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Nickolas Butler

Thursday, December 4
6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft

Nickolas Butler

An evening with Nickolas Butler, author & winner of  the 2014 Midwest Independent Booksellers' Choice Award for Shotgun Lovesongs.

Shotgun Lovesongs is set in small-town Wisconsin, where the VFW serves as the meeting place for the young and old. The story weaves itself in and out of the lives of five friends who had forged a way out into the world, as most young people do, only to find themselves yearning for the familiar comfort of home.

Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town—Little Wing—and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family's land that's been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them—both then and now—fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of lovesongs and rivalries.

Seldom has the American heartland been so richly and accurately portrayed. Though the town may have changed, the one thing that hasn't is the beauty of the Wisconsin farmland, the lure of which, in Nickolas Butler’s hands, emerges as a vibrant character in the story.  Shotgun Lovesongs is that rare work of fiction that evokes a specific time and place yet movingly describes the universal human condition. It is, in short, a truly remarkable book—a novel that once read will never be forgotten.

Nickolas Butler’s “Shotgun Lovesongs” is a good old-­fashioned novel, a sure-footed and unabashedly sentimental first effort that deserves to be among the standouts in this year’s field of fiction debuts. - Jonathon Evison

Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. He is the author of the novel Shotgun Lovesongs and a forthcoming collection of short stories entitled, Beneath the Bonfire. Along the way, he has worked as: a Burger King maintenance man, a tutor, a telemarketer, a hot-dog vendor, an innkeeper (twice), an office manager, a coffee roaster, a liquor store clerk, and an author escort. His itinerant work includes: potato harvester, grape picker, and Christmas tree axe-man. His short stories, poetry, and non-fiction have appeared in: Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review Online, The Lumberyard, The Christian Science Monitor, Narrative, Sixth Finch, and several other publications.

He lives on sixteen acres of land in rural Wisconsin adjacent to a buffalo farm. He is married and has two children.



The Art Forger

Tuesday, December 9
6:00 pm at The Reader's Loft

The Art Forger

A Reader's Loft Book Club Discussion

Publisher's Comments:

On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

Claire makes her living reproducing famous works of art for a popular online retailer. Desperate to improve her situation, she lets herself be lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting — one of the Degas masterpieces stolen from the Gardner Museum — in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when the long-missing Degas painting — the one that had been hanging for one hundred years at the Gardner — is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.

Claire’s search for the truth about the painting’s origins leads her into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life. B. A. Shapiro’s razor-sharp writing and rich plot twists make The Art Forger an absorbing literary thriller that treats us to three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors. It’s a dazzling novel about seeing — and not seeing — the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.

David K. Dodd

Saturday, December 13
1:00 PM at The Reader's Loft

David K. Dodd

An Afternoon with psychologist and co-author of
Furnace Murder: True Story of the Horrific Murder of Mrs. Cody
By David K. Dodd & Harvey W. Rowe

The brutal murder of a frail, 85-year-old woman catapulted Sturgeon Bay, WI, into the national spotlight in 1948. The small town was unaccustomed to violent crime and unprepared for the media circus that followed. Justice was swift—the killer was captured, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison, all within twenty days. Still, mysteries surrounding the murder persist even today. Furnace Murder unfolds through the eyes of 14-year-old Harvey Rowe, son of the local sheriff, who lived in the family’s quarters in the county jail. Rowe began writing his manuscript in the early 1990s and finished it ten years later. Unfortunately, he died in 2004 before his work could be published. David K. Dodd revised and modified the manuscript, adding several chapters to show the true nature of Mrs. Cody’s killer and his possible involvement in the death of his first wife. 

Readers will be treated to an insider’s view of small-town life, and crime, as only an impressionable adolescent sees it. Furnace Murder also probes the tragic life of the victim from her early days as resident of the town’s most renowned mansion to her brutal end. It is a tale of wealth and prominence, and the curse of death. A former psychologist, Dodd uses his background to explore the character of the killer and to present the possibility that he may have been directly involved in the mysterious death of his wife, two years prior to the Cody murder. 

There are several ties to Green Bay, both through the victim and her killer. 

Harvey J. Kaye

Wednesday, December 17
6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft

Harvey J. Kaye

Join us for an evening with award-winning author
Harvey J. Kaye as talks about his latest book,

The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made the Greatest Generation Truly Great

On January 6, 1941, the Greatest Generation gave voice to its founding principles, the Four Freedoms: Freedom from want and from fear. Freedom of speech and religion. In the name of the Four Freedoms they fought the Great Depression. In the name of the Four Freedoms they defeated the Axis powers. 

In the process they made the United States the richest and most powerful country on Earth. And, despite a powerful, reactionary opposition, the men and women of the Greatest Generation made America freer, more equal, and more democratic than ever before. 

Now, when all they fought for is under siege, we need to remember their full achievement, and, so armed, take up again the fight for the Four Freedoms. 

Harvey J. Kaye is the Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, an award-winning author of numerous books, including Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and The Daily Beast, and a repeat guest on radio and television programs such as To the Best of Our Knowledge, the Thom Hartmann Show, and Bill Moyers' Journal

Travis Dewitz

Thursday, December 18
6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft

Travis Dewitz

Blaze Orange: A Discussion with Travis Dewitz

From the book website:

Blaze Orange is a photographic coffee table book published through the Wisconsin Historical Society which is full of timeless images of the Whitetail Deer gun hunting season in Wisconsin. Wisconsin deer hunting is all about family. Families raise their children safely into the sport of hunting which is filled with traditions. Wisconsin’s Whitetail Deer gun season is 9 days long and requires hunters to wear Blaze Orange for safety. The season in closely monitored by the Wisconsin DNR. The DNR expects more than 600,000 hunters, about 10% of the state’s population, to take to the Wisconsin woods and fields next weekend. Wisconsin deer hunting runs deep with heritage for many Wisconsinites as the deer season here has an almost cult like following.

The Wind is Not a River

Tuesday, January 13
6:00 pm at The Reader's Loft

The Wind is Not a River

A Reader's Loft Book Club Discussion

Publisher's Comments:

The Wind Is Not a River is Brian Payton's gripping tale of survival and an epic love story in which a husband and wife--separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil--fight to reunite in Alaska's starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands.
Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Helen, he heads north to investigate the Japanese invasion of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government.
While John is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down over the island of Attu. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness, known as "the birthplace of winds." There, John must battle the elements, starvation, and his own remorse while evading discovery by the Japanese.
Alone at home, Helen struggles with the burden of her husband's disappearance. Caught in extraordinary circumstances, in this new world of the missing, she is forced to reimagine who she is--and what she is capable of doing. Somehow, she must find John and bring him home, a quest that takes her into the farthest reaches of the war, beyond the safety of everything she knows.

Tara Meissner

Thursday, January 15
6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft

Tara Meissner

Tara Meissner is a former journalist and a lifelong creative writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and works part-time at her local library. Tara lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Mike, and their three sons. She writes longhand in composition notebooks. Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis is her first book. 


Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis 

This psychology memoir is about the things that break us and how we heal. It offers a raw view a 33-year-old wife and mother swallowed by psychosis. The psychotic episode includes meeting Jesus Christ, party palnning with Ellen DeGeneres, and narrowly escaping eternity in the underworld. 

Casually called a nervous breakdown, psychosis is an entrapment outside of self where hallucinations and delusions anchor. Family, doctors, and fellow patients witnessed a nonverbal, confused, distraught shell of a woman. In the security of a psychiatric care center, the week-long psychosis broke and spit out a bipolar patient in the cushioned place of middle class medicine. 

Outpatient recovery consumed the better part of a year with psychiatric treatment and spiritual contemplation. Left scarred and damaged, health returned allowing her to tentatively embrace a grace and peace earned through acceptance of bipolar disorder.

                             

 

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