November News
So much to do and more to read!
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Storycatchers, Chowgirls, Unbreakable Bonds and More! 

By Doug Moe

The buzzword for November at Mystery to Me might be passion. Passion for social justice, for great food and good times, for Edgewood High School football, for the well-being of animals, and, of course, passion for books, and getting books into the hands of young readers. There’s a lot going on at the store in the run-up to Thanksgiving, and let me start with my friends the Malones.
     Some people you know you’re going to like just by the message they leave on their home telephone answering machine.

Bill and Bobbie Malone sing theirs.

     I first heard the musical message at least a decade ago now. I think I was calling to talk to Bill about the 10th anniversary of his wonderful WORT radio program, “Back to the Country.”
The Malones have since become friends, which makes me even more pleased to be interviewing Bobbie at Mystery to Me Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. about her new book, Lois Lenski Storycatcher, a biography of the beloved children’s author and illustrator whose work captivated a wide readership that included a young Oprah Winfrey.
     Bill is going to be on hand, too. The esteemed country music historian has a new book himself – a biography of the American bluegrass musician Bill Clifton – that will be featured at a Mystery to Me event in early 2017.
     Nov. 3 is Bobbie’s night. “Though Bill may sing one of Lenski’s songs,” Bobbie said, chuckling. One of Lenski’s books is titled “The Songs of Mr. Small.”
     The Malones, both native Texans, came to Madison two decades ago when Bobbie took a job at the Wisconsin Historical Society. Bobbie dates her interest in Lois Lenski to the time she walked into her elementary school library in San Antonio and saw Lenski’s 1945 Strawberry Girl – winner of the prestigious Newbery Award – prominently displayed.
     Lenski’s work has a social justice component rarely found in children’s literature at the time.
“That’s what grabbed me,” Bobbie said. “My mother was so passionate about social justice.” The new book is partly dedicated to her mother: “A little tough bundle of strength, beauty, principle, and love.”

I first met Tom Martinelli a few years ago when he helped publish a book on the history of Madison’s Westmorland neighborhood. It dawned on me then that while I have never lived in Westmorland, I may have spent more time there than in some neighborhoods where I did live.
After all, the Village Bar is in Westmorland.
      Martinelli’s new book – I will chat with both he and co-author Mike Mentzer on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. at Mystery to Me – is titled Unbreakable Bonds: Edgewood Football, Life Lessons: 1927-2015. Martinelli’s and Mentzer were senior teammates on Edgewood’s 1966 football team, the first year the Crusaders were coached by George Chryst, father of the current UW head football coach.
Martinelli did most of the research – some 70 interviews – while Mentzer handled the writing. When I spoke with them around the time of the book’s publication in late summer, they described it as a labor of love and more than a football story.
     It’s certainly about more than football. Readers will get a great dose of Madison history. Familiar names – some perhaps forgotten with time – dot every page. As for a labor of love, Martinelli said he found out just how much work is involved in putting together an ambitious history. “I’m just glad I didn’t keep track of the hours I spent on it,” he said.
     Edgewood, of course, is a Monroe Street neighbor of Mystery to Me – and we’ll hope to see many Edgewood alums at the store for a fun Unbreakable Bonds event Nov. 2.

Fun of a different kind is assured at 7 p.m. Nov. 4, when the Minneapolis women of Chowgirls Killer Catering fame come to Mystery to Me with their new book, Chowgirls Killer Party Food: Righteous Bites and Cocktails for Every Season.
The Chowgirls are Amy Lynn Brown and Heidi Andermack. Their lively personalities add spice to their commitment to the organic and sustainable food movement – they were on board early – and fuel their enthusiasm for entertaining.
There will be food – recipes from the new book – at what promises to be a Killer party at Mystery to Me Nov. 4. See below for more information.
     Rowan Childs from the Madison Reading Project will also be on hand at the Chowgirls event Nov. 4. The project’s aim is to increase literacy rates among vulnerable children and it is one Joanne Berg, my friend and Mystery to Me boss, is passionate – that word again – about.
When I asked Joanne about the Madison Reading Project, she said of Rowan: “Her energy for getting books into the hands of kids is absolutely infectious.” You’ll be able to donate at the store in support of the project on Nov. 4.

There is much more happening at the store in November. I look forward to chatting with Bill Stork, the country veterinarian who has a new book of stories, Stepping from Herriot’s Shadow, on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.

Here is what Bill Stork knows: Just as the best road trips are seldom made on straight interstate highways, good stories sometimes dodge and weave and become something other than what they seemed at the outset. What matters are the characters—in Stork’s world, they have two and four legs—you meet on the journey.

Other exciting November events can be found listed below and on the store website.

Finally, for some of us it is always an event when Michael Connelly publishes a new Harry Bosch novel. The Wrong Side of Goodbye comes out Nov. 1. I'm told that Mystery to Me will have signed copies on hand.


Wish List Time! 

The store is bursting at the seams with wonderful new titles and we're ready to receive even more new releases for the holidays. Several of our best-sellers are available as signed copies. We also have some fun, gift items here or on the way. For example, we just received some beautiful Bodleian Library advent calendars and holiday cards. Check out our 2017 calendar selection too. We ordered some fantastic new puzzles, and more fun items from The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild. If you like children's books (or know someone that does), we think you'll like our selections. Two of our favorites --This is Me by Jamie Lee Curtis is a timely picture book about immigration. It raises important identity issues like “Where did we come from?” and “Who are we?”. Then there is Mo Willems' hilarious new picture book, Nanette's Baguette. The book follows the plucky heroine on her first big solo trip to the bakery. But . . . will Nanette get the baguette from baker Juliette? Or will Nanette soon be beset with regret? 

C'mon in the store and put together a wish list. We'll be happy to record your list into your Star Customer account (or help you to create one). Have the kids put together their lists too.  To get you started, here's a link to a wish list. Feel free to print one out for everyone in the family!

Upcoming Events 

Tuesday, November 1
9 am at Union South
The UW-Madison Diversity Forum presents Rabia Chaudry, author of Adnan's Story

Rabia Chaudry is a wife, mother, attorney, and currently a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at U.S. Institute of Peace, where she researches the intersection of religion and violent extremism.  Her regions of interest are Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  She is also the co-host and co-producer of the hit podcast "Undisclosed", with over 100 million downloads. The event is open to the public. Mystery to Me will be on hand to sell Ms. Chaudry's book. 

Tuesday, November 1
7 pm

Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association Fall Gathering
Celebrate community with a Wisconsin Brewery Beer Tasting
...and there will be root beer too!

Wednesday, November 2
7 pm

Doug Moe interviews Tom Martinelli and Mike Mentzer about their new book: Unbreakable Bonds - Edgewood Football, Life Lessons: 1927-2015

Thursday, November 3
7 pm

Doug Moe interviews Bobbie Malone about her new book: Lois Lenski - Storycatcher

Friday, November 4
1 pm (or thereabouts!)

Jess Lourey will be in town and she'll be stopping by to sign copies of her new book (and the first in a series), Salem's Cipher. Joanne thoroughly enjoyed it! Following hidden messages from Emily Dickinson, hunted by the FBI and a serial killer, agoraphobic cryptanalyst Salem Wiley must break the famously uncrackable Beale Cipher to save Democratic Presidential candidate Gina Hayes from assassination at the hands of the an ancient organization.

Friday, November 4
7 pm

Attention all of you foodies out there!!  Join Minneapolis caterers  - the Chowgirls - Heidi Andermack and Amy Lynn Brown to hear about their new book: Chowgirls! Killer Party Food, Righteous Bites and Cocktails for Every Season

Amy and Heidi are passionate about food and they'd like to hear about - and talk with - people who are either in a cookbook club - or would like to start one. We went ahead and posted a Meetup for Madison foodies and we also have the event listed on Eventbrite

Saturday, November 5
11 am  -- Bring the kids! 

Dean Robbins is here (just in time for the election....) to talk about his new book Miss Paul and the President - The Creative Campaign for Women's Right to Vote  

Nominated for the American Library Association’s Amelia Bloomer List: Best Feminist Books for Young Readers

Sunday, November 6
12:30 pm

History's Mysteries Book Club discusses Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Wednesday, November 9
7 pm

Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan returns to Mystery to Me with her new book in the Jane Ryland series -- Say No More

When Boston reporter Jane Ryland reports a hit and run, she soon learns she saw more than a car crash―she witnessed the collapse of an alibi. Working on an expose of sexual assaults on college campuses for the station’s new documentary unit, Jane’s just convinced a date rape victim to reveal her heartbreaking experience on camera.

“Ryan uses a complex, multifaceted plot to deliver an unflinching look at college sexual assault and examine the “hard line between journalism and law enforcement.” The tension mounts as the action builds to a conclusion that thrills and gratifies.”  Publishers Weekly

Thursday, November 10
6 - 7:30 pm

Destress with Zentangle! Learn how to destress by doing a little alphatangle! Join teacher Julie Swanson for this delightful class. 

Cost: $25.00
To Register go to


Friday, November 11
7 pm
Doug Moe interviews Bill Stork, DVM about his new collection of stories - Stepping from Herriot's Shadow

Wednesday, November 16
6 pm

Mystery to Me will be at the McFarland Public Library
Erika Janik will be there to talk about her wonderful book Pistols and Petticoats - 175 years of Lady Detectives Fact and Fiction

Pistols and Petticoats
 tells the story of women’s very early place in crime fiction and their public crusade to transform policing. Whether real or fictional, investigating women were nearly always at odds with society. Most women refused to let that stop them, paving the way to a modern professional life for women on the force and in popular culture.

If you missed Erika's event at our store, this is your chance! 

Tuesday, November 22
7 pm

Poet Laureate Emerita Marilyn Taylor launches Step on a Crack

Marilyn L. Taylor writes both wickedly delightful and deeply compassionate poems.  Known as one of America’s chief formalist poets, Taylor here gives us plenty of traditional forms: villanelle, sestina, sonnet, rhymed quatrains, a sapphic, and even—unexpectedly—a superb prose poem, “Dismay.”  For example, she sends a tongue-in-cheek “Open Letter to Grownup Kids Who Call Home,” records a mother’s dying anger, admonishes a mother of beauty queens, as well as mothers who mistreat their children in public.  Then, amazingly, she turns poking fun into a kind of quiet loving.  I’ve read thousands of poetry chapbooks.  From beginning to end, Step on a Crack is one of the finest three or four of them ever to cross my life.

--Dick Allen, Connecticut State Poet Laureate (2010-2015) and author of Zen Master Poems

Thursday, November 24
We'll be closed to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family and friends.
Thanks for being such a great community of book lovers! 

Friday, November 25
It's BLACK FRIDAY and that means we'll be open today from 9 am  to 9 pm

Saturday, November 26
It's SHOP LOCAL Saturday. We'll be open 10 am to 5 pm 

Sunday, November 27 

Agatha Christie Book Club meets off-site

Wednesday, November 30
6 pm

Mystery to Me Book Club discusses Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler. If you've already read it, read another one of Fowler's Bryant and May mysteries! 

Friday, December 2
5:30 pm 

Madison Writers' Studio students reqd from their work. Public welcome. 

Open Mondays in December 
10 am to 7 pm 

Sunday, December 4
12 - 4 pm 

Monroe Street Christmas Walk 
Visit with Ingrid Kallick, illustrator for the beautiful book Two Troll Tales from Norway

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