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Thursday, July 5,2012

Another day for McKnight

Author Steve Hamilton brings back ex-Detroit cop Alex McKnight in 'Die a Stranger'

by Bill Castanier
Last weekend, Steve Hamilton was in the Upper Peninsula, enjoying the cool breezes off the big lake and a whitefish fry at the local Lions Club. He was staying in Brimley, not far from Paradise, the literary home of Alex McKnight, the protagonist of his award-winning mystery series.
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Wednesday, June 27,2012

50 years of 'Spring'

MSU exhibit looks back at author/environmentalist Rachel Carson

by Bill Castanier
Some books change the way you think; others change the way you look at the world around you. Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," published in 1962, not only profoundly changed the way we think about our relationship with the natural world, it helped launch the modern environmental movement.
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Tuesday, June 19,2012

A different kind of dine and dash

Author Scott Jurek talks about 'Eat & Run' Wednesday at Playmakers

by Bill Castanier
Tuesday, June 19 — As an eighth-grader in rural Minnesota, Scott Jurek hated running. As a high-schooler, he only ran to stay in shape for Nordic skiing. Today, Jurek, 38, is one of the world’s best ultramarathoners and thinks nothing of going out for a 30- or 40-mile run twice a week while logging 120-mile weeks.
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Wednesday, June 13,2012

Ford tough

More than 20 years after he started it, Richard Ford unveils 'Canada'

by Bill Castanier
The hook: Joyce, Salinger, Twain, Vonnegut, Dickens — these are all authors we know by their last names. Each was also a master of the first line. Richard Ford’s “Canada” is likely to get “Ford” added to that pantheon of literary geniuses. Its stark opening sentences: “First, I’ll tell you about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders”
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Wednesday, June 6,2012

'Golden' girls: The next generation

Kalamazoo native Richelle Mead parlays geekdom into a solid writing career

by Bill Castanier
The books by Kalamazoo native Richelle Mead are no different in their outside appearance, but inside you will find at least one remarkable variation: Vampires and humans don’t get it on. Yes, there is no love and no love lost in the tremendously successful vampire franchise created by Mead, who lives in Seattle.
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Wednesday, May 30,2012

Stormy, with a good chance of mystery

'Stand By' for meteorologist Jake Dunne´s second novel

by Bill Castanier
Like the hot and sticky weather he sometimes reports on, Lansing meteorologist Jake Dunne uses his concise and easygoing storytelling ability to grab the reader in “Stand By,” his new mystery-thriller.
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Wednesday, May 23,2012

Shades of summer

You can take a vacation through reading this season

by Bill Castanier
Thanks to a potential Eurozone meltdown, Greece is in the news nearly every day. But in the 1960s Greece was in the throes of a terrifying military dictatorship, and Natalie Bakopoulos’ “The Green Shore” reflects on an era of oppression, love, fear and day-to-day life in a Greece we’ve mostly forgotten about.
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Wednesday, May 16,2012

Frightening and funny

Louise Krug's dreams of a glamorous career were curtailed by a crisis

by Bill Castanier
Louise Krug had just started her dream life with a college degree, a new job, glam clothes, a wonderful and handsome boyfriend and a magazine assignment chasing Britney Spears. She was looking forward to the beautiful life California had to offer.
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Wednesday, May 9,2012

A playwright's work is never done

Sandra Seaton wins the Study of Midwestern Literature's Mark Twain Award

by Bill Castanier
When East Lansing playwright Sandra Seaton receives the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature´s Mark Twain Award for writing this week, she will join a distinguished group of previous winners, including Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, Virginia Hamilton, Ray Bradbury, Jane Hamilton and Jim Harrison.
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Wednesday, May 2,2012

Home run

Jim Abbott writes about his baseball career and his parents' love story

by Bill Castanier
Abbott’s emergence from Flint was a storybook tale, especially considering that he was born without a right hand. On a scholarship to the University of Michigan, he collected two Big 10 championships, a solid 26-8 record and won the Sullivan Award for the best college athlete in 1987, the first baseball player to win the award. He then became a member of the triumphant U.S. Olympic Baseball Team, which won an unofficial Gold Medal in the 1988 Olympics (baseball was classified as a demonstration sport that year).
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