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Lake & Island Notes                                November 2013

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Friday, Dec. 6th
Along with many area businesses we will be open until 8pm for an evening of holiday shopping!
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Featured Selection
2013 Man Booker
Prize Winner!

orphan train cover image
The Luminaries 
by Eleanor Catton

Twelve men meet at the Crown Hotel in Hokitika, New Zealand, in January, 1866. A thirteenth, Walter Moody, an educated man from Edinburgh who has come here to find his fortune in gold, walks in. As it unfolds, the interlocking stories and shifting narrative perspectives of the twelve--now thirteen--men bring forth a mystery that all are trying to solve, including Walter Moody, who has just gotten off the Godspeed ship with secrets of his own that intertwine with the others' concerns. Primarily, The Luminaries is an action-adventure, sprawling detective story, superbly plotted, where the Crown Hotel men try to solve it, while sharing secrets and shame of their own.

The layout of the book is stellar: the spheres of the skies and its astrological charts. One doesn't need to understand the principles and mathematics of astrology, but it is evident that knowledge of this pseudoscience would add to the reading experience, as it provides the structure and frame of the book. The characters' traits can be found in their individual sun signs (such as the duality of a Gemini). The drawings of charts add to the mood, and the chapters get successively shorter after the long Crown chapter. The cover of the book illustrates the phases of the moon, from full moon to sliver, alluding to the waning narrative lengths as the story progresses.

Author Eleanor Catton is only 28 years old and has just won the 2013 Man Booker Prize for this masterfully told story! At over 800 pages, this is a hefty read, but Catton's descriptions and characters are bound to hold your attention.

Featured Selection



Gigi and Her Girl
by Kathy Brandt
 
Those who have visited our store and fallen in love with our miniature husky, Kia, will fall in love with this book. Inspired by the real life antics of the author’s daughter and her beloved dog, Gigi, the story is told from the alternating points-of-view of the little girl and her dog. They don’t quite see things the same way! Ay, there’s the rub! The author has also done the beautiful illustrations that accompany the rhyming text.
orphan train cover image
The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

We love an author who takes time and care to perfect her art. Donna Tartt roared onto the literary scene in 1992 with her internationally bestselling psychological thriller The Secret History. While her plot and characters were compelling, elegantly drawn and deeply textured, it was her absolutely stunning use of the English language that thrilled many readers. An agonizingly long 11 years later she published her second novel, The Little Friend, which turned out to be a disappointment to many. Quel dommage! How could this happen to such a gifted writer? Now, ten years later, Tartt has brought us The Goldfinch.  With great relief, we can say that the Donna Tartt, who wrote The Secret History, has been returned to earth by the aliens who had abducted her. Described by many as Dickensian, The Goldfinch is a masterful, sprawling, character-driven drama. Tartt’s uncanny ability with language is evident throughout in her settings, descriptions, characters and insights. She manages to make even the most mundane activities interesting and alive in the reader’s mind. We are happy to wait as long as it takes for her next book!     

Other Links of Interest
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Bayfield, Wisconsin
Island Notes Blog
Greetings!

One of the things we most enjoy with the arrival of the so-called “off-season” is the opportunity to begin our winter events. During the summer our local friends are 24/7 trying to make their nut to see them through the long winter. Our visiting friends are busy with the outdoor wonders of the Chequamegon Bay and the Apostle Islands. And we are busy being an old-fashioned book shop. But after AppleFest, which attracts tens of thousands in early October, things slow waaaaaaaay down and we all have time for other things.
 
A couple of weeks ago we filled the Big Water Café and Coffee Roasters across the street for one of our favorite authors William Kent Krueger. Kent had just a few days before been awarded the 2013 Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for Adult Fiction for his novel Ordinary Grace. He is especially well known for his Cork O’Connor mystery series set in a small Northwoods town on the periphery of an Ojibway reservation. Hmmmmmm, sound familiar? Ordinary Grace is a stand-alone work of fiction (featured in these notes several months ago) that takes him to a new literary level. He signed books and chatted with readers late into the afternoon notwithstanding serious competition from a Green Bay Packers game!
 
Last Sunday over 60 folks packed the Bayfield Heritage Association to hear Lori Schneider, Jeff Rennicke and Suz Thomson talk about their amazing climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The occasion was the presentation of their book More than a Mountain – Lori compiled the stories, Jeff did the photography and Suz wrote and performed the song. This was no ordinary expedition!
 
Lori, a long-time Bayfield resident (as are Jeff and Suz), at age 48 was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Her response was to dedicate herself to climbing The Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each continent. In 2009, with her conquest of Mt. Everest, she achieved that goal. She didn’t stop there. Instead she formed Empowerment Through Adventure to inspire those who are suffering from physical limitations and illnesses and empower them to move beyond their labels and live their dreams.
 
More than a Mountain is chronicles written by the participants of The 2011 Leap of Faith Mount Kilimanjaro Expedition that paired 14 climbers who had either MS or Parkinson’s disease with 14 companion climbers in an effort to reach the summit of Africa’s highest point. Twenty-one of the twenty-eight made it! All twenty-eight reached their own summits!
 
So that’s a bit of what our "off-season" looks like!

Remember, if you’ve lost yours,
we are your local bookstore!

Happy Reading!
All of us at AIB

What we're reading...


On the Road: The Original Scroll
by Jack Kerouac


We dug Jack Kerouac’s On the Road the first time through. But that was fifty years ago and we were twenty and it was the 60’s. As noted in last month’s notes, our interest was renewed by the new novel, Manana Means Heaven by Tim Z. Hernandez that chronicles a fictional account of Kerouac’s “Mexican Girl.” So, we got a copy of On the Road: The Original Scroll – the 300-plus-page unexpurgated 2007 version of the 120-foot-long scroll of tracing paper on which (as Capote cattily said) Kerouac “typed” (rather than “wrote”) uninterrupted for three weeks. The book is similarly printed as one long paragraph, single-spaced and nothing is left out including the real names of the characters – Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, etc. Well, we are not twenty anymore and it was a long slog. But, we didn’t put it down and we dug it!
Endangered
by Eliot Schrefer
The bonobo is a great ape that, along with its cousin the chimpanzee, is the closest extant relative to humans. They inhabit the forests and swamps south of the Congo River and are known for their relative peacefulness. Ironic and interesting, then, that this story is set in the midst of a violent and brutal civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sophie, the mixed-race daughter of an estranged American father and Congolese mother, visits her mother’s Bonobo sanctuary deep in the forest. On the way she, herself, acquires an abused and orphaned young bonobo, Otto, and they bond like super-glue. Her mom heads out on a field trip and the rag-tag rebels arrive with machetes and firearms. She and Otto escape and embark on a harrowing trek to find mom. There is a lot in here about bonobos and about the legacy of human dysfunction and terror left by King Leopold and his European colonial counterparts. In another life we visited the orangutan sanctuaries in Sumatra and Borneo and experienced first-hand the awful tension between serving the needs of destitute humans and those of endangered primates. This book won the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award for Children's Literature for 2013 and was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award.


My Life With the Green and Gold
by Jesse Garcia

Packers Pride
by LeRoy Butler (and Rob Reischel)

OK, Packers fans! Here are two new, fun and interesting books for your Packer bookshelf. Jesse Garcia was an unlikely voice of the Packers – she is a woman, a minority and, as a Madison East High cheerleader, she didn’t have a clue about the game. She grew into it and juggled her life as a traveling sportscaster and mother. She reported three Packer Super Bowls and did the coach’s Monday shows with both Holmgren and McCarthy. It’s a personal story loaded with grace and humor.
 

LeRoy Butler invented the Lambeau Leap! ‘Nuf said! He played defensive back for the Pack for twelve years and was named to four Pro-Bowls as well as the NFL’s 1990’s All-Decade Team. Reischel has covered the Packers for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel since 2001 and has written several books on the team. This book is a compilation of short pieces sharing the stories of several dozen players, coaches and executives who have been key figures for the team over the years. Great for the bedside as there is no particular order or sequence and you can dive in anywhere for a few minutes and relive some great memories. There is a touching Foreward by Packer great Willie Davis. Nice, upbeat book!
Countdown
by Alan Weisman


Ah…denial! That favorite comfort zone of humankind! Weisman makes it hard to stay there with this no-punches-pulled examination of the state and apparent future of our habitat. Overpopulation and overconsumption provide the deadly synergy of this meticulously researched survey of our prospects. In a way it is a “prequel” to his fascinating best seller, The World Without Us, which describes the likely aftermath of the disappearance of homo sapiens from the earth and the fate of the works and detritus that we leave behind. His fieldwork takes us from Palestine to the Great Wall and from Utah to Teheran and beyond where he interviews and travels with experts, activists and the local populace. He got the chops of his reverence for nature here in the Great Lakes region and his hometown of Minneapolis. Compelling. Sobering.

Final thoughts...

As the temperatures drop, many of us turn to the kitchen - and of course our cookbooks - to warm things up a bit. There is nothing quite better than a warm bowl of soup and freshly baked bread to warm the body inside and out on these cold (and frequently wet!) autumn days.

Beatrice Ojakangas has written some of the most popular midwest cookbooks out there. The Soup & Bread Cookbook is no exception! This broad collection of soups, broths, bisques, and chowders ranges from summer coolers and hearty, warming stews to smooth, creamy soups and fiery broths. And the bread recipes alone could fill a cookbook. Loaves, buns, sticks, and flatbreads are just a few. Organized by season and complemented by stunning photographs, this is ideal for anyone who takes comfort in the essential pleasures of a bowl of soup and warm bread.

As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, we'd like to invite you to explore the diverse selection we have to offer and challenge yourself to prepare something a bit different this year. Let's all continue to keep ourselves warm through good food and even better company!
Beatrice Ojakangas

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