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Wednesday, August 26,2015

'The sun does shine'

Author Bryan Stevenson brings message of equal justice to MSU

by Bill Castanier
  Lawyer Bryan Stevenson has helped make the sun shine again for some 115 men, among them Anthony Ray Hinton of Montgomery, Alabama. Stevenson, who founded and directs the Equal Justice Initiative, added Hinton to that number this past April, after he served more than 30 years o...
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Wednesday, August 19,2015

Heady matters

Jim Proebstle takes on concussion awareness in youth sports

by Bill Castanier
  The “NCAA Game of the Week” football program for Nov. 23, 1963 lists J. Proebstle at right end and D. Proebstle at quarterback for the Michigan State University Spartans. For the brothers, Jim and Dick Proebstle, this wasn’t the first team they had played togeth...
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Wednesday, August 12,2015

Major league contract

Science fiction author John Scalzi signs blockbuster deal

by Bill Castanier
  John Scalzi has gone where no science fiction author has gone before: He signed a $3.4 million, 10-book, multi-year deal with his publisher, Tor/ Forge, in May. Scalzi’s deal was written about in the pages of The New York Times’ business section, another place w...
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Wednesday, August 5,2015

Friendship, Northern Michigan style

Drummond Island trips forge friendships

by Bill Castanier
If Hollywood doesn’t snatch up the movie rights for Mardi Jo Link’s new memoir, “The Drummond Girls,” they are fools. In a time when friendships seem as fleeting as yesterday’s selfie, Link, who is mostly known for her true crime novels, has written a remarkable tale about eight women who become fast friends and who, for more than 20 years, gather annually for a weekend of all-night revelry and general goofing around on Drummond Island.
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Wednesday, July 29,2015

Secret fantasy

Local author releases tightly guarded video game novel

by Bill Castanier
For the past year, local fantasy novelist Jim Hines has led a double life. During the day, he plugged away as a demographer, compiling education statistics for the State of Michigan. But at the same time, he also was working on a top secret assignment. Everything was hush-hush. T...
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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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