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MADreads

Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Political palate cleanser

book Cover
A review of Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

If the current state of politics in the world is stressing you out, then have I got the book for you. Not only is the politician in this book hard-working and honorable (though certainly not perfect), but there is also deep discussion of cakes and pies and pastries and pizza and tacos! I'm getting hungry just writing about it.

Jun 23, 2020

Finding the luck

Joni Mitchell in Her Own Words cover
Lucky Day Collection

During the last few months while we've been social distancing and keeping close to home there have been times when I just want something new to read right now. And at those times I turn to the wonderful Lucky Day section of Wisconsin's Overdrive collection. On any given day when you click into the collection you'll see a lot of familiar authors like James Patterson and Jodi Picoult and Lee Child, to name a few.

Jun 19, 2020

Gertrude and Alice redrawn

Cover of The Authobiography of Alic
A review of The Authobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein and illustrated by Maira Kalman

I absolutely love Maira Kalman’s artwork. Colorful and sweet with an endearing naivete, her work is like a cotton-candy version of a better life but with melancholic undertones. I love it and I want to live in it. So when I heard Kalman had illustrated one of my favorite books, Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, I was thrilled. This is the crossover event of 2020 as far as I’m concerned.

Jun 18, 2020

Podcast of "The Girls"

Cover of Sadie
A review of Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie is a teenager who is missing. She's been living in an economically devastated town in rural Colorado, raising her younger sister Mattie on her own after their addict mother takes off. Their situation is stark. Then 13-year-old Mattie goes missing and is found murdered. The story follows Sadie's chase to locate her sister's killer and a reporter's race to find Sadie.

Jun 15, 2020

Happily ever after in Hollywood

Cover of Something to Talk About
A review of Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Jo Jones has a lot to think about. The Hollywood screenwriter and former child actress has just signed on pen her biggest project yet, a big budget action flick featuring an iconic American comic book character, while dialing back her involvement in her successful television drama series. She’s bracing for the inevitable blowback that will come when the fanboys hear their favorite comic will be written by a woman, and an Asian American one at that.

Jun 11, 2020

Criminally explained

Cover of Unspeakable Acts: True Tal
A review of Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession by Sarah Weinman

Sarah Weinman has been in and about the crime writing world for years. She's written for the New York Times and Vanity Fair as well as for more genre connected publications like Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and for the CrimeReads site (highly recommended if you're a crime/mystery fan). Her first full length book was about the connection between the book Lolita and the real life kidnapping of Sally Horner in 1948.

Jun 9, 2020

Different leadership

Cover of The Splendid and the Vile:
A review of The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

A behind the scenes look at the private life and idiosyncrasies of Winston Churchill and his circle during his first year as Prime Minister balanced with a behind the scenes look at Hitler’s circle especially Hess, Goring, and Himmler. At one point Larson references a letter from a man lamenting how the press of his position and duties limit him from not doing what he would prefer to do—which is spend time in the country with his wife and children. The writer was Heinrich Himmler.

Jun 8, 2020

War and other drugs

Cover of Cherry
A review of Cherry by Nico Walker

There is a long history -- from Marquis de Sade to Jean Genet to Iceberg Slim -- of the incarcerated writing great books inspired by what got them there. Nico Walker, a former war medic turned heroin-addicted bank robber now doing time in a Kentucky federal prison, has clearly mined his own biography for his debut novel, Cherry, a nasty blister of a book that shows a lot of promise but is ultimately hamstrung by its limited point-of-view.

Jun 2, 2020

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