Turning the page

The college textbook routine used to be simple: Register for classes, head to the campus bookstore and lug home a 50-pound stack of texts.

These days, student shoppers are more savvy, and the "textbook" they buy — possibly online — might be a piece of software or a passcode for a website with videos, interactive quizzes and chat groups.

Grisham takes us to Appalachia

I love a book that teaches you something by way of a riveting story line. John Grisham is pretty good at this, often setting his sights on big corporations picking on the little guys. His latest book, "Gray Mountain," is no different.

I've driven through various parts of Appalachia many times but have never been able to go hiking or camping in this beautiful region of our country.

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Jan. 11, 2015

Just as it was to me, Insha'Allah will be a new word to many of you, offered in this poem by Danusha Lamris, a Californian. It looks to me like one of those words that ought to get a lot of use.


I don't know when it slipped into my speech

that soft word meaning, "if God wills it."

Insha'Allah I will see you next summer.

Library events, Jan. 11-18, 2015

Events at local libraries during the coming week:

Champaign Public Library

Main Library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

From 1 to 4 p.m. today at the main library, attend Downloadables Drop-in Day. Let us introduce you to our free digital borrowing options, available to anyone with a library card. Bring your device.

C-U Haiku, Jan. 11, 2015

Edited by Lee Gurga/For The News-Gazette

Curly black dog

nose in a snowdrift

tail toward the sky

— Joanne Haynes, Urbana

Two more stories that stood out in 2014

Make way for the roundup! This is the time of year when book reviewers look at the year we've left behind and list their picks for best books. Along with "Josephine" by columnist Patricia Hruby Powell, already reviewed in this column, here are two of my favorites among the best of 2014.

Start new year off with a dramedy

One thing everyone needs to do more in the new year is laugh. So picking up an entertaining and funny novel can help with this goal. "Best to Laugh" by Lorna Landvik, author of "Patty Jane's House of Curl" and "Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons," is a great place to start.

Amy Poehler's laughs and lessons

When I heard about Amy Poehler's "Yes Please," I thought: Just what we need another celebrity memoir. However, celebrity memoirs, especially written by comedians, are usually a good, fast, funny read, at least. So when the shiny cover stared at me from the library shelves, I chose it.

Two fine choices with a community theme

Fresh off the press from Charlesbridge Publishers and award-winning children's author Alice B. McGinty is the new picture book "Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons." Illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt in lively and whimsical watercolors and ink, "Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons" tells the story of a well-loved rabbi and his congregation.

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

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

Impressed with 'Wild'