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Friday, April 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 28.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily

BOOKS

Wisconsin Talk is a smart, amusing look at our state's linguistic quirks

Wisconsin Talk: Linguistic Diversity in the Badger State (University of Wisconsin Press) sports a whimsical cover, whose colorful speech bubbles contain "uff da," "ainna" and other phrases a non-Wisconsinite might confuse with candy brand names. Nevertheless, the book is a serious exploration of our state's linguistic history. >More
 Kate Atkinson's Life After Life treats its heroine to multiple existences

Each chapter of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life is a do-over. In the first chapter, which begins in England in 1910, main character Ursula dies at birth; the next chapter retells Ursula's birth, but she lives and thrives. >More
 A Book A Week: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

I never describe books as "beach reads" because I'll read anything on a beach. But I have to say, if I were on a beach, Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins would be a very satisfying choice. On a beach in Italy would be even better. Oh well. >More
 Locavore lit: Summer brings novels to savor by Madison authors Susanna Daniel and Kelly Harms

One of the pleasures of living in Wisconsin is its bounty of delights for locavores, from hoppy microbrews to rich cheeses and brilliantly colored produce at farmers' markets. But why limit yourself to just eating locally? It's rewarding to be a literary locavore, too. There's a fresh crop of books by Madison authors out this summer, including new titles by Susanna Daniel and Kelly Harms. >More
 A taste of the life with the Madison Writers' Studio

Budding writers have a chance to learn from Susanna Daniel and fellow Madisonian Michelle Wildgen (author of You're Not You, But Not for Long and the forthcoming Bread and Butter) through their new joint venture, the Madison Writers' Studio. Classes begin this fall at both authors' homes and will include narrative nonfiction and two levels of fiction writing. >More
 A Book A Week: Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh writes huge, sprawling historical novels about India and South Asia. I read The Glass Palace last year and loved it. Sea of Poppies is the first volume of a trilogy set in India in the early 19th century, during the First Opium War. >More
 A Book A Week: The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

Reading Jami Attenberg's The Middlesteins is like having a long gossip with your nosy cousin. Get some coffee and some cheesecake, pull up a chair, and settle in. You'll hear about everyone in the Middlestein family (Edie and Richard, their adult children and their grandchildren), but mostly you will hear about Edie, Edie and her weight, Edie and her secret eating, Edie and her diabetes, Edie and Richard's impending divorce. >More
 Little Free Libraries have created a city of book curators

Becky Abel sat on her front porch on a quiet street just off of Williamson Street and talked about her father. An English professor, he owned an extensive library of thousands of volumes, which Abel inherited when he died earlier this year. >More
 Mystery to Me opens on Monroe Street

Madison's buy-local ethos will face a curious test when Mystery to Me opens at 1863 Monroe St. on June 15. Joanne Berg retired from a long career in higher education to open the bookshop, something she's wanted to do for a long time. She bought the inventory and shelving from Booked for Murder, a long-running store specializing in mystery novels. But she would have gone with plan B -- "retire and maybe do some consulting" -- had she not noticed a For Lease sign on Monroe Street while walking to Trader Joe's from her nearby home. >More
 A Book A Week: The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

Buried under all the mess in Kate Morton's The Distant Hours is an interesting story: As an adolescent during the London Blitz, Meredith is evacuated to a dilapidated castle in the country, the home of a writer and his three arty eccentric daughters. >More
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