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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Book notes: Still time to participate in Limerick contest

Entries to the 2008 Spokesman-Review Limericks Contest are stumbling in.

Not racing, not flying, not jetting, but stumbling.

Why is that? It can’t be this year’s theme: “An Inland Northwest voter’s guide to 2008 presidential politics.”

Let’s get serious. There are lots of words that you can rhyme with Obama (mama, trauma) or Clinton (hintin’, tentin’) or McCain (insane, urbane) or Ron Paul (hardball, stonewall).

How about this wretched attempt at doggerel?

There once was a man they called Mitt

Whose hair was so perfect that it

Seemed like a toupee,

Or worse, they do say,

As slick as a handful of spit.

Now, that’s absolutely wretched for a number of reasons. Even 6-year-olds out there could do better.

Just to remind anyone interested in participating: The deadline is March 10. E-mail your entries to Or send them by post to Limerick Contest, The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane, WA 99201-1615.

And did we mention the prizes: $75 in Auntie’s Bookstore gift certificates to the overall winner, $50 to the middle- and high-school winner, $25 to the winner of the sixth-grade and below category. The top two runners-up in each category will receive Irish-themed books.

Questions? E-mail me at

Hass coming

If you followed the 2007 National Book Awards announcements, you probably got tired of all the local references.

Wellpinit’s own Sherman Alexie won the young-adult category for his novel “The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian,” while Denis Johnson (who spends part of the year outside Bonners Ferry, Idaho) won the fiction award for his novel “Tree of Smoke.”

But what you may not know is that the winner for poetry, Robert Hass, is coming to Spokane on Feb. 25 to read from his collection “Time and Materials.”

Hass, who is appearing as part of Gonzaga University’s 2007-‘08 Visiting Writer Series, will read at 7:30 p.m. at GU’s Cataldo Globe Room.

Call Tod Marshall at (509) 323-6681.

Lost Horse reads

Sandpoint-based Lost Horse Press has four new books out:

“Katrina Roberts’ third collection of poetry, “Friendly Fire”;

“a collection of “last poems” by the late poet Patricia Goedicke, “The Baseball Field at Night”;

“Dan Butterworth’s poetry collection, “The Radium Watch Dial Painters”;

“and the “Lost Horse Press New Poets Series, Vol. II,” edited by Marvin Bell and featuring the work of Tim Krcmarik, Patricia Staton and Victor Camillo.

For more information, go online at

The ‘Valley’ beckons

Make sure to check out John Soennichsen’s novel “Valley of the Shadow,” which is being published serially on The Spokesman-Review’s Web site.

Just go to, click on “Latest from our blogs” and then “Valley of the Shadow.”

In chapter two, our 14-year-old protagonist is on the way to California. It’s 1849, and he’s just realizing that the family he’s traveling with may be facing some serious problems.

Feel free to leave a comment.

Audiobooks by mail

The books-on-tape company Simply Audiobooks offers a Netflix-type rental service for those who prefer to listen to, rather than read, their books.

For as little as $15 a month, the company will allow you to rent one book at a time through the mail, from a library of some 22,000 titles representing all genres.

And now the company is offering a free download-a-month program for selected novels. I just downloaded part two of H. Rider Haggard’s 1885 novel “King Solomon’s Mines” and am listening to it as I type this.

You can get more information at

Book talk

“Dark City Mystery Book Group (“Die Upon a Kiss,” by Barbara Hambly), 7 p.m. Monday, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington. Call (509) 838-0206.

“Inland Northwest Writers Group, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“How to Write & Sell a Mystery (T. Dawn Richard, Frank Zafiro), 2 p.m. Saturday, Shadle branch, Spokane Public Library, 2111 W. Wellesley Ave. Call (509) 444-5390.

The reader board

“Kevin Decker, Terrance MacMullen (“The Daily Show and Philosophy: Moments of Zen in the Art of Fake News”), streaming-video presentation, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“Mark Childress (“One Mississippi”), 7 p.m. Friday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

“Tony Hoagland (“Hard Rain”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Weyerhaeuser Hall, Whitworth University. Call (509) 777-4212.

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