Ruth Siburt: Take your reading to new heights

If your junior high readers enjoy man against nature/adventure novels, then Roland Smith's "Peak" and its sequel, "The Edge," are worth a try.

Richard J. Leskosky: A fun evening with a comedic legend

In October, John Cleese and Eric Idle toured in a sit-down talk show, "John Cleese & Eric Idle: Together Again At Last ... For The Very First Time," with half of their 22 shows in Florida so that, they claimed, they could score a free vacation, as England is so dreary in October.

Ted Kooser: An American Life in Poetry, Nov. 29, 2015

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

Debra Marquart, who teaches at Iowa State, is a poet, a memoirist, a writer of stories and a singer with her own R&B group, The Bone People. She knows the musician's life, and here's a road poem from her most recent book from New Rivers Press, "Small Buried Things."

Traveling with Guitar

Patricia Hruby Powell: Girls' adventure is a page-turner

It's 1849 in Missouri. Samantha, a Chinese girl, watches her father's grocery store go up in flames. Her father, trapped inside, dies.

Ty Yorkshire, under the guise of helping Samantha, tries to rape her. She whacks him with a scrub brush and he's dead. Being Chinese puts her at a disadvantage with the law, so she flees with Annamae, Yorkshire's black slave girl.

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

Fundraiser a success

That's Entertainment: Spotlighting events around the area

Movie scene

Discussing rare musicals

Steve Young, a former writer for the "The Late Show with David Letterman," will present "The Lost World of Industrial Musicals" at 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Art Theater Co-op, Champaign.

C-U haiku, Nov. 29, 2015

Edited by Lee Gurga/For The News-Gazette

Frost brushes ginkgo,

and underneath the tree lie

a thousand gold coins

— Lynne Proctor Sancken, Tolono

Library events, Nov. 29-Dec. 6, 2015

Selected events at local libraries:

Champaign Public Library

Main library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

That's entertainment: Spotlighting events around the area

Museum scene

TUSCOLA — Tuscola Tourism will bring Laura Keyes to the Douglas County Museum on Dec. 5 for a Christmas presentation on author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Kelly Strom: Mesmerizing Mysteries

I thought about giving you a list of holiday cookbooks this week but decided that if you haven't planned out your Thanksgiving meal by now, then maybe I'd just let you wing it.

I can say that because I am well acquainted with the notion of flying by the seat of your pants.

As I write this, I too have not completely planned out the menu for my party of 14 on Thursday.