Top of the morning, June 25, 2015

I invite you to join three local authors — Donna Reed ("My Voice"), Lin Warfel ("Song of the Prairie") and Maureen Holtz ("Allerton Paradise" and "Robert Allerton") — in our downtown lobby at 4:30 p.m. today for a two-hour book-signing event.

Reed's book — her first — is a collection of columns that appeared in The News-Gazette.

Children's book drive scheduled Friday

CHAMPAIGN — The United Way will host a children's book drive Friday at its offices at 404 W. Church St.

Turning the pages: Recent incidents at area libraries

Among the incidents reported at public libraries in Champaign, Danville and Urbana in recent months, after a review from a Freedom of Information Act request:

Book 'em: Area libraries put up with plenty

The staff at public libraries often have to do much more than "shush" a noisy patron.

A review of hundreds of incident reports at the Champaign, Urbana and Danville public libraries reveals that, like many public places, libraries aren't sanctuaries from theft, rowdy behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, even sexual misconduct.

C-U Haiku, June 21, 2015

Edited by Lee Gurga/For The News-Gazette

good drones mate with queen

while worker bees make honey

but bad drones just sting

— Ruth S. Walker, Urbana

Author delves into the deep subject of miracles

Why? Why should one person live and another die? And what about miracles? Are they the real thing? And, if miracles are the real deal, then who decides how those get handed out?

These are reasonable questions. I suspect everyone asks them at one time or another. They are the essential questions for Elana K. Arnold's sixth-grade heroine, Iris Abernathy, in "The Question of Miracles."

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, June 21, 2015

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

I love richly detailed descriptive poems, and this one by Barbara Crooker, who lives in Pennsylvania, is a good example of how vivid a picture a poem can offer to us. Her most recent book is "Selected Poems," Future Cycle Press, 2015.


It'd been a long winter, rags of snow hanging on; then, at the end

'The feminine genius in the Catholic Church'

"If Nuns Ruled the World" by Jo Piazza is a glimpse into the lives of 10 nuns who are doing extraordinary work in the world. From fighting human trafficking to working with women inmates to rebuild their lives, these 10 brave nuns shatter the stereotype of the strict school marm and show "the feminine genius in the Catholic Church."

Hidden gems: Quirky little books of literate fiction

With a few exceptions, I'm not a big reader of huge blockbuster bestsellers. I prefer a quieter novel, one that earns a following simply by the story line and not the name of the author or series title.

Library events, June 21-28, 2015

Selected events coming up at local libraries.

Champaign Public Library

Main library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

At 3 p.m. Thursday at the main library, learn how jazz music was born in the U.S. Listen, play and learn a little swing dance.