Friday, October 18, 2019

All About Puzzles


When the weather starts to turn a bit chilly, some of us think it's puzzle time. There's something cozy about it. Maybe it's the escape of daily stresses or the warmth and charm it brings when people gather around and work on a puzzle together. Are you a 1,000 piece puzzler? Or do you prefer the 500 piece puzzles to occupy your mind? We have a variety of puzzles to choose from; we even have a few puzzles that are over 1,000 pieces for the more adventurous person.

Not sure if puzzles are your thing. Here's what our Boswellians have to say about puzzling:

Kay says "Puzzles pull me deeply into a world of color, pattern, shape, visual texture and rhythm, often at a very micro level. The world outside the puzzle melts away. When I’m finished, I have an intimate appreciation of the imagination and skill that went into creating the piece which I, in a sense, have just recreated. It’s a totally healthy addiction!"

Aaron says "I puzzle because it's good for the mind and soul as well as being fun. No matter the puzzle I have found once it's spread out on a table most people cannot help but take a seat and place a few pieces. It allows me to go inside to a quiet place where I can relax and stretch my mind at the same time. There is no pace or pressure, just fun. "

Conrad likes puzzle because "Puzzles are problem solving that can be done alone or with others. I love them around the holidays as people drift in and out of working on them."

Madi, one of our newest Boswellians, declares "How do I love puzzles? Let me count the ways. There's nothing quite as satisfying as finishing a puzzle. You know what the picture is going to look like, and yet still feel accomplished when all the pieces come together to show the picture you've been trying to match the whole time. It's both calming and challenging, and the perfect way to spend a relaxing night."

Stop by Boswell and we'd be happy to talk puzzles!

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Effervescence of Boswell's Maltiest Book Club

Want to know more about Boswell's newest book club?

The Books & Beer Book Club meets the third Monday of every month at Café Hollander on Downer. Now, you may be wondering what type of books a Books & Beer book club will read? Boswellian Jen has chosen genre-bending novels, often with speculative elements: those quirky books you may not have chosen for yourself to read. The books that may tend to fall through the cracks of other book clubs. And where does the beer fit in? By having our book club meet at Café Hollander, there's a certain camaraderie when you're gathered with fellow readers talking books, and beer just adds to the warmth of that gathering. Of course wine/cocktail drinkers are welcome; it's not a book club for beer drinkers only!

What is the Books & Beer Book Club like?

We have lively discussions, but a few books in particular have stayed with the group and sometimes at the end of the night we tend to revisit those books. I always enjoy those surprise moments where someone will bring the book out in a different light. I love seeing what people take away from the books, because we all bring our own experience to a book.

Do we read any books about beer? Not yet, but who knows? I'm on the lookout for any speculative novels about beer. A fun thing did happen at our June meeting. Café Hollander's Bier Master was able to offer beer pairing suggestions for The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. We're hoping to offer beer pairing suggestions for some of the other books we will be discussing.

If you're considering joining a book club, and you enjoy reading or want to read unconventional literature, then why not join the Books & Beer Book Club? We're discussing The Emissary by Yoko Tawada July 15th. An infusion of fairytale, dystopia and light-hearted insight. Why not try Hitachino Nest White Ale, a complex mix of flavors perfect for a light yet complex book!

For more upcoming selections, visit our Boswell-run book clubs page.



Friday, January 11, 2019

Boswellians Read The Current


Sometimes it’s pretty obvious what’s going to be the next big hit - literary darling debuts, new releases from authors who are longtime old favorites, and memoirs by certain former First Ladies are all easy checks on the list. Sometimes, though, new books creep up on us, and advance copies get passed from one bookseller to another in the break room with whispers and notes that say things like, “this is such an Amie book,” and “you love Tana French so I know you’re going to love this,” or simply, “you’ve gotta read this right now.” Being that we’re all professional book suggesters, sometimes we even get it right. Recently, one of the books we’re passing around is Tim Johnston’s new mystery, The Current.

Johnston’s first novel, Descent, hit The New York Times and USA Today lists and was a bestseller in indie bookstores around the country, and it had fans here at Boswell, too. So we were definitely excited when Tim agreed to visit Boswell on his tour for The Current this winter. He’ll be here on Monday, January 28, at 7 pm, and our mystery book club is reading Descent right now, to discuss at their meeting at 6, right before Johnston’s event. How cool is that?

Among the Boswellians, Kay finished The Current first. She’s the one who convinced me to pick it up off my stack – when I asked her what she thought, she pretty much just shouted at me, “I LOVED it! Lots of twists and turns and very well-developed characters.”

Tim finished reading it next and says it is “a fine novel of suspense and an intricate study of how people react to tragedy and loss from an excellent writer. Johnston's descriptions of places in and around the river, where lives suddenly change forever, have a gravity like the flowing water, and he captures the survivors' struggle over what they can never get back as time pushes them away from what they had. His use of places and things to reveal characters' emotions is masterful, and his characters' direct, honest dialog about the most difficult problems is compelling. With very few words Johnston quickly shows us the thoughts and actions of people who seem real”

I’m about halfway through the book as I’m writing this*, and I am loving it, too. It’s kind of the season 1 of True Detective of books, with a story that jumps back and forth between characters and a winter in Minnesota setting you can feel creeping off the page until you feel like you’ve lived there a little too long yourself. Yeah, it’s really good.

And what of Anne, the Boswellian who runs our Mystery Book Club? Her group is reading The Descent at 6 pm, and then heading to the rear of the store to hear Johnston speak. Want more info about our in-store book clubs? Visit this page right here!

So that’s four booksellers eagerly anticipating Johnston’s visit to Boswell (friendly reminder: Monday, January 28, at 2 pm**) for The Current. Kay, I know, already has a prepared list of several questions for him, and I suppose Tim will be adding another autographed first edition to his collection.

*Editor's Note: I finished the book. Guess what? I, too, LOVED IT. Here's my full write up about The Current:
If we’re comparing books to television, and why shouldn’t we be, then Johnston’s second novel is clearly the critical darling mini-series from your premium subscription-package channel kind of TV. You know the shows I’m talking about. If really good cozies are Masterpiece Theater, and maybe the not-so-good ones are Lifetime movies, and the middling psychological thrillers are the ones that get made into, well, middling psychological thriller series that drag on for three to seven seasons on channels that bored people sort of half watch while they’re ironing, then The Current is that show that’s filling up your Twitter feed, the one all the cool people won’t shut up about with the arty opening credit sequence. So what’s it about, right? Well, yeah, it is another book about dead girls, and if that’s a story that you’re understandably tired of, then this book won’t convince you otherwise. But, to Johnston’s credit, it’s also about the strength and humanity of those girls and women, and the book does confront men who do bad things and deals honestly with good men and how they respond to bad actions, what they do and what they leave undone. The story twists and weaves through these people’s lives before, during, and after a crime is committed.  There are several times in the novel where all questions seem answered, where Johnston could have wrapped up the story all nice and neat, but that’s not the writer he is – he keeps pushing, deeper and deeper, in this masterful performance that plumbs the depths of life’s extremes.
- Chris Lee, Boswell Book Company

**Due to a storm forecast, we have changed the time of this event from 7 pm to 2 pm.