Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Roundup of Local Book Stuff: Literary Tidbits from Urban Milwaukee's Dial, Shepherd Express News and Previews, Lake Effect, Wisconsin Public Radio.

First up, we visit the Booked Up page of the Dial cultural section of Urban Milwaukee. Will Stotts, Jr. reviews The Silkworm, the-J.K.-Rowling-writing-as-Robert-Galbraith follow-up to The Cuckoo's Calling. He writes: "One need only read the book’s harrowing description of a murder victim’s remains to realize anew why authors sometimes use pen names. Freed from the Harry Potter audience, Ms. Rowling is liberated to experiment with the conventions of noir and the horror genres. These books are not for her legion of young fans, but rather their parents and grandparents. They will appreciate The Silkworm as a descendant of PI tales like those featuring Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade."

In the Shepherd Express, arts editor David Luhrssen reviews The Four Horsemen: Riding to Liberty in Post-Napoleonic Europe, by Richard Stites. Regarding the author's choice of topics, the 19th century European upheavals, Luhrssen notes that "although the topic may seem obscure to the general public, Stites writes with an engaging wit sadly lacking in much academic writing, delivering his judgments with nuanced emotional as well as intellectual understanding for the chief actors and the issues of free expression, national liberation and constitutional governance they grappled with." As of today, we've got a copy for you in stock.

Luhrssen also takes on Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. His take: "Nader takes some dubious populist positions but makes good points on the hijacking of the word 'conservative' by radicals bent on turning back the clock to a time that never was."

While a creative nonfiction book about a photographer obsessed with capturing the likeness of a giant squid might have seemed like an arty sort of Book Preview (Matthew Gavin Frank takes on Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer on Wednesday, July 30),the actual Book Preview went with the equally arty Saving Kandinsky talk by Mary "Peetie" basson at the Milwaukee Art Museum, tying into their own Kandinsky exhibit. Their event is 2 pm on Sunday, July 27.

On Lake Effect, Patricia Skalka appeared on Monday to discuss Death Stalks Door County. The new series features  Cubiak, a former Chicago detective, who moved to Door County "to get away from all the death and mayhem he’s encountered in his life." Needless to say, murder must have followed his trail.

Tuesday's show also features Barbara Manger, whose memoir Riding Through Grief is about the death of her son after a Chicago bike race in 2008. "The book is also about how her family dealt with their loss by finding unique ways to honor Matt and his memory, not the least of which is the work itself.

Wednesday's show has an interview with Rebecca Rasmussen, author of Evergreen, who appeared at Boswell that evening. There's not a direct link so what I want you do now is move the bar to minute 29.  How much of Evergreen is inspired by your own time in the North Woods? This book isn't autobiographical in any way (The Bird Sisters was partly based on a grandmother's journal) but it gets to her true love of the North Woods and a wish always to be back there (that's paraphrased).

Today, Brian Benson talked with Susan Bence about his trip from Wisconsin to Oregon as documented in Going Somewhere. This was actually a bicycle book tour, traveling on two wheels to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois (including Boswell on Thursday). Regarding his cross country trek: “There were so many moments like that trip when I blew up nothing into everything. It was a part of that trip and so many relationships. So I decided to write something based on that; and also in North Dakota, so many things happened in that state; the wind was such a force and it was when things really shifted in the trip,”

I should note that we have signed copies of both Evergreen and Going Somewhere.

And now onto Wisconsin Public Radio. Kathleen Dunn spoke with Randall Herbert Balmer, author of Redeemer, the Life of Jimmy Carter (Basic). The book highlights his deep roots in the Progressive Evangelical tradition.

On July 22, WPR re-aired Dunn's conversation with Michael Lewis regarding Flash Boys and then Joshua Zeitz's appearance for Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's Image, just in case you missed it. Yes, we have both in stock.

Wednesday was another day of book-releated repeats. First Luke Harding was the guest, having authored The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Ma and that was followed by an hour about The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life, with Alan de Quiroz, once again from Basic Books. And Thursday is an encore of Beasts, a talk with Jeffrey Moussaiff Masson. I'm sure you're wondering why I am documenting all these repeat broadcasts but I am getting into it, plus I didn't write about them the first time.

On Joy Cardin's show this week, Michelle Abbate argues that politics have a rightful place in books for kids.The author wrote a book about conservatives using books to influence kids in 2010. I'm not sure whether Abbatte and Cardin agree on this one.

Larry Mueller doesn't talk much about fiction, especially when it doesn't have a Wisconsin connection, but he hooked up with Jeff Shaara for The Smoke at Dawn. I don't think it was for this book but for the last (time gets all twisted around) but we did have a possible event with Shaara at one point, but it never came to pass.

He also talked to Victoria Houston, author of Dead Lil Hustler. Per the station, "Larry Meiller finds out what trouble can await there in the latest installment of the Loon Lake Fishing Mysteries. Plus, information on tenkara flyfishing, which figures in the book." We've got two copies!

I didn't have the 15 hours to listen to all of Central Time, but maybe I'll figure out a shortcut!

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