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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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Wednesday, June 19,2013

Man, our Flint ...

Michigan author buys a house in 'the most dangerous city in America’'

by Bill Castanier
An offbeat idea hatched in a San Francisco hipster bar set journalist and Flint native Gordon Young on a quest to buy a house in his downtrodden hometown. Young's obsession-like love of Flint is the focus of his first book, "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City."
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Wednesday, June 12,2013

The squid, the bear and the guy who ate his own baby

Michigan author launches tour of dark fable set in magical woods

by Bill Castanier
Mat Bell's debut novel, "In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods," is popping up on some impressive must-read lists this summer.
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Wednesday, May 29,2013

Diverse 'Voices'

Grand Ledge writing group publishes third collection of work

by Bill Castanier
The Grand Ledge writers' group, Writing at the Ledges, thinks big — and thinking big this year resulted in a 387-page collection of essays, poems and short stories.
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Wednesday, May 22,2013

Drawn that way

Lansing children's author keeps character grounded in real world

by Bill Castanier
If Ruth McNally Barshaw has her way, Ellie McDoodle will never see 13, play a video game or use a cell phone. And the Lansing author and illustrator will have her way, since she is the creator of the five-book young adult series "The Ellie McDoodle Diaries," about a 12-year-old who journalizes her life, accompanied by doodle drawings.
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