Boswell Books

Random House

The last time Lake Effect spoke with writer Adam Johnson, his novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, had recently been released to some critical acclaim.

Penguin Random House

If you don’t know anything about Alexandra Petri’s column for the Washington Post, the fact that it’s called “Compost” should tip you off.  It’s a humor column, at least most of the time, appearing multiple times a week online and weekly in print.

Petri grew up partly in Fond du Lac and partly in Washington, D.C., while her dad, Tom Petri, represented his Wisconsin district in Congress.

Lauren Fox /

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.

We’re in a racially charged period in the country’s history – going from a high point – the nation’s first African American president – to a low, in the killing of nine African American people at a church in South Carolina last week.

It is obviously not the first time race has been a contentious issue in the United States.  Wisconsin native Andrew Maraniss looks back at a little known story from the Civil Rights era in his new book.

"Going to those places...his major concern was was he going to get shot and killed out on the basketball court," says Maraniss.

Michael Perry


Michael Perry has been known  for his non-fiction work about his life in rural Western Wisconsin. He has accumulated a mass of fans around the world drawn to stories touching on topics from raising poultry to parenting.

After writing his first children's book, Perry is making his first attempt at a novel geared towards adults with his latest book, The Jesus Cow.

Boswell Books

For those wanting to learn more about our planet and those surrounding us, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago has been a go-to spot. The Manfred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee is a great place to go when it’s not dark enough to see the night sky, or if you’d like to learn more about what you’re seeing.

But it’s not the only planetarium in Wisconsin.  In the tiny town of Monico there’s a unique planetarium created by a unique man. It’s the Kovac Planetarium and it is the creation of  Frank Kovac, Junior.

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.

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.

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.