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New reads by local writers


November 2013

Whether you prefer fact or fiction, these four recently published books by Milwaukee-area authors are sure to pique your reading interest. Choose from a fairy-tale-inspired weight loss guide, to a modern day romance mystery set in the Milwaukee suburbs, to a delectable food-infused memoir, to a rich chronicle of one of Milwaukee’s founding fathers.

"The Tale of Eating Beauty - How She Broke the Food Spell and How You Can Too!" - By Jean Hausmann

"The Tale of Eating Beauty" isn’t your typical weight-loss guide. Author and wellness coach Jean Hausmann wrote the book as a fairy tale to keep readers engaged. The story line follows Madge, a lifelong dieter who has just about given up hope of ever getting out from under the power of food. Then Madge meets Viv, who shows her how to break free of the food spell.

"I wanted to take the reader through a woman’s journey," Hausmann explains. "Any woman can relate to Madge."

Hausmann says she wrote "The Tale of Eating Beauty" at the urging of her students. But much of the book’s narrative comes from her own personal experience as a recovered professional dieter.

"Most of my life has been about learning to achieve balance," Hausmann says.

Like her character Madge, Hausmann finally learned the key to permanent weight loss begins from the inside out. As Viv teaches Madge self-acceptance, she becomes more conscious of her choices and their consequences.

"Permanent weight loss isn’t just about changing your relationship with food," says Hausmann. "It’s about changing the way you feel about yourself."

Throughout the book’s narrative, Hausmann incorporates tips and tools to help readers achieve weight loss success and embrace their inner beauty.

"Buried Secrets" - by A.Y. Stratton

After encountering countless rejection slips from publishers, A.Y. Stratton infused her writing with a little romance and found the formula for success. The Mequon resident released her second novel "Buried Secrets" in digital format in September. The hard copy version is due out in January.

Stratton’s latest romance mystery begins with a murder in a home overlooking Lake Michigan in suburban Milwaukee — a setting inspired by a family member’s residence.

"After I wrote the opening scene, I called my sister-in-law and told her ‘I just killed someone in your bedroom,’" Stratton quips.

The plot of "Buried Secrets" centers around Kate Harvey and Nathan Crosby — two strangers who sneak into the same house (both for very different reasons) and end up overhearing a murder while hiding together in a closet.

"My characters tend to meet under less than ideal circumstances," explains Stratton.

A former journalist who has written articles and columns for Milwaukee-area magazines and newspapers, Stratton has been inventing stories since she was a child.

"When I had trouble sleeping I made up adventures about myself," she says.

And although Stratton no longer stars in the stories she writes now, they’re still filled with suspense and adventure — and a little romance.

"Layton’s Legacy — A Historic American Art Collection 1888-2013" - by Eric Vogel/John Eastberg

Unlike many of Milwaukee’s patriarchs, historians John Eastberg and Eric Vogel found little information on Frederick Layton when they began researching the book "Layton’s Legacy."

Despite Layton’s contributions to Milwaukee, few people know he founded the Layton Art Gallery — the city’s first public art gallery.

"The Layton Gallery was revolutionary," says Vogel. "Small art museums were unusual during that time." Although the gallery was demolished in 1957, the Layton collection still serves as a core collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Vogel and Eastberg say the book wouldn’t have been possible without two strokes of luck. The first was the recovery of a leather-bound ledger that held handwritten meeting minutes of the Layton Art Gallery board of trustees.

A year later, the name Bemm was found written in the margin of a page of notes. Through a Google search and cold calls, the authors tracked down a descendant of Layton’s niece, who had a cache of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

"Those two events allowed us to do this huge, beautiful book," Vogel says.

Compiled over five years, "Layton’s Legacy" traces the history of the Layton Art Gallery and its founder. The book features more than 700 illustrations, including historic photographs and important artworks, as well as commentary from more than 20 prominent art scholars.

"The book sheds light on Milwaukee’s early arts culture," says Eastberg. "It’s a powerful story."

"Good Stock - Life on a Low Simmer" - by Sanford D'Amato

Though widely recognized as one of the finest chefs and restaurateurs in the country, Sanford "Sandy" D’Amato is also well regarded among friends and family as a great storyteller.

In 2000, those storytelling skills morphed into a weekly newspaper column called "Kitchen Technician." Most recently, D’Amato put pen to paper to write "Good Stock — Life on a Low Simmer," a hybrid memoir/cookbook that follows his life as an Italian American kid growing up on Milwaukee’s lower East Side through his training at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America to his turn as owner and chef of Sanford, the acclaimed restaurant he opened in his grandparents’ former grocery store on Jackson Street.

Due out on Nov. 12, "Good Stock" is infused with more than 80 recipes, color images of the prepared dishes and personal photos from D’Amato’s childhood and professional career. According to the book’s publisher, "Good Stock" reflects the story of America’s embrace of fine dining and its acceptance of chefs as master craftsmen.

D’Amato concurs, acknowledging that "Good Stock" follows the transformation of the American culinary culture as much as his personal life and professional career.

"I really feel there’s a bond between the food someone cooks and where it comes from," D’Amato says 


This story ran in the November 2013 issue of: