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Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter will discuss his book "The Center Holds" with David Maraniss at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Central Library.

Saturday is the busiest day for the Wisconsin Book Festival, with events for everyone from Civil War buffs to graphic novelist hipsters to political junkies.

At 10 a.m. at the Madison Central Library, 210 W. Mifflin St., authors Kevin and Patsy Alderson will read from the letters of Guy C. Taylor, a soldier in the 36th Wisconsin Voluntary Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.

At 1 p.m., Milwaukee author Dean Jensen will read from his book “Queen of the Air,” a biography of one of the circus’ most famous female acrobats, known only as Leitzel, who enchanted audiences around the world a century ago. He’ll be at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, 30 N. Carroll St.

At 1:30 p.m., Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter will be in the Central Library’s Community Room in conversation with author David Maraniss on Alter’s book “The Center Holds,” (read an excerpt at Slate) which recounts President Obama’s first term and re-election against a well-financed and ardent right-wing opposition. In a column last summer, Cap Times' Editor Paul Fanlund called Alter's book "terrific," noting that "The author painstakingly portrays an incumbent president, someone I am convinced would be seen as a centrist but for his skin color, as single-handedly holding off this historic tea party insurrection."

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Some top graphic novelists, including Lynda Barry (“Cruddy”), Chris Ware (“Building Stories”) and Ivan Brunetti (“Aesthetics”) will appear together on a panel to talk about their craft at 4 p.m. in the Central Library’s Community Room. Read an interview Ware did with The Guardian last week.

Author Stephen Jimenez wrote about the murder of Matthew Shepard in his book “The Book of Matt,” and his conclusions about the crime — he maintains Shepard was killed not because he was gay, but because he was a big meth dealer — has generated a lot of controversy and criticism, both for his conclusions and for the evidence he uses to support them. He speaks in the Central Library’s Community Room at 7 p.m. (A planned meet-and-greet with Jimenez beforehand has been cancelled.) Recently, Jiminez defended his book in an extensive radio interview.

After a day of some heavy subject matter, readers may want to lighten up with a humor writing showcase at 8:30 p.m. in the Central Library’s Community Room, with Michelle Wildgen, Emma Straub and others bringing the funny.