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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Cheney author’s ‘Live!’ gets nod from L.A. Times

It’s not every author who gets a mention in the Los Angeles Times. And authors from the Inland Northwest who get mentioned positively in the Times’ Calendar section are even rarer. Yet Cheney’s John Soennichsen is among that number. Soennichsen’s book “Live! From Death Valley: Dispatches From America’s Low Point” (Sasquatch Books, 192 pages, $22.95) was reviewed in the Sept. 4 Calendar section by Times critic Susan Reynolds.

“Live!” is a combination nature study, travel book and memoir, not to mention a love letter to a part of the country that to some people has about as much appeal as eating sand. Soennichsen, a freelance writer who’s had short pieces included in the “Chicken Soup” series, includes facts (a million or so tourists visit the 3.4-million-acre national park yearly) that he’s gleaned in the two decades that he’s trekked, camped at and otherwise explored the area.

“Soennichsen’s tales of death by heat exhaustion and dehydration are compelling, as are his meditations on the valley’s flora and fauna (including miners, tycoons and aliens) and the weird rocks that slide of their own volition across dry lakebeds,” Reynolds wrote, adding that he “has an eye for the truly strange and a fascination for discovery (of self and landscape) not unlike those of the men and women who first stumbled across the desert in search of gold.”

Seniors take note

If you’re 55 and over, you might want to consider signing up for any of the many classes being offered this fall by the seniors program of the Institute for Extended Learning. Everything from China Painting to Line Dancing is scheduled, though for the purposes of this column the classes involving books and writing are the focus.

Lisa Conger and Anne Selcoe are teaching a class called “Migratory Words,” a blend of writing and acting, which will be held Fridays from 12:15 to 3:15 p.m. beginning Sept. 23. Conger will teach a poetry workshop, which begins this week, on Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m. Veteran writing teacher Virginia White will moderate a self-publishing workshop, which also begins this week, on Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. And Conger and White will teach a series of writers’ workshops that begin this week through Sept. 28.

For further information concerning fees and registration, call the IEL at 279-6025.

Do-it-yourself book clubs

It would seem easy to form a book club. You call a few friends, choose a book, sit down and read, then a week or so later you sit down and say what you think.

However, for those of you who need more, you might consider attending a Book Club Organizer on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Tinman Gallery, 811 W. Garland Ave. As a gallery press release states, the event will teach you “how to organize a book club or make yours more rewarding,” with “sources and information on how to choose a reading list, how to lead discussions, how to choose themes, what other book clubs around the country are doing.”

In addition, if you register your book club with the gallery, you will receive a “15 percent discount off your monthly picks.”

For further information, call 325-1500.

Taking the stage

Poets, musicians, jugglers, singers and other performing artists are invited to participate in the twice-monthly open-mic event “Straight From the Horse’s Mouth,” which will be held the first and third Thursdays of each month at the Hope Market Café, next to the Hope, Idaho, Post Office, 620 Wellington Place.

The event, the next one of which will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, is sponsored by Sandpoint-based Lost Horse Press. For further information, call (208) 255-4410, e-mail or see its Web site at

Books for sale

The next Coeur d’Alene Public Library Front Porch Book Sale will be Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library, 201 E. Harrison Ave. in Coeur d’Alene. The sale will offer a variety of fiction, nonfiction, reference materials and children’s books, at 50 cents for hardbacks and 25 cents for paperbacks.

For further information, call (208) 769-2315 or see

Unless otherwise indicated, the following events are free and open to the public.

Book talk

“Poetry reading group (747-3454), 3 p.m. today, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington (838-0206).

“”Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature – Identity and Imagination,” 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, South Hill Library, 3324 S. Perry St. (444-5386). This is the first of a five-part discussion series moderated by Gonzaga University English professor Patricia Terry. First book to be discussed: “Lost in Translation,” by Eva Hoffman.

“Auntie’s Book Group (“Unless,” by Carol Shields), 7 p.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

The reader board

“Ken Campbell (“Stories I Lived”), 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“Kathleen Finley (“Amen! Prayers for Families With Children”), 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“Linda Lawrence Hunt (“Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America”) and Pat Stein, dramatic presentation, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Liberty Lake Municipal Library, 1421 N. Meadowwood Lane (232-2510).

“Edward Averett (“The Rhyming Season”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“Jean Kjack (“Steeples and People”), signing, 1:30-3 p.m. Saturday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

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