Time to put away those beach reads. The fall books season is just about upon us and with it comes the 2015 Wisconsin Book Festival.

The Madison Public Library released its schedule Monday for the free festival, which runs Oct. 22-25 at the Madison Central Library and other locations around town. This year’s lineup seems especially strong, including appearances from former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, children’s novelist Kevin Henkes and acclaimed novelists Adam Johnson, Matthew Thomas and Eileen Pollack.

And, of course, since it’s the Wisconsin Book Festival, there's beer.

Here are a few of the highlights from the schedule. See the full rundown at wisconsinbookfestival.org.

Robert Reich (October 24, 7:30 p.m., Central Library) – The former Labor Secretary during the Clinton administration will talk about his new book “Saving Capitalism,” which details how the economic system that made America is now breaking America, and what needs to be done to rescue it.

Adam Johnson (October 22, 7:30 p.m., Central Library) — The author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Orphan Master’s Son,” a black comic drama set in the terrible madness of North Korea, follows up with “Fortune Smiles,” a collection of six stories that also mix the comic and tragic.

Matthew Thomas (October 24, 6 p.m. Central Library) — Thomas will talk about his acclaimed novel “We Are Not Ourselves,” about a family that begins in the optimism of post-World War II America and survives the more uncertain times to come.

William Bostwick (October 24, 8 p.m., Central Library) — Bostwick is the beer critic for the Wall Street Journal and will talk about his book “The Brewer’s Tale,” in which he uncovers (and tries to brew) long-forgotten beers from the world’s brewing past.

Kevin Henkes (October 24, 10:30 a.m., Central Library) — Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes brings his latest children’s book to his hometown festival, “Waiting,” in which five animals patiently wait for something amazing to happen to them.

Wesley Chu (October 23, 5:30 p.m., Central Library) — The science-fiction author, who just won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the Hugo Awards last weekend, will return to Madison to talk about his book “Time Salvager,” about a time-traveling thief who finally decides to go straight. Read an interview with Chu.

David Maraniss (Oct. 24, 1:30 p.m., Central Library) — Like in “They Marched Into Sunlight,” the Washington Post editor and part-time Madisonian zeroes in on a moment in time – in this case, a prosperous Detroit in 1963 – to detail the larger forces at work in American life.

Eileen Pollack (Oct. 23, 2:30 p.m., Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery) — In her second work of nonfiction, “The Only Woman in the Room,” fiction writer Pollack digs deep into the reasons why the hard sciences are still such a boys’ club that’s so unwelcoming to women.

Evan Thomas (Oct. 24, 4:30 p.m. Central Library) — The longtime Washington journalist presents his new biography, “Being Nixon: A Man Divided,” in which he explores the contradictions of Richard M. Nixon, the President who could pursue détente with Russia and China and engage in ruthless political tricks.

Matthew Diffee (Oct. 24, 9 p.m., Central Library) — The New Yorker cartoonist presents his latest collection of cartoons, called “Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People.” So if you don’t like them, you know what you are.

The library has also endeavored to make the festival a “year-round” celebration by branding author events outside the four-day festival. In September, the library will host appearances by “Barbara the Slut” author Lauren Holmes on Sept. 11, and “This American Life” contributor Sarah Vowell on Oct. 30.


Rob Thomas is the features editor and social media editor for the Capital Times, as well as its film critic. He joined the Cap Times in 1999 and has written about movies, music, food and books.