Boswell Books

Much of writer Emily Fridlund’s new novel, A History of Wolves, plays out in a remote part of a lonely town in northern Minnesota. But anyone who reads it could probably substitute the north woods of Wisconsin as an appropriate image.

Ken Hanson

There is a growing cultural conversation about gender identity in the United States. Shows like TransparentOrange is the New Black, and I Am Cait have all put transgender issues in the spotlight, and explored what it really means to be trans or gender nonconforming. But these concepts of gender diversity and identity weren't really talked about until recently.  

Earlier this month, writer and bookstore owner Ann Patchett shined a spotlight on Boswell Book Company as reason alone to visit Milwaukee. Her article in the New York Times included it as one of a handful of bookstores to visit in the country. Patchett singled out the store as "lit by the internal fire of one Daniel Goldin, a stupendously great bookseller."

In the final days before the November election, a letter by President George H.W. Bush was widely circulated on the internet and across the traditional media. It was a letter he wrote to his successor, Bill Clinton, as Clinton prepared to take up residency in the White House. The letter was a lot of things: gracious, thoughtful and for a lot of people, surprising.

Algonquin Publishing

Do you ever wonder what would happen if you drove past your exit on the highway, instead of going home to make dinner after work? Or what your destination would be, if you could just drop everything and head out on the road?

That’s the fantasy-turned-reality for the main character in Leave Me, the latest novel from bestselling author Gayle Forman.

Mitch Teich

When Milwaukee writer Mel Miskimen's mother died, somewhat unexpectedly, a few years ago, it shook the foundation of her family.

At 57, Miskimen had not had to deal closely with the death of a loved one before. The loss left her, and her father, rudderless.

Enter: Seamus, Miskimen's cheerful Labrador retriever. Over the next year, Seamus played a key role in bringing father and daughter together, and getting each of them through their grief.

Lauren Fox / laurenfoxwriter.com

Lauren Fox's third novel, Days of Awe, is a first person narrative that sends it's protagonist, Isabel, on a very difficult journey.

Throughout the course of a year, the character loses her best friend and her marriage. Isabel also metaphorically loses her daughter, a fairly typical teenager with the mood swings.

Middle aged people often find themselves asked to provide care and support to aging and increasingly infirm parents – many of whom do not want to leave their homes to enter full time nursing home care. The stress many of those children feel is usually compounded by also needing to hold down a full time job at the same time.

Chris Popio

The writer Harper Lee, who died this week, has been herself written about as much as any American writer in the last 75 years. 

Dark Dwarf / Flickr

Even people who didn’t major in the classics or theater history have some passing knowledge of the Trojan War.  Like any good epic story, it’s full of larger-than-life characters, revenge, lust and sacrifice.

Ever since Homer included it as part of his Odyssey, many of the stories have become fodder for other works of art.  Aeschylus is considered the first of the three great tragic dramatists of ancient Greece and his Orestia trilogy includes the story of the Trojan War. 

We’re in a racially charged period in the country’s history – going from a high point – the nation’s first African American president –to a low, in the tensions that are mounting over the treatment of black people by some police forces in the country.

It is obviously not the first time race has been a contentious issue in the United States.  Wisconsin native Andrew Maraniss looks back at a little known story from the Civil Rights era in his new book.

boswell.indiebound.com

Wisconsin writer Lesley Kagen applies a nostalgic look to difficult circumstances in many of her novels. In her latest title, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, the difficult circumstances come fast and furious.

There’s mental illness, cancer, aging, loneliness and even marital stress. But through it all, Kagen maintains perspective, and often a lighter tone. 

Milwaukee Opera Theatre / facebook.com

There have been many stage plays, movies, and books that are about booksellers or people in the literary world.  But a new production by Milwaukee Opera Theater takes it to its logical conclusion.

The Story of My Life” is about friendships, writers, and books, and is set in a bookstore.  So it only made sense to actually stage the musical among the stacks at Boswell Book Company. 

Random House

The last time Lake Effect spoke with writer Adam Johnson, his novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, had recently been released to some critical acclaim.

Penguin Random House

If you don’t know anything about Alexandra Petri’s column for the Washington Post, the fact that it’s called “Compost” should tip you off.  It’s a humor column, at least most of the time, appearing multiple times a week online and weekly in print.

Petri grew up partly in Fond du Lac and partly in Washington, D.C., while her dad, Tom Petri, represented his Wisconsin district in Congress.

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