Book Review | Twig by Madelon Phillips

twig_coverProtagonist Mattie is 18 years old at Twig‘s beginning and about to enter her third marriage. She has cold feet about marrying a man old enough to be her father, but is hopeful that love will grow between them. Mattie’s dead-set on becoming a mother, having already suffered a miscarriage during one of her previous marriages. During the novel, Mattie deals with the ups and downs of marriage and moves with her husband Glen to California. Flashback chapters offer background story that help the reader understand her strong character.

Phillips has crafted a very fine novel in Twig. The story jumps right in and grabs the reader’s attention from the beginning. Her writing style is very easy to read and maintains a good pace. The book is a coming of age tale and women’s fiction novel told as historical fiction, which keeps things interesting. Phillips does a good job balancing her themes, allowing focus to shift to different points of interest for many readers. This book would appeal to fans of women’s fiction, historical fiction and those interested in novels about family or conception problems. Unfortunately, this book isn’t yet in libraries, so you’ll have to purchase a copy to read, ebook available on Amazon.com for $2.99.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading Twig, you may be interested in The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky (2017).

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Exhibition | Wisconsin Triennial 2016 at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Several weeks ago, after attending the last outdoor Farmers’ Market on the capitol square, I ventured into MMoCA and was pleasantly surprised by the Wisconsin Triennial exhibit. Featuring only local state artist, it opened on September 23 and will be on display through January 8, 2017. The exhibit aims to give an idea of the diverse types of art that are being created within Wisconsin. Below are a selection of photos from the exhibit, which I hope motivate you to go and see this free exhibit!

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Fern Stations : On Invisibility by Meg Mitchell

Beads, Birds and Bombs series by John Hitchcock

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Selections from the project Transmission Networks by Brendan Baylor

Selections from Remnants series by Amy Fichter

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Blue Little Red Barn by Michael Kautzer

Pictorials | Madison, Wisconsin, USA – market month photo 13

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Strawberries on the Square. 2013. Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Madison Bike! Bingo – A Celebration of Community Biking

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Tomorrow kicks of Madison’s first ever session of Bike! Bingo. From May 12 – June 12, 2016 riders will be able to participate in a celebration of biking in the Madison community by riding to participating local businesses and receiving bingo stamps and prizes. For a suggested $2 donation, riders can buy a bingo card with over 30 squares of bike enthusiastic establishments. When a rider completes a five in a row bingo s/he will be eligible to receive a row prize. Larger prizes exist for the ever popular cover-all or blackout, when a rider stamps all of the locations on the bingo card. Cards are now on sale at bingo business partner shops (list here). Bike! Bingo will also be tying in with some of the upcoming Wisconsin Bike Fed events including the New Belgium Clips Beer and Film Tour at Olin Park on June 2.

The event took place last year in Milwaukee and was a big hit with the cycling community. This Radio Milwaukee article provides some detail. Bike! Bingo was originally started by Ian Klepetar, founder of Bicycle Benefits, an organization that aims to get more people out biking and increase related benefits. I helped to coordinate Madison’s version with Zac Barnes from Wisconsin Bike Fed, a small group of Badger Volunteers from UW-Madison’s Morgridge Center for Public Service, and a handful of other helpful locals. We’re really excited about the event and hope to be able offer future editions of Bike! Bingo with community support. Enjoy your ride!

Partner Businesses on the Bingo card:

4 star video, Ace Lakeside, Alchemy Cafe, Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Anaala Salon, Bloom Bakeshop, Boulders Climbing Gym, Brasserie V, Community Pharmacy, EVP coffee, Isthmus, Mother Fools, Regent Market Coop, Servv, Short Stack Eatery, UW bookstore, Wine and Hop shop, Old Sugar Distillery, Wisconsin’s Water Library, Union Hair Parlor, Fair Trade Coffee House, Ian’s Pizza, Sardine, Higher Fire Clay Studio, Wingra Boats, Colectivo, Great Harvest Bread Co., Mimosa Books & Gifts, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Next Door Brewing Co., UW-Madison’s Morgridge Center and more!

 

Book Review | Wisconsin Supper Club Cookbook by Mary Bergin

book cover wisconsin supper club cookbook by mary berginIn Wisconsin Supper Club Cookbook, author Mary Bergin takes readers on a tour around approximately 40 local supper clubs. She addresses the question of what a supper club is and serves up historical facts in a very palatable manner, incorporating them within chapters on each restaurant. Added fact boxes at the end of select chapters serve to highlight other related notables. Bergin includes several recipes for most of the included establishments, spanning the whole meal from drinks and appetizers to main courses, sides and desserts. You won’t find many healthy or vegan recipes here though. These foods are more about tradition and include some heavy ingredients, but perhaps some at home tweaking will yield a family favorite. Although some great photos are included, an absence of captions make some images hard to decipher. The photo quality leaves many images visually less than appealing and many appear to be amateur shots. In the introduction the author mentions there being over a hundred supper clubs in Wisconsin, but only about 40 are included. A full list would have made for a treat of an appendix. Overall, the book was enjoyable and is recommended to Wisconsinites interested in local tradition and history or out-of-towners wanting to learn about supper club culture. Check out this book from a library near you.

Book Review | Perimeter : A Contemporary Portrait of Lake Michigan by Kevin J. Miyazaki

book cover Perimeter by Kevin J. MiyazakiI wish I had been fortunate enough to see the exhibit at Marquette’s Haggerty Museum of Art that is encompassed by Kevin J. Miyazaki’s artistic book Perimeter. As Miyazaki traveled nearly 1800 miles around the shores of Lake Michigan through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, he photographed the people he encountered and the Lake along the way. The book is a compilation of the waterscapes, the portraits and the stories behind them. From surfers and scientists to fishermen and families, portraits and prose highlight both the differences and similarities of those who’ve made Lake Michigan a part of their lives.

This was an impressive book, and as I mentioned, it would have been great to see the exhibit. The portable photo booth that Miyazaki constructed from PVC pipe and other supplies provided for exceedingly crisp and clean images. I read a color copy of the ebook and am sure the printed book would prove even more intriguing. Hearing so many different perspectives of the value of the Lake lends the reader increased awareness about what an important resource it is. If you love Lake Michigan or haven’t yet had a chance to visit, or if you’re just a fan of great photos, check out Perimeter from a library near you.

Clock Shadow Creamery – Urban Cheese Factory in Milwaukee, WI

In the shadow the of Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, at the corner South 2nd and Bruce Street in the historic Walker’s Point neighborhood, lives the Clock Shadow Creamery. One of only a handful of urban creameries in the United States, Clock Shadow opened in 2012 and brings milk in refrigerated trucks from Oconomowoc to produce some tasty cheeses in downtown Milwaukee. Cheeses are available to taste and purchase and “tours” are offered frequently.

Clock Shadow Creamery store

Clock Shadow Creamery store

If you’d like to attend a Clock Shadow Creamery tour, be sure to make reservations ahead of time. The creamery is small and tour group size is limited. You should know ahead of time that you won’t be walking through the actual production area where the cheese is made, though windows from the store and tour room do give a glimpse into the cheese making area. The tour is more of a lecture that lasts about 30 minutes given by one of about 12 store employees. You do not meet any of the ~3 cheese makers. The lecture is aided by 8×10″ photographs and visual props including molds used in production. Guides are great about answering any questions you may have and do thoroughly explain the cheese making process and history of the creamery. Tours cost $3 per adult and $1.50 per kid. For more information, visit the Clock Shadow Creamery website.

Other Milwaukee tour ideas: