Upcoming Events

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Goldie Goldbloom, author of On Division
Monday, December 9, 7 pm, at Boswell

Goldie Goldbloom, author and Chasidic mother of eight, in conversation with Marquette Professor CJ Hribal about her latest work, a deeply affecting novel of one woman's life at a moment of change, set in the world of Brooklyn's Chasidim. Cosponsored by the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center and UWM Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies.

In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Surie Eckstein is soon to be a great-grandmother. Her in-laws live on the first floor of their house, her daughter lives on the second. Into this life of counted blessings comes a surprise. Surie is pregnant at 57. It is an aberration, a shift in the proper order of things, and a public display of private life. Exposed, ashamed, she is unable to share the news, even with her husband. But deeper within is another secret, about her son, who died by suicide several years before. And these secrets slowly separate her from her community.

From Lily Meyer in The Chicago Reader: "In Jewish American literature, struggling not to believe is unusual. From Chaim Potok to Philip Roth to Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Jewish novelists in this country have tended to depict secular or nonpracticing Jews, some of whom reject their religion completely. Chicago writer Goldie Goldbloom, who's Hasidic and queer, takes a different approach in her quietly exceptional second novel, On Division... Her protagonist, Surie Eckstein, is a Hasidic Jew for whom there is no lapsing from faith. Surie loves God. What she struggles on are God's rules."

Goldie Goldbloom’s first novel, The Paperbark Shoe, won the AWP Prize, was named the Literary Novel of the Year by Forward magazine, and is an NEA Big Reads selection. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and has received multiple grants and awards, including fellowships from Warren Wilson, Northwestern University, the Brown Foundation, the City of Chicago, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. CJ Hribal is Professor of English at Marquette University and author of The Company Car and other works of fiction.

Tuesday, December 10, 7 pm, at Boswell

Boswell hosts an evening with Brittany Williams, author of the bestselling Instant Loss Cookbook, who chronicles her struggle with obesity and changing her relationship with food. Registration is free at brittanywilliamsmke.bpt.me, or upgrade to a purchase-with-registration option for signing line priority and a special price.

After spending a lifetime struggling with obesity, autoimmune diseases, and chronic fatigue, Williams changed her relationship with food. She cut processed and takeout foods from her diet and eliminated gluten, most grains, and sugar, all without sacrificing the flavors of the foods she loved, and quickly grew legions of fans as she shared her meal plans on InstantLoss.com.

Armed with a collection of 125 all-new delicious recipes for the Instant Pot, air fryer, and more, Williams shows how to make a sustainable lifestyle with kid- and family-friendly meals.

Brittany Williams is the author of Instant Loss Cookbook, founder of InstantLoss.com, and a champion for the whole foods JERF (Just Eat Real Food) movement.

Wednesday, December 11, 7 pm, at Boswell

Inspired by tales of a mythic Round River, a circular stream where “what goes around comes around,” Wisconsin writer John Hildebrand sets off to rediscover his home state.

Wisconsin is in the midst of an identity crisis, torn by new political divisions and the old gulf between city and countryside. Cobbling rivers together, from the burly Mississippi to the slender wilds of Tyler Forks, Hildebrand navigates the beautiful but complicated territory of home. In once prosperous small towns, he discovers unsung heroes - lockmasters, river rats, hotelkeepers, mechanics, environmentalists, tribal leaders, and perennial mayors - struggling to keep their communities afloat.

Booklist writes: “In a narrative that is rhythmic and thoughtful, Hildebrand captures the natural beauty and idiosyncrasies of Wisconsin small towns with ease. Much like a canoe trip with an old friend, Long Way Round is an enjoyable and worthwhile read.”

John Hildebrand is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning Mapping the Farm: The Chronicle of a Family and The Heart of Things: A Midwestern Almanac. His essays have appeared in Harper’s, Audubon, and Sports Illustrated. He is Professor Emeritus of English at UW-Eau Claire.

Thursday, December 12, 2019, 7 pm, at Boswell

Infantry scout-sniper Tom Voss and his sister and coauthor Rebecca Anne Nguyen share Voss’s riveting story of his on-foot journey across America, from Milwaukee to the Pacific Ocean through his burdens of moral injury, and into personal healing and advocacy.

After serving in a scout-sniper platoon in Mosul, Tom Voss came home carrying invisible wounds of war. This was not a physical injury that could heal with medication and time but a “moral injury,” a wound that eventually urged him toward suicide. Desperate for relief from the pain and guilt that haunted him, Voss embarked on a 2,700-mile journey across America.

Walk with these men as they meet other veterans, Native American healers, and spiritual teachers who appear in the most unexpected forms. At the end of their trek, Voss realizes he is just beginning his healing. He pursues meditation training and discovers sacred breathing techniques that shatter his understanding of war and himself, and move him from despair to hope. Voss’s story inspires veterans, their friends and family, and survivors of all kinds.

Tom Voss served as an infantry scout in the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment’s scout-sniper platoon. While deployed in Mosul, Iraq, he participated in hundreds of combat and humanitarian missions. Rebecca Anne Nguyen is an author, travel writer, and digital content strategist. She is editor in chief of The Happy Passport travel blog.

Jeanine Basinger, author of The Movie Musical!
Monday, December 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

Leading film historian Jeanine Basinger reveals, with her trademark wit and zest, the whole story of the Hollywood musical—in the most telling, most incisive, most detailed, most gorgeously illustrated book of her long and remarkable career. This event is cohosted by Milwaukee Film

Registration is requested but not required for this free event at basingermke.bpt.me. Attendees can upgrade to a book-with-ticket option and get The Movie Musical for 20% off the regular price.

From Jason Heller on the NPR website: “Every page is infused not only with Basinger's knowledge, but her overwhelming adoration for the tuneful, silver-screen tales that changed her own life. The book is a passion project, organically rendered, and shot through with longing for an age where sophistication was as subtle as it was scintillating. The Movie Musical! is more than a love letter to a great American artform; it's a symphony

Jeanine Basinger, who is a part-time Wisconsinite, is the founder of the department of film studies at Wesleyan University and the curator of the cinema archives there. She has written eleven other books on film, including Silent Stars, winner of the William K. Everson Film History Award, and The Star Machine. Patrick McGilligan is a Milwaukee-based film historian who teaches at Marquette University. His latest book is Funny Man: Mel Brooks.

David Luhrssen, Bruce Cole, and Phillip Naylor, editors of Milwaukee Rock and Roll, 1950-2000: A Reflective History, with a special performance by Lil Rev and Friends
Thursday, December 19, 8 pm, at Boswell

Editors Luhrssen, Managing Editor of the Shepherd Express, Cole, musician and curator of Jean Cujé Milwaukee Music Collection, and Naylor, Marquette University Professor of History, appear at Boswell to present their brand new book on fifty years of Milwaukee rock. The evening will feature a musical introduction by Milwaukee musician Lil Rev and friends.

Spanning the beginning of Milwaukee’s rock and roll scene in the 1950s to the turn of the century, this fascinating anthology of written, vocal, and visual reflections evokes memories for those who experienced the music and the era as well as introducing area musicians to a new generation. The editors present this enthralling, generously illustrated, multifaceted cultural history of Milwaukee and rock music, highlighted by a multiplicity of voices - musicians, promoters, DJs, photographers, artists, and audience members - collectively committed to the sounds of a great city.

David Luhrssen is author or co-author The Encyclopedia of Classic Rock, Brick Through the Window: An Oral History of Punk Rock, New Wave and Noise in Milwaukee, and Elvis Presley: Reluctant Rebel. Bruce Cole is a librarian at Marquette University. He is often consulted by and has collaborated with the Milwaukee Historical Society. Bruce currently plays drums with the Doo-Wop Daddies. Phillip Naylor is a professor of history at Marquette University, and introduced a popular rock and roll course which he team teaches with Cole.

Sunday, December 29, 7 pm drink service, 8 pm talk, at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, 1579 S 9th St

Wisconsin native and James Beard nominee Robert Simonson visits Bryant’s Velvet Lounge to cause a stir with the first book in decades to celebrate the history of the most iconic cocktails, the martini. Tickets cost $35, available at martinibook.bpt.me, and each ticket includes an autographed book, one Martini Cocktail, and gratuity.

A classic martini includes gin, vermouth, sometimes bitters, a lemon twist or olive, and lots of opinions – options that Simonson uncovers in his exploration of the long and tangled history of the classic martini and its subtle variations.

With age-old recipes, such as the first martini recipe published in 1888, and modern versions created by some of the world’s best bartenders, sip your way from the Dukes Hotel London to Musso and Frank Grill in Los Angeles and discover everything you need to know about what makes a great martini and how to make them at home. And along the way, enjoy Simonson’s splashes of history and personal notes.

Robert Simonson is author of The Old-Fashioned, A Proper Drink, and 3-Ingredient Cocktails, nominated for a James Beard Award. He writes about cocktails, spirits, bars, and bartenders for the New York Times and is contributing editor and columnist at Punch. His work has also appeared in Saveur, New York magazine, and Lucky Peach and has been nominated for a total of ten Spirited Awards and one IACP Award.

Wednesday, January 8, 6:30 pm, at Boswell

Madison author chronicles the life of Bayard Rustin for young readers, depicting his life of nonviolent activism and resistance. Great for adults and kids 13 and up.

Voted a Best Book of 2019 by School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews, Houtman’s biography tells the story of one of the most influential activists of our time, an early advocate for African Americans and for gay rights.

Barack Obama said, “Bayard had an unshakable optimism, nerves of steel, and, most importantly, a faith that if the cause is just and people are organized, nothing can stand in our way.” And Congressman John Lewis added, “Bayard Rustin was one of the great organizers and activists of the Civil Rights Movement. Without his skill and vision, the historic impact of the March on Washington might not have been possible. I am glad this biography will make young people aware of his life and his incredible contribution to American history.”

Jacqueline Houtman is author of the novel The Reinvention of Edison Thomas. She earned a PhD in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the UW-Madison, and her science writing for adults and children has appeared in World Book Science Year, FASEB’s Breakthroughs in Bioscience series, and Cleveland Clinic Magazine, among other academic and educational publications.

Nick Petrie, author of The Wild One, in conversation with Bonnie North
Monday, January 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

Whitefish Bay author Nick Petrie returns with another thrilling installment of his award-winning Peter Ash thriller series. This time, veteran Ash must find a murdered woman’s missing son in Iceland, tracking a killer through a frigid arctic storm. Petrie will chat with WUWM Lake Effect Producer and Cohost Bonnie North.

Boswellians love The Wild One. Daniel Goldin says “in this action-packed adventure, it’s clear that something’s different.” And Chris Lee says, “the fights are crazier and the one-liners are zingy-er in the best book Nick Petrie has written yet.” And Publishers Weekly agrees with us, saying in their starred review, “This kinetic, breathless masterpiece illustrates why Petrie is here to stay.”

Losing ground in his fight against post-traumatic claustrophobia, Peter Ash has no intention of getting on an airplane, until a grieving woman asks Peter to find her eight-year-old grandson. From the northernmost European capital to a rustbound fishing vessel to a remote farm a stone’s throw from the arctic, Peter must confront his growing PTSD and the most powerful Icelandic snowstorm in a generation to find a killer, save an eight-year-old boy, and keep himself out of an Icelandic prison or a cold Icelandic grave.

Nick Petrie is the Edgar-award nominated author of the Peter Ash series, which includes The Drifter, which won the ITW Thriller award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel, and Burning Bright, Light It Up, and Tear It Down.

EJ Koh, author of The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir, in conversation with Susan Firer
Tuesday, January 14, 7 pm, at Boswell

EJ Koh appears at Boswell with her memoir of a series of letters that helped her understand why her parents left her for another country when she was a teenager. She’ll chat with former Milwaukee Poet Laureate Susan Firer.

After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji Koh’s parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned and adrift in a world made strange by her mother’s absence. Her mother writes letters, in Korean, over the years seeking forgiveness and love - letters Eun Ji cannot fully understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box.

As Eun Ji translates the letters of her grandmother Jun’s years as a lovesick wife in Daejeon, the horrors her grandmother Kumiko witnessed during the Jeju Island Massacre, she looks to history, poetry, and her experience to answer questions. Where do the stories of our mothers and grandmothers end and ours begin? How do we find words, in Korean, Japanese, English, or any language, to articulate the profound ways that distance can shape love? Koh fearlessly grapples with forgiveness, reconciliation, legacy, and intergenerational trauma, arriving at insights that are essential reading for anyone who has ever had to balance love, longing, heartbreak, and joy.

EJ Koh is author of the poetry collection A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Editors Prize, and her writing has appeared in Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and World Literature Today, among others. She is the recipient of The MacDowell Colony and Kundiman fellowships, and is Runner-Up for the 2018 Prairie Schooner Summer Nonfiction Prize. Susan Firer is author of six collections of poetry, including The Transit of Venus, named an Outstanding Work of Poetry by the Wisconsin Library Association. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Iowa Review, and other publications. She is Adjunct Associate Professor Emeritus at UWM.

More Upcoming Events
  • Tuesday, February 4, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Tracey S Phillips, author of Best Kept Secrets, in conversation with retired City of Madison Police Detective Marianne Flynn Statz
  • Wednesday, February 5, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Lee Goldberg, author of Lost Hills - the noted mystery writer and screenwriter returns to Boswell, once again in conversation with Jon Jordan
  • Thursday, February 6, 7:30 pm, at Boswell – United We Read, featuring three graduate students in the UW-Milwaukee Creative Writing Program, plus a faculty reader
  • Thursday, February 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Edgar finalist Lori Rader-Day, author of The Lucky One, in conversation with Erica Ruth Neubauer – a woman kidnapped at a child comes across a case with uncanny similarity to her own
  • Monday, February 24, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Author of The Gray Man series and co-author of many Tom Clancy novels Mark Greaney, author of One Minute Out, in conversation with Nick Petrie
  • Tuesday, February 25, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30 talk, at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd in River Hills – The Women’s Speaker Series presents Mary Kubica, author of The Other Mrs - Tickets are $31, $26 for Lynden members, available at the Lynden website
  • Sunday, March 1, 3:00 pm, at Boswell – Indies Introduce Author Mark Rader, author of The Wanting Life - a debut novel set in Green Bay, Door County, Cape Cod, and Rome
  • Tuesday, March 3, 6:30 pm, at The Italian Community Center, 631 E Chicago St – Bartolotta Restaurants and Boswell present Donna Leon, author of Trace Elements, the 29th Guido Brunetti mystery – Tickets include admission, the new book, and light appetizers – Ticket link to come
  • Tuesday, March 17, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Gabriel Bump, author of Everywhere You Don’t Belong - a heartfelt debut novel about what it means to grow up young and black on the south side of Chicago when it feels like your choices are slim to none.
  • Wednesday, March 18, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Quan Barry, author of We Ride Upon Sticks, the follow-up to She Weeps Each Time You’re Born
  • Friday, March 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Robert Hellenga, author of Love, Death and Rare Books, cohosted by Knox College Alumni Club of Milwaukee – a novel of a man who reopens his family’s Chicago antiquarian bookshop
  • Saturday, March 21, 2:00 pm, at Boswell – Gene Luen Yang, author of Basketball Dreams, his first graphic memoir – free registration at geneluenyangmke.bpt.me or upgrade to a book-with-registration for 10% off the book and signing line priority
  • Thursday, March 26, 6:30 pm, at The Retreat, 2215 N Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dr – About That, with Megan Giddings, author of Lakewood, a debut novel that is part Handmaid’s Tale, part Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, in conversation with Dasha Kelly Hamilton
  • Friday, April 3, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Back at Boswell! Andrea Bartz, author of The Herd, in conversation with Michael Howard
  • Tuesday, April 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Port Washington coppersmith Sara Dahmen, author of Copper, Iron, and Clay: A Smith's Journey - a gorgeous, full-color illustrated love letter to our most revered cookware and the artistry and workmanship behind them
  • Wednesday, April 29, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Peter Geye, author of Northernmost, in conversation with Boswell’s Chris Lee –a thrilling ode to the Nordic spirit of adventure and the vagaries of loss and love
  • Tuesday, June 2, :00 pm, at Boswell – Celebrating the release of Milwaukee favorite Christina Clancy, author of The Second Home, about which, Chloe Benjamin has offered this praise: “Tender and suspenseful, Clancy's debut explores the nature of home as well as the nature of family itself”

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.