Book Festival

If you don’t like to read, you’ll find something to like at this year’s Wisconsin Book Festival. And if you love to read, we won’t expect to hear back from you for a few days.

This year’s festival, sponsored by the Madison Public Library, is a free four-day event running Thursday, Oct. 16, through Sunday, Oct. 19. The 2014 lineup seems even more eclectic than usual, with events for fiction lovers, history buffs, kids, music aficionados and more.

So here’s a breakdown of some of the big events of the festival, to suit every taste. For the complete schedule and other information, visit

For foodies:

“Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage,” by Molly Wizenberg, Thursday, 6:30 p.m., The Kitchen Gallery, 107 King St. — Wizenberg, who elicits squees of delight from Cap Times food writer Lindsay Christians, is the brainchild of the popular Orangette food blog and the author of this memoir about her and her husband’s plan to open their own restaurant, and the impact that had on their marriage.

For mystery lovers:

“To Dwell in Darkness,” by Deborah Crombie, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Central Library Community Room, 121 W. Mifflin St. — Crombie lives in Texas, but she writes cracking good British mysteries, such as her new one about a London detective and his team investigating a train station bombing.

For beer lovers:

“We Make Beer,” by Sean Lewis, Friday, 5 p.m., Great Dane-Downtown, 123 Doty St. — Grab a pint and join Lewis as he talks about his nonfiction book on the American craft beer movement — although it’s unforgivable that he doesn’t mention any Wisconsin breweries.

For those with a morbid curiosity:

“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, and Other Lessons From the Crematory,” by Caitlin Doughty, Friday, 9 p.m., Central Library Community Room — Doughty is a licensed mortician and author of the “Ask a Mortician” Web series, and she provides the ultimate spoiler alert in telling us what happens to our mortal selves in the hands of people like her once we shuffle off this mortal coil.

For aspiring writers:

How to Sell Your Novel, with Chloe Benjamin, Ashley Ream and Judith Claire Mitchell, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Central Library Bubbler — Three Madison authors tell you how they managed to get their first novel into bookstores, from actually writing the thing to securing an agent and a publisher.

For indie rockers:

“101 Two-Letter Words,” by Stephin Merritt and Roz Chast, Saturday, 9 p.m., Central Library Community Room — Merritt, singer and songwriter of the Magnetic Fields, is also a Words With Friends fiend, and penned this collection of 101 humorous poems, one for each of the two-letter words allowed in the game. He’ll talk about the book, read some poems and maybe play a few tunes.

For young adults:

“The Scavengers,” by Michael Perry, Sunday, 11 a.m., Central Library Community Room — Perry, an acclaimed humorist and essayist, tries his hand at YA fiction in this tale of a plucky teenage girl who must survive in a scrappy futuristic America where electricity has vanished.

For dog lovers:

“The Dog Year,” by Ann Garvin, 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Central Library Room 301 — The UW-Madison graduate penned this heartfelt first novel about a driven surgeon who, reeling from a personal tragedy, finds comfort and friendship at the dog park. 


Rob Thomas is the features editor and social media editor for the Capital Times, as well as its film critic. He joined the Cap Times in 1999 and has written about movies, music, food and books.