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Dispatches from a newly minted book club

While reading is often thought of as a solitary activity, book clubs and reading groups provide a bit of social camaraderie for certain book lovers. Lawrence is lucky to have a wide and active community of readers, with [lots of book clubs][1] of all sizes popping up ... Continue reading

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Radiolab co-host Jad Abumrad on journalism, the fury of Terry Gross fans and what makes ‘messy’ stories worth telling

The creative process, according to "Radiolab" co-host Jad Abumrad, is marked with uncertainty. Whether that creative queasiness — “gut churn,” he calls it — helps or hinders the operation is the inquiry at the center of Abumrad’s multimedia presentation of the same name, [coming to Lawrence this ... Continue reading

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Fiesta to celebrate Mexican culture, food this weekend

In some ways, St. John’s Mexican Fiesta isn’t unlike La Yarda, says fiesta publicity chair and longtime St. John parishioner Jacinta Hoyt. The community of Mexican railroad workers that sprang up 90 years ago in East Lawrence is long gone (the patch of small, brick homes was ... Continue reading

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Lawrence Libations: Rose lemonade at Aladdin Cafe

Lawrence Libations revisits an old summer standby this week, with a Middle Eastern twist on lemonade at Aladdin Cafe. The addition of rose water — which itself has been marketed as a [good-for-you “beauty drink”][1] as of late in the Western world, apparently [showing up][2] in the ... Continue reading

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‘Heart of a Lion’ is a true story of fear, cats and ecology

I bet when William Stolzenburg wrote his previous book, "[Where the Wild Things Were][1]," he didn’t figure he would later find one of the wildest things in the Americas on a walkabout that stretched from the Black Hills of South Dakota, through Midwestern farms and cities, across ... Continue reading

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Van Go to celebrate young artists, successful endowment campaign at Saturday’s What Floats Your Boat

Emily Laughlin was only 12 when she first learned of Van Go Inc., the social service agency that provides arts-based job training to at-risk teens and young adults in Douglas County. She wasn’t yet old enough to take part in the program, but Laughlin, now 19, remembers ... Continue reading

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Beyond Bamford: Free State Festival highlights

Monday brings the arrival of this year's Free State Festival and its fully stocked lineup of music, art, film and ideas. Among the many attractions: "Lady Dynamite" star Maria Bamford (you can read our interview with her here), Radiolab co-founder Jad Abumrad, film screenings galore and a ... Continue reading

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Free State Festival headliner Maria Bamford on getting older, saying no and the many endearing qualities of pugs

In her critically acclaimed, semi-autobiographical Netflix series "Lady Dynamite," comedian Maria Bamford mines her very real struggles with mental illness (the Minnesota native checked herself into a psych ward a few years back after being diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder, and subsequently checked out, at least partly, ... Continue reading

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Monkey see, Enkidu: Everyday solutions from ancient texts

Like many in town, our home has not been immune to an influx of sugar ants in recent weeks, made worse by a wet May. Unfortunately, word spread among them that, due to its plentiful supply of improperly disposed lollipop and Popsicle sticks, my 5-year-old son Ray’s ... Continue reading

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Off the Beaten Plate: Purple yam ice cream at Zen Zero

This month’s Off the Beaten Plate is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach — although in my world, a “feast” probably entails more than two scoops of creamy, dreamy lavender-hued ice cream, but Zen Zero knows what’s best for me and gave me ... Continue reading

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My Body, My Canvas: Tattoos of Literature

I got my first tattoo last year when I was 63: a semi-colon; yes, I’m a great fan of grammar and, unlike Kurt Vonnegut, I believe semi-colons are useful and fun to deploy, but that’s not the reason I had a semi-colon tattooed on my finger. The ... Continue reading

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Plans for big GoFourth! celebration canceled, but new group plans smaller July 4 festival; fireworks display still set

A rebranded and expanded Fourth of July celebration planned for next month’s holiday has been canceled, but a handful of Lawrence residents are stepping in to save the city’s Independence Day festivities. As the [Journal-World reported][1] back in April, the “bigger, better” community party and fireworks show ... Continue reading

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Thomas Frank on the evolving Democratic Party, Hillary’s Midwestern roots and Kansas’ enduring ‘populist streak’

Critically acclaimed author, Mission Hills native and Kansas University alumnus — Thomas Frank took the Republican Party to task in books like “The Wrecking Crew” and “What’s the Matter With Kansas?”. On Wednesday, more than a decade after Frank’s bestselling account of the rise of conservatism in ... Continue reading

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What would Alfred read? A failed summer reading challenge

In the summer of 2011, I came up with the perfect challenge: read at least one title by each of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature since its first awarding in 1901 and blog about my thoughts and reflections. I had the best title for ... Continue reading

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Bluegrass, family fun on the docket for Saturday’s Blues and Grass by the River

Lawrence is a town that loves its bluegrass. John Gallup, a local event promoter with 20 years of experience and a resume that includes the popular, now-defunct Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival, can vouch for that. “We’ve just had such good music in this town over the ... Continue reading

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Resurgent advice book is not your mother’s self-help

If you want to change your life, just head to your local public library. It’s amazing what you’ll find to help get you headed in a new direction. Need to declutter your world? Check out ["The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up][1]" by Marie Condo. Want to ... Continue reading

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Exercise your mind: wealth vs. ‘Wellth’

Where do you place your wealth? That’s the question that author Jason Wachob poses in his new book, "[Wellth][1]," which seeks to reframe all that you consider to be of lasting value and then turn it on its head. Founder and CEO of [MindBodyGreen][2] — a health ... Continue reading

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Library’s summer reading program underway; kickoff party slated for June 4

School may be out for the summer, but the Lawrence Public Library isn’t about to let our brain muscles go soft. The library’s 75th annual summer reading program launched on Thursday, just as Lawrence schools let out for summer vacation, with the theme of “Exercise Your Mind ... Continue reading

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Best beach reads for summer 2016

Summer is fast approaching, which means it’s time to travel to new places and embark on a wondrous adventure (even if it’s only in your living room, curled up with a cool drink and a great book). We’ve put together a list of some more eclectic beach ... Continue reading

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Busker Fest to go on this weekend, rain or shine

With the recent rainy conditions — and chance of thunderstorms — expected to continue through the weekend, some Busker Fest faithful might be worried about the status of the popular outdoor event, slated for Friday through Sunday in downtown Lawrence. Well, the show must go on, as ... Continue reading

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