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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Writer tackles oil culture in next novel

Even though she hasn’t even finished it, Idaho-based writer Kim Barnes has sold her next novel – her third – to the New York publisher Alfred A. Knopf.

Barnes is still working on “American Mecca,” which is set in the 1960s in the gated compound of an oil company named Aramco and follows the story of an American couple.

According to a University of Idaho press release, “The story explores the failures and successes of the Aramco utopia, offering insights into American values as well as those expressed through the distinctively different Wahhabi and Bedu cultures that coexist in Saudi Arabia.”

Barnes, a creative writing professor at UI and wife of noted poet Robert Wrigley, is the author of the novels “Finding Caruso” (2003) and “A Country Called Home” (2008). Her first literary efforts included two memoirs, “In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country” (1996) and “Hungry for the World” (2000).

Boys are us

Spokane-based writer/researcher Michael Gurian has seen publication of the third installment of his series of nonfiction books about boys. “The Purpose of Boys: Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance and Direction in Their Lives” (Jossey-Bass, 272 pages, $26.95) will be available April 6.

Gurian is the author of “The Wonder of Boys” and “The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life,” plus a number of other books on childhood development. For more information about Gurian, go online to

Poets who know it

Four local writers will read from their latest works at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Hagen Center Foundation for the Humanities at Spokane Community College. The event will be sponsored by Spokane-based Gribble Press.

Participating will be Nancy Culp (“Empty Bottles”), Zan Agzigian (“Stamen and Whirlwind”), Tom Davis (“Peaceful Valley As Told to Gregory King”) and Stephen Pitters (“Bridges of Vision”).

For more information about Gribble Press, go online to

Book talk

•Friends of the Cheney Community Library Book Discussion Group (“Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel,” by Lisa See), 7 p.m. Tuesday, Cheney branch of Spokane County Library, 610 First St., Cheney. Call (509) 893-8280. Note: Discussion leader will be Sandi Dimitrovich.

•On Sacred Grounds Readers Club (“From Beirut to Jerusalem,” by Thomas L. Friedman), 1 p.m. Wednesday, On Sacred Grounds, 12212 E. Palouse Highway, Valleyford. Call (509) 747-6294.

•Spokane Valley Library Book Discussion Group (“Bretz’s Flood: The Remarkable Story of a Rebel Geologist and the World’s Greatest Flood”), 2 p.m. Wednesday, Valley branch of Spokane County Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Call (509) 893-8400.

•Tinman Book Club (“Love Medicine,” by Louise Erdrich), 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Tinman Gallery, 811 W. Garland Ave. Call (509) 325-1500.

•Moran Prairie Library Book Discussion Group (“The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl”), 2 p.m. Thursday, Moran Prairie branch of Spokane County Library, 6004 S. Regal St. Call (509) 893-8340.

The reader board

•Inga Jablonsky (“Pioneer German Sisters: The Real Missionaries of the Pacific ‘Wild’ West”), reading, 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Student Union Building, Spokane Falls Community College. Call (509) 533-3500.

•Gribble Press readers (Nancy Culp, Zan Agzigian, Tom Davis, Stephen Pitters), 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Hagen Center, Spokane Community College. Call (509) 325-5420.

•Jim Kershner (“Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Robinson Teaching Theatre, Weyerhaeuser Hall, Whitworth University. Call (509) 777-3275.

•Jeremy Boggess (“Thoughts, Responsibilities”), signing, 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington. Call (509) 838-0206.

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