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Saturday, December 27, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 37.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily


A Book A Week: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is as good as everyone says it is. Helen Simonson has written an old-fashioned story and interjected some surprisingly contemporary elements, with great success. >More
 Isthmus on the isthmus: Dinner and drinks with The Quickening author Michelle Hoover (video)

Join author Michelle Hoover, in Madison on a book tour last week, at The Icon on State Street for a discussion covering her work, growing up in the Midwest, ordering wine and empanadas. >More
 Characters in Susanna Daniel's Stiltsville merely float

Stiltsville is a real place, a tiny huddle of homes built on platforms and spindly legs sunk into the hurricane-threatened waters of Biscayne Bay, off the coast of Miami. Stiltsville the novel is equally precarious, an insubstantial structure of largely inconsequential events that creak and groan on a flimsy foundation. >More
 A Book A Week: The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee

I like to read books about colonialism, especially the British in India and in Ireland. I can't really explain why these books appeal to me, except as a part of my larger interest in books that deal with class issues. >More
 A Book A Week: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier writes excellent historical fiction. Best known for Girl with a Pearl Earring, Chevalier is also the author of several of my favorite historical novels, including Falling Angels, which includes several scenes set in Highgate Cemetary, in London. >More
 A Book A Week: A Proper Education for Girls by Elaine diRollo

What a discovery this was! Elaine diRollo's A Proper Education for Girls is very funny and very original. >More
 A Book A Week: Naming Nature by Carol Kaesuk Yoon

Carol Kaesuk Yoon's Naming Nature is a nonfiction book about the history of taxonomy. It falls into a category that I call "science lite," written for a nontechnical audience. I really like these kinds of books, but good ones are hard to find. >More
 Harvey Pekar and me: The late comics writer had an Isthmus connection

Reading the first reports of Harvey Pekar's death on July 12, at 70, I noted this line: "Mr. Pekar had been suffering from prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and depression, police said." >More
 A Book A Week: Frankie and Stankie by Barbara Trapido

Within the space of a few weeks several people recommended that I read Barbara Trapido. Because I always do as I'm told (!) I picked her 2003 novel Frankie and Stankie, in part because it was set in 1950s South Africa, a time period/location combination that was completely new to me. >More
 A Book A Week: The Man From Saigon by Marti Leimbach

Having studiously avoided most Vietnam War literature, I thought I could try one book written by a woman, about a woman: Marti Leimbach's The Man from Saigon. Okay, I tried it. It was good, but it sure didn't make me want to read more about that awful war. >More
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