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Wednesday, October 2,2013

'Room for one more friend'

An interview with legendary folk singer Arlo Guthrie

by Bill Castanier
Arlo Guthrie plays the Wharton Center Thursday night at 7:30. The folk legend answered some questions by email about politics, the enduring power of folk music and riding motorcycles at 66.
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Wednesday, October 2,2013

Cooking the books

Two author talks this week incorporate cuisine in uncommon ways

by Bill Castanier
The table is set for a gourmet treat of fine reading from authors who are as different as Little Debbie and Baked Alaska. Jeffery Deaver is among the leading thriller writers in the world; Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, aka “the Beekman boys,” are reality TV stars. All three appear in the Lansing area this week to speak and sign copies of their new books.
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Wednesday, September 18,2013

Spilling secrets

Two Michigan authors write about opening up

by Bill Castanier
What’s your family secret —the one you want no one else to know, the one you’ll take to your grave? Most families have secrets held from even other family members. Maybe it’s a child out of wedlock, a half brother in a faraway country fathered by a G.I. in WWII or a love child with an unnamed father.
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Thursday, September 5,2013

Literary backfield in motion

Lansing area writers, artists scramble to Ann Arbor's Kerrytown BookFest

by Bill Castanier
Authors and book artists with a Lansing connection who have been invited to this year'euro;'s festival are children'euro;'s authors Deborah Diesen and Ruth McNally Barshaw, rock 'euro;'n roll writer Steve Miller, urban issues writer Edward McClelland and book artist Eric Alstrom.
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Wednesday, August 28,2013

Sex, drugs and family

A rock ‘n roll bus tour heats up in John Abbott's 'The Last Refrain'

by Bill Castanier
John Abbott taught guitar at Marshall Music before he became a writer. He melds his two loves in his debut novel, “The Last Refrain,” about a family musical group that is on the cusp of either breaking out or breaking up.
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Wednesday, August 21,2013

A poet's war novel

Kevin Powers’ ‘The Yellow Birds’ chosen for One Book, One Community read

by Bill Castanier
A war is raging far away. Two childhood friends sign up together and end up in the same unit. One swears to his friend’s mother that he will bring him back alive, but can he deliver on that promise?
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Wednesday, August 7,2013

Mr. 'Blue Skies'

'industrial heartland' decayed into the Rust Belt

by Bill Castanier
Edward McClelland purposely chose “Nothin’ But Blue Skies” as the title for his new book on the rise and fall of America’s once great manufacturing cities because it was ambiguous.
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Wednesday, July 24,2013

Forging ahead

Art heist thriller is no paint-by-numbers affair

by Bill Castanier
In her new novel, "The Art Forger," author B.A. Shapiro crafts a fictionalized account of the extraordinary $500 million art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. Without a single bullet being fired, car chase or ticking bomb, Shapiro has written a cerebral thriller with a beautiful, believable heroine whose outcome isn’t known until the very end.
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Wednesday, July 10,2013

'Life' lessons

Grand Ledge author hits it big with debut novel

by Bill Castanier
About 10 years ago, the concept of the bucket list, an itemization of either life goals or feats of endurance to accomplish before you kick the proverbial bucket, hit pop culture. Suddenly, aging Baby Boomers were creating lists with quests such as 'see the northern lights,' 'learn how to play the guitar' or 'climb Mount Kilimanjaro.'
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Wednesday, June 26,2013

Colorful Bird

Quirky '70s Detroit Tiger pitcher gets a biography

by Bill Castanier
In 1976, as most of the country was celebrating the nation's bicentennial, baseball fans were rallying behind a Detroit Tigers pitcher with an unusual nickname: Mark "the Bird" Fidrych, who created enough fireworks with his fastball and on-field antics to satiate folks who had become bored with the national pastime.
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