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Tim Jollymore at The Reader's Loft

Friday, July 7
5:30 PM at The Reader's Loft

Tim Jollymore at The Reader

Lake Stories and Other Tales

Comic, heartfelt, and mysterious, these stories charm the reader with good humor, affection for their natural settings, and the gentle, persistent seeking for a lasting place in the daily world of common folk.

Some tales cast moonlight over the solitary in us all who wander at dusk. Others haunt us with loss and evoke a certain sense of autumn, likely to press sighs from an ache in our breath. Still others fill us with the pride in a true hero.

Within, the reader finds young love, aged angst, bumbling travelers, the fogged memory, moon watchers, dog rescuers, lost and very-lost tourists, and long, sweet farewells.

The humorous among these engender wistful smiles, occasional smirks, and outright chuckles punctuated by a shaking of the cynical head.

In the tradition of Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Henry David Thoreau's Walden, the narratives turn their gaze to our behavior, leading us to find ourselves outdoors rather than searching within. The words sometime cut sharply our venal selves, other times lead us to reach a hand over our hearts.

These stories, unified by Jollymore's "wolf poems," invite readers to join in a happy, pointed, and gentle cosmic dance, hand in paw with the wolves doing the "chill-rhumba, Borealis."

Tim Jollymore grew up next to the swamps, forests, and Indian reservations of northern Minnesota, the setting of his first novel. He spent his working life as a tree planter, pulp peeler, local historian, traveling salesman, and corporate manager. After migrating to California, he pursued residential design, contracting, and the teaching of English. Jollymore earned his master's degree in literature at the University of Minnesota. He has also studied architecture and education. Since leaving the teaching of writing and American literature in 2011, he has devoted his time to fiction and drama, writing a five-act play, completing three novels and numerous short stories, reviews, essays. He posts to his review blog, www.Jollymore.wordpress.com, frequently and has written several travel blogs. During summer, he camps across the western states to visit extended family in northern Minnesota. Otherwise, he writes in Oakland, California and shares free time with his sleepyhead, artist companion, Carol. He lives in northern California nearby his grown children, one of whom writes. When he can, Jollymore yells and screams along with his Viking grandson. Jollymore's fiction explores struggles of identity and loss in American society from the viewpoint of the under and working classes. Though these contests-sometimes mysterious and often fierce- play out in spare, natural settings and every day, domestic life, they are marked by unusual, compelling events.

A Well Made Bed

Tuesday, July 11
6:00 PM at The Reader's Loft Bookstore

A Well Made Bed

A Reader's Loft Book Club Meeting

Nearly fifteen years after the death of her childhood friend in a violent hit-and-run accident, Noor Khan is still in the midst of struggle. With a failing equestrian business and suspicions of an unfaithful husband, her years of physical and psychological therapies have driven her to cross a line that blurs what is law, and what is right. When Noor’s home-steading neighbor, Jaycee, gives her the chance to save her business and her marriage through the underground cocaine market, the two fall into a world of murder, copyright infringement, dementia, and one large wheel of Peruvian cheese that has them trapped in the morally ambiguous lives they may have desired all along.

Thomas Davis

Thursday, July 27
5:30 PM at The Reader's Loft

Thomas Davis

The Weirding Storm

The Weirding Storm is an epic poem

Witches, dragons, malevolent spirit animals, dire wolves, hate, war, community, peace, and love spill out of the lines in a dance of words.

Thus begins an epic story poem flowing out of a witch’s death into the courage of a young girl and the terrifying build-up to a dragon/human war. Dragons, in their immense caverns and tunnels, face extinction, searching desperately for a way to control young rebel males in their midst. Humans, in the village below where the young girl is left alone to face a brutal winter, struggle against the coming war. Desperate to escape war, they search for dormant arts and powers long denied. Then, as Wei, the young girl, achieves an impossible transformation, war and the realms of death loose dire wolves and a storm of extinction as an epic climax threatens humans and dragons alike even as the possibility for human and dragon redemption takes flight into winter skies.

Written in blank verse, or iambic pentameter, it is a formal epic featuring most of the elements that are characteristic of this ancient form of storytelling which has been around since the time of Beowulf and Homer's Odyssey. The Weirding includes an ‘invocation’ to the poetic muse, a hero’s visit to the realms of death, and a story that encompasses a spirit so large it can be told only through a long poem.

"Thomas Davis has taken a literary form that goes all the way back to the great sagas of antiquity’s oral literature, and fashioned a contemporary tale that will enthral both adults and their children. Davis has heard the song/Dredged from the ancient dragon memories and given us a story-poem that is part Beowulf and part Game of Thrones. Filled with witches, dragons, warriors, battles a wondrously stark universe comes to life in The Weirding Storm." ~ Terence Winch, winner of the American Book Award and author of fifteen books of poetry and prose.

"In his epic poem, The Weirding Storm: A Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis discovers vivid and often stunning language to explore both ancient worlds and our present world with its ongoing cycles of death and resurgence, war and peace. Here you will find language and story that mesmerize the reader, that transport one to places where words and stories are born. This epic poem serves as a bridge between realms: substance and spirit, beast and human, reality and dream, none of which are separate in any moment of life." ~ James Janko, winner Association of Writers and Writing Programs Prize for the Novel; author of Clubhouse Thief and Buffalo Boy and Geronimo.

Thomas Davis is the author of five books including Sustaining the Forest, the People and the Spirit, published by State University of New York (SUNY) Press, as well as three novels. He has edited three literary magazines and a poetry anthology, and his poetry, articles and essays have appeared in magazines, books and journals. He has been President or Chief Academic Officer of five tribal colleges and universities in the United States. He lives with his wife and poet, Ethel Mortenson in Sturgeon Bay, WI.


HOTT Poetry Festival

Saturday, July 29
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM at The Reader's Loft Outside

HOTT Poetry Festival

2nd Annual House of the Tomato Poetry Festival!

Poetry & Music

Enjoy an afternoon of Poetry and live music by some of the Midwest's most noted talent. This event will take place steps away from the Reader's Loft under a tent in the shade of the London Alley's majestic willow trees. 

Meet the Poets:

Sylvia Bowersox: served her first tour in Iraq in 2003-2004 as a U.S. army broadcast journalist.  She returned to Iraq for two more tours as a press officer assigned to the U.S Embassy Baghdad public affairs office, and later to the Special Investigator General for Iraq Reconstruction. She lives with PTSD, and writes about her experiences in both wars. 

Cathryn Cofell:  Her first full-length collection, Sister Satellite, was released by Cowfeather Press in August 2013. She is also the author of six chapbooks, most recently Split Personality with Karla Huston (SunnyOutside Press).

Bruce Dethlefsen: Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin Poet Laureate (2011–2012) has a new book out, Small Talk, published by Little Eagle Press (Ralph Murre, editor and illustrator). Small Talk is his third full-length book. Dethlefsen is available for poetry workshops and readings.

Mike Kriesel: Winner of North American Review’s 2015 Hearst Award and past president of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, Michael Kriesel’s poems and reviews have appeared in Alaska Quarterly, Antioch Review, Rattle, Small Press Review, Library Journal, North American Review, and The Progressive.

Nathan Reid: Poet and spoken word artist whose work has appeared in several journals, including the Penguin Review, Fox Cry Review, and Binnacle. He has a background in theatre and regularly performs his poetry at art events throughout Wisconsin. His chapbook, Thoughts on Tonight, was published this year by Finishing Line Press. He currently lives in Madison with his partner, Ashley, and their endless supply of books.  

Steve & Jeanie Tomasko: Insects seem to creep their way into Steve Tomasko’s poems (even his love poems). He doesn’t think that’s a bad thing. His wife, Jeanie, long ago stopped screaming when a dragonfly lands on her. She doesn’t think that’s a bad thing. But they both still get creeped out by spiders. Steve and Jeanie edited the 2015 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar. Steve has had poems published in: Anthills, The Aurorean, Corvus, Echoes, The Fiddlehead, Hummingbird, Right Hand Pointing, and Verse Wisconsin. His chapbook, “and no spiders were harmed” was published in Dec. 2015 by Red Bird Chapbooks


C J McMahon: Lead guitar player for the Green Bay based alternative rock jam band the Chocolateers, bookseller at the Reader's Loft and noted poet. 

Bernard Kubale at The Reader's Loft

Saturday, August 5 - 11:00 AM
Bernard Kubale at The Reader

The Place to Meet Friends

From a lifelong Wisconsinite, former Air Force lieutenant, and managing partner of Wisconsin’s largest law firm, a heartfelt, insightful and oftentimes hilarious look into middle American life as seen while often perched behind his dad’s bar. A Place to Meet Your Friends is a witty and nostalgic look back at the life in Reedsville, Wisconsin, a small town like so many others throughout the midwest, with its own stories, characters, trials and heroes. In this memoir, Bernard Kubale explores the power of camaraderie, the influence of small town life and the relationships that define us from our youth. 

Throughout his tale, Mr. Kubale recalls an earlier time with less stuff and more fun. He begins with the story of his mother - one of 21 children (all by the same two parents). He reminds us of a time when kids weren’t over-scheduled and had to find their own entertainment. A former state-champion basketball player, Kubale vividly recounts one of the greatest upsets in Wisconsin state tournament history. Always, we see how his small-town values of hard work, compassion and humor, influenced every aspect of Kubale’s life, from his long and varied career, to his drive to achieve personal goals. With a sparkle in his eye, Kubale takes you from the rooms above the bar where he grew up, to the ponds he frequented for summer swims, to the top of Mount Rainier. He introduces us to colorful characters, describes domestic life during World War II and takes us on a ride on the EUSAK Express from Pusan to Seoul. This delightful story of one man’s journey pays tribute to community, loving family, and the spirit of adventure.

From A Place to Meet Your Friends:

I walked through the living room, and then quietly opened and closed behind me the door leading to the office. My mother and dad slept in the bedroom right off the office and I tried not to disturb them, although one of them, probably my mother, had wielded the broom that woke me.

Opening the door leading to the tavern, the usual morning smell hit me, stale beer, smoke from cigarettes, pipes and cigars, and worst of all, the chewing tobacco in the six spittoons. I wished I could open the door to the outside to let some fresh air in but it was too damned cold.

I grabbed the broom that had been left leaning against the bar and checked the floor to see where to begin...Another day had begun at “The Place to Meet Your Friends.”

About the Author: 

Bernard Kubale is a retired lawyer, born and raised in a small-town in Wisconsin. Mr. Kubale’s career has included tending bar, serving in the Korean War, practicing law and sitting on the boards of many corporations, including the Green Bay Packers and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Throughout his life, Mr. Kubale has received various awards, including an honorary degree from St. Norbert’s College.  He served as Board Chairman of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and received the Children’s Hero Award for his work on behalf of the hospital. Mr. Kubale’s debut memoir, A Place to Meet Your Friends recounts both his halcyon and harried days growing up in Reedsville, Wisconsin, population 617.

Me Before You

Tuesday, August 8
6:00 PM at The Reader's Loft Bookstore

Me Before You

A Reader's Loft Book Club Meeting

#1 New York Times bestseller, and major motion picture. Read the sequel After You and Jojo’s new book, Paris for One.

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Phyllis J. Piano

Wednesday, August 9
5:30 PM at The Reader's Loft

Phyllis J. Piano

Love Reconsidered

"Grief, loss and second chances are illuminated in Love Reconsidered and its surprising and heartwarming twists offer insights into the true meaning of love.”—Kris Radish, bestselling author of The Year of Necessary Lies

After betrayal and tragedy rip apart two families, the wake of anger and pain threatens to destroy them all.

Aleen Riddick’s marriage falls apart when her daughter, eighteen-year-old Sunny, loses her beloved boyfriend in a tragic accident. Struggling with how to cope, mother and daughter look to the dead boy’s father, grief-stricken Ted Hammand, to help them heal and redefine life.

When shocking developments force them to confront those who have deceived them, Aleen, Ted, and Sunny must decide if forgiveness will drive them back to the pain of the past or forward to a future of possibilities. Love Reconsidered is about families—their grief, guilt, compassion, love, forgiveness, and hope.


A page-turning contemporary tale of how three memorable characters seek to rebuild their lives after betrayal and tragedy with the help of new relationships, loyal corgi dogs, home-cooked meals, and the ritual of football Sundays.

Phyllis J. Piano spent more than thirty years as an award-winning corporate communications expert for some of the world’s largest companies. She has somehow managed to maintain her sense of humor, love of writing, and passion for life and the people she loves and cares about throughout it all. A world traveler, Piano has since left the corporate world and fallen back into the arms of her own first love: writing. She and her husband divide their time between California, England, and the Midwest. Her first novel, Hostile Takeover: A Love Story, was published in October 2016. When she is not packing a bag, making artisan sourdough bread, or cooking with lots of garlic, Piano is working on her next novel.

The Girl Who Slept With God

Tuesday, September 12
6:00 PM at The Reader's Loft Bookstore

The Girl Who Slept With God

A Reader's Loft Book Club Meeting

“Fine, carefully wrought . . . reading this novel [is] a heartening experience.” —The New York Times Book Review

For Fans of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You and Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, an entrancing literary debut about religion, science, secrets, and the power and burden of family from recent Wallace Stegner Fellow Val Brelinski

Set in Arco, Idaho, in 1970, Val Brelinski’s powerfully affecting first novel tells the story of three sisters: young Frances, gregarious and strong-willed Jory, and moral-minded Grace. Their father, Oren, is a respected member of the community and science professor at the local college. Yet their mother’s depression and Grace’s religious fervor threaten the seemingly perfect family, whose world is upended when Grace returns from a missionary trip to Mexico and discovers she’s pregnant with—she believes—the child of God.

Distraught, Oren sends Jory and Grace to an isolated home at the edge of the town. There, they prepare for the much-awaited arrival of the baby while building a makeshift family that includes an elderly eccentric neighbor and a tattooed social outcast who drives an ice cream truck.

The Girl Who Slept with God is a literary achievement about a family’s desperate need for truth, love, purity, and redemption.

Annette Langlois Grunseth

Thursday, September 28
5:30 PM at The Reader's Loft

Annette Langlois Grunseth

Becoming Trans-Parent, One Family’s Journey of Gender Transition

"The poems in Annette Grunseth’s chapbook, Becoming Trans-ParentOne Family’s Journey of Gender Transition, are frank, informative, full of feeling and love. From the family’s time-stopped shock to mother and daughter sharing clothes, a mother’s fierce defense of her daughter to those who exclude her, and advocacy for all in her daughter’s situation, Grunseth underscores the need for the family to make the journey too:

Truth is, 41 percent of transgender people lose hope, and  attempt to end their lives

unless they get love (the unconditional kind), she says in “Gender Dysphoria.” These are fine poems that every one of us can learn from."

–Robin Chapman, Professor emerita of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, and poet, author of Six True Things.

"Annette Grunseth’s book of poems, Becoming Trans-Parent, is a guidebook for the heart…at once exquisitely personal and tenderly universal.  The questions are clear, the answers are not so transparent, regarding pronouns, restrooms, dress, dignity, health issues and social justice.  These poems are about transformation and love and love and transformation.  Thank you, Annette, I am a better person for having read Becoming Trans-Parent."

–Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin Poet Laureate (2011-2012)


"Annette Grunseth is an advocate, a poet, and a mother. The advocate in her conveys information: what words mean – words like safety, and dignity. The poet in her asks us to consider the milkweed pod, the Monarch, chrysalis & transformation. As a mother, she wants us to know her daughter is her inspiration, editor and reader. And as human beings, with our own loves & stories & shared bonds, how can we not listen?

Poets name things – it’s what we do. In one of my favorite poems in the collection, Grunseth asks us to consider naming. Her daughter selects her new name, “derived from your mother-roots” and this gift, the power of this choice is palpable in the poem; but the poet doesn’t let the reader off here (or herself). In this poem, titled “Naming My Grief,” the poet admits, “yet the day you told us the court approved your female name, / I cried that night in bed.” Moving from one identity to another, whatever the context, requires some loss, some grief. A loving parent, whatever the context, grieves this moment, and celebrates the child’s casting off of the past self & moving on to the future. Over and over and over in Becoming Trans-Parent we are reminded what it means to love, to learn, to be honest with ourselves, to be human."


–C.Kubasta, author of Of Covenants and All Beautiful & Useless

A Study in Charlotte

Tuesday, October 10
6:00 PM at The Reader's Loft Bookstore

A Study in Charlotte

A Readers's Loft Book Club Meeting

The first book in a witty, suspenseful new trilogy about a brilliant new crime-solving duo: the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This clever page-turner will appeal to fans of Maureen Johnson and Ally Carter.

Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

The Curious Charm of Arthur Pepper

Tuesday, November 14
6:00 PM at The Reader's Loft Bookstore

The Curious Charm of Arthur Pepper

A Reader's Loft Book Club Meeting

"Phaedra Patrick understands the soul. Eccentric, charming, and wise…The Curious Charms is not just for those who are mourning over love or the past. This book will illuminate your heart." — Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

Don’t miss this curiously charming debut! In this hauntingly beautiful story of love, loneliness and self-discovery, an endearing widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met—a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf

Tuesday, December 12
6:00 PM at The Reader's Loft Bookstore

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf

A Reader's Loft Book Club Meeting

Syrian immigrant Khadra Shamy is growing up in a devout, tightly knit Muslim family in 1970s Indiana, at the crossroads of bad polyester and Islamic dress codes. Along with her brother Eyad and her African-American friends, Hakim and Hanifa, she bikes the Indianapolis streets exploring the fault-lines between “Muslim” and “American.”

When her picture-perfect marriage goes sour, Khadra flees to Syria and learns how to pray again. On returning to America she works in an eastern state — taking care to stay away from Indiana, where the murder of her friend Tayiba’s sister by Klan violence years before still haunts her. But when her job sends her to cover a national Islamic conference in Indianapolis, she’s back on familiar ground: Attending a concert by her brother’s interfaith band The Clash of Civilizations, dodging questions from the “aunties” and “uncles,” and running into the recently divorced Hakim everywhere.

Beautifully written and featuring an exuberant cast of characters, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf charts the spiritual and social landscape of Muslims in middle America, from five daily prayers to the Indy 500 car race. It is a riveting debut from an important new voice.

The Other Einstein

Tuesday, January 9
6:00 PM at The Reader's Loft Bookstore

The Other Einstein

A Reader's Loft Book Club Meeting 

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.

Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.


Tuesday, February 13
6:00 PM at The Reader's Loft Bookstore


A Reader's Loft Book Club Meeting

The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

 Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.