books

Harper Collins Publishers

Humans are not perfect.  We all know that very well by the time we get to be adults.  But part of the pain of adolescence is coming to terms with the fact that our parents, whom we might have idolized in our young childhood, are as imperfect as anyone.

Photo courtesy of David Howell

 

It takes a special relationship with biking - and yourself - to embark on a solo bike tour from Seattle, Washington all the way to Milwaukee. That’s exactly what Milwaukee native David Howell did, and his journaling during that experience spawned a book, The Descent Into Happiness: A Bicycling Journey over the Cascades and Rockies and across the Great Plains.

Mitch Teich

Writer Kwame Alexander has penned more than a dozen books for young readers. His novel-in-verse, The Crossover, won the Newbery Medal in 2015. It tells the story of two basketball playing twin brothers, and was followed up by another novel-in-verse, Booked, which has a soccer theme. 

Michael / Fotolia

The issues facing the Great Lakes are often referred to in chronological terms. From the cryptosporidium outbreak that affected Milwaukee water in 1993 to the suffocating invasions of - first, zebra mussels, then quagga mussels. Plus the decline of the lake trout and perch population, and the fall in water levels are key problems we face today.

In 2014, Time magazine faced public outcry for including the word feminist in its Worst Words Poll, which asked readers what word they felt should be banned in 2015. The magazine apologized for the “execution” of the poll, but the controversy speaks to the many, mixed emotions that the word often elicits.

Susan Bence

Plenty of people like nothing more than experiencing nature. Shorewood native and author Pete Fromm realized he was one of those people.

Fromm's, who lives in Montana, love for nature has resulted in five Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards.

He says his parents planted that seed - perhaps unknowingly - through family camping trips.

Brickboys/Splunge Comunications

A few years ago, we introduced you to the authors of a project to chronicle the oral history of Milwaukee’s punk and alternative music scene.  The interviews from that project, called “The Cease is Increase” have now yielded a new book that builds on Steve Nodine's earlier publication.

In a time when the political climate is anything but pastoral, sometimes what we need is a chance to retreat to the countryside for a relaxing dose of…drama, an illicit love affair and a violent murder. 

Even if you are entirely happy with the state of world affairs circa 2017, the idea of disappearing can be alluring - especially in the midst of a Wisconsin winter. But the disappearance at the heart of novelist Idra Novey’s new book extends beyond that romantic notion of disappearing for a while.

The name T Bone Burnett is almost synonymous with the word legendary. You could also use the words innovative, brilliant and visionary.

Burnett catapulted into the public consciousness with the soundtrack from the Coen Brother’s film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but writer Lloyd Sachs says Burnett had been hugely influential years before that movie came out - both as a producer and as a singer / songwriter in his own right.

Milwaukee writer Lesley Kagen has been a regular guest on Lake Effect ever since her first novel, Whistling in the Dark, was published a decade ago. In these past 10 years, Kagen has published another 7 novels, most set in Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

Istimages / Fotolia

It’s easy to type a word into Google and get a brief definition. However, using a physical dictionary is an entirely different experience. 

Steve Kleinedler can relate to both the online and the physical experiences as the editor of the American Heritage Dictionary, which recently issued its fifth edition with more than 400 heretofore undefined words. 

Much of writer Emily Fridlund’s new novel, A History of Wolves, plays out in a remote part of a lonely town in northern Minnesota. But anyone who reads it could probably substitute the north woods of Wisconsin as an appropriate image.

Check cashing stores and payday loan centers have a checkered reputation, to put it mildly. Critics say their high interest rates and fees take advantage of people who are already financially disadvantaged. But the truth is, these alternative financial systems are proliferating in Wisconsin and around the country.

Writer Lisa Servon wondered why. Servon is a professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania and her new book is called The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives.

For someone who is not himself a combat veteran, Milwaukee writer Nick Petrie sure gets it.

Last year, his debut novel, The Drifter, came out to great acclaim. The book was a thriller, and featured fictional Wisconsin native Peter Ash, a veteran of multiple tours of duty with the Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq. And while he made it back to Wisconsin sound in body, his mind was less intact.

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