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Give the gift of reading this year; turn kids into avid readers

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kid readingGive the gift of reading this holiday season and turn kids into avid readers by keeping children's...

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A Literarea Review: Almost Anywhere: Road Trip Ruminations on Love, Nature, National Parks, and Nonsense

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Almost Anywhere: Road Trip Ruminations on Love, Nature, National Parks, and Nonsense
By Krista Schlyer
Skyhorse Publishing

While titles of books can be ambiguous, quite often the subtitles do the heavy lifting in terms of the subject of the book. In the case of Krista Schlyer’s latest book...

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The Grand National, Top Ranked, All-American 2012 Book Review: Electric Boogaloo

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As a hardcore lit-nerd, part of the appeal to churning through an ungodly number of books every year is keeping track of said books. It's also an annual reminder that I need to get out more. Seriously, I'm pale as a ghost.

So here is the list of books I read in 2012 along with a one-sentence review/recommendation of each. In many cases, I've talked or written reviews about many of these books in the Literarea section of The Peorian website....

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Peoria Reads! receives grant for project

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Peoria Reads!, the collaborative project of the Peoria Public Library and Common Place, will receive a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host The Big Read in Peoria next spring.

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A Literarea Preview: 'Joseph Anton: A Memoir'

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Joseph Anton: A Memoir
By Salman Rushdie

Joseph Anton is Salman Rushdie’s long-awaited autobiography that begins with the life-changing day of February 14, 1989. That was the day when many of us in the Western World first learned the meaning of the word fatwa. On that day the Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced Rushdie to death for his novel The Satanic Verses, which...

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Towery on Fiction: A good rule to live by

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Once-upon-a-timeAuthors note: This is one of an occasional series of articles on fiction writing by Peorian Terry Towery,
a novelist and journalist. His debut novel, the psychological thriller "The Final Victim" is about to go on submission, which means it will be pitched by
his agent to acquisition editors at the...

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A Literarea Preview: 'The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac'

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The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac
By Joyce Johnson

In the category of most biographed1 author, Jack Kerouac seems to still reign supreme as evidenced by this the 12,653th biography2 to be published since his death in 1969. One would think that the territory would be well worn. However, this biography is written...

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Kevin Reads Stuff So You Don't Have To: "An Appetite For Wonder: A Memoir" by Richard Dawkins

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“An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist: A Memoir”
By Richard Dawkins
Ecco/Harper Collins

As someone who is well familiar with the works of Dr. Dawkins, this memoir made me realize that most Peorians – nay, most Americans – who may be familiar with the genteel doctor may only know of him for his Atheistic stance. After all, that’s...

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The Freak Power Politics of Hunter S. Thompson

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Since the next issue of The Peorian will be hitting magazine racks and trash cans in a couple of weeks, I thought I'd give you a preview of the Literarea section where I take a rather in-depth look at the weird and wonderful life of Hunter S. Thompson.

While he's known primarily as a counter-culture writer, Thompson was also a political junky as evinced by his book, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, which the...

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Knight: Spenser lives! A holiday gift

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An early and unexpected Christmas present on bookshelves continues the ongoing gift of a beloved crime-novel character, Spenser, outliving his creator, Robert B. Parker.

Parker, who died in January 2010, started "Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel," but it was up to his longtime literary agent Helen Brann to finish the 229-page book.

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A Literarea Preview: 'No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy Seal: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden'

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no easy_day_book_cover_a_p“No Easy Day” provides a first-person account of the Navy SEALs raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed last year in Pakistan. It also provides what might be the longest subhead in recent memory. Apparently, the publishers at Dutton/Penguin wanted to make sure that there was no mistaking that THIS...

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Knight: Area student became novelist, writer for film, TV

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Jonathan Latimer wasn't from Peoria, but the 1929 graduate of Knox College in Galesburg became "one of the best Golden Age authors of the hard-boiled school you've probably never heard of," said one critic, and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on Friday, June 21 is showing two classic film noir movies he wrote.

Latimer-Solomons-Vineyard2Latimer's writing...

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What I've Read Thus Far

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Since we're roughly halfway through 2012, here's a list of the books I've read in the first half of the year. An (R) denotes a book I've already read once. Enjoy!

1) "An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears", Daniel Blake Smith, 271pg.

2) "Solar",...

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Tennis and Teaching at ISU: An Animated Interview with David Foster Wallace

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While he may have left the temporal world almost five years ago, central Illinois native David Foster Wallace is still making news. Just this past week he was the subject of PBS's new series of animated shorts called "Blank on Blank" in which interviews with cultural figures are turned into simple black-and-white animations. Entitled "Wallace on Ambition," the four-plus-minute clip includes bits from a 1996 interview with Wallace just after the...

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Taking a look at 'The Trip'

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On this week's episode of The Peorian on TV I have finally found the creative vehicle that combines my love for the literary, the culinary and the comedic. It's the film "The Trip" starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.

In this pseudo-documentary subtitled “eat, drink and try not to kill each other” Coogan is asked by The Observer to tour some of Britain’s finest restaurants for a special segment in the magazine....

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"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day" Our Favorite Books (At the Moment)

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The great thing about our murder of writers here at The Peorian is the diversity in tastes, especially when it comes to book and novels we love. And it would be silly to try and get our writers to select their favorite book of all time. That would be like trying to get a parent to select their favorite child, when everyone knows...

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Quick Lit Bits: 'Ghost on the Throne'

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The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire

By James Romm

According to the book:

The story of Alexander's conquest of the Persian empire is known to many readers, but the dramatic and consequential saga of the empire's collapse remains virtually untold. It is a tale of loss that begins with the greatest loss...

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Rumors swirl about a rare Pynchon sighting!

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The literary world is all a-flutter with the announcement of a rare Thomas Pynchon  sighting. This reclusive author, who has been known to inhabit the northern New York regions, has a new novel in the works which is scheduled to be published in September...

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Quick Lit Bits: 'An American Betrayal'

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An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trial of TearsBy Daniel Blake Smith

According to the book:
Though the tragedy of the Trail of Tears is widely recognized today, the pervasive effects of the tribe's uprooting have never been examined in detail. Despite the Cherokees' efforts to assimilate with the dominant white culture—running their own newspaper, ratifying a...

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Quick Lit Bits: "The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America"

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Do you enjoy curling up with a book filled with stories of torture, slaughter and all kinds of nastiness? Well, my friend, "The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675" by Bernard Bailyn is the book for you! And since it’s about American History you can feel like a patriot as you are reading.

Now, there are many history books out there that cover America in the 1700s,...

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Quick Lit Bits: 'Solar'

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solarSolar

By Ian McEwan

This was my first leap into the world of Ian McEwan and I wasn't disappointed. Published in 2010, “Solar” earned McEwan the Wodehouse Prize and for good reason. P.G. Wodehouse was the master...

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