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.

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.

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

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Jan. 4, 2015

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

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.

C-U Haiku, Jan. 4, 2015

Edited by Lee Gurga/For The News-Gazette

first snow, full moon,

all is calm, all is bright —

but bitter cold

— Brenda Pacey, Paxton

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'

Second window broken at Jane Addams Book Shop

CHAMPAIGN — The 27th hasn't been a good day of the month for Jane Addams Book Shop lately.

On the morning of Nov. 27 — Thanksgiving Day — one of the shop's front windows was broken and had to be boarded up for the holiday season.

Then early Saturday morning — Dec. 27 — another window was broken.

Kelly Strom: Witty essays on being a woman

The holidays can be a stressful time. How many of us want to avoid the lines and traffic and just lie down for a while?

My hand is raised, and I'm ready for the nap. I'm tired. I love the idea of giving presents, but the actual tasks of developing ideas, fighting crowds and maybe a little buyer's remorse is sometimes just too overwhelming.