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Monday, September 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 39.0° F  Fair
The Daily

BOOKS

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
 A Book A Week: A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian

I just must be a sucker for book-cover photos of women in saris. It has just occurred to me that sari photos are the Indian equivalent of the "woman in heels carrying a shopping bag" graphics that grace the cover of American and British chick lit. Okay, so now I know. >More
 A Book A Week: Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

What I've always liked about William Boyd is that he never writes the same book twice. But now I've read two of his books in a row that were espionage thrillers, and I see from his website that he's been tapped to write a new James Bond novel. Too much of a good thing? I don't know. >More
 A Book A Week: Miss Timmins' School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy

Nayana Currimbhoy's Miss Timmins' School for Girls mixes the new with the old in a strange brew that is satisfying and delicious. Miss Timmins' School for Girls, in Panchgani, India, is one of the last outposts of the British Empire. >More
 A Book A Week: The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

The title of Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo refers to a real person, though the book is fiction. In 1992 Vedran Smailovic, a member of the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, played his cello in a bombed-out town square in Sarajevo for 22 days in honor of 22 people who were killed in a mortar attack during the Bosnian War. >More
 A Book A Week: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Another name for Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers could be "The Mists of Avalon for Jews," with Shira, the Witch of Moab, standing in for Morgaine, and Eleazar ben Ya'ir as Uther Pendragon. >More
 A Book A Week: The London Train by Tessa Hadley

Some books are greater than the sum of their parts; The London Train is one of these. Tessa Hadley's novel is really two novellas about two characters (Paul and Cora) who at first appear to be unconnected to one another. But of course that's not the case, and we see eventually how their stories wrap around each other's. >More
 A Book A Week: The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh

Where has Amitav Ghosh been all my life? To my chagrin, I discover that he's been writing since the early 1990s, garnering praise, winning literary prizes, all right under my nose but heretofore undetected by me. I hate when this happens. >More
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