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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 43.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily


McSweeney's makes a newspaper: A review of Panorama

When I was a kid, one of the few rituals I shared with my dad was on Sunday mornings. We'd hop in the car and drive to a doughnut shop for a dozen doughnuts, then head over to the cigar shop/newsstand on State Street in Erie, Pa., my hometown. I fell in love with the ritual of spreading out with a Sunday paper, munching down doughnuts over the funnies.So I was a sucker for the latest McSweeney's, the quarterly literary journal that revels in experimenting with form. >More
 A Book A Week: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

I find the accolades accorded to Colm Toibin's Brooklyn mystifying. A few weeks ago Toibin won the Costa Novel of the Year Award for it; the Costa is a prestigious British literary prize given to authors from the U.K. and Ireland. He was favored to win the bigger prize, the Costa Book of the Year, but lost to poet Christopher Reid. >More
 A Book A Week: The Glass Room by Simon Mawer

Simon Mawer's The Glass Room is a big book. A Big Book. A book about art and its role in our everyday lives. What better way to frame this discussion than to create some characters who are living inside a work of art -- a glass house designed by a visionary architect. >More
 A Book A Week: When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine is the last book I read in 2009. It's the story of one family's experience at an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. >More
 A Book A Week: The First Person by Ali Smith

I hate experimental fiction. Yet every now and then I feel the need to try some, just to see if I still hate it -- it's kind of like tasting anchovies every few years, even though you know you really think they are too salty and too fishy. >More
 A Book A Week: Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki

Roopa Farooki's Bitter Sweets is a multigenerational story about an Indian family in both India and in Britain. It's one of those sprawling family sagas that are often labeled "women's fiction" but with a South Asian flavor. >More
 A Book A Week: In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin

I heard Daniyal Mueenuddin interviewed on NPR recently and that made me check out In Other Rooms, Other Wonders. I see now that it's getting a lot of press, which it deserves. >More
 A Book A Week: Consequences by Penelope Lively

Penelope Lively is interested in the consequences of our behavior and of our choices. In fact, she has examined this theme at least three times in three different books: in Making It Up, in The Photograph, and now in Consequences. >More
 Isthmus Reads: Steam & Cinders: The Advent of Railroads in Wisconsin, Cannery Row

If Steam & Cinders were a train, it would be one mighty locomotive -- a beautiful piece of intricate machinery chugging slowly but steadily through Wisconsin to drag its boxcars bulging with research to the promised destination. >More
 Touchless Automatic Wonder dwells on commonplace texts

In his introduction to Touchless Automatic Wonder: Found Text from the Real World, Lewis Koch writes that he often thinks of photographs as his paper memory. A repository, he elaborates during a phone conversation. Like a diary. What a journal. >More
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