Friday, August 22, 2014

What Books are Featured in the Shepherd Express, Lake Effect, Wisconsin Public Radio, and Morning Blend This Past Week?

I really like collecting the book interview and review hits in Milwaukee, but it sure takes a lot of time, which is why this post doesn't ever seem to go up in a timely manner. This week we start with David Luhrssen's history roundup in the Shepherd Express. This week he does four briefly noted titles. Here's each book with the take away.

Regarding Independence: The Tangled Roots of the American Revolution, by Thomas P. Slaughter Luhrssen observes: "Slaughter writes persuasively of the early American penchant toward local autonomy and town hall meetings without ignoring such other proclivities as exterminating and swindling Indians; hatred of Quakers, Roman Catholics and other religious minorities; and the overall sense that their often narrow-minded agenda was the Lord’s work."

Next up is West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776, by Claudio Saunt, who attempts to put the American Revolution in the context of other world events. It appears that run-ins between the fur traders and the Natives led to tension on several fronts, to the extend that Creek Indians attempted to form an alliance with the Spanish in Havana.

Speaking of fur traders, regular readers already know about Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire , by Peter Stark, as the author appeared at Boswell earlier this year. Luhrssen's take: "Stark writes descriptively of the dark wilderness that was the Pacific Northwest."

And finally there is Joseph Wheelan's Bloody Spring: Forty Days that Sealed the Confederacy’s Fate . I almost hate to change format, as the Shepherd Express is the first paper I've seen that puts the comma before the "by." I picked that up from The New York Times years ago, but they have seemingly dropped this practice. "Bloody Spring is a reminder that the Civil War was a close call: If Grant’s bid had failed, Lincoln might have lost the 1864 election and the North might have gone to the peace table."

For this week's Book Preview, The Shepherd Express's Jenni Herrick recommends Dear Committee Members, from Julie Schumacher. "These alleged letters of support are both humorous and crotchety, written with a narrative progression that keeps the novel moving forward. This thin volume, composed of 100 letters, makes for laugh-out-loud reading at the same time as it poignantly captures the life of a struggling academic." The event is Tuesday, August 26, 7 pm, at Boswell.

From WUWM's Lake Effect, Monday's show featured the interview that Mitch Teich did with Jeff Miller at Milwaukee's Purple Door Ice Cream. "The story of Miller’s first year as a dairyman and owner of McCormick House Bed and Breakfast is recounted in a charming memoir called Scoop: Notes From a Small Ice Cream Shop." Also on Monday was Patrick Byrne, who co-authored The Colors of Callas in 2002.

In town for Festa Italiana, Maria Liberati did talked to Bonnie North for her 2011 release,The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: DaVinci Style. "It turns out in addition to painting and inventing, Da Vinci was also quite the gourmet. Liberati’s book focuses on the history and food of the regions Da Vinci lived in." It turns out that some of Librati's books are available on Ingram's print-on-demand program and some are not. Alas, this is not, meaning it's also not available on our website.

Over on Wisconsin Public Radio, Kathleen Dunn hosted Vinh Chung, author of Where the Wind Leads: A Refugee Family's Miraculous Story of Loss, Rescue, and Redemption . Written with the help of Tim Downs, this successful doctor tells his immigrant story from Vietnam. Max Lucado offered this praise: "The account of Dr. Chung and his family will inspire you to believe in second chances and miracles and the God who gives them both."

On Wednesday, Dunn spoke to Miles Unger, author of Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces. Michael Washburn in the Boston Globe called the book "A deeply human tribute to one of the most accomplished and fascinating figures in the history of Western culture."

Thursday's conversation was with Rafe Esquith, famed educator and most recently author of Real Talk for Real Teachers: Advice for Teachers from Rookies to Veterans: No Retreat, No Surrender! "He assesses the state of education today, and what teachers, parents and policymakers need to know." In its starred review, Publishers Weekly writes that this "enormously valuable book will keep teachers energized."

For the early risers, Joy Cardin in Madison talked to Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs (HMH). From the site: "When we think about creativity, the image is often of a lone genius toiling in isolation. But according to Joy’s guest author, the true key to creativity may be intense creative partnerships." You can also read this piece in The Atlantic.

Needless to say, Ferguson, Missouri has been the focus of many local features. This particular hour with Joy Cardin featured Eugene O'Donnell and Nick Gillespie. Neither has written a recent book but both are published authors.

Wednesday's guest is Matthew Gilbert, who recently penned Off The Leash: A Year at a Dog Park. The first thing I want to note is that Joy Cardin is giving Kathleen Dunn a run for her money over which WPR host is the bigger dog fan--didn't we just have an hour with Benoit? Jon Katz offers this praise: "Matthew Gilbert's Off the Leash is wry, warm, and witty enough to rival J.R. Ackerly's classic, My Dog Tulip."

And then my second question is whether there could really be two books called Off the Leash from the St. Martin's division of Macmillan in 2014? It appears there is; the other comes from Rupurt Foxtree in September.

Also recorded in Madison, Central Time has shorter segments, which can mean more authors. One of Monday's guests was Jessie Saperstein, author of Getting a Life with Asperger's: Lessons Learned on the Bumpy Road to Adulthood. Billed as "An autism advocate talks about practical advice on making the jump, from keeping your head above water financially to surviving the world of online dating," I should probably note that folks interested in authors on the spectrum should mark Tom Angleberger on their calendars. The "Origami Yoga" series author will be at Boswell on Sunday, September 14 3 pm.

John Bemelmans Marciano talked to the Central Time folks on Tuesday. His book Whatever Happened to the Metric System?: How America Kept Its Feet ponders the question of why we didn't switch over when just about every other country in the world did in the 1970s. And yes, this is the same fellow who now writes the Madeline books.

Wednesday's Central Time featured Kathleen Flinn, the author of Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family, which was featured on last Tuesday's new release post.

The next hour the featured author was Lev Grossman, whose third volume The Magician's Land is a #1 New York Times bestseller. People called this "a stirring finale" and the Boston Globe critic praised this "satisfying ending."

On Thursday's book segment, WPR producer and former Boswell guest Steve Paulson recommends three books, Haruki Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimmage, Marja Mills' The Mockingbird Next Door, and Doug Peacock's In the Shadow of the Sabertooth, which is a look at the last era of global warming, about 15,000 years ago. Don't forget that Marja Mills will be at Boswell on Thursday, September 4, 7 pm. Let us get a copy signed for you.

Jumping to the small screen, Carole Barrowman has five recommendations on Monday's Morning Blend show. They are:

--I am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes (also recommended in the Journal Sentinel. She really likes this one!)

--The Unbearable Bookclub for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher. Yes, this is the very Julie Schumacher will be at Boswell on Tuesday for Dear Committee Members.Yes this is where I suggest getting a signed copy. Order it on our website. Signature only requires no pre-purchase and can be held for pickup. Personalization does require pre-purchase.

--Forty Acres, by Dwayne Alexander Smith (also in the Journal Sentinel)

--Cancel The Wedding, by Carolyn T. Dingman

If there's been more books getting press here, I'm not sure I even have time to find and report on them. Hope you found something here of interest to you.

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