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Wednesday, June 25,2014

Turner and hooch

Book chronicles the history of Lansing’s historic Turner-Dodge house

by Bill Castanier
It’s unlikely that most of the brides posing and toasting in the rose garden next to the Turner-Dodge House have any idea who Frances Willard was. If they did, they might find irony in the fact that the fountain that bookends the garden is a testament to Willard, a founder of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and her noted anti-alcohol efforts. Elizabeth A. Homer, author of “Pioneers, Reformers, & Millionaires,” a new book on the Turner family, details how the family was active in the temperance movement as well as many of the most important social movements of the 19th and 20th century.
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Wednesday, June 18,2014

You are here

Author profiles all of Michigan’s 139 breweries and brewpubs

by Bill Castanier
Travel writer Kevin Revolinski calls himself a “born-again drinker with a writing habit.” Over the last several years, he’s developed a practical knowledge of Great Lakes area craft beer and brewpubs, and he describes the Mitten State’s burgeoning beer industry in his new book, “Michigan’s Best Beer Guide.” The new book is the follow-up to his “Wisconsin’s Best Beer Guide,” and was published by Thunder Bay Press in Holt.
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Wednesday, May 21,2014

Survivors tales

Two books detail stories in Michigan’s harsh natural and urban extremes

by Bill Castanier
Great storytelling is an art, and this week, the Capital Area District Library will host two raconteurs. Tonight, Dennis Hale will share the amazing true story of his survival after the freighter he was working on sank in the ice-cold waters of Lake Huron. Then on Thursday, author Jim Daniels will read from his work that weaves fictional tales of survival in the rust-belt lifestyles in Warren, Mich.
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Wednesday, May 14,2014

Rock-y, horror

Former MSU student finds success with debut novel, rock group

by Bill Castanier
In his new novel, the apocalyptic horror thriller, “Bird Box,” Josh Malerman hits all the right notes. It makes sense, since Malerman is also a musician who has shared his writing skills as the front man for the indie band the High Strung since 2004.
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Wednesday, May 7,2014

Anatomy of a writer

Annual symposium celebrates the work of eccentric Michigan author, judge

by Bill Castanier
In his three years as a Michigan Supreme Court judge in the late ‘50s, John D. Voelker wrote an impressive 100 opinions. One of the most titillating was “People v. Hildabridle” in 1959, which involved a Battle Creek-area nudist camp. Voelker, who died in 1991, was decidedly offbeat, said his good friend and fellow fly fisherman and attorney, Frederick Baker.
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Wednesday, April 30,2014

Schuler vs. Schuler

Chelsea Handler in Okemos, Christopher Moore in Eastwood on Saturday

by Bill Castanier
A funny thing happened on the way to the book signing. Chelsea Handler, comedian, author and late night talk show host, and Christopher Moore, author of 13 comedic novels, have been scheduled for stops in the Lansing area on the same day and time — 2 p.m. Saturday — at both local Schuler Books & Music locations. Moore will speak and sign books at Eastwood Towne Center and Handler will sign at Meridian Mall. Schuler is taking this literary meteor shower in stride and expects both events to be packed with standing room only for fans of these New York Times best-selling authors.
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Wednesday, April 23,2014

Herrmann’s history

Celebrated Lansing home is the setting for Historical Society fundraiser

by Bill Castanier
The historic house at 520 N. Capitol Ave. in Lansing is part of the bustling Lansing Community College campus, and home of the college’s president Brent Knight, and his wife, Rise. But in 1893, the year it was built by German immigrant/entrepre neur John T. Herrmann, the house’s environs were considerably more rural: A German friend, already in Lansing, had lured Herrmann to the area in a letter, by writing: “Come to Lansing — you could shoot a deer from the back porch.”
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Wednesday, April 16,2014

Midwestern sensibilities

Night of Notables event honors distinctly Michigan voices

by Bill Castanier
This year’s 20 Michigan Notable Books are weighty — close to 60 pounds — so if you plan to haul home some of this year’s selection at the Night for Notables, where the authors of 2014 books are being feted, bring a reinforced book bag. Two-time Edgar Award winner Steve Hamilton will be keynote for this year’s event.
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Wednesday, March 26,2014

Immigrants in time

MSU welcomes U.S. poet laureate for national poetry month

by Bill Castanier
Poets are the Rodney Dangerfields of the literary world, located somewhere down near society writers at weekly newspapers on the no-respect spectrum (no-respectrum?) But each April — National Poetry Month — they get a chance to strut their stuff. Or to put it poetically, to test their mettle.
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Wednesday, March 19,2014

Graphic history

‘One Book, One Community’ chooses graphic novel memoir of civil rights activist for 2014

by Bill Castanier
Thirteen-term Georgia congressman John Lewis is the last living member of the core group of speakers who addressed the historic March on Washington in 1963. He also led marches and sit-ins that would result in severe beatings for him and his followers at the hands of the police. Lewis recently added comic book author to that resume. This week, his graphic novel memoir, “March: Book One,” was officially announced by the City of East Lansing and Michigan State University as the 2014 One Book, One Community book.
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