Back when I was a little tyke, admittedly many years ago, when my mother tucked me in at night and turned out the lights, she would always leave me with the rhyme, "Good night. Sleep tight. And don't let the bedbugs bite." I had no idea what bedbugs were. For all I knew they were one of those fictional inventions like the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. Turns out I was very wrong.
Because my mom was a child of the Depression (she was born in 1922), it could be she was expressing a very real concern of her day. As revealed in contributor Jay Rath's cover story, "Biting Bad," as many as one-third of U.S. households pre-1940 may have suffered from bedbug infestations. That's just one of the many interesting revelations concerning the little nasties that Rath reports in his piece.
Like the emerald ash borer and Asian carp, this is a nuisance headed our way. Rath does a good job explaining the phenomenon and offering hopeful antidotes. Good luck to us all, and be skeptical about that roadside furniture find.
Moving on to more pleasant fare, our arts feature this week is a collection of book reviews from a collection of contributors. It's a way of preparing you for next week's Wisconsin Book Festival (Oct. 17-20). That's an annual event that this year is presented by the Madison Community Foundation and hosted by the Madison Public Library in partnership with the Madison Public Library Foundation. There is also a cohort of sponsors, Isthmus among them.
An even better way of preparing for the festival is the 12-page guide that comes with your Isthmus this week. It contains a schedule and descriptions of every event from the first Thursday morning session through the final attraction on Sunday afternoon. The book is dead? Long live the book!