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
Join us for a special, in-store appearance by Brigid Kemmerer, the New York Times bestselling author of A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Kemmerer joins us with the first book in her new, blockbuster fantasy series about a cruel prince, a corrupt kingdom, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it all down.
This is a hybrid event - it will be live and in-person and broadcast via Zoom webinar. Due to our limited in-person capacity for events, registration is required – click here to register now! If we are close to capacity, admission will be prioritized for those who have registered. If you'd like to watch the event from home, click here to register for the Zoom broadcast. And order your copy of Defy the Night right now, too. Personalization available through September 17. All purchases of Defy the Night come with a set of character cards - while supplies last.
Apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her people die. Yet the Prince ignores the suffering of their people as a sickness ravages the land. That's why Tessa and her best friend risk their lives each night to steal the petals of the delicate Moonflower, the only known cure. When the Prince commits an act of unspeakable cruelty, Tessa becomes desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds there makes her wonder if it's even possible to fix their world without destroying it first.
Brigid Kemmerer's captivating new series is about those with power and those without and what happens when someone is brave enough to imagine a new future. Cassandra Clare, author of The Last Hours, says, “Kemmerer has woven her compelling heroine into a kinetic tale of the tension between duty, love and trust.”
Brigid Kemmerer is author of the Cursebreaker series and the contemporary young adult romances Call It What You Want, More Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost, as well as paranormal young adult stories, including the Elemental series and Thicker Than Water.
Boswell Book Company, the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, and Jewish Museum Milwaukee present a virtual evening with Rebecca Donner, author of an extraordinary new biography of Mildred Harnack, the Milwaukeean who became leader of one of the largest underground resistance groups in Germany during WWII. Donner is Harnack’s great-great niece and has drawn on private family papers, previously undiscovered archival material, and declassified government documents to create this stunning book. In conversation with Sam Goldberg, HERC's Director of Education.
This event has been converted to virtual and will be broadcast via Zoom webinar - click right here to register for this virtual event at donnermke.eventbrite.com. And order your copy of All the Frequent Trouble of Our Days right now, too - request your autographed bookplate when you order!
While enrolled in a PhD program in Germany, Harnack witnessed the rise of the Nazi party. She began holding secret meetings in her apartment, a small band of political activists grew into the largest underground resistance in Berlin. She recruited working-class Germans into the resistance, helped Jews escape, plotted acts of sabotage, and collaborated in writing leaflets that denounced Hitler and called for revolution. When the first shots of the Second World War were fired, she became a spy, couriering top-secret intelligence to the Allies. On the eve of her escape to Sweden, she was ambushed by the Gestapo. At a Nazi military court, a panel of five judges sentenced her to six years at a prison camp, but Hitler overruled the decision and ordered her execution.
In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls Donner’s book, “A stunning biography... Donner’s research is impeccable, and her fluid prose and vivid character sketches keep the pages turning… This standout history isn’t to be missed.” And from celebrated literary critic James Wood, “Rebecca Donner has written a beautifully rich portrait of a very brave woman. While never less than scrupulously researched, this biography explodes the genre of 'biography': experimental but achieved, Donner's story reads with the speed of a thriller, the depth of a novel, and the urgency of an essay, like some deeply compelling blend of Alan Furst and WG Sebald.”
Rebecca Donner is author of the novel Sunset Terrace and the graphic novel Burnout. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Bookforum, and The Believer. Donner was a fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography and is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University, and has taught writing at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, and Barnard College.
Marquette University Law School and Boswell Book Company present an On the Issues event with Jarrett Adams, author of Redeeming Justice, an unforgettable memoir in which Adams recalls his journey from a wrongful conviction to his exoneration which inspired him to devote his life to fighting the many injustices in our legal system as an attorney. In conversation with Mike Gousha.
Click here to register for this virtual conversation, broadcast via Zoom. And purchase your copy of Redeeming Justice now as well.
At seventeen, Jarrett Adams was sentenced to nearly thirty years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Adams sought to figure out the why behind his fate and became obsessed with our legal system in all its damaged glory. After studying how his constitutional rights to effective counsel had been violated, he solicited the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, an organization that exonerates the wrongfully convicted, and won his release after nearly ten years in prison.
Adams took the lessons he learned through his incarceration and worked his way through law school with the goal of helping those who, like himself, had faced our legal system at its worst. After earning his law degree, he worked with the New York Innocence Project, becoming the first exoneree hired by the nonprofit as a lawyer. In his first case with the Innocence Project, he argued before the same court that had convicted him a decade earlier - and won. In this story of hope and redemption, Adams draws on his life and the cases of his clients to show the racist tactics used to convict young men of color, the unique challenges facing exonerees once released, and how the lack of equal representation in our courts is a failure not only of empathy but of our collective ability to uncover the truth. Redeeming Justice is an unforgettable firsthand account of the limits and possibilities of our country’s system of law.
Jarrett Adams earned his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. After working for the Innocence Project in New York, he launched the Law Office of Jarrett Adams, PLLC and now practices in both federal and state courts throughout the country. Mike Gousha is a Distinguished Fellow in Law and Public Policy at Marquette University Law School. Before joining Marquette, Gousha was an anchor with WTMJ-TV and host of the popular interview program Sunday Night.
Join us for an evening featuring, per Peter Carlson in the Washington Post, America’s funniest science writer Mary Roach, who will take us along for an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet. For this event, Mary Roach will be in conversation with Roman Mars, host and creator of 99% Invisible and author of The 99% Invisible City.
Click right here to register for this virtual event, broadcast via Zoom. And preorder your copy of Fuzz now, too! Order your signed copy. While supplies last, your order comes with a special Fuzz patch.
What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A breaking and entering bear? Murderous trees? Hundreds of years ago, animals that broke the law were put on trial. These days, as Roach discovers, the answers are better found in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.
Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to "problem" wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem - and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.
Mary Roach is author of best-selling books of nonfiction such as Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, and, most recently, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. Her writing has appeared in Outside, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine.
Enjoy a Bonus Readings from Oconomowaukee in September, featuring Milwaukee’s Lauren Fox, celebrating the paperback release event for her nationally bestselling novel with a special fall reading conversation featuring recommendations from both store proprietors and the author.
Click here to register for this virtual event. And be sure to get your paperback copy of Send for Me, too! Order right here from Boswell and right here from Books & Company. Order your signed copy. Your book can be personalized.
Lauren Fox’s Send for Me was a Today Show Read with Jenna book club pick, an instant New York Times bestseller, and an Indie Next Great Read. From Suzanne Perez, writing for NPR.com: “Fox’s writing is so deft, the story so subtle and sad, flipping seamlessly from World War II Germany to modern-day Milwaukee. It doesn’t put you smack dab in the center of Nazi violence or concentration camp nightmares, but flits around the edges of that brutal history to tell a new, altogether different tale - a story of lucky ones who escaped, and the guilt that haunts them… a richly imagined, lyrically written story that belongs among novels such as The Book Thief and All the Light We Cannot See. The year is still young, but I’ll guarantee this will be on my list of favorites from 2021."
An achingly beautiful work of historical fiction that moves between Germany on the eve of World War II and present-day Wisconsin, unspooling a thread of love, longing, and the powerful bonds of family. Based on letters from Lauren Fox's own family, Send for Me is a major departure for this acclaimed author, an epic and intimate exploration of mothers and daughters, duty and obligation, hope and forgiveness.
Lauren Fox earned an MFA from the University of Minnesota and is author of the novels Days of Awe, Still Life with Husband, and Friends Like Us. Her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, The Rumpus, and Salon.
Boswell Book Company and the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee present an evening with author María Amparo Escandón for a conversation about her fun, fast-paced novel of a Mexican American family wrestling with impending evacuations, secrets, deception, and betrayal. In conversation with Daniel Goldin of Boswell and Tessa Bartels of the HPGM Book Club.
Click here to register now for this virtual event, broadcast via Zoom. And be sure to order a copy of LA Weather now, too! Ask for your signed bookplate.
Storm clouds are on the horizon. LA is parched, and all Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants is a little rain. He’s harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage. Their three daughters - Claudia, a television chef with a hard-hearted attitude, Olivia, a successful architect who suffers from gentrification guilt, and Patricia, a social media wizard who has an uncanny knack for connecting with audiences but not with her lovers - are blindsided and left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way.
Daniel says, “LA Weather’s outrageous plot twists have a telenovela quality, as the Alvarados contend with just about every complication a family can face, except for maybe locusts. But they make it through (mostly), a little wiser for the journey, and it’s hard not to fall in love with them and all their messiness.” And Boswellian Kay Wosewick adds, “This LA-set story will quickly set its claws and pull you through a manic year in the lives of a well-off Mexican American family. You will smile gleefully as the family completes the eventful year with stronger bonds than ever.”
María Amparo Escandón is author of Esperanza’s Box of Saints and González & Daughter Trucking Co and was named a writer to watch by both Newsweek and the LA Times.
Milwaukee’s award-winning spiritual writer and Saint Francis scholar Jon M Sweeney joins us for a discussion of his latest work, a consideration of the spiritual practices that can be found in the life and teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi.
This event has been converted to virtual and will be broadcast via Zoom Webinar. Please click here to register for this virtual event now. Everyone who registered for this as an in-person event will be signed up for the virtual event. You can also preorder your copy of Feed the Wolf, and Sweeney will be autographing our copies of the book. Yes, we can take personalization requests, too!
In Feed the Wolf, Sweeney explores fifteen spiritual practices drawn from the essential wisdom of Saint Francis to ease fear and uncertainty in our twenty-first-century lives: touch what is frightening; refuse power, have nothing to lose, spend time in the woods, pray with the moon, turn toward what's simple, and more. The world's most popular saint has illuminated a peaceful path forward for those of us navigating today's precarious times.
Each spiritual lesson from the life of Saint Francis of Assisi begins with an invitation to embrace the wolf - to consider another viewpoint, to befriend our fears, and to discover something new. The path Saint Francis discovered is the way of faith made tangible - and his way was always a way of peace.
Jon M Sweeney is author of thirty books, including The Complete Francis of Assisi, and is considered the authoritative voice on the life and spirituality of Saint Francis. He is also a regular speaker at literary and spirituality conferences.
Join us for an in-person event that’s great for kids and adults with Anna Lardinois, founder of Gothic Milwaukee, featuring her latest book that’s full of ghost stories from the Brew City. So creepy, fun, and full of mystery!
This event is live and in-person, and will take place outside the store, weather permitting. Due to our limited in-person capacity, registration is required - click here to visit ghostlymke.eventbrite.com and register now. If we are close to capacity, admission will be prioritized for those who have registered. And order your copy of The Ghostly Tales of Milwaukee, too!
Milwaukee's haunted history comes to life - even when the main players are dead. Explore the caves below the Miller Brewery to see if they're really haunted. Listen at the Lake Park Lions Bridge to hear the laughter of ghostly children. Or tiptoe through La Belle Cemetery to see if the spirit of a young girl throws herself into Fowler Lake (she usually does). Dive into this spooky chapter book for suspenseful tales of bumps in the night, paranormal investigations, and the unexplained. Just be sure to keep the light on.
Anna Lardinois tingles the spines of Milwaukee locals and visitors through her haunted, historical walking tours known as Gothic Milwaukee. The former English teacher is an ardent collector of stories, an avid walker and a sweet treat enthusiast. She happily resides in a historic home in Milwaukee that, at this time, does not appear to be haunted.
Boswell presents a special YA, Boswell! evening with Wisconsin author Sara Biren for a conversation about her latest romance novel about a teen rock star who returns home to Minnesota and finds himself falling for a local farm girl. In conversation with Andrew DeYoung, author of The Exo Project, winner of the Minnesota Book Award.
Click right here and register right now for this virtual event. You can also order your copy of Bend in the Road now.
Seventeen-year-old Gabe’s life is a mess. Once an overnight sensation, his second album has tanked, he just got dumped by his on-again, off-again girlfriend, and he’s desperate to come up with the money he needs to fix a major screwup. The only place he can be free from the paparazzi and rumors is the family farm in Minnesota.
Seventeen-year-old Juniper’s family has managed that farm since before she was born. When Juniper learns that Gabe’s about to inherit the farm, she worries that he’ll sell it. She comes up with a plan to get close to him and stop that from happening. At first, Juniper and Gabe couldn’t be more at odds, but the more time they spend with each other, the more they grow to like each other. Can they set aside their differences to do what’s best for the farm and each other?
Sara Biren is author of The Last Thing You Said and Cold Day in the Sun. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Andrew DeYoung is author of the forthcoming book The Temps.
Boswell presents an evening with food and culture writer Matt Siegel for a conversation about his new book with Milwaukee culinary historian Kyle Cherek. The Secret History of Food offers up an irreverent, surprising, and entirely entertaining look at the little-known history surrounding the foods we know and love.
Click right here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of The Secret History of Food right now, too!
Is Italian olive oil really Italian, or are we dipping our bread in lamp oil? Why are we masochistically drawn to foods that can hurt us, like hot peppers? Far from being a classic American dish, is apple pie actually… English? The Secret History of Food is a rich and satisfying exploration of the historical, cultural, scientific, sexual, and, yes, culinary subcultures of this most essential realm. Siegel is an armchair Bourdain, armed not with a chef’s knife but with knowledge derived from medieval food-related manuscripts, ancient Chinese scrolls, and obscure culinary journals. Funny and fascinating, this is essential reading for all foodies and anyone else who, well, eats.
Daniel Goldin offers this recommendation: “Vanilla ice cream, breakfast cereal, corn, tomatoes, and several other foods become the jumping-off point for Matt Siegel’s meandering and quirky food history. How is honey kosher if most samples likely have traces of unkosher insects? Why did Nathan’s Famous employ college students who dress like doctors? Could it possibly be true that the USDA is responsible for open-faced sandwiches, but the FDA monitors closed-faced ones? So much food ephemera! Best of all, there are often interesting points to be made about human nature slathered between the easily transportable iceberg lettuce and tasteless-but-great looking tomato. A multi-course feast of delights!
Matt Siegel has written about food and culture for publications including the Atlantic and the Paris Review. Previously an English professor, he now writes full time and consults with brands in the food and beverage industries. His dog’s name is Waffles. Kyle Cherek was the host of Wisconsin Foodie on PBS and has twice been awarded the Wisconsin Broadcast Association Award for his compelling essays on food culture.
Boswell Book Company is thrilled to present a virtual event with Amor Towles, the bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility, for a conversation about his new book, a stylish and propulsive novel set in 1950s America. Towles will chat with Ann Patchett, author of novels such as The Dutch House and Commonwealth. Patchett's Nashville bookstore Parnassus Books is hosting this event, along with The Book Stall of Winnetka, Blue Willow Bookshop of Houston, and Boswell.
Please click here to purchase your tickets at towlesmke.eventbrite.com. Each ticket costs $30 and includes a copy of The Lincoln Highway and admission for one electronic device.Plus, the first 100 people to register will get a signed tip-in copy! $5 from each ticket will be donated back to BINC, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, which helps booksellers in need. Shipping and pickup information on the ticketing website.
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction - to New York City.
Advance praise for The Lincoln Highway is glowing. Tana French calls it, “An absolute beauty of a book. Every character is a gem, the many locations spring to vivid life, the book is an intricate and moving exploration of journeys and the infinite unexpected turns they can take - and somehow Towles makes it all seem effortless. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again.” And from Kirkus’s starred review: “even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow… An exhilarating ride through Americana.”
Amor Towles is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. The two novels have collectively sold more than four million copies and have been translated into more than thirty languages. Ann Patchett is author of seven novels, including Commonwealth, State of Wonder, and Bel Canto, as well as three books of nonfiction. She’s been awarded the Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among many others.
Enjoy an evening with Zoraida Córdova, author of a contemporary fantasy drama that follows three cousins who retrace their family lineage from Four Rivers, USA, to Guayaquil, Ecuador, in an attempt to discover the source of their power and why their family is being murdered by an unknown entity.
Click here to register for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina now, too! Click here to purchase from Boswell, or click here to purchase from La Revo Books, a new Milwaukee bookstore focused on carefully selecting new and used books for and by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
Córdova’s book is being called One Hundred Years of Solitude meets Practical Magic. The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty, or why their matriarch won't ever leave their home in Four Rivers - even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.
Early praise for the book includes this from VE Schwab, author of of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue: “An expertly woven tale of family power, threaded with as much mystery as magic. This book is simply exquisite.” And from Pulitzer finalist Kelly Link: “I fell hard for this book. The dynamic, powerful mixture of secrets, stories, and longing that bind families together is Zoraida Córdova’s narrative engine, but her ability to evoke landscape and the numinous make The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina feel like an invitation into an enchanted garden.”
Zoraida Córdova is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels and short stories, including the Brooklyn Brujas series, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate, and romance novels such as Zoey Castile. In addition to writing novels, she serves on the board of We Need Diverse Books, and is the coeditor of the bestselling anthology Vampires Never Get Old, as well as the cohost of the writing podcast Deadline City.
The October entry in the locally loved Readings from Oconomowaukee virtual event series presents Jessica Anya Blau, author of Mary Jane, a 1970s coming of age novel about a girl nannying for a progressive couple who are secretly hiding a rock star for the summer.
This virtual event will be broadcast via Zoom – click here and register for it now! And be sure to order your copy of Mary Jane now, too! Click here to order from Boswell, or click here to order from Books & Company.
In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family’s subscription to the Broadway Showtunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. The house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it’s a literal and figurative mess. The doctor has cleared his summer for one job - helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife move in. Mary Jane gets a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll (not to mention group therapy).
Boswellian Margaret Kennedy loves this book! Here’s her take: “Amidst the clashing viewpoints and lifestyles of 1970s America one teen girl tries to make sense of it all and find out who she wants to be. Mary Jane is surprised and strangely delighted when the Cones turn out to be a bohemian, openly amorous rock n' roll couple with a rock star and his famous wife living in the attic. Throughout the summer, Mary Jane encounters and embraces new music, new clothes, and a new way of looking at herself and what she wants to be, all while inadvertently helping the Cone family and their guests grow as well. A wonderful read about found families and finding yourself - this is already one of my favorites of the year!"
Jessica Anya Blau is author of four novels, including The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and, most recently, The Trouble with Lexie. Her novels have been recommended and featured on CNN, NPR, the Today show, and in Vanity Fair, Cosmo, and Oprah’s Summer Reads. Anya Blau co-wrote the script for Love on the Run and has taught writing at Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College, and The Fashion Institute of Technology.
Join us for an evening with Pride and Piazza, coauthors of a powerful and poignant new novel that explores race in America today and its devastating impact on two childhood friends, one Black and one white. In conversation with Nancy Johnson, author of The Kindest Lie.
Click right here to register for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of We Are Not Like Them now as well.
Like Tayari Jones's An American Marriage and Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things, We Are Not Like Them considers complex questions of race and how they pervade and shape our most intimate spaces in a deeply divided world. But at its heart, it's a story of enduring friendship - a love that defies the odds even as two childhood friends, one Black and one white, face their most difficult challenges.
Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young and, after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia. But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager.
Christine Pride has held editorial posts at imprints such as Doubleday, Crown, and Simon & Schuster. As an editor, Christine has published a range of books, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. She pens the Race Matters column for Cup of Jo. Jo Piazza is author of books such as Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, How to Be Married, and The Knockoff. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN.
Boswell Book Company presents an event featuring Todd Doughty for his new book, Little Pieces of Hope, an enchanting collection of lists, musings, and illustrations that will inspire you to cherish all of the things, from the extraordinary to the everyday, that bring hope into our lives.
Click here to visit doughtymke.eventbrite.com to register for this virtual event today! You can also order your copy of Little Pieces of Hope from Boswell today, too. This event is brought to you by Watermark Books & Café of Wichita, Anderson's Book Shop of Naperville and Downer's Grove, and Boswell.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, and our lives began to change in unprecedented ways. Todd Doughty knew he needed to do something to help him stay connected to the everyday joys of daily life. So he wrote down a list of things that make him happy: The musical intro to All Things Considered. Someone forgiving you. Someone believing in you. Your foot sticking out from under a blanket in order to find the cool spot. Freshly cut yellow tulips. A really good burger.
Many, many lists later, Little Pieces of Hope pulls together the best of Doughty’s lists along with never-before-seen entries, essays, musings, prompts, quotes, and playlists that offer solace, connection, and a daily touchstone of joy in a difficult world. Author Adriana Trigiani calls it, “A dazzling spiritual grab n’ go of big ideas, positive thoughts, and helpful suggestions that will lift and delight readers everywhere.”
Todd Doughty is currently SVP, Deputy Publisher of Doubleday and has worked at Penguin Random House for more than two decades. Doughty is a graduate of Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) and former bookseller.
Boswell Book Company is thrilled to host the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See. Doerr joins us for a conversation about his latest novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, which is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring novel about children on the cusp of adulthood in a broken world, who find resilience, hope, and story. Doerr will be in conversation with Quan Barry, Professor of English at UW-Madison and author of the novels We Ride Upon Sticks and She Weeps Each Time You're Born. Cosponsored by the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library.
Tickets cost $30, and each includes a copy of Cloud Cuckoo Land and admission for one electronic device. The first 50 people to sign up for this event will get a signed tip-in copy of Cloud Cuckoo Land. The next 100 people will get a signed bookplate. At this time we have sold out of signed copies. Bookplates still available. $5 from each ticket will be donated back to the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, in the spirit of Cloud Cuckoo Land's celebration of libraries. Books can be picked up at Boswell on or after September 28th, or shipping options are available for additional fees. Click right here to visit doerrmke.eventbrite.com to purchase your tickets for this event right now!
Doerr's new novel has earned a trifecta of prepublication starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews, which says, "Doerr builds a community of readers and nature lovers that transcends the boundaries of time and space... As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world."
The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are trying to figure out the world around them: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the formidable city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour in an attack on a public library in present-day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet, decades from now. An ancient text - the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky - provides solace and mystery to these unforgettable characters. Doerr has created a tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness - with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us and those who will be here after we’re gone. Dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,” Cloud Cuckoo Land is a hauntingly beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship - of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.
Anthony Doerr is author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal, as well as The Shell Collector and Four Seasons in Rome. He has won five O Henry Prizes, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, and the Story Prize. Quan Barry is author of two novels and four poetry books, including Water Puppets, winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in such publications as Ms. and The New Yorker.
Elm Grove Public Library, along with Boswell Book Company, present an afternoon with the Wisconsin native Andrew J Graff, author of Raft of Stars, the debut novel that Richard Russo calls “a rousing adventure yarn full of danger and heart and humor.” When two hardscrabble young boys think they’ve committed a crime, they flee into the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Will the adults trying to find and protect them reach them before it’s too late? Please click here to visit the Elm Grove Public Library website and register for this event.
Andrew J Graff grew up in in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Graff earned an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, teaches at Wittenberg University, and has published work in Image and Dappled Things.
Whitefish Bay Public Library, along with Boswell Book Company, present an evening with author Christina Clancy. Clancy is the author of Shoulder Season, as well as The Second Home. Her latest novel is set in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, at the old Playboy Resort, and tells the story of nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor, an unlikely bunny. Boswell will be on hand selling copies of both books. Please click here to visit the Whitefish Bay Library website and register for this in-person event.
Christina Clancy grew up in Whitefish Bay. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Sun Magazine, and she holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the UWM.
Boswell presents a special afternoon virtual event with Samira Shackle in conversation with Audrey Nowakowski, a Producer and Host of WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio's Lake Effect.
Click here to register for this virtual event, broadcast via Zoom. And order your copy of Karachi Vice right now, too!
Karachi - Pakistan’s largest city is a sprawling metropolis of twenty million people, twice the size of New York City. It is a place of political turbulence in which those who have power wield it with brutal and partisan force. It takes an insider to know where is safe, who to trust, and what makes Karachi tick. Shackle explores the city of her mother’s birth in the company of a handful of Karachiites whose individual experiences tell the bigger story of Karachi over the past decade as it has endured a terrifying crime wave: a period in which the Taliban arrive in Pakistan, adding to the daily perils for its residents and pushing their city into the international spotlight.
The Economist calls Shackle’s debut “A moving account of the struggles of everyday heroes - and of the unhappy metropolis that needs them.” And from Rabeea Saleem, writing for the Times Literary Supplement: “Sobering and gripping… meticulously constructs a vibrant mosaic of a city’s underbelly, while disentangling the ways in which Karachi is enmeshed with crime lords, gangs, political interests and militants.”
Samira Shackle is Editor of New Humanist magazine and a regular contributor to the Guardian Long Read. She frequently reports from Pakistan, where she has family, and spent extensive time there working on this book. She has twice been a media fellow at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Social Difference, and in 2019 she was made a MacDowell fellow. Audrey Nowakowski is a Lake Effect Host and Producer and has also worked at WMSE. She is a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University..
Authors Viola Shipman (pen name of Wade Rouse) and Susan Mallery join us for a special evening of conversation about their new, Christmas-season inspired novels.
Please click right here and register for this virtual event now. And be sure to order your copies of The Secret of Snow and The Christmas Wedding Guests as well! This event is cohosted by Books & Company of Oconomowoc, McLean & Eakin of of Petoskey, MI, and Boswell Book Company.
Shipman's latest is The Secret of Snow, a heartwarming story about starting over, family traditions, and the enduring power of love and friendship. A 50-year-old meteorologist returns to her hometown in Northern Michigan after being replaced with AI at her station in Palm Springs. Publishers Weekly called it "a beautifully written story... Fans of women’s fiction won’t be able to put this down."
Mallery's book, The Christmas Wedding Guest, is set in the small mountain town of Wishing Tree, Washington, where the town's life blood is the celebration of Christmas. Sisters Reggie and Dena Sommervile, who, guilted into being bridesmaids at their parents' vow renewal ceremony, find love in the most unexpected of places - their small hometown.
Viola Shipman is the pen of memoirist Wade Rouse. Writing as Shipman, he is author of The Summer Cottage, The Charm Bracelet, and The Hope Chest. Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives, including titles such as The Stepsisters, The Summer of Sunshine and Margot, and Before Summer Ends.
Boswell Book Company and Youthaiti present an evening with Haitian-Canadian-American writer Myriam JA Chancy, author of What Storm, What Thunder, the first work in English to present a gripping recollection of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, one of the worst natural disasters in history.
Click here and register now for this virtual event, to be broadcast via Zoom. And order a copy of What Storm, What Thunder now as well! This event is cohosted by Youthaiti, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit that promotes sustainable sanitation and agriculture in rural Haiti. More at Youthaiti.org.
At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shakes the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. The story follows the inner lives of folks affected by the disaster - a wealthy expat, his architect daughter, a drug trafficker, emigrant musician and taxi driver, and Ma Lou, the old woman selling produce in the market who remembers them and others.
Artfully weaving together these lives, witness is given to the desolation wreaked by nature and by man. What Storm, What Thunder is a reckoning of the heartbreaking trauma of disaster, and an unforgettable testimony to the tenacity of the human spirit. Edwidge Danticat calls Chancy’s novel, “Sublime. A striking and formidable novel by one of our most brilliant writers and storytellers.”
Myriam JA Chancy is HBA Chair in the Humanities at Scripps College in Claremont, California and a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Boswell Book Company once again reaches across the Atlantic to team up with Scotland’s Boswell Book Festival to present a joint event featuring critic and journalist Frances Wilson, author of Burning Man, in conversation with critic Bill Goldstein, author of The World Broke in Two.
Click here to register for this virtual event, which will be broadcast via Zoom. And be sure to order your copy of Burning Man now, too! This event is part of the Boswell Book Festival, the world’s only festival of biography and memoir, normally set in the spectacular grounds of Dumfries House, inaugurated and staged by the Boswell Trust.
Everyone who knew him told stories about Lawrence, and Lawrence told stories about everyone he knew. He also, again and again, told stories about himself: the pioneer of autofiction. In a distinctly Lawrentian biography, Wilson pursues Lawrence around the globe and reflects his life of wild allegory. Eschewing the confines of a full-length biography, Burning Man is a triptych of lesser-known episodes drawn from lesser-known sources, and from the tales of Lawrence told by his friends in letters, memoirs, and diaries. Focusing on three critical turning points in Lawrence’s pilgrimage (his crises in Cornwall, Italy, and New Mexico) Wilson uncovers a lesser-known Lawrence, both as a writer and as a man.
Dizzyingly original, exhaustively researched, and always revelatory, Burning Man is a marvel of biography. With flair and focus, Wilson, Lawrence’s first female biographer, unleashes a distinct perspective on one of history’s most beloved and infamous writers.
Frances Wilson is author of several works of nonfiction, including The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth, which won the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, How to Survive the Titanic, winner of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, and Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and received a fellowship from the New York Public Library's Cullman Center in 2018. Bill Goldstein is author of The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, TS Eliot, DH Lawrence, EM Forster and the Year that Changed Literature and a forthcoming biography of Larry Kramer. He was a New York Public Library Dorothy and Lewis B Cullman Center for Scholars and Writer for 2019-2020.
November’s edition of our popular Readings from Oconomowaukee virtual event series, hosted in partnership with our friends at Books & Company of Oconomowoc, presents an evening featuring Eileen Gavin, author of a heartwarming debut novel perfect for readers of A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. The Music of Bees follows three lonely people in rural Oregon, each struggling to deal with one of life's curveballs, who find friendship and second chances where they least expect it - a local honeybee farm.
Click right here to register for this virtual event. And be sure to purchase your copy of The Music of Bees today, too – click here to order from Boswell, or click right here to order from Books & Company of Oconomowoc.
Alice Holtzman is stuck in a dead end job and reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Even the beloved honeybees she raises in her spare time aren’t helping her feel better these days. In the grip of a panic attack, she nearly collides with Jake - a troubled, paraplegic teenager with the tallest mohawk in Hood River County - while carrying 120,000 honeybees in the back of her pickup truck. And then there’s Harry, a twenty-four-year-old with debilitating social anxiety who is desperate for work. As an unexpected friendship blossoms among them, a nefarious pesticide company moves to town. The unlikely trio must unite for the sake of the bees - and in the process, they just might forge a new future for themselves.
Beautifully moving, warm, and uplifting, The Music of Bees is about the power of friendship, compassion in the face of loss, and finding the courage to start over (at any age) when things don’t turn out the way you expect. Naming it their Best New Books list, People magazine calls it, “An exquisite debut that combines a moving tale of friendship with a fascinating primer on bees.”
Eileen Garvin is a beekeeper and writer living in Hood River, Oregon. She is also the author of a memoir, How to Be a Sister.
Boswell Book Company and UWM’s Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies present a virtual event with Mark Oppenheimer for a conversation about his book, which offers a piercing portrait of the struggles and triumphs of one of America’s renowned Jewish neighborhoods - Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill - in the wake of unspeakable tragedy that highlights the hopes, fears, and tensions all Americans must confront on the road to healing. In conversation with Rachel N Baum, Deputy Director of the Stahl Center.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Squirrel Hill as well for 20% off list price.
Squirrel Hill is one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in the country. On October 27, 2018, a gunman killed eleven Jews who were worshipping at the Tree of Life synagogue - the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history. Many neighborhoods would be understandably subsumed by despair and recrimination after such an event, but not this one. Oppenheimer poignantly shifts the focus away from the criminal and his crime, and instead presents the historic, spirited community at the center of this heartbreak. He speaks with residents and nonresidents, Jews and gentiles, survivors and witnesses, teenagers and seniors, activists and historians.
These stories provide a nuanced account of collective grief, love, support, and revival. The book has earned starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, which calls it, “Deeply reported and elegantly written, this is a powerful portrait of grief and resilience.”
Mark Oppenheimer is the author of five books, including Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture and The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia. He was the religion columnist for The New York Times from 2010 to 2016 and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, and The Believers. The host of Tablet magazine’s podcast Unorthodox, Oppenheimer directs the Yale Journalism Initiative. Rachel N Baum is Deputy Director of the Stahl Center and is Co-Director, with Dr. Hank Knight, of the Stephen Weinstein Holocaust Symposium. She teaches courses on the Holocaust, Jewish film, and Jewish-American culture.
Boswell hosts an evening with Uwem Akpan, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Say You’re One of Them, winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Africa Region), the PEN Open Book Prize, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, for a conversation about his new novel, which melds humor, tenderness, and pain to explore the myriad ways that tribalisms define life everywhere, from the villages of Nigeria to the villages within New York City. Akpan will chat with Elias Rodriques, author of All the Water I’ve Seen Is Running.
Click right here and register right now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of New York, My Village right now, too!
From a suspiciously cheap Hell’s Kitchen walk-up, Nigerian editor and winner of a Toni Morrison Publishing Fellowship Ekong Udousoro is about to begin the opportunity of a lifetime: to learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry from its incandescent epicenter. While his sophisticated colleagues meet him with kindness and hospitality, he is soon exposed to a colder, ruthlessly commercial underbelly. Reckoning with the recent history of the devastating Biafran War, in which Ekong’s people were a minority of a minority caught up in the mutual slaughter of majority tribes, Ekong’s life in New York becomes a saga of unanticipated strife.
Praise from Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere: "A searing sendup of publishing, racial biases, and humanity's near-infinite capability to look away from the most troubling parts of ourselves, New York, My Village is that rare thing: a funhouse mirror that reflects back the truth. Uwem Akpan's debut novel maps the constantly shifting ground of grappling with prejudice and guilt - and how we might find connections, and compassion, nevertheless."
Uwem Akpan's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the Nigerian Guardian, and O, The Oprah Magazine. His story collection Say You're One of Them was a 2009 Oprah Book Club selection. Elias Rodriques has published in venues such as The Guardian and The Nation, and he is Assistant Editor at n+1. He is Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Sarah Lawrence College.
Enjoy a virtual evening with the co-authors of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, who with their latest offer a history of disease outbreaks (and their patient zeros) and an overview of the science, culture, and cures for different types of epidemics and pandemics.
Click on this sentence to register for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Patient Zero right now, too!
Kang and Pedersen tell the long and fascinating history of disease outbreaks—how they start, how they spread, the science that lets us understand them, and how we race to destroy them before they destroy us. Learn the tragic stories of Patient Zeros throughout history, such as Mabalo Lokela, who contracted Ebola while on vacation in 1976, and the Lewis Baby on London’s Broad Street, the first to catch cholera in an 1854 outbreak that led to a major medical breakthrough. Interspersed are origin stories of a different sort, like how a rye fungus in 1951 turned a small village in France into a phantasmagoric scene reminiscent of Burning Man. Plus the uneasy history of human autopsy, how the HIV virus has been with us for at least a century, and more.
Lydia Kang, MD, is a practicing internal medicine physician and author of YA novels including Control, Catalyst, and the upcoming The November Girl, plus A Beautiful Poison, her debut novel for adults. Her nonfiction has been published in JAMA, the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Nate Pedersen is a librarian, historian, and freelance journalist with over 400 publications in print and online, including in the Guardian, the Believer, and The San Francisco Chronicle.
Boswell presents a virtual evening with Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras. The curious minds behind Atlas Obscura turn to the hidden curiosities of food in Gastro Obscura, a gateway to fascinating stories about human history, science, art, and tradition.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Gastro Obscura now, too!
Truly a feast of wonders, this breathtaking guide transforms our sense of what people around the world eat and drink. Covering all seven continents, Gastro Obscura serves up a loaded plate of incredible ingredients, food adventures, and edible wonders. Ready for a beer made from fog in Chile? Sardinia’s “Threads of God” pasta? Egypt’s 2000-year-old egg ovens? But far more than a menu of curious minds delicacies and unexpected dishes, Gastro Obscura reveals food’s central place in our lives as well as our bellies, touching on history, culture, far-off travel, and hidden gems that might be right around the corner.
Chef, restauranteur, food activist, and Top Chef cohost Tom Colicchio writes: "Like a great tapas meal, Gastro Obscura is deep yet snackable, and full of surprises. This is the book for anyone interested in eating, adventure and the human condition." And Alice Waters says, "This captivating book celebrates the incredible global diversity of food, ingredients, and cooking practices. What could be more important in this moment in time than to be so delightfully engaged in the many ways food cultivates - through sometimes eccentric means! - a profound sense of togetherness." Dig in and feed your sense of wonder.
Cecily Wong is a writer at Atlas Obscura and author of the novel Diamond Head, recipient of an Elle Readers' Prize. Dylan Thuras is Cofounder and Creative Director of Atlas Obscura.
Join us for a virtual YA, Boswell! event featuring Joan He, author of one of our favorite YA novels of the year - The Ones We’re Meant to Find. He will chat about her book, gripping and heartfelt YA sci-fi with mind-blowing twists, with Boswellian Jenny Chou.
Click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of The Ones We’re Meant to Find right now, too!
Set in a climate-ravaged future, He's beautifully written novel follows the story of two sisters, separated by an ocean, desperately trying to find each other. Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years with no memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her. A world away, Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The Metropolis - Earth's last unpolluted place - is meant to be sanctuary for those committed to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she'll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.
Perfect for fans of Rick Yancey and Marie Lu, The Ones We're Meant to Find is, per Booklist, "exhilarating and heartbreaking!" And here’s Jenny Chou’s take: "In Joan He’s enthralling, futuristic page-turner, the relationship between two sisters holds the destiny of earth in the balance. In a twisty, unpredictable way that’s reminiscent of We Were Liars, nothing is as it seems in this unforgettable book."
Joan He studied psychology and Chinese history at the University of Pennsylvania and is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Ones We're Meant to Find and Descendant of the Crane.
Boswell Book Company is pleased to present an evening with Ann Patchett for a conversation about her latest book, These Precious Days: Essays. For this event, Patchett will be in conversation with Amor Towles, author of A Gentleman in Moscow and his latest novel, The Lincoln Highway.
To attend this virtual event, purchase your tickets at patchettmke.eventbrite.com by clicking here right now. Admission is $5 plus tax and ticket fee, or upgrade to a copy of the book for $26.99 plus tax and fee. $5 from each ticket will be donated to BINC, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. More at bincfoundation.org.
In These Precious Days, Patchett offers a collection of essays on appreciating life as it is lived and not asking how the story ends. It's about friends and family, dogs, marriage, writing and reading, and, of course, the store she owns with Karen Hayes, Parnassus Books. The book features a full-color dual-sided dust jacket featuring two paintings by Sooki Raphael, created while the painter lived with Patchett and her husband. Sooki's story is the centerpiece of this collection, a classic profile of friendship.
Here’s Daniel Goldin’s take on Patchett’s latest: “At first, I thought this book was a follow-up to This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and why not? Patchett wrote this was the case in her introduction, which laid out why, when an author writes essays, they don’t worry about dying in the middle of writing them the way many do with novels. Sure enough, there are meditations on knitting, flying (or rather her husband flying and Patchett passengering), writing (of course), and my personal favorite, a salute to Snoopy. But the more I read, the more I see two themes took root: the value of friendship and the transience of life, which come together in the also well-known title essay. And in that way, the book started reminding me more of Patchett’s first nonfiction book, Truth and Beauty, about her friendship with the poet Lucy Grealey. And that’s a good thing – the result is a powerful, heartfelt collection."
Ann Patchett is the author of eight novels, four books of nonfiction, and two books for children. She has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and has won numerous prizes, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction, and her work has been translated into more than thirty languages.
Boswell presents an in-person event with Milwaukee native Rachel Kapelke-Dale, author of the novel The Ballerinas, a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.
This event is in-person. Masks are required. Due to limited capacity, registration is required to attend – click here to register now! We are hoping to have a virtual option available as well, and please note that this event could pivot to virtual at any time. Please watch for any scheduling changes. Make sure to order your copy of The Ballerinas now, too!
Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut. Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg, taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she's been away, and some secrets can't stay buried forever.
Andrea Bartz, author of We Were Never Here, calls Kapelke-Dale’s debut, "Deftly constructed, crackling with tension… a stunner of a novel, with electric prose. I tore through this unforgettable thriller."
Rachel Kapelke-Dale is the co-author of Graduates in Wonderland and the Vanity Fair Hollywood's column "Advice from the Stars." Kapelke-Dale spent years in intensive ballet training before receiving a BA from Brown University, an MA from the Université de Paris VII, and a PhD from University College London. She currently lives in Paris, but she grew up in Milwaukee.
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.