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From the Second Story: Read Wisconsin author for entertainment

10:38 AM, Jan. 22, 2013  |  Comments
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The winter blues tend to come during January, and they stick around like the frost that stays wherever it forms and the car's defroster can't melt the crystal residue fast enough. It almost amounts to misery, but there is a remedy: read books by Wisconsin authors.

To forget about the wintry season, I chose several good books to get me through the long cold evenings. One Wisconsin author, Michael Perry, has gained a reputation for a great writing style and humor that's almost contagious. He is well-known, and his first non-fiction memoir is "Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time."

I've read that book, but now I'm reading "Off Main Street: Barnstormers, Prophets, & Gatemouth's Gator." He starts this book of essays with an introduction, which is a story about Perry's book tour and his time spent in Laundromats. Perry likes to place the reader at the scene with him, and he shows us the humor of life, especially in Wisconsin.

Perry's books should be in everyone's home library, but local public libraries have copies that can be checked out for several weeks. They'll extend the loan, too, without a charge. If you're late checking them back in so someone else can read them and laugh, you'll be charged for it. That's just the way it is. We have to share library books - or buy them.

I've checked out Perry's most recently published book, "Visiting Tom: A Man, A Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace." I haven't read it yet, so I can't give my opinion. But I bet it'll be another great book to read.

Perry's real-life stories, his life and the people he meets and writes about will have you laughing aloud. He's the kind of writer you'd like to sit next to at a campfire, listen to him "shoot the bull" and drink a beer with.

Several years ago, I bought his second book, "Truck: A Love Story" for a friend of mine. I admit, I should've read the book first, then given it as a second-hand gift. No one would've known I'd read it first. Just one look at the cover of the book, and it'll have you wanting to buy an old pickup truck, whether or not it's drivable. But I do know a great mechanic who can fix up anything, even an old truck.

If you ever get a chance to meet Michael Perry, reserve a seat by him and buy one or more of his books. You'll be supporting a Wisconsin author and the books will be worthy of a hearty laugh. You even might be reading about someone you know.

June Thompson is a correspondent for Neillsville.

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