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The Daily


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
 A Book A Week: The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicolson

In The Perfect Summer, Juliet Nicolson chronicles the summer of 1911 in England, one of the last peaceful summers before the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Anyone who knows her history knows that the earliest part of the 20th century was a time of seismic transitions, not just because of the war, but because of the social changes: workers' rights, women's rights, the rise of the middle class. >More growth raises mixed feelings from Madison retailers

Erin Lambert, marketing supervisor for University Book Store, sees the latest growth by and worries about the consequences on local business. "It's not wonderful news for us as a retailer," she says. >More
 A Book A Week: Untold Story by Monica Ali

Untold Story imagines that Britain's Princess Diana didn't die in an automobile crash in 1997, but instead faked her own death by drowning a few months later, and now lives incognito (as Lydia) in a small town in North Carolina. Her life is dull and predictable until the arrival of a vacationing British news photographer who recognizes her despite her disguise. >More
 A Book A Week: The Passage by Justin Cronin

I like to think I am tapped into what's current, at least when it comes to literature. Then the gods get wind of my hubris and drop a bomb on me to keep me humble -- in this case The Passage by Justin Cronin. >More
 David Maraniss reflects on Barack Obama: The Story at Madison libraries fundraiser

David Maraniss traveled the world to write his new book, Barack Obama: The Story -- to Kansas and Kenya, Hawaii and Indonesia, and New York and Chicago. But on Thursday afternoon, the UW-Madison alumnus was back in town to support the local library system. >More
 A Book A Week: Songs for the Butcher's Daughter by Peter Manseau

English majors, remember this term? "Picaresque." From Encyclopedia Britannica online: "usually a first-person narrative, relating the adventures of a rogue or low-born adventurer [picaro in Spanish] as he drifts from place to place and from one social milieu to another." This describes Peter Manseau's Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, which is the fictional memoir of Itsik Malpesh. >More
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