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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dan Webster

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Get Lit! has bases covered

You could refer to Get Lit! as a shotgun ceremony Excuse the clumsy attempt at metaphor. But since we're applying that metaphor to an annual literary event – one that Eastern Washington University has held since 1998 – it's an appropriate stretch of the language. It's also a fairly accurate description of the 2008 version of Get Lit!, which begins in earnest on Monday and will culminate a week from today.
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Harless connects tales of strength

One thing that any therapist worth spit will tell you is that life is all about connections. And what Nancy Leigh Harless is apt to tell you is that no connection is stronger than that of women attempting to support each other.
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Three parts blood, two parts memoirs

From the very first time that someone slaps a Band-Aid on a knee we've skinned or a finger we've nicked, we become conscious of blood. Most of us limit that interest to wondering about the workings of our arteries, veins and capillaries while trying to avoid having actually to see the stuff.

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A plea for Arab-Israeli coexistence

Nonie Darwish has every reason to hate Israel. As an Egyptian woman born in 1948, she has lived through a lifetime of conflict with the Jewish state. Her father, once an important intelligence officer for the Egyptian army, was murdered in 1956 by the Israeli Defense Forces.
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Thomas Cahill to read from ‘Mysteries’

Anyone who has an interest in the world at large would benefit from reading the books of Thomas Cahill. Cahill, who will visit Auntie's Bookstore at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, is the author of such notable histories as "How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe" and "Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter."
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GU professor reading in Globe Room

Dan Butterworth may be the last writer in Gonzaga University's 2007-08 visiting writers series, but he's hardly the least. In addition to his teaching duties as an English professor at Gonzaga University (where he also serves as department chair), Butterworth – who will read at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at GU's Cataldo Globe Room – has published both nonfiction and poetry.
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Absentee ballads (Annual limericks)

Brevity may be the soul of wit, as Hamlet's antagonist Polonius says, but this much also is true: Length is no necessary measure of intelligent commentary. This is particularly relevant when the laugh-lines are cast as limericks.
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One Book spotlighting ‘Three Cups of Tea’

"Three Cups of Tea" is a story of how failure turned into unprecedented success. The nonfiction book by Portland author David Oliver Relin tells the story of Greg Mortenson, a mountain climber who failed in a 1993 effort to climb the Himalayan peak K2 but who then became an advocate for the students of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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Crumley’s ‘Madness’ ideal for March

Loving James Crumley is a little like loving the darkness at 4 a.m. Especially when you awaken in a sweat. And rather than going back to sleep, you find yourself obsessing about all the things that you haven't done, that you've failed at doing or that you'll never get a chance even to try.
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Online Oscar contest winners named

In a year that saw the Academy Awards going several ways at once, correctly guessing 18 of the 24 categories was good enough to win the annual Spokesman-Review Oscar Contest. Three entrants hit the mark of 18, and two of those tied by correctly predicting that the best picture winner, "No Country For Old Men," would snare four awards in all. They share $100 movie gift certificates.
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Book Notes: Reading project includes film-noir series

This may be a column devoted to books, but the Big Read is changing all of that. As part of February's community-wide reading project – which is sponsored by Spokane Public Library, the Spokane County Library District and the Fairchild Air Force Base library – a film-noir series will continue during the coming week.
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Hass still has way with words

When Robert Hass answers the phone, he sounds like any other 66-year-old guy who's just returned from a run. "Calling it running is sort of flattery at this point," he says with a slow laugh. "I get passed by old ladies speed-walking."
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Red-carpet competitors

And then there was … blood. If there is one enduring image from the movies of 2008, it's the red stuff. And we're not talking just about horror movies such as those that make up the "Saw" and "Hostel" series, much less the hip horror takeoffs directed by Robert Rodriguez ("Terror Planet") and Quentin Tarantino ("Death Proof").
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No secrets allowed

When Judy Laddon first considered writing a book about her longtime friend Sally Pierone, her intent was to make it a memoir. But the book that resulted, "Sally: The Older Woman's Illustrated Guide to Self-Improvement," is less memoir than love story. Which is to say that Laddon makes her affection for Pierone obvious on virtually every page.
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‘Anatomist’ author reading at Auntie’s

Bill Hayes shares at least one thing with your average doctor: a fascination with the human body. The latest object of that fascination is a blend of memoir and nonfiction titled "The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray's Anatomy," from which Hayes will read at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Auntie's Bookstore.
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Sittser reinforces his faith in ‘Water’

No one is a bigger fan of Christianity than Whitworth University theology/philosophy professor Gerald Sittser. If that fact wasn't clear in his 1996 best-seller "A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss" or his 2004 treatise "When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayer: Insights to Keep You Praying with Greater Faith and Deeper Hope," then it definitely is in his newest book, "Water from a Deep Well: Christian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries" (IVP Books, 364 pages, $22).
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You be the judge

There will be … Oscar. Yes, the time of year is again upon us in which we celebrate all things Hollywood. And no matter what happens between now and then regarding the writers' strike, there indeed will be Oscars to hand out.
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Singular voice of author brings worldly view to Spokane

Spend a half-hour on the phone with Indian-born novelist Bharati Mukherjee, and the experience is likely to smash a few of your prejudices. For example, Mukherjee – who was born 67 years ago in Calcutta – speaks a refined kind of British English. You know, the "Masterpiece Theatre" kind where the word "marginalization" is pronounced as "marginal-eye-zation," the kind that speaks of afternoon tea and – when put in a sports context – white-clad men carrying cricket bats.
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Should limerick contest live?

If I were a Shakespearean scholar, I might begin this column by writing something such as, "Now is the winter of our discontent." This is, after all, the dregs of the winter season. It's that time of year when, even though the days are getting longer, the darkness seems as oppressive as Darth Vader's underwear. And the temperature, on occasion, dips south of single digits.
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Journey into self

Even in a literal sense, what you see depends largely on how you see. Look at something from different angles and the object of your gaze is going to change. Or at least it will seem to. A kitty seen at close range can resemble a lion. A lion seen through binoculars might look like something as playful, and harmless, as a Disney cartoon.