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Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

Life in the jungle of love

How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo, co-author of He's Just Not That Into You, is a book that attempts to tackle the massive conundrum of single life for women: It's important to be happy while single, but who wants to spend time working on being happy and single when you can spend time finding a man to make you happy? And that, quite frankly, is the downfall of this book for me, though it might serve as satisfying chick-lit for the masses. Tuccillo, one of HBO's Emmy Award-winning executive story editor's for "Sex and the City," puts her personal spin on the single . . .
Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

Book Preview

The United States is lamentably behind the Western and Eastern nations that have already elected powerful female leaders. And despite the dogged perseverance with which she attempted to earn a victory, Hillary Clinton's defeat in the presidential primaries earlier this year helps continue this embarrassing legacy. When Vermont's former governor Madeleine Kunin published her book Pearls, Politics & Power: How Women Can Win and Lead more than four months ago, not only was Clinton very much in the race, but she seemed set to win. Instead of dealing a decisive blow to the glass ceiling that keeps women in America . . .
Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

The Many Modes of Tom Waits

Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen all suffer from genius exhaustion. They are hip nostalgia. Neil Young's superb Greendale went into so many different idioms (album, film, novel, comic book) that our short-attention culture couldn't manage its complexity. It was lost in translation. The Stones, Police and other rock brands are on Viagra tours, artificially getting it up. Weather Report is bringing back fusion that never should have existed and still doesn't if you want to authentically get down with jazz or rock. Tom Waits jumps out in front of all of them by scuttling up from the subterranean nether culture that has permitted him to grow artistically without suffering the kind of fame that can force one to keep going when it is long past . . .
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

(Oxford University Press), by Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu

Goldsmith and Wu, law professors at Harvard and Columbia, were always skeptical of the cyber utopianism of the 1990s with its delusions of a worldwide web without laws or corporate ownership, a Freedonia of the imagination. In the new edition of their important analysis of order and the Internet, the authors
Monday, Aug. 18, 2008

Book Preview

For tangible proof of water's life affirming significance one doesn't have to go very far; examining the continual rediscovery and reinvention of Milwaukee's rivers will suffice. Whether it's early settlers drawn to the rivers' abundance of wild rice and waterfowl, fur traders looking for profitable inroads into Wisconsin's luxuriant wilderness, feuding founders using the rivers as battlegrounds or city officials seeking to transform them . . .
Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008

by Christopher Duggan

Italy is a country of many distinct regions, mutually incomprehensible dialects, squabbling political parties and great artistic fertility. The history of Italy is a lot to fit into one book, even if limited to the past two centuries, but British historian Christopher Duggan manages in around 600 well-written pages. One of his persistent themes is the country's doubtful search for identity. Even Mussolini failed. The dictator . . .
Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008

Searching for Ancient Psychedelia

Anyone who encountered the Lotus Eaters while reading Homer already suspects that mind-altering drugs flourished on the fringes of the ancient Greek world, the matrix for much of what we call civilization. In The Chemical Muse: Drug Use and the Roots of Western Civilization (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's Press), D.C.A. Hillman argues that the Lotus Eaters weren't confined to one isolated island but were in the mainstream of Greek and Roman society. In other words, Haight Ashbury in 1967 had nothing on Athens in 300 B.C. With degrees in the classics and bacteriology, Hillman is interested in both the natural world and the cultivated garden of humanity. The convergence makes stuffy academics uncomfortable. As the Madison author tells it, he originally hoped to present his findings on ancient drug use in his doctoral dissertation at the
Monday, Aug. 11, 2008

Tonight @ the Downer Avenue Schwartz Bookshop - 7 p.m.

Modern-day cautionary tales about pharmaceuticals are commonplace, but Dirk Wittenborn’s new novel, Pharmakon, sets the clock back to the early ’50s, a less medicated time. The book follows a Yale professor who creates what seems to be a cure for depression and insanity, but instead yields tragic, violent . . .
Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008

Tonight @ the Shorewood Schwartz Bookshop - 7 p.m.

As HBO’s “Big Love” attests, the Mormon world is filled with dramatic intrigue, intrigue which author David Ebershoff also taps in his just-released suspense novel The 19th Wife. Ebershoff’s book intertwines two stories—one about a wayward wife of a powerful polygamist in the 1800s, and another . . .
Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008

Tonight @ the Shorewood Schwartz Bookshop - 7 p.m.

Spanning the first half of the 19th century, Ellen Baker’s debut novel, Keeping the House, follows an extended Wisconsin family through generations, focusing particularly on a 1950s housewife who, unable to conceive children, makes a point of revitalizing an unkempt house that has been passed . . .

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