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Five questions with: Author Caite Dolan-Leach

Reading: Caite Dolan-Leach, We Went to the Woods Prairie Lights — Friday, July 19 at 7 p.m. Caite Dolan-Leach’s second novel, We Went to the Woods, focuses on the cyclicity of the young person’s desire to abandon all and run with those who share their beliefs. She will read from her newest work at Prairie […]

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Book Review: ‘God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America’ by Lyz Lenz

I heard about Lyz Lenz’s newest book, ‘God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America’ (out Aug. 1), a few months ago and had been eager to read it, as it brought together almost all of my personal and professional interests: art, religion, community, Iowa, theology, space, place, stories. It is an audacious attempt to synthesize […]

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Book Review: ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had’ by Claire Lombardo

In Claire Lombardo’s debut novel, ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had,’ she isn’t afraid to tackle the biggest of topics, specifically for women—sisterhood, fear, general annoyance and birth or the absence of it. The reader gets an intimate look at the conception of the Sorenson family (literally, considering Lombardo’s plethora of sex scenes),
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Book Review: ‘Look, Black Boy’ by Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey

With his first self-published chapbook, Look, Black Boy, Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey confronts and challenges his readers while communicating with them on a variety of levels. The central theme of this short collection is how it feels to be a young black man in 2019 in the Midwest. […]

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Book Review: ‘Gangster in our Midst’ by Betty Brandt Passick

Gangster in our Midst is a multiple-perspective historical fiction by Betty Brandt Passick, about Louie Da Cava, a man with alleged ties to Al Capone, who married a woman from Oxbow, Iowa. The first chapter introduces us to Louie in his brother-in-law’s home in Oxbow as he hesitantly welcomes the paperboy […]

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Book Review: ‘Voices After Evelyn’ by Rick Harsch

In 1953, La Crosse, Wisconsin underwent a traumatic cultural upheaval as the disappearance of local teenager, Evelyn Hartley, led to grief, suspicion and social unrest, en masse. Former La Crosse resident and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Rick Harsh has turned that chaotic moment in small-town history into the speculative mystery novel Voices After Evelyn. […]

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Book Reviews: Five titles from the Indie Star Book Festival

Craig Hart is becoming something of a force on the local literary scene. A resident of Iowa City, Hart is a writer of mysteries, thrillers and more. He’s also the host of The Games & Writers Show podcast, which launched in February and features extended interviews with authors and actors. On May 18, Hart, via his own Northern Lake Publishing, is hosting the Indie Star Book Festival. […]

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Book Review: ‘Gondra’s Treasure’ by Linda Sue Park, illus. by Jennifer Black Reinhardt

It’s an age-old tale to those of us who lived it, but there are still too few children’s books out there featuring mixed-race families. There’s a uniqueness to the experience of being multi-racial that transcends any of the individual heritages involved […]

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Book Review: ‘The Pawn of Isis’ by Catherine Schaff-Stump

The Pawn of Isis Catherine Schaff-Stump — Independently published The year is 1842, and powerful families control the magical resources of the world. This is the setup for The Pawn of Isis, the second of five books in Iowan author Catherine Schaff-Stump’s historical fantasy series, Klaereon Scroll. The story encompasses treachery, betrayal, politics, love and […]

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Book Review: ‘Tallgrass Conversations: In Search of the Prairie Spirit’ by Cindy Crosby and Thomas Dean

“Prairie is among the most altered and threatened ecosystems in the world,” Thomas Dean of Iowa City wrote in a new book he co-authored with Cindy Crosby of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. “Care of the world is always essential, and care arises from conversation.” […]

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Book Review: ‘(Intentionally Blank)’ by Thomas Mundt

(Intentionally Blank) Thomas Mundt — Tolsun Books Thomas Mundt’s (Intentionally Blank) opens with a line from a Betty Wright song: “Jumpin’ slick was my ruin.” Wright’s narrator, a free-spirited woman who loses a kind suitor to a more loving and attentive rival, would be right at home in the world of (Intentionally Blank). Mundt’s collection […]

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