The Big 2022 Book List of Related Readings in Wisconsin

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This year, we’re featuring our biggest annual look at the literary scene, with author profiles, a guide to independent bookstores, and more local reads than ever.


Each year we publish a list of books that have authors or connections in Wisconsin, but this is our largest list to date. Take a look at this year’s playlist.

Courtesy of the authors

“A Perfect Pair” by Jesse Brookstein
Known for its cheese production, Green County is the only place in the country where the infamous smelly Limburger is made. But the county should also be credited for its production of another food that borders on the regional specialty: the landjaeger. Jesse Brookstein introduces readers to the history of the sausage snack through “A Perfect Pair: The History of Landjaeger in Green County, Wisconsin,” published by Karate Fight Publishing, an imprint he founded in 2020. Brookstein shares photos and stories in 140 pages after exploring six different meat shops and other places to chat with local producers and meat science experts in “Landjaeger County, USA”. -MID

“Crossing the Line of Pressure” by Laura Anne Bird
Laura Anne Bird might be the city’s biggest literary fan; she’s a voracious reader and book reviewer on Readers Lane and Instagram, and a tireless champion of local authors. Now she’s become an author herself with her mid-level debut novel, “Crossing the Pressure Line,” due out in March. It follows Clare Burch, a 12-year-old girl who mourns the loss of her grandfather. Clare heads to the north woods for the summer with her blind little dog to carry out her grandfather’s last wishes and reconcile her grief, but she finds herself in an unexpected position to help someone else. –MG

“God, Human, Animal, Machine” by Meghan O’Gieblyn
The Madison essayist, cultural critic, and three-time winner of Pushcart Prize-winning nonfiction author Meghan O’Gieblyn’s second non-fiction book, “God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning” , is a new philosophical examination of artificial intelligence, religion and the human experience. O’Gieblyn’s first collection of essays, “Interior States”, won the Believer Book Award for Nonfiction. This new book has also been well received, with The New York Times Book Review calling it “a hybrid beast, a remarkably scholarly work of history, criticism, and philosophy, but it is also, above all, a memoir.” –MG

the comfort of monsters, the good son and the latest watch book covers

Courtesy of the authors

“Monsters’ Comfort” by Willa C. Richards
During the summer of 1991 — otherwise known as “Dahmer Summer,” in which the heinous crimes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer made headlines — Peg McBride’s fictional teenage sister Dee went missing. . Nearly 30 years later, Peg and her mother, with the help of a psychic, attempt to piece together what happened to Dee in this novel, the debut novel by Milwaukee author Willa C. Richards. Richards was a Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and earned his doctorate. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Although the account is fictional, Richards’ real-life experience with a cold case has her wondering why some victims get attention while others don’t. –MG

“The Good Son” by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Although she moved east after more than 35 years in the Madison area, New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard will always be Madison in our hearts. Her debut novel, “The Deep End of the Ocean,” was Oprah’s top book club pick in 1996, selling millions of copies. Twenty-two books later, Mitchard’s latest release, “The Good Son,” chronicles a mother’s experience after her son is released from prison for a drug-fueled murder. He struggles to regain his footing as his former good friend – the victim’s mother – rallies the community against him. –MG

“The Last Watch” by JS Dewes
Life aboard the SCS Argus – a motionless spacecraft at the edge of the universe – is bleak and mundane for its misfit crew members until the unthinkable happens. The seemingly ever-expanding universe begins to close in on them. This band of soldiers begin a thrilling race against the barren void that awaits on the other side of the collapsing divide in order to save their lives and perhaps the universe. This sci-fi tale is written by JS Dewes, a Madison-based author who has already followed up that 2021 debut novel with a second book in The Divide Series, “The Exiled Fleet.” -A B

the midwest survival guide and the one bowl baker books

Courtesy of the authors

“The Midwest Survival Guide” by Charlie Berens
Newly minted comedian and author Charlie Berens has carved his way into a career that celebrates Midwestern culture with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor. Those familiar with the thick Wisconsin accent that made Berens famous through his “Manitowoc Minute” series will likely find themselves hearing his signature dialect while reading his new book, “The Midwest Survival Guide: How We Talk, Love, Work, Drink, and Eat”. …everything with Ranch. Playful and hilarious illustrations, quizzes, jokes, and how-to tips make this a fun read that depicts what life is like in the country for pot-loving, flannel-wearing Midwesterners. -A B

“The One-Bowl Baker” by Stephanie Simmons
Stephanie Simmons, founder of food blog Blue Bowl Recipes, says it’s time to ditch the dirty dishes and boxed baking mixes. Find 60 of her “easy and simple recipes” in her debut book, “The One-Bowl Baker,” due out this month. The book starts with basic baking tips, and each chapter provides simple ingredients and instructions for creating savory and sweet creations any home baker could manage. Recipes include salted caramel sauce, butterbeer cupcakes, and an heirloom tomato galette with Gouda and Asiago cheese. – Gaby Vinick

Shoulder Season Blankets, Something Wild, and Wisconsin Farms and Farmers Markets

Courtesy of the authors

“Shoulder Season” by Christina Clancy
It’s 1981 and 19-year-old Sherri Taylor squeezes herself into a bodysuit and becomes one of the Lake Geneva Playboy Club’s new bunnies. Her compelling coming-of-age story in “Shoulder Season” is peppered with love, lust, nights of daydreaming, tears, lessons, and life-changing moments. Madison author Christina Clancy’s well-researched work gives readers a sexy, lavish look at a fictional story that might not be all that different from those of small-town Wisconsin girls who traded farm boots for ears. of rabbit. -A B

“Something Wild” by Hanna Halperin
The dark and lyrical debut novel by UW-Madison MFA graduate Hanna Halperin offers rare insight into the nuances of domestic violence and the complexities of sibling relationships. Two sisters share a traumatic childhood experience, the details of which come to light over a weekend as they help their mother move out of the family home. Halperin skillfully demonstrates how siblings can be shaped differently by the same experience, how trauma ripples through generations, and how helpless we feel when loved ones need help the most. –MG

“Wisconsin Farms and Farmers Markets” by Kristine Hansen
Kristine Hansen’s second solo book is a practical guide to Wisconsin’s strong agritourism community. Dividing the state into four distinct regions, Hansen features creameries, farmers markets, farm stays and stands, orchards, wineries, cider houses, county fairs and more. The nationally recognized freelance journalist has explored the state throughout her writing career and incorporates that knowledge into this resource for travelers and locals. “Wisconsin’s Farms and Farmers Markets: Tours, Trails and Attractions” is a book Hansen has wanted to write since a trip sponsored by Willy Street Co-op when she visited farms with chefs, including eight-time winner Rick Bayless. James Beard Award. -MID

More Can’t-Miss Non-Fiction
In “Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay,” Shanna Greene Benjamin digs into a personal story of her late mentor and former classmate, McKay, a UW-Madison professor who helped pioneer the scholarly study of black writing that had been ignored by white academia. “Form” by UW-Madison math professor Jordan Ellenberg was an instant New York Times bestseller, and its subtitle says it all: “The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and of everything else”. “Redempting justice: from defendant to defender, my fight for fairness on both sides of a broken system” is a new book by attorney Jarrett Adams, a black man exonerated by the Wisconsin Innocence Project after being found guilty by an all-white jury and serving nearly 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit . –MG

20 other Wisconsin-related readings:
“A Murder Without Drift” by Jerry McGinley
“Agathe du Petit Neon” by Claire Luchette
“Bad Moon Rising” by John Galligan
“Brave Crossing: A Journey Between” by Maria Alvarez Stroud
“Coercive Relationships: Find the Answers You Seek” by Jennifer C. Parker
“Dead Lines: Slices of Life from the Obit Beat” by George Hesselberg
“Godspeed” by Nickolas Butler
“Hello, Transcriber” door Hannah Morrissey
“Hope Is the Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic” edited by BJ Hollars
“How the Arts Can Save Education: Transforming Teaching, Learning and Instruction” by Erica Halverson
“How to Walk With Steve” by Robert Fromberg
“Lies of Omission: A Hanneke Bauer Mystery” door Kathleen Ernst
“Lucky Girl” by Jamie Pacton
“Raft of Stars” by Andrew J. Graff
“Snippets of Soul, Too: Healing from Love” by Roderick ‘Rudy’ Bankston
“Stealing Away: Stories” by Kevin Revolinski
“The Seven Day Change” by Kelly Harms
“The Wilderness Handbook: Creatures” by Andrea Debbink
“Tomboyland” by Melissa Faliveno
“12 Ways to Save Democracy in Wisconsin” by Matthew Rothschild


Read more from the February cover story:

Turn the page : Once considered endangered, the region’s independent bookstores are ringing in a new era.

Meet five local authors who published new books in one of the most difficult times in history:

Order the full February issue here. Read more book content from Madison Magazine here.

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