Jim Dey: Retired lawyer tackles life story of 'Uncle Joe' Cannon

Danville's Tim Smith plans to spend his future thinking and writing about the past.

The 66-year-old retired lawyer can't help himself — it's a compulsion.

"My father gave me an intellectual curiosity that is broad. It's both a blessing and a curse. Right now, it's a blessing," he said.

C-U Haiku, Nov. 23, 2014

Edited by Lee Gurga/For The News-Gazette

Pebbled path

Scattered leaves

Blow gently away

— Olivia Rogers, Urbana

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Nov. 23, 2014

By Ted Kooser/U.S. Poet laureate, 2004-06

I love poems with sudden surprises, and here's one by Jennifer Gray, a Nebraskan. Will you ever see depressions puddled with rain without thinking of the image at her conclusion?


The neighbor's horses idle

under the roof

of their three-sided shelter,

looking out at the rain.


A funny tale with a good dose of science

You know that commercial where the dad speeds along, risking life and limb, to deliver a goldfish to his daughter's fishbowl before she gets home from school? I identify with it. Perhaps most parents do. We want to spare our children the pain of loss.

Ellie's mother in Jennifer L. Holm's sneakily educational novel, "The Fourteenth Goldfish," must feel the same.

Library events, Nov. 23-30, 2014

Each week, The News-Gazette offers a series of events offered by local libraries. 

Champaign Public Library

Main Library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was

Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was

Moving war production

Author addresses several heavy themes

"The Newlyweds" by Nell Freudenberger is an interesting look at the lives of Amina and George, who meet on an Internet dating site for Asian women wanting to get married to American men. Amina, an interesting and heartwarming character who readers can really get behind, is 24 years old and from Bangladesh. She is a modern day mail-order bride.

Top of the Morning, Nov. 18, 2014

Popular author Neal Shusterman is in town today, taking questions at Champaign Public Library (7-9 p.m.) and talking shop with kids at area schools. We know he doesn't like working at home — "a villa in Cabo or on a cruise ship — I get some of my best writing done in places like that" — and that he has a wide range of favorites, from Kurt Vonnegut to J.R.R. Tolkien to John Irving.

Book will change the way you think

"Think Like a Freak" is a sequel to the popular New York Times Bestselling "Freakonomics." In the latest installment, authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner claim they can retrain your brain to think like a freak and become more productive, more creative and more rational.

Woodson's memoir deserves recognition

"Brown Girl Dreaming" (Paulsen/Penguin 2014) is Jacqueline Woodson's memoir about growing up in a loving but broken family in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement.

Written in accessible, vivid verse and a National Book Award finalist, we'll find out Monday whether it wins. It should.