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Escape from Mental Illness

Charles Monroe-Kane’s ‘Memoir of Mania’ at Boswell Book Co.

Nov. 15, 2016
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Author Charles Monroe-Kane, a Madison resident and Peabody Award-winning public radio producer, has written a powerful and revealing memoir that takes readers on an adventurous journey into the heart of mental illness. Lithium Jesus: A Memoir of Mania is Monroe-Kane’s valiant attempt to put his life experiences into perspective, from humanitarian activism to raucous nightlife involving sex, drugs and experimentation. 

After being raised in an eccentric Midwestern family and fervently turning to religion as a teenager, Monroe-Kane flees for far-flung regions of the world in an unsuccessful attempt to find salvation from his addictions. All the while, Monroe-Kane bravely struggles to outrun the voices in his head before finally, after 15 years without the aid of medication, he makes peace with his inner turmoil. Primarily focused on his formative, tumultuous 20s, Lithium Jesus is a gritty and fast-paced story that brings a fresh perspective to a familiar chronicle involving mental health.

Monroe-Kane is a senior producer and interviewer for the public radio program “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” has reported for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” and has been featured on “This American Life. He will speak at Boswell Book Co. at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17.

Book Happenings: 

Mary Alice Monroe

7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21

Boswell Book Co.

2559 N. Downer Ave. 

A heart-warming story of family resilience is at the center of New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe’s new novel A Lowcountry Christmas. After Taylor returns home to South Carolina from the frontlines of the war in Afghanistan, his emerging PTSD upends his already fragile home life. Days after Taylor receives a service dog, his 10-year-old brother further disrupts the family balance when he stages his own misadventure just days before Christmas. A staunch environmentalist, Monroe weaves together breathtaking images of the natural world with subtler messages of conservation and fragility. Among other literary honors, Monroe has been awarded the International Book Award for Green Fiction. A former Milwaukee-area resident, she will visit Boswell Books Co. with her brother, local writer Jim Cryns. (Jenni Herrick)

Kathleen McCann and Robert Tanzilo

7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 22

Boswell Book Co.

2559 N. Downer Ave. 

Like the Friday fish fry, frozen custard isn’t necessarily peculiar to Milwaukee, but Milwaukee has embraced it with peculiar fervor. It’s become part of our local DNA and a must-try for visitors. In Milwaukee Frozen Custard, local writers Kathleen McCann and Robert Tanzilo explore the origins of the egg-rich first cousin of ice cream and its introduction to Milwaukee in the mid-1930s. As to why it became more entrenched here than elsewhere, the authors speculate on the rich consistency of Dairy State butter fat and the caloric desires of Wisconsin’s ethnic heritage. Filled with memories, Milwaukee Frozen Custard is an entertaining, informative walk through a chapter in local food history. (David Luhrssen)


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