Due to COVID-19, our in-person events have gone virtual. If you want to hear about events in your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter or the Boswell and Books blog. And you can always pre-order or reserve a signed copy of your favorite author's new title if you can't make an event. Please note, all times are Central Standard Time (CST) unless otherwise noted.
Did you miss a virtual event you were excited about? Find recordings of a number of our past virtual events on our Event Video page
Boswell hosts an evening with Wisconsin author Shelley Nolden for a conversation about her debut historical novel, a story that intertwines the horrific and elusive history of North Brother Island with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss. She’ll chat with Greer Macallister, author of The Magician’s Lie and The Arctic Fury.
Click right here to register for this virtual event now! And don’t forget to purchase your copy of The Vines, too.
Nolden was working on Wall Street when she first heard the history of North Brother Island, which rests in the shadows of New York City. At the age of 31, Nolden was diagnosed with leukemia, and the sense of isolation and fear she felt during her ordeal influenced her writing this thrilling historical novel.
North Brother Island holds the remains of a shuttered hospital, which holds the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. A young explorer arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty. Interest turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past. Will he unravel the mysteries and help save the stranger, or will she meet the same tragic ending as those who’ve already perished on the island?
Shelley Nolden is a Milwaukee-based author. She is cofounder of GRYT Health and an Advisor to Goal Five, a women’s sports apparel company named after the United Nations’ Fifth Sustainable Development Goal. The Vines is her first novel. Greer Macallister is author of historical novels such as Girl in Disguise, Woman 99, and The Arctic Fury, which was named an Indie Next and Library Reads pick. She is a regular contributor to Writer Unboxed and the Chicago Review of Books.
Boswell Book Company is pleased to host the official Edgar Awards virtual author event for the G.P. Putnam Son's Sue Grafton Memorial Award, which honors the best novel in a series featuring a female protagonist.
Click right here to register for this virtual event, to be broadcast via Zoom. This event will include readings from each of the nominated authors and a conversation between them. And purchase any (or all!) of the nominees’ books by clicking on the title links above.
And the nominees are! Kathleen Kent, author of the Edgar Award-nominated The Dime. Detective Betty Rhyzyk decides to go rogue, heading straight into the dark underworld of Dallas's most dangerous drug cartel.
Laurie R King, author of the New York Times bestselling Mary Russell mystery series. In this installment, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes turn the Riviera upside down to crack their most captivating case yet.
Rosalie Knecht, author of the genre-pushing Who Is Vera Kelly?, a favorite of Boswellian Jen. Knecht’s recently out-of-the-spy-game heroine finds herself traveling from Brooklyn to a sprawling countryside estate in the Caribbean in her first case as a private investigator.
Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Paretsky, who continues her legendary VI Warshawski series with a story that scrapes Chicago’s seedy underbelly when Warshawski’s goddaughter drags her into a fight over lakefront land use.
Italian author Ilaria Tuti, who follows up her award-winning Flowers Over the Inferno with a new tale of Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, expert criminal profiler with four decades of experience on the Italian police force, who returns to take on a chilling cold case.
And Anthony and McCavity award-winner James Ziskin, who offers up a 1960s-era locked-room mystery that takes Ellie Stone to Florence, Italy, an idyllic setting where a new case has sinister undertones.
Please note that portions of this event may be prerecorded.
UWM Professor Emeritus Lawrence Baldassaro, author of Beyond DiMaggio and Baseball Italian Style, joins us virtually for a conversation about his major new baseball biography. He’ll chat with Tom Shieber, Senior Curator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Click here to register for this virtual event now. And preorder your copy of Tony Lazzeri for 20% off list price, too!
Before there was Joe DiMaggio, there was Tony Lazzeri, the first major baseball star of Italian descent. Lazzeri paved the way for DiMaggio and so many other Italian American fans and players by forging his own Hall of Fame career as a key member of the Yankees’ legendary Murderers’ Row lineup between 1926 and 1937. An unwitting pioneer who played his entire career while afflicted with epilepsy, Lazzeri was the first player to hit sixty home runs in organized baseball and the first Italian player with enough star power to attract a whole new generation of fans to the ballpark.
Ira Berkow, the Pulitzer-winning author of How Life Imitates Sports, says, “Cheers to Mr. Baldassaro for mining this terrific story.” And from John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball, “In real life as in baseball, how one performs in a climactic moment may unfairly obscure a multitude of other feats; Larry Baldassaro’s book reveals its subject to have been not only a wonderful ballplayer but also a great pioneer on behalf of Italian Americans forevermore.”
Larry Baldassaro is Professor Emeritus of Italian at UWM. He is the author of Beyond DiMaggio: Italian Americans in Baseball, Baseball Italian Style: Great Stories Told by Italian American Major Leaguers from Crosetti to Piazza, and The Ted Williams Reader. Tom Shieber is Senior Curator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He has served as lead curator for exhibits at the Cooperstown museum, including “Moe Berg: Big League Spy,” “One for the Books: Baseball Records and the Stories behind Them,” and “Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend.” Shieber served the Society for American Baseball Research board of directors and founded and chaired SABR’s Pictorial History Committee.
The April edition of our Readings from Oconomowaukee virtual event series celebrates the latest novel from Wisconsinite Amy E Reichert, author of novels like The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go and The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. Her latest is a story in which a woman must come home to Wisconsin Dells to face the (literal) ghosts of her hometown. She’ll join us for a conversation with bookstore proprietors Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin.
Click right here to register for this virtual event, broadcast via Zoom. And preorder your paperback copy of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club for 10% off list price now – either right here online from Boswell, or from our virtual event cohost Books & Company, right here.
For journalist Sabrina Monroe, moving back home to the Dells means returning to the Monroe family curse: the women in her family can see spirits who come to them for help with unfinished business. But Sabrina’s always redirected the needy spirits to her mom, who’s much better suited for the job. The one exception has always been Molly, a bubbly rom-com loving ghost, who stuck by Sabrina’s side all through her lonely childhood.
Then Ray, the new local restaurateur, invites Sabrina to his supper club, where he flirts with her over his famous Brandy Old-Fashioneds. He’s charming and handsome, but Sabrina tells herself she doesn’t have time for romance; she needs to focus on finding a job. But the longer she’s in the Dells, the harder Ray is to resist. It doesn’t hurt that he shows his affection through good old-fashioned home-cooked suppers. As the Dells starts to feel like home for the first time, Sabrina begins to realize that she can make a difference and help others wherever she is in this heartwarming tale about the power of love and connection.
Wisconsin author Amy E Reichert is a novelist whose titles include The Simplicity of Cider 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.
The Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center presents a virtual event featuring Biale discussing her book, an informative memoir of kibbutz life that reveal a piece of Israel's early story that should not be forgotten. Visit the JCC website right here for registration and more information.
This beautifully written memoir is composed of linked stories about growing up on a kibbutz in Israel in the 1950s and 60s, when children spent most of their time, from birth on, in a Children’s House. The stories focus on the world of children, but also offer a window into the lives of the adult kibbutz members, including Holocaust survivors. Biale is author of Women and Jewish Law: The Essential Texts, Their History, and Their Relevance Today. She grew up on Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin in Israel. She earned an MA in Jewish history at UCLA and an MSW at Yeshiva University. Today, she is a practicing psychotherapist.
The Alliance Française de Milwaukee presents Pamela Druckerman, author of the internationally bestselling Bringing Up Bébé. Druckerman will chat about her latest work, a brand new picture book called Paris by Phone, a whimsical adventure that little travelers and little homebodies will love! This event will be broadcast via Zoom. Please click right here to email Erin at the AF to receive an invitation to join this virtual event.
When Josephine Harris decides that Paris is where she really belongs, all it takes is a quick call on her magical phone to whisk her away. The city of lights has fancy cafés, baguettes under every arm, the Eiffel Tower, and a fabulous new family who can't wait to show her around. The city is a feast for the senses, but each new discovery brings a pang of melancholy. There's something missing here. Could it be the person who loves Josephine's best - her own mother? Druckerman is the author of five books. She writes an opinion column about France for the New York Times, and pens the 'Dress Code' column for 1843/The Economist. She won an Emmy for The Forger, about a French teenager who helped rescue thousands of children during WWII.
Join us for a virtual evening with Milwaukee mystery author Patricia Skalka as she discusses her brand new Dave Cubiak mystery with Barry Wightman, president of the Wisconsin Writers Association.
Click here to register for this virtual event, broadcast via Zoom. And be sure to preorder your copy of Death Washes Ashore for 20% off list price now!
In the wake of a storm that lashed Door County, Sheriff Dave Cubiak assesses the damage: broken windows, downed trees, and piles of mysterious debris along the shoreline. He leaves the comfort of his home and heads out into the aftermath, checking in with folks along the way to offer help. His assistant, marooned at the justice center overnight, calls with an ominous message about a body discovered on the beach. When the medical examiner discovers the man didn’t simply drown during the storm, Cubiak searches for answers.
The victim directed a troupe of live-action role players living in an ersatz Camelot. In a setting where pretense in the norm, Cubiak must determine if suspects are who they say they are or if their made-up identities conceal a ruthless killer. As tensions escalate among neighbors unhappy about the noise and commotion, the sheriff discovers that more than one person on the peninsula has a motive for murder. She lives in Milwaukee.
Patricia Skalka is author of the Dave Cubiak Door Country mysteries. Skalka has been a staff writer for Reader’s Digest. Skalka is president of the Sisters in Crime Chicagoland Chapter and a member of The Authors Guild of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Society of Midland Authors. Barry Wightman is author of Pepperland, winner of the Silver IPPY from the Independent Publishers Association. He is Program Chair for the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books and a Wisconsin Broadcasters Association award-winning essayist whose work has been heard on WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio.
Writer and editor Jennifer Billock joins us for a virtual conversation featuring her latest book, which offers a glimpse into the classic restaurant scene of the Cream City.
Click right here to register for this virtual event now! And purchase your copy of Classic Restaurants of Milwaukee for 10% off list price, too.
Milwaukee may be known for beer, brats and custard, but the city's food history is even richer and tastier. At the Public Natatorium, diners supped at an old public pool and watched a dolphin show at the same time. Solly's, Oriental Drugs, and others nurtured a thriving lunch counter culture that all ages enjoyed. Supper clubs and steakhouses like Five O'Clock reigned supreme. And we can't forget about the more illicit side of Milwaukee meals, like the mafia hangouts and a local fast-food chain with a mysterious resemblance to a national brand. Pairing the history of classic restaurants with recipes of favorite dishes, Billock explores both the well-known and the quirkier sides of Milwaukee's dining past.
Jennifer Billock is an author, editor and owner of the boutique editorial firm Jennifer Billock Creative Services. She has worked with businesses and publishers including the Smithsonian, the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, and more.
The 2021 Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Luncheon features Kiley Reid, the New York Times bestselling author of Such a Fun Age, a novel which was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Reid will be in conversation with Madison-based Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists. Cohosted by Boswell Book Company.
Tickets for this virtual event include a paperback copy of Such a Fun Age, admission for one device to view the event, and an option to include a gourmet boxed lunch that can be picked up from the Wisconsin Club. Tickets cost $75 with lunch ($65 for Friends members) or $55 without lunch ($45 for Friends members). $30 for students, lunch not included. Sponsorship levels are also available. Purchase your tickets now right here on the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library website.
A Reese’s Book Club pick that was named a best book of the year by NPR, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and many others, Reid’s striking and surprising debut is a page-turning, big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
Entertainment Weekly called Such a Fun Age, “The most provocative page-turner of the year.” And from the Washington Post, “Reid constructs a plot so beautifully intricate and real and fascinating that readers will forget it’s also full of tough questions about race, class and identity… With this entertaining novel, Reid subverts our notions of what it means to write about race and class in America, not to mention what it means to write about love. In short, it’s a great way to kick off 2020.”
Kiley Reid earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her short stories have been featured in Ploughshares, December, and New South. Chloe Benjamin is the Madison-based author of the novels The Immortalists and The Anatomy of Dreams, which received the 2014 Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award. She is a graduate of Vassar College and earned her MFA from UW-Madison.
The last Saturday of April is Independent bookstore day! Be sure to stop by your favorite Milwaukee Indie to celebrate this most bookish of holidays.
Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country. Every store is unique and independent, and every party is different. At Boswell Book Company, we’ll have giveaways, outside games, and more. Plus, there will be for sale a selection of exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Nowhere else. So be sure to come by Boswell to celebrate!
The Urban Ecology Center and Boswell Book Company present volcanologist and extreme explorer Jess Phoenix, Executive Director of Blueprint Earth and a known expert on the Science and Discovery Channels. Do note that while this event is free, we encourage anyone who wants to attend to consider making a donation to the Urban Ecology Center, our event cohost. Donations help support the programming that the UEC offers. In conversation with Flowers-Shanklin, the Volunteer Manager for the Urban Ecology Center.
Click right here to register for this virtual event. And purchase a copy of Ms. Adventure from Boswell, too!
As a volcanologist, natural hazards expert, and founder of Blueprint Earth, Jess Phoenix has dedicated her life to scientific exploration. Her career path has also inspired her to devote her life to making science more inclusive and accessible.
Ms. Adventure skillfully blends personal memoir, daring adventure, and scientific exploration, following Phoenix’s journey from sites deep in Ecuadorian jungles to Andean glaciers. Readers will delight in her unbelievable adventures, all embarked on for the love of science. From Patton Oswalt, beloved funnyman: "Jess Phoenix's work encompasses science and representation in such a delightful melding that it could only come from as spry and playful a soul as hers! Open this book and jump into the volcano!"
Jess Phoenix is executive director and co-founder of Blueprint Earth. Phoenix is a fellow in the Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Society, a featured scientist on the Discovery and Science channels, and her writing has appeared in BBC Online, DailyKos, and Face the Current magazine.
The Villa Terrace Spring Garden Lecture Series presents an evening with Garden Historian Suzanne Staubach for a conversation about her book, A Garden Miscellany. This is a ticketed virtual event. Tickets for this lecture cost $10 each. Click here to visit the Villa Terrace website right here for single and series tickets and more information. This lecture series is sponsored Angela Westmore LLC Design Build and Susan Strecker in honor of the Memory of Barbara Strecker.
Do you know a folly from a ha-ha? Can an allée be pleached? Does a skep belong on a plinth? Answers to these questions, plus a gazebo-ful of information, stories, and visual delights, await in this charming exploration of the stuff gardens are made of. Garden historian Suzanne Staubach covers everything from arbors to water features, reveling in the anecdotes that accompany each element. Filled with revelations and fanciful illustrations by Julia Yellow, A Garden Miscellany promises new discoveries with each reading - a book to be returned to again and again. Staubach, after retiring from a long career in independent bookselling, now writes, pots, gardens and speaks about garden and ceramic history nationwide. She is author of books such as Clay: The History and Evolution of Humankind's Relationship with Earth's Most Primal Element and Guy Wolff: Master Potter in the Garden.
Boswell hosts Michelle Zauner, the musician known as Japanese Breakfast fame and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of her new book book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In conversation with Barney, Music Director of Radio Milwaukee, our event cohost.
Click here to register for this virtual event now. And purchase your copy of Crying in H Mart for 20% off list price today, too.
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. She tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of a painful adolescence and struggling with her mother’s expectations of her, and of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.
From Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance, “I read Crying in H Mart with my heart in my throat. In this beautifully written memoir, Michelle Zauner has created a gripping, sensuous portrait of an indelible mother-daughter bond that hits all the notes: love, friction, loyalty, grief. All mothers and daughters will recognize themselves - and each other - in these pages.”
Michelle Zauner is best known as a singer and guitarist who creates dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast, and has earned acclaim from for albums like Psychopomp and Soft Sounds from Another Planet.
Alliance Française de Milwaukee and Boswell Book Company present and afternoon with New York Times bestselling author Janet Skeslien Charles for a chat about her new novel, which Fiona Davis praised as "a fresh take on WWII France that will appeal to bibliophiles everywhere."
Click right here to register for this virtual event. And purchase your copy of The Paris Library for 20% off list price now, too!
Skeslien Charles first became interested in the incredible true story of the librarians who stood up to the Nazi “Book Protector” when she worked as the program’s manager at the American Library in Paris. Based on the true World War II story, The Paris Library chronicles the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris. This is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for fans of The Lilac Girls and The Paris Wife.
Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.
Janet Skeslien Charles is author of Moonlight in Odessa, and her writinghas appeared in revues such as Slice and Montana Noir.
Author of books such as I Love You More Than You Know and You Were Never Really Here and creator of television like Bored to Death and Blunt Talk, Jonathan Ames visits for a conversation about his newest literary venture, the first entry into his new series of hardboiled and hardly normal mystery novels. In conversation with Doug Gordon, Host and Producer of BETA on WPR.
Click right here to register for this virtual event now! And preorder your copy of A Man Named Doll for 20% off list price now, too.
The latest from Ames is a deliciously noir novel about idiosyncratic private detective Happy Doll and his quest to help a dying friend in a sun-blinded Los Angeles. Boswellians already love this book. From Kay: “Totally LA, this dark near-comedy stars a second-class private detective who keeps tripping over his own feet and opening his mouth when he knows damn well he should keep it shut. But he has a good heart and (mostly) wants to do the right thing. This is the first book I've read of Jonathan Ames, but it definitely won't be my last!” And Chris adds: “Ames captures the soul of classic American noir with a perfect balance of violence, money, and irreverence. His Los Angeles is heir to the City of Angels as penned by Raymond Chandler and Elmore Leonard. The kind of book that reminds me why I fell in love with detective novels.”
Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert, private detective living just one sheer cliff drop beneath the Hollywood sign with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George. Doll supplements his meager income working nights at a local Thai spa that offers its clients a number of special services. But when things get out-of-hand with one particularly violent patron, Doll finds himself wildly out of his depth, and then things take an even more dangerous twist when an old friend from his days as a cop shows up at his door with a bullet in his gut.
Jonathan Ames is author of books such as I Pass Like Night, Wake Up, Sir!, and The Alcoholic. His novel You Were Never Really Here was adapted into the acclaimed film starring Joaquin Phoenix. He's the creator of two television series and has had two amateur boxing matches, fighting as "The Herring Wonder." Doug Gordon is Host and Producer of BETA on WPR. Norm Macdonald says of Gordon, “this interviewer is extraordinary.”
Readings from Oconomowaukee returns in May with a conversation featuring Katherine Heiny, author of novels like Standard Deviation and Single, Carefree, Mellow. She’ll chat about her latest, a wise, bighearted, boundlessly joyful novel of love, disaster, and unconventional family with bookstore proprietors Goldin and Baudoin. This is our monthly event series cohosted by Books & Company of Oconomowoc.
Click right here to register for this virtual Zoom conversation. And purchase your copy of Early Morning Riser for 20% off list price, either from Boswell Book Company right here, or Books & Company right here.
From The Washington Post: ““If you enjoyed All Adults Here, by Emma Straub, read Early Morning Riser… When you enter a relationship with a man who has had relations with, well, half the town, things will probably get weird. Jane, the star of Heiny’s offbeat and funny new novel, falls for Duncan - who comes with an oversize load of small-town baggage. The story, which spans 17 years, sparkles with Heiny’s trademark witticisms and cutting observations.”
Jane falls in love with Duncan easily. He is charming, good-natured, and handsome but unfortunately, he has also slept with nearly every woman in Boyne City, Michigan. Jane sees Duncan’s old girlfriends everywhere - at restaurants, at the grocery store, even three towns away. Then any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash. Soon Jane’s life is permanently intertwined with Duncan’s, and she knows she will never have Duncan to herself. But could it be possible that a deeper kind of happiness is right in front of Jane’s eyes? A novel that is alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny, Early Morning Riser is Heiny’s most wonderful work to date.
Katherine Heiny is author of Standard Deviation and Single, Carefree, Mellow, and her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and other magazines. She is a former resident of Boyne City, Michigan, where the novel is set.
The Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies presents a conversation with fiction writers Elisa Albert, Molly Antopol, and Lauren Fox. With stories and novels that have garnered significant acclaim, these authors continue to comment on the contemporary Jewish world with insight, pathos, and at times, biting wit. This virtual event will feature a lively salon-style discussion moderated by Stahl Center Deputy Director Rachel Baum and Director Joel Berkowitz. Registration link coming soon.
Albert is author of The Book of Dahlia and How This Night Is Different. Antopol’s debut story collection won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. And Milwaukee’s own Lauren Fox is author of novels such as Days of Awe, Still Life with Husband, and Friends Like Us.
The Shorewood Public Library presents an even with author Zhanna Slor, whose debut novel is a unique literary mystery set in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood during the recession of 2008. Slor, born in the Soviet Union, moved to Shorewood in the early 90s and grew up there as a regular user of the library. Her novel weaves together the tale of two immigrant sisters with very different ideas of home. Masha remembers her childhood in the former USSR, but found her life and heart in Israel's Orthodox community. Anna, a young artist and student, is contacted by a stranger from their hometown and then disappears. Masha must come back to Wisconsin to find her. Visit the Shorewood Public Library’s website right here to find more information and to join this event, broadcast via Zoom.
Zhanna Slor’s work has been published in literary magazines, including Ninth Letter, Another Chicago Magazine, and Michigan Quarterly Review, and she is a frequent contributor to The Forward. She and her husband recently returned to live in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee author Todd Lazarski chats about his novel about a guy who’s an obsessive eater, half-hopeful novelist, reluctant food journalist, and football fanatic who returns home to Buffalo for maybe the last time. With Justin Kern, editor of The Milwaukee Anthology.
Click right here to register for this virtual event now. And purchase your copy of Spend It All today, too!
Teddy Rawski journeys to his hometown of Buffalo and ponders nascent adulthood's quandaries on the road over too many drinks and a beleaguered stomach. Set against the big-shouldered indifference of his present Chicago, between scattered half-stabs at professionalism, an unamused editor, unpolished manuscript, and a sputtering late-20's romance, Teddy wonders on a last ditch trip. For an assignment, maybe. To end it all, possibly. But also for a check on the tattered family he left behind, and the broken Buffalo Bills responsible for all life failures.
This is a story of the busted-gut death of a childhood, any idealism, all good health. Rife with chicken wings, pizza, and Proust, it is a reflection on football and futility, colored by a throat-punching uncle, slice-counting brother, and a smattering of ghosts and interior dialogue diarrhea. Spend It All is an after-hours vomitorium of fandom and frustration, a last-call fever dream of ideas and appetites.
Todd Lazarski is a freelance writer and the author of the novel Make the Road by Walking. Milwaukee writer Justin Kern has published work in three Belt anthologies as well as Utne Reader, Great Lakes Review, and Milwaukee Record.
Boswell welcomes Joan Silber author of novels such as Improvement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. She'll chat about her new novel about which Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House, says, “It would be impossible to overstate just how good this book is." We're excited to have Silber in conversation with her longtime friend, fellow writer, and fellow instructor at the Warren Wilson MFA program CJ Hribal.
Click this link sentence to register for this virtual event. And preorder a copy of Secrets of Happiness for 20% off list price, too!
When a man discovers his father in New York has long had another, secret, family - a wife and two kids - the interlocking fates of both families lead to surprise loyalties, love triangles, and a reservoir of inner strength. Lithub calls it one of their Most Anticipated Books of 2021, and says, “A new Joan Silber book is always a reason to celebrate. Her latest is the story of a family - two families - exploding after a years-long infidelity comes to light, told in intersecting, polyphonic voices, like a tapestry of those affected.”
Ethan, a young lawyer in New York, learns that his father has long kept a second family: a Thai wife and two kids living in Queens. In the aftermath of this revelation, Ethan’s mother spends a year working abroad, returning much changed, as events introduce her to the other wife. Across town, Ethan’s half-brothers are caught in their own complicated journeys: one brother’s penchant for minor delinquency has escalated, and the other must travel to Bangkok to bail him out, while the bargains their mother has struck about love and money continue to shape their lives. Evoking a generous and humane spirit, and a story that ranges over three continents, Secrets of Happiness elucidates the ways people marshal the resources at hand to forge their own forms of joy.
Joan Silber is author of nine books of fiction, including Fools, which was long-listed for the National Book Award, The Size of the World, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and Ideas of Heaven, finalist for The Story Prize. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College and the Warren Wilson MFA program. CJ Hribal is author of The Company Car, which won the Anne Powers Book Award, and The Clouds in Memphis, which won the AWP Prize in Short Fiction. He is Professor of English at Marquette University.
Enjoy an evening featuring Sanjena Sathian in conversation with Milwaukee’s Rajurkar, author of American Betiya. Sathian’s debut novel is a brilliant Indian-American magical realist coming of age story and the debut of a major talent.
Click right here to register for this virtual event now. And preorder your copy of Gold Diggers for 20% off list price, too!
Gold Diggers is a fine-grained, profoundly intelligent, and bitingly funny investigation in to questions of identity and coming of age that tears down American shibboleths. Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere, says “In a perfect alchemical blend of familiar and un-, Gold Diggers takes a wincingly hilarious coming-of-age story, laces it with magical realism and a trace of satire, and creates a world that’s both achingly familiar and marvelously inventive. Written with such assurance it’s hard to believe it’s Sanjena Sathian’s debut, this is a dizzyingly original, fiercely funny, deeply wise novel about the seductive powers—and dangers—of borrowed ambition.”
Spanning two continents, two coasts, and four epochs, Gold Diggers expertly balances social satire and magical realism in a classic striver story that skewers the model minority narrative, asking what a community must do to achieve the American dream. In razor sharp and deeply funny prose, Sathian perfectly captures what it is to grow up as a member of a family, of a diaspora, and of the American meritocracy. This novel both entertains and levels a critique of what Americans of color must do to make their way.
Sanjena Sathian is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, an alumna of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and a former Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She has also worked as a journalist in San Francisco and in Mumbai. Anuradha D Rajurkar is the Milwaukee-based author of American Betya.
Kirstin Valdez Quade joins us for a conversation about her new novel, that’s been named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021 by Oprah Magazine, The Week, The Millions, and more. In conversation with Jennifer Morales, author of Meet Me Halfway, the current selection of the Wisconsin Public Radio Larry Meiller Book Club.
Click right here to register for this virtual event. And purchase your copy of The Five Wounds for 20% off list price, too!
In Valdez Quade’s novel, a book expanded from her story of the same name that appeared in The New Yorker, it's Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans. Their reunion sets her own life down a startling path.
From Luis Alberto Urrea, author of House of Broken Angels: “In this cruel and divisive era, Kirstin Valdez Quade has brought healing and regeneration with The Five Wounds. It is bracing and wise, and it breaks us in the best ways. Then builds us back up again. It should find many grateful readers.” And from Boswellian Jen Steele: “Kirstin Valdez Quade tells a captivating story about family, loss, redemption and the power of faith. I could not put this book down! You will laugh, cry, get angry, and want to hug these characters. Masterful storytelling!”
Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of Night at the Fiestas, winner of the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize. She is the recipient of a 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation, the Rome Prize, and the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Best American Short Stories, and The O Henry Prize Stories. She teaches at Princeton University. Jennifer Morales is a Wisconsin-based author and performance artist. She holds an MFA from the Creative Writing program at Antioch University-Los Angeles and her writing has appeared in Milwaukee Noir and Cutting Edge: Female Noir.
Shorewood author Hayes joins us for a conversation about his latest book, which chronicles an oft-overlooked part of Lloyd Wright’s architectural legacy - his forays into affordable housing. In conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright scholar Catherine Boldt. Cohosted by Shorewood Historical Society and Shorewood Public Library
Click here and register now for this virtual event. And preorder your copy of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Forgotten House now, too!
While the grandiosity of Fallingwater and elegance of Taliesin are recognized near universally, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work on his American System-Built Homes is less appreciated. The project fell apart following wartime shortages and disputes between the architect and his developer. While continuing to advocate for the design of affordable small homes, Wright never spoke publicly of ASBH. As a result, the heritage of many Wright-designed homes was forgotten.
When Nicholas and Angela Hayes became stewards of the unassuming Elizabeth Murphy House, they began to unearth evidence that ultimately revealed a one-hundred-year-old fiasco fueled by competing ambitions and conflicting visions of America. The couple’s forensic pursuit of the truth untangled the ways Wright’s ASBH experiment led to the architect’s most productive, creative period. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Forgotten House includes a wealth of drawings and photographs, many of which have never been previously published. Historians, architecture buffs, and Wrightophiles alike will be fascinated by this untold history that fills a crucial gap in the architect’s oeuvre.
Nicholas D Hayes leads innovation at a water technology company and is the award-winning author of Saving Sailing. A columnist for Sailing Magazine, he lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin.
Linda Rui Feng chats about her new book, a lyrical novel set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution. This is a novel that’s won over the critics (starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist) and booksellers alike – our own Daniel calls it quietly beautiful.
Click right here to register for this virtual event right now. And order your copy of Swimming Back to Trout River from Boswell today, too!
1986 in a small Chinese village, ten-year-old Junie receives a letter from her parents who had left for America years ago: her father promises to return home and collect her by her twelfth birthday. But Junie’s growing determination to stay in the idyllic countryside with her beloved grandparents threatens to derail her family’s shared future. What Junie doesn’t know is that her parents, Momo and Cassia, are newly estranged from one another in their adopted country, each holding close private tragedies and histories from the tumultuous years of their youth during China’s Cultural Revolution. In order for Junie’s father to fulfill his promise, he must make one last desperate attempt to reunite all three members of the family before Junie’s birthday, even if it means bringing painful family secrets to light.
From the aforementioned Booklist review: “Feng's lithe debut moves with grace from Communist China to San Francisco and the Great Plains, and from the 1960s to the 1980s, as it follows four interlocked lives… With the lightest of touches, Feng vividly portrays the experience of living in China during Mao's rule as well as the pressures of being a new immigrant. Looking deeply into the ‘invisible mesh’ that links her characters' lives, Feng weaves a plot both surprising and inevitable, with not a word to spare.”
Born in Shanghai, Linda Rui Feng has lived in San Francisco, New York, and Toronto. She is a graduate of Harvard and Columbia Universities and is currently Professor of Chinese Cultural History at the University of Toronto. She has been twice awarded a MacDowell Fellowship for her fiction, and her prose and poetry have appeared in journals such as The Fiddlehead, Kenyon Review Online, and Washington Square Review.
Boswell hosts an evening of conversation featuring Jerry Enzler, former Founding Director of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, for his biography of the iconic frontiersman and mountain man of the American West, Jim Bridger. In conversation with historian Douglas Brinkley, author of books such as American Moonshot and The Wilderness Warrior.
Click here to register for this virtual event, broadcast via Zoom. And purchase your copy of Jim Bridger from Boswell now, too!
Even among iconic frontiersmen like John C Frémont, Kit Carson, and Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger stands out. Straddling the fur trade era and the age of exploration, Bridger lived the life legends are made of. In a biography that finally gives this outsize character his due, Enzler taps newly discovered sources and takes this frontiersman’s full measure for the first time and tells a story that would do Jim Bridger proud.
Born in 1804 and orphaned at thirteen, Bridger made his first western foray in 1822, traveling up the Missouri River with Mike Fink and a hundred enterprising young men to trap beaver. At twenty he “discovered” the Great Salt Lake. At twenty-one he was the first to paddle the Bighorn River’s Bad Pass. At twenty-two he explored the wonders of Yellowstone. Though he could neither read nor write, Bridger mapped the tribal boundaries for the Great Indian Treaty of 1851. Enzler charts Bridger’s path to becoming “King of the Mountain Men.”
Jerry Enzler served as founding director of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium for thirty-seven years. He has written and curated national exhibitions and films and has published historical articles on Jim Bridger, river history, and more. Douglas Brinkley is Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair and Professor of History at Rice University, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, and CNN’s official historian.
Madison-based essayist Swanson chats about his debut book of reportage, in which he embarks on a personal quest across the United States to uncover what it means to be an American amid the swirl of our post-truth climate. He’ll chat with Steven Wright, author of the novel The Coyotes of Carthage.
Click right here on this red sentence to register for this Zoom event. And preorder your copy of Lost in Summerland for 20% off list price now, too! We'll take personalized autograph requests for orders placed before May 14th.
Traversing the country, Swanson introduces us to a new reality. At a moment when grand unifying narratives have splintered into competing storylines, these critically acclaimed essays document the many routes by which people are struggling to find stability in the aftermath of our country’s political and economic collapse, sometimes at dire and disillusioning costs.
From Publishers Weekly: “Journalist Swanson investigates in his searching debut what he sees as America’s pervasive spiritual restlessness and alienation. Full of measured skepticism, Swanson’s sharp interrogation of contemporary American life hits hard and true.”
Barrett Swanson’s essays have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and has been anthologized in two editions of The Best American Travel Writing. He was the Halls Emerging Artist Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.
The Lynden Sculpture Garden's Women's Speaker Series, sponsored by Milwaukee Reads and Boswell Book Company, welcome Mary Alice Monroe back to Milwaukee for a virtual, BYOS (bring-your-own-snacks) event for her latest novel, the latest in her New York Times bestselling Beach House series.
Tickets are $5 plus sales tax and ticket fee, or upgrade to admission-with-book for $28. Books can be picked up at Boswell or for an additional fee, shipped via USPS media mail. $5 from each ticket will be donated to the Lynden Sculpture Garden. Purchase your tickets now at monroelynden.eventbrite.com.
This tender and compassionate novel follows the historic Rutledge family of Charleston, South Carolina as they face a summer of upheaval and change with perseverance, a spirit of unity, and a dose of humor, discovering unexpected joys and lessons that will endure long past the season. Monroe once again delves into the complexities of family relationships and brings her signature sensitive storytelling to this poignant and timely novel of love, courage, and resilience.
From Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author of 28 Summers: "Like so many of you, I start my summer season with the enchanting novels of Mary Alice Monroe. I'm a devoted fan of her magical depictions of the lowcountry and the charms of her characters.”
Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books and an active conservationist. She’s been inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the Southern Book Prize for Fiction. She is the cocreator and cohost of the weekly web show and podcast Friends & Fiction.
Boswell Book Company hosts an evening with award-winning poet and screenwriter Brian Broome for a conversation about his debut memoir, a poetic and raw coming-of-age memoir about Blackness, masculinity, and addiction. He’ll chat with Chris Lee of Boswell Book Company.
Click right here to register for this Zoom virtual event now. And preorder your copy of Punch Me Up to the Gods for 20% off list price, too!
Broome’s memoir chronicles his early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys, his move to Pittsburgh as a young man, and his years of self-discovery, indiscriminate sex and escalating drug use. He recounts his experiences in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory to reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in.
From Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: “obliterates what we thought were the limitations of not just the American memoir, but the possibilities of the American paragraph.” And from Boswell's Chris Lee, himself a former Pittsburgher: “Generous, fearless, funny, and gentle, Broome chronicles his own story to understand how and where he (along with so many other Black outsiders) doesn’t fit in America. His sentences are pure style, a joy to read, and he slips between as many voices as he has existences: Black, gay, poor, masculine, abused, uncool, scared, addicted, ashamed, angry, proud, and full of joy. And on and on. Broome interrogates the world with the rigor and tenacity of the greats, and Punch Me Up to the Gods is everything a great memoir should be.”
Brian Broome is a poet, screenwriter, and the K Leroy Irvis Fellow in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University's Martin Luther King Writing Awards. He also won a VANN Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation for journalism. Chris Lee holds an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh.
Boswell hosts Wisconsin YA author Jamie Pacton for a chat with Elise Bryant, author of Happily Ever Afters. Pacton’s new novel is the story of a teen who wins the lottery and the suspicion and jealousy in her small town - a funny, poignant reflection on what money can and can’t fix. Perfect for Rainbow Rowell fans.
Click right here to register for this virtual event. And purchase a copy of Lucky Girl foir 20% off list price now, too!
58,642,129. That’s how many dollars seventeen-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather just won in the lotto jackpot. It’s also about how many reasons she has for not coming forward to claim her prize. Jane is still a minor, and if anyone discovers she bought the ticket underage, she’ll either have to forfeit the ticket or worse. She could let her hoarder mother cash it, but the last thing Jane’s mom needs is millions of dollars to buy more junk. Then there’s Jane’s best friend, aspiring journalist Brandon Kim, who declares on the news that he’s going to find the lucky winner. It’s one thing to keep her secret from the town. It’s another thing entirely to lie to her best friend. Especially when Jane’s ex-boyfriend, Holden, is suddenly back in her life and has big ideas about what he’d do with the prize money.
Noelle Salazar, bestselling author of The Flight Girls, says “Lucky Girl is for every person who has ever felt unable to help those they love, stuck and yearning for a better life, and unwilling to give up on themself - or others.” And Joy McCullough adds, “With heart, humor, and honesty, Lucky Girl explores what it truly means to have enough. Jamie Pacton has written another smart, relatable heroine readers will rootfor to the last page (and beyond!).”
Jamie Pacton is author of The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly. Elise Bryant earned a BA in Africana studies from California State University, Long Beach, and her MA in special education from Loyola Marymount University. She is author of Happily Ever Afters.
Boswell presents an evening with Steven Rowley, bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus, in conversation with Wisconsinite Clancy, author of The Second Home and the forthcoming Shoulder Season. Rowley has written a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer.
Click right here to register for this virtual event now. And preorder your copy of The Guncle for 20% off list price today, too.
Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is overwhelmed. So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick's brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly as primary guardian. Despite having "Guncle Rules" ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting isn't solved with treats and jokes, Patrick's eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you're unfailingly human.
The Gunlce is one of O, The Oprah Magazine's "32 LGBTQ Books That Will Change the Literary Landscape in 2021" – the article calls it “a laugh-out-loud heartwarmer.” And Daniel Goldin adds, “As Patrick’s disagreeable sister Clara notes, Patrick is no Rosalind Russell, but that doesn’t stop The Guncle from calling to mind Auntie Mame, notably when the ready-made family has a Christmas-in-July party. I’m well aware that quirky children are a shortcut to sympathy – ask any screenwriter – but Maisie and Grant (or Grantelope; nicknames don’t become Maisie) do a particularly good job of forcing Patrick to overcome his grief-fueled-malaise. And like Rowley’s novel, they are also charming and funny.”
Steven Rowley is author of The Editor and Lily and the Octopus. He has worked as a freelance writer, newspaper columnist, and screenwriter. Rowley is a graduate of Emerson College. Christina Clancy is the Wisconsinite author of The Second Home and the forthcoming novel Shoulder Season and holds a PhD from UWM.
Boswell hosts an evening featuring Jordan Ellenberg, Professor of Mathematics at UW-Madison and the New York Times-bestselling author of How Not to Be Wrong. He’ll chat about his latest, a far-ranging exploration of the power of geometry.
Please click right here to register for this event now. And preorder your copy of Shape for 20% off list price now, too!
If you're like most people, geometry is a sterile and dimly remembered exercise you gladly left behind in the dust of ninth grade, along with your braces and active romantic interest in pop singers. If you recall any of it, it's plodding through a series of miniscule steps only to prove some fact about triangles that was obvious to you in the first place. That's not geometry. Okay, it is geometry, but only a tiny part, which has as much to do with geometry in all its flush modern richness as conjugating a verb has to do with a great novel.
Shape reveals the geometry underneath some of the most important scientific, political, and philosophical problems we face. Geometry asks: Where are things? Which things are near each other? How can you get from one thing to another thing? Those are important questions. The word geometry, from the Greek for measuring the world. If anything, that's an undersell. Geometry doesn't just measure the world - it explains it. Shape shows us how.
Jordan Ellenberg is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Mathematics at UW-Madison. His writing has appeared in Slate, the New York Times, Wired, and more.
The June edition of our great Readings from Oconomowaukee series of virtual events presents an afternoon of conversation with Maggie Shipstead, author of the Dylan Thomas Prize-winner Seating Arrangements, for her novel of a daring female aviator in Prohibition-era Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New Zealand, wartime London, and modern LA. In conversation with bookstore proprietors Goldin and Baudoin.
Click right here this moment to register for this virtual event. And purchase your copy of Great Circle for 20% off list price – either right here from Boswell, or right here from Books & Company.
After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There, Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fourteen she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy bootlegger who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Poles.
A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian’s disappearance in Antarctica. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to redefine herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian’s own story, as the two women’s fates and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art, and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Shipstead.
Maggie Shipstead is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels Astonish Me and Seating Arrangements and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, and the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Join us for an evening with Christopher Buehlman, author of books such as Between Two Fires and The Lesser Dead. He’ll chat about his new fantasy novel set in a world of goblin wars, stag-sized battle ravens, and assassins who kill with deadly tattoos, which takes you on a dazzling fantasy adventure unlike any other. In conversation with Jason Kennedy of Boswell Book Company.
Click this red sentence to head to the registration page right now. And preorder your copy of The Blacktongue Thief for 20% off list price right now, too.
We love Buehlman for his collection of top-notch horror novels and for his days as an insult comic at Bristol Renaissance Faire when he visited Boswell on his breaks. But this book takes him to another level - as Boswell's Ogi Ubiparivpovic says, "A cut above most other fantasy books, The Blacktongue Thief is a masterclass in world building, storytelling, and humor." and Jason Kennedy says of The Blacktounge Thief, “Christopher Buehlman hasn’t just written a really good epic fantasy; he has taken the reader and dunked them into a world full of joy, wonder, heartbreak, foulness, horror, and hope. Once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down. The prose! And the dialogue was so perfect, I was laughing out loud from the snark that Kinch Na Shannack narrated his story with, and I was cringing from vicious, nasty goblin attacks or towering giants tossing trees.”
Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler who crosses his path. But today, he has picked the wrong mark. Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva, a survivor from the brutal goblin wars. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.
Christopher Buehlman is an author of books such as The Necromancer’s House, The Suicide Motor Club, and Those Across the River. A comedian and screenwriter, he who tours the country most years, writing and performing at renaissance festivals.
Boswell is excited to welcome fiction writer and essayist Lyndsey Ellis, winner of the San Francisco Foundation’s Joseph Jackson Literary Award in 2016 and grant recipient from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund in 2018. For this event, Ellis will be in conversation Wisconsin Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton.
Click right here to register for this virtual event. And purchase your copy of Bone Broth from Boswell Book Company, too!
Bone Broth centers on an African-American family navigating the Midwest’s convoluted history and social landscape, set during the civil unrest following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Chris L Terry, author of Black Card, notes that “With a sharp eye for detail that brings every character to bright, shining life, Lyndsey Ellis fearlessly explores the secrets that are a family’s true inheritance.”
Set in a struggling suburb of North St. Louis, Ellis excavates the social and familial issues that one Black family and their loved ones must navigate in order to survive. After the passing of their volatile patriarch, Justine and her adult children find themselves within one another’s daily orbit in trying ways. Through these linked perspectives, Bone Broth delivers the touchstones of an inequitable society: violence, suppression, and the human capacity to continue in the face of extreme adversity. With clear, cutting, biting prose, Ellis explores how trauma affects family dynamics, how it permeates every aspect of life, and how reckoning and reconciliation require the strength and courage to confront all the broken, jagged memories from the past.
Lyndsey Ellis earned a BA in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist, and creative change agent. She is author of three collections of poetry and two novels and has recorded four spoken word CDs.
Scotland’s Boswell Book Festival presents a conversation featuring Lady Anne Glenconnor, a close member of the royal circle and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret who will chat about her memoir, which offers unprecedented insights into the royal family that are witty, candid, and dramatic. At times heart-breaking, this is the personal story of a life in a golden cage for a woman with no inheritance. In conversation with broadcaster and biographer Hugo Vickers, author of books such as The Quest for Queen Mary and The Windsors I Knew. For more information about how to tune into this virtual event, visit the festival website right here, right now!
Scotland’s Boswell Book Festival is the world’s premier literary festival dedicated to biography and memoir. Held at the magnificent Dumfries House, the Festival has become one of the most prestigious cultural events in Scotland. Inspired by the great Ayrshire writer James Boswell of Auchinleck, for whom Boswell Book Company is also named. The festival’s unique theme is taken from the genre at which Boswell excelled, namely the telling of people’s life stories.
Click right here to register for this Zoom event. And preorder your copy of City on the Edge now for 20% off list price.
13-year-old Graham moves with his family to Beirut, a city on the edge of the sea and cataclysmic violence. Inquisitive by nature, Graham suspects his State Department father is a CIA operative and that his family's fragile domesticity is a front for American efforts along the Israeli border. Over the course of 1974, Graham's life will utterly change. Two men are murdered, his parents' marriage disintegrates, and Graham will run afoul of forces he cannot understand.
The City on the Edge is elegiac, atmospheric, and utterly authentic. It’s the story of innocents caught within the American net of espionage, of the Lebanese transformed by such interference, of the children who ran dangerously beside the churning wheel of history. A perfect blend of Stephen King’s "The Body" and John le Carre’s A Perfect Spy, it’s a transformative crime story told with heart and genuine experience.
David Swinson is a retired police detective from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC, having been assigned to Major Crimes. He is the author of The Second Girl, Crime Song, and Trigger.
The Woman’s Club of Wisconsin and Boswell Book Company present a special daytime event with social historian Judith Flanders. Her new book, which tells the story of how the alphabet ordered our world, has been named a Times (UK) Best Book of 2020.
Click right here to register for this virtual event now! And purchase your copy of A Place for Everything from Boswell as well.
Flanders has written the first-ever history of alphabetization, from the Library of Alexandria to Wikipedia. The story of alphabetical order has been shaped by some of history's most compelling characters, such as industrious and enthusiastic early adopter Samuel Pepys and dedicated alphabet champion Denis Diderot. But though even George Washington was a proponent, many others stuck to older forms of classification - Yale listed its students by their family's social status until 1886. And yet, while the order of the alphabet now rules - libraries, phone books, reference books, even the order of entry for the teams at the Olympic Games - it has remained curiously invisible.
With abundant inquisitiveness and wry humor, Flanders traces the triumph of alphabetical order and offers a compendium of Western knowledge, from A to Z. From The New York Times: "Fascinating... A Place for Everything rewards us with a fresh take on our quest to stockpile knowledge. It feels particularly relevant now that search engines are rendering old ways of organizing information obsolete...That we have acquired so much knowledge is astounding; that we have devised ways to find what we need to know quickly is what merits this original and impressive book."
Judith Flanders is author of the bestselling The Invention of Murder, Inside the Victorian Home, and The Victorian City. She is senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham, as well as a frequent contributor to the Sunday Telegraph, the Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal.
Boswell and Books & Company present an evening with Christina Clancy, author of The Second Home and her latest novel, a coming-of-age story set in the 70s at the bygone Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. For this event, she will be in conversation with Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book.
Click right here to register for this virtual event today! And preorder your copy of Shoulder Season now, too.
A small town in Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life.
From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose- and gain - when we leave home. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.
Christina Clancy is author of The Second Home. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune, and in literary journals like Glimmer Train, Pleiades, and Hobart. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and lives in Madison, WI with her family. Liam Callanan is Professor of English at UWM and author of The Cloud Atlas, All Saints, and Listen: Stories.
Boswell is pleased to present another great evening with Anna Lardinois of Gothic Milwaukee. In her latest, Lardinois covers the sensational wrecks and maritime disasters from each of the five Great Lakes.
Click right here to register for this fun virtual event. And purchase your copy of Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes for 10% off list price, too!
It is estimated that over 30,000 sailors have lost their lives in Great Lakes wrecks. For many, these icy, inland seas have become their final resting place, but their last moments live on as a part of maritime history. The tales, all true and well-documented, feature some of the most notable tragedies on each of the lakes. Sailors are a superstitious group, and the stories are sprinkled with omens and maritime protocols that guide decisions made on the water.
Maritime disaster enthusiast Anna Lardinois owns Gothic Milwaukee, the Brew City’s most popular haunted, historical walking tour company. The the 11th Pfister Narrator, Lardinois loves to celebrate the best Milwaukee has to offer. Lardinois is author of Milwaukee Ghosts and Legends and Storied and Scandalous Wisconsin.
Debut author Willa C Richards chats about her novel, set in Milwaukee during the 'Dahmer Summer' of 1991, about two sisters - one who disappears and one who is left to pick up the pieces in the aftermath. In conversation with UWM Professor Valerie Laken.
Click here to register for this virtual event, broadcast via Zoom. And preorder your copy of The Comfort of Monsters now for 20% off list price.
A heartbreaking page-turner for fans of Mary Gaitskill and Gillian Flynn, Richards’ novel tells the story of a broken family looking for answers in the face of the unknown, and asks us to reconsider the power and truth of memory.
Teenaged Dee McBride vanished. Thirty years later, her sister Peg is haunted by her sister's disappearance. Their mother, on her deathbed, is desperate to find out what happened. Soon, Peg back to the past, to those final carefree months when she last saw Dee—the summer the Journal Sentinel called “the deadliest . . . in the history of Milwaukee,” when Jeffrey Dahmer’s heinous crimes dominated the headlines. Digging deep into her memory raises doubts and terrifying questions. Was there anything Peg could have done to prevent Dee’s disappearance? Who was really to blame for the family's loss? And what does it mean to bear witness in a world where even our own stories are inherently suspect?
Willa C Richards is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her story, “Failure to Thrive,” was published by The Paris Review and won a PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize for Emerging Writers. Valerie Laken is author of Dream House and Separate Kingdoms.
We welcome back SA Cosby, author of Boswellian favorite Blacktop Wasteland, for a conversation about his sophomore novel with mystery critic and author Carole E Barrowman. Cosby's latest is the story of a Black father and a white father who join foces to get revenge on the men who murdered their gay sons.
Click right here to register for this virtual event. And preorder your copy of Razorblade Tears right now for 20% off list price.
We loved our event last summer with the dynamic Cosby, so it’s a thrill to have him return for this provocative, fast-paced novel. Here's more about it: Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid. The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband Derek. Isiah was a gay black man in the American South; Ike couldn’t bring himself to attend his son’s wedding. Derek’s father Buddy Lee is also suffering. He’d barely spoken to his son in five years; he was as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.
Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, alpha-males Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices, about each other and their sons, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.
SA Cosby is author of Blacktop Wasteland, a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist, as well as the books Brotherhood of the Blade and My Darkest Prayer. He won an Anthony Award for best short story as well. Carole E Barrowman is Director of Creative Studies in Writing at Alverno College and a regular contributor on books to WTMJ4’s The Morning Blend. She is coauthor of the Hollow Earth series and has written comics for DC and Titan.
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