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Wednesday, April 13,2011

The Secret Service shares secrets

The men who guarded JFK talk about their experiences on Nov. 22, 1963

by Bill Castanier
For Doug Roberts, director of the Michigan State University Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and a former state treasurer, Nov. 22, 1963, is etched in memory. He was a 16-year-old in the 11th grade at a suburban Maryland school, and he remembers the day vividly.
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Wednesday, April 6,2011

30 days of verse

April is the time to cherish; Poetry — let it never perish!

by Bill Castanier
Allen Ginsberg would be howling over poetry’s evolution from coffee houses and the dank corridors of ivy-covered halls to highway billboards proclaiming “I geek poetry.” He would also be pleased that poetry is still being used to extort social causes..
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Thursday, March 24,2011

1920s Michigan: Klan country?

Indeed, according to an eye-opening new book from a British historian

by Bill Castanier
"Mask," the current exhibit at the MSU Museum, stands as proof. Some of the several hundred masks on display are scary, but none is scarier than the robed and hooded mannequin of a KKK member Maybe it takes a Brit to step away from the inherent...
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Wednesday, March 16,2011

Booked up

Annual ’Rally of Writers’ features an array of Michigan authors

by Bill Castanier
“Can you believe it?” she said. The conference, in its 24th year, features more than a dozen writers, including National Book Award finalist Bonnie Jo Campbell of Portage. Campbell was a finalist in 2009 for her book of short stories, “American Salvage.
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Wednesday, February 16,2011

Don't fear the reapers (just wipe 'em out with 'Angelfire')

Author locked herself in her bedroom and came out with a new novel

by Bill Castanier
The Mason woman’s first novel, “Angelfire,” a young-adult paranormal book, is being published by Harper Collins, and will be released this week at a launch party at Schuler Books & Music in Eastwood Towne Center. It’s something few first-time authors get to experience.
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Thursday, February 10,2011

Straight shooting

A veteran FBI agent brings his own experiences to his fictional thrillers

by Bill Castanier
In “Agent X”, Vail, a rogue ex-FBI agent who is coaxed back to work to help solve a mystifying case of extortion and murder, joins his co-protagonist FBI agent and assistant director Kate Bannon in chasing spies who leave increasingly complex clues for authorities.
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Wednesday, February 2,2011

Stepping outside the 'Law' — in the name of literature

When she wasn't working at 'the best legal job in America,' Allison Leotta was writing a sexy thriller

by Bill Castanier
Leotta credits much of her success to her time at MSU, where she majored in international studies in James Madison College. “It was exactly the right place at the right time. At James Madison, there was a sense of community.”.
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Wednesday, January 26,2011

The life of the ’Party’

Michael Patrick Shiels has built a career on playing pranks and taking chances

by Bill Castanier
Shiels showed up at the radio station on a cold January day with breakfast for Purtan ' and not just any breakfast, but a frozen microwaveable breakfast. He placed the frozen contents on a paper plate and put it in a white paper bag, the kind you get from take-out joints.
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Wednesday, January 19,2011

Working class wordsmiths

Book salutes literature of laboring people

by Bill Castanier
M. L. Liebler says he has a lot of friends. Liebler, who has taught English, labor studies and the art of the working class at Wayne State University for more than 30 years, was not shy in calling upon some of those old acquaintances when he was looking for contributions to “Working Words:...
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Wednesday, January 12,2011

Off to the races

A National Book Award finally puts Gordon in the winner’s circle

by Bill Castanier
Racing slang comes naturally after reading Jaimy Gordon’s extraordinary National Book Award-winning novel “Lord of Misrule,” about a down-on-its-luck racetrack and its denizens. When the award was announced Nov. 17 most writers referred to “Misrule” as a longshot or a dark horse that had no chance at the Winner’s Circle.
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