wednesday, June 19 at Noon. Limited free registration, which includes admission but not signing line entry, is available Monday, June 24 at 8 am.

Selig takes fans inside locker rooms and board rooms and offers an intimate, fascinating account of the frequently messy process involved in transforming an American institution. He also speaks candidly about hot-button issues, including the steroid scandal that threatened to destroy the game, telling his side of the story in full and for the first time.

With a focus on how he helped bring the game into the modern age, Selig reveals his interactions with players, managers, fellow owners, and fans nationwide and explores the most difficult decisions and moments of his career, looking at how he worked to balance baseball’s storied history with the pressures of the twenty-first century to ensure its future. As he looks back and forward, Selig outlines the stakes for baseball’s continued transformation, and why the changes he helped usher in must only be the beginning.

Bud Selig, the former President of the Milwaukee Brewers and the ninth Commissioner of Baseball, is a major supporter of his alma mater the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as Marquette University. He teaches a baseball history course at the University of Wisconsin and is also a lecturer in sports law at Marquette University and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.


Chuck Klosterman, author of Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction, in conversation with Doug Gordon
Thursday, July 18, 7:00 pm, at Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 Vel R Philips Ave

Klostermaniacs rejoice. Boswell Book Company and Turner Hall Ballroom present special evening with beloved cultural critic Chuck Klosterman, author of But What If We’re Wrong? and Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, with his latest, a razor-sharp, hilarious collection of “fictional nonfiction” - stories so true they had to be wrapped in fiction for our own protection. He’ll chat with Doug Gordon, host of WPR’s BETA.

Tickets cost $27, and include admission to the event and an autographed copy of Raised in Captivity. Available at pabsttheater.org/event/chuckklosterman2019.

Raised in Captivity is ceaselessly inventive, hostile to corniness in all its forms, and mean only to the things that really deserve it. Klosterman’s wildly entertaining and mind-bending stories are microdoses of straight dope, a fever graph of our deepest unvoiced hopes, fears, and preoccupations. A man flying first class discovers a puma in the lavatory. A band wrestles with new-found fame when its song becomes a white supremacist anthem. A man sees a whale struck by lightning and knows that everything about his life has to change.

Funny, wise, and weird, these stories converge in one of the most original and exciting collections in recent memory, one that marks a cosmic leap forward for one of our most consistently interesting writers, the man The Los Angeles Times says, “has a knack for holding up a magical high-def mirror to American pop culture.”

Chuck Klosterman is author of eight nonfiction books, including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, I Wear the Black Hat, and Killing Yourself to Live, and the novels Downtown Owl and The Visible Man. He has written for The New York Times, Esquire, and ESPN and served as the Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine. Klosterman appeared as himself in the documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits and was a founder of Grantland.


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.