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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 17.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily


A Book A Week: Love Falls by Esther Freud

Esther Freud wrote Hideous Kinky, a good book that became an even better movie. Love Falls would be a good movie too, but it's a lousy book. >More
 A Book A Week: Escape by Carolyn Jessop, with Laura Palmer

I don't usually read books about the issue du jour, if you know what I mean. For some reason, however, I was attracted to Escape by Carolyn Jessop, who escaped from the FLDS, the fundamentalist polygamous cult that was recently raided by the Texas authorities for alleged child abuse. >More
 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
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