Upcoming Events

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.

Registration is requested at all Boswell events, and required if we reach capacity. Some events are ticketed. See specific program for details, particularly with cosponsored events.

Jim Nelsen, author of Secret Milwaukee
at Boswell
Wednesday, December 27, 6:30 pm

Milwaukee educator, author, and local historian Jim Nelsen visits for an evening of Cream City secrets, which he’s collected in his new book, Secret Milwaukee. Please note that this event was rescheduled from November due to a publication delay.

Please click here to visit jimnelsenmke.eventbrite.com and register for this event. And be sure to order your copy of Secret Milwaukee now, too.

Milwaukee’s image is one of quaint nostalgia: beer, bratwursts, and bowling. Nelson undoes those stereotypes as he presents his book of Milwaukee tales that even long-time residents may not know. Which president of the United States was almost assassinated in Milwaukee? What is the city's connection to The Exorcist? Which buildings are haunted? What are Milwaukee's connections to the mafia? Is there buried treasure here? And yes, there’s also plenty more to learn about beer, bratwurst, bowling, and Laverne & Shirley, along with the history of frozen custard, Milwaukee-style pizza, and a whole lot more.

Jim Nelsen is author of A History Lover’s Guide to Milwaukee and Educating Milwaukee. He earned a PhD in Urban History from UWM. A lifelong resident of Milwaukee, he finds the history of the city fascinating, from its early days in the mid-nineteenth century to the modern challenges of urban life today.

Katherine Center, author of Hello Stranger
in conversation with Rachel Copeland for a virtual event
Tuesday, January 9, 7 pm

Boswell hosts a virtual event with Katherine Center, author of books such as The Bodyguard and Happiness for Beginners, for a conversation with Boswellian Rachel Copeland. They’ll chat about Center’s latest, Hello Stranger, a novel about finding love, confronting a haunting past, and figuring out what, and who, really matters.

Please click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Hello Stranger now as well.

Love isn’t blind, it’s just little blurry. Portrait artist Sadie Montgomery is struggling to cope with a "probably temporary" condition known as face blindness. As she tries to hang on to her artistic dream, work through major family issues, and take care of her beloved dog, Peanut, she falls into - love? Lust? A temporary obsession to distract from the real problems in her life? - with not one man but two very different ones. If only her life were a little more in focus, Sadie might be able to find her way. But some things you can only find when you aren’t looking.

Here’s Rachel’s take: "After a seizure leads to brain surgery to repair the same congenital condition that killed her mother, portrait artist Sadie Montgomery can no longer see faces. The pieces are there, but they no longer make sense - she can't recognize her best friend, her evil stepsister, her probably handsome veterinarian, or even her probably cute and definitely helpful neighbor - and she has scant weeks to paint a portrait in time for a portrait competition worth ten thousand dollars. Katherine Center does it again! She takes a condition that a surprising number of people cope with every day and turns it into a meditation on how we truly relate to each other - how do you recognize somebody, how can you trust your own instincts, when one major sense is taken away? You'll cry, you'll laugh, you might do a ton of research on prosopagnosia, and it's worth every minute."

Katherine Center is the New York Times bestselling author of over a half dozen novels, including What You Wish For, Things You Save in a Fire, and How to Walk Away. Her work has appeared in USA TodayRedbook, and People magazine.

Tracy Clark, author of Fall
in conversation with Patricia Skalka at Boswell
Wednesday, January 10, 6:30 pm

Boswell welcomes award-winning Chicago crime author Tracy Clark for an evening featuring the latest installment of her Detective Harriet Foster thriller series, which weaves a twisted journey into the underbelly of Chicago as Harriet and her team work to unmask a serial killer stalking the city’s aldermen. In conversation with Wisconsin mystery author Patricia Skalka.

Please click here to visit tracyclarkmke.eventbrite.com and register to attend this event. And be sure to order a copy of Fall as well.

The Chicago PD is on high alert when two city aldermen are found dead: one by suicide, one brutally stabbed in his office, and both with thirty dimes left on their bodies - a betrayer’s payment. With no other clues, the question is, Who else has a debt to pay? Detective Harriet Foster is on the case before the killer can strike again. But Harriet has little to go on and a lot at risk. Harriet and her team will have to examine what the victims had going on behind the scenes to determine who could be tangled up in this web of betrayal, and who could be out for revenge.

From Lori Rader-Day: "Clark’s not-so-hidden talent is for conjuring characters who are engaging and achingly real. Detective Harri Foster is a stellar recruit to her new team and to our crime fiction shelves."

Tracy Clark is author of the Cass Raines Chicago Mystery series. She has received Anthony and Lefty Award nominations and her book Broken Places was shortlisted for the American Library Association's RUSA Reading List and named a CrimeReads Best New PI Book, a Midwest Connections Pick, and a Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of The Waters
in conversation with Jim Higgins at Boswell
Friday, January 12, 6:30 pm

Boswell hosts an evening with National Book Award finalist Bonnie Jo Campbell, a master of rural noir, who will chat with Jim Higgins about her latest novel, The Waters, a fierce, mesmerizing novel about exceptional women and the soul of a small town.

Please click here to visit bonniejocampbellmke.eventbrite.com and register now for this event. And be sure to order your copy of The Waters now, too.

On an island in the Great Massasauga Swamp - known as ‘The Waters’ to the residents of nearby Whiteheart, Michigan - herbalist Hermine “Herself” Zook has healed the local women of their ailments for generations. As stubborn as her tonics are powerful, Herself inspires reverence and fear in the people of Whiteheart, and even in her own three daughters. The youngest, beautiful and inscrutable Rose Thorn, has left her own daughter, eleven-year-old Dorothy “Donkey” Zook, to grow up wild.

Donkey spends her days searching for truths in the lush landscape and in her math books, waiting for her wayward mother and longing for a father, unaware that family secrets, passionate love, and violent men will flood through the swamp and upend her idyllic childhood. An elegant antidote to the dark side of masculinity, celebrating the resilience of nature and the brutality and sweetness of rural life.

Bonnie Jo Campbell is author of books such as Once Upon a River, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, and American Salvage. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, a Guggenheim Fellow, and the recipient of the AWP's Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction and a Pushcart Prize.

Andrew J Graff, author of True North
in conversation with Maxwell Gregory at Boswell
Tuesday, January 16, 6:30 pm

Boswell welcomes back Andrew J Graff, author of Raft of Stars, for an evening featuring his heartfelt new novel, True North. Set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, Graff’s big-hearted novel combines family drama and whitewater adventure as a couple tries to keep their rafting business afloat through historic floods. In conversation with longtime bookseller Maxwell Gregory, a board member of the Great Lakes Independent Bookseller's Association and avid white water rafter.

Please click here to visit andrewjgraffmke.eventbrite.com and register for this event. And be sure to order your copy of True North now, too.

Summer, 1993. Hoping for a fresh start, Sam and Swami Brecht roll into Thunderwater, in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, with a twenty-six-foot camper van, their three young kids, the deed to Woodchuck Rafting Company, and plenty of money worries. Soon Sam and Swami learn they are not the only ones looking for change and profit on the river. A competing rafting outfit, clashing raft guides, stubborn townsfolk, and an exploratory mining company begin to threaten their tenuous livelihood.

Then nature intervenes, in the form of historic floods throughout the Midwest. Before the summer draws to a close, the Brechts must learn to face the floodwaters together in order to create a sustainable future for their family, the town, and the pristine river from which it all flows.

Andrew J Graff is author of novel Raft of Stars, and his writing has appeared in Image and Dappled Things. Andrew grew up fishing, hiking, and hunting in Wisconsin's Northwoods. After a tour of duty in Afghanistan, he earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Jane Delury, author of Hedge
a virtual conversation with Liam Callanan, Daniel Goldin, and Lisa Baudoin
Wednesday, January 17, 7 pm

Readings from Oconomowaukee, the event series presented by Boswell and Books and Company, presents a virtual event with Jane Delury. She’ll chat about her latest, Hedge, a richly observed novel of a woman balancing the demands of motherhood and marriage with her own needs. People says: “As lush and inviting as the gardens created by its heroine.” For this conversation, Delury will be joined by bookstore proprietors Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin as well as special guest Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book and When in Rome.

Please click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Hedge as well. Click here to order from Boswell. Alternatively, click here to order from Books & Company.

Maud is a talented garden historian and devoted mom to daughters Ella and Louise. Motivated to reignite her career and escape her troubled marriage, she accepts a summer job restoring the garden of a lush, 19th-century estate in the Hudson Valley. What happens next is a seismic shock that profoundly changes Maud's life, as well as the lives of everyone she cares about.

From Joan Frank, writing for the Washington Post: "A great portion of [Hedge’s] magic lies in how it turns a radical corner, gaining speed and burning urgency - then slowly becoming something else: deeper, denser, wiser. Readers will (and should) trust it to take us where we need to go - even if not where we expected." And from Daniel Goldin: "Can a novel be both serene and turbulent at the same time? In the case of Hedge, yes, as it counterpoints a woman and family in crisis with the serene tranquility of nature. Can Maud come out of this without destroying herself? That is the question in this provocative, passionate, and philosophical novel."

Jane Delury the author of The Balcony, winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. Her short stories have appeared in Granta, The Sewanee Review, and The Southern Review, and her awards include a PEN O Henry Prize, a Pushcart Special Mention, and grants from the Maryland State Arts Council. A Professor at the University of Baltimore, she teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts and directs the BA in English.

Lindsay Hunter, author of Hot Springs Drive
in conversation with Luke Geddes at Boswell
Thursday, January 18, 6:30 pm

Boswell hosts an evening with Chicago author Lindsay Hunter, who visits with her new novel, Hot Springs Drive, the third book from Roxane Gay’s new publishing imprint. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Leila Slimani, and Celeste Ng, Hunter’s new book is a riveting novel of shocking betrayal and its aftermath, told with elegant precision. In conversation with Luke Geddes, author of Heart of Junk.

Please click here to visit lindsayhuntermke.eventbrite.com and register for this event. And be sure to order your copy of Hot Springs Drive now, too.

Jackie’s best friend is dead, and everyone knows who killed her. A dark, heart-pounding exploration of one woman’s deepest desires and how the consequences of betrayal can ripple outward beyond the initial strike point, Hunter’s latest and fiercest novel deftly peels back the fragile veneer of two suburban families and the secrets roiling between them.

Kristen Arnett says: "Lindsay Hunter at her finest. Suburbia is rendered here in all its bleakness and not-so-hidden dysfunction, the rot secreted inside the picture-perfect shell of a home. Hunter is a deft hand at writing the mysterious inner workings of the family: everyone shares a story, but who holds onto the truth? Hot Springs Drive is gritty and propulsive, a true page-turner; I couldn’t put this book down.”

Lindsay Hunter is author of five previous books, including Eat Only When You’re Hungry, a finalist for the Chicago Review of Books Fiction Award and an NPR Great Read, Ugly Girls, and Don’t Kiss Me. Hunter received her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko, coauthors of Dogtown
a virtual presentation and conversation with Jenny Chou
Tuesday, January 23, 1:30 pm

Newbery medalists Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko appear together for a virtual presentation and conversation about Dogtown their funny, moving new middle grade novel about a shelter that houses both stray dogs and robot dogs. There will be a special school-visit oriented presentation followed by a conversation with Boswellian Jenny Chou. This event is open to the public and great for teachers, homeschoolers, and anyone who loves funny, fun books for kids.

Please click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Dogtown now as well.

Dogtown is a shelter for stray dogs, misbehaving dogs, and discarded robot dogs whose owners have outgrown them. Chance, a real dog, has been in Dogtown since her owners unwittingly left her with irresponsible dog-sitters who skipped town. Metal Head is a robot dog who dreams of being back in a real home. And Mouse is a mouse who has the run of Dogtown, pilfering kibble, and performing clever feats to protect the dogs he loves. When Chance and Metal Head embark on an adventure to find their forever homes, there is danger, cheese sandwiches, a charging station, and some unexpected kindnesses along the way.

From beloved authors Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko, Dogtown is at once an uplifting story and a page-turning adventure, sure to find a forever home in readers’ hearts. Kirkus Reviews says: "Eminently readable and appealing; will tug at dog-loving readers’ heartstrings." And the starred Library Journal review adds: "When Applegate and Choldenko collaborate, readers win."

Katherine Applegate is author of Wishtree, Crenshaw, and The One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal. Gennifer Choldenko is creator of the Tales from Alcatraz  series, which includes Al Capone Does My Shirts, a Newbery Honor Book and the recipient of twenty other awards.

at Boswell
Tuesday, January 23, 6:30 pm

Boswell hosts Chicago journalist Ben Austen, author of the critically acclaimed book High-Risers, for an evening featuring his new work, Correction, an urgent and intimately human investigation into the crisis of the American criminal justice system through the lens of parole. Cohosted by Community Advocates Public Policy Institute.

Please click here to register at benaustenmke.eventbrite.com. And be sure to order your copy of Correction now as well.

The United States locks up a quarter of the world’s incarcerated population. More than 850,000 Americans are currently on parole. Yet the parole system is a confounding process riddled with inequities. Few understand parole as the extraordinary pivot point it is, both in the country’s conceptions of justice and in the cycle of mass incarceration.

Through portraits of two men imprisoned for murder and the parole board that holds their freedom in the balance, Austen offers a look at the process of parole, and his engaging storytelling forces a reckoning with some of the most profound questions underlying the country’s values around crime and punishment. Austen challenges us to consider why and who we punish and how we might find a way out of an era of mass imprisonment. Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Evicted, says: "Correction ranks among the very best books on life inside and outside of prison I have ever read."

Ben Austen is author of High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing, longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Nonfiction. A former editor at Harper's Magazine, Austen is cohost of the podcast Some of My Best Friends Are, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, and Wired.

in conversation with Molly Fay at Boswell
Wednesday, January 24, 6:30 pm

Clinical psychologist and parenting expert John Duffy appears at Boswell for a conversation about his latest book. Rescuing Our Boys is a collection of positive parenting tops for raising responsible, confident boys and helping them grow into happy, successful, capable adults. He’ll be joined in conversation by Molly Fay of TMJ4’s The Morning Blend. This event is cohosted by REDgen.

Please click here to visit johnduffymke.eventbrite.com register for this event. And be sure to order a copy of Rescuing Our Boys, too.

John Duffy, the bestselling author of Parenting the New Teen in the Age of Anxiety, chats about his new book, which offers practical solutions for dealing with our national crisis of disaffected boys and young men. Recent decades have shown that boys are simply not thriving the way they should be. Duffy offers practical steps to improve the understanding of teenager boys, equip them with life skills to improve the present and the future, and bringing families together.

Giuliana Rancic says: "John is the real deal… He knows what kids are dealing with, what their struggles are, where their strengths lie, what they know, and what they need."

John Duffy’s writing has appeared in CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, he has been a regular contributing expert on NewsNation and Steve Harvey, and made frequent appearances on CNN, Today, and The Morning Blend.

Amina Gautier, author of The Best That You Can Do: Stories
at Boswell
Thursday, January 25, 6:30 pm

Marquette Professor Amina Gautier appears with her new collection, The Best That You Can Do, winner of the Soft Skull-Kimbilio Publishing Prize. Gautier’s book is a collection of flash fiction that explores the realities of a diasporic existence, split identities, and the beautiful potency of meaningful connections.

Please click here to visit aminagautiermke.eventbrite.com and register for this event. And be sure to order your copy of The Best That You Can Do now, too.

Gautier’s book leans into the cultural confusion of being one person in two places, and her writing refuses to shy away from dysfunction, loss, obligation, and an interrogation of Black and Latinx heritages. From Kirkus Reviews: “Gautier has a real gift for finding dignity and bravery in the lives of ordinary women.” And from the starred Publishers Weekly review: “Powerful… This packs a stinging punch.”

Here’s Daniel Goldin’s take on the book: "Gautier has written three previous award-winning collections of stories. In her fourth, flash fiction pieces (generally two-to-three-page stories) are clustered together (as few as six and as many as 27) to form a powerful larger narrative. One of my favorites is ‘Quarter Rican,’ which focuses on a woman (and her children and grandchildren), who falls in love with and is then abandoned by her friend’s brother. Another is ‘Caretaking,’ about a homebound woman, her caregiver, and the folks in the greater orbit. Her best stories can be simultaneously humorous, empathetic, and politically pointed - they play with time, place, and perspective, giving the larger narratives an almost three-dimensional quality.”

Amina Gautier is author of the story collections At-Risk, Now We Will Be Happy, and The Loss of All Lost Things. Gautier is the recipient of the Flannery O’Connor Award, the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award, and the PEN/MALAMUD Award for Excellence in the Short Story. She is the Marquette AMUW Women’s Chair in Humanistic Studies.

Adam Plantinga, author of The Ascent
at Boswell
Friday, January 26, 6:30 pm

Former Milwaukee Police Officer Adam Plantinga, author of two nonfiction works, appears with The Ascent, his debut thriller about a down-on-his-luck cop and the governor’s daughter trying to escape a prison in chaos. Nick Petrie calls it, “a red hot blast of crime and punishment.”

Please click here to visit adamplantingamke.eventbrite.com and register for this event. And be sure to order a copy of The Ascent now as well.

Kurt Argento is an ex-Detroit street cop who can’t let injustice go. When he saves a young girl in a small corrupt Missouri town, he’s brutally beaten and thrown into a maximum-security prison. Julie Wakefield - a grad student who just happens to be the governor's daughter - is about to tour that very same prison. But when a malfunction in the security system releases a horde of prisoners, a fierce struggle for survival ensues.

Lots of early praise for Plantinga’s novel is coming from thriller genre faves. Harlan Coben says: "The Ascent is jaw-dropping, authentic, and absolutely gripping." Robert Crais says: "Terrific - a brutal portrait of a tough cop in an unforgiving world. I loved it." And Lou Berney says: "I had to hold onto this one for dear life. Outstanding."

Adam Plantinga is author of two works of nonfiction: 400 Things Cops Know, an Agatha Award nominee, and Police Craft. Plantinga began his career in law enforcement as a Milwaukee police officer and is currently a sergeant with the San Francisco Police Department.

Julie Schwartz Gottman and John Gottman, coauthors of Fight Right: The Five Secrets of Couples Who Transform Conflict Into Connection
a virtual conversation with Brené Brown
Tuesday, January 30, 6 pm

Boswell Book Company and Random House invite you to join a ticketed virtual event featuring relationship scientists Julie Schwartz Gottman and John Gottman as they discuss their new book with Brené Brown. In Fight Right, the Gottmans offer their advice for turning conflict into an opportunity for greater intimacy, deeper connection, and lasting love.

Click here to visit fightrightmke.eventbrite.com and purchase tickets now. Each ticket includes admission to view this virtual event on your computer or other device, a copy of Fight Right, and taxes. The cost is $31.65 for in-store pickup and $36.93 for media mail shipping to the contiguous US only. Please note, books will be available for pickup and will ship on the event date, not before. But don't worry, you do not need to read the book in advance to enjoy the event. There is also an option to add-on a copy of Brown's latest book, Atlas of the Heart. And the authors will also be answering questions submitted by January 26 - submit when you purchase tickets.

The Gottmans, founders of the world-famous Love Lab, have identified the five common mistakes couples make when at odds. In Fight Right, they unveil these mistakes and the five secrets that harness conflict to build a stronger and healthier relationship.

Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and co-host of the Dear Therapists podcast, says: "Conflict is inevitable in any relationship - the trick is knowing how to handle it. Difficulty navigating conflict is one of the most common reasons that couples seek help from books and professionals. They're looking for guidance, but there is surprisingly little practical, accessible information out there. So who better than John and Julie Gottman to give couples the important tools they need? This book will be an indispensable resource that couples will use over and over again."

Julie and John Gottman are cofounders of The Gottman Institute and coauthors of The Love Prescription. Julie Gottman is also author of Eight Dates, and John Gottman is author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Brené Brown is author of titles including Dare to Lead, Rising Strong, and The Gifts of Imperfection, and her TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world.

Amy Pease, author of Northwoods
at Boswell
Friday, February 2, 6:30 pm

Wisconsin author Amy Pease appears at Boswell with her debut novel, Northwoods, which tells the tale of a murder that reveals the dark underbelly of an idyllic Midwestern resort town and exposes the opioid crisis in America. Great for fans of Mindy Mejia and William Kent Krueger.

Please click right here and visit amypeasemke.eventbrite.com to register for this event. And be sure to order your copy of Northwoods now, too.

Eli North is not okay. His marriage and career are over, his drinking’s getting worse, and the only job he can hold down is with the local sheriff’s department, because the overwhelmed sheriff is his mother. The Northwoods of Wisconsin may be a vacationer’s paradise, but something sinister is taking shape. When the body of a teenage boy is found in the lake, Eli, his mother, and a young FBI agent, are on the hunt for more than just a killer. But will the answers to this dark case elude then and continue to bring destruction to the Northwoods?

From William Kent Krueger: "Amy Pease powerfully shatters the myth of tranquility in the beautiful north country of Wisconsin. Murder, drugs, and PTSD are among the demons that populate rural Sherman County, where lake resorts abound and the sheriff’s department is underfunded and understaffed. Pease’s brilliantly told story of a beleaguered mother-son law enforcement team is a compelling and heartbreaking debut that marks a new and important voice in the mystery genre. This is a novel you absolutely don’t want to miss."

Amy Pease is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin and the Madison Writer’s Studio, and works as a nurse practitioner, where she is a nationally recognized HIV specialist. She lives in Wisconsin.

Nick Petrie, author of The Price You Pay
at Boswell
Monday, February 5, 6:30 pm

We are so excited to host a launch celebration for Nick Petrie and his latest thrilling novel, The Price You Pay. The propulsive eighth installment in Petrie’s bestselling and award-winning series tags along with Ash as he follows his friend Lewis into a criminal underworld, where secrets from the past threaten everything Lewis and Peter hold dear.

Click here to visit nickpetriemke.eventbrite.com and register now for this event. And be sure to preorder your copy of The Price You Pay now as well.

Lewis has helped Peter Ash out of more trouble than Peter cares to remember, so Peter doesn’t hesitate when Lewis asks a favor. Lewis has left his criminal past behind, but now someone has stolen notebooks full of evidence about Lewis's long-ago crimes.

Lewis and Peter must find the notebooks. With Peter's longtime girlfriend, June Cassidy, they begin the search, facing ruthless and violent foes at each turn, including one powerful person who will stop at nothing for revenge. Will Peter and Lewis be able to keep that dark past buried? Or will they need to step into the darkness to save the people they love most?

Nick Petrie is the author of eight novels in the Peter Ash series, most recently The Runaway. His debut, The Drifter, won both the ITW Thriller award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel, and was a finalist for the Edgar and the Hammett Awards.

Talia Dutton, author of M Is for Monster
in conversation with Oli Schmitz at Boswell
Wednesday, February 7, 6:30 pm

Boswell hosts an evening with Milwaukee-based cartoonist Dutton, an Assistant Professor at MIAD, for a chat about her new graphic novel. M Is for Monster puts a queer, YA spin on the classic Frankenstein story to explore ghosts, identity, and family. In conversation with Boswellian Oli Schmitz. This event his cohosted by our friends Lion’s Tooth.

Please here to visit taliaduttonmke.eventbrite.com and register for this event. And be sure to order your copy of M Is for Monster as well.

When Doctor Frances Ai’s younger sister Maura died in a tragic accident six months ago, Frances swore she would bring her back to life. However, the creature that rises from the slab is clearly not Maura. This girl, who chooses the name “M,” doesn’t remember anything about Maura’s life and just wants to be her own person. Frances expects M to pursue the same path that Maura had been on, but M wants nothing to do with Frances’s attempts to change her into something she’s not. In order to face the future, both Frances and M need to learn to listen and let go of Maura once and for all.

Dutton’s Frankenstein-inspired graphic novel is a story about ghosts, identity, and family. Dutton takes a hard look at what it means to live up to other people’s expectations - as well as our own. It is one of the titles on our Surely list, which is dedicated to showcasing gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual creators and stories.

Talia Dutton is a queer, biracial Asian cartoonist and illustrator. She received a BA from Brown University and an MFA in Comics from California College of the Arts.

Kaveh Akbar, author of Martyr!
at Boswell
Tuesday, February 13, 6:30 pm

Boswell hosts Kaveh Akbar, an award-winning poet and now author of the stunning debut novel Martyr!, an electrifying, funny, and wholly original book about faith, addiction, art, life, and death. From Pulitzer-finalist Tommy Orange: "I haven’t loved a book this much in years. Kaveh Akbar is one of my favorite writers. Ever."

Please click here to register for this event at kavehakbarmke.eventbrite.com. And be sure to order your copy of Martyr! Now as well.

In Akbar’s first novel, the newly sober, orphaned son of an Iranian immigrant grapples with an inheritance of violence and loss: his mother’s death in a plane shot down over the skies of the Persian Gulf, and his father’s life in America, one circumscribed by his work killing chickens at a factory farm in the Midwest. Cyrus is a drunk, an addict, and a poet, whose obsession with martyrs leads him to examine the mysteries of his past, including an uncle who rode through Iranian battlefields dressed as the angel of death and his mother, who may not have been who or what she seemed.

Two-time National Book Award finalist Lauren Groff calls Martyr!: "The best novel you'll ever read about the joy of language, addiction, displacement, martyrdom, belonging, homesickness." And John Green calls it: "A brilliant and blisteringly alive novel about not just how we go on, but also why. Kaveh Akbar's first novel is so stunning, so wrenching, and so beautifully written that reading it for the first time, I kept forgetting to breathe. I will carry this story, and the people in it, with me for the rest of my life."

Kaveh Akbar is author of two poetry collections, Pilgrim Bell and Calling a Wolf a Wolf, in addition to a chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic. He is also editor of The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse: 110 Poets on the Divine. His poems appear in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and The Paris Review.

in conversation with Sally Haldorson at Boswell
Tuesday, February 20, 6:30 pm

Meditation leader and transformational life coach Ben Katt visits Boswell with his new book, The Way Home. Katt’s new work offers a guidebook for those at midlife struggling to find themselves. Katt deftly applies Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to the modern reader’s quest for wholeness. Cohosted by our friends at Porchlight Book Company, of which conversation partner Sally Haldorson is Managing Director.

Please click here and visit benkattmke.eventbrite.com to register for this event. And be sure to order your copy of The Way Home now as well.

Those reaching midlife are often bombarded by messages from society telling them who they should be and what their life should look like. While chasing the three-headed monster (achievement, perfection, and the approval of others), author Ben Katt realized that he had lost himself along the way. The Way Home is a book for those at midlife struggling to find their way back to themselves. Anyone – ordinary, extraordinary, or somewhere in between – can embark upon the Hero’s Journey, leaving the familiar, falling into the unknown, and ultimately rising to wholeness. This book serves as a reminder to those at a transition point in their life that the most important task is to stay connected with their own heart.

New York Times bestselling author Krista Tippett says: "A fantastically written, powerfully wise offering from Ben Katt to his generation, especially to men of his generation – and thus a gift to our world of pain and promise."

Ben Katt led The On Being Project and is an expert at adapting ancient personal development wisdom and tools for modern contexts. He holds a Master of Divinity degree and was an ordained minister for over a decade.

Margot Livesey, author of The Road from Belhaven
in conversation with Liam Callanan at Boswell
Wednesday, February 21, 6:30 pm

Boswell hosts the acclaimed author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy for an evening of conversation about her latest, The Road from Belhaven, a novel about a young woman whose gift of second sight complicates her coming of age in late-nineteenth-century Scotland. In conversation with Milwaukee’s Liam Callanan, author of When in Rome and Paris by the Book.

Please click here to register for this event at margotliveseymke.eventbrite.com. And be sure to order your copy of The Road from Belhaven now as well.

In Livesey’s luminous, transporting new novel, Lizzie Craig discovers that she can see into the future as a child on Belhaven Farm. Yet as her “pictures” foretell various incidents and accidents, she begins to realize a painful truth: she may glimpse the future, but she can seldom change it. Nor can Lizzie change the feelings that come when a young man named Louis, visiting Belhaven for the harvest, begins to court her. After following him to Glasgow, though, she learns the limits of his devotion. Faced with a seemingly impossible choice, she makes a terrible mistake. But her second sight may allow her a second chance.

Author Rebecca Makkai says: "Margot Livesey shines bright, as always – giving us both the beauty of the world and the roiling tumult of the souls within it. Bewitching and seductive, The Road from Belhaven is a vision." And author Chris Bohjalian adds: "Margot Livesey is a treasure: a writer who understands the magic and mysteries of the human soul, and brings that wisdom to novels that are both riveting and lush."

Margot Livesey is author of nine other novels, including Eva Moves the Furniture, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, and The Boy in the Field. She has received awards from the NEA, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute. She teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. And she was born and grew up on the edge of the Scottish Highlands.

a virtual conversation with Sally Haldorson
Wednesday, February 28, 2 pm

Boswell Book Company and Porchlight Book Company join forces for a virtual event featuring Harvard Law Professor Cass R Sunstein, an author and researcher working at the forefront of behavioral economics. Sunstein will chat about Look Again, the groundbreaking book that he has coauthored about disrupting habits. In conversation with Sally Haldorson, Porchlight’s Managing Director, this is a great event for readers of The Power of Habit and Thinking Fast and Slow.

Please click here to register now for this virtual event. And be sure to order your copy of Look Again as well.

Look Again takes, yes, another look at the ways that disrupting our well-worn routines, both good and bad, can rejuvenate our days and reset our brains to allow us to live happier and more fulfilling lives. Have you ever noticed that what is thrilling on Monday tends to become boring on Friday? Even exciting relationships, stimulating jobs, and breathtaking works of art lose their sparkle after a while. People stop noticing what is most wonderful in their own lives. But what if we could find a way to see everything anew? What if you could regain sensitivity, not only to the great things in your life, but also to the terrible things you stopped noticing and so don’t try to change?

From famed biographer Walter Isaacson: "One trait of history’s most creative thinkers - from Leonardo da Vinci to Albert Einstein - is that they are able to look anew and marvel at everyday things that most people have quit noticing: the alluring blueness of the sky, the passage of time, the way a light beam creates a spot of luster on a leaf. Look Again can help us all look in a fresh way at things around us. It’s a smart and fun read, and a valuable way to revitalize your life."

Cass R Sunstein is the nation’s most-cited legal scholar. He has served as the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, worked with the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School. He is coauthor of Nudge, and was the recipient of the Holberg Prize from the government of Norway, sometimes described as equivalent of the Nobel Prize for law and the humanities.

Katherine Reay, author of The Berlin Letters
a ticketed event at Shullys ATS, 143 Green Bay Rd
Tuesday, March 5, 7 pm reception, 7:30 pm event

Milwaukee Reads and Boswell Book Company present a special, ticketed evening featuring Katherine Reay, author of The Berlin Letters, an unforgettable tale of the Cold War and a CIA code breaker who risks everything to free her father from an East German prison.

Please click here to visit katherinereaywss.eventbrite.com and purchase tickets now. Each ticket costs $51 plus taxes and ticket fee, and each includes admission, a paperback copy of The Berlin Letters, a glass of wine, and light refreshments. Reception begins at 7, followed by the author talk at 7:30.

Luisa Voekler, brilliant and logical, quickly climbs the ladder at the CIA. But as her coworkers take on to thrilling Cold War assignments in the exhilarating late 1980s, Luisa remains stuck decoding messages from World War II. Journalist Haris Voekler grew up a proud East Berliner. But after the Berlin Wall goes up, he is separated from his young daughter and all alone after his wife dies. There’s only one way to reach his family - by sending coded letters to his father-in-law who lives on the other side of the Iron Curtain

When Luisa discovers a secret cache of letters written by the father she has long presumed dead, she learns the truth about her grandfather’s work, her father’s identity, and why she has never progressed in her career. As Luisa and Haris take turns telling their stories, events speed toward one of the twentieth century’s most dramatic moments - the fall of the Berlin Wall and that night’s promise of freedom, truth, and reconciliation for those who have lived, for twenty-eight years, behind the bleak shadow of the Iron Curtain’s most iconic symbol.

Katherine Reay is an award-winning author of books such as A Shadow in Moscow, The London House, and The Austen Escape. She holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University.

Trish O’Kane, author of Birding to Change the World: A Memoir
at Urban Ecology Center, 1500 E Park Place
Wednesday, March 13, 6 pm

Professor, activist, and UW-Madison alum Trish O’Kane appears to share her uplifting new memoir. In Birding to Change the World, O’Kane considers what birds can teach us about life, social change, and protecting the environment. Cohosted by Urban Ecology Center.

Registration link coming soon. Be sure to order your copy of Birding to Change the World now.

Trish O’Kane never expected to be a birder. But after Hurricane Katrina shattered her life in New Orleans, watching birds thrive throughout the devastated city became her salvation. Soon O’Kane found herself pursuing an environmental science PhD in Wisconsin, where she became a full-on bird obsessive - logging hours and hours in a stunningly diverse urban park, filling field notebooks with observations of bird doings and dramas, and volunteering in a wildlife rehabilitation center bird nursery. But it wasn’t until that park, her bird-watching haven, was threatened with development that O’Kane became an environmental activist. Taking her cues from the birds, she mustered a mighty flock of fellow human park lovers to raise their voices and save the park.

In Birding to Change the World, O’Kane recounts the astonishing science of bird life and shows what birds can teach us and how that education can be a transformative force for social change. O’Kane’s is a feel-good book about transformation, action, and the joy of the natural world.

Trish O'Kane is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Vermont, where she teaches the course Birding to Change the World. Before studying the natural sciences, O’Kane worked as a human rights investigative journalist for a decade in Central America and five years in the Deep South. She has written for Time, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times.

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.