books

As books editor for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins is well-known for his book reviews. However, his latest project has put him on the other side of that equation

Higgins' first book, Wisconsin Literary Luminaries: From Laura Ingalls to Ayad Akhtar, is a collection of essays about some of the state's most famous writers.

It has been nearly 72 years since the end of World War II. The youngest veterans of that war are entering their 90s and in the time since, history books, movies. and novels have told the story of the war from many different angles. And yet, there are many stories we haven’t heard.

Cliff / Flickr

For nearly a century, people in Janesville, Wisconsin built automobiles. General Motors first set up shop there in 1919, and quickly became the heart of the town. Over the decades, generations of families born and raised in Rock County would go on work at the plant.

But all that changed in 2008, when General Motors shuttered the plant, then its oldest factory in existence. The resulting ripple effect led as many as 9,000 people in the city and surrounding communities to lose their jobs.

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How many of you feel math passed you by once you got beyond arithmetic? It's a feeling many of us have. Dr. Eugenia Cheng says too many of us.

Penguin Random House

Sometimes kids' first brush with heroism comes from the imagination.

Just as Bill Watterson's Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes would dream of chartering unexplored galaxies as 'Spaceman Spiff,' the hero of a new children’s book series by Wisconsin writer Jane Kelley really needs outlets for his continuous creative urges.

Image courtesy of Mary Dowell

Mary Dowell is a well-known figure in the Milwaukee business community. She played a central role at Johnson Controls Inc. for nearly twenty years. Before retiring from the company in 2015, Dowell was vice president of foundation affairs and global community relations. 

Cartoonist Keith Knight juggles a lot of deadlines. He’s the creator of not one, not two, but three different comic strips: The Knight Life, Th(ink) and The K Chronicles. They all straddle the line between what we’d consider mainstream and underground comics.

Penguin Random House

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the official entry of the United States into the First World War. The US had been fighting wars along the Mexico border and in Cuba before it entered the European conflict in 1917.  But it took WWI to turn the United States into the global military power it has become.

Hachette Book Group

For centuries, the constellations have provided a roadmap of the night sky, helping sailors and other voyagers navigate, well before the existence of GPS technology.  Even today, astronomers use constellations to describe the location of stars, comets and other heavenly bodies.

Algonquin Young Readers

In the 1980s and early ‘90s, Andrew McCarthy’s face was instantly recognizable for his acting work in movies such as Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo’s Fire. You can’t mention his name without invoking the term “Brat Pack."

McCarthy was in many other films, as well as director on such high-profile projects as Orange is the New Black and Grace and Frankie. He is also an award-winning travel writer and is editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler.

Maksim Pasko / Fotolia

Does the headline sound too good to be true? Stacy Tornio, author of Plants You Can’t Kill, assures that it’s not. In her new book, Tornio highlights different types of hardy plants for beginner gardeners.

"You basically need to know whether you're putting it in sun or shade, and you know, anyone can figure that out," says Tornio. "But you don't need a lot of like, fancy knowledge or background in gardening. This is truly: pick it up, randomly turn to a plant, and try it." 

Howard Chandler Christy / Wikimedia

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 is one of the most important events in the history of the United States. After four months of painstaking deliberation, the founding fathers emerged with a document that continues to inform how we interpret the laws of the land.

Michelle Brafman

Places like Washington D.C. and New York City get a lot of attention as urban centers. So much so that their suburban surroundings are often overlooked or derided. The late New York City mayor Ed Koch queried, “Have you ever lived in the suburbs? … It’s sterile. It’s nothing. It’s wasting your life.”

Natalie Krug

John Hallis is probably not the first guy you’d expect to write a children’s book with magical butterflies at its heart. Hallis owns and operates a machine shop in Baraboo. But he’s a dad, too. And when his daughter was born, he suddenly found himself taking on the role of a storyteller. 

Halfpoint / Fotolia

Lake Effect has invited some notable authors for younger readers in the studio in the recent past, from national names like Kwame Alexander, to local authors such as Sandy Brehl and Deanna Singh.

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