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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bookstore plans special event for ”Potter” release

It won’t arrive in bookstores until July 16, but some area stores are already planning for the rush that’s bound to accompany the release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

This is book six of J.K. Rowling’s unbelievably popular series about the young warlock Potter and his progress through the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The story has been documented in books, films and more Web sites than you could begin to explore in the lifetime of a Blast-Ended Skrewt.

So it’s no wonder that the folks at the Valley Hastings, for one, are planning to hold a midnight party, beginning the evening of July 15, so they can start selling the book at the stroke of midnight.

And beginning May 13, a special Harry Potter reading group will meet at 7 p.m. every other Friday to discuss the books in order.

The schedule: May 13, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”; May 27, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”; June 10, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”; June 24, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”; July 8, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

Hastings books manager Larry O’Neal says he will take names of those attending the discussion groups. The names will be entered into a drawing, and the winner will be given first spot in line to buy the new book.

Other area stores no doubt will also be holding special events. We’ll run down as many as we can before the big night.

The Valley Hastings is located at 15312 E. Sprague Ave. (924-0667).

Get Lit! wrap

I can’t let the 2005 version of Get Lit!, Eastern Washington University Press’ seventh annual literary festival, go without a final word about the major presenters.

The April 17 evening of poets at The Met featured the distinguished Madeline DeFrees, the earthy Bill Tremblay, the entertainingly acerbic Robert Bly and the refined Rita Dove.

David Sedaris, who led off the April 21 Met event, had the crowd rolling with laughter, which was a hard act for Chris Crutcher and Michael Heffernan to follow. And on April 22, Steve Blewett did a public interview of Bob Edwards, with both set up in actual easy chairs onstage at EWU’s Showalter Hall.

But the best was the night of April 23 at The Met, when Salman Rushdie headlined a slate of writers that included Debra Magpie Earling and Carlos Reyes. Rushdie was scholarly but accessible, intelligent and perceptive not just about literature but the world in general.

He was a fitting end to the best Get Lit! to date. Set your calendar for 2006.

S-R Book Club news

As we explain in the story on page F3, the May selection of The Spokesman-Review Book Club is J.A, Jance’s 1986 mystery “Trial By Fury” (Avon, 384 pages, $7.99 paper).

I was going to include the late Jack Olsen’s study of convicted killer Claude Dallas, “Give a Boy a Gun,” for June. But it’s out of print, used copies are going for outrageous prices (the lowest being $23.45 on eBay) and Spokane Public Library has only three copies on hand (the county system has none).

So instead we’ll go with “Middle Passage” (Simon & Schuster, 209 pages, $12), the 1990 National Book Award-winning novel by University of Washington English professor Charles Johnson.

Then, for July, we’ll turn to Seattle writer Jonathan Raban for his moving memoir “Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings” (Vintage, 448 pages, $15 paper).

We’re always open to suggestions. Remember, though, that while any genre is up for consideration, the S-R Book Club reads only Pacific Northwest literature.

Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Book talk

“ Poetry Reading Group, 3 p.m. today, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington (838-0206).

“ Gay & Lesbian Book Group (“Donorboy: A Novel,” by Brendan Halpin), 7 p.m. Wednesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“ Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers, 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Old Country Buffet, 5504 N. Division (489-7078). Ramona Hillebrand will discuss “Avoiding Embarrassing Errors.”

The reader board

“ Gregg Olsen (“The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in America’s Richest Silver Mine”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Auntie’s Bookstore. (Olsen also will speak at noon Monday during a memorial ceremony to remember the 91 victims of the 1972 Sunshine Mine Fire. The ceremony will be held at the Sunshine Mine Memorial, just off Interstate 90 at the Big Creek exit near Kellogg.)

“ Stuart McLean (“Home From the Vinyl Cafe”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“ Joei Carlton Hossack (“Free Spirit: Born to Wander”), signings, 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, North Side Hastings, 7706 N. Division St. (483-2154); 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, Valley Hastings, 15312 E. Sprague Ave. (924-0667); 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Shadle Hastings, 1704 W. Wellesley Ave. (327-6008).

“ Ann Moore (” ‘Til Morning Light”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“ John Galligan (“Nail Knot”) and Ruth Dixon (“Songs From the Girl Back Home”), readings, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“ Michael Parrott (“Begin With the End in Mind: How to Have Victory Over Your Day of Death”), signing, 12:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

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