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In the Spotlight

Patterns of Discovery

October, specifically October 12th, usually finds me re-reading The Rediscovery of North America, a short work written by Barry Lopez twenty-five years ago. In it, Lopez eloquently describes the violent patterns of colonization that Cristoforo Colombo—Christopher Columbus–initiated when he landed in the Americas.

Importantly, Lopez stresses that though they continue, these incursions need not define us. Instead, he says, the true wealth that America offers comes “from one thing—the cultivation and achievement of local knowledge.” Read More..

Face the Nation

“What about this: a tribe of asparagus children, but they’re self-conscious about the way their pee smells.”  Whenever I happen to catch the movie Elf around Christmastime, I relish this line from a scene depicting a roomful of publishing wonks desperate to get to the top of the children’s bestseller list.  Read More..

Fisher Picks Four: Television Scores Edition

As an aficionado for film and television scores, I always love checking out new offerings from talented and lesser-known composers.  Just as television has entered into a new Golden Age spurred by shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, television composers are also gaining widespread critical acclaim for their arresting and compelling scores. Read More..

Slice Harvesting Lawrence

The recently-published memoir Slice Harvester embraids two stories: that of the author’s battle with alcoholism and, concurrently, his quest to eat a plain cheese slice from every single pizzeria in Manhattan.

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She’s Picking Up the Pieces and Never Broken

When I was thirteen, I bought my first cassette tape. (Yes, this millennial is old enough to remember what a cassette tape is!) It was Jewel’s Pieces of You, that folk album that came out of nowhere, sold 11 million copies, and produced such chart topping hits as “Who Will Save Your Soul,” “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games.” Read More..

Alligators, Vampires (and Bibliozombies?) @ Your Library

Thursday, October 15 will be a busy evening in Lawrence Kansas. At 6:00 pm, zombies will take to Massachusetts Street for their annual walk from South Park. The bibliozombies among them will continue their stroll to Abe & Jake’s Landing, where they will have a rare opportunity to hear Karen Russell, one of America’s great creative writers, speak on “Literary, Geographic and Ghostly Influences.”

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Going Gonzo

This weekend I had the chance to visit the Lawrence Arts Center’s exhibit curated by Daniel Joseph Watkins that explores Hunter S. Thompson’s bid for Mayor of Aspen in 1970 through art, writing, and ephemera.  The exhibit transported me to Budig Hall on the University of Kansas campus, where I spent a semester my Freshman year of college ignoring my Journalism 101 lectures and instead reading the collected works of the Gonzo journalist.

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Lawrence Reads Banned Books!

Books have the power to change lives on the individual and societal level. They’re portals to magical lands and guides for navigating life’s most gruesome struggles. Because of this, the freedom to access information through books has been highly contested since the birth of the written word. The American Library’s Association (ALA) has reported that it tracked roughly 500 requests to challenge or ban books from schools and libraries each year. Thus, Banned Books Week was created. The first Banned Books week began in 1982 as a celebration that called attention to the dangers of stifling creative expression and access to books.  Banned Books Week focuses on readers’ freedom and open access to information, and also acts as a Thank You to the librarians, teachers, students, and community members who have fought for these freedoms.

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Growing Healthy Teens

“It’s time we had the talk.”

No six words strike more terror into the heart of a teen, not to mention the parent who has been practicing them in front of a mirror.

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Read Them All, You Must

Inevitably, I hear the same four words when I talk to parents of grown children: “It goes so fast.” Parents with kids just a few years older than my own, when asked for tips on common problems, rarely muster more than “I can’t remember.” I draw a blank myself when I think back on how my wife and I handled stuff that happened just last year. “It’s a blur,” say newbie and veteran parents alike, and there’s no better word I can think of to describe this mysterious sensation of amnesia and accelerated time.

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