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Peculiar reading

I first encountered Ransom Riggs’ "[Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children][1]" after I started working at Lawrence Public Library over three years ago. While shelving, I would often see the creepy, antique cover leering out from the stacks, which continued to intrigue me for some time. Eventually, ... Continue reading

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There’s no place like Lawrence

Last weekend, my in-laws visited from Iowa. Don’t worry — this isn’t a horror story. Or a rant. I actually enjoy it when they’re in town, because I get to show them around Lawrence and brag about all the great locally owned businesses and the neat events ... Continue reading

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Dahl in All

You never know what thoughts will pop into your head when you wake up two hours before dawn, creep down to the darkest, quietest corner of the basement, and make a giant papier-mache blueberry. “Why the heck am I doing this?” is one recurring theme. This time ... Continue reading

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Black writers bring James Baldwin back to life in ‘The Fire This Time’

"[The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race][1]," edited by Jesmyn Ward (an author I [raved about][2] last year), is on the short list of my favorite books of 2016. A gorgeous collection of essays and poems on racial issues in America, it’s a book ... Continue reading

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Discography dilemmas

I never listened to [Bob Dylan][1] growing up. I blame it on my parents. It’s not like they banned him from the house. They just weren’t Dylan fans. In those pre-Napster, pre- job days, it was either the radio or my parents’ music collection: Fleetwood Mac’s ["Greatest ... Continue reading

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Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt Create Unique Family Memoir

An enjoyable aspect of reading memoirs is the potential life lessons that can be gleaned from another person’s example. There are times this knowledge doesn’t come directly from the author themselves, yet it can be found in the manner they lived their life. Also within memoirs, there ... Continue reading

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YA Backlist: Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

Yes, that catchy electropop hit by Ellie Goulding from 2012 *is* the inspiration and anthem for this young adult novel from 2015. "[Anything Could Happen][1]" is a lighthearted, pleasant read filled with optimism and a bit of cheese. To be honest, it was the title that brought ... Continue reading

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Local Artist & Author Stephen T. Johnson Shares a Serendipitous Love of Letters

I have a deep sense of pride for our community’s most creative citizens; savoring local artists’ and authors’ works is often more satisfying than fine dining. Lawrence-based artist and author Stephen T. Johnson’s work is among the finest. His children’s picture books are award-winning: "[A is for ... Continue reading

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Local author Karen Vaughn talks T. rex with short story debut

It’s been a good month for Lawrence writers. Author Karen Vaughn brings us the most recent piece of local literature with her debut, "[A Kiss for a Dead Film Star][1]," a genre-blending collection of short stories. Each story is tightly crafted with vivid and weird—yet oddly relatable—situations. ... Continue reading

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Take Two Anne Tylers and Call Me in the Morning

I have a new mantra. Here it is: Welcome to your old age, Randi. OK. So it’s more of a mantra phrase, but still, it’s the repetition that gives a mantra its calming mojo. I use it whenever I feel a twinge where I’ve not twinged before, ... Continue reading

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The Hour of Land Explores Shared Stories and Shared Space

They look pretty good for 100 years old, don’t they? Happy Birthday to our National Parks! Well, this doesn’t date the ageless glory contained within the parks, but rather the National Park Service, established on August 25, 1916. Even now, there are parks that have not had ... Continue reading

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The Rules and the Exceptions of Reading

I’m a natural-born rule follower. If there’s a rule in place, it almost never occurs to me to ask why it’s there or whether it’s worth following; it’s a rule, so unless it’s a pile of ethical garbage, I’m probably going to follow it. My preference for ... Continue reading

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Lawrence Author Bryn Greenwood Debuts with Novel “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things”

Lawrence’s own Bryn Greenwood comes from a long line of Kansans, a heritage that suffuses her Midwest-set debut, “[All the Ugly and Wonderful Things][1].” The novel follows the young life of Wavonna “Wavy” Quinn, daughter of an Oklahoma meth baron and an unstable, germophobe mother. While living ... Continue reading

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Read Harder Challenge Check In

We’re more than half way through the year – you haven’t forgotten about [Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge][1] have you? Many of us here at LPL have been plugging away at the 24 challenges, ever expanding our literary horizons. Here’s a look at some of my favorite ... Continue reading

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Autism is no joke to comedy troupe Asperger’s Are Us

Asperger’s Are Us has a few requests for audience members in advance of the Boston-based comedy troupe’s Aug. 5 performance at the Lawrence Arts Center. First and foremost, don’t expect to see the guys – that would be Noah Britton, Jack Hanke, New Michael Ingemi and Ethan ... Continue reading

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Lead-off hits: best rookie authors of 2016

Summertime is in full-swing, which means more time for some of our favorite things — baseball games, new books and popsicles (which are officially their own food group from May to September.) While we can't offer you any frozen treats, we can combine the other two to ... Continue reading

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Knisley does it: a journey through illustrated memoirs

As a reader, I usually don’t know where my next read is going to come from. It could be found in a magazine article, by listening to NPR, or from a person convincing me that I need to drop everything and read this book that will apparently ... Continue reading

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Vintage Players to perform annual ‘Senior Moments’ Saturday at Theatre Lawrence

The retirees-turned-thespians of Theatre Lawrence’s Vintage Players call it “An Evening of Senior Moments,” but, as members of the group will attest, the annual comedy performance is more than colonoscopy jokes and predictable bits about failing memory. “It’s funny,” Vintage Players director Mary Ann Saunders says of ... Continue reading

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Shakespeare 400 at your library

Perhaps you’re all up to date on all [#Shakespeare400][1], but I (and here I hang my librarian head) have only paid glancing attention to the worldwide celebration of the Bard’s “passing through nature to eternity.” Thankfully, I’ll be given the chance to remedy my oversight when on ... Continue reading

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Reading under the influence with James Patterson’s Bookshots

If Nike gave out shoe deals for authors, James Patterson would be the first to have a line of $120 premium sneakers. Literary tastes aside, there’s no denying that he’s running the popular fiction game right now, with scores of best-selling titles coming out every month. How ... Continue reading

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