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Wednesday, July 25,2012

Castles and goat farms

'Ink Trails' follows famous and not-so-famous Michigan writers

by Bill Castanier
They hailed from Benzonia, Elk Rapids, Saline, Hudson, Harbert, Grass Lake and numerous other whistle stops between Marquette and Monroe.
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Wednesday, July 18,2012

Get on the write track this month

Short story contest challenges authors to build a story around a bookstore

by Bill Castanier
The Lansing area has two locations of Schuler Books & Music, an independently owned chain thatīs been in operation for 30 years, and two used book stores, Curious Book Shop and Archives Book Shop. However, none of these are located within the city of Lansing.
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Wednesday, July 11,2012

Booked up for July

High-profile authors descend on Lansing

by Bill Castanier
A new report from Nielsen BookScan shows it's been a hot summer for books — so to speak — with the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy accounting for one in five of all "real" books sold. It's time to break that filthy habit. To help with any withdrawal symptoms, several major authors will be visiting Lansing in the next 10 days.
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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 Dunneīs 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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