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New books with Wisconsin roots


September 2013

Summer might be fading, but there’s still a little time to squeeze in some good reads, and these recent publications are a great place to start. Whether you’re looking for a novel, inspiration for your writing or a guide for your next road trip, these Wisconsin-themed books deserve a place on your nightstand.

"Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers" by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark and Susan M. Heim

Anyone who’s sat down to write a novel — or a memo — knows the terror of the blank screen and its mocking cursor. Getting started with words isn’t easy, and when the muse fails, this volume aims to serve as her body double: Like other titles in the Chicken Soup series, this one contains short inspirational texts, but in these 101 mini-essays are designed to inspire writers.

Mequon-based author Joyce Stryon Madsen contributed a piece for the volume. A children’s writer with a special focus on animal welfare, Madsen says her biggest thrill is when she hears from kids in far-off places who were moved by reading her work. "It’s amazing to think an author can touch a child’s heart halfway around the globe by putting pen to paper," she says.

"Oddball Wisconsin: A Guide to 400 Really Strange Places"
by Jerome Pohlen

Perhaps every state in the Union can boast as many zany destinations as Wisconsin. But we doubt it. Author Jerome Pohlen had his pick of locations — including nearly 60 in Milwaukee alone — to feature in this revised, second edition guidebook. Among the Milwaukee entries: the world’s first bowling alley, museum diorama and typewriter. Whether you’re staying at home or heading out on a road-trip, a copy of this beguiling tour guide is sure to spice up your weekends.




"Barracuda in the Attic"
by Kipp Friedman

When Kipp Friedman was 15 years old he went to live with his father. "I was an impressionable teen and he was recently divorced and restarting his life," says Friedman. "We lived as two bachelors, and it was really a magical time for me — I was coming of age." Part of the magic was the fact that his dad, Bruce Jay Friedman, wasn’t any old schlub: a celebrated author, the elder Friedman raised his son "with a front row seat to opening nights, Hollywood, and a cast of famous writers and celebrities."

A photographer and public relations agent who lives in Wauwatosa, Friedman has written a refreshing memoir that serves as an homage to the creative life. (His siblings include musician Josh Friedman and illustrator Drew Friedman, both creative powerhouses.) In spite of his rarified childhood, Friedman paints a down-to-earth portrait of his family adventures. The book wonderfully captures a vanished era of Manhattan in the 1960s and 1970s.

"Who is the Real Hog?"
by Robert Scott Michel

So your company is a success, huh? Are you customers tattooing your logo on their arms? That’s the rare case for the born-in-Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Motor Co.: More than a brand, more than a motorcycle, the Harley stands for an entire set of quintessentially American values.

Few people are better positioned to know the brand, the bike and the ethos than Bob Michel — author not only of this inside look at the company, but of Harley’s corporate mission statement. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Michel started riding when he was 12. He also built a career on his passion, spending nearly 30 years and holding a variety of titles at the company. "I have had a spectacularly wonderful life and needed to tell that story," Michel says. More than that, Michel’s book is a first-hand look at the turbulent fall and rise of one of the most successful brands in history.



This story ran in the September 2013 issue of: