Wisconsin Book Festival A Madison Favorite



Wear the old coat and buy the new book.
    ~ Austin Phelps ~ 

( My latest acquisitions while on State Street  Saturday afternoon are pictured above.)

It is hard to believe that the Wisconsin Book Festival is now six years old.  I suspect many of us made a mental note as the month of October approached that the long weekend of books and authors was nearing.   I also suspect that many of us have our insert from the local paper marked with the authors we wish to hear, and the various places where the events are being held.  If you are like me you have also made plans to hook up with friends along the way.  I think carbing up with friends for this event is half the fun!

It seems only yesterday at one of the festivals I sat in Canterbury Books and heard Edmund Morris give a brilliant talk on his book “Theodore Rex”.  ( State Representative Scott Jensen had introduced him that night to an overflow audience.)   It seems that some rabble-rouser in that crowd asked Morris to contrast TR with GW.  After the laughter passed…………

On another occasion Garry Wills who had written “Why I Am A Catholic” answered a very direct question (from that same rabble-rouser) about gay rights and the Church that seemed to unsettle some of the audience.  Wills, being both a class act and an intelligent man answered with clarity, though the Pope might not have agreed.

The topics and ideas during the Book Festival are always lively and diverse.  The choices are akin to a buffet on a cruise ship with the long weekend just the perfect recipe for the hungry mind.  While all events are free it is a good idea to help support this event to insure that it is a longtime event in our community.

As we look forward to the festival we might recall with fondness the bookstores that are not around any more.  Canterbury, which was the perfect coffee and sweet stop while browsing books on State Street, is now just a memory.  While that cozy and warm place is gone, the book festival remains a promising time for book lovers. 

This year the book fest takes place October 10-14, with a theme that seems so appropriate given the times in which we now live.

In honor of the Festival’s theme of “Domestic Tranquility,” speakers at the 2007 Wisconsin Book Festival will explore historical and present-day issues regarding this concept. What begets tranquility? Who decides what is “domestic”? And what role does the government play in protecting it?

From immigration and border disputes, to violence and the right to bear arms, to religion and public life — novelists, poets, journalists, and others will gather to explore what a tranquil home might look like to them.

         My home is where my books are. 
                                            ~ Ellen Thompson ~

While all events are free it is a good idea to help support this event to insure that it is a longtime event in our community.

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I rarely write of sports here, but today there is every reason to acknowledge the Chicago Cubs.  They are in post-season play for the first time since 2003.  And since they are truly America’s team, and perpetual underdogs, I have been their supporter again this season.  This habit of following the Cubs started more than a decade ago when a good friend married a woman who loved the team.  To be better at sports chat I would read the sports stories in order to converse on the topics.  I never have become a baseball fan overall, but do find the Cubbies worthy of my time.

This year the Cubs again provided moments of glory, and times of despair.  Through it all the fans might get weary and complain when the team did not perform, but they always retained the belief that better days for the team were just ahead.  Last night those dreams were realized.

I have never subscribed to the notion that one has to support the team from the state that they live.  I just can find no warmth for the Milwaukee Brewers.  I know they play great ball at times, but they just do not hit the mark.  I would have to care much more about baseball and football to pay real attention to the Brewers or the Packers.  Truth is I just find it hard to get interested in either of those teams. 

However, I find it easy to support the Chicago Cubs in the summer.  They play with such heart and faith in ‘this season’ will be ‘the season’ that they will see their pennant dreams come true.  Every year there is a setback that ruins the plans, but without fail they leave the field saying ‘wait ’til next year’.  That is the American spirit that deserves our support.

I join with millions of others around the nation and say with gusto, “GO, CUBS, GO!”

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