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As the TV announcer used to say, "How would you like to be queen for a day? Or even longer, or maybe even king?" That's the spot Peggielene Bartels found herself in 2008. Now she and co-author Eleanore Herman have recorded the experience in "King Peggy" (Doubleday, $25.95). Bartels was born in Ghana, went to catering school in London, and ended up as a secretary in the Ghanian Embassy in Washington D.C. Her life was further complicated when she and her husband divorced in 2002 and he returned to Africa.
If you're wondering how we ever got so disastrously involved in Iraq, you might begin by reading "Arrows of the Night," by Richard Bonin (Doubleday, $27.95). It's subtitled, "Ahmad Chalabi's Long Journey to Triumph in Iraq." I had heard of Chalabi and seen him on TV, but because international diplomacy isn't high on my list of interests, I forgot about him. Not so for Richard Bonin, a "60 Minutes" producer, who did specials on Chalabi and convinced him now that the dust has settled to be give many, many interviews. This book reads like a gripping adventure story and should be made into a
The Wisconsin elections panel voted today to hold separate recall elections against Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The Government Accountability Board unanimously certified just over 900,000 petition signatures for the Walker recall effort and about 809,000 signatures for the effort to unseat Kleefisch. Both numbers were well above the 540,000 needed to force the recall votes. The GAB also officially set the dates for the Walker and Kleefisch elections and recall contests in four Republican Senate districts.
Several years ago I reviewed a book written by an acquaintance called "Round-Heeled Woman." It told her story about being divorced, deep into middle age when she got the bright idea of advertising herself in the classified section of the New York Review of Books. She announced that "Before I turn 67 -- next March -- I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first (novelist Anthony) Trollope works for me." She got lots of responses and wrote about her experiences with many of them whom she hooked up with. The novel made news in outfits like Time magazine.
You can't turn on the TV without a commercial for an upcoming zombie movie. Publishers are crazy for zombies, as in the novel I recently reviewed about the end of civilization, which is centered in Lower Manhattan and involves the paramilitary groups who are out to kill the zombies before the zombies eat their brains. Where, indeed. A young writer from rural Wisconsin has a somewhat different take on zombie land. Scary but different. "Huldredrom: Dream of the Hid-Folk," by Christopher R.
"Death on Cache Lake," by Dan Woll and John W. Lyon (Romeii LLC, $14.99), is available in bookstores, at Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and on a website at www.danwoll.com . It's a humdinger of a thriller, told with great style and, unlike many thrillers, with a sense of purpose. It all begins when John, an elementary school teacher in a small Wisconsin town, gets a note from his buddy Caleb that he's in trouble and needs John's help.
Longtime civil rights advocate and litigator Michelle Alexander is coming to the UW-River Falls on Wednesday, Feb. 29 to speak about her book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." The lecture and discussion event is set for 7:30 p.m. in the Riverview Ballroom in the University Center on campus. It is free and open to the public. Alexander has served as director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, director of the Civil Rights Clinics at Stanford Law School and is a former law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S.
I well remember the late 1950s when I was finally in the market to buy a car. Suddenly, all manner of teeny little cars were appearing on the market. They weren't hilarious little cars, like the Crosley, made by the refrigerator manufacturer in Cincinnati or the Henry J, which you could order from the catalog. The cars I'm talking about were from Europe. There was Renault Dauphine, the Panhard Dyna and the Simca from France, the Skoda from Czechoslovakia, the Fiat 500 from Italy, Morris Minor from Britain.
Here's a book I wish I could have read five years ago, just before I took my first and probably last trip to China. As a newcomer to oriental travel I was incredibly impressed with the mammoth construction projects, the swirl of people and traffic (one day in Beijing a taxi hit our tour bus and our driver just chuckled and kept on driving) and the general orderliness of the cities and its millions.
Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, who represents a large portion of Pierce County in the Wisconsin Senate, announced today that she will run for governor in the upcoming recall election. "We need a fresh start and a new attitude in Wisconsin politics and government," said Vinehout, a former dairy farmer and college professor.