Between the stacks: A fictional, philosophical search for an age-old answer

What is the meaning of life?

Over the years, many have tried to answer this question through philosophical debates, comedy routines, religious quests and the like. Still, others prefer to view it as more of a rhetorical question —thought-provoking, yet lacking a definite answer.

Local book signing scheduled

Champaign author Leighann Calentine will be at Barnes & Noble in Champaign at 7 p.m. Wednesday to sign copies of her book "Kids First, Diabetes Second" in honor of World Diabetes Day.

Book launch party set for Tuesday

URBANA — Local author William Gillespie will have a book launch party from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Buvons Wine Bar, 203 N. Vine St.

His novel, "Keyhole Factory," will be released that day by Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press. Gillespie will read from his book at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Following is a description of his novel:

Writer offers a gripping story

Central Illinois author Rena Koontz is excited to announce her first title, "Love's Secret Fire," a Crimson Romance book.

A former award-winning journalist at newspapers in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Koontz is now writing books full time after she moved to a new home in the Midwest from Cleveland when her husband retired from a 20-year career with the FBI.

Local writer hits high note in debut novel

Just before Halloween, I thought it only fitting to tell you about a wonderfully written and fun — albeit somewhat scary — new novel by local author Scott A. Lerner.

"Cocaine Zombies" is a paranormal thriller set in Champaign-Urbana; after reading it, you might find yourself looking at your neighbors in a whole new way.

Best-selling children's mystery writer advises budding wordsmiths

CHAMPAIGN — If an 8-year-old wants to be a professional writer someday, one best-selling author's advice: Get a notebook and start recording ideas.

Blue Balliett, best-selling author of children's mysteries "Chasing Vermeer," "The Wright 3," "The Calder Game" and "The Danger Box," spoke to lots of local students Friday, including fourth-graders at Champaign's Robeson Elementary.

No one is 'Broken' in Champaign teen's first novel

CHAMPAIGN — It's a grim picture of the future, where those with disabilities are locked away from society and punished for showing any emotion.

But "Broken," written by Champaign 14-year-old Hollee Trent, is also one of hope and resilience for those who face disabilities. The story follows several characters as they realize they're not broken, as they've always been told.

1998 News-Gazette interview with Ray Bradbury

Editor's note: This story appeared on Friday, Oct. 16, 1998, in advance of a lecture and book-signing later that month on the University of Illinois campus. Bradbury died on June 5, 2012, at age 91.

URBANA - If you want to know about the current state of science fiction, don't ask Ray Bradbury.

Scholar inspired by reply: 'I am a citizen'

Not long ago, noted religion scholar Martin Marty heard an interview on National Public Radio about a generous doctor who had continued working for free in poor communities after retirement.

When asked why, the doctor replied, "Because I am a citizen."