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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 36.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily


Countdown to Wisconsin Book Festival 2012: An interview with Michael Lowenthal

It's one thing for a fiction writer to take on large and knotty subjects like pedophilia, surrogacy, and the intersection of Judaism and sexual identity. It is quite another to tell these stories with the sort of nuanced and fully fleshed-out characters that make Michael Lowenthal and his work both important and eminently readable. During a recent phone call, I asked him about The Paternity Test, his new novel from the University of Wisconsin Press, about a gay couple who attempt to save their marriage by engaging a surrogate to have their baby. >More
 Countdown to Wisconsin Book Festival 2012: Jacqueline Dougan Jackson's The Round Barn is an extraordinary tale about a dairy farm

Jacqueline Dougan Jackson is a regional treasure. She's a prominent children's writer and the author of 12 books. One of them, The Taste of Spruce Gum, was a 1968 runner-up for the Newberry Medal. Now 84 years old, Jackson still produces important work that reveals the power and heart of Midwestern life. Her newest work of nonfiction, The Round Barn: A Biography of an American Farm, is a remarkable compendium of family life on a Wisconsin dairy farm. >More
 Countdown to Wisconsin Book Festival 2012: An interview with Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry likes questions. They "bring on a certain state of mind" and "in that weird opening, other stuff starts to happen," she says. Barry has an impressive resume of "other stuff": She's created a long-running comic strip, which used to appear in Isthmus; written tons of books; and is a powerhouse of an artist, writer and teacher. She's also a pretty cool person to have coffee with. >More
 Countdown to Wisconsin Book Festival 2012: An interview with Kathie Giorgio

Wisconsin author Kathie Giorgio found success right out of the gates. Her first novel, 2011's The Home For Wayward Clocks, received the Outstanding Achievement recognition from the Wisconsin Library Association Literary Awards Committee and was nominated for the Paterson Fiction Award. Her short-story collection, Enlarged Hearts, followed in April 2012. Learning to Tell (A Life)Time, the sequel to The Home For Wayward Clocks, is due out in 2013. >More
 Eight local authors share their best bets for Wisconsin Book Festival 2012

Though there's pleasure to be found in the cocoon-like nature of reading and writing, there's also a certain tedium. Luckily, an antidote appears each year in the form of the Wisconsin Book Festival (Wednesday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, Nov. 11). Here, I can delight in the fellowship of other book lovers as I indulge in the rhythms of the spoken word. >More
 Wisconsin Book Festival seeks new leaders and funding sources

In Isthmus' Oct. 26 Wisconsin Book Festival supplement, festival director Alison Jones Chaim announced that she will relinquish her role at the end of this year. >More
 Countdown to Wisconsin Book Festival 2012: Michael Perry makes country life magical in Visiting Tom

In Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace, the old soul who is Michael Perry has forged another frank, enchanting rendering of Wisconsin country life. This is the tale of his neighbor Tom, an aging farmer whose life weaves in and out of Perry's own in ways both earthbound and mystical. >More
 Countdown to Wisconsin Book Festival 2012: An interview with Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. This January, he added "novelist" to his list of accomplishments when his first book, American Dervish, debuted to immediate acclaim from critics. The New York Times called it "a pleasure" and the Chicago Tribune suggested it could be as wildly popular as The Help. >More
 A Book A Week: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Erin Morenstern's The Night Circus will be a great movie, if they make it into one. It's very visual and intense; it's emotional; it's got a lot of impressive magic that should translate well to the screen. But it's not a perfect book -- Morgenstern has bit off more than she can chew, and she loses control of her material at times. >More
 A Book A Week: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

In The Postmistress, Sarah Blake contrasts the life of wartime radio journalist Frankie Bard, broadcasting live from London in 1941, with the peacetime lives of several of her listeners, residents of a small town in New England. Blake's goal is to remind us how the horrors of war can go on just out of sight, just beyond our borders, and how difficult it is for people in each environment to understand the experiences of others. >More
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