Saturday, September 27, 2014

Where Did I See or Hear That Again? Your Weekly Guide to Book-Related Stories in the Local Media, Featuring Several Hits for "Station Eleven" and "The Anatomy of Dreams" and Chloe Benjamin is at Boswell Tonight, So We're Just in Time.

It's time to recap what's being featured in the Milwaukee media. Let's start this week with WTMJ's Morning Blend. On Thursday, Paige Rawl appeared to discuss her memoir Positive. She talks about the stereotypes that people continue to hold about people who are HIV+ and the terrible effects of destructive bullying.

In the Shepherd Express, Dave Luhrssen reviews Fanon for Beginners, by Deborah Wyrick. He writes: "Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) had a short but influential life as a psychoanalyst-philosopher who applied Freudian insights to the problems of racism and colonialism. In Fanon for Beginners, Deborah Wyrick draws—literally in this illustrated book—a heroic if not entirely uncritical portrait."

Another review is for Night Train to Shanghai, by Gerald Nicosia. Grizzly Peak Press does not distribute to bookstores through our main distributors. My guess that is that they might be at Small Press Distribution, which we only use for events. Maybe Woodland Pattern will stock it. Reviewer Michael Schumacher calls this collection of poetry "a wonderful artifact of a fascinating mental landscape—a deeply personal examination of an American in a land so often viewed to be mysterious and somehow troubling, if not menacing."

Believe it or not, we're stocking Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the Twentieth Century, by Steve Conn. It may be pricey, but at least it comes from Oxford, and was on their trade/text list, and not on their full on net-priced assortment. His take is that suburban pressure came from both the left and the right, and grew from distrust of government. From reviewer Michael Carriere: "The businessmen of the Sunbelt saw market forces, not government intervention, as the best way to grow livable communities. This distrust in governmental action was shared by the countercultural actors who fled the cities to rural communes throughout the late 1960s and early ’70s. For such individuals, the city had come to represent all that had gone wrong with American society." Buying a copy from us will ensure that we have a strong urban studies section to browse.

Thanks to the Shepherd Express for highlighting Saturday's event with Chloe Benjamin, author of The Anatomy of Dreams. From Jenni Herrick's Book Preview: "This stirring coming-of-age story explores the murky landscape of the human psyche and forces readers to question the fine line that defines our moral limits. A subtle yet startling debut, The Anatomy of Dreams is both a psychological thriller as well as a love story that will transfix readers all the way to its portentous conclusion."

From the Dial/Urban Milwaukee arts site, Will Stotts, Jr. features Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel in his "booked up" column. He's on board for our previously shared enthusiasm and writes: "Station Eleven is a masterful novel that works on many levels. We are drawn into the mystery of what makes our lives livable and then forced to confront what they would be like without our creature comforts. We leave this work of fiction changed and braced for action, should the worst befall us."

From, editor Bobby Tanzilo's pick is The Teacher Wars, a new release from Dana Goldstein. Allow me to quote one sentence that encapsulates his take: "This extremely engaging and readable history of teaching in America could've been called 'What Comes Around Goes Around,' because as she traces the vicissitudes of teaching across 200 years in the United States, following the changes from a male-dominated to a female-dominated profession to unionization and innovation, she links the changing trends to current trends, helping to show that while we think the approaches of Teach for America, Harlem's Children's Zone and others are new and fresh, most have been tried at least once – and sometimes more – in our history"

Over at Wisconsin Gazette, Lisa Neff celebrates Banned Books Week. They also featured the Associated Press review for Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests. Kim Curtis writes that Waters' newest is "filled with romance and sex, suspense and deceit. Her prose is as strong as ever. She brings her characters and her settings to remarkable life and it's easy to disappear into her version of London's Champion Hill neighborhood — dirt and grime and all." Congrats to Waters and Riverhead for hitting #12 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Over on Lake Effect, Monday's broadcast featured an interview with Rebecca Makkai, author of The Hundred-Year House. From the author: ""It's a story that is in some ways a ghost story, and in some ways not. No ghost is going to pop out at you, but there's always the question of ghosts, who's haunting the place. One of the answers to that question is that we are the ghosts, the readers. We are the ones who have witnessed all of this history. We are the only ones who can put it together. And we're uniquely unable to convey that information to the people who need to know it, and that's the position a ghost is in," But my favorite part is still that it reads backwards.

On Tuesday, Lake Effect featured the already-touted-in-this-post Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven. “Even if we lost everything that we take for granted, if all trappings of civilization were to fall away, I think we would be left with everything that matters," St. John Mandel says. "You know, family, friendship, love, these things that would hopefully survive."

Wednesday brings Joel Greenberg, author of A Feathered River Across the Sky, his history of the passenger prison.

Over on Wisconsin Public Radio, Thursday's guest on Kathleen Dunn was Karen Abbott, author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. From their site: "We look back at the Civil War this hour as one author introduces us to four women who lied, spied, and defied social conventions hoping to help their side to victory. Plus, we’ll learn about the role Wisconsin soldiers played in the historic 1864 Battle of Shy’s Hill."

On Joy Cardin, I caught part of her Monday interview with Liza Long, author of The Price of Silence: A Mom's Perspective on Mental Illness. Long discussed the problems of diagnosis and treatment of the mental health today, which was inspired by her own experience getting help for her bipolar son.

Tuesday's guest was Laurence Steinberg, author of Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence. The take away? "While adolescence may be longer than we used to think, but that it might also be an opportunity for greater learning and development than previously thought."

On Wednesday, Cardin spoke with Zachary Karabell, who recently wrote a Slate magazine piece on the comeback of Indie Bookstores, which I think was inspired by Book Culture opening a branch on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I guess another bookstore (Bank Street) moving instead of closing, to me, is not necessarily a triumph. To me, that lesson is that much of indie bookstore survival is based on real estate.

It's a bookish week for Joy Cardin indeed. Friday she spoke with Emilio De Torre, Director of Youth and Programs at Wisconsin ACLU about Banned Books Week. He discusses why he thinks certain becomes targets and what you can do about this.

On Larry Meiller's show, he spoke on Monday to Chloe Benjamin, author of The Anatomy of Dreams, who appears at Boswell tonight. They talk about dreams, sleep studies.

Over on Central Time, Rob Ferrett and Veronica Rueckert talk to Amin Ghaziani, author of There Goes the Gayborhood. The thesis is that as the LGBT community finds acceptance, the need for discrete neighborhoods fades. A lot of them also succumb to real estate pressure (just like independent bookstores, above). So Boys Town (the old nickname for Lakeview) goes the way of Bronzeville. He says the question is more complicated than simply yes or no. Alas, the publisher has definitively decided that the book is super-short discount and doesn't see it belonging in bookstores. We can order it in for you, but being that our net price is also the list price, at least through our wholesaler, the cost will be higher than list. Don't blame us--blame the publisher and wholesaler, and the declining need to include bookstores in the distribution equation (which of course leads back to another player).

On Wednesday, Central Time spoke to Alec MacGinnis, who wrote an ebook only called The Cynic: The Political Education of Mitch McConnell. I thought that ebooks were available on our website for the Kobo program, but for the life of me, I can't seem to find it on our website.

How's that for a roundup? Of course it may turn out that you saw the book in the Financial Times or heard it on Fresh Air. I'll have to leave it to someone else to do a national roundup.

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