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Friday, January 30, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  Partly Cloudy
The Daily


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
 A Book A Week: Mother on Fire by Sandra Tsing Loh

Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer, performance artist and public radio commentator. I don't hear her much on radio but I do read her pieces in the Atlantic. I've also never seen any of her one-woman shows but would sure like to. In 2008 she published Mother on Fire, a memoir about her life in Los Angeles, framed around her search for an appropriate school for her kindergarten-age daughter. >More
 Wisconsin Book Festival 2009: Marty McConnell speaks

Marty McConnell is not for the faint of heart: The spoken-word artist's performance poetry blows through the border checkpoints of faith, freedom, gender, humanity, integrity and sex in ways that are frequently beautiful, sometimes transgressive and, in her most exhilarating work, both at once. >More
 A Book A Week: Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris

I keep coming across these mysteries that take place in exotic locales. This was another one, set in Saudi Arabia. A teenage girl called Nouf goes missing and eventually turns up dead. >More
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