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Thursday, April 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily

BOOKS

A Book a Week: Hearts and Minds by Rosy Thornton

Academic fiction is a sub-genre of literary fiction. Academic fiction set at a women's college must then be a sub-sub-genre. The small number of books that fit the bill may explain why Rosy Thornton's publishers have packaged this book as chick lit or romance; they didn't know what to do with it. >More
 A Book a Week: The Irish Game by Matthew Hart

I like to read about art theft. There's something so Robin Hood-ish about stealing paintings from rich folks. Of course I do know it's wrong to steal. Art in museums belongs to everyone; I don't want anyone to steal my stuff, whether that stuff is in my living room or in the Smithsonian. >More
 A Book a Week: Who Do You Think You Are by Alyse Myers

Who Do You Think You Are by Alyse Myers is a sad and depressing book. Alyse Myers tells the story of her unhappy childhood in Queens in the 1960s, her turbulent relationship with her mother, and her struggle to be a better mother to her own daughter. >More
 A Book a Week: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

Yesterday I finished listening to The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson on a device called a Playaway. Have you heard of these? >More
 A Book a Week: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day was recently a movie starring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams. I finished reading the book more than a week ago but I put off writing about it hoping to see the movie first. I kept thinking it was going to come any day but then I discovered that someone in my family had hijacked the Netflix queue and High School Musical 3 arrived instead. >More
 A Book a Week: Peony in Love by Lisa See

Lisa See's books have such lovely covers! And her titles: Peony in Love, Snow Flower and The Secret Fan. Don't they sound delightful? I think I have been avoiding them for these very reasons; I suspected they might not measure up to their marketing. And it's true that Peony in Love was not what I expected, but in a good way, to my surprise. >More
 Bite-sized science in The Why Files

For the past 13 years, the folks at The Why Files, an online magazine based here in Madison, have been answering questions about science in a way that regular folks can understand and even enjoy. On April 28, The Why Files makes the leap to the printed page with a new book from Penguin. >More
 A Book a Week: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls grew up in extreme poverty with an alcoholic father and a co-dependent mother. Why is her story unique? Because Walls escaped from her toxic environment and against all odds got a Barnard education and a good job as a journalist in New York City. >More
 A conversation with physicist Michio Kaku

Physicist Michio Kaku of the City University of New York studies string field theory at his day job. He's also written a series of books aimed at a general audience that aim to explain the real mind-blowing aspects of physics -- worm holes, parallel universes, hyperspace. In his latest, Physics of the Impossible he explores the physics behind all the neat sci-fi stuff that's normally dismissed as impossible, like invisibility, UFOs, psychokinesis, and time travel. >More
 Laura Rider's Masterpiece shows a new side of Jane Hamilton

Wisconsin writer Jane Hamilton has an admitted penchant for doom-and-gloom subjects: the drowning of a child, adultery and traumatic brain injury have all been major plot points in her novels. Yet Hamilton also possesses a sharp wit, which she allows free rein in her sixth book, Laura Rider's Masterpiece, out this week from Grand Central Publishing. >More
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