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I'm proud and happy to work for newspaper organizations who still believe it's important to publish news about books and the folks who write them. In the past few years I've gotten the impression that other newspapers consider books as little more than competition for their own readers' attention. Twenty years ago when I edited the Minneapolis Star Tribune book review section, most metropolitan dailies had respectable books pages that usually appeared on Sunday and were staffed with local editors who coordinated reviews by freelance writers from around the world.
The 20th annual Hudson Hot Air Affair is coming to Hudson Feb. 6-8. The "Roaring 20's" is the theme for this year's event, said balloon coordinator Carla Timmerman. M&I Bank--Hudson is again the major sponsor of the annual balloon rally and winter event and commissioned the commercial balloon banners for the occasion. The M&I balloon is owned and piloted by Dale Dommer, Ottumwa, Iowa, and the large blue and white M&I banners can be seen from both sides of the 110,000-cubic-foot Cameron envelope.
Here's a trio of new autobiographies that cover lots of time and lots of ground. There aren't many literary figures who have had more stories written about them than the 18th century poet and lexicographer, Dr. Samuel Johnson, himself an accomplished biographer.
It's been three months since the floods hit Wisconsin and it's gotten so dry, crops are suffering because of it. According to the state's weekly crop report, only 49-percent of the state's corn is rated good-to-excellent, down from 62 percent the previous week. The corn's maturity remains behind schedule, and some experts worry about what might happen in the next week. Colder temperatures are in the forecast, with a chance for frost in some spots. About half of Wisconsin's soybean crop is good-to-excellent, down 14-points from a week ago.
Attention Civil War aficionados! "Dixie Betrayed," by David J. Eicher (Little, Brown, $27.95) turns the tables on the old saws about the gallant men of the Confederacy, their patrician values, their bravery. The whole Ashley Wilkes syndrome, if you get my meaning. Eicher, a Milwaukeean says no. And he brings to bear meticulous research revealing that the North didn't best the South with superior strength and resources. Eicher claims the South did much to undermine its own cause.
I've read quite a few books in my day, but it always amazes me when I read yet another and I realize I've most certainly not read enough. Once again this became apparent when I recently read "Magnifico," by Miles J. Unger (Simon & Schuster, $32). Maybe I should back up. For years my wife and I have spent several summers in Tuscany, where we rent a cottage on an estate and drive around to the hill towns like San Gigmigano and Volterra to see the magnificent sites. So we've been to Florence many times, beginning in the 1970s.
Most good food writing is not found in recipe books or in cooking magazines, which usually focus on nuts and bolts issues of technique.
Charley Kempthorne has spent more than half his life teaching other people how to write, first as a college English professor and later as the founder of the first reminiscence writing workshop in the nation, back in 1976. He's helped all manner of folks get published, including a charwoman in Kempthorne's hometown of Manhattan, Kan., who was given $1,000,000 for her manuscript. The old lady didn't share her good fortune with her mentor, so he and his wife continued to work as a successful painting contractor in Manhattan. Kempthorne has an M.F.A.
University of Wisconsin running back Lance Smith-Williams faces three possible charges, including abduction, after a weekend incident with his girl-friend in Madison. Police said the two shared a cab late Saturday night and they got into an argument over how much she owed him. Once they arrived at Smith-Williams' apartment, police said the man wouldn't let her leave and he pushed her twice to the floor and took $20 before she talked her way out. Smith-Williams was later arrested and police say he faces possible charges of abduction, robbery, and battery.
Helen Davis, age 93 of Baldwin, died on Tuesday morning, July 10, 2007. A Memorial Service for Helen Davis will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 12, 2007 at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.