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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Here are some recommended reading lists from ’08

It’s another new year, yet some of us are literary laggards.

Which means that, for one reason or another, we never got around to reading many of the books that are making 2008 Top 10 lists.

One noted organization compiling such lists is The online book merchant suggests books recommended both by its editors and by its customers.

The top five picks in each category: editors: 1, “The Northern Clemency,” by Philip Hensher; 2, “Hurry Down Sunshine,” by Michael Greenberg; 3, “Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America,” by Rick Perlstein; 4, “The Forever War,” by Dexter Filkins; 5, “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel,” by David Wroblewski. customers: 1, “Breaking Dawn” (fourth book in the “Twilight” series), by Stephenie Meyer; 2, “The Last Lecture,” by Randy Pausch; 3, “Brisingr” (third book in the “Inheritance” series), by Christopher Paolini; 4, “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle”; 5, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” by J.K. Rowling.

Former Seattle librarian and National Public Radio celebrity Nancy Pearl offered up her own list of eight books on her “recommended reading list for the 2008 holidays: 1, “Alice in Sunderland: An Entertainment,” by Bryan Talbot; 2, “Borges and the Eternal Orangutans,” by Luis Fernando Verissimo; 3, “The Broken Shore,” by Peter Temple; 4, “Firmin,” by Sam Savage; 5, “The Ghost in Love,” by Jonathan Carroll; 6, “The Ginseng Hunter,” by Jeff Talarigo; 7, “The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin’s Secret Service,” by Andrew Meier; 8, “Previously,” by Allan Ahlberg.

As for this laggard, here are five books from 2008 that I hope to tackle, finish or am otherwise willing to recommend: “A Country Called Home,” by Kim Barnes; “Radioman: An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor and World War II in the Pacific,” by Carol Edgemon Hipperson; “Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running,” by Rachel Toor; “Red Audrey and the Roping,” by Jill Malone; “Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in the City of Masterpieces,” by Robert Clark.

There were so many others, far too many to list here. I’d be interested in hearing recommendations that any of you may have.

Please e-mail them to

Working words

It’s never too late to learn how best to use words.

Teachers such as Virginia White, Lisa Conger and others have, over the years, proven that through the senior writing courses they’ve taught through the Institute for Extended Learning.

Conger, Anne Selcoe, Lynda LeBlanc and Nina Elo will be giving classes for those age 55 and older during the coming winter quarter. In such classes as Migratory Words, poetry and prose workshops, the teachers will explore the written word and how best to express it.

Classes, which are held through the Community Colleges of Spokane, begin Monday and run through March. Fees range from $11 to $62 per quarter. For registration information, call (509) 533-4756.

Book talk

•Gay & Lesbian Book Group (“Possible Side Effects,” by Augusten Burroughs), 7 p.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington. Call (509) 838-0206.

•Literary Freedom Book Group (“Things No Longer There: A Memoir of Losing Sight and Finding Vision,” by Susan Krieger), 1 p.m. Saturday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

The reader board

•Ryan P. Sheppard (“The Modern-Day Superhero: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Real-World Crime-Fighter”), signing, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Coeur d’Alene Hastings, 101 E. Best Ave. Call (208) 664-0464.

Dan Webster can be reached at (509) 459-5483 or by e-mail at
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