books

Shorewood Public Library

The idea of community-wide common reads has been gaining steam in recent years. Several Milwaukee area schools - and towns - have organized months- or year-long efforts to get people together to read the same book.

In Shorewood, a successful effort a few years ago with Wisconsin writer Nick Butler’s Shotgun Lovesongs led to another ambitious effort. This year, Shorewood Reads takes on the post-apocalyptic Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. 

http://www.emilymandel.com

The vision of the end of civilization in Emily St. John Mandel’s new novel would be chilling enough – a fast-moving plague from overseas wipes out nearly everyone it touches – even without the real-life Ebola outbreak killing people in Africa.

Her novel, Station Eleven, jumps back and forth between the time leading up to the deadly flu outbreak, and the time after, in which as much as 99 percent of the population is killed.

liamcallanan.com

If there are any themes that fiction readers have warmed to in recent years, they would include Paris and bookshops.  Sometimes, bookshops in Paris. But none of them have woven Milwaukee into that mix - until now. 

Wisconsin novelist Liam Callanan’s new novel features a Milwaukee woman married to a writer who suddenly goes missing.  She and her two adolescent children go looking for him in a journey that leads them to buy a bookshop in Paris.

Department of Commerce collection

Lawrence Baldassaro had been interviewing baseball players of Italian-American heritage for a while when a realization hit him.  "Here I am," he recalled thinking, "the grandson of four Italian immigrants, I teach Italian, I love baseball - why don't I write about Italians in baseball?

"It turned out that virtually nothing had been written about that subject," Baldassaro says.

www.samquinones.com

A report out earlier this month showed a 30% increase in overdoses from opioid use around the country in just the last year.  In Wisconsin, the numbers are even more striking - the state led the nation with a 109% increase in overdoses reported by emergency rooms.

READ: Jump in Overdoses Shows Opioid Epidemic Has Worsened

Sporting News Archives

Steve Rushin has covered thousands of professional and college athletes in his decades as a sportswriter and columnist.  But these days, he's spending a lot of time watching amateur athletes at work - his kids, as they play youth and high school basketball.  And Rushin has taken particular note of the fans around him.

Tony Kushner's 1993 play, Angels in America, is an angry, sprawling meditation on gay life at the height of the AIDS crisis. It won Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and it gave the world a new vocabulary with which to discuss being gay in America.

senteliaolga / Fotolia

Alzheimer’s and other related forms of dementia are increasingly prevalent in much of Western society, as people live longer.  A lot of attention has been paid to how genetics influence our predisposition to Alzheimer’s.  But Doctor Lisa Mosconi says there’s one key component of our environment that we are just beginning to connect more strongly to brain health - eating.

Mike Morbeck / Flickr

Anyone who watches sports - either in person or on TV - has seen them. The fans sitting in Lambeau Field on a 15 degree December day, with their shirts off, bodies covered in green and gold paint. Or the the guy driving down the street in a car painted in the Brewers’ color scheme.

Readers would be forgiven if they believed Kelly Barnhill’s latest collection of stories is aimed at children.

Barnhill is a previous winner of the Newbery Medal, given to children’s book authors, and the collection, called Dreadful Young Ladies, features a delicate dragonfly on its cover. But the stories it contains are full of dark and mature themes, not meant for adolescents or the faint of heart. 

Tom Miller photo

There is a lot in Tom Miller's fantastical new novel that will feel sort of, but not exactly, familiar.  The Philosopher's Flight is set in the United States at the start of World War I.  That was the first war in which air power played a role. But in Miller's novel, flying is the almost exclusive domain of women.  And their flight is not with airplanes, but with the power of empirical philosophy.
 

Penguin Random House

Milwaukee author Nick Petrie has given up his day job. Thanks to the bestselling success of his Peter Ash series, the former contractor and building inspector now puts author in the occupation line on his tax returns. It’s a very welcome change, but one that was a long time coming - about a decade or so.

Petrie says it's still a little strange to not be tethered to the daily work world. "I feel sort of like Wile E. Coyote after he's run off the cliff. My legs are going and I'm trying really hard not to look down."

Simon & Schuster

Lake Effect first talked with writer and Wisconsin native Cynthia Swanson a few years ago, when her debut novel, The Bookseller, was published. It went on to become an award-winning New York Times bestseller.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Jeanne Theoharis has a new book on shelves following the success of her award-winning work, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. She teaches political science  at Brooklyn College.

Doubleday/Penguin Random House

Colson Whitehead has won just about every literary accolade there is for The Underground Railroad: The Pulitzer prize, the Carnegie Medal, and the National Book Award are but three. The book is also a New York Times best seller and it’s being translated into 40 languages.

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