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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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Wednesday, June 17,2015

Letting go

Lansing author releases follow-up to 'The Life List'

by Bill Castanier
Lansing author Lori Nelson Spielman said when she saw a giant poster for her new book, “Sweet Forgiveness,” at a French subway stop, it was “unbelievable, sort of like pinching yourself.” But it’s not a dream. Spielman’s overseas success has been ph...
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Monday, June 8,2015

Censorship happens

Re-release shines light on forgotten Lansing author

by Bill Castanier
MONDAY, JUNE 8 — Almost 90 years after it was banned in the U.S. for obscenity, “What Happens,” a 1926 book by Lansing author John Herrmann, has been re-released.
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Wednesday, May 27,2015

Baseball by the numbers

‘Numbers Don’t Lie’ looks at the numbers behind Detroit Tigers baseball

by Bill Castanier
ERA, RBIs and OPS have always been a big deal in baseball. The numbers don’t lie, and these numbers allow fans to continue evaluating the past and predicting the future of baseball. That’s one of the conclusions readers will come to after devouring baseball writer Danny Knobler’s new book “Numbers Don’t Lie: The Biggest Numbers in Detroit Tigers History.” Knobler, now based in New York, has covered professional baseball for most of his adult life, including 18 years as a sportswriter for Booth Newspapers. He knows what he is talking about when he says, “Baseball has always been about numbers. From the start of the game, people have always looked at the numbers.”
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Wednesday, May 20,2015

Gone to the dogs

David Olds draws from his photography experience in his novel, ‘Bulldog Blues’

by Bill Castanier
Author and photographer David Olds certainly subscribes to the maxim “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and he mixes that maxim in his recent book, “Bulldog Blues,” with another: “Write what you know.” “Bulldog Blues” is a farcical and fictional romp about a crazy Pulitzer prize-winning photographer, Dennis Wright, set in contemporary Detroit. Dennis, who is in the twilight of his career as photographer for a daily newspaper, is not only fighting some of his own demons, he’s also locked in a fierce battle against a wayward newspaper industry.
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Wednesday, May 13,2015

Breach of trust

‘A Good Killing’ explores issues of trust, access and abuse

by Bill Castanier
After the successful debut of her mystery/ thriller novel, “Law of Attraction,” author Allison Leotta decided she needed what she called a “little writing nest.” So she repurposed an extra bedroom, painting it a light blue because she had heard that the color helped creativity. She soon found that wasn’t working for her, and went back to working at the kitchen table. She has since written three more superb thrillers at this table, drawing on her 12 years of experience as a federal sex crimes prosecutor in Washington, D.C.
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Wednesday, May 6,2015

The war on the war on drugs

One Book, One Community explores equal justice in the U.S.

by Bill Castanier
It’s been 14 years since Frankenstein’s monster metaphorically set foot on the streets of East Lansing. The selection of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” was viewed by many as an outrageous choice for the area’s first One Book, One Community program, a joint project between the City of East Lansing and Michigan State University. The selection, however, set the tone and style for future years, which saw major authors the likes of National Book Award winner Katherine Boo present on campus. The one major difference: Since the first year, all the authors were alive.
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Wednesday, April 29,2015

Anne and Anna

Michigan authors host Independent Bookstore Day events in Greater Lansing

by Bill Castanier
Two Michigan writers — one from decidedly gritty Detroit, the other from pastoral Empire on the shore of Lake Michigan — will be headliners at Schuler Books on Saturday for Independent Book Store Day. Unfortunately, the two writers, Anna Clark of Detroit and Anne-Marie Oomen of Empire, will be holding court at competing Schuler Books locations. It would have been fun to put these two Michigan authors together for a session. Clark, a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, curated “A Detroit Anthology,” a 2015 Michigan Notable Book Award winner.
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Wednesday, April 22,2015

A notable evening

Library of Michigan Foundation honors 20 authors at Night for Notables

by Bill Castanier
Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel was not the only one surprised when her post-apocalyptic novel, “Station Eleven,” was named a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award. What surprised close followers of the award was not only that she was a virtual unknown, but — perhaps even more unlikely — her book was tainted as a thriller with a postapocalyptic theme. Books like this just don’t make it onto the list of finalists for the prestigious award.
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Wednesday, April 15,2015

History on paper

Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper show returns to the Lansing Center

by Bill Castanier
Book collectors, history buffs and the just-plain-curious will get a literary look into the past at this weekend’s Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show. For over 30 years, Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop and the show’s organizer, has been hosting the popular show in Lansing. It will hold its 61st semi-annual show Sunday at the Lansing Center.
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