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Wednesday, October 10,2012

Of mice and Mennonites

Michigan author's second memoir covers religious humor and a cancer fight

by Bill Castanier
Readers of Rhoda Janzen's hilarious 2009 New York Times bestseller "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" may recall her failed date with a guy named Mitch who wore a Jesus-nail necklace. Since then, life has changed dramatically for Janzen — in her newest book, "Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?" Janzen and Mitch have each added another piece of jewelry: wedding rings.
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Wednesday, September 26,2012

Doctorow is in

Sci-fi wunderkind coming to Lansing for signing event

by Bill Castanier
Young adult author, science-fiction novelist, blogger, website editor, magazine contributor, expert on publishing and copyright law. They all fit the bill when describing Cory Doctorow, but he's more than a one-man band. He has a symphonic voice when it comes to the bloody edge of technology and the publishing industry.
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Wednesday, September 12,2012

Restoring the roar

New memoir details author's friendship with Sparky Anderson

by Bill Castanier
Dan Ewald has written 13 books focusing on renowned Michigan sports figures, including Bo Schembechler, Al Kaline and George Kell, but he says his new book "Sparky and Me," a biography of legendary Detroit Tigers manager George "Sparky" Anderson, may disappoint people.
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Wednesday, August 29,2012

Turn the page

Schuler Books & Music hits the big 3-0

by Bill Castanier
Bill and Cecile Fehsenfeld have seen a lot when it comes to the life of the modern bookstore. They were there for its conception, its first clumsy steps, its ugly teenage years and its bloated post-adolescence. But now their baby, Schuler Books & Music — the state's largest independent regional bookstore, with three locations in Grand Rapids and two in the Lansing area — is celebrating its 30th anniversary, just as the entire industry is entering a turbulent middle age. No one said being a parent was easy.
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Wednesday, August 22,2012

Slumdogs, no millionaires

Pulitzer Prize winner speaking in East Lansing

by Bill Castanier
As some of the overindulged freshmen of 2012 move their flat-screen TVs, laptops and mini-fridges into comfortable dorms with gourmet dining, they could probably use a cold dose of the harsh reality presented in Katherine Boo’s debut book, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers."
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Wednesday, August 15,2012

The Sexperts

Local panel discusses inflammatory book series next week

by Bill Castanier
The window at Barnes & Noble in the Lansing Mall beckons the mall walkers like a suburban siren with more than 50 copies of "Fifty Shades of Grey" proudly on display. Since it first appeared as an online-only fan fiction spin-off of the "Twilight" series, British author E.L. James' lurid novel series, which includes the two sequels "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Free," has become an unprecedented publishing phenomena.
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Wednesday, August 8,2012

Satanic verses

Author Michael Poore provides some damned good summer reading

by Bill Castanier
Michael Poore must have had a devil of a good time writing his debut novel "Up Jumps the Devil" about a modern-day Lucifer on the make for souls.
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Wednesday, July 25,2012

Castles and goat farms

'Ink Trails' follows famous and not-so-famous Michigan writers

by Bill Castanier
They hailed from Benzonia, Elk Rapids, Saline, Hudson, Harbert, Grass Lake and numerous other whistle stops between Marquette and Monroe.
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Wednesday, July 18,2012

Get on the write track this month

Short story contest challenges authors to build a story around a bookstore

by Bill Castanier
The Lansing area has two locations of Schuler Books & Music, an independently owned chain thatīs been in operation for 30 years, and two used book stores, Curious Book Shop and Archives Book Shop. However, none of these are located within the city of Lansing.
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Wednesday, July 11,2012

Booked up for July

High-profile authors descend on Lansing

by Bill Castanier
A new report from Nielsen BookScan shows it's been a hot summer for books — so to speak — with the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy accounting for one in five of all "real" books sold. It's time to break that filthy habit. To help with any withdrawal symptoms, several major authors will be visiting Lansing in the next 10 days.
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