Books

Courtesy of Tim Decker & Vince Prantil / Morgan & Claypool Publishers

Generations of college students have learned from textbooks that are often large, text-heavy, expensive paperweights that can make your eyes glaze over.

But cartoonist Tim Decker and MSOE mechanical engineering professor Vince Prantil have created a unique physics book that engages students through visual learning.

kathiegiorgio.org

The term “rape culture” has been used to describe recent stories of fraternity scandals and the assault allegations against celebrities such as Bill Cosby, Jian Gomeshi, football player Ray Rice and others.

Now, a story that Wisconsin author Kathie Giorgio originally started two decades ago has been published as a response to the increased attention to rape and the attitudes towards its victims.

University Press of Mississippi

Singer and actress Madeline Kahn is often remembered for her roles in Blazing Saddles, Paper Moon and in the Mel Brooks classic, Young Frankenstein. To this day, the late Kahn is thought of as both a comedic genius and something of a pioneer.

But 15 years after her death, new generations of film, musical theater and comedy enthusiasts are still discovering and learning from her work. 

"It's a measure of her gift...of her legacy that you don't have to have grown up on her to take delight in what she did," says biographer William V. Madison.

If hooked early, kids can become voracious readers.

It’s a sentiment that authors Faith Harkey and Marcia Wells agree with.

"Most readers want to connect with the protagonist," Harkey says. "Effective literature, whether its for children or adults, is effective partly because of that universality - that there is something accessible in that character that we can all connect with."

While some might have dreams of breaking earth-shaking news at a magazine like The New Yorker, Mary Norris’s aspirations were different.

Norris initially wanted to be a writer at the iconic literary news and culture magazine, but her first job there was in the archives. It was from there that she saw her dream job across the office on the copy desk, a place where she has remained ever since.

Norris has been with The New Yorker since 1978, the last 22 years as a query proofreader.

Organizers of the Shorewood Reads program hoped the city-wide shared reading event might help shape the community.

Nickolas Butler’s book, Shotgun Lovesongs, was selected for the community reading program.

Not only did the book impact the community, but also the author.

Workman Publishing

Illustrator Jessica Hagy thinks the well-known book on war strategy is a metaphor for just about everything.

Chinese general Sun Tzu's The Art of War is thought of as a classic of its time, covering various aspects of military strategy and philosophy. But while it is ostensibly about fighting a war, the text has been influential among people in other arenas, from sports to business to personal relationships.

tofuttibreak, flickr

From The Botany of Desire to The Joy of Cooking to Kitchen Confidential, books about food fill our bookshelves - if not literally our stomachs.

Recently, a sharp increase in violence has galvanized Milwaukee communities to look for solutions. Another perennial hot button topic in the city is racism, and the segregation it often causes.

It’s a topic Jennifer Morales knows well. Morales lived in Milwaukee for more than 20 years. It is where she raised her family, and where she was the first Hispanic to serve on the Milwaukee School Board.

Ali Eminov

Since 2009, Little Free Libraries have grown from one in the front yard of a house in Wisconsin to over 25,000 little libraries in over 80 countries.

Todd Bol, from Hudson, built the first one six years ago as a memorial to his mother. Today, their popularity has soared far beyond the borders of Wisconsin. There are Little Free Libraries around the world.

boswell.indiebound.com

At 32 years old, Milwaukeean Phil DiMeo was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa – an inherited, degenerative eye disease that leads to severe vision impairment, and often complete blindness.

But for 14 years, DiMeo hid the diagnosis from all but a handful of people, and continued to work and live his life as though there was nothing wrong with his sight.

gregtrine.com/stevenarntson.com

As anyone who’s spent time in a bookstore knows, there’s no such thing as just a “children’s book.” There are board books for the youngest readers, picture books, chapter books, young adult novels – and there’s middle-grade fiction.

In some ways, that last category is the hardest to define, because middle-graders themselves change so much in such a short period of time.

Workman Publishing

The English language is usually a pretty useful tool. Most of us don't have too much trouble finding a word to describe what we're talking about.

But it's a rapidly changing world in which we live, and ideas often come along that defy easy explanation. Like, say, the use of microscopic components to build machines, it's a concept called nanorobotics.

A new book by Lizzie  Skurnick is about neologisms, names for things that didn't have names before.

markwisniewski.net

The breakout novel by Milwaukee native Mark Wisniewski is told from the point of view of two characters.

Arkansas native Jan hopes to break into a career as a horse racing jockey and Deesh is a young African-American man fleeing a crime he was a party to in New York City. You wouldn't expect their lives to intersect.

andrealochen.com

  Fiction draws on the imagination of its author. But even within that very basic idea, Wisconsin writer Andrea Lochen had to tap into the imaginary in a major way for her new novel.

There was her own imagination in crafting the story, which centers on a small-town Wisconsin woman coming to terms with her toddler's imaginary friends.

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