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Monday, September 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 68.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily


A Book A Week: Daphne by Justine Picardie

Finally, another book to add to my "2009 Favorites" list, though I can't say Justine Picardie's Daphne will appeal to everyone. Did you read Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, when you were younger? Or, like my friend Nora, did you read it last week? Just be sure to do so before you begin Daphne or much of the depth and significance will escape you. >More
 Eric Dregni learns to Never Trust a Thin Cook in Italy

Despite its title, Never Trust a Thin Cook and Other Lessons from Italy's Culinary Capital, by Eric Dregni is not just about food. It's not even just about Italian food. It's a series of short essays, or dispatches, by Concordia University professor Dregni, reflecting on the culture of Italy and how it differs from the U.S. -- specifically the Midwest. >More
 A Book a Week: Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indriason

Arnaldur Indriason's Icelandic mysteries continue to be my favorites. As usual, Indridason delivers a simple mystery with a straightforward solution, but it's the accompanying journey through Iceland's modern social issues that makes his books so interesting. >More
 Madison breaks down in Michelle Wildgen's acclaimed novel But Not for Long

Michelle Wildgen admits that in books and movies, she's not generally a fan of dystopian scenarios. "I almost never respond to that," she says. "Most of what you see is post-apocalyptic, but I was interested in what happens on the way to the apocalypse. Where's the pre-apocalypse? And do people tell themselves it's something else?" >More
 A Book A Week: Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

Popular fiction is a genre that is distinct from literary fiction, though the boundaries are fluid. I like to think of these categories as either ends of a ruler, with most books falling somewhere between the two ends. A lot of the books I read fall right around the middle of the continuum between popular and literary fiction. >More
 A Book A Week: A Long Finish by Michael Didbin

When I heard in 2007 that Michael Dibdin had died, I remember thinking, "Oh darn, I never got around to reading any of his books." What a weird thought, as if the Head Librarian would now be taking all his books off the shelves. >More
 A Book A Week: Caravaggio's Angel by Ruth Brandon

I am very picky about writing styles. Have you noticed? I don't like (and won't read) badly written books. I will, however, sometimes read a decently written book with a lousy plot. Ruth Brandon's Caravaggio's Angel fits into this category. I am a sucker for art mysteries and picked this up by chance. >More
 A Book A Week: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

Some books just take longer than a week to read. David Ebershoff's The 19th Wife took more than two weeks, partly because it's long, and partly because some of it is a slog. Nevertheless it's an interesting book and worth reading for the 85% non-sloggish bits. >More
 Kevin Henkes, Nancy Ekholm Burkert and other acclaimed illustrators discuss the art of children's books at the Wisconsin Book Festival

To judge by the crush of people at the James Watrous Gallery Sunday, you'd think a famous rock band was giving a press conference. But no, it was just a half-dozen articulate artists discussing the ways in which they entrance children with images on paper. >More
 Jane Hamilton and David Rhodes read to a capacity audience at the Wisconsin Book Festival

Upstairs at Overture, a book festival volunteer herding people asked me, "Are you here for Jane Hamilton?" Well, if the truth were told, I was out in the windy cold on Saturday night to hear David Rhodes. >More
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