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MADreads

Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean photo
Book Festival Event

At the 2018 Cheryl Rosen Weston Memorial Lecture, Susan Orlean, hailed as a “national treasure” by The Washington Post and the acclaimed bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—our libraries.

November 12, 2018

Bedtime beats

Cover of Hip-Hop Lollipop
A review of Hip-Hop Lollipop by Susan McElroy Montanari

Two girls, Lollipop and her sister Tasha are both dancing to their favorite tunes as their parents remind them it is time to slow down, settle and get ready for bed. The language of Montanari’s Hip-Hop lullaby dances across the page in perfect meter. Pinkney’s soft, fluid illustrations provide pitch perfect movement as he depicts this warm family moment as simultaneously universal (how to get energetic youngsters to bed) and unique (to hip-hop, techno and dance fans).

November 9, 2018

Madams, morality and the mob

Cover of Empire of Sin: A Story of
A review of Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder and the Battle for Modern New Orleans by Gary Krist

One of my current favorite tv shows has wound down for its second season. The last episode of The Deuce was on this past Sunday and I'm already feeling the loss. Especially since this last season has been stellar. So this was a perfect time to discover another history of an era of vice, corruption and people struggling just to make it through. Empire covers New Orleans history and culture from the 1880s to the 1930s and reading it while immersing myself in the sex-trade industry of 1970s New York made for a nicely synergistic experience.

November 7, 2018

Au pair beware

Cover of The Perfect Nanny
A review of The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

“The baby is dead.”

That’s the first sentence.

Here’s a suspense thriller that puts it all out there from the get-go. Generally unconcerned with twists or secret motives, The Perfect Nanny really isn’t for you if you’re craving an old-fashioned who-done-it. But if you want a psychological horror show that is as literary as it is tawdry, Slimani serves it up on a platinum platter.

November 5, 2018

It's a scholarship program, darn it!

Cover of The Accidental Beauty Quee
A review of The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Charlotte Gorman and her twin Ginny could not be more different. Where Charlotte favors Harry Potter t-shirts and jeans, Ginny wouldn't be caught out in public (or on her Instagram feed) in anything less then full makeup and fashion-forward outfits. And where Charlotte is an elementary school librarian, Ginny is a beauty pageant professional. And it's at Ginny's latest pageant, Miss American Treasure, where their two disparate lives collide.

November 2, 2018

Love in a digital age

Cover of My Favorite Half-Night Sta
A review of My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

This is another great romantic comedy from the writing duo Christina Lauren. Millie, a true crime professor, and her four male friends/colleagues decide to wade into the cesspit of online dating together, and when Millie accidentally matches with her friend Reid, chaos ensues. Anyone who has tried online dating will commiserate with Millie and her friends as they struggle to find love online. This book was laugh out loud funny, sweet, and I gobbled it up in one sitting. Recommended for fans of Helen Hoang, Sally Thorne, and Penny Reid.

October 25, 2018

Wisconsin Book Fest goes on

Cover of We Can't Breathe
We Can't Breathe by Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. For eleven years, he was an editor at The Washington Post, where he also wrote a syndicated column on politics, popular culture, and social issues, and he served for ten years as the editor in chief of The Crisis, the NAACP's flagship journal of politics, culture, and ideas.

October 24, 2018

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