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Wednesday, July 22,2015

Drive-by history

New book looks at the history of M-22

by Bill Castanier
Tourists have been navigating the narrow roads of Northern Michigan’s M-22 since the early 1900s, checking out the beautiful beaches, idyllic farm lands, sweeping sand dunes and the seemingly lockedin-time villages. Thanks to “Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 Including Sle...
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Wednesday, July 15,2015

Harper Lee to Hemingway

New release, event give insight into the writing process

by Bill Castanier
Tuesday’s publication of Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” is a lesson in publishing and editing. Readers seldom get to see an original, unedited manuscript of a book in published form; mostly they languish in archives. But that, in essence, is what “Go Set a Watchman” is — a first draft of Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
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Wednesday, July 8,2015

Murder on Mackinac

New mystery novel is set on Michigan’s most famous island

by Bill Castanier
Mackinac Island, with its storied history, bikes-and-horses-only attitude, tons of fudge and a bevy of quaint cottages, has always been considered one of Michigan’s top family vacation destinations. East Lansing lawyer Charles McLravy, who writes under the pseudonym Charles Cutter, also saw it as the perfect setting for his new murder mystery, “The Pink Pony.”
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Wednesday, July 1,2015

Explosive contents

‘The Wrong Hands’ looks at weapons manuals and their impact on society

by Bill Castanier
If someone had told Ann Larabee that while working on her book, “The Wrong Hands: Popular Weapons Manuals and Their Historic Challenges to a Democratic Society,” a horrific bombing such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing would occur, she would not have been surprised. The author, a Michigan State University English professor, is quick to point out that using bombs for terror, political statements and even deranged revenge motives is intertwined with the history of the United States, dating back to colonial times when manuals on how to manufacture gunpowder were created.
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Monday, June 22,2015

Radio gaga

‘Broadcast Hysteria’ takes a fresh look at an Orson Welles masterpiece

by Bill Castanier
MONDAY, JUNE 22 — There have been reams written about Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 “The War of the Worlds” radio broadcast, but much of it has only repeated long-held myths surrounding the broadcast of the fictional alien invasion of Earth.
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Wednesday, June 17,2015

Letting go

Lansing author releases follow-up to 'The Life List'

by Bill Castanier
Lansing author Lori Nelson Spielman said when she saw a giant poster for her new book, “Sweet Forgiveness,” at a French subway stop, it was “unbelievable, sort of like pinching yourself.” But it’s not a dream. Spielman’s overseas success has been ph...
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Monday, June 8,2015

Censorship happens

Re-release shines light on forgotten Lansing author

by Bill Castanier
MONDAY, JUNE 8 — Almost 90 years after it was banned in the U.S. for obscenity, “What Happens,” a 1926 book by Lansing author John Herrmann, has been re-released.
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Wednesday, May 27,2015

Baseball by the numbers

‘Numbers Don’t Lie’ looks at the numbers behind Detroit Tigers baseball

by Bill Castanier
ERA, RBIs and OPS have always been a big deal in baseball. The numbers don’t lie, and these numbers allow fans to continue evaluating the past and predicting the future of baseball. That’s one of the conclusions readers will come to after devouring baseball writer Danny Knobler’s new book “Numbers Don’t Lie: The Biggest Numbers in Detroit Tigers History.” Knobler, now based in New York, has covered professional baseball for most of his adult life, including 18 years as a sportswriter for Booth Newspapers. He knows what he is talking about when he says, “Baseball has always been about numbers. From the start of the game, people have always looked at the numbers.”
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Wednesday, May 20,2015

Gone to the dogs

David Olds draws from his photography experience in his novel, ‘Bulldog Blues’

by Bill Castanier
Author and photographer David Olds certainly subscribes to the maxim “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and he mixes that maxim in his recent book, “Bulldog Blues,” with another: “Write what you know.” “Bulldog Blues” is a farcical and fictional romp about a crazy Pulitzer prize-winning photographer, Dennis Wright, set in contemporary Detroit. Dennis, who is in the twilight of his career as photographer for a daily newspaper, is not only fighting some of his own demons, he’s also locked in a fierce battle against a wayward newspaper industry.
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Wednesday, May 13,2015

Breach of trust

‘A Good Killing’ explores issues of trust, access and abuse

by Bill Castanier
After the successful debut of her mystery/ thriller novel, “Law of Attraction,” author Allison Leotta decided she needed what she called a “little writing nest.” So she repurposed an extra bedroom, painting it a light blue because she had heard that the color helped creativity. She soon found that wasn’t working for her, and went back to working at the kitchen table. She has since written three more superb thrillers at this table, drawing on her 12 years of experience as a federal sex crimes prosecutor in Washington, D.C.
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