books

This year, the National Book Awards ceremony comes at a time when the nation has rarely seemed more divided. The bitter presidential campaign exposed a fault line in the United States that will not easily be repaired. And while there's no one simple answer, Lisa Lucas, head of the National Book Foundation, recommends one way to understand the other side: read.

"My life is small" she says, "and I think books are a way to make your life larger."

Mitch Teich

A guitar player receives a letter from a record company, saying his band's demo tape was very well-received, and asking the group to come in for a meeting.  Only problem is, the letter arrives 33 years late, and not surprisingly, the band has long split up.

Penguin Random House

Presidents are often remembered for their accomplishments in office. George Washington led us in the wake of the Revolution, Thomas Jefferson expanded the United States territory, Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves. The list goes on.

One president that perhaps isn’t given much credit in the history books is Herbert Hoover. Hoover is known for being president as we slid into the Great Depression, and little else.

One local author wants to change that.

Photo by Kevin Casey/NFLPhotoLibrary

It's hard to find a Wisconsin sports fan that doesn't have strong feelings about Brett Favre.  Some love him for his sixteen seasons of throwing touchdown passes for the Green Bay Packers.  Some are still smarting from the unceremonious way he left the Packers, and for his two seasons with the rival Minnesota Vikings.  And some are, well, strongly conflicted.

Gray & Company Publishers, greyco.com

While the movie, Major League, is about the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukeeans have long claimed it as their own. Partly because longtime Brewers announcer Bob Uecker has a memorable role, but mostly because many of the baseball scenes were filmed in Milwaukee's County Stadium.

John Plumbe/Midnightdreary / Wikimedia

Journalist and author Margaret Fuller was one of the most famous women of the early 19th century. Her life was an extraordinary mix of pioneering accomplishments. She was the first female correspondent in the U.S., the first book reviewer for a U.S. paper and an activist for a myriad of causes.

Fuller’s seminal book Woman in the Nineteenth Century is widely considered the first major feminist work published in the U.S. Yet, so much of her life remains a mystery.

Simon & Schuster Publishers

There are some movies people just love to quote.  For many of them, the film mirrors something in real life, but some movies are just so eminently quotable that they seem fit to use in just about any occasion. Case in point, "The Princess Bride," the classic 1987 Rob Reiner film.

The film, about the hero Westley's attempt to rescue Princess Buttercup, is a whimsical fairytale that attracted only spotty attention in theaters 29 years ago, but has proved a lasting winner for filmgoers - and for the people who made it. 

http://www.northstarpress.com/store/p722/Cinnamon_Girl.html

The song Cinnamon Girl, by Neil Young, likely brings listeners of a certain age back to a distinctive point in time...  the end of the 1960s, when opposition to the Vietnam War was reaching a peak, and the country seemed on the verge of coming apart at the seams.

Mitch Teich

When Milwaukee writer Mel Miskimen's mother died, somewhat unexpectedly, a few years ago, it shook the foundation of her family.

At 57, Miskimen had not had to deal closely with the death of a loved one before. The loss left her, and her father, rudderless.

Enter: Seamus, Miskimen's cheerful Labrador retriever. Over the next year, Seamus played a key role in bringing father and daughter together, and getting each of them through their grief.

Photo courtesy of Ellen Alden

Before one fateful trip to her attic, writer Ellen Alden knew next-to-nothing about the life of her ancestors, save for the fact that her red hair was a throwback to her family's life in Ireland. 

However things changed rapidly after Alden found nineteen old letters in a leather box written by her great-great-grandfather Florence Burke to his family during the Civil War.

runningalovestory.com

New Jersey freelance writer Jen Miller last appeared on Lake Effect in a Fit For You segment tackling the myth of the “runner’s body.” Her New York Times article, Crossing the Finish Line 25 Pounds Lighter, addressed Miller’s journey through weight gain and loss while competing in marathons. 

Christina Bodznick

For many of us, there is a certain allure to the Arctic. But for author and sled dog trainer, Blair Braverman, the appeal has nearly always extended to something deeper. 

marykubica.com

Illinois writer Mary Kubica attracted fans and received plenty of critical praise for her first two suspense novels, The Good Girl and Pretty Baby. And those fans haven’t been disappointed by her latest, either.

Don’t You Cry is the story of a Chicago woman’s sudden disappearance and the unexpected revelations her roommate learns in the search to find out what happened. 

Lauren Fox / laurenfoxwriter.com

Lauren Fox's third novel, Days of Awe, is a first person narrative that sends it's protagonist, Isabel, on a very difficult journey.

Throughout the course of a year, the character loses her best friend and her marriage. Isabel also metaphorically loses her daughter, a fairly typical teenager with the mood swings.

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/250258/smoke-by-dan-vyleta/

What would our world be like if every emotion we had was visible on our bodies? If our triumphs, but also our indiscretions, were revealed to the naked eye?

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