| Nov 20, 2014
| 7:07 AM
Sometimes, when I'm asked, "What's the last book you read?" I'll freeze up for a second because I'm not sure how to answer. Often, I'm reading several books at once, and it's not clear if I'm being asked about the last book I finished or what I'm...
| Feb 3, 2015
| 1:30 PM
So here I am deep in the throes of writing my next book. I had better be because the manuscript is due to the publisher in less than a month, and I have already asked for one 30-day extension. I needed more time because I had to move in January, which...
| Nov 25, 2014
| 7:44 AM
One little-recognized reality of poverty in America is how closely it lurks beneath the surface of even a successful professional life. A bad career turn, a couple of financial missteps, and -- here comes the dizzying plunge from middle class to...
| Nov 26, 2014
| 11:47 AM
Christmas is the most exciting time of the year for book lovers. Suddenly, books become relevant to people that normally don't give them a second thought, as they realize that purchasing a book as a gift for the literary-minded people in their lives might...
| Oct 23, 2014
| 4:55 PM
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
This in essence is the message of "Citizenfour," Laura Poitras' highly anticipated documentary on Edward Snowden's decision to expose the National Security Agency's ravenous appetite for clandestinely collecting the personal...
| Oct 22, 2014
| 5:31 AM
The word of the night at the Mark Twain House & Museum Tuesday was "wicked" and it had nothing to do with Halloween.
The evening was a VIP reception for "Wicked" book author Gregory Maguire and "Wicked" musical composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz,...
| Oct 23, 2014
| 9:23 PM
At the risk of sounding like I'm "mansplaining": Female nonfiction writers are having a moment. How do I know this? The literary ether has whispered it for months: Lena Dunham ("Girls") recently Instagrammed a picture of Megan Stielstra's book of essays,...
| Oct 26, 2014
| 3:00 AM
For those of you inclined to send a message to Washington on Election Day, herewith a list of grievances that should get you plenty revved up:
Spending: A federal debt approaching $18 trillion. Interest on the debt cost taxpayers $221 billion last...
| Oct 24, 2014
It was 1975 and I was a college freshman when Patti Smith's first album, "Horses," arrived in a Milwaukee record store. I didn't know anything about her music, hadn't heard a note. But that album cover was enough to stop traffic. It intrigued, haunted...
| Oct 24, 2014
I can't find my stapler.
This is vexing, because I often have need of a stapler, and my stapler has been my stapler for a long time. If memory serves, I lifted it from my office in graduate school, which means it's been by my side for over 20 years....
| Feb 5, 2015
| 2:30 AM
Q: Is a home warranty a good investment when buying a house?
A: There are different types of "home warranties," so we'd like to take the time to distinguish between them.
The first type of home warranty might be the one you get from a builder when you...