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MADreads

Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

The cost of solitude

Cover of The Stranger in the Woods:
A review of The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

What a discussion this book makes. One mention of the Maine Hermit and people are either outraged or enthralled. I'm relatively enthralled, not with the Maine Hermit per se, but with the details shared in this book. There is great investigative writing here, and interesting historical research. The story and details of a man who hid out in the Maine woods for more than 27 years without getting caught or sick or eaten by a bear is a compelling one, to say the least. 

Sep 25, 2017

Forever Fall

Cover of Bella's Fall Coat
A review of Bella's Fall Coat by Lynn Plourde

It's fall! And Bella, like so many four and five year olds, CANNOT sit still. All she wants to do is be outside. She whirls and twirls and crinkles and crackles in the leaves, she stretches and reaches, picks and plucks fall apples, but her favorite fall coat is becoming too small. Thanks goodness for grandmas. This beautifully illustrated picture book will have your toddler whirling and twirling with it's vivid language, but also might help start a conversation about how sadly, not all things like favorite coats and seasons last for ever.

Sep 22, 2017

Sweet Anticipation for October 2017

A review of New Titles by

September saw the start of the fall publishing season, and October sees the industry hitting its stride. The theme this month is big:  big names, big print runs and big hype. For readers, it’s a bounty of options across genres and ages. So make room on your holds lists, set aside some reading time, and prepare to settle down with your pumpkin spice latte, because there’s bound to be something for everyone this month. 

Sep 18, 2017

Horror and Hope

Cover of Copper Sun
A review of Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

Sharon M. Draper did an outstanding job reminding and educating us about slavery in the United States by crafting this one of a kind story about a 15 year old girl named Amari. Based on Amari’s struggles with being an young African American women in the early 1700’s, Copper Sun gives you the raw and unfiltered look at slavery. It gives the readers the brutal truth in which should never be forgotten. Amari who once lived a beloved life in her peace filled African village, Ziari, got tore apart and forced to live a nightmare that never seemed to find morning.

Sep 15, 2017

Steampunk Newsies meets Annie

Cover of Newsprints
A review of Newsprints by Ru Xu

Newsprints by Ru Xu features girls as newsboys, strained race relations and a serious look at robot civil rights in what I would describe as a steampunk variation on Annie! The story is beautifully drawn with complicated gender roles and a somewhat mysterious locale and setting.

Sep 13, 2017

First comes marriage, then comes love?

Cover of Duchess Deal
A review of Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

The Duke of Ashbury needs a wife—any wife, really. Terribly disfigured on the battlefield, the once handsome duke has retreated to his own solitude and never appears in the light of day. But he needs an heir, and the prospect of venturing into London’s brutal social scene with a face that makes children weep doesn’t appeal. So when seamstress Emma Gladstone shows up on his doorstep one evening—in a wedding dress, no less—he does the logical thing and immediately proposes marriage.

Sep 12, 2017

Write Local

A review of Pinney Mini Book Festival by

On September 23rd, the Pinney Library will hold it's fourth annual Pinney Mini Book Festival connecting local authors and patrons. In addition to a local author presentation of 5-10 authors, Pinney will host a panel session comprised of 3 successful authors, editors, and/or publishers. We hope this will further foster community and collaboration among local budding authors who are honing their skills and marketing their work.

Sep 11, 2017

Shhhh!

Cover of Be Quiet!
A review of Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

In Be Quiet! Rupert, a mouse, wants to create his very own wordless book. His friends are game, but unfortunately, they won't stop talking about it, filling the book with more and more words and making Rupert more and more frustrated. This book is hilarious, introduces some wonderful vocabulary, and takes advantage of every part of the book, from the cover to the endpapers. It's perfect for elementary school-aged children.

Sep 8, 2017

Go Big Read

Cover of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir
A review of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and a Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Each year Madison Public Library partners with UW-Madison to extend the perennially popular Go Big Read program into the broader community with book discussion groups and programs at our libraries.

There will be a keynote event at the Memorial Union Theater featuring a panel of UW-Madison faculty members. But you can also read it for yourself, join a book discussion, or do some deeper exploration of the topic by delving into suggested further reading titles curated by library staff.

Sep 7, 2017

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