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Books News & Reviews

A Book A Week: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation is the first book in The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. It tells the story of the 12th expedition to Area X, the (fictional) site of a mysterious ecological disaster, located somewhere in the southern U.S. >More
 A Book A Week: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani

To describe The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani is to make it sound awful and off-putting. As Michiko Kakutani pointed out in The New York Times, it's kind of a Young Adult/Historical Romance mashup. >More
 A Book A Week: The Liar's Wife by Mary Gordon

The Liar's Wife is a collection of four novellas by Mary Gordon. The novellas are thematically linked in that in each one someone revisits an important past relationship. >More
 A Book A Week: Alena by Rachel Pastan

Rachel Pastan is a former Madisonian who used to write for Isthmus. She is the author of two previous novels and now lives in Pennsylvania. Her new novel Alena is a contemporary retelling of the classic Daphne DuMaurier book Rebecca. >More
 UW mathematician Jordan Ellenberg highlights the value of contradiction at Wisconsin Book Festival 2014

Jordan Ellenberg, nationally recognized UW-Madison mathematics professor and author of the recent bestselling book How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, did something very unmathematical Thursday night: He made a last-minute change in plans. >More
 A Book A Week: The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit

Historical fiction comes in two basic flavors: the kind that teaches you about history as you read it (e.g., The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, 1008 pages about building a 12th century cathedral), and the kind that is more opaque, where the history, while important, is not so spelled out. >More
 Stephin Merritt is a singer, a songwriter and a Scrabble nut

Stephin Merritt might be a master of song and verse, but the rules governing the word games Scrabble and Words with Friends bewilder him. Especially the 101 two-letter words officially recognized by Scrabble. >More
 Wisconsin Book Festival 2014 is a celebration of authors, libraries and bold ideas

Madison Public Library and its foundation have transformed the Wisconsin Book Festival into a yearlong feast of stellar storytelling and intriguing ideas. With many events at the Central Library, the main portion of the fest (Oct. 16-19) is also a chance for attendees to enjoy the new building's art, gathering spaces and, of course, books. Here are some of the events we're most excited about. >More
 A Book A Week: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm is J.K. Rowling's second mystery novel written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and featuring the curmudgeonly detective Cormoran Strike and his clever assistant Robin Ellacott. Strike is hired to find Owen Quine, a missing novelist, and find him he does. >More
 Mike McCabe delivers a blistering manifesto in Blue Jeans in High Places

Any lingering doubts about the nonpartisan bona fides of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the state campaign finance watchdog, should be annihilated by Mike McCabe's new book, Blue Jeans in High Places. McCabe, the group's longtime executive director, regards both major political parties with withering contempt. >More
 A Book A Week: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

I've come to regard books by Jojo Moyes as little treasures, to be indulged in when I need a special treat. When I get a new one I hang on to it for a while before reading it, enjoying the anticipation. >More


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