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Join us for an afternoon featuring Midwestern writer extraordinaire Peter Geye, author of novels such as Wintering and Northernmost, who joins us with his latest novel, The Ski Jumpers, about a former ski jumper facing a terminal diagnosis who takes one more leap - into a past of soaring flights and broken family bonds.
Advance registration has closed. Walk-up registration is available.
A ski jumper must be fearless - Jon Bargaard remembers this well. His memories of daring leaps and risks might be the key to the book he’s always wanted to write: a novel about his family, beginning with Pops, once a champion ski jumper himself, who also took Jon and his younger brother Anton to the heights. But Jon has never been able to get past the next, ruinous episode of their history, and now that he has received a terrible diagnosis, he’s afraid he never will.
Early praise for this novel comes from Leif Enger, author of Virgil Wander: "Peter Geye writes full-hearted novels made for winter, and The Ski Jumpers is his best to date... Geye wraps his tale in prose that soars as we hold our breath, then brings it all home with the elegance of a Telemark landing. If you already know his work, this book will surprise and delight you; if you're new to Peter Geye, The Ski Jumpers is the perfect place to start."
Peter Geye is author of the award-winning novels Safe from the Sea, The Lighthouse Road, and Wintering, winner of the Minnesota Book Award. He teaches at the Loft Literary Center.
We’re pleased to host a virtual evening featuring Tom Perrotta for a chat about his latest, Tracy Flick Can’t Win, his Election sequel that offers a sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect reflection on our current moment. In conversation with Boswell proprietor Daniel Goldin.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Tracy Flick Can’t Win now as well.
It's 2017 and Tracy Flick is the hardworking assistant principal at a New Jersey high school. Still ambitious but feeling stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job. But is she really a shoo-in for the principal job? Is the superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President's wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can't she ever get what she deserves?
Flick fans and newcomers alike will love this compelling novel chronicling the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time. From The New York Times: "Even more piercing than its predecessor... With a lyric, polyphonic intensity, [Perrotta] poses a question to the class: What have we learned?" And from Esquire: "Told with Perrotta’s piercing wit, wisdom, and exquisite insight into human folly, Tracy’s second act delivers acerbic insight about frustrated ambition."
Tom Perrotta is author of ten works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into critically acclaimed movies, and The Leftovers and Mrs. Fletcher, which were both adapted into HBO series.
Boswell hosts an evening featuring novelist Toya Wolfe with her debut, Last Summer on State Street, a striking coming-of-age novel of friendship, community, and resilience, set in Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes where Wolfe grew up. Great for fans of Jacqueline Woodson and Brit Bennett.
Registration is required to attend this event, so click here to visit toyawolfemke.eventbrite.com now. And be sure to order your copy of Last Summer on State Street now as well.
Felicia 'Fe Fe' Stevens lives with her family in a high-rise that’s next to be torn down by the Chicago Housing Authority. Along with the devout Precious Brown and Stacia Buchanan, daughter of a Gangster Disciple Queen-Pin, Fe Fe forms a tentative trio with whom she carves out a simple life of Double Dutch and innocence. But when Fe Fe welcomes a mysterious new friend into their fold, the dynamics shift, upending the lives of all four girls. As their beloved neighborhood falls down, so do their friendships and the structures of the four girls’ families. Decades later, Fe Fe tries to make sense of the grief and fraught bonds that still haunt her and attempts to reclaim the love that never left.
Profound, reverent, and uplifting, Last Summer on State Street explores the risk of connection against the backdrop of racist institutions, the restorative power of knowing and claiming one’s own past, and those defining relationships which form the heartbeat of our lives. Interweaving moments of reckoning and sustaining grace, debut author Toya Wolfe has crafted an era-defining story of finding a home - both in one’s history and in one’s self.
Toya Wolfe earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, and her writing has appeared in African Voices, Chicago Journal, Chicago Reader, and more. She is the recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston-Bessie Head Fiction Award, the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation Short Story Competition, and the Betty Shifflett/John Schultz Short Story Award.
September’s Readings from Oconomowaukee is pleased to reach across the pond once again for an afternoon with British author Matt Cain and his latest novel, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle. Perfect for fans of Fredrik Backman and TJ Klune, this humorous, life-affirming, and charmingly wise novel tells the story of how the forced retirement of a shy, closeted postman in northern England creates a second chance with his lost love, as he learns to embrace his true self, connect with his community, and finally experience his life’s great adventure.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle now, too! Click here to order from Boswell. Alternatively, click here and order from Books & Company.
Every day, Albert Entwistle makes his way through the streets of his small English town, delivering letters and parcels and returning greetings with a quick wave and a “how do?” Everyone on his route knows Albert, or thinks they do - a man of quiet routines, content to live alone with his cat, Gracie. Three months before his sixty-fifth birthday, Albert receives a letter from the Royal Mail thanking him for decades of service and stating that he is being forced into retirement. At once, Albert’s simple life unravels. So, rather than continue his lonely existence, Albert forms a brave plan to start truly living, to be honest about who he is, and to find George, the man with whom he spent one perfect spring and summer long ago.
The early praise for this one is outstanding. From Sir Ian McKellen, "This rollicking romance entrapped me! True in its detail and its scope, it is amusing yet heart-breaking." And from The Sun: "Albert is the most delicious character and you'll be with him every step of the way."
Matt Cain is an author and commentator on LGBT+ issues. As a journalist, he was Channel 4's first Culture Editor, Editor-In-Chief of Attitude magazine, and won Diversity in Media's Journalist Of the Year award. Cain is an ambassador for Manchester Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust, plus a patron of LGBT+ History Month.
Boswell hosts Andrew Sean Greer, who visits with his new novel, Less Is Lost, a follow-up to his Pulitzer-winning book Less. In this novel, the lovably awkward author Arthur Less returns for an unforgettable road trip across America. David Sedaris calls it "wildly, painfully funny." Greer appears in conversation with Milwaukee's Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book.
This is a ticketed event, and each ticket costs $23.20 (20% off the list price) plus tax and ticket fee. Each ticket includes admission for one to the event and a copy of Less Is Lost, available for pick up at the event. This event is cosponsored by Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library, and $5 from each ticket will be donated to the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation. So purchase your tickets now! Click here and visit andrewseangreermke.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets.
For Arthur Less, life is going surprisingly well: he is a moderately accomplished novelist in a steady relationship with his partner. But nothing good lasts: the death of an old lover and a sudden financial crisis has Less running away from his problems yet again as he accepts a series of literary gigs that send him on a zigzagging adventure across the US. With all of the irrepressible wit and musicality that made Less a bestseller, Less Is Lost is a profound and joyous novel about the enigma of life in America, the riddle of love, and the stories we tell along the way.
Early praise for Greer's latest is glowing. How about this, from Booker-winner Marlon James: "Only Arthur Less could be both frustratingly stuck, yet on the move. Let loose, yet totally lost. Full of wit, but without a clue. And while he runs from himself, finds himself at the same time. Put all of that on a wild road trip through a wilder America, and you end up with something hilarious, affecting, and unforgettable." And then there's this, from Circe author Madeline Miller: "It is a deep pleasure to return to the adventures of Arthur Less and his beloved Freddy. Greer is a brilliant storyteller as always, and the joyfulness of this book is a balm. I loved reading it." And if that's not enough, how about this amazing profile in The New York Times and this enthusiastic review in The New Yorker. Greer and Callanan are both writers of wit and charm - can you imagine them together?
Andrew Sean Greer is author of six works of fiction, including The Confessions of Max Tivoli and The Story of a Marriage. He has taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop, been a New York Public Library Cullman Center Fellow, and been a recipient of a NEA grant and Guggenheim Fellowship. Liam Callanan is Professor of English at UWM and author of three novels.
Shorewood Public Library presents an evening with Jeannée Sacken for Double Exposure, the sequel to her American Writing Awards Book of the Year, Behind the Lens.
Click here to visit the Shorewood Public Library website for more event information. And be sure to order your copy of Double Exposure now, too.
Seasoned war photojournalist Annie Hawkins is under investigation for an incident that happened six months earlier in Afghanistan. Her best friend's daughter is still missing, apparently with her Taliban boyfriend. Her own daughter is fundraising to rebuild the Wad Qol Secondary School for Girls and expects Annie to deliver the money. To make matters worse, she and the love of her life are no longer speaking. When Annie returns to Afghanistan to cover peace talks between the government and the Taliban, she takes a side trip to Wad Qol, where she discovers that not everyone wants the new school. Sabotage delays construction, and when a worker ends up dead, it's clear the militants are to blame. It's also obvious that they know exactly where Annie is.
Love in Provence author Patricia Sands says: "Fast-moving, unpredictable, and at times heart-stopping. Sacken’s prose is brilliant." And Maggie Smith, author of Truth and Other Lies, says Double Exposure is full of: "smart narration, nuanced characters, and thought-provoking situations reminiscent of Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns."
Jeannée Sacken is an author and photojournalist who travels the world documenting the lives of women and children. A former English professor, she lives in Shorewood and is currently President of the Friends of the Shorewood Public Library.
Author and Hugo Award-nominated podcaster Alexandra Rowland visits us virtually for a conversation about their new book, A Taste of Gold and Iron, a Boswellian favorite in which a queer central romance unfolds in a fantasy world reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire. In conversation with Rachel Copeland of Boswell.
Please click here and register now to tune into this virtual broadcast. And be sure to order your copy of A Taste of Gold and Iron now, too.
In this Indie Next selection novel, the shy prince of Arasht finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court. Rowland’s novel earned a quartet starred reviews, including from Library Journal, which calls the book: "A beautifully detailed world, the power to touch-taste metal, political schemes, and a slow-burn romance wrap together in a lush fantasy."
Here’s Rachel Copeland’s take: "Following an altercation with the body-father of his sister's newborn child, Prince Kadou must prove his loyalty to his sister, the sultan, and figure out who is behind the counterfeit currency plot that could ruin their country of Arasht. Crippled with anxiety, Kadou finds himself stuck with a terse new bodyguard, Evemer, who doesn't seem to like Kadou all that much. After a series of incidents in which Kadou improbably proves himself more canny, dutiful, and capable than Evemer thought possible, an undying loyalty and trust grows between them - and evolves into something more. In every way, this is the romance I've been waiting for. The slow build between Kadou and Evemer was so well done that I often flipped back to reread passages just for fun. Also, every (non-evil) character in this book is iconic, and Rowland had me cackling, blushing, and screaming at multiple points. Rowland's worldbuilding encompasses not only the touch-taste of precious metals that drives the plot, but also a fully realized system of genders, pronouns, orientations, even degrees of paternity. I finished this work wanting - maybe needing - to revisit it immediately to recapture the feeling of pure joy that infuses every page."
Alexandra Rowland is author of A Conspiracy Of Truths, A Choir Of Lies, and Finding Faeries, as well as a cohost of the podcast Be the Serpent. They hold a degree in world literature, mythology, and folklore from Truman State University.
Boswell Book Company hosts an evening with Newbery Honoree Jasmine Warga, author of books such as Other Words for Home, for a conversation about her new middle grade book, A Rover’s Story, a book that’s perfect for fans of The Wild Robot and Wall-E. In conversation with Amanda Zieba, this event takes place at Greenfield Public Library and is cohosted by the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition.
Registration is required to attend this event, so click here to register on the Greenfield Library website now. You can also order a copy of A Rover’s Story now, too.
Warga’s latest middle grade novel is a deeply moving and unique story about the journey of Resilience, a Mars rover determined to live up to his name. Res was built to explore Mars. He was not built to have human emotions. But as he learns new things from the NASA scientists who assemble him, he begins to develop human-like feelings. Maybe there’s a problem with his programming. Human emotions or not, launch day comes, and Res blasts off to Mars, accompanied by a friendly drone helicopter named Fly. But Res quickly discovers that Mars is a dangerous place filled with dust storms and giant cliffs. As he navigates Mars’s difficult landscape, Res is tested in ways that go beyond space exploration. As millions of people back on Earth follow his progress, will Res have the determination, courage and resilience to succeed - and to survive?
From Christina Soontornvat, two-time Newbery Honor recipient: "As a mechanical engineer and STEM-lover, this beautiful book filled my heart right to the top. Res may be a rover, but he taught me what it means to be fully alive." And from the starred Kirkus review: "Warga follows her cybernetic narrator from first awareness to final resting place - and stony indeed will be any readers who remain unmoved by the journey. The intelligences here may be (mostly) artificial, but the feelings are genuine and deep."
Jasmine Warga is author of Other Words for Home, a Newbery Honor Book and a Walter Honor Book for Younger Readers, and The Shape of Thunder. Her teen books, Here We Are Now and My Heart and Other Black Holes, have been translated into over twenty-five languages.
Boswell hosts an evening featuring Silas House, author of novels such as Southernmost, for a conversation about his latest, Lark Ascending, a riveting story of survival and hope, set in the not-too-distant future, about a young man forced to flee the United States and seek refuge across the Atlantic. This one is earning lots of early praise from the Boswellians, too! Perfect for fans of Emily St John Mandel.
Registration is required, so click here now, visit silashousemke.eventbrite.com, and reserve your spot. And be sure to order your copy of Lark Ascending now as well.
As fires devastate most of the United States, Lark and his family secure a place on a refugee boat headed to Ireland, the last country not yet overrun by extremists and rumored to be accepting American refugees. But Lark is the only one to survive the trip, and once ashore, he doesn’t find the safe haven he’d hoped for. As he runs for his life, Lark finds an abandoned dog who becomes his closest companion, and then a woman in search of her lost son. Together they form a makeshift family and attempt to reach Glendalough, a place they believe will offer protection. But can any community provide the safety that they seek? An unforgettable story of friendship, family, and healing.
Early praise from Daniel Goldin: "I’m not generally a dystopian reader, but Lark Ascending’s beautiful language and imagery, combined with the emotional heft of the story, drew me in from the first paragraph."
Silas House is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, one book of creative nonfiction, and three plays. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Garden & Gun. A former commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, House is the winner of the Nautilus Award, the Storylines Prize from the NAV/New York Public Library, and an E. B. White Honor.
Wisconsin author and educator Mary Wimmer appears at Boswell for a conversation about her new novel, The Art of the Break, a Wisconsin-set novel about friendship, family, love, and cheesemaking. In conversation with Kim Suhr, Director of Red Oak Writing, our cosponsor for this event.
Registration required to attend – click here and visit marywimmermke.eventbrite.com to reserve your space. And be sure to order your copy of The Art of the Break now, too.
Charlotte 'Charlie' Sobczak finds the most comfort in making cheese - a craft she learned at the side of her father. In the wake of his untimely death, she and her daughter return home to Falls River, Wisconsin. With her marriage floundering and the childhood losses of her sister and mother still casting a shadow over her life, Charlie pours all her efforts into reopening the family’s Morgan Cheese Factory. Her degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin gives her a leg up, and the quiet joys of working at the cheese vat provide a deep, healing peace that points the way toward happiness. But Charlie is ill-prepared for the pettiness and conventions of small-town life, and facing a lien against her family’s land, she must quickly figure out who is on her side and how to keep her dreams alive.
Conversation partner Kim Suhr says: "With authentic characters and vivid settings, The Art of the Break weaves the art and science of cheesemaking into a rich story of love, friendship, and starting over. It reminds us that, while past grief may follow us into the present, it doesn’t have to swallow us whole. This book sings!" And from Ann Garvin: "The Art of the Break is a lyrical love letter to rural Wisconsin, cheesemaking, and family. This story will stay with you, I promise."
Mary Wimmer is author of Reaching Shore, first-place winner of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association-Young Adult Fiction Award, as well as two nonfiction books. Kim Suhr is author of Nothing to Lose.
Boswell hosts an evening with actor Linda Stephens for a conversation about her memoir, There Is No Backstage, a chronicle of a life lived in the theatre. In conversation with Mike Fischer, former drama and book critic for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Registration is required to attend this event, so click here and reserve your space now. And be sure to order your copy of There Is No Backstage now, too.
Linda Stephens recounts her remarkable five decades in the theatre with her new memoir. Stephen’s book offers a journey of openness, humility and depth through her award-winning career until the book's poignant finale. Stephens weaves a narrative of family, love, aging, hard work and hard-earned life lessons to offer an open-hearted, honest look at what it means to dedicate a life to a profession that demands so much and can give back so little. Yet when it does give back, it can change lives forever.
Stephens offers the an unflinching look at her personal journey on the professional stage, from dinner theatre to regional theatre to Broadway, revealing the struggles, triumphs, losses, and above all, the ultimate grace found in a life in the theatre.
Linda Stephens has been acting on stages for fifty years and has been awarded for her work in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and DC. She's appeared on Broadway and Off, in dozens of regional theatres across the country, and has worked with Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Stephen Sondheim. Stephens lives in Milwaukee.
Readings from Oconomowaukee presents its October edition featuring Joanna Quinn, who joins us virtually from the UK for a conversation about The Whalebone Theatre. Her irresistible debut novel takes its heroine from the gargantuan cavity of a beached whale into undercover operations during World War II and tells a story of love, bravery, lost innocence, and self-transformation.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of The Whalebone Theatre now. Click here to order from Boswell. Or click here and order from Books & Company, our event series cohost.
One blustery night in 1928, a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel. By law, it belongs to the King, but twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave has other plans. She and the rest of the household - her sister Flossie, her brother Digby (the long-awaited heir to Chilcombe manor), kitchen maid Maudie Kitcat, and visiting artist Taras - build a theatre from the beast’s skeletal rib cage. Within the Whalebone Theatre, Cristabel can escape her feckless stepparents and brisk governesses, and her imagination comes to life. As Cristabel grows into a headstrong young woman and World War II rears its head, she and Digby become British secret agents in Nazi-occupied France - a more dangerous kind of playacting, it turns out, and one that threatens to tear the family apart.
Early praise from Sarah Winman, author of Still Life: "The Whalebone Theatre has all the makings of a classic. And Cristabel Seagrave is the most gratifying hero. The war scenes often left me breathless: they are as good as you will ever read. A wonderful debut. Actually, a tour de force." And from Rebecca Stott, author of Ghostwalk: "Magnificent. As capacious, surprising and magical as the whale that lends its bones to Cristabel’s theatre: a tale of intertwined lives and braided fates as deftly managed and heartbreaking as a Dickens novel."
Joanna Quinn was born in London and grew up in Dorset, in the southwest of England, where The Whalebone Theatre, is set. She has worked in journalism and the charity sector. Her writing has been published by The White Review and Comma Press, among others. She teaches creative writing.
Boswell hosts Nick Marx, Associate Professor at CSU, for an event featuring That’s Not Funny, the new book that he’s coauthored which focuses on the emergence of right-wing comedy and the political power of humor. Vulture calls it one of the Best Comedy Books of 2022.
Registration is required to attend this event, so click here and visit thatsnotfunnymke.eventbrite.com now. And be sure to order your copy of That’s Not Funny now as well.
Why is there no right-wing Jon Stewart? Questions like this launch a million tweets, a thousand op-eds, and more than a few scholarly analyses. That's Not Funny argues that it is both an intellectual and politically strategic mistake to assume that comedy has a liberal bias. Right-wing comedy has been hiding in plain sight, finding its way into mainstream conservative media through figures ranging from Fox News's Greg Gutfeld to libertarian podcasters like Joe Rogan.
That's Not Funny taps interviews with conservative comedians and observations of them in action to guide readers through media history, text, and technique. You may find many of these comedians appalling, some very funny, and others just plain weird. They are all, however, culturally and politically relevant as the American right attempts to seize spaces of comedy and irony previously held firmly by the left. Like this brand of humor or not, you can't ignore it.
Nick Marx is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies in the Department of Communication Studies at Colorado State University.
Journalist and Wisconsin native Kathleen Hale visits Boswell for a presentation about her new book, Slenderman, the first full and authoritative account of the 2014 Slenderman stabbing in Waukesha. This true crime narrative offers a full picture of the tragic event and the influences of mental illness, the American judicial system, the trials of adolescence, and the power of the internet.
Registration is required to attend – click here and visit kathleenhalemke.eventbrite.com now. And be sure to order your copy of Slenderman now as well.
On May 31, 2014 in Waukesha, two twelve-year-old girls attempted to stab their classmate to death. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier’s violence was extreme, but what seemed even more frightening was that they committed their crime under the influence of a figure born by the internet: the so-called 'Slenderman.' Yet the even more urgent aspect of the story, that the children involved suffered from undiagnosed mental illnesses, often went overlooked in coverage of the case. For the first time, Hale tells the full story for the first time in deeply researched detail, using court transcripts, police reports, individual reporting, and exclusive interviews.
Early praise from Boswellians has arrived. From Chris Lee: "Slenderman is a perfect example of true crime writing at its best. It’s a horrible incident, yes, but native Wisconsinite Hale, with a sensitive and fact-oriented eye, cuts through the slogans attached to the case (Internet Evil! Adult Crime, Adult Time!) to understand the ties between mental illness, Midwestern stoicism, violence, and reactionary impulses." And from Parker Jensen: "Because the true facts of the case were blurred, fumbled, and outright ignored, the idea of two 12-year-old girls committing such a violent crime all in the name of an internet boogeyman is confusing and downright disconcerting. But that was never the full story. Hale's telling is extremely comprehensive, well researched, and compellingly written. Told with facts and not sensationalism in mind, Slenderman is the best true crime book I've read in years."
Kathleen Hale is author of the essay collection Kathleen Hale Is a Crazy Stalker as well as two young adult novels. She has written for the Guardian, Hazlitt, and Vice, and is a writer and producer for Outer Banks on Netflix. She was born in Wisconsin and lives in Los Angeles.
Boswell teams up with a number of independent bookstores in the country to present a Random House Studio Sessions event featuring bestselling author an Whole30 creator Melissa Urban, who will chat about her latest project, The Book of Boundaries, with Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.
Tickets for this virtual event cost $29.54 plus ticket fee and include access to this virtual event plus a copy of The Book of Boundaries, available for pickup at Boswell beginning Tuesday, October 11. You can also upgrade to have your book shipped to you via USPS Media Mail for $5 more - shipping to contiguous US address only. Click right here and purchase your tickets for this virtual event now.
Set the limits that will set you free. Urban’s latest work is a straightforward and compassionate guide to setting the boundaries that will revolutionize your relationships. How often do you tell yourself to just 'let it go' when you want to do anything but? Do you say "it’s fine' when it’s really anything but? Do you feel resentful, depleted, or overwhelmed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to establish some boundaries.
Lifestyle influencer praise is rolling in for this one! From Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: "I always tell my therapy patients that boundaries create trust, comfort, and safety in a relationship, but many people struggle with how to effectively communicate what they need. In The Book of Boundaries, Melissa Urban helps you identify your boundary needs, offers actionable scripts on what to say, and shares proven tips based on a decade of experience helping people live more freely by holding their limits with confidence." And from The 5 Second Rule author Mel Robbins: "The Book of Boundaries is funny, direct, and smart, bringing you actionable tools and science-backed strategies for setting boundaries using language that feels kind, natural, and empowering. Melissa’s straightforward scripts and practical tips makes it easy to identify your limits and communicate them with confidence, so you can start putting yourself first and create a life that feels bigger, freer, and more authentically YOU."
Melissa Urban is CEO of the Whole30, a New York Times bestselling author, and has been featured by Good Morning America, The New York Times, and CNBC.
UWM’s Creative Writing Program Visiting Writers Series presents a program featuring Phong Nguyen, a UWM PhD graduate and author of Bronze Drum, a gripping historical adventure set in ancient Vietnam based on the true story of two warrior sisters who raised an army of women to overthrow the Han Chinese and rule as kings over a united people, for readers of Circe and The Night Tiger.
Click here to visit the UWM Creative Writing website for more information. This event will also be broadcast virtually, and you can register for that broadcast on the UWM website, too. Be sure to order a copy of Bronze Drum, as well. Boswell will be on hand at the 7 pm event to sell copies.
Vivid, lyrical, and filled with adventure, Bronze Drum is a true story of standing up for one's people, culture, and country that has been passed down through generations of Vietnamese families through oral tradition. Phong Nguyen's breathtaking novel takes these real women out of legends and celebrates their loves, losses, and resilience in this inspirational story of women's strength and power even in the face of the greatest obstacles.
From Wisconsin author Christina Clancy: "Girl Power’ may have originated with the Trung sisters who fought for Vietnamese independence in 40 CE. Phong Nguyen enlivens this historical moment in Bronze Drum, a sweeping and imaginative account of their efforts to form an army of women to fight for and preserve their freedom. This fast-paced novel features palace intrigue, sex, deception, scholarship, bravery, love, honor, magic and power. Nguyen has the rare ability to render events that happened long ago in a way that fells contemporary and even timely. I'm in awe of his storytelling powers and was captivated from the first page to the last."
Phong Nguyen is author of Roundabout: An Improvisational Fiction, The Adventures of Joe Harper, and Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History. He is the Miller Family Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Missouri.
Boswell hosts an evening with photographer and documentarian Dennis Darmek for his new book, Crossing the DMZ, which attempts to use art to measure the immeasurable tragedy of the war in Vietnam, which affected the lives of millions of people both here in the US and throughout Southeast Asia.
Registration is required to attend this in-person event, so click here and visit dennisdarmekmke.eventbrite.com now. And be sure to order your copy of Crossing the DMZ now as well.
In his new book, Crossing the DMZ, Dennis Darmek focuses on a small group of US Marines, mostly teenagers, who volunteered to fight and ended up with their names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. In a collaboration between past and present, Vietnamese who live where the battles were fought pose with photos of those Marines. Darmek’s work merges new photos with military archives, stories, and the emotional terrain of our Vietnam memories.
Photographer Larry Schwarm praises Darmek’s work thusly: "Crossing the DMZ falls in that interesting area between art and journalism - it’s both. It is beautiful and heartbreaking." And from artist Suzanne Rose: "Utterly poetic… a path past pain to beauty."
Dennis Darmek is a photographer, video artist, and documentarian, and his work has been featured on PBS and European television as well as in museums and galleries around the world, including the Milwaukee Art Museum, The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, and the Museum of Wisconsin Art.
Boswell Book Company teams up again with Porchlight Book Company to present a virtual event featuring MIT Professor of Philosophy and author Kieran Setiya for a conversation about his philosophical new guide to facing life's inevitable hardships. In conversation with Sally Haldorson, Porchlight’s Managing Director.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Life Is Hard now, too.
There is no cure for the human condition: life is hard. But Kieran Setiya believes philosophy can help. He offers us a map for navigating rough terrain, from personal trauma to the injustice and absurdity of the world. Drawing on ancient and modern philosophy as well as fiction, history, memoir, film, comedy, social science, and stories from Setiya’s own experience, Life Is Hard is a book for this moment, a work of solace and compassion.
Setiya’s book is great for fans of Atomic Habits. Daniel H Pink, author of Drive, says: "Kieran Setiya has produced the ultimate handbook of hardship. He shows why adversity is inevitable - and why facing up to that reality, rather than insisting on simple-minded notions of happiness, offers the only path to living well." And from Louis Menand, author of The Metaphysical Club: "Finding wisdom in Aristotle, Wittgenstein, and Simone Weil, and also in Dostoevsky, Emily Dickinson, and Groundhog Day, this book offers guidance on how to make the most of the hand we have all been dealt."
Kieran Setiya is Professor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author Midlife: A Philosophical Guide. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times, and The Yale Review.
Elm Grove Public Library hosts an evening of conversation with Milwaukee-area native Andrea Bartz, author of the Reese’s Book Club pick We Were Never Here, in which a backpacking trip leads to deadly consequences across three continents as the story traverses Cambodia, Chile, and Wisconsin. In conversation with Noah Weckwerth of Elm Grove Public Library and cosponsored by Boswell Book Company.
Registration is required, so click here, visit the Elm Grove Library website, and reserve your space now. You can order your copy of We Were Never Here now, too.
Emily is having the time of her life in the mountains of Chile with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip. But on the last night of the trip, Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says the cute backpacker she brought back to the room attacked her, and she had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Even more shocking: The scene is horrifyingly similar to last year's trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Emily can't believe it's happened again - can lightning really strike twice? Emily returns home to Wisconsin, dives head-first into a new relationship, and throws herself into work. But when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to confront their violent past.
From Sarah Weinman, writing for The New York Times Book Review: "A book that skillfully examines toxic friendship at its most extreme... When the reckoning arrives, it shows that sometimes, we should fear our friends a lot more than strangers." And from NPR: "Beneath the thrilling cliffhangers and impeccably paced plot lies a very sharp portrait of female friendship and how magical and intense it can be."
Andrea Bartz is the bestselling author of the thrillers The Lost Night and The Herd. Her writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and Elle, and she has held editorial positions at Glamour, Psychology Today, and Self, among other publications.
Milwaukee journalist and writer Paul Salsini, the Founder and Editor of The Sondheim Review, which was the only publication devoted solely to Sondheim's work during his lifetime, visits for a conversation about his new memoir, Sondheim & Me, which details Salsini’s unique relationship with the groundbreaking American musical composer. In conversation with theater critic Mike Fischer.
Please click here and visit paulsalsinimke.eventbrite.com to register to attend this event. And be sure to order your copy of Sondheim & Me now as well.
Salsini’s memoir chronicles his relationship with Stephen Sondheim during his time working on The Sondheim Review. The magazine began in 1994 and Salsini shares his unique experiences interviewing, corresponding with, and speaking on the phone with the composer-lyricist through the entire next decade.
Sondheim & Me looks into Sondheim's early work, shares personal letters and interview excerpts, and collects Sondheim's own special insights into his work, often as a reaction to pieces appearing in The Sondheim Review. Salsini describes the musical genius and his working approach in revealing detail, while emphasizing Sondheim's lifelong passion and success in raising the standards of musical theater with innovative, influential, and sometimes provocative new shows.
Paul Salsini is author of ten novels set in Tuscany. Salsini is a graduate of Marquette University and worked as a writer, editor, and staff development director for The Milwaukee Journal for more than three decades. He also served as the Wisconsin correspondent for The New York Times. He is a writing coach and gives presentations on musical theater.
Boswell welcomes back Joe Meno, author of books such as The Great Perhaps and Hairstyles of the Damned, for his latest, Book of Extraordinary Tragedies, a moving novel about the impossibility of fate and family. In conversation with Milwaukee artist and writer Coe Douglas.
Registration required, so click here and visit joemenomke.eventbrite.com to reserve your space now. And be sure to preorder your copy of Book of Extraordinary Tragedies as well.
Siblings and former classical music prodigies Aleksandar and Isobel were forced to abandon their musical ambitions at a young age. Now in their twenties and doomed by a family history of failure, the two have all but given up. But when an illness forces Isobel to move home to far southside Chicago, she begins playing cello again as Aleksandar comes to see a world of possibility and wonder in the lives of his extraordinarily complicated family.
Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels, says: "I don’t know how Joe Meno does it - if I did know, I’d copy him. This book has such velocity that it generates wind, yet it is meditative and steeped in love, music, and human connection. It’s stunning."
Joe Meno is author of novels and short story collections such as Marvel and a Wonder, The Boy Detective Fails, and Hairstyles of the Damned. He’s been awarded the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, and was a finalist for the Story Prize. He is a professor in the English and Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago.
Boswell hosts an evening with Nora McInerny, host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking and author of books like No Happy Endings, for an event featuring her latest, a fun, raw essay collection called Bad Vibes Only: (and Other Things I Bring to the Table).
Registration is required to attend – click here and visit badvibesonlymke.eventbrite.com to reserve your space today. And be sure to order your copy of Bad Vibes Only right now, too!
McInerny’s latest book is great for her fans as well as readers of Jenny Lawson and Glennon Doyle - a poignant, hilarious collection of essays that offers not just a response to a society that tells us to live, laugh, love, but also a reminder that in a world where we are more connected to and observed by our peers than ever before, we still deserve the freedom to be ourselves. McInerny does not dance like no one is watching. In fact, she does not dance at all. She has captured the hearts of millions by discussing grief and loss with wit and warmth. Now, she turns her eye on our aggressively, oppressively optimistic culture, our obsession with self-improvement, and what it really means to live our lives online.
In essays that span her childhood to present, McInerny introduces us to her mind and her world while inviting us to more closely observe our own. We meet the people that challenge, question, and make her reflect on her own life, habits, and personality: her children, and their homework meltdowns, job searches, and online personalities; her college friend Kathleen, who now lives as a cloistered nun; and her uncle, a philosopher who has never used the internet.
Nora McInerny is author of It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too), The Hot Young Widows Club, and Bad Moms. She hosts the award-winning podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking, has spoken on TED’s mainstage, and has contributed to publications like The New York Times, Slate, and Vox. She is very tall.
Coauthors Michail Takach and BJ Daniels appear at Boswell for a conversation about their new book, A History of Milwaukee Drag, which celebrates Milwaukee’s place in the history and impact of drag queen culture.
Please click here to visit milwaukeedragmke.eventbrite.com and register for this in-person event. And be sure to order your copy of A History of Milwaukee Drag now, too.
For over a century, drag has been a force in Milwaukee nightlife. On June 7, 1884, "The Only Leon" brought the fine art of female impersonation to the Grand Opera Hall, launching a proud local legacy that continues today at This Is It, La Cage, Hamburger Mary's, D.I.X. and other venues.
Historians Takach and Daniels recognize that today's LGBTQ liberties were born from the strength, resilience, and resistance of yesterday's gender non-conforming pioneers. This is a long overdue celebration of those stories, including high-rolling hustler of the Fourth Ward "Badlands" Frank Blunt, over-the-top dinner theater drag superstar of the 1950s Adrian Ames, and "It Kid" Jamie Gays, first-ever Miss Gay Milwaukee and Latin community hero.
BJ Daniels has done hair and makeup work onset for film and video, taught the art of hairdressing as a licensed professional, and has covered Fashion Week in New York City. Daniels still works behind the chair, and lens, and performs in drag. Michail Takach is a reporter and communications professional who earned a masters in communications and history at UW-Madison. As the curator of the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project, Takach produces ongoing articles, documentaries and podcasts about local history.
Boswell Book Company and the Urban Ecology Center cohost a virtual evening featuring ecology and philanthropy expert Michael Mehta Webster for a conversation about his new book, The Rescue Effect, which reveals how we can use this natural resiliency to help reverse the effects of climate change.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of The Rescue Effect now as well.
As climate change continues to intensify, the outlook for life on Earth often seems bleak. Yet hope for the future can be found in the “rescue effect,” which is nature’s innate ability to help organisms persist during hard times. Like a thermostat starting the air conditioning when a room gets too warm, the rescue effect automatically kicks in when organisms are stressed or declining. Webster argues that there are good reasons to expect a bright future, because everywhere we look, we can see evidence that nature can rescue many species from extinction; and when nature alone is not up to the task, we can help. Combining rigorous research with gripping storytelling, The Rescue Effect provides the cautious optimism we need to help save life on Earth.
Here’s Boswellian Kay Wosewick’s take on The Rescue Effect: "Webster wants to help save species intelligently. He describes six ‘rescue’ processes, some which often happen on their own, some we can nudge, others we can aggressively employ to save species. Refreshingly, Webster understands we can’t save everything, and we also need to acknowledge that nature is, always has been, and will continue, changing, with or without us."
Michael Mehta Webster’s research interests focus on how organisms and ecosystems adapt to environmental change, how this information can be translated into effective conservation strategies, and the practical and ethical dilemmas that arise along the way. As an executive director of a conservation organization, program officer at a leading environmental foundation, and academic scientist, he has led efforts to connect cutting edge science to the management of species and ecosystems in the wild.
Karen Odden joins us at Boswell for a conversation about her brand new Victorian-era mystery, in which a fatal disaster on the Thames and a roiling political conflict set the stage in London for Inspector Corravan’s work. In conversation with Milwaukee author Erica Ruth Neubauer, author of the Jane Wunderly mysteries.
Registration is required, so click here and save your space now. And be sure to order your copy of Under a Veiled Moon now, too.
September 1878. Pleasure boat Princess Alice collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier, on the Thames, and shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood. For Scotland Yard Inspector Corravan, the case presents challenges. Irish by birth, his attentions are pulled by accusations of prejudice and his family member’s involvement in an Irish gang. As London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos, Corravan must uncover the harrowing truth, which will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.
Kirkus Reviews calls Odden’s latest a hearty dose of "Victorian skulduggery with a heaping side of Irish troubles." And Edgar-winning author Mariah Fredericks says: "Rich in emotion and historical detail, Under a Veiled Moon is a brilliant tale of the dark, thorny places where the personal and the political intertwine."
Karen Odden taught literature at UWM and has contributed essays to numerous books and journals and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, she is author of award-winning historical mysteries. Erica Ruth Neubauer is the Agatha Award-winning author of the Jane Wunderly investigations, including the books Murder at the Mena House, Murder at Wedgefield Manor, and Danger on the Atlantic.
Boswell is pleased to host the Milwaukee return of Dani Shapiro, author of books such as Inheritance and Devotion, for her latest work, Signal Fires, a life-affirming novel about a tragedy that connects two families across generations. In conversation with Lauren Fox, the Milwaukee-based author of novels such as Send for Me and Days of Awe.
Click here to visit danishapiromke.eventbrite.com and register for this event now. And be sure to order your copy of Signal Fires now as well.
Shapiro’s gripping new novel begins on a summer night in 1985 when three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything changes. Each of their lives, and that of the young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered. For the doctor’s family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.
Signal Fires is one of 2022’s most anticipated books, as noted by LitHub BookPage, The Millions, and others. Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being, says: “Signal Fires is an urgent and compassionate meditation on memory, time, and space. Shapiro has created a world that's as wrenching as it is wondrous.” And from Meg Wolitzer: “A haunting, moving, and propulsive exploration of family secrets.”
Dani Shapiro is a best-selling novelist and memoirist and host of the podcast Family Secrets. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Time. She has taught at Columbia and New York University and is the co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference.
Wauwatosa illustrator Sherrill Knezel visits for an evening featuring her latest work, an authorized visual representation of Parker J Palmer's classic book Let Your Life Speak. More than seventy heartfelt images accompany excerpts from Palmer, inviting reading to explore and embrace both their own limits and their own potential as they listen to their inner voice and courageously follow its lead. Please note, Palmer will not be present at this event.
Registration is required, so click here and visit heartspeakmke.eventbrite.com now. And be sure to order your copy of Heart Speak now as well.
Whether the words of Let Your Life Speak are familiar signposts on the roads you have traveled or they are new to you, Knezel’s work offers an opportunity for reflection and discernment in regard to your life, community, and calling. From the introduction Palmer wrote for the book: "I'm very excited about the way Sherrill has used her gifts of art and insight to interpret and express some of the key ideas in Let Your Life Speak."
From Pardeep Singh Kaleka, coauthor of The Gifts of Our Wounds: "Heart Speak is a beautiful participatory journey into the depth of self and the soul of society. Palmer's words combined with Knezel's illustrations carefully explore unconscious behaviors, patterns, relationships, and thoughts of everyday existence. This book provides a real road map for clinicians, help groups, parents, families, and friends to contemplate and engage in conversations that lead to movement, growth, and healing. But experience this book for yourself first. It's a true gift!"
Sherrill Knezel is a graphic recorder, illustrator, and art educator who specializes in visual literacy. She is the founder of Meaningful Marks LLC, a graphic recording/illustration firm that focuses on using the power of visuals to support nonprofits, educators, and corporate sector clients. She is a contributing author to Stories in EDU and Social Action Stories, and won the Excellence in Visual Journalism Award for her work in the Milwaukee Independent.
Boswell Book Company and Porchlight Book Company join forces again, as we like to do, to present a virtual event featuring restauranteur Will Guidara, a former coowner of New York City’s legendary Eleven Madison Park. Guidara will be in conversation with Porchlight Managing Director Sally Haldorson about Unreasonable Hospitality, his new book which offers up essential lessons in hospitality for every business.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Unreasonable Hospitality now, too!
Guidara was twenty-six when he took the helm of Eleven Madison Park, a struggling two-star brasserie that had never quite lived up to its majestic room. Eleven years later, it was named the best restaurant in the world. Radical reinvention, a true partnership between the kitchen and the dining room, and memorable, over-the-top, bespoke hospitality. This hospitality extended beyond those dining at the restaurant to his own team, who learned to deliver praise and criticism with intention, why the answer to some of the most pernicious business dilemmas is to give more, not less, and the magic that can happen when a busser starts thinking like an owner.
Any and every business can choose to be a hospitality business and transform ordinary transactions into extraordinary experiences. Featuring sparkling stories of his journey through restaurants, with the industry’s most famous players like Daniel Boulud and Danny Meyer, Guidara urges us all to find the magic in what we do, for ourselves, the people we work with, and the people we serve.
Will Guidara is Cofounder of The Welcome Conference and the Cofounder and former Coowner of Make It Nice, a restaurant group that includes Eleven Madison Park, Made Nice, and The NoMad.
Boswell hosts an evening with Sara Woster, artist and founder of The Painting School, who visits with her new book, Painting Can Save Your Life, which invites readers into the vibrant world of painting as a creative practice powerful enough to transform our lives.
Registration is required, so please click this sentence and visit sarawostermke.eventbrite.com now. And be sure to order your copy of Painting Can Save Your Life now as well.
Sara Woster is a painter, teacher, and art evangelist who believes in art as a form of mindfulness, a ritual for healing, and an outlet for self-expression. In Painting Can Save Your Life, Woster welcomes readers into this transformative art form, inviting them to pick up a brush and discover how painting can help you see the world in a whole new way.
Combining the practical how-to of Betty Edwards with the spirit and inspiration of Julia Cameron, Woster is an important new voice in the creativity/self-help space. The pandemic has inspired millions of people around the world to establish new hobbies that soothe their souls in troubled times. Woster’s book is the perfect guide for this moment, combining detailed and accessible how-to with a new twist on wellness.
Sara Woster has illustrated several children’s books, and her animations, multimedia, and collaborative performances have been shown at numerous art venues including the Hammer Museum, UCLA, and Franklin Art Works in Minneapolis. She has been granted a Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship, a Franconia Sculpture Park residency, and a Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA residency. Woster also has a creative writing degree from The New School.
Scavenge your way into Boswell for an evening with Milwaukee writer and journalist Jenna Kashou, who offers a whole new way to discover the Cream City with her new book, Milwaukee Scavenger.
Our in-person events require registration to attend, so click here and reserve your spot now. And be sure to order your copy of Milwaukee Scavenger now, too.
As the saying goes: There's always good things brewing in Milwaukee! Indeed there are and you won't have to hunt too hard to find them. Take a closer look at those places you might have passed by or stop and visit a neighborhood you only know by name. Milwaukee Scavenger invites you to discover the city with new eyes.
From Shorewood to Bay View to Lincoln Village to Sherman Park, each chapter is designed to help you discover or rediscover historic landmarks, natural wonders, dazzling works of art, and new hot spots in the city. See how fast you can guess all the clues in your own neighborhood and beyond as this scavenger hunt challenges visitors and locals alike to explore the city one neighborhood at a time.
Jenna Kashou is a journalist specializing in spreading love for MKE. She is author of 100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die, 2nd Edition, and wrote the ‘Girl About Town’ column for Milwaukee Magazine. She has also been writer in residence at the historic Pfister Hotel.
Boswell welcomes back Wisconsin-based YA author Jamie Pacton for an evening of conversation about her new novel, The Vermilion Emporium, a timeless story of love and deadly consequences that’s something like The Radium Girls set in the enchanting world of Howl’s Moving Castle. In conversation with Jenny Chou of Boswell.
Registration is required to attend this event, so click here to visit jamiepactonmke.eventbrite.com now. And you can also order a copy of The Vermilion Emporium now.
A lonely boy with a knack for danger and a circus performer’s daughter meet outside a mysterious curiosity shop and together they discover a book that teaches them to weave starlight into lace, a skill that brings them to the attention of the ruler of the land. A powerful and romantic adventure set in a whimsically magical world. The Vermilion Emporium shines a light into the darkest spaces. It’s about healing in a world shrouded with despair and discovering a spark of magic when you need it most.
Allison Saft, author of A Far Wilder Magic, says: "Packed with fantastical adventures, heartfelt whimsy, and delightful characters, The Vermilion Emporium is as luminous as starlight lace itself. Jamie Pacton will make you believe there is magic to be found around every corner."
Jamie Pacton is author of The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly and Lucky Girl. When not writing, she teaches college English, obsessively reads obscure history, hikes, bakes, and plays video games.
Boswell hosts an evening with the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series for a conversation about Racing the Light, its latest installment. In conversation with Milwaukee author Nick Petrie, whose Peter Ash books include The Runaway and The Drifter.
Registration required – click here to visit robertcraismke.eventbrite.com and reserve your space now. And be sure to order your copy of Racing the Light as well.
With dangerous secrets lurking behind every lead, Cole needs his partner Pike more than ever to uncover the truth about a missing son, corrupt politicians, and the vicious business cartels rotting the heart of Los Angeles from within. And when Elvis's estranged girlfriend and her son return, he learns just how much he has to lose - if he survives. Written with the heart, humor, and relentless suspense for which Crais is famous, Racing the Light delivers Elvis Cole's most dangerous case yet.
Early praise includes this quote from David Baldacci: "Racing The Light is another grand slam for the master storyteller Robert Crais. If there’s a better dynamic duo than Elvis Cole and Joe Pike in all of crime fiction, I’m not aware of it." And from Lisa Scottoline: "Crais does the impossible in this thriller: moves the story at a breakneck pace while creating characters you absolutely adore."
Robert Crais is author of twenty-two previous novels, eighteen of them featuring PI Elvis Cole and his laconic partner, Joe Pike. Before writing his first novel, Crais spent several years writing scripts for such major television series as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice. He was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and has received multiple awards for his work.
Boswell book company hosts a Saturday morning special featuring Everina Maxwell, author of the space opera hit Winter’s Orbit, for a conversation about her new novel, a stand-alone space adventure called Ocean’s Echo. In conversation with Boswellians Rachel Copeland and Oli Schmitz.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Ocean’s Echo now, too.
Socialite flirt and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier. Whereas Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. But Surit refuses to go through with illegal orders to control unconsenting Tennal’s mind. So they fake a bond and plan Tennal's escape. When war begins, Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their world, and the only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they've been faking. Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?
Here’s Rachel Copeland’s take: "Maxwell deepens the worldbuilding established in Winter's Orbit with a focus on the mysterious alien remnants that seem to have endless horrifying possibilities. I don't know how it's possible in a story that engages in difficult topics such as coercion and mental health issues, but Ocean's Echo left me with a distinctly warm feeling. Can one feel hugged by a space opera? Asking for a friend." And from Ryka Aoki, author of Light from Uncommon Stars: "Compassionate, queer, slightly horrifying, and wildly inventive... What a glorious read!"
Everina Maxwell is the author of Winter’s Orbit, a queer romantic space opera that won an American Library Association Alex Award and was a Sunday Times bestseller.
Beloved music critic and Stereogum Senior Editor Tom Breihan joins us for a conversation about his new book, The Number Ones, a fascinating narrative of the history of popular music through the lens of game-changing #1 singles from the Billboard Hot 100. In conversation with Daniel Goldin of Boswell.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of The Number Ones now, too.
Breihan launched his Sterogum column, "The Number Ones," figuring he’d post capsule-size reviews for each song, but discovered was so much more to uncover. The column, in which he has been writing about every #1 hit in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 in chronological order, has taken on a life of its own, sparking online debate and occasional death threats. The Billboard Hot 100 began in 1958, and after four years of posting the column, Breihan has written into the early aughts. But readers no longer have to wait for his brilliant synthesis of what the history of #1s has meant to music and our culture. In The Number Ones, Breihan writes about twenty pivotal #1s throughout chart history, revealing a remarkably fluid and connected story of music that is as entertaining as it is enlightening.
Here is Billboard Hot 100 enthusiast Daniel Goldin’s take on Breihan’s book: "I am completely obsessed with Tom Breihan’s 'Number Ones' column in Stereogum. What started as capsule summaries have now turned into essays that almost always have something interesting to say about pop music and popular culture in general. But was this enough to make a book? You bet it was! Breihan looks at 20 particularly influential songs and the artists that created them and offers original-to-this-book essays that dig even deeper than his column. I’m sure there will be arguments about who made the cut, who was left out, and when it came to some of the artists, whether this was their move-the-needle #1, or was it another cut? And there’s always the problem of those groundbreakers, like Bob Dylan, who never got higher than #2 on the singles chart. The key here is that it doesn’t matter if you know the songs or not, especially now that you can listen to just about anything almost instantly. No less than enthralling!”
Tom Breihan is the senior editor at the music website Stereogum, and has written for Pitchfork, the Village Voice, and the Ringer, among other outlets.
Boswell is so pleased to host an evening featuring Wisconsinite Amy E Reichert, author of novels such as The Simplicity of Cider and The Kindred Spirits Supper Club, for a conversation about her newest book, Once Upon a December, in which a trip to the Milwaukee Christmas market offers holiday magic and romance.
Registration is required to attend this event, so click here and visit amyereichertmke.eventbrite.com now. And be sure to order your copy of Once Upon a December now, too.
With a name like Astra Noel Snow, holiday spirit isn’t just a seasonal specialty, it’s a way of life. But after a stinging divorce, Astra’s yearly trip to the Milwaukee Christmas market takes on a whole new meaning. For Jack Clausen, the Julemarked with its snowy lights and charming shops stays the same, while the world outside the joyful street changes, magically leaping from one December to the next every four weeks. He’s never minded living this charmed existence until Astra shows him the life he’s been missing outside of the festive red brick alley. After a swoon-worthy series of dates, some Yuletide magic, and the unexpected glow of new love, Astra and Jack must decide whether this relationship can weather all seasons, or if what they’re feeling is as ephemeral as marshmallows in a mug of hot cocoa.
Jenny Bayliss, author of Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, says: "For all those who still revel in the enchantment of the festive season, this is the book for you. Friendships, romance and magical Christmas markets abound in this feel-good novel." And from Christina Lauren, author of In A Holidaze: "Delightful in every possible way! With Reichert's trademark bone-deep wisdom threaded beautifully throughout a riotous, otherworldly, and marvelously unexpected novel, Once Upon a December is an absolutely perfect holiday hug."
Amy E Reichert is author of novels such as The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go, and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie. She earned an MA in English Literature, serves on her library’s board of directors, and is a member of Tall Poppy writers.
Wisconsinite Wendy Wimmer visits Boswell in-person for a conversation about her debut story collection, Entry Level, winner of the Autumn House Fiction Prize. Wimmer’s book offers up tales of characters trying to find their way through the struggles of underemployment. In conversation with Christina Clancy, author of Shoulder Season and The Second Home.
Registration is required for our in-person events, so click here to reserve your space at wendywimmermke.eventbrite.com. And be sure to order your copy of Entry Level now, too.
In Entry Level, characters are trying to find, assert, or salvage their identities. Wimmer pushes the boundaries of reality, creating stories that are funny, fantastic, and at times terrifying as her characters undergo feats of endurance, heartbreak, and loneliness while trying to succeed in a world that undervalues them. From a young marine biologist suffering from imposter syndrome to a haunting to a bingo caller facing another brutal snowstorm, Wimmer’s characters confront a universe that is, at best, indifferent to them. These stories reflect on the difficulties of modern-day survival and remind us that piecing together a life demands both hope and resilience.
National Book Award finalist Deesha Philyaw says: "In the world of Entry Level, no job is too small, nor is it ever just a job. In cities and across rural landscapes and dreamscapes, we find clerks and corpses, mothers and daughters, cruise entertainers and scientists, grappling with longing and loss. The stories are, at turns, heartfelt and hilarious, wry and whimsical, full of magic and mayhem. These are well-crafted love stories, ghost stories, and stories of everyday people just trying to navigate life’s cruelties and impossibilities. Wimmer writes with an intimacy and immediacy that take you down a fresh rabbit hole from the first line, each time. Each tale is as smart, exquisite, and surprising as the next. I really didn’t want this collection to end!"
Wendy Wimmer earned an MA in Creative Writing at UWM, and her work has been published in Barrelhouse, The Believer, Blackbird, and several other journals.
Boswell welcomes the return of Wisconsin thriller author Hannah Morrissey, who joins us for a Thrillwaukee evening featuring her new novel, The Widowmaker, in which a wealthy family shrouded in scandal, a detective with an impossible cold case and a woman with a dark past collide in Black Harbor, Wisconsin.
Registration is required to attend this event, so click here and reserve your space now. And be sure to order your copy of The Widowmaker now, too.
Ever since business mogul Clive Reynolds disappeared, the name Reynolds has become synonymous with murder and mystery. Lured by a cryptic note, Morgan Mori returns home to Black Harbor and into a web of their family secrets and double lives. As Morgan exposes her own dark demons, could her sordid history be the key to unlocking more than one mystery?
How about this praise from The House Across the Lake author Riley Sager: "The Widowmaker confirms Hannah Morrisey's status as one of the brightest new voices in crime fiction. An unflinching look at two damaged people trying to do right in a world full of wrong, told in scalpel-sharp prose with a poet's eye for detail."
Wisconsin’s Hannah Morrissey is author of Hello, Transcriber. She studied writing at UW-Madison.
Please visit our Boswell-Run Book Club page for an updated schedule of our book club discussions.
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 arrive early.