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Friday, September 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 55.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily


A Book A Week: Ape House by Sara Gruen

A lot of people liked Sara Gruen's last book, Water for Elephants, but I didn't have much success with it. I did better with Ape House and enjoyed it for the most part, though I do have a few quibbles. >More
 A Book A Week: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

How do you make a familiar story fresh? How do you shine a new light on a familiar landscape? Do what Dave Eggers has done in Zeitoun -- tell a story that most of us know, but tell it from a totally unexpected point of view. >More
 Arts Beat: UW Press earns unprecedented honor for LGBT books

In New York City on May 26, the University of Wisconsin Press received its second Publisher's Service Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation, which honors achievements in LGBT literature. It's the only publisher to win two Lambda awards, or Lammys, in the foundation's history. >More
 A Book A Week: Room by Emma Donoghue

Inspired by real-life events, Room is the story of a mother and son who are imprisoned in a garden shed by the mother's rapist. It's also the story of their rescue and reintegration into society. The narrator is the son Jack, who was born in the shed, and is 5 years old when the story begins. >More
 A Book A Week: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

I know a lot of people who read young adult (YA) fiction. Most are mothers of middle and high school girls who started reading it because they wanted to share the reading experience with their daughters. But I know this isn't the full story; YA is too popular among adults to be only the province of a certain group of women. >More
 A Book A Week: Korean Deli: Risking it all for a Convenience Store by Ben Ryder Howe

Ben Ryder Howe is the sweetest man on Earth. Or at least he comes across that way in his memoir My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store, the story of his family's attempt to purchase and operate a deli/convenience store in Brooklyn. He must be sweet -- he goes along with this plan to please his mother-in-law! What a nice boy. >More
 A Book A Week: Bangkok 8 by John Burdett

In recent years, many mystery novels have become platforms for social analysis. There is something about the form that lends itself to the task, whether it's the requirement that all mysteries contain some form of good vs. evil, or the close character studies afforded by the tradition. >More
 A Book A Week: The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

What a refreshing change Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge is from the contemporary fiction I've been reading recently. Instead of a book about self-absorbed whiny people where hardly anything happens, this book is a sprawling saga of World War II in Hungary, with a cast of thousands, a huge variety of locations, war, deprivation, joy, anxiety, relief, love, hate, birth, death, and not a shred of self-pity. I loved it! >More
 Wayne Pacelle's The Bond explores human-animal kinship

One fascinating thing about Wayne Pacelle's new book on the connection between people and animals is that, the more you read, the better its title gets. At first I thought The Bond seemed a bit sentimental, perhaps insubstantial. I cracked open the covers thinking it would tug at my heart more than appeal to my intellect. But in chapter after chapter Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, establishes multiple contexts -- genetic, societal, historical, ethical and even economic -- for his book's central conceit. >More
 A Book A Week: A Darker Domain by Val McDermid

Here's a useful new term: Tartan Noir. It describes a form of Scottish crime fiction characterized by troubled protagonists and plots that deal with questions of redemption. >More
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