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Readers rally around words, writers and the art of storytelling at Wisconsin Book Festival 2012

After last week's elections, Madison didn't want to relax and reminisce. It needed more action, pronto. Enter the Wisconsin Book Festival, a frenzy of readings, signings, discussions and other events dedicated to the printed word -- and the giddy feelings a good book can generate. >More
 A Book A Week: The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht

The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht is extremely good, better than most of what I've read this year. No wonder it won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction, a British award for best novel written in English by a woman. It's very mature and covers a lot of ground: myth, immortality, family relationships, and war and its aftermath. >More
 Countdown to Wisconsin Book Festival 2012: An interview with Davy Rothbart

A boy plays a trick on his deaf mother to score some Soft Batch cookies. A man chases a scammer across the country to throw a bottle of pee at him. A drunk wakes up naked on a park bench, unsure how he got there, then walks through New York City in the buff. The protagonist of all of these stories is Davy Rothbart, author of the new essay collection My Heart Is an Idiot. >More
 Countdown to Wisconsin Book Festival 2012: An interview with Emma Straub

You may have heard the name Emma Straub lately. One of this fall's most buzzed-about authors, the Brooklyn, New York, author and her first novel, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, have been lauded by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR and many other media outlets. Like the protagonist of the book, Straub also has a Wisconsin connection: She's a 2009 graduate of UW-Madison's MFA program in fiction writing. >More
 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
 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
 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
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