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Saturday, October 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 65.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

BOOKS

Isthmus Reads: Over the Edge, The Great Gatsby, Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor

A compelling account of the 2000 kidnapping of four U.S. climbers, Over the Edge is set along the remote and lawless borders of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in central Asia, and based on extensive interviews with the climbers and other participants in the drama, including one of their captors. >More
 The Onion's Nathan Rabin writes a frank memoir

If former Madisonian Nathan Rabin were reviewing his own book, he'd give it a mixed review. "I hate uplifting stories," he says. >More
 A Book A Week: The Dissident by Nell Freudenberger

Can I just list some of the topics Freudenberger tackles? Adolescent ennui, adultery, Chinese experimental art, culture shock, the nature of commitment, the Hollywood movie industry, identity and Tiananmen Square. With this many balls in the air at once, it's not surprising that a few of them drop and roll away without our ever knowing where they end up. >More
 Dave Crehore evokes enviable Wisconsin childhood in Sweet and Sour Pie

It made me laugh. It made me long for a childhood I never had, and which I sort of suspect Crehore is remembering a bit too fondly, with added saccharine. But I don't mind. The stories ring true, for the most part, and they immortalize a time and place that reflects well not just on the state but humanity. >More
 A Book a Week: An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken

This slim little book is about loss, specifically the loss of a baby. Too depressing, you might say? Maybe for some, but it's also about hope and about recovery. >More
 A Book A Week: Dumbfounded by Matt Rothschild

I'm not the first person to observe this, but you know how sometimes a movie trailer can make a movie look funny and unique, then you go see it at the theater and realize that all the best bits were in the trailer and the rest of the movie is a big disappointment? >More
 A Book a Week: Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson

I loved Diane Johnson's three earlier books about American expatriates in France: Le Divorce, Le Mariage and L'Affaire. All three were funny, original, compelling and delivered laser-like critiques of both French and American culture. Johnson writes with a distinctive breezy style that belies her sharp observations and subtle characterizations. >More
 Isthmus Reads: Revolutionary Road, Interzone, American Woman, Into the Woods, Why We Suck, Seven Days in the Art World

One of my perverse pleasures is movie tie-in editions, so I picked up Vintage Contemporary's new mass-market paperback of Revolutionary Roadwith Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet canoodling on the cover. >More
 A Book a Week: In Love With Jerzy Kosinski by Agate Nesaule

In the book In Love With Jerzy Kosinski we go inside Agate Nesaule's head because that is where all the action is. Or rather, we go inside the head of Anna, Nesaule's fictional alter ego, a woman who has a lot in common with her creator. >More
 Pedaling Revolution takes a bike-centric look at U.S. cities

GM just went bust. The Highway "Trust" Fund went bust a few months ago. The repo man is busy, busy, busy. No better time than today to introduce a great book that celebrates a better way: Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities, by Jeff Mapes. >More
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