New Wisconsin-Connected Books to Cozy Up With This Fall

Plus three local literary events to catch this season.


THIS STORY IS PART OF MILWAUKEE MAGAZINE‘S FALL ARTS GUIDE. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE, OR FIND THE FULL PACKAGE IN THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE.



 
 
1.

The Art of the Break by Mary Wimmer

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN PRESS | OUT ON OCT. 4

After her father’s sudden death, Charlotte Sobczak leaves Milwaukee and returns to her hometown, the fictional Falls River, Wisconsin, to take over her father’s cheese factory. While the cheesemaking sections are delightful (and appetizing), Charlotte’s story is full of heartache. Returning to her childhood home brings up the trauma of a lost sister and mother, all while she struggles to give her own daughter a better life. Set in the 1970s, the novel conjures up the lost feel of a Wisconsin small town before internet connectivity and 24-hour news. It’s a charming, enjoyable and insightful portrait.

Photo courtesy of University of Wisconsin Press



 
 
2.

2. A History of Milwaukee Drag by B.J. Daniels and Michail Takach

THE HISTORY PRESS | OUT NOW

This new book by legendary Milwaukee drag queen B.J. Daniels and historian Michail Takach covers nearly 140 years of drag history in the city. Written in chronological order, some of the most engaging sections cover the late 19th to mid-20th century, filled with dramatic stories of tavern raids, moral panics over masquerade balls, “sexual psychopath” laws and Milwaukee’s somewhat surprising and impactful role in the long and ongoing evolution of drag.

Photo courtesy of The History Press


 
 
3.

Still True by Maggie Ginsberg

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN PRESS | OUT ON SEPT. 27

Lib Hanson is 58 and lives in a house 2 miles from her husband in the fictional town of Anthem, Wisconsin. The odd arrangement isn’t perfect, but it works – until Lib’s 40-year-old son who she abandoned as a baby shows up on her porch, furious and needing somewhere to stay. Having never told her husband about her son, Lib worries that his presence might destroy her marriage. The novel weaves this story together with that of another, younger couple, deftly matching themes of truth and deception, and what people will do to hold onto the ones they love.

Photo courtesy of University of Wisconsin Press



 
 
4.

4. Slenderman by Kathleen Hale  

GROVE PRESS | OUT NOW 

Kathleen Hale, a young-adult novelist who grew up in Milwaukee, spent seven years researching the 2014 stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two of her classmates in Waukesha. Notably, Hale did hours of interviews with Morgan Geyser, one of the two convicted teens. This is the first long-form account of that crime and does a great deal to quell the sensationalist story that sprung up around it. Hale explores Geyser’s motivations behind the attack, delving into issues of childhood mental illness and psychosis.

Photo courtesy of Grove Press


 

Illustration by Getty Images

Fall Literary Events

1. Poetry in the Park 

SEPT. 13 | JUNEAU PARK

Hear poets, like Janet Jennerjohn and Terimarie Degree, read their work while the sun sets. Bring your own chairs, snacks and drinks. 

2. Joe Meno  

OCT. 19 | BOSWELL BOOK COMPANY

Meno, whose novel The Great Perhaps was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, is coming to Milwaukee to talk about his latest book. 

3. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Manuscripts Lecture Series 

NOV. 17 | HAGGERTY MUSEUM OF ART

John Garth, Tolkien expert and author of The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, will be analyzing early Lord of the Rings manuscripts in light of the author’s experiences during World War II.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s September issue.

Find it on newsstands or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop

Be the first to get every new issue. Subscribe.

Comments

comments

Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.