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Stocking Stuffers with Badger Ties

Travel books by authors with Wisconsin connections

Dec. 5, 2007
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The Complete Travel Detective Bible The Consummate Insider Tells You What You Need to Know in an Increasingly Complex World By Peter Greenberg; Rodale Books, $17.95 www.petergreenberg.com

You may know Peter Greenberg as the travel expert from the “Today” show, from his nationally syndicated radio show or as a writer for Forbes, Men’s Health and The New Yorker. He went to the University of Wisconsin- Madison and worked for The Daily Cardinal, UW’s student-run newspaper, in the days of riots, marches and the Sterling Hall bombing. Since graduating in 1972 he has logged more than 11 million miles traveling the globe. This 600-plus-page tome collects, updates and extends his previous books on secrets about hotels, airports and flying, as well as his travel diet. For example, Greenberg advises that travelers should talk to hotel maids, because they know everything and will share their knowledge; that if it’s cooked, eat it; and to forget brochures, because brochures lie. The book includes car rental tips, frequent flier strategies, traveling with pets, senior travel, culinary travel and almost everything else. It’s a reference book that could make the journey more pleasant for most any traveler—and save time and money.

Got Murder? The Shocking Story of Wisconsin’s Notorious Killers By Martin Hintz; Trails Books, $18.95 www.trailsbooks.com

“Even in Wisconsin, the happy land of Packer mania, bowling leagues and Friday night fish fries, of North Woods serenity and Wisconsin Dells escapism, sometimes the thin barricade is torn down between society and those who have stirred the darkest cesspool of the human soul. The cases in this book tell of some who fell, were pushed or leapt into the abyss,” says Milwaukee-based author and Shepherd Express contributor Martin Hintz in his introduction to Got Murder? From the slaughter of seven people in August 1914 at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate in Spring Green to the infamous murders and grave robbing of Plainfield’s Ed Gein, and the more recent horrific trail of Jeffrey Dahmer in Milwaukee, this book offers a chilling, detailed look at Wisconsin killers. There are no common causes, no satisfying answers, no explanations to assure us it won’t happen again. Well known for his brighter books like Wisconsin Portraits, Backroads of Wisconsin and Fun with the Family in Wisconsin, Hintz here opens a dark and bloody vein of America’s Dairyland.

Rough Stuff The Golf Columns of Dennis McCann By Dennis McCann; Killarney Golf Media, $16.95 www.wisgolfer.com

Dennis McCann is best known as the former travel columnist at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but Wisconsin Golfer magazine readers know his real passion is golf. He finds great stories, true characters and amazing tales all around the course. McCann introduces us to caddies in Eagle River who carried clubs and guns for the mob, the K-9 Geese Police that help chase the big Canada crappers off the links, and gadgets that make golfing more fun, even if they don’t improve your game. No putting tips, yardage guides or course reviews here; Rough Stuff is real life as seen through golf goggles, a great gift for any golfer who ever found pleasure looking for a ball in the tall grass.

Brewed Awakenings An Illustrated Journey to Coffeehouses in Wisconsin By Jeff Hagen; Itchy Cat Press, $13 www.jeffhagenart.com

Jeff Hagen is a Wisconsin artist (living in Indiana) whose whimsical illustrations and books (Fry Me to the Moon and Codfather II, both about fish fries) capture the spirit and soul of small-town America. This 112- page book c a p t u re s the magic and unique flavor of one-of-akind coffeehouses from K e n o s h a (Common Grounds) to Cornucopia (Siskiwit Bay Coffee). Hagen visited more than 100 little shops and discovered, “There is a depth of human character here that is as deep as a bottomless cup of coffee … They provide old-fashioned values of genuine conversation, bottomless vessels of humor and unpretentious concern for our neighbors … They are sacred places for the soul, a quiet place to rest from the storms of humanity.” Just as McCann’s Rough Stuff is about something more important than golf, Brewed Awakenings reveals life in these enchanted java-joints served warmer and sweeter than a double-shot latte.

Birdscaping in the Midwest A Guide to Gardening with Native Plants to Attract Birds By Mariette Nowak; Itchy Cat Press, $27

Sometimes it’s best to stay home and let the wonders travel to you. This lavishly illustrated, full-color, 350-page guide is a recipe book for bird and garden lovers that shows how to use native plants for beautiful landscaping that will attract wild birds. There are diagrams, plans, photos and instructions for creating nine different habitats to bring all kinds of feathered excitement to your yard. Mariette Nowak is former director of Wehr Nature Center of the Milwaukee County Parks System and is active in the organization Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes. She notes that even small pockets of habitat can help to preserve endangered birds and plants. She says “individuals can and must play an essential role in preventing the loss of species. Like it or not, we’re in the position of Noah just before the flood … we alone are responsible for saving as many creatures as we can.”


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