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Wednesday, April 4,2012

'Writing well is the best revenge'

Loren D. Estleman is the keynote speaker at this year's Rally of Writers

by Bill Castanier
Estleman still prefers using his 1967 Olympia and his 1923 Underwood to bang out his novels, including his more than 30 books featuring Detroit private eye Amos Walker.
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Wednesday, March 28,2012

Bad medicine

Professor Susan Reverby writes about medical research gone wrong

by Bill Castanier
Reverby, the Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of Ideas and Professor of Women´s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College and an historian of American women, medicine and nursing, speaks April 5 at the Michigan State University’s World View Lecture Series.
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Thursday, March 22,2012

Some assembly required

After more than 20 years, Ben Hamper's 'Rivethead' still works for readers

by Bill Castanier
He will not be wearing his "Out for Trout" baseball cap: His former boss Michael Moore borrowed the cap for the filming of "Roger and Me" and never gave it back. Moore writes about the theft in the foreword to Hamper’s 1991 cult classic book "Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line."
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Wednesday, March 14,2012

An officer and an author

Actor-soldier-memoirist Benjamin Busch looks back on being a Marine — and playing a Marine

by Bill Castanier
Busch — an artist, actor, soldier and now author — shows his poetic vision of life and death in this unusual memoir, which doesn’t follow the usual conventions. For example, the story isn’t linear, but is broken into the sub-categories of Arms, Water, Metal, Soil, Bone, Wood, Blood and Ash, things the author refers to as elemental. Typically, he alternates chapters on his war experience with those of growing up.
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Wednesday, March 7,2012

'God's in the details'

'Horse Soldiers' author Doug Stanton shares insights at MSU lecture

by Bill Castanier
Doug Stanton was just outgrowing his "Cat in the Hat" stage when the author Gay Talese, one of the progenitors of the "new journalism" movement, wrote a seminal article for Esquire on Frank Sinatra that still influences the Traverse City writer.
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Wednesday, February 29,2012

African-American history isn't what it used to be

Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Freedman shares surprising stories in 'Presidents and Black America'

by Bill Castanier
Eric Freedman, co author of “Presidents and Black America: A Documentary History,” said the history of the presidency is one of “oversimplification and gentrification.” Freedman is an associate professor of journalism at Michigan State University and a Pulitzer Prize winner for his investigative reporting at The Detroit News in 1994.
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Wednesday, February 22,2012

Stamped out?

Advances in technology may have sealed the fate of the art of letter writing

by Bill Castanier
Think about how our lives have been enriched by the letters of Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, the Apostle Paul, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, C.S.
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Wednesday, February 22,2012

In publishing, money makes the words go around

Blogs and newspaper columns can sometimes turn into profitable books — if they manage to survive

by Bill Castanier
The literary world is full of books that began as diaries, journals or caches of letters. "Marley & Me," the best-selling memoir by former newspaper columnist John Grogan, comes immediately to mind. Grogan told me in a 2005 interview that it took him a couple of weeks to turn his weekly columns and journal entries about his dog Marley into a book.
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Wednesday, February 8,2012

'Our stories are not being told'

Lolita Hernandez writes about living and working in the Rust Belt

by Bill Castanier
If the Rust Belt had a capital city, it would be Detroit, where people have been making cars for more than 100 years. That may sound like a Clint Eastwood Super Bowl half-time ad, but Lolita Hernandez, author of “Autopsy of an Engine and Other Stories from the Cadillac Plant,” insists, “The factory is the city.”
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Wednesday, January 25,2012

Takin' it to the streets

Poetry in Motion program rolls out on CATA buses

by Bill Castanier
Capital Area Transportation Authority buses traversing mostly along campus routes and down Michigan Avenue will host a moveable feast of poetry, with each bus showcasing interior placards with lines of poetry from 13 poets, including Michigan State University Professors Anita Skeen and Diane Wakoski.
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